Philadelphia Eagles News

Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson

On what he hopes to see out of the left defensive end position with the injuries that have occurred: "I think one of the things we're going to do is let (DE) Darren (Howard) play a little left and right. We have to get him on the field as much as possible. He's having a good camp. That's one thing we're going to do. This becomes one of those situations where there's competition between (DEs Jerome) McDougle and Chris Clemons. We have to get Chris back on the field. Until we get him back on the field, we're not going to know."

On Howard saying he's struggled at left defensive end in the past: "He does. He's a right end, there's no question about it. But, we are going to work him in a little bit there because he is a good pass-rusher. We're going to work him, but he's mainly going to be a right end and be our inside tackle on nickel. Friday night (at New England) you'll see him work a little bit at left end."

On what prompted the decision to give Howard some reps at left end: "I think it's the fact that, all of the sudden, Chris Clemons is not out there. We'll see how Mac (McDougle) does. Mac's doing a good job. I just bring it up because we are going to work him in on both sides is all. Not a lot, but a little bit."

On whether he sees improvement from DT Trevor Laws: "Yeah, I thought he had a good night the other day. For a rookie, he's picked it up pretty good. He fits those tackles; he's so much like (DTs Mike) Patterson and (Brodrick) Bunkley; that powerful, tight tackle, not real big. He did a good job the other night."

On whether he's dealing with 'unknowns' at defensive end other than Trent Cole: "I think there's some competition. I think the biggest thing is McDougle and Chris Clemons. With (DE) Victor (Abiamiri) out, there's a lot of competition right there. Like I said, McDougle's pushing them. He's got two more preseason games and we'll know more then."

On whether he's confident about the defensive end position as a whole: "I think so, yeah. I think so."

On how LB Stewart Bradley has done calling the plays: "I think he's right on pace. The thing about it, just like the other night, there were a couple things I think he probably could have done better. That's experience, you know. I'd like to get him in a two-minute situation some more, or a no-huddle, where he can just handle the calls, but we haven't had that chance yet in a preseason game. I think it's been sort of basic so far. Right now, it really has been; no pressure situations. He'd kind of like to see a two-minute situation where he's just got to handle the whole thing and I can't get a call in to him, or it's late, or whatever. It's about where it is, right now. There hasn't been a lot of pressure, to tell you the truth."

On why players have trouble switching defensive end spots: "Because of the pass-rush techniques. They're so used to using certain moves to the right side and, all of the sudden, you have to go to the left side. So, it's a little bit different of a pass-rush technique. That's the biggest thing."

On how important it is to have all three cornerbacks playing well: "It's going to be important. If we're going against New England this Friday night, I'm not sure who's going to be the quarterback, but you're going to see three or four wide receivers to start the game. So, you're going to see those guys on the field right away and they have to perform. They did a nice job. We'd like to have (CB) Asante (Samuel) get some more reps than six, but he's going to get a lot of reps Friday night. And, so will (CB) Lito (Sheppard), because this is a team that normally is going to throw the ball quite a bit."

On Jerome McDougle and whether the team is more inclined to play him because he has been with the team for so long and was a high draft pick: "I think it's just, hey, the best players are going to play. I can say, I think he's come a long way. We'll just see what happens. It has nothing to do with the past, or anything like that. He's healthy, he's performing well and he's competing for that roster spot."

On whether McDougle will play at all with the first team defense: "Not sure yet. I would say, probably. Maybe there's a fifty-fifty chance. Just see how many reps that first group takes in the first half."

On his expectation for DE Bryan Smith: "The thing that set him back was the injury. He's behind. He's got some ability, we see that ability right now, but he's still in a learning process. I don't know how long it's going to take; it's hard to put a finger on that."

On whether Chris Clemons hasn't picked the defense up quickly: "He's been injured. He's not on the field. It's hard. I mean, it's tough for him right now. He's not on the field."

On how Clemons was doing before he got injured: "I think he was still on a learning process. He wasn't quite there yet. That's just being honest. He's working at it, but he wasn't quite there yet."

On 'YPA' and whether he's ever heard of it: "Yeah, I've heard of that before. Points allowed and turnovers; that's all I pay attention to."

On how S Brian Dawkins is playing: "He looked good this last game. I think he felt good, very physical. It was good to see. Before, in the years past, we've kind of held him back a little bit, but he needs a lot of reps. I think he knows that too. Just being out there and feeling comfortable again, I thought he did a nice job there the other night."

On whether Dawkins is still able to play multiple defensive positions like he has been in the past: "Yeah, he's still capable of that and we'll do that. He's still capable of that."

On whether he sees any difference in Dawkins between now and the past: "For a number of reps, I thought you could say he looked like that Dawkins of old, the other night. No question about it. Breaking up passes, tackling well, you know, he was in good position most all the time in the passing game. We expect him, as long as he's healthy, to be the Dawkins of old."

On Dawkins comment that S Quintin Demps is "going to have to work on his eyes a little bit" and whether he agrees: "It's the hardest thing for a young defensive back to come into the league, with all the little techniques. Quintin's going to be a good football player. He's got some habits, and we're correcting that, and one of them is to make sure he concentrates on the receivers, and stuff like that. He's in a learning process too. It's going to take him a little while, but I'm very happy with Quintin."

On what progress LB Akeem Jordan has made: "He's the fourth linebacker. He can play, he can start, he could start at WILL for us, and we have a lot of confidence in him. He's a good linebacker; he could start in nickel. We have three starting linebackers, but he's right in there as the number four - and he could be number three at any time. You never know, with one injury. I have a lot of confidence in him. He's done a good job."

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