Philadelphia Eagles News

Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson

On how the headsets worked out for the defense today: "So far so good. It was pretty easy today, it really was. I think it's going to be a little bit more of a hairy situation in the games with substitutions and personnel. We'll work with it some more this week before we go to the preseason game. It wasn't bad today."

On which players will have the headset in their helmets: "(LB) Stewart Bradley and (LB) Omar (Gaither) will have it and (S) Quintin Mikell."

On how many players can have a headset at the same time: "Only one player can have it. In other words, if Stewart Bradley got hurt and came out of the game, we'd have to switch helmets. Omar would have to put the other helmet on."

On what he would do if Bradley had to come out of the game for nickel or dime situations: "I would just signal, that's all. We will go back and forth. Sometimes I'll call on the headset and sometimes we'll just signal. We'll have both."

On whether second- or third-string players will have a chance to wear a helmet with a headset in it during preseason games: "Probably the second group, but I'm not sure about the third group."

On CB Asante Samuel's status: "I think every day he is better. He's a lot closer right now. I'm not sure about the exact timetable. (Head athletic trainer) Rick (Burkholder) can tell you more about that. I think every day he is getting closer. I can't give you a certain day, but it looks better right now."

On DE Darren Howard: "I think he's had a great camp. I think I've said before that he's in the best shape I've ever seen him in. He looks quicker, he looks very focused. He's an important part of our nickel package, but he'll play a lot of first- and second-down packages too. Losing (DE) Victor (Abiamiri) opens up for a guy like (DE) Jerome (McDougle), who I think is having a pretty good camp, I really do. Also, we have (DE) Bryan Smith coming back too. We probably won't move Howard, we'll keep him at right end and just keep him in that nickel package."

On why some players prefer one side of the line to the other: "Some guys just have a certain repertoire of what they like on pass rush. They work and they work and they just feel comfortable. It's just like left cornerback and right cornerback. It doesn't bother some guys. But, if you go around the league, the good pass rushers would rather be on the right side. A guy like Derrick Burgess, he hated the right side; he loved the left side. Every individual is a little bit different. It's a comfort zone more than everything else."

On the loss of Abiamiri: "Victor was a unique guy because he was a physical end for us. We just have to rely on quickness with our ends, there's no question about it. We have to stunt and stuff like that. But, that's how we've been over the years; we haven't had big ends. Victor is one of the bigger ones and we hate to lose him, but it won't change our philosophy that much, I don't think."

On using four defensive ends in nickel situations: "I see improvement. The reason I see improvement is because I see that Howard is a much better football player. He played inside in the nickel last year. (DE) Juqua Parker is playing left inside tackle and also in our "Okie" package. I like our front right now in the nickel, I think we have four really good pass rushers."

On how much DE Trent Cole would benefit from having a great pass rusher on the other side of the line: "I think Trent is one of those guys who is always going to be close to having double-digit sacks. I'm sure it's going to help when you get pressure from the other side and you can't slide the line all the time to him. There will be certain things it will help him with. Trent is an excellent pass rusher and unless you keep a tight end on his side, he's going to give you fits."

On DT Dan Klecko's progression: "He has a big heart. He plays hard. I've said it before, he's been one of the good surprises at camp. He's played a lot better than I thought he could and he's fighting for one of those tackles in the rotation. He's doing a great job."

On whether you can bee too small to play defensive tackle: "Well, you have to make up for it with other things—quickness, balance, determination, heart, things like that. That's what he has. He's not a really big tackle, but he does have quickness and it's helped him."

On CB Sheldon Brown taking reps at both cornerback positions: "With those guys, you just know what's going to happen during the season. We don't move them around too much, but Sheldon is one of those guys who has played right, he's played left. (CB Joselio) Hanson has played right and left. (CB) Lito (Sheppard) has mainly been a left, but now he has to learn right. Also, he could be a left. We just felt we had to move our corners back and forth."

On S Quintin Demps also playing some cornerback: "We are going to keep working him at that corner position. Corner and safety. It looks like he feels comfortable with it. But, at the same time, he has to learn that safety position which is hard to learn. There are going to be situations in practice where we are going to let him compete, as far as being a one-on-one corner. He still has to learn the total defense as a safety, but he has looked good as a corner."

On why it's so tough to find a guy who can play both cornerback and safety: "A guy like (FS) Brian Dawkins could do it. You have to have that athletic ability and that speed outside. A lot of times, you find those safeties don't have that corner speed. The biggest thing you look for in a corner is good catch-up speed. Sometimes that's hard to find."

On whether it is difficult to talk about the cornerback rotation without Samuel practicing: "I have an idea and as soon as Asante comes back, we'll employ that idea. We still have time. It's still early in camp. Hopefully he will be out next week and we will try and get that into working order. We have plenty of time."

On whether there is a certain point where Samuel's absence from practice affects his progress: "I think it's too early to say. I'm not concerned about that right now. I think he'll be out fairly soon, so I'm not even concerned about it right now."

On using four defensive ends in the nickel package: "We've done that last year. We've done it with Howard inside as a tackle, sometimes we'll have J.P. inside as a tackle. We've done it the last two or three years, really. The main thing is you want your best pass rushers on the field."

On whether he expects to see a lot of teams do that after the Giants success with it in 2007: "Maybe. I think the Giants had kind of a combination with (Justin) Tuck, who was an end and a tackle. Just like Victor is kind of an end/tackle. We would have done the same thing with him. Again, it comes to getting the best rushers on the field, whatever it takes."

On CB Sheldon Brown: "He's having a good camp. Probably his best camp, I think. He is really solid right now. I'm happy with him."

On whether Brown is the glue that holds the secondary together: "I think because players have respect for him. He has played all positions—the nickel inside and both corners. He's a veteran now, a smart football player. I'm sure they have a lot of respect for him, no question about it. He's still a quiet guy, but he's a soldier, no question about it."

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