Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Transcript: Andy Reid finally meets the media

Opening remarks:
“I appreciate your patience over the last few weeks here and I’ll give you a summary of my feelings on the season. I thought it was important that I step back and, particularly coming off an 8-8 season, take a thorough look at things, in particular starting with myself and the job that I did this year, then the coaching staff, the players, the direction we might decide to go in free agency and begin on the draft. So I was able to do that over the last few weeks and we were able to finalize the spot that was vacant on our staff by bringing in [secondary coach] Todd Bowles. And I had a chance to, obviously, evaluate the coaches and what we did as a team; coming out of that I felt that both sides of the football and special teams we have to room to improve, a tremendous amount of room to improve. And starting with the defensive side, I know the obvious question amongst you [all] was [defensive coordinator] Juan Castillo, and to address the situation, Juan will remain as defensive coordinator, Todd will coach the secondary and then we’ll move on. Everything else will remain the same. [Safeties coach Michael] Zordich will also work with the safeties. So the secondary, with the exception of Todd, will stay exactly how it was. [Saints defensive coordinator] Steve Spangnoulo, I know, was another topic and one that I understand. He’s a fine football coach. Steve and I are good friends and we talked throughout the season as we do every year. When Steve was released from the Rams I did offer him a spot here to coach, if he needed one, a place to land with open arms. And my feeling was that you can have two great coaches on defense and that’s even better than just having Juan himself, so that’s about as far as it went there. We didn’t talk about titles. We didn’t go into any of that. He had opportunities to look at other places. He wanted to do that, which I completely understand. And he ended up going to New Orleans. And he had a couple other teams that were interested in him. So I think that’s a positive for him, he feels good about it and that’s the most important thing. So finishing out the staff, I wanted to make sure that I brought somebody in - and I felt this way going through the process – that just as [offensive coordinator] Marty [Mornhinweg] and I have an opportunity to bounce things off of offensively, that Juan had somebody with some experience to bounce things off of defensively that had somewhat the same scheme. And that’s where Steve fit in nicely and it also fits in nice with Todd. So the things that Todd has done in the secondary and back end are very similar to the things that we do here and the things that we evolved into doing as the season went on and we became a little more experienced down the middle of our defense. So this should be a nice fit. Todd is an individual who has a nice resume and had an opportunity to sit in the head coaching position down there in Miami as interim head coach, interviewed with the Raiders as a head coach, and had a couple offers to be a coordinator in the league and decided that he would like to come here, kind of back home where he went to school and his family – his fiancé lives here, her parents live here. So it was a nice fit and we were able to bring in a heck of a football coach. Juan and he have a good relationship, they’ve met the last couple of days and they get along well, so it will be a good fit, there. On the offensive side really everything remained the same. On the offensive side, we need to go back and make sure that we take care of business with the turnover situation there. We have five games which we lost in the fourth quarter, which was something that I really wanted to focus on over the last few weeks. And in those five games we only scored three points, so we’re better than that and we need to make sure that we dig in on that. And again, I thought we made progress as the season went on on both sides of the football. And then, we have to work on the return game and special teams; the special teams staff will remain the same. We just have to get better in the return phase of special teams. Alright, so with that I’ll leave the time with you, if you have any questions.”

On whether he listened to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie’s season ending press conference:
“I understand this is a business, firsthand. I completely understand that and I’ve always appreciated the support that Jeffrey’s given me, along with Joe Banner. And they’ve given me every opportunity here to win games and have been positive influences. So I appreciate that. I do know though that 8-8 is not good enough. So what he said I agree with, there’s no different feeling on this end and as coaches and players who are sitting here watching, and we don’t like to watch, it’s that simple. And again, even though we finished strong and hot and all that stuff and that wasn’t good enough. And every season I’ve told you that the National Football League is different and it wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t good enough for the coaches and players that we have.”

On his thoughts about the final four games of the season:
“I think there’s some positives that we can take out of it just as far as the attitude of the football team, guys coming together, the young guys improved and there’s some good things there that you can take out of it; the bottom line is, and this is where the fool’s gold comes in, is we’re sitting right here. So we won the last four games but it wasn’t good enough. And so, I’m big on the reality of things and we have to do better, the bottom line is we have to do better.”

