On what he was thinking about during the bye week with a change at defensive coordinator and a team-wide evaluation: "I just used the bye week as a time to get away. We all just have to go out and play. I can’t spend time worrying about what (head) coach’s (Andy Reid) decision is going to be on Sunday. The thing that I know is I’m putting everything into each and every game, and I’m giving it my all. That’s all I can do."
On whether there was a time that he did not know he was going to be the starter: "No, it was never a time when I didn’t know whether I was going to be the starter or not. Quite frankly, I know what I can do when I’m out there and I know what has to happen when I’m out there on the football field. That’s just my approach now, to go out there and get the job done, we’ll see what happens."
On what it was like for Reid to say that he was under evaluation and might not start: "You just have to stand tall. It’s not the first time that I’ve been in this situation. I understand that the most important thing is for me to go out there and continue to do my job, and try to help this football team any way I can."
On reflecting on the team’s first six games during the bye week: "I thought about a lot of what ifs – what could’ve happened, what should’ve happened, what didn’t happen. A lot of things that you just have no control over. You just have to keep pushing in this game. Keep pushing and keep playing."
On whether it helped to get away from the game for a week: "It was a good to get away from the game for a while, just to take a deep breath, relax, and spend some time with your loved ones and the people who mean the most to you. Sometimes just having that confidant can really help you out through times when it’s tough. Like I said, we control our own destiny and we have to make things right."
On what he attributes going 11-4 following the bye week over the last two seasons to: "You just have to come out fresh and start fast. You just have to get better. I can’t attribute it to anything. It’s just me trying to play good football."
On whether the playbook changed at all after the bye week last year: "I think the coaches use the bye to figure out what works and what doesn’t - what are we excelling at and what we can get better at. That is just coaches and their philosophies and the way they think. It definitely helps and it’s something that you have to do. Hopefully, we can get this thing turned around and I’m optimistic that we will."
On whether the heavy evaluation after a 3-3 start was necessary: "I don’t make decisions. I just come here every day to do my job to the best of my ability. I train hard, I work hard, and I prepare the best that I can. Some things you know that you just have no control over. I really can’t say if it was the right thing or the right decision – I don’t get into that. I’m here to do my job."
On whether he remembers that certain plays were called more or less after the bye week last year: "I can’t really recall the strategies coming out of last year’s bye week. I do know it’s a time to clean up things, like I said what works and what doesn’t, this time around. We’ll see what happens. We’ll make the most out of it, and we’ll keep pushing and keep fighting."
On what has caused the slow offensive starts recently: "I have no answers for it other than execution. You have to be able to execute and you have to be able to move the ball down the field and take what the defense gives you. We can’t have negative plays and put ourselves in bad situations. That’s what we have done."
On whether his teammates thought about what happens next after the team dismissed Juan Castillo: "I don’t know as far as anybody else, but you know that things are being evaluated and people are being evaluated. That’s the way this game goes. I think everyone just has to look at the film and you’ll see who is doing it right and who’s not. This game is not that complicated."
On whether Vick and Reid have talked since the bye week: "We talked this morning. We spoke this morning about his feelings and his thoughts and my feelings and my thoughts about certain things. We’ll keep that conversation private, but it is what it is."
On Donovan McNabb’s advice that Vick should play "pissed off": "I always play pissed off. More so now than anything."
On whether he has communicated what he likes and doesn’t like to the coaches: "Every Saturday, we go over what we like and what we don’t like and what we’re going to take out and what we’re going to keep. It’s just quarterback protocol, and you have to get that done. We just have to execute overall as an offense: we have to be able to protect up front, we have to catch the ball, we have to block downfield, and I have to make throws and can’t turn the ball over. We’re all watching the game and we see what’s going on. That’s just what it is."
On whether he watched any of the games over the weekend: "Yeah, I watched a couple of the games over the weekend."
On whether he feels better about the state of the team after seeing some of the other games: "I briefly watched it. I was outside playing with my kids. They have the scooters now, so you have to keep your eye on them."
On whether he is keeping the flak jacket on: "The flak jacket is working for me."
On how he feels after the bye week: "I definitely feel refreshed. It’s a whole week to just to relax. I’m feeling better."
On what has to happen for this team now to succeed: "For sure, to win. Just everybody taking care of their jobs, not panicking, and taking it each game at a time. If we play Eagles football, we should be fine."
On whether he wondered whether the team would make a quarterback change during the bye week: "Not at all. I’m not sure anybody in the locker room was wondering that. We all pretty much knew that Mike was the quarterback. He’s our guy and he’s our leader."
