Philadelphia Eagles News

Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott

Opening remarks:"Okay, just a few follow-up thoughts on the game last weekend. I thought it was a great effort by some guys who don't normally get a chance to play and get exposure to the (National Football League). And I was proud of the way the players played. The effort was there, the intensity was there, and it gave us a chance as coaches and our personnel department to evaluate some players that have been on the team and some who've just joined us. So overall, it was a great effort and anytime you can hold an offense like that to seven points there's something to be said for that. With that I'll take your questions."

On whether LB Stewart Bradley participated in the walk-through today:"No. He was not out at the walk-through. It's still day-to-day at this point."

On whether he has faced a quarterback as good at picking up the blitz as Packers QB Aaron Rodgers: "I don't think there is. When we faced him the first week they did a great job and the credit goes to their offensive line as well. And it's spread around to their receivers because they get open and they get open fast and he distributes the ball extremely well and fast. And I think if you look at the statistics, here, I think he's the best quarterback against the blitz in the (National Football League); if not the best, he's at the top two or three there."

On his assessment of the defense right now and whether he thinks that the defense is 'playoff ready': "Well, we're in the playoffs so you better be playoff ready. You know, I'm extremely proud of what this defense has accomplished, so let's not be mistaken. There are a lot of defenses out there that are sitting at home right now and our focus is on the Packers and beating a good Packer football team coming in here. So our players are working to be prepared and that's where our focus is right now."

On what he thinks the defense needs to work on to improve the red zone defense:"Keep them off the board. And it's not about lowering percentages right now. It's about winning the football game. And we're on a one game season, sudden death, and our players know that, our staff understands that, and there's an urgency that comes with that. So we're going to do whatever we can to win the game; if it's shutting a team out in the red zone that's what we'll do. If it's not allowing them into the red zone that's what we're going to try and do. So red zone is a part of giving up points and that's where we've needed to work on in some areas of our defense this year. So we're working hard at that right now."

On whether he is surprised at what the defense has accomplished given all the injuries and changes it has faced this season: "You know, it's an interesting group and this goes back to the earlier question, I'm proud of these guys, I really am. I'm proud of the coaches (and) I'm proud of the players because they're a resilient bunch and they give great effort every week. And I know we've given up some points and I know that there's work to be done, but at the same time we've generated turnovers. And look, we're the 12th ranked defense in the (National Football League) so there's 20 defenses behind us right now that wish they were in our position. So I'm proud of these guys. Like I said they give great effort, they play together and they play emotional football."

On what he saw in CB Dimitri Patterson against Dallas and what was his thought process was behind not playing CB Joselio Hanson in that game:"You know, we're always trying to evaluate players and we have a good feel for what Joselio brings to the table and he's a good football player. Hanson's a little bit older also so we wanted to get him some rest being that it was Game 16. So all of that went into the equation and Dimitri had a heckuva game and we're very confident, like I said last week, in Dimitri even before the game. So he's a mentally tough individual."

On whether he was on the fence about Patterson and was using the Dallas game to evaluate him: "You know, we were evaluating, so I don't know if we were on the fence. We were evaluating and that was another opportunity for us to evaluate where we were at the position."

On whether he has a comfort level with DE Juqua Parker and whether there are a certain number of snaps he wants to keep him at so he doesn't get fatigued: "Early part of the season it's always a little bit that number, we do have a number, and it's always a little bit lower as he builds that stamina. And then, as we get to the latter half of the season we raise and lower it based off of need. And right now, as I mentioned earlier, we're on a one game season, so that number may go up based off of need. But that said, we have to make sure that we keep him fresh for those critical situations in a game where we do need him out there and need him out there to produce."

On his plan as far as subbing somebody in on the defensive line:"We're going to roll every guy we have. We're going to roll (DE) Darryl (Tapp) in there. We're going to roll (DE) Daniel (Te'o-Nesheim) in there, maybe (DE) Bobby (McCray) as well. So, you know, we have some guys to throw in there to keep those other guys fresh for the critical situations in the game."

On the lack of interceptions the past couple of games and whether that is just something that comes in spurts: "It is, and my predecessor (former Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson) always said that turnovers come in spurts. You can go on a dry run for awhile, and then all of a sudden you hit the jackpot. That said, (CB) Asante (Samuel) wasn't out there for three or four games also during that stretch where our turnovers dropped just a little bit. And then, it's about opportunities on the football, 'Hey is the quarterback taking care of the ball or is he giving it up?' Last week I thought we had some opportunities and we didn't take advantage of them. We can do a better job there."

On his thoughts about Te'o-Nesheim: "Yeah, I mean again, we're talking about a rookie here, so he's been on the field for a limited amount of time and he keeps getting better which is what you want to see. And I thought he improved last week. He had his first – I believe it was his first sack last week. The look in his eye was there. He was coming off the ball, and that's a start from a defensive lineman's standpoint. You have to come off the ball and have that right look in your eye."

On whether there is a possibility if LBs Stewart Bradley and Jamar Chaney are healthy having them play on the field together at the same time: "Well, we'll just see. We have a plan in mind if that were to be available to us. But right now that's based off of Stewart's health."

On whether Samuel is different or seems more animated with the playoffs around the corner: "I'm not sure you can be any more animated than he is at practice or what have you. But he's made huge plays. He's made huge plays in the playoffs even before he came with us, here, and I hope this season's no different. He's a playmaker and he's great to have on the field whether it's the regular season or the postseason."

On whether his philosophy about stopping the run first changes against a pass-happy team like the Packers: "You know, earlier in the year I would have said yes and that was with (Packers running back) Ryan Grant mind you. And now they've gotten to the point where they're running the ball, they're making a concerted effort to run the ball last week against the Bears and then the week prior against the Giants. So even though, maybe outwardly they're looked at as a passing team, they make an effort and they'll stick with that run if you don't stop it. So you know, they have a couple good backs they move in and out of there and number 30 (Packers running back John Kuhn) is a heckuva player."

On if Rodgers being so good against the blitz affects the way he prepares: "Well, you know, it just becomes a part of the gameplan. So we have to keep that in mind and we're always going to blitz. It's not going to be whether the Eagles are going to blitz. We're always going to blitz and it's just a matter of how much we blitz and in what situations. They do a great job offensively, Rodgers isn't the only one, but the coaches dial up the right plays at the right time. The coaching staff has been together for a long time and very few defenses have been able to shut this offense down."

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