On his thoughts about fourth quarter struggles and his thinking about the decision to stick with Castillo as defensive coordinator:
“Yeah, let me just say this, the point is it’s not offense, defense, or special teams and you can’t single one of them out. My point is it’s everybody together and when you go back and analyze this, that’s what you see. And as we got better throughout the season, obviously we started winning games when we came together as a team and played together as a team as one group. Whether it was the offense gaining 500 yards and having four or five turnovers, even though the numbers are good that’s not good enough. Whether it was the other team scoring in the red zone that was a problem we need to fix, third downs, we need to fix that. Now when it was all said and done you can look at the numbers and compare them to other teams, and the numbers aren’t bad; you can take the defense and you can say listen, in the NFC we were second in points allowed and third in total defense and that whole deal, but it wasn’t good enough. Right, it wasn’t good enough. You can put all of the stats together, all the yards you want to put together offensively, but it wasn’t good enough to win the game. And so, we have to do a better job collectively. And that was a positive that I saw at the end, the guys actually pulled together and played as a football team, so there’s something you can pull out of that and take with you into the next year. That’s one of the things that you can pull out and do.”

On whether Bowles, with his experience and background, will have more input in terms of scheme and game day decisions:
“Well Todd’s the secondary coach is what Todd is. Now, I know Juan and how Juan operates so he pulls the best out of all of the guys. And the one thing Todd has is he does have experience and he’s a sharp guy. Juan and I were able to put him through an interview process and he did a nice job with that. [And] the recommendations from guys like Bill Parcells and the guys that he’s worked with are phenomenal, the [Tony] Sporano’s, Mike Nolan’s, all of the guys that he’s worked with carry this guy at such a high level. And listen, I haven’t worked with him so I was just a curious as everybody else was bringing him in here, I had heard such great things and he came in here and did a nice job.”

On when he decided Castillo would return as defensive coordinator:
“I never really was at that point. I just sat back and kind of evaluated the whole situation, it never really came down to that and that didn’t even work into the equation. Juan was going to be there. And as you know in this league titles are thrown all over the place and my feeling was with Spags that those two together I just thought could be dynamite. And when that didn’t come about, then I went and said alright that’s not the only [candidate], we could open it up and look at a couple of other guys. And so, I went about that process and looked at different people that I thought could fit in there and work and make us stronger as a football team, as a staff, and no different than I would on the offensive side or the special teams side.”

On his thoughts about Castillo’s perceived confusion at the Senior Bowl about his status:
“I talked to Juan throughout the process but that never came about. We never went in that direction and just that part I never addressed. We never went there. I know a lot of things were out there and written and that’s all part of it.”

On whether he was open to the idea of hiring a new defensive coordinator when he was talking to Spagnoulo:
“I never really…I just thought the two of them together would be tremendous. They have a great relationship, it’s the same defense, so you have two great coaches; that’s how I felt.”

On his thoughts about why he never spoke to Castillo about his status with the team:
“Listen, he knew that I was going to step back, starting with myself, because I’ve always told you that 8-8 isn’t Juan Castillo and Marty Mornhinweg, but that you have to look in the mirror first and so I needed to do that. So that’s where I started first. And so that I don’t share with people, I just do it and analyze and go through it. I surely didn’t want to put you in a position like I did last year with Sean McDermott where you felt like things were happening and so on. So I wanted to step back and make sure I looked at it and analyzed every phase of it offensively, defensively and special teams, starting with Andy. So that’s how I went about doing it.”

On why Castillo seemed to be vague about his status on the team:
“Yeah, well I never went there. I never talked to him about that part as far as status and all of that. I never talked to Marty about it either. So I don’t know if you asked Marty, maybe you did, but I didn’t really go, with anybody, in that direction.”

On whether Castillo just assumed there was going to be a change:
“Yeah, he could have assumed. I don’t know. I don’t exactly know what he said either. You probably asked him the question so I don’t know that. But I think they all knew that I was stepping back and analyzing things and that’s the important part.”

