Philadelphia Eagles News

Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott

On whether he expects to have CB Asante Samuel against the Bears: "I think it's day to day. We'll just wait and see, you know how injuries go. I'm sure Coach (Andy) Reid will update you tomorrow."

On whether Samuel will practice today: "I don't believe so, but like I said, we're on a day-to-day basis right now."

On how tough it would be to lose a guy like Samuel since he's playing at such a high level right now: "You're talking about a lot of production there. When they're throwing the ball around, he's nice to have on the field obviously. He's a great player, one of the best corners in the league if not the best. There's a lot of production, like I said. With that said, we have a lot of confidence in (CB Joselio) Hanson and what he can do as well."

On the fact that Samuel fumbled on one of his interception returns against the Giants and whether there is a time where you have to tell players to be smart when returning interceptions: "Well, we want to score. We want to – number one – get the ball back for our offense. And number two - see if we can improve our field position, if not score. Our goal is to get it past the original line of scrimmage and he was trying to do that. Within that, number one - there are techniques involved that should protect against what happened in that situation on Sunday night that we can improve on for sure."

On what he sees in Bears QB Jay Cutler's development this year: "I think he's playing with more confidence. He's got, really, two ex-head coaches in (offensive line) Coach (Mike) Tice and (offensive coordinator) Coach (Mike) Martz that are working with him and around him on a daily basis. So, I'm sure that's helped his overall development and the development of the offense. Within that, I think he's playing with more confidence and a better feel for his receivers, having been around them for a year-plus now."

On whether Mike Martz almost dares you to blitz with the way he runs his offense: "That's kind of the reputation that's out there a little bit, especially early on in the year. They've changed just a little bit over the last three or four games from the seven-step drop – what we know about that system – to more five-step (drop), (get the) ball out, and protect the quarterback. So, they're doing what they need to do to win games when you look at the overall team from a defensive standpoint, offensive standpoint and special teams."

On whether Samuel being out could negatively affect the personality of the defense since they lead the league in takeaways and he's a big part of that: "It shouldn't and I hope it doesn't, if that were to be the case. I hope it doesn't because that's what we do. We're a defense that plays physical football and emotional football and we attack the offense. No matter who's in there that's not going to change. So, we expect whoever steps in - if that is the case - for them to play at a high level."

On how much LB Stewart Bradley progressing off his knee injury in recent weeks has helped the overall defense improve: "I think that has something to do with it, sure. We're into a period of time now where Stewart's getting himself totally back and you saw that Sunday night. And really you've seen that the last three or four weeks with his production and consistency. So, I think with each week that passes he continues to get more and more comfortable. Then, with that comes more and more confidence and the sky is the limit. So, I think we're in a good period of time right now with him coming off the injury."

On DE Brandon Graham's performance against the Giants: "He's playing good football and he, as well, gets more and more consistent. In each of our players you look for development and Brandon is no different. It's three quarters of the way through his rookie season right now and each week he continues to improve. We saw improvement last week, some of it in the run game and some also in the pass game. We hope that this week he takes another step in that direction."

On how Graham reacted to losing his starting job to DE Juqua Parker earlier in the season: "He's been very positive. J.P.'s been a starter in this league and has been for quite some time and he's a good football player. So, I think (Brandon) took a learn-first approach because that's a veteran guy in front of him and he had a lot to learn and could learn a lot from J.P. in this case."

On the philosophy a team takes on defense when a team like the Giants chooses to max protect: "It probably depends on who you're asking. There are three different answers I would say that could be given. You sit back and play coverage, or you try and overload and bring one more than they can pick up, or you try and bring just the same amount and win your one-on-ones. So, there are a lot of different ways you could attack it. That was their option, that was their choice to try and keep nine guys in to protect."

On the fact that there were not any big plays on Sunday night from the Giants and how that reflects on S Nate Allen and the rest of the secondary: "When you can take away the big plays like we did Sunday night, that was a big factor in the way we played defensively. That's no different than any other week. If you give up big plays you're going to have a hard time winning or playing good, solid defense. So, it comes back to playing consistent, fundamentally-sound, technique-sound football in the back end and that's critically important."

On whether they have someone on the coaching staff already looking ahead to the Texans with the short week next week and how they approach playing on Thursday night: "When the schedule came out we looked at the short weeks within the schedule there and identified Houston as one of them, knowing that we wouldn't have much time to prepare and give it its due diligence. We've prepared and tried to get ourselves up to speed as much as we can or could have going into next week, so we've put in some work already."

On how he feels about Thursday night games with such little time to prepare: "It is what it is, we just turn it around and play again. I think most teams have a Thursday night game, I would guess."

On whether he feels as prepared for a Thursday night game as he does on Sundays: "It presents different challenges. The more time you have – just like in college, if you have a Bowl game you probably feel more prepared for a Bowl game when you have a month off or three weeks off than you do for a three-day off period or a four-day off window like we have next week. But we'll do whatever's necessary to put together a good gameplan."

On whether he can think of a time where he had such quality depth on defense: "When we first came here, really, it was a different type of depth though. We had a veteran defense with the names that we had and you guys all know those names. It was a different defense and with that, a different depth. This depth, when I look out on the field during practice – and you guys are there – almost every player on that second to third team or look squad is either a player that wasn't here last year or is in their first year. It's a "Who are they?" type of defense, but that's okay because we're building for the future and there's a lot of energy and a lot of youth and speed that goes along with that. So, the depth right now is quality depth and really more important than that it's depth that's built from character and with that, a great attitude to play good football."

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