On the chemistry he's seen between S Quintin Mikell and S Quintin Demps: "You saw it out here this morning. They are making plays, and you see them, after each play or after each series, walking off and talking and communicating and it's important that they build that chemistry."
On how the defense is handling the adversity they've already faced this season:"We've talked about it as a defensive team from the start, and we knew there were going to be things that would come up, that no matter how much you plan, that we didn't anticipate. Every team in the NFL is going to face that, quite frankly, and it's how we handle those challenges that will determine the level of success we experience this year."
On how big of an adjustment it is for LB Joe Mays and LB Omar Gaither to make the switch to MIKE linebacker: "It's really not an adjustment because Joe's been there at the middle linebacker position and Omar has played that position over the years and had quite a bit of success. So, right now, we're MIKE linebacker by committee and the job is open for both of them or anybody that wants to show us that they can play and take the reigns of this defense."
On what he has seen from LB Matt Wilhelm: "Wilhelm, right now, is fresh legs, but within that, right away you can tell Matt's intelligence, what he brings to the table experience-wise. So, that's important when you are coming it at the point where Matt is joining here, that he has some awareness, experience and intelligence behind him."
On whether Wilhelm fits as a middle linebacker: "We'll see. He's only been out here a couple of practices and the evaluation process is just getting underway and will continue for a while until we know."
On whether it's realistic that Wilhelm could be the MIKE linebacker by the start of the season:"You never know. We'd never rule that out, obviously. If he can add value to this team, we'll see, and really, it may not be in that role consistently, but it may be in another role. We've talked about it before, wherever a player can add value we'll find a spot for him."
On what he's seen different from Mikell this year, and whether anything in particular has jumped out at him: "It really hasn't. I've known Quintin since he came here as a rookie and that's the one thing that you really appreciate about Quintin, among other things, is his consistency, his approach, every day has been the same. He's stays hungry. He's a team player. [He's] very selfless and he hasn't really changed in his approach, which you appreciate, no matter what his role has been on this team and this defense."
On what his impressions of S Sean Jones are: "The competition is on and those players know it and that's what we want. We've talked about it ever since the start of this camp and back in the spring. We want competition and we've got great competition at that safety position, and Sean is right in the mix there."
On what Jones' strength is:"Experience, number one. You saw him make some plays over the years. He's made some plays as late as this morning as you saw."
On where he sees DE Jason Babin fitting in: "Right away you see his natural pass-rush ability coming off the edge, and he's fresh, also. Then, he's got the experience factor, so if we can continue to throw fast balls at the quarterback, that's what we'll look to do."
On why they brought Babin in: "Listen, if he's here, he's a part of this deal right now. We're not just bringing players in here just to bring players in here. We're bringing players in here to help this team."
On how important CB Asante Samuel's energy is:"What's important is if he dances after an interception that he can get back in the lineup and take the next play. But we love it. That's all part of having fun, and I believe on defense and playing football, you have to be able to have fun. It's an emotional and intense game."
On how he balances the on and off field distractions: "Earlier someone asked basically the same question and that's all part of this. There are challenges, and we can't allow one challenge or two challenges, at this point in the season, to derail the progress of this defense. Absolutely not."
On the on-field battles between WR DeSean Jackson and Samuel's: "You love to see that because they are at the top of their game in the NFL. We always talk about defending the best and that brings the challenge every day to Asante, [CB] Sheldon [Brown] and [CB] Ellis [Hobbs]. If you want to be the best, you have to defend the best every day no matter who's in front of you."
On whether he thinks Mikell needs to take the reigns of the defense: "What's important to understand is that every player on this defense has a role and everyone is going to add value in their own way of leadership. Quintin has a big role in this defense. What he does and what he has done in the past is good enough. He doesn't need to change who he is, his approach. Now within that, he has stepped up on his own from a leadership position and we appreciate that. That's what this defense needs."
On the strengths of the safeties: "There are a lot of guys in the mix back there and we are looking for the four best, or three best, or five, six, seven, eight best. It's really about finding the right combination of two back there. Whatever that combination is, as I mentioned before, our safeties are interchangeable and that's how we like it from a disguise standpoint and just being effective at the line of scrimmage standpoint."