On what he saw in Castillo during his first year as defensive coordinator:
“Well, I saw us get better. And I said before we had some moving parts on the defensive side and I understood that and I knew it would take a little bit of time to come together, that’s how I felt. I’m not sitting here with a crystal ball but I anticipated that it would take some time to bring together. And then I saw progress and I liked the schemes that we were teaching them and I liked the way that we went about executing the schemes. You could tell that the players were all-in, and there are some ex-players out there who can vouch for this that normally if there’s an issue and if somebody, if the coach doesn’t know what he’s talking about the players normally voice an opinion. And so the players were all-in and they believed in Juan and the scheme he was doing and I think it ended up working the way we hoped it would work a little earlier and it didn’t.”

On whether he is feeling more pressure in 2012 after Lurie came out and spoke to the media:
“I’m going to tell you I’m not a very patient person when it comes to winning, that’s why we’re in this business because we want to win every game. So there’s no more pressure than there has been. That’s why we do this. We do this to bring a championship to the city of Philadelphia, to get the ring and that’s why players play, that’s why coaches coach. And when we go about our business in the offseason that’s how we do it and we crank on that. We spend a lot of hours and are involved in it. So I understand where he’s coming from and I’m right there with him on that. He didn’t say anything in there that ruffled my feathers or anything else that I don’t completely agree with. And listen, I know that’s how the fans feel and I understand that. I completely understand that. And it’s a frustration, I understand that. My point is that we’re going to bust our tail to get it right, that’s where I’m at.”

On whether he thought they tried to implement too many new schemes and packages in a shortened offseason:
“Listen, I would tell you that there were moving parts, in particular on the defensive side there were moving parts with new players and that. But all of those, from my standpoint, from a coaches standpoint those are excuses for me to sit up here and say that. It’s a different seat than Jeffrey sits in. This is his football team so that’s what he does. But from where I sit I can tell you the same things I told you during the season that there were moving parts. I anticipated the offense to be a little ahead of the defense and allow the defense to grow because of all of the moving parts, and we didn’t do that. We were 30th in the National Football League in turnovers. Okay, you can’t do that and I’m responsible for both of those things, the whole shebang of it. So I would just tell you that I don’t want to sit up here and give you any excuses, I don’t want to do that, but at the same time I’m very optimistic going forward and I feel very good going into next year. I know there’s a lot of hard work and I know there are things we have to correct; the positives are that we have some young players in here that got better and showed what kind of football they can play. [QB] Michael Vick gets his first offseason with us since he’s been here as a starter, which is an awesome thing. [Offensive line coach] Howard Mudd’s coming back here the offensive line coach and that was an unknown going into this. We weren’t sure exactly how many years we would have him, so that’s a plus; we’ll be able to keep continuity up front. We have some good, young players up there that improved. And we’re going to attack free agency and the draft aggressively like we have in the past. I know Joe made a couple of statements about the pool of players out there is tremendous. And so [general manager] Howie [Roseman] and I are going through and we’re evaluating those guys and making sure that we get those guys down and we know them like the back of our hand, and then be selective there, be selective about who we bring on to this football team. And then, we have a ton of draft picks that Howie’s accumulated over the last couple of years so we can go in aggressively with that. And so there’s some opportunities. Does that mean I’m happy about the 8-8? No. I’m not happy about it, but I’m not going to sit here and cry about it either. I’m going to go forward and attack that issue and get better for next year.”

On whether he ever offered Spagnoulo the job as defensive coordinator:
“Listen, we never really got into that. Remember now, Spags and I talk all of the time and that’s an important part of this. When he was released I had obviously talked to him and said, ‘If you’d like to come back here this door is always open. You and Juan would be spectacular together.’ No different than what I’m telling [all of] you here. And he wanted to think about it for awhile, and then he had an opportunity to take a couple looks at other places. He knows how things operate here so he went and looked at other places; never came in here. So he went and visited other places and he loved the situation in New Orleans and I’m happy for him. We’re still friends (laughing), until we play them next year but we’re still friends and I just wish him the best.”

On whether he thinks Vick believes in cutting down turnovers as much as he does:
“I do. I think he understands…and not that every one of them was Michael Vick’s but there were too many. I think he would tell you the same thing, not to say anything different than I think he would say and how he feels. I think this offseason will give him an opportunity to go back and study those things and what you can do and what you can’t do, how to move subtly in the pocket to make throws so the ball might not be tipped whether it’s a screen, whether it’s a short intermediate pass, the timing of each route and getting it coordinated with your two receivers that really didn’t have training camp, how important that is, absolutely important. And then one thing I thought he really learned this year was how to utilize the tight end and we gave him more opportunities to do that as coaches, which I thought was important - [TE] Brent [Celek] ended up having a pretty good year. But there are some things he can, specifically, attack this offseason and he’s in the right frame of mind to do that. He’s been in constant communication with me since the season’s been over and he is ready to go. Now we have some new rules in the three different phases that we can have in the offseason that are a little different than seasons before, but he’s ready to get in and get better.”

