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Philadelphia Eagles News

Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson

On whether he is proud of his former assistants Leslie Frazier, Ron Rivera and Steve Spagnuolo for being the coordinators of playoff teams: "I'm just glad I'm in the playoffs (jokingly). No, I'm happy for those guys. It's kind of fun. It's kind of neat to have all those guys in the playoffs. They are all doing well."

On whether he looks at what Spagnuolo has implemented with the Giants defense: "Not really. The foundation here, the scheme and that, he has taken and done some other things. I don't really go and watch other people that much, I really don't. I watch other things besides that."

On DTs Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson: "They are very consistent. I think Bunkley, like I've said, is getting better every year. This is probably his best year, I think. Mike Patterson has always been a very steady player. The two of them right now, have been very consistent. Bunkley, especially, has had a very good year, I think."

On whether CB Asante Samuel is close to healthy: "I think so. He didn't practice yesterday. That's like anybody this time of year, we're all banged up a little bit. He is not a really big guy and he is just being precautionary. He should be fine."

On whether this is the deepest and best secondary he has ever had: "It's the deepest secondary, there's no question about it. With (CB) Lito (Sheppard) in a backup role and (CB Joselio) Hanson in the nickel and the safeties, it has very good depth. If you have an injury, you can plug in another guy. We've had some good secondaries here, too, so I'm not going to rate them right now."

On LB Chris Gocong: "He is playing more on the other side of the line of scrimmage. He is getting more negative plays. He is really kind of more attacking. I think that has come with confidence. He is attacking blockers, getting off blocks in the backfield, and making plays that way. He made a key third-down play the other day at Minnesota. It was a great effort play. That's what we expect out of Chris. He just got rid of the blocking back and made a tackle for a loss. That's the difference I see this year."

On whether he sees Gocong becoming more of a blitz guy: "I don't know. It's hard to say. He has gotten better, but I'm not sure he's there yet. It's hard to say."

On whether his development as a linebacker has slowed his development as a pass rusher: "I think so. He hasn't had a chance to work in it. We tried him a little bit at defensive end and he plays there a little bit. Being a real pass rusher takes a lot of work and technique. When you're spending some time at linebacker, it's just hard unless you have that real natural ability both ways to do that. He is really concentrating more on the linebacker position."

On whether there was a time when the defense turned the corner this season: "I think there were a couple turning points and then they kind of went south and then came back. I thought after Pittsburgh that we (turned the corner). Then, I thought we were average against the Giants. After the Giants game, that was kind of the next-best turning point. We did some things that we were going to try to correct and we corrected them. That was the big turning point—the first Giants game."

On Giants RB Derrick Ward: "The thing about Derrick is that he is used quite a bit in the nickel situation. They use those guys differently. (RB Brandon) Jacobs is a pounder, where Ward is a second-and-long or third-and-long (guy). That's where he's getting a lot of his runs. He does a good job with it. When you're more of a pass-rush mode, he's getting a lot of his carries there. When they really want to pound the ball, I think they'd still rather go with Jacobs, but they certainly complement each other. Against Carolina, when Jacobs didn't play much, he got a chance. A lot of that stuff was on nickel runs or second or third-down and long runs."

On what he expects to see from Jacobs: "Of course you know the size of the guy. If they're going to pound the ball, that's the guy they are going to give the ball to. We'll just have to see how the game goes. If they're going to pound the ball, they're going to give the ball to him a lot of times."

On whether he likes what he has seen from rookie S Quintin Demps: "Yes, I do. It's going to take him a little while to learn the whole thing, but he's a bright guy and loves to play and compete. I see much improvement as far as that safety position. He'll get better, because he can run and he has a good nose for the football, which I like."

On the fact that Demps almost caught up to Vikings RB Adrian Peterson on his touchdown run: "Yeah, he did. That was a great play. A great back, first of all, but also a great play on his part."

