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Philadelphia Eagles News

Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson

On what he looks for in these practices with only rookies and selected veterans: ""There's no question about it, it's great for the rookies, and it's great for [LB] Rocky Boiman who hasn't played in our system yet. Guys like [S] Quintin Demps, it's invaluable for him. Of course, you've got [S] Sean Considine out there because he's coming off an injury, but he's helping those guys. It's a learning thing. We know it's a seven-on-seven camp right now, and that's what it is, but it's a learning process continuing from the minicamps basically.""

On whether the benefit for the rookies is that this is great one-on-one coaching: ""Yeah, there's no question. [They get] a lot of reps. They won't get these type of reps when the vets come in. They'll struggle through this, but they'll find out that it's going to be beneficial once the vets get here. They do get a lot of attention, and a lot of meeting time. People don't realize when we're on the field here, but there's about four or five hours of meeting time a day here. They get a lot of meeting time, which is good.""

On whether he will continue to rotate CBs Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown and Asante Samuel during this camp: ""We're going to start out that way. I don't know why we can't. That's our plan right now. We're going to roll those guys, all three corners. Lito will play left and right, Asante will basically play left, and Sheldon can play both. The main thing is we're going with all three of them on the field a lot. You never know, I might start the ballgame with all three of them on the field. There are a lot of things that we feel comfortable doing with those three guys. It'll work itself out. I'm not real concerned with that right now. It's good competition.""

On whether having a third cornerback on the field comes at the expense of a linebacker: ""It's at the expense of a linebacker. It's more of a nickel-type defense.""

On whether the base defense will sometimes be a 4-2: ""Yeah.""

On whether LB Chris Gocong will be the guy who sits out in three cornerback sets: ""Could be. More than likely you keep [LB] Stewart [Bradley] and [LB] Omar Gaither in there.""

On what percentage of the time they will play nickel coverage: ""Every year it's different. I know some years we started a couple games with nickel defense. It was like 65, 70 percent of the time we played a lot of nickel. Some years it might be 40 percent, but I anticipate 50 or 60 percent. As more and more teams go to three wideouts, four wideouts on first and second down, we're going to match up with our nickel defense. It's going to vary—every game it might vary—it just depends on how a team starts a game. Playing against the Arizona Cardinals, they have three great wide receivers and you can probably start out in nickel.""

On whether he feels like he needs to talk things over with Sheppard and Brown: ""I don't think I need to. I talked to Lito because I know it was tough on him. I did talk to Lito. Sheldon knew what we were doing anyway, but I talked to Lito and said 'this is how it's going to be and we're going to go this route.' I know it was tougher on him than anybody else so we had to talk to him, but he knows the situation now. It seems like, unless things change, and I don't know why they would, that he's got a good attitude.

On the 30-plus club that head coach Andy Reid has installed and how that will affect S Brian Dawkins: ""He talked to me about it and he said that was his plan and I said 'fine, it's training camp.' After playing in the league for ten, eleven, twelve years, it's tough on those guys. Hopefully it will help Dawk. He was injured a little bit last year in camp and he's coming off a little bit of an injury too. I'm sure it's going to help, but he's still going to get plenty of work.""

On an example from the past of a player catching fire in training camp and carrying that through to the regular season: ""I think [CB Joselio] Hanson was a guy that really caught our eye out here at training camp a couple years ago and just kept getting better and better and eventually became a starter in the nickel. There's one guy that, to me, blossomed. You're always going to find a guy here and there; especially a guy undrafted. The guys we draft, we're a little more patient, we have something invested in them and we have a little bit more patience than a guy undrafted sometimes. That's one guy that really made a name for himself and he's a legit NFL player now.""

On S Quintin Demps potential to play some time at CB: (Jokingly) ""I better talk to Quintin, he hasn't told me that yet. We'll probably do a little bit of corner, but the main thing he has to learn is that safety. He's got to learn strong safety and free safety. We'll line him up sometimes in one-on-ones, and he could be an emergency corner, but that would be it.""

On how flexible he thinks the team is at safety: ""I think we're flexible. I think we've got some good competition there and we'll just have to see how it pans out. I don't worry about that right now because we've got a lot of depth. Defensive ends, and things like that—safeties. It'll work itself out. I'm not concerned about it at all.""