On whether he thinks Vick will play a different style and not take so many chances:
“I think Michael will tell you this: you look at the last four teams that are playing in the playoffs and all four quarterbacks didn’t miss a start. So he’s aware of that and he understands how important he is to this football team when he’s healthy. And that means as healthy as you can be playing this sport. So you limit your contact points that he had. And I think that he was able to see that this year. Now does that mean that he’s never going to run the ball again? No. I would tell you that I’m sure he’s going to run the ball. But when you do that, is there a time to get out of bounds and a time to get down? Absolutely, so that you live to play the next play.”

On whether he ever felt that he wouldn’t be back as head coach when he was going through his evaluation process:
“The primary thing was that I can do my job to the best of my ability. Was I doing my job to the best of my ability and what can I improve on? Why did we end up 8-8? Why did we start off 1-4? Why did that take place? What can I do different with the new rules of training camp? And all of those things. But as a head coach in the National Football League, if you do it the right way, you better be putting the pressure on yourself to figure those things out and to make sure that you’re presenting things and teaching things in the right way to your players – are you demanding enough out of your players? Are you too hard on your players? You have to find that balance and make sure that it’s right. And so I made sure that I stepped back and did that. You come off a season and those press conferences the day after the season you’re tired and you haven’t made the playoffs, you’re probably not in the best position to sit in front of you guys here and give you the whole scoop exactly what you’re thinking. So this gave me time to step back and look at all of that and go forward.”

On whether there was a time when he had to figure out if he wanted to come back as head coach:
“No, there wasn’t. But I wanted to make sure I stepped back and looked at it. I wanted to make sure that I can still do the things that I think are the responsibilities of the head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles to win the Super Bowl. So that’s what you do. You step back and you analyze those things.”

On whether there was a time when he thought Jeffrey Lurie would not want him back as head coach:
“Jeffrey was very good throughout the year. He’s very competitive too, so he wants to win. I think in this business you understand that. It’s a business. As close as Jeffrey and I are, as close as Joe [Banner] and I are, I understand the bottom line is to win football games. That’s why I’m here, to win games and to win a Super Bowl. I’m real about that and I’m very stand up about it. I’m not afraid to stand up and look that in the face. I understood his disappointment; I think he understood my disappointment. I think he sees that going forward we have an opportunity to do some good things. I’m kind of speaking for him here, but that’s why I think I’m sitting here at this time.”

On whether he is trying to be more forthcoming in his press conferences, based on the fact that he was forthcoming about his interest in Steve Spagnuolo:
“I am. Am I trying to do that? No, I’m telling you the truth is what I’m doing. The press conference directly after the season, you have no time to put everything together. You guys are eager, you’re doing a job. You’re under pressure yourselves to make sure that you’re doing your job. So you’re going to throw fastballs at me. There’s a time where you have to buy time and step back to give you the right answer. I tried to do it a little bit different this year than I did in past years. I just didn’t think that was a smooth transition into the offseason. I felt like if I stepped back, I could kind of analyze things and then present it to you in a better way.”

On why he handles press conferences in an aggressive way:
“Again, that’s a good question. My primary thing here is to win football games for the organization and for the city of Philadelphia. At the same time, I’m juggling a lot of different players, a lot of different personalities. It’s important that you stay together as a team. Many questions are directed towards players and my opinion on them, directed towards coaches and my opinion on them.  It’s important that I let those players and coaches know my feeling. Once you take it out of that, then the team doesn’t hang together any longer. Once the head coach starts dispersing things amongst the multitudes, then all of a sudden the team starts to dismantle. Then you have players who are going to criticize players, players who are going to criticize coaches, coaches who are going to criticize—and you don’t maintain that unit that you need to win in this league. So, it’s not that I’m being mean or rude. I’m trying to make sure that number one we stay together as a football team.”

