Mornhinweg: Players Rallying For Andy

Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.Marty Mornhinweg never has a reason to walk over to the field where the defense practices.

As the Eagles assistant head coach/offensive coordinator, his job is to work with Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and the rest of the team’s talented playmakers.

But for obvious reasons, this morning was different.

“It was quite different,” Mornhinweg said. “Any time that your head coach is not available, it is always different. He’s the leader of this football team. There’s no question about that.”

About 20 minutes after practice had started, with the offense and defense working separately, Mornhinweg strolled over to the players in the white jerseys – the linebackers, defensive linemen, cornerbacks and safeties. He didn’t say much, but stood to the side with his hands behind his back while Juan Castillo ran the show.

Normally, this is part of Andy Reid’s routine. During practices, he lets his coordinators and position coaches do a lot of the teaching. That’s especially true now, with veterans like Howard Mudd and Jim Washburn on staff.

After about 10 minutes, Mornhinweg made his way back over to the offense, where he was clearly more comfortable.

Eagles players found out about Garrett Reid’s death before yesterday morning’s practice. Jason Avant led them in prayer, and they tried to go about their business. In the afternoon, there was no hitting, but they practiced again. And once more this morning. No Andy, but the walk-through went on.

“This is a tight-knit group that we have. It’s clear that what has happened in some ways has made our players even closer,” Mornhinweg said. “We’re still saddened by it, and I do think that’s probably pretty normal.”

As for when Reid will return, Jeffrey Lurie said yesterday that he expects the coach to be back some time this week. Mornhinweg wouldn’t give an exact time-frame, but seemed to agree.

“That will be up to Andy,” he said. “This is his personal and private situation. It’s a family matter. I will tell you, Andy runs this organization family-first, but we have great responsibility to this football team. So whenever he’s ready, I will just tell you my personal opinion, knowing Andy, Andy’s a rock. He’ll still be grieving, but I would expect him back pretty quick at some point. I can’t say when. That’s going to be up to him.”

The Eagles will practice this afternoon. Services for Garrett Reid will be held Tuesday, a scheduled day off for the team. The players have a walk-through (closed to fans) at 11 a.m. Wednesday. And the Eagles host the Steelers at 7:30 Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field.

INJURY UPDATES

Mornhinweg did provide a few injury updates. Casey Matthews had a hip flexor, but the Eagles linebacker said he’s fine and will practice this afternoon.

Cornerback Cliff Harris, who is fighting for a roster spot, turned his ankle, and no decision has been made on whether he’ll play Thursday night.

Defensive tackle Ollie Ogbu is dealing with a hamstring injury.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.