Garcia: "We Need to be Good on First Down"

Jeff Garcia (Getty)

Eagles QB Jeff Garcia believes his team's effectiveness on first down will be one of the keys to the game Sunday night against Indy. Find out what else he had to say about his role, his receivers and the Colts at his recent press conference.

(On how much more he will be able to do after getting time to practice with the first team offense this week)
"I think it's just very important from a timing standpoint, just being able to get out there, being able to get into a rhythm with the receivers, getting the offensive line to have a feel for how I play the game. Even just the huddle approach, I think, is different. And so, in those sort of instances, it's very important to have this week of preparation. I know there are going to be nerves flowing through me. I know that I'm going to be at a high pace out there because of the energy, because of the excitement that I have within myself for this opportunity. And it's just going to be a situation where, I think, once we get towards the end of the week, things will start to calm down for me. I'll have a good grasp of what we're doing offensively and then hopefully on Sunday I can just let it fly."

(On what his experiences have been like in the past against the Colts)
"I've only played them one time. It was in Indianapolis, it was, I believe, five years ago. But, we did have good success on the field against them that day. It was a positive experience for myself, but this is obviously a different Indianapolis team also. They're one of the top, if not the top team in the league and they're so explosive offensively. They're so athletic and fast defensively. So, it's a game where every play counts, really. And as an offense, we need to be especially good with the football. I need to be good with the football, I need to protect the football and we need to be good on first down. I think that's going to be a key in this game."

(On whether the struggles on offense against the Titans were a result of not getting the reps that he's had in the past as the starting quarterback)
"I don't necessarily think so. I think, maybe, if anything, I was probably a little bit more cautious with the football than I needed to be, or maybe that I should have been. And that's partly because of the lack of reps in practice. And it's not a lack of knowing where guys are. I definitely knew where guys were going to be and where they were. I just didn't want to get caught holding the football. I didn't want to get caught in a bad situation, and so I was just trying to give guys opportunities to make plays. And at times, unfortunately we just didn't make those plays and that's a situation where, yes, the game was still within grasp. It was within reaching distance as far as being able to do something, put something together and create a winning situation. As much as I was new to the game and new to the experience, playing in that sort of situation here with the Eagles, I put that on my shoulders as far as needing to be better on the field, needing to be a good decision maker and give our guys opportunities down the field to make plays. Part of the problem was in that game was that they went into a very prevent type of defense where they were dropping seven to eight players every down. They weren't going to give up anything deep. They were going to keep everything underneath them and rally to it. And that's where, as much as we try to take advantage of that in certain ways, it just wasn't happening for some reason. It was just one of those games where frustration started to build a little bit and we didn't do enough, soon enough. There were some good drives, but we didn't finish the
drives like we needed to."

(On whether he needs to fight the urge to rush things)
"I don't know if it's something that I fight. I think if you watch the way that I play the game, the way that I play the game has kind of been the same everywhere that I've been. I feel that I do make quick decisions. I do get the ball out of my hands. I've never been one to really hold the ball in the pocket very long. I don't take sacks. I, for the most part, don't make poor decisions as far as where I go with the football. I really try to get the ball out of my hands quickly and get our guys opportunities to catch the ball and run with the football. I think there are times when I can be a little bit more patient. I think there are times when I tell myself that I need to work on those things and really try to improve in that area. But, I am what I am and I've been playing this game a long time and I've had success playing this game. And that's what my makeup is all about. And so, I try to structure everything that we do into how I would make my decision and how I play the game and how I'm best going to have success on the field and give this team a chance to win football games."

(On how he would compare his physical skills to what they were during his Pro Bowl years)
"I really don't feel like I've diminished because of my age. I feel that I've really kept up my physical health. I feel that my strength of arm, my speed of foot, I feel that they're all relatively the same as they were back then. I know that things have been different the last couple of years. I've bounced around in two different situations and I feel like I've landed in a good place here in Philadelphia. And hopefully, with what I'm capable of doing on the field and with what I have around me, that we can mesh in a proper way and make things happen in a positive way. But, I don't believe personally [that my skills have diminished]. Maybe it's something that I don't want to admit to and I'm not going to admit to because I believe that I can still be better. I always believe that I can still be a better quarterback. I can still be better physically, I can still be better mentally, and that's the push that I have within myself to keep trying to achieve those things."

(On how much his confidence helps this team)
"I think that it can be a very positive thing. And not taking anything away from how we were prior to me stepping in the huddle because [QB] Donovan
[McNabb] has his own way of approaching the game and I appreciate and respect everything that he has been able to do and how he leads this team. But, we are
different in certain ways and I feel like for myself, there's more of an urgency. I feel like I have a sense of wanting to get in and out of the huddle, get to the line of scrimmage. I want to see what the defense is doing. I want to have a certain mentality within this offense that is aggressive and that is an attack sort of mold. And that's just how I approach the game and hopefully that can rub off on guys in a positive way, and hopefully we can re-ignite this offense as to where they were playing just a few weeks ago. I think it's all very capable within this team. There's definitely the tools, there's definitely the strength of the offensive line, and it's just a matter of us now clicking together and putting it together on the field."

(On how big of a game this is against the Colts)
"I think every game is a big game, and I think that's where I have to realize I can't focus on this game and just say that. I think you have to be real about the situation. It is a big game, definitely. This team needs to find a way to come together as a team and eliminate the mistakes, eliminate the things that have hurt us in this past month and a half as far as not allowing us to win football games. And it's all very capable. It's all well within our reach. And in that sort of way, it is a big game, but in many ways people don't expect us to go to Indianapolis and play with that team. People don't expect us to be a playoff caliber team anymore. And I think in that sort of way, the pressure needs to be released off of our shoulders and we need to go back out and start having fun again."

(On why there have been so many dropped passes on offense)
"That's really difficult to put a finger on because I think the guys do a great job of getting extra work, really focusing on catching the football during practice, doing the necessary things that they have to do in order to make plays out on the field. And they know that it has been a struggle at times during the season and they know what they have to do in order to fix that. And that's just something that I have to leave up to them and hopefully I can just give them the opportunity to continue to go out there and have the chance to make plays, and hopefully they'll make them. It's just something we're going to work with. We're going to work on this together and hopefully positive things come out of it. I can't really sit here and answer that question as to why. It's something that we all know we need to improve upon."

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