On whether anything besides execution has to radically change with the offense: "Just the amount of turnovers and being more consistent - that’s something I really think about is being more consistent – as well as turnovers, penalties, and negative yards on certain plays. It’s hard to make progress on offense when you’re getting negative yards, penalties, and things like that."
On whether he will continue to follow up with doctors after being cleared to practice: "Yeah. I mean, I’ll still get follow ups and everything, keep up and make sure things (are the same). It’s still a cautious thing. The good thing is Coach Reid and (head athletic trainer) Rick (Burkholder), they’ve managed to keep an eye on me and they’ll ask some questions, see how things are working out. Everything felt good though. I feel real good out there, running around.
On whether this is the schedule he anticipated as far as returning to practice: "Yeah, I mean, you really don’t know. But I was hoping to come back during the season. You just never know when."
On returning during the window allowed for players on the Non-Football Injury list: "Yeah, so I mean it worked out real well right now. I’m just happy to be out there."
On whether he has been cleared for contact: "I’m not in the rotation right now, so like I said, they’re just going to take it slow. We’re going to see how things work out. The big man (head coach Andy Reid), he’s just not in a rush to get me out there and risk anything. So, (they’re) just kind of looking at me. I’m just happy to be out there running around."
On whether there are any precautionary differences, such as a change in his helmet: "No, nothing’s different. Everything’s still the same. Just out there playing."
On how long he feels it will take to get into football shape: "It’s kind of hard to say, especially (without a training) camp. But, I’m sure Andy is going to have it right for me, so I don’t even have to worry about that. He’s going to have practice right for me when I’m in there so I’m not going to worry about it. He’s going to make sure I get my conditioning in during practice and make sure I’ll be ready to go when I get into the games."
On how it felt to get back onto the field: "It felt real good, man. I feel very excited. I was kind of jittery, I would say, this morning but after getting into the swing of this and meetings and stuff, stuff goes away and (you) kind of take it in and everything’s happy. I’m just happy to be out here."
On how he felt yesterday, waiting to practice: "I mean, it was pretty cool. I mean, I was very excited and stuff; kept on thinking about it. But I was real excited and everything. Just kind of happy to be back. Just got to take it one day at a time and just wait patiently until I get back on that real field."
On his thoughts on the dismissal of defensive coordinator Juan Castillo during the bye week: "You know, it’s a part of the business of football. We all respect him. I respect Juan as a man, as a coach. Obviously, he’s going to land on his feet and he’s going to do well. It was tough, at first, to hear it because you’ve pretty much grown so much with a guy and seen him grow so much. But you know that he’s going to be fine wherever he ends up."
On what he expects to see different with defensive coordinator Todd Bowles running the defense: "I don’t know. The thing about Todd is, like you guys know, he’s real chill. I don’t know if you guys have interviewed him or anything; there’s like an equanimity about him. It doesn’t matter what’s going on, he’s always going to be calm and just relaxed and stuff like that. So, that’s good. He always feels like there’s always a solution, no matter what we’re going through. So, I think that’s one of the big qualities that he’s going to bring."
On how much the defense can change with a shift in coordinators: "I’m not sure. That’s kind of up to him. He could change it all or he could just change it a little bit. It’s all possibilities. I’m not sure exactly what he’s going to implement and how he’s going to do it."
On the mood when Bowles addressed the defense for the first time this morning: "It was the same as always. He’s addressed us before. He’s a funny guy when he gets up and speaks, so it wasn’t like anybody was tense or nervous or anything like that. It was pretty much the same as always when he would have addressed us in the past."
On whether the tension in the locker room increases when the team is "on alert": "No, the mood in the locker room (doesn’t get tense). No one gets tense or nerves start going a little bit. I think everybody’s just eager to start winning some games. We won early and then the last two, we weren’t able to get. So, I think that’s the mood. We’ve got to put some wins together above anything else."
On whether there is a feeling that Castillo would still be the defensive coordinator if the players had played better: "I don’t know. As a player, how do you really adjudicate something like that? My mind can’t even think on that level because I’m a player. Those decisions are all for the people in upper management. But I couldn’t say if the players let him down or what the reason was for why he was let go. As a player, I can’t even think on that level."
On his comments following the Detroit game regarding Castillo: "I had a tough time last week when those stories came out, to be honest. It was more so a character thing and that’s something that I would never do as a player. I think you guys will start to know that a little bit more as we continue to get to know each other. But there’s no underlying (message) -- this was said, but it might have meant this. I wouldn’t do that to a coach and especially Juan, just because as far as a player-coach relationship, we had been so communicative. It wasn’t a good feeling. But after speaking to him and him knowing that wasn’t the case, I think it made it a lot better. But I don’t think that had anything to do with him being let go or anything."
