Philadelphia Eagles News

Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott

On what was behind giving LB Moise Fokou some first-team reps at SAM linebacker: "Well, they're both good football players, but right now, I feel like we need a physical presence inside and Moise brings that to the table."

On what Fokou has shown him since LB Akeem Jordan took his spot as starting SAM linebacker early on in training camp: "He's a young player. He got some time for us last year. And then he's kept his nose to the grindstone. He's worked extremely hard on the field and off the field, and kept the right attitude. He's played well on special teams and that physical play that he brings to the table, he's done the same thing on special teams to this point."

On how Fokou is able to be a physical player despite not having great size: "He's very strong in his upper body. He played some defensive end at Maryland, so he knows what it takes to play in the front seven and in the mix there. He's not afraid to mix it up. I just look forward to having him on the field and giving us a physical presence."

On whether the Eagles vulnerability against the run early in games is strictly a physical problem: "When you're talking about the run game, and this has happened to our defense in the past, if you look at '04 it happened at Pittsburgh, if you look at, I believe it was '08 it happened the first game against the New York Giants there. It's not a problem that we haven't gone through before and we're going to get it fixed, number one. And number two is, in the run game specifically, it comes down to technique and toughness, so we can work on both of those, and we're working on them this week. Technique needs to be right in order to play the run game the right way, and then we've got to have a physical presence up front with our front seven."

On how the team can work on those things when they don't really go live during practice: "Well, the toughness part is about attitude, and either you have it inside or you don't. From a technique standpoint, you can work on technique with or without pads, and then that's what we're doing this week."

On why there are breakdowns in run defense in each game: "Well, you've got to come out and you've got to be ready to play from the first play, and we weren't, obviously, this past week with the first quarter the way things went. Now, they had a short field the first drive. With that said, we've got to be ready and come out ready to play regardless of where they get the football."

On whether it's disappointing to have to talk about toughness in Week 4:"You'd like to think that you have a tough group coming into training camp, and I think we have a tough group. But you've got to bring that toughness every week. You look around the NFL right now, it's a league about inconsistencies and parity in the NFL. You've got to bring your A-game and with the mental side of the game, you've got to bring your physical side, as well."

On whether it is disappointing to have to go through so many changes at linebacker over the course of the past few seasons or is that just the NFL standard: "Any position, look, I would love to have the best 11 the whole year through. We went through that last year with injuries and what not. But at the same time, if I feel like somebody can come in and do a better job for us, or if the performance isn't up to standards, then we're going to make a change."

On whether there is a reason that it's hard to find the best three linebackers to play for the entire season: "I think if you look around the NFL, you're going to find the same thing. Players play at different levels at different times. I'm not afraid to make a move, I'll sit here and say it. I'm not afraid to make a move. If I feel like somebody's better than the guy that's playing, then the guy that's behind him is going to play."

On whether his young and aggressive defense is sometimes vulnerable to misdirection plays: "I would tend to agree with misdirection runs that we're seeing. We are a fast defense and a young defense, an aggressive defense. And so, we have to be ready to know where and how teams are going to attack us from a screen standpoint, as well, screens and misdirection runs."

On whether he would consider moving LB Akeem Jordan from the SAM back to the WILL linebacker: "The best three are going to play. And Akeem's a good football player and I don't want to lose sight of that. It's right now, I feel like what our defense needs is for a physical presence to be inserted into our defense and that's (LB) Moise (Fokou). And we've done this before over the years and that's what we're doing right now. But in regards to Akeem he's not off the radar by any means. He's still a good football player and I'm sure he'll have a big role not only on defense this week, but on special teams."

On whether there is any concern about losing a little speed at the linebacker position in exchange for physicality: "Sure, it is a consideration and something we've thought about. But, at the present time we've done a good job defending the tight ends so far this year, and Vernon Davis is just like all the other tight ends we seem to be facing each week. He's one of the top tight ends in the game and stretches the field vertically and we have to be ready for that. So, it's certainly something we've talked about. "

On his thoughts about LBs Stewart Bradley and Ernie Sims so far this year: "They've done a good job and I know that they would want to have some plays back, specifically from last week. But it's good to have them two inside and playing all three downs like they've done and they're just going to continue to work hard and get better."

On whether Bradley is playing at the level that he was playing prior to his injury a year ago: "We all have to keep in mind that he's just a year over coming off of the ACL (injury). He's a work in progress in terms of making plays and getting comfortable back inside again, but he has done a good job. He has made plays and he brings a physical presence to the defense. Now, does that mean he's been perfect? Absolutely not, none of us have. But, he's going to continue to work hard just like the rest of us."

On whether he said anything to S Quintin Mikell after his missed tackle on Sunday: "That happens. You're going to miss tackles in the National Football League. If you look around the league, tackling's a lost art. Now, in that case it wasn't a toughness situation, that was the low-man wins, and the running back in that case – you're talking about the touchdown run – was lower than (Quintin) and (Quintin) knew it. That's about as far as that goes."

On whether other offenses are playing out of character against the Eagles: "Early in the season I wouldn't consider anything really out of character because it's such an early – there's not much on tape to go off of, in particular this week with a new coordinator. So you have to be ready to stop the run and this is a throwing league, but at the same time you can't have an offense running the ball down your throat. And so, we have to shore up our run defense, and that includes – that's just not the front seven – the secondary as well."

On how he has prepared for 49ers RB Brian Westbrook: "Well, I think (head) coach (Andy) Reid mentioned yesterday that Brian's a weapon and a good football player. So, when he comes on the field we have to be aware of it from a defensive standpoint. That said, he's only been on the field a handful of times this year for them. And then with (TE Delanie) Walker out, maybe they'll use him more, I don't know, but we certainly have to be aware of Brian when he's on the field."

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