On what you have to take away first when you play against the Giants: "I don't think there's any key. Their running game is such a big part of what they want to do. They're number one in the NFL in rushing. So, that's where you have to start. There is no question that is one of our objectives. You have to get them into third-and-long situations. It's no secret that the first time we played them, they had a lot of third-and-mediums. The last time we played them, they had a lot more third-down-and-long situations and we were able to get off the field. That's the key—still stopping the run."

On how DT Trevor Laws is progressing: "Good. He is behind two pretty good tackles right now. He is getting in the rotation and probably doesn't get as many plays as you want, but when he's playing he's doing a good job. I'm very happy with him."

On Giants WR Domenick Hixon: "I think they like him a lot. I think (Giants QB) Eli (Manning) likes him a lot. You can see him throwing the ball a lot to him. He is a talented receiver. He has good speed. The thing about Plaxico (Burress) we all know is his great size and the speed he has. He's a unique player. I do know that they like Hixon and he is still a factor."

On how much stronger the defense can be against the run without Burress in the lineup: "It makes a difference, there's no question about it. We'll still mix up our coverages and fronts, but it makes a difference without Plaxico. The biggest thing with Plaxico was trying to get a good matchup. We didn't have anybody we really could match up. We feel like we have a guy who can match up against Hixon a little bit, but Plaxico was so tall that it was hard to match up sometimes."

On what makes Steve Spagnuolo a good head coaching candidate: "I think he's a good (coach) who has been around the league for a while. He is a smart guy and is very meticulous about his stuff. There are a lot of good head coaching candidates out there. He is in a good situation right now. He produced last year and it has helped him and he produced this year. Just like Leslie Frazier and Ron Rivera. They're all good, young coaches."

On how DE Victor Abiamiri looks: "He looks good. He looked good yesterday. I think he'll be okay."

On how big it is having Abiamiri in the defensive rotation: "Especially in nickel. We missed him in nickel. We had to put (DE Juqua Parker) inside a little bit and we kind of missed (Abiamiri)."

On whether they will stick with DE Chris Clemons as an edge rusher in nickel: "Yes."

On the linebackers improvement over the course of the season: "I just think a lot of playing time (helped). I thought (LB Stewart) Bradley was going to be a good middle linebacker after last year and he hasn't disappointed me. I thought Chris Gocong was going to keep getting better, and he has. Of course (LB Akeem) Jordan is playing well right now. I thought that Stewart was going to be a pretty good middle linebacker."

On whether Bradley is playing at a higher level now than earlier this season: "No question. His confidence (is higher). The more the guys play, they aren't rookies anymore, they are confident, they see things, they have a lot of repetitions."

On how important time of possession is against the Giants: "They are tops in the league in terms of time of possession. That's part of that running game is ball control. They've been that for a while, too. They do a great job, as far as controlling that ball. Especially if they get ahead. You want to get ahead of this team."

On whether he needs help from the offense to prevent the Giants from winning the time of possession battle: "Hopefully we will get them off the field and then their offense will need some help from their defense. It's a team thing. The first time we played them, they could throw the ball a little bit more and our third down wasn't very good. Last time, we were good on third down. It makes the offense have the ball more, too. It's a good combination. I thought the last time we played them, (our offense) did a great job of controlling the ball in the third quarter against the wind."

On how important it will be to have Abiamiri back: "It's important. He is a big part of a lot of our packages—our run defense and our nickel situation."

On whether Giants TE Kevin Boss is a guy who is flying under the radar: "He has had a good year. He's still a factor. He's not a (former Giants TE Jeremy) Shockey yet, as far as that type of down-the-field speed, but he's a good tight end."

On the defense's improvement against tight ends recently: "Sometimes there are certain guys we can match up against better. Sometimes it amounts to just that. (Cowboys TE Jason) Witten still is a hard guy to match up with. (S Quintin Mikell) is about the only guy who can match up with him."

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