On whether he thinks continuity is important on the roster going into next season:
“I think we have a good nucleus of people under contract. We’re in a position where we can keep them here. We are going through that process right now of looking at that, but I think we have a good, young nucleus that we’ve been able to bring in here over the last couple of years that can help us down the road. But, remember, we’ve got free agency coming up but we also have the draft and we have a number of draft picks. We want to make sure we utilize those as best as we can.”

On how different his self-evaluation was this season compared to others:
“I think you had to divide some things up. You had to separate the last four games, because I felt one of the positives was that as a head coach, as coaches, and as players, if you are stale then that thing never comes to fruition. You’re going to lose those last four games as opposed to winning. But then you take the first five games and you better analyze those babies right there, because that was not a good picture. [You have to figure out] what happened there, and try to be real. So you start with yourself, your presentation, your training camp, your presentation to the players, were you trying to do too much offensively or defensively? So you have to go through and analyze that and try to come up with an answer.”

On whether he did anything this year that he had not done in previous years:
“I think the obvious is training camp. Training camp was different by rule and then because of the lockout, we didn’t hit and we didn’t push it like we normally push it in training camp because we didn’t have all the players and you have to worry about injuries and so on and so forth. You look at that part. It was different. Not that it was different from what other teams do, but it was different from what we do.”

On whether he is regretful about his relationship with the fan base:
“I think the fans, they want to win a championship. Do I completely understand that? I completely understand it. I’ll tell you on the other hand, when I’m out in public, the fans have been tremendous. They’ve been good to me. I appreciate their support, them showing up to games. One of the things we’ve looked at is our home record and doing better at home. We have to do a better job of that. We finished strong, but we have to do better at home throughout the season. Do I understand? Absolutely, I understand. I have always said the fans and myself are on the same page as far as, when we stink, I’m probably the first one that knows we stink and the fans are right there with me. When we do well, it’s the same.”

On whether he feels like he could have been more aggressive with Spagnuolo:
“I’m not going to get into exactly what we said, I’ve never done that, that’s not where I go, but I didn’t just say ‘This is the doormat, come lay on it.’ That’s not what it was. I invited him back.”

On whether he feels like his future is tied to the current coaching staff that he brought here:
“I don’t think it’s any different than in years past. I’ll be the first one to tell you that I’m responsible for how my coaches perform and how my players perform. Jeffrey said it exactly right. I understand that. I completely understand it.”

On whether he thinks there were some turnovers that were because of bad luck:
“You have to have a little luck in this game; I think everybody who has played it understands that. The ball has to bounce the right way in a few different situations. That’s a few different situations, that’s not being 30th in the NFL in that category. There are no excuses for that many turnovers. Zero excuses. To answer your question, there is a little bit of luck in certain situations, yes.”

On whether his desire to win may have led him to overestimate how quickly all the moving parts could come together this season:
“I think the best thing I could tell you on that is I knew there were a lot of moving parts on defense. I understood that. I thought it would take some time. How much time, you don’t know that, but you felt like it would take some time to get everybody working and pulling the rope in the same direction. On the offensive side, really everybody was coming back. We did have a new line coach and a new scheme there, but it wasn’t that dramatic, so I anticipated the offense carrying the defense, allowing the defense to grow. That didn’t happen. If you just take the yards, did we function at a high level? Yes. But there are a bunch of things there we can do better. In particular, in crucial times—fourth quarter, red zone, turnovers. All of those things, we have to do a better job there.”

On whether he has any reason for optimism about WR DeSean Jackson and his contract situation coming up:
“I was proud of DeSean for standing up. I thought he showed maturity this season. I think he’s done that every year he’s been here, but he showed it. He stood up and admitted to everybody that he didn’t handle things the right way. I will tell you that the last six games, he did a nice job for us. I was proud of him for that. We’re going through all of that right now, so we’re looking at everything right now. We haven’t come to any conclusions on anything, but we’re going through that. Again, you saw progress there, you saw a different attitude the last five or six games there. You’ve got to make sure you look at that part too.”

