Philadelphia Eagles News

Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott

On how the rookie draft picks have handled learning the defensive scheme: "They've done a great job. They really have. Our scheme is larger than most in terms of what we do defensively and what we ask of our players to execute on the field and they've done a nice job. That said, we've tried to cut back some things in the playbook this offseason knowing we would have a number of new faces, as you already mentioned, and so we could get the contribution we have up to this point."

On what he thinks about starting LBs Stewart Bradley, Ernie Sims and Akeem Jordan: "Good. I like the toughness in the group there with the three that you mentioned. And they look like they're building that chemistry from being out on the field together, which is important. There seems to be balance both in the run and the pass game."

On whether the current linebackers stand out to him more than linebackers in past years: "Well, they're young and they're fast. As I mentioned earlier, they're very tough, which I like in our linebackers and our overall defense. I want to make sure that we can play a tough brand of football each and every week and that we're physical and aggressive."

On whether he wants the linebackers setting the tone for the defense: "Well, you would hope so. The core of your defense and the strength down the middle of your defense needs to be just that."

On whether the rookies are a cohesive unit and lean on each other to learn the defense: "You know the Fab 5, you guys remember the Fab 5, right, from (the University of) Michigan (basketball team). So, when you come in together with the class that we brought in this year, it builds that bond. And when you spend time together, that bond only becomes stronger, and when you go through ups and downs together it becomes even stronger. So, these guys seem to stick around one another. But, at the same time, the part of the overall chemistry of the team is such that the veterans, if you will, on this defense have pulled those guys along and haven't just turned their backs on them. So, what we've seen over the last three, four, five weeks is the coming together of a defense, here."

On whether he wanted CB Asante Samuel to be a more physical cornerback this year: "We want our whole defense to be more physical than we were last year. And in my mind, you can never be physical enough. At each and every position we are going to look to be aggressive and be very physical and tackling is a big part of that, as you mentioned, Asante's hit the other night. I was very happy with the way he came up and stuck it to the receiver, there. I've never worried about his toughness, as you mentioned. I've never worried about that at all. But, I did see an improvement to this point in camp."

On whether the defense in the preseason games has looked better than the defense last year: "Which point last year (laughing). You know, there's a number of new faces and it's one thing to look good in preseason; it's another thing to look good throughout each and every week of a sixteen game schedule. So, we still have a lot of work to do and the players know that more than anybody. And that's what we're working on this week and we'll continue to work on each and every week."

On whether he is concerned about anything on the defense: "There's a process in place and when you start in training camp, or really even back in the spring, there's a to do list that's this long and you try each and every day, each and every week to check off a number of those boxes. And I think we've done that in terms of moving the defense forward. Are all of those boxes checked off? Certainly not, and that's what we need to continue to push forward on and make sure we're working on it. If you go into specifics, we'd be showing our hand and I don't really want to do that right now."

On his evaluation of tackling up to this point: "I think we've tackled well this preseason. Have we been perfect? Absolutely not. But, when you are an aggressive defense, there are going to be some tackles that you miss because you're flying around and guys are working to get to the football. So, we have work to do, certainly in that category as well. And one thing about tackling is that it is a core fundamental on defense and we're going to continue to work on it because when you stop working on the fundamentals, then you really breakdown."

On where he sees S Macho Harris fitting into the defense: "Right now, he's playing safety. I think he started eight or nine games for us last year at safety and because of the numbers - and I think (Head) Coach (Andy Reid) mentioned this the other day with the play of (CB) Trevard Lindley and what he's given us at the corner position - we feel good about that position. And then moving Macho back, we just (prepped) him a practice or two before the game the other night and he looked fairly comfortable in terms of his recall."

On whether having coaches who have played here, Shawn Barber and Mike Zordich, is helpful for coaching the young players on the team: "Absolutely. You have ex-Eagles here and not only do they know some of what we do scheme wise, but they also know the culture and the winning culture in this organization. And so, the contribution of the coaches that you mentioned is not only on the field, but off the field with the young players, as you mentioned earlier."

On what he thinks about DE Trent Cole's training camp: "Phenomenal. I don't know that Trent's had a better preseason than he's had this year. I think you guys saw the last two games he really dominated when he was in. The last two games he looks like he's right on pace, right now."

On whether Cole is bigger: "I think he's about the same size. But, he looks in great shape."

On whether having linebackers that can play every snap is helpful: "Big. It really is big. And this gets back to us being healthy, for the most part, right now. We got banged up in a game the other night. But, for the most part, we're healthy. And as I mentioned earlier, that continuity builds the chemistry and the consistency that you need at the position."

On whether he is working on a game plan for Green Bay: "We're keeping an eye on them; keeping an eye on all 59 points the other night."

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