Philadelphia Eagles News

Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott

Opening Remarks: "Just a couple remarks about the game the other night. I thought we made significant progress in some areas but have a lot of work to do over the next week and a half here."

On how the middle linebacker spot is shaping up, and whether it's still a work in progress: "It is a work in progress. There is competition at that position, which is what we want at every position. That will remain up until and throughout the rest of the season."

On what LB Joe Mays needs to do to solidify the MIKE linebacker position: "We're looking for consistency out of whoever is in the middle in order to execute the defense. As a young player, Joe has a very bright future and he continues to develop. Consistency would be the biggest thing, every down."

On whether he is getting the pass coverage out of the middle linebackers that he wants: "I think any time you are an aggressive defense you have to be able to react to play-action pass, and they are working on that and getting better on it. That's where we saw some progress, one of the areas we saw progress the other night."

On whether he is talking about Mays in particular: "The linebacker group in general."

On whether he already has the pecking order in mind for the middle linebacker position:"No. It's an open competition and it will remain that way. That's what we want on this team, on this defense. You have to earn your job and just because you have the job on day one does not mean you'll have the job in week 16. You have to earn that role and earn that job every week with your performance."

On where LB Omar Gaither fits in, and whether he would like to see him at middle linebacker in the final preseason game: "My biggest thing is that I want to see Omar come out and handle the reigns of the defense in terms of the leadership, make the huddle call, get us lined up, quarterback the defense. Then, from a health standpoint, that he has confidence in his leg."

On whether Gaither is the best coverage middle linebacker he has: "I think he brings a lot to the table in the nickel passing game, sure. He's a very aware and instinctive player, and as I mentioned before, does a great job of getting us lined up."

On whether Gaither will play middle linebacker with the ones this week: "You'll see him during practice with the first group, yes."

On why he brought LB Moise Fokou into the middle linebacker mix: "Really, we're looking for the best three linebackers. We have that versatility with the players that we have and it's a tribute to them that they're very versatile and can play any position. From a young linebacker standpoint, it's important that you can play more than one position."

On how the competition at the safety position is shaping out: "I would reiterate what I mentioned before about the linebacker position; it's really an open competition for that second safety position. There are quite a few guys in line for that job."

On how CB Macho Harris looked with the ones the other night: "He did a nice job. He had the injury which hindered him a little bit throughout the rest of the game, obviously could not finish the game, but it's important that he gets back this week and shows us what he can do, as well as Thursday night."

On what has enabled Harris to make the college-to-professional transition and work his way up the depth chart the way he has: "You look for football players. He has great awareness, great instincts. When you are a football player, regardless of what position you play, you personify those characteristics of a football player. You could move a safety to defensive tackle, that's an extreme example, but you see football awareness, football instincts."

On whether it's at all disappointing that there hasn't been one player that stands out to him at the safety and the linebacker positions: "I wouldn't use the word disappointing like you used. I would use the word we had youth at the position. You're looking at several young players in (S) Quintin Demps and Macho Harris who are learning on the run. There are going to be mistakes, but what's important is that they don't make the same mistake twice, and that they grow."

On what he likes about Fokou: "As we talked about before, the football ability. He's around the football during games and that's what you look for, guys that have a nose for the football. I think if you looked at linebackers over the years, you want those natural instincts. As you watch games you see number 53 around the football quite a bit."

On whether he is confident that he has the right guys on this team to play the safety and linebackers positions: "Yes."

On Fokou's ability to come back from his mistakes and still remain aggressive: "You love that. That's part of the mental toughness part of this game. You're looking for guys, as a young player especially, that can bounce back and remain mentally tough, play in and play out."

On CB Asante Samuel's pace: "He is in a good position right now. He responded to the challenge that we presented to the defense. I would say as a whole, you saw an aggressive defense out there and Asante was one part of that and had a nice evening."

On whether he thinks Samuel will be fined for his hit on Jaguars WR Nate Hughes: "I really can't comment. I really don't know."

On whose responsibility it is to make the tackle on the third-down screen pass play: "(Jokingly) That's my responsibility to make that tackle. (Serious) No, that's going to happen any time you play aggressive defense. You guys know, you've been around the game, teams are going to screen you to back you off. We just have to be more aware and do a better job with that and we're going to work on that."

On how much of the defensive scheme he shows during the preseason: "You show enough to allow the guys to execute and at the same time allow us to evaluate football players. I'll just leave it at that right now."

On how he evaluates the defensive end spot, and whether individual players are finding their spot: "Yeah, they are. (Defensive line coach) Rory (Segrest) and I have talked quite extensively with (head) Coach (Andy) Reid about different fits and the different combinations that we have at our disposal. There are different options, which is a good quality to have, yet at the same time we have to make sure that we keep the right guys that fit into our system."

On whether he prefers not to move DE Trent Cole inside: "He did a nice job. You guys saw Trent was around the quarterback all night. Whatever we need to do to get him to the quarterback, that's what we'll do."

On whether keeping defensive ends that can play defensive tackle and defensive end provides more flexibility: "That's kind of what I was talking about the different combinations earlier; it does give us great flexibility. It's important that we can have that same flexibility on first and second down as well as third down. You look to create matchups with those defensive ends inside or outside. I think that's a trend in the NFL right now, going back to a couple of years ago."

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