On Joselio Hanson and how he fits into the defensive scheme: ""I think he's more of an inside-type corner, and a nickel and slot-type corner. That's where he had a chance, here, that maybe he didn't have a chance some other place. He fit right into that scheme. He's a smart guy; he picked it up pretty good. He's an excellent slot-nickel player, where you cover the inside receiver, and he does a great job.""

On Joselio saying that he plays week-to-week and whether that benefits his play: ""Yeah, he probably knows that he was a starting nickel and now all of the sudden we've got three good corners. He might be a backup. He's a good special teams player and he's a good role-player for us. Is he a legit starter every down? I'm not quite sure of that yet because he hasn't done it, but he sure is a good role-player in nickel or dime situations.""

On whether S Sean Considine could challenge S Quintin Mikell for a starting spot: ""I think that, right now, it's Q's job. There's no question about it. But, we'll play the best player. That's what preseason's about. The lineup is pretty well set. We'll use Sean a lot of different ways. Sometimes in nickel, and Q will play in dime. We'll try to get the best players on the field.""

On what he is looking for out of LB Stewart Bradley: ""I think we saw a little bit last year. We hope it's a continuation. We saw that he's a guy who can run, he's a pretty good blitzer. Now we need to see if he can handle the defense as a MIKE linebacker in a crucial situation. We're going to go to a new system this year with the headsets on defense and there are a couple of things that we have to work out, so we'll see how he handles that. Right now, if he just progresses from where he was last year, he'll be fine.""

On his thoughts on the new headset rule in the NFL: ""I think it's one of those things that are in right now. I could have gone either way, but we'll see how I like it. I think I'm going to like it, but maybe we won't. As I've said before, I wish we could have experimented with it for a year in preseason and see how we like it. I haven't tried it yet.""

On whether it will be him talking to the players: ""It will be me talking, yeah.""

On who will have the headsets in their helmets: ""It will be the linebackers, Stewart and Omar.""

On how many more wrinkles in the defense he has added this year: ""You always add new wrinkles. People study during the offseason, so more pressure packages and coverage. The thing about it is you're always looking for good matchups. Who Asante can cover, who Lito can cover, and stuff like that. We'll always change a little bit, as far as our scheme.""

On whether he studies other offenses in a similar way during the offseason: ""I think there's a tendency, there's no question about it. For years it was all drop back, and now we're seeing a lot more play-action pass, something called the stretch boot. Everybody kind of picks up on things. We're seeing more four wide receivers on first and second down. Every year it seems like there's a little bit of tendency and during the offseason, right now, we just try to break down the tendencies of our opponents who we're going to play. But, we always know that teams might come out with a certain type of play. Right now, the tendencies are big play-action in run situations in the NFL.""

On under what circumstances he will use a 3-4 defense and whether it would be first down: ""Not really. Possibly. Right now, it's more of a third down, second down and long.""

On whether DE Bryan Smith and DT Trevor Laws are missing anything significant by not practicing right now: ""No, I don't think that these first couple days [are crucial] because we only had two linemen anyway. It's always been kind of a passing camp, this half without pads. They're here, they're both signed, they're learning in the classroom and spending time with [defensive line coach] Pete [Jenkins] in the classroom. Right now, I don't think they're missing a lot on the field. Wait until we get the pads on.""

On how he plans to use all the defensive ends on the team: ""It's too early. I think we have great competition right now. You're going to see [DE] Darren Howard sometimes playing inside tackle. You're going to see [DE] Victor [Abiamiri] sometimes playing inside tackle. Good competition, there's no question about it. I'm hoping [DE Jerome] McDougle comes back and gives us what we want. Sometimes we're going to have three ends in there, there's no question about it.""

On whether Bryan Smith is up to the weight he wants to be: ""Yeah, he seems fine. I think he'll handle it okay. He's still a young guy and he's going to still have to work at it a little bit. I think he's going to handle it okay. It's like anything else, we haven't gotten the pads on yet. A lot of things change when you get those pads on.""

On whether he's concerned about the lack of veteran presence on the LB group: ""I don't think it's a concern right now. I think Omar has shown good leadership and I think those three guys work together well; him and Stewart and [LB] Chris Gocong. Chris, with another year under his belt. I'm not really concerned about that and I think we still have leaders in [S Brian] Dawkins, as far as in the secondary. I think Quintin Mikell has become a leader. I think we've got some good leaders on this team.""

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