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Philadelphia Eagles News

Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson

On how he is feeling: "I'm just going to say this. I feel good. I appreciate all the concern about my injury, I really do, from the fans and you guys. I feel good. I'm still going through treatment. The biggest thing I'm trying to get now is just the pain out of my back. I've got some broken bones in the lower part so that doesn't allow me to be on my feet quite as much but everything else, I feel fine. [I'll] just keep working at it."

On what it means for him to be able to participate in the minicamp: "It's great. It's a part of my life and it keeps me going. I don't feel any different coaching. I'm coaching the same way. We've got a great bunch of assistants. One thing I always say about [head coach] Andy [Reid], one of his strong points is that he picks good assistants. Good young guys and they know the system now, we're just teaching fundamentals now so it's great to have a good young staff like that."

On how being diagnosed with cancer has affected his life: "It's something you have to deal with every day and like I said, I'm still going through treatment hoping you can get it done. Sure it affects your life. You think about it every day, no question, as far as the pain a little bit here and there. But the thing about when I come here to work is that it feels good. It's not going to be like this all the time, hopefully we'll get that injury back so I'm walking back on the field. Right now I'm on that cart and it helps out quite a bit."

On his trip to Spain:"Yeah, I went to Spain. I had a great time. It was tough traveling but it was good, good to get away a little bit."

On whether he suspected something was wrong with him at the end of last season: "I didn't really know until the last couple of games. I wasn't feeling good and we were right in the playoffs, as you know, so there wasn't enough time to take a lot of tests but we did know something was up right after the Giants game before we went to the Arizona game, and of course after that I got all my tests."

On whether it is too early to tell if he will be on the field or in the coaches' box during games:"It's too early to tell. I'm taking this one day at a time or one camp at a time. I'll just keep working at it and as long as I can hold my work schedule, I'll feel fine and we'll just see how it goes."

On whether he has always waited to decide where he would be on gamedays: "Yeah."

On whether he has had to reduce his work schedule: "No I haven't. The biggest thing is that these guys, the young guys, know the system, the veterans know the system which makes it nice but I have not reduced my work schedule. Like I said, I enjoy coming to work. I enjoy doing this."

On whether the doctors advised him to take it easy:"No, there is no problem there."

On what he sees so far from the new players:"I like what certain guys you see out there learning the system. You want to find guys that all of a sudden they pick it up because it takes awhile, but all of a sudden you just see that this guy is picking it up a little quicker than that. That's what I look for as far as the mental part of it, especially the safeties and the linebackers. How fast are they picking certain things up? How comfortable do they feel?

"That's what we look for or I do a lot of times. A young safety, a corner, linebacker, there are some guys that it's going to take a couple, three years it really does. It's amazing. Then there's a guy that all of a sudden they get a feel for the game, it takes them a year and they're ready to go next year. Sometimes I have to have patience, let these guys develop too, but I still look for that guy that has a little bit of a football sense."

On what he sees from CB Macho Harris: "I see a guy that has a good feel for the game. The first couple of practices [I've seen he's got] a good feel for the game. You look for things like that."

On his emotions at the end of last season: "[My emotions were] all over the place. Disappointment, a lot of disappointment, losing that [NFC Championship] game and then I knew we were going to have to go in and see what was happening with me. That was tough, it wasn't easy."

On whether he replayed that game a lot: "Yeah, I couldn't see it right away because I had to go to the hospital to get some tests but when I finally came back I looked at the game by myself a little bit. The biggest thing, without going all the way back to that game, when you play a championship game like that you just have to play your best football. It was one of those games where we didn't make a lot of turnovers and it was so close that a turnover was going to turn that game around. They did a good job and they're a good football team. We're a good football team too, but we didn't play our best game."

On whether he appreciates being able to take part in minicamp: "Yes, no question. Just being around those players, yeah I do [appreciate it]."

On whether he is concerned with what the players are thinking seeing him at practice on a cart instead of on his feet: "I can't speak for them. They know the situation and I can't really speak [for them]."

On the feel of the defense without FS Brian Dawkins:"I like [S] Quintin Demps a lot, I really do. And of course you know how I feel about Dawkins. We miss a big part of our stuff, but I do like Quintin Demps. I think the guy loves to play football, he's got the same enthusiasm like Dawk does, and Dawk's a special guy no question about it, but I do like the way [Demps] is playing and I feel pretty good there right now as far as safety is concerned."

On whether Demps is picking things up well:"Yeah, and he's here every day. Yeah, he's picking things up well."

On why he decided to give Demps the first shot at starting at free safety over S Sean Jones: "I think Sean Jones is more of a strong safety. Quintin is a good free safety, and I know he had some mistakes last year, but he was a young rookie. It doesn't bother him, he's one of those guys that have a short memory, and he lets things go when he goes onto the next play. Sean might play some free [safety] but right now he's more of a strong safety."

On whether he envisions using S Quintin Mikell any differently than he did last season:"I don't think so. I think we'll still stay with our same scheme. I think what Quintin Demps brings is that he's a good blitzer, just like Dawk was in his younger years. Sometimes I think we put too much pressure on Quintin, especially in the championship game, too many different positions he had to play and you have to watch that. There were a couple of different things that we wanted to try in that game and Quintin [Mikell] we all know is a good football player. I think you just have to keep him at strong safety and let him play from there. I think he's going to be one of the Pro Bowl safeties in this league very, very fast."

On whether he thinks DE Victor Abiamiri is coming into his own:"He's got to challenge [DE Juqua Parker] and yes I think this is a big year for him, but the other guy is pushing him pretty good. That's going to be a good battle between those too. I can't see right now who the starter is. It might be Victor, it might be JP."

On whether he has Abiamiri working with the first team: "Yeah, but sometimes JP is in there also. JP is still a really good football player and I think that's going to be good battle."

On where Abiamiri improved last season when he started to play defensive tackle: "He hasn't been here for awhile. It seems like he just hasn't been on the field a lot. We moved him inside at tackle and he got better as the year went on."

On the situation at cornerback and whether CB Sheldon Brown will be the starter and CB Ellis Hobbs will play in the nickel:"Yeah, Sheldon is the starter. I don't think we're going to change our nickel system because of [CB Joselio] Hanson inside. Again we have nice depth and I like Hobbs. I think he's going to help this football team, but I like Sheldon, he's a pro, he's working at his job, he likes competition. So I just don't worry about it right now, where we're going to place Hobbs. He's going to play quite a bit and so is Sheldon. You can never have too many of those guys when we go to our dime package and our special packages."

On whether Sheldon is the starter:"Yeah, right now Sheldon is the starter."

On whether this is as deep as the team has been in the secondary: "Yeah, when you've got four good corners it makes you feel good and I think they are all going to play a lot and Hobbs is picking things up pretty well."

On the competition at linebacker: "Again [I think] that's a good competition with [LB] Akeem [Jordan] starting out, but [LB] Omar [Gaither], I think he's got a great attitude also and I think he's going to push a lot for that position."

(Jokingly) On being locked out of the draft room because the draft yielded so many offensive players:"It was a great draft. I was happy with what we got."

On whether he felt the defense didn't need much from the draft:"No, there were certain guys that we liked that maybe if they had been there but they fell off the board when it came to our turn. I feel good about our defense, we're young [if we] can stay healthy and it seems like we have good depth especially at the [defensive] end position. There are a lot of good things about it, but I think it was a great draft for the offense."

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