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Philadelphia Eagles News

Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson

On the defensive end position: "This is a big game for [DE Jerome McDougle], no question about it, [DE] Bryan Smith and of course, hopefully, [DE] Chris [Clemons] is going to be healthy. I'm not sure right now. It's going to be a little bit tough. I'm not going to get down into numbers and how many we are going to keep and all that. It's probably one of the things we're going to have to decide after this game, no question."

On DE Victor Abiamiri's progress: "I think his progress is good, from my understanding. I haven't talked to the doctors, but the trainers could tell you more about it. I think his progress is good and I think he's right on schedule or maybe even a little bit ahead of schedule. We'll see. It's been a little bit over a month. I think it's a situation right now where he is in pretty [good shape]. I think they took the cast off, they are happy with it so far, they don't want to rush it though. I don't want to get into it; the doctor has to talk about. From what I understand, he is ahead of schedule."

On whether he will not have to be placed on Injured Reserve:"I think so. I don't think he'll be [placed on IR]. That's my guess."

On how much it hurts them that they will have to carry Abiamiri on the roster but keep him inactive until he comes back from his injury: "I'm glad he's going to be back this year. I don't think it's going to hamper us. Hopefully we'll have him back this year. Those are all going to be tough decisions over the next two or three [days]. I don't have the answer right now, I really don't. I wish I did."

On how important it is for Clemons to practice: "We want him to be out there. It is important to Chris. We'll have to see day by day. I don't know how hard he can go, but he needs to get out there and he needs to practice."

* On whether it will be hard to evaluate him since he hasn't been practicing:*
"Sure, it's going to be tough to make that evaluation. We have a lot of confidence. That's why we brought him in; we know he's a pass rusher. We aren't going to quit on him. It's just important for him to be out there. I don't know what his status is going to be, but hopefully he's going to be out there and practicing either today or tomorrow, I'm not sure."

* On whether he plans to play the starters in the final preseason game:*
"I don't think that has been decided yet. I think [head coach] Andy [Reid] is going to decide that maybe today or tomorrow. We are still talking about it. I think Andy has to make that announcement tomorrow, I'm not sure."

On DTs Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson:"They had a good year last year. I think Bunk stepped it up. I think he is still getting better at his pass rush, he needs to improve that a little bit and he knows that. I think Mike is a solid tackle. They're both solid tackles. They're both young and do a great job against the run. We need a little more pass rush out of them, but they're doing a great job."

* On the differences between Bunkley and Patterson:*
"Mike is a much quicker guy. Bunk is a strong, strong individual. Mike has a lot more quickness. He's a lot like [DT Dan] Klecko. He's not quite as quick as Klecko, but he has that quickness."

On whether any rookie LBs have stood out to him: "I think [LB] Joe Mays had a great game the other night, no question about it. I think Joe showed up big time in that game and showed what a hitter he is. When we looked at him coming out of college, he showed he was a very physical linebacker, so that was a good game for him."

On LB Andy Studebaker: "He played a little bit in the rush end. He's going to be doing that a little bit on Thursday night also. He'll play some linebacker and some rush end, which he played in college."

* On whether all options are on the table when it comes to the defensive end position:*
"There are options on the table. How many guys do we keep? [Jerome McDougle] has had a good preseason; I think everybody knows that. He's fighting for a job. We'll just have to see what happens and how many linemen we are going to keep. The numbers games come in. But, Mac has had a good preseason. We know Chris [Clemons] hasn't been out there, so that's a factor."

* On which other positions have competition:*
"You go down the line, you know we have four excellent corners. It just depends if we carry five corners. You have some young guys out there, [CBs Kyle] Arrington, [Therrian] Fontenot. Of course safety is the same way. We have pretty good depth at safety. [S] Quintin Demps is a guy who is also an excellent kickoff returner and special team player. That's a situation we feel pretty good about in the secondary. Again, we already talked about the defensive line and the defensive tackles. I think it comes down to some of these young linebackers and who is going to help us. [LB] Rocky Boiman, Studebaker, Joe Mays, [LB] Justin Roland. Those guys are the guys who have to show us they can make this team."**

On whether he gets nervous about losing players to injury during the preseason like the Giants with DE Osi Umenyiora:**

"I don't know if you can ever worry about that; you can't put them in those glass houses. You can't worry about it. It's a shame, we hate to lose them. You can lose one in practice. We lost players without pads. That's how we lost Chris Clemons for a while, without pads. It's one of those unfortunate things that happen in this business, but you can't overprotect."**

On whether he would like to see his guys go against Jets QB Brett Favre:**

"Yes, I would. I don't know if he'll play or not. I haven't heard. I've heard different stories, but yes. I think our players would love to go against Brett Favre."

* On what it would show him for his players to go against Favre:*
"I think it's just great competition. No matter what, when you go into a game, you want to play against their best. I think it's a challenge, and our guys will look forward to whether it's the first team or the second team."

* On whether Demps allows them to keep only four cornerbacks because of his ability to also play cornerback:*
"We wanted to look at him a little bit at corner. We still think he's maybe more of a safety, but could play a little corner and we wanted to look at him a little bit. To be fair to him, sometimes it's hard for a young guy to handle both. We wanted to look at it a little bit. Like I said, I hate to get into a numbers game right now. I'm not sure how it's going to work out, whether we keep five corners or five safeties, how many defensive backs or defensive ends."

* On whether there were any players who stepped up this preseason who he didn't expect to:*
"Yes, there is no question. I think McDougle, we didn't know how Mac was going to play this year coming off of injuries in the last couple of years. The safeties, J.R. Reed, we have good depth at safety, good competition. [S] Sean Considine is coming back from an injury. So, there is good competition at certain spots. Of course with our corner situation, we have good depth. Those are all tough decisions, but that's what you want."

* On Reed and Considine as free safeties:*
"I feel good right now. The biggest thing we know with Sean coming off of that injury, I think he showed the other night that he is physically ready to play. I have confidence in both those guys at either position."

* On how Howard was at left end:*
"He did a good job. He'll continue working in practice. It depends if we play him in the game, but he'll work both left and right side."

* On who the fourth DT is:*
"That fourth defensive tackle is a guy by the name of Klecko. He looks pretty good to me right now. He had a good game the other night and he's had a great camp."

* On whether he has seen a guy with Klecko's build be able to do the things he's done:*
"No, I haven't. He has such great quickness. He has good football sense and he loves to play. He's a high-motor guy. The biggest thing he has is he really has quickness."

* On whether he thinks CB Asante Samuel has a little way to go to master the defense:*
"He probably has a little bit more to go, but he's doing a good job. I'm not worried about him."**

On whether he had concerns about Klecko's ability to put weight back on and play DT:**

"A little bit. I'm not going to say he didn't surprise me some. He has, I think he's surprised a lot of people. We've seen before he has played some linebacker, some tackle, some fullback. Right now, he's one of those four tackles. To say I'm surprised, not after getting to know him I'm not quite as surprised after being around him a little bit. He's a tough guy; he's a good competitor and he loves to play."

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