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Philadelphia Eagles News

Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott

On the keys to the effectiveness of the team's run defense: "I would start up front with (DT Brodrick Bunkley) and (DT) Mike (Patterson). Those guys have been there every week for us. It all starts with those two and then moves, not only to the second level but outside to the defensive ends as well."

On whether he's concerned about personal foul penalties: "Anytime we have penalties there is a concern. We need to be aggressive, but at the same time you need to be smart as well. I'll just leave it at that."

On CB Joselio Hanson's return to the lineup: "He'll go right back to where he was before he left at the nickel position. We're anxious to get him back and have him back as we do now. He's a good player for us."

On what kind of physical shape Hanson is in: "That's the challenge and the question that we'll have to see when the game starts. Like you said, there is no way to actually simulate a game and game speed, even at practice. You try to simulate it but it's a challenge. I give Hanson credit. He kept himself in good shape. He came in Monday and Tuesday and worked out with (special assistant to the defense) Brian Stewart our secondary coach and he looks like he is in as good of shape as you could be in at this point having had the four weeks off."

On maintaining a consistent run defense while using a lot of different personnel groupings: "I would say fundamentals. Our players are fully aware of what it takes, fundamentally, to stop the run game. Number one it takes an attitude and number two you need to be able to attack the line of scrimmage. Our coaches and players are aware of that."

On whether they are tackling better this season:"We'd have to go back and look at missed tackles this year compared to last year, statistically to answer that specifically. At the same time I would hope the answer to your question would be yes, especially at this point in the season. When you ask yourself if you are playing well defensively, tackling is a big part of that."

On what having LB Akeem Jordan allows the team to do that it was not able to do with out him: "He has a familiarity with the scheme, I would say, so there is a comfort level with Akeem out there that it provides me with as a play caller. He knows our defense, I'll just say that. Whoever is out there we are going to call what we call."

On how Jordan looked at practice on Wednesday: "I thought he looked good."

On whether Jordan returning to the lineup means LB Will Witherspoon will move back to the middle in the base 4-3 alignment: "We'll see. It depends on the personnel group. He provides depth at the position for us, wherever he may play, in any situation versus the personnel that they show. He supplements the numbers that we already have there."

On how LB Jeremiah Trotter looks now compared to when he first came back to the team: "I see improved play, I really do, over the last two or three weeks and that comes from reps. The leadership has always been there. What he's done on the field for us over the last two weeks has been impressive."

On whether he is beginning to see a different defense with a number of players getting healthy:"We are always going to do what we do. We're going to be aggressive, but there is more experience on the field with the players that we are getting back in Hanson and Akeem. From that standpoint I would say yes."

On whether he wonders where the defense would be if the team had not traded for Witherspoon: "He's added value to the defense and this organization. When you trade for a player or you acquire a player that's what you're looking to do, positively impact the team and the organization, and he has done just that."

On CB Asante Samuel's improved tackling in the Atlanta game: "We are always going to want to tackle and if you are on the field, as I've mentioned before, you are expected to tackle. That hasn't changed, but I give Asante credit. He has worked on that part of his game and it showed up last week."

On whether he was surprised by how well Witherspoon has adapted to the defense: "We need to keep in mind he's only been here, the total keeps going up, but six or seven weeks now and he's played two positions. He keeps a great attitude and he's done well. Sometimes you forget that he's only been here six or seven weeks, whatever it is now. He's done a very admirable job at learning two positions and being able to execute on the field. It's not easy out there."

On whether he thinks Witherspoon is more comfortable at the MIKE or WILL position: "Really he's so intelligent I think he could play either position."

On Samuel and CB Sheldon Brown's success and whether it is as much a result of the pass rush as it is their individual play: "Both, it really is. It's both. Starting with Asante, I would tell you that he is probably more comfortable in the system this year early in the season than he was last year early in the season, just being new to the system. This year, obviously, (he has) really settled and is finding his plays within the defense. Then the pass rush has helped with Sheldon and Asante's play. They always go hand in hand when you find interceptions and get your hands on the football."

On LB Tracy White's role within the defense: "I think he's done a great job. (He is) a hard worker, a special teams guy that has helped us on defense for the first time this year. He came in, I believe it was the midpoint of last season somewhere. The thing you love about Tracy is that he brings his lunch pail to work everyday. Whatever role is his role, he embraces it. (He has) a very unselfish approach and he's done a great job for us on third down as you saw a couple weeks back."

On whether Samuel and Brown are having Pro Bowl caliber seasons: "I would say yes. Both of those two would get my vote."

On new personnel being incorporated and whether that's been a surprise: "When you look at how you shape a team, when you have a player on the team they need to be able to make a contribution, number one. The players you mentioned aren't the names that are out in paper or out in the street, in the public everyday and when you look at the contribution level that those players have had and what it's meant to our defense you can't put a stamp on that. We appreciate that. At the same time it goes back to who we are as a team, who we are as an organization and as a defense. We are a winning organization and a winning defense and a winning offense and special teams. If you are here on this team you are expected to come in, step in, step up and execute."

On what S Sean Jones has brought to the defense: "The last two weeks I think Sean has really come into his own. (He is) understanding his role in this defense and you saw him last week with a couple of big hits and the interception. I would parallel his situation this year with Asante's situation last year, with learning a new system, developing his role in the defense and then getting comfortable so that he can play his game within this defense."

On where S Macho Harris fits in with Hanson returning to the lineup: "We've got some flexibility with Macho. It's pretty rare where a young man comes in, like Macho has done this year as a rookie and played and started really, at two positions. He offers us that flexibility to play the nickel, play the dime or play the safety position as well. Or corner for that matter if we need him to."

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