On whether he thinks this is a make-or-break season for him:
“I think every season is that way. I think every season you come out as a coach and a player, it’s a make-or-break season. That’s how you look at it, and if you don’t, you’re wrong. You’ve taken the wrong approach. That better drive your tail through the offseason where you busted every minute that you had an opportunity to bust it to get yourself right when you come in here as a player. You better do the same thing as a coach. You better get yourself right and make sure that you study, spend the time at it, know your football team, both personnel-wise and scheme-wise better than anybody. That’s how you have to approach it and if you don’t do that, that’s the wrong way to do it.”

On whether the team devalues linebackers:
“The thing I could tell you is we did draft a couple guys, not that they were first round picks, but we did draft some young guys. We understood that the safety position and linebackers were young guys and we decided to go that direction. You saw growth at those positions that should help us down the road here into this season and seasons [to come]. We don’t devalue that position, that’s not where we are at the linebacker position.”

On whether he can commit long term to DeSean Jackson:
“We are going to go through and look at all that. I really haven’t gotten to that point. I have been making sure that we are kind of analyzing the free agents, we’re analyzing what we did, we went through our team, we’re going to analyze the draft and then you kind of put that all together and talk through it and have a feel on the whole picture on the personnel side of it.”

On the moves the team made in the scouting department by bringing in Player Personnel Executive Rick Mueller and promoting Anthony Patch to Director of College Scouting:
“Ryan Grigson became a GM, so that kind of snowballed this. I’ll tell you, Rick has great experience and Anthony Patch has done a heck of a job for us. He started out as an intern and has worked his way up and really done a nice job for us. I think both of those two are quality evaluators. Do we need to do a better job? Absolutely, we need to do a better job in the personnel department as we do in other areas. That’s what we are working on.”

On the team’s perceived struggles to be able to draft defensive talent:
“I think we still have to see about where [DE] Brandon [Graham] is because of his injury. I thought his last pass rush, before he got hurt, was his best pass rush. So he was making progress there. We’ll just see how things go. Time tells, you’ll have to see over the next three or four years how things go with that. Can you do better? Yes, you can do better, so you go back and try to improve in all areas.”

On whether there were any thoughts of making Bowles the defensive coordinator, and whether there is any fear that players might gravitate too much towards him:
“I don’t worry about that at all. I know what kind of person Todd is. I also know how strong Juan is. Juan is a heck of a leader of men. The players believe in him, as Todd does. In the coaching profession, if you talk to coaches that know this situation here, they’ve studied us and the teams that have studied us. They can tell you that we’re pretty solid. I know the perception is out there, I understand that. I think that’s different within the coaching ranks. Todd obviously has respect for the things we’re doing here, wants to be a part of it, is positive and upbeat about it. I know how much our players care about Juan and respect Juan, so I don’t worry about that at all. Juan is the defensive coordinator.”

On whether Bowles will have any input into the gameplan:
“That’s what you do as a staff. If somebody has something to say, you put it out there and you do that. That’s how it works. I will tell you that he has great experience, so that’s a positive. Will he have input? Absolutely. He and Juan will talk, they’ll communicate, absolutely. That can be taken two different ways. I expect him to share his ideas, absolutely. That experience, I think, is very valuable.”

On whether he has a timetable for the return of LB Jamar Chaney and TE Brent Celek:
“Chaney is doing well. He can’t do much right now, but he’s doing well. They say the surgery went well. I don’t think we’ll know here for a little bit. Likewise with Celek, he was up and moving right away, even though he was on crutches. He’s off the crutches, it looks like he’s moving around pretty well. So we’ll see. He had two things done, so it was a little different.”

On whether DT Mike Patterson had his brain surgery:
“Patterson had the surgery, I talked to him yesterday and he’s doing very well. Early on they had him sedated pretty well. I want to say [he had the surgery] Friday of last week. He’s doing well—very upbeat and positive. It was a very long surgery. They had to dig in there to get to the spot and they felt like it was successful.”

On a timetable for his return:
“By training camp I think he’ll be good, unless there is a setback of some kind. The doctors were optimistic that he’d be able to get himself back by training camp.”

On whether the parameters with Spagnuolo were that Jim Washburn and Castillo would also be here:
“I’m not going to get into all the [details]. Spags is okay with Juan and they have a great relationship. He respects Juan like no other. Washburn, he knew from the NFL Europe, so they had a relationship and felt comfortable there. He was good. He had a couple other opportunities to go out and look at things and he liked one. So he ended up taking it and like I said, that’s great for him. That’s a great thing for him.”

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