Philadelphia’s Andy Reid is the longest-tenured NFL coach with 13 years of experience, so he knows a thing or two about scheme at the game’s highest level. And though he’s only been working with his NFL players for about two months now, Jim Harbaugh has caught the attention of Reid. Harbaugh and Reid crossed paths before, as the 49ers coach used to visit Philadelphia when his brother and fellow NFL coach, John, coached for Reid and the Eagles.
“Jim is very, very creative,” Reid said in a conference call on Wednesday. “You can see that in the offense. He spreads the ball around. He’s got a bunch of different guys he can spread it around to and he’s utilizing every one of them. It looks like the players, especially the quarterback, are enjoying that system.”
Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha also said 49ers quarterback Alex Smith appears to have grown comfortable in Harbaugh’s offense. Asomugha said it seems like Smith is doing a much better job of reading the defense and taking care of the ball this year, while keeping all of his options involved.
“It looks like there’s a couple hands full of guys that have all touched the ball at some point during the first three games,” Asomugha said. “That’s a credit to the quarterback. Knowing that he’s not just after his first read or his second read, sometimes he goes to his third or fourth read on any particular play. That ball’s been distributed a lot.”
Asomugha said he’s still getting acclimated to his surroundings on the East Coast after spending the last eight years with the Oakland Raiders following his college career at Cal. As one of the many prized additions to the Eagles this offseason, Asomugha said he’s disappointed in the team’s 1-2 record.
“We still have to grow and we still have to gel and learn each other as the season goes on,” Asomugha said. “We went straight into this thing. In a perfect world, everybody would be in tune and everybody would be on the same page and we would know how to play off each other – we would know that stuff. That’s not the case. Everybody’s confident we can get to that point, we just need to stay focused.”
While Reid spoke highly of Harbaugh, he also repeatedly mentioned defensive coordinator Vic Fangio by name. The 49ers rank third in NFL rush defense, allowing 62.7 yards per game, while allowing an average of 17.3 points per game, fourth-best in the league. The secondary also appears among the league leaders, as the 49ers are tied for the second-most interceptions (five) and rank No. 2 in the NFL with 24 pass breakups.
“(Fangio) has got a good group there,” Reid said. “That is a stout, athletic defense. All the ratings, statistics they have – all of those are true. Sometimes you look at things and go, ‘Ah, these things are skewed a little bit.’ That’s not how it is with this group. They’re real.”
Eagles starting quarterback Michael Vick was listed as a full participant in Wednesday’s practice after injuring his right hand last week.
“I can’t tell you that the hand is 100 percent,” Reid said. “But it was good enough to take a snap and it’s improved quite a bit from (Tuesday) to (Wednesday) and I expect it to continue to improve. Listen, if he can’t squeeze the ball 100 percent or he’s got a chance of being injured further, we’re not going to put him in there.”
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