On how he spent the bye week: "I stayed around. I didn’t go home. Stayed around here and just hung out and relaxed a little bit."
On whether he feels better about the state of the team after watching other games this weekend: "I mean, I just know that we’ve got 10 games left, regardless of how everybody else is sitting. If we just go out there and just play ball and take care of what we need to take care of, we’ll be alright."
On whether the firing of defensive coordinator Juan Castillo sends a message to the team that it is time to start winning: "I think it was already the understanding that it is time. As far as him (being let go), that’s a decision that they thought was necessary, but I really don’t have much to say about that."
On DT Mike Patterson returning to practice: "I’m happy for him. A guy who has battled, for the last two years, kind of battled through some adversity a little bit, I’m happy for him to get back out there and get his feet wet a little bit."
On head coach Andy Reid not giving a firm answer as to whether QB Michael Vick will remain the starter: "I think the fact that Mike is still the starting quarterback is your ‘yes’ right there. So, it doesn’t matter how firm or however you want to look at it, Mike’s still going to be the guy."
On whether the offense needs to operate as a big play offense again: "I think, us having the reputation of doing that, I think teams are trying to prevent us from doing that. What we’ve got to do (is) we’ve got to stay patient and go through the process throughout the course of a game and try to figure out ways we (can) get the ball down the field. By the end of the day, if you go out there and execute anything they throw out there, I think we’ll be just fine."
On whether the team can get the big play offense back: "You’ve just got to be patient, man. You’ve got to get what the defense is giving us. We’re not going to force anything downfield if it’s not there. There’s a lot of offenses in this league that are very successful not with the big play. You’ve just got to kind of give what they give us."
On whether it is puzzling to him as to why this offense has struggled to score points: "Turnovers. It’s as simple as that. Turnovers. We looked at a stat today; we’re 25th in the red zone. That’s where you score your points at, so it’s just turnovers."
On the relationship between defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and the players: "He’s definitely a player’s coach. He relates to us well and we all like him as a coach, and off the field he is a great guy. He’s smart so it’s going to be a good thing."
On how Bowles motivates players: "He talks to us like men. He’s not real up in your face. He’s not a loud guy. He expects you to know what you have to do as a man and as a professional. We love to play the game. You don’t need a lot of motivation. If you do try to get motivation from coaches, then I think you’re in the wrong (mindset)."
On what the conversations were around the locker room when the news broke of Bowles taking over the defense: "Wasn’t much. That’s how it is sometimes. Like I was saying, the coaches (and) front office, they all have this team’s best interest at heart and they did what they thought was best. We wish Juan (Castillo) all the best and we’re just going to keep moving forward."
On how much will change with Bowles in charge of the defense: "Not much is changing. Not much is going to change. There will always be a little bit of change. We’re going to keep things relatively the same. And it’s hard to say right now. We’re not sure exactly what (will change) because we haven’t really put in a game plan or anything. We’ll see on Wednesday but it’ll be good whatever it is and we’re excited."
On whether he would like to see Bowles calling plays on the sideline or up in the booth: "It’s hard to (say). Either way he’s a smart guy and he’s going to make the right calls. He’s going to put us in position to make a lot of plays so we’re all excited."
On whether Bowles is prepared to call plays during a game since he has not done that in the NFL yet: "I think that you’ve got to start your first time somewhere. I think in the grand scheme of things he was helping make play calls throughout this year. He’s a smart coach, he really is. He’s going to do his due diligence and understand the game as far as the offense is going to attack us and you have to be able to adjust during the game. I think he’s going to do a great job with that."
On what it means to have DT Mike Patterson back on the practice field: "It’s a blessing. For him to come back from what he did and be able to come back and just be a part of this team, it’s a blessing. He’s an impact player. He’s great for the run stop. He knows how to position himself and cover a lot of gaps down there. It’s a great thing to have him back. We’re excited. It’s going to bring another person added to that D-line."
On how he knows the defense will get better: "You start with a belief and then you go from there."
On whether the bye week and the promotion of Bowles has injected new energy into the team: "It is. It’s a whole new season for us. We’ve got 10 games to really prove ourselves and prove our worth to ourselves, to these fans, and to the whole NFL. We’re not achieving to our full potential I feel like. We looked past the last two years and we just haven’t been able to do it, whether it be closing out the games and whatnot. Like I said, we have 10 games to really prove ourselves and it starts with this week."