Philadelphia Eagles News

Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott

On whether it is beneficial to the rookies on the team that they were not here while QB Donovan McNabb was on the Eagles, making it easier to focus this week: "I think we've got a great group of rookies first of all. And I do think that they are very focused regardless of the situation, regardless of what's at hand this week. Aside from that, we need to make sure that they're up to speed on what Donovan brings to the table as a quarterback."

On how much it helps to know McNabb's tendencies while game planning for Sunday's game:"It works both ways. The biggest thing is, he's in a different scheme. If we were scheming the Eagles offense with Donovan, that'd be one thing, but we're scheming Coach (Mike) Shanahan's offense and scheme, and then Donovan's the personnel side of it that we have to take into consideration."

On whether you can over think the defensive scheme since McNabb knows the Eagles defense so well: "No, we're going to do what we do. We're a defense that likes to run and hit, and that's what we're going to do. And to your point, we can get over analytical about this. He was here for a number of years. He does know, or have a good feel for our defense and he is a good quarterback."

On whether he had to change any of the verbiage this week since McNabb may be familiar with the defensive calls: "I think we've changed things every year to stay at the forefront of what we're trying to do scheme-wise. So things have changed enough where we feel pretty good about things from that standpoint."

On what McNabb does well, and what needs to be done to counter that: "We've been around him for a number of years now, and you guys know Donovan as well as I do. He's got a great arm, a very talented quarterback—one of the best in the league. He's a tough quarterback to prepare for."

On whether McNabb is the toughest quarterback he had to prepare for this season: "He's one of the better quarterbacks to date that we had to prepare for. He brings a lot to the table from an arm strength standpoint and a mobility standpoint at the same time. Very similar to (Packers QB) Aaron Rodgers."

On how McNabb is being used in the Redskins offense: "He's dangerous. They're moving him. They're using Donovan in a way that he's very dangerous. They roll him out off the bootleg, and get explosive receivers down the field and let him see the whole field, and not just half the field. And then he throws front side or he'll throw back side as well, so we've got to make sure we're keeping those receivers in front of us."

On coming to the Eagles around the same time as McNabb and his relationship with him: "Look, I have a lot of respect for Donovan. He's a classy individual and a true professional. We all saw that here for a number of years, and he helped us win a lot of games. Aside from that, right now my focus is he's the opposing quarterback. Just like I'm sure his focus is that I'm the opponent. It's about game planning for an opponent right now more than it is game planning for a quarterback in this case."

On how much the different scheme affects McNabb or whether he has the same tendencies he has while in Philadelphia's offense: "Again, I think you try to separate the two. You evaluate Donovan's skill set and what he brings to the table, and this is true of any quarterback. You evaluate what he brings to the table and his skill set and physical tools, and then you evaluate the overall scheme and how you prepare the defense for the overall scheme."

On how he now evaluates where the defense is right now after seeing the Jacksonville film: "I thought we came out and played good physical football, the brand of football that we want to see, for four quarters, which is a step in the right direction. We have a chance to be a very good defense, but if, and only if, we come out and play good, physical, hard-nosed football. Jacksonville is a good, solid football team. The score was probably not indicative of what they bring to the table. You saw what they did the first week to Denver. Our players played extremely well."

On why the Eagles have struggled against Redskins TE Chris Cooley:"Like you said, he's effective against a lot of teams, and the tight ends (now) are like wide receivers. He's a terrific short-to-intermediate route runner with a craftiness about him to get open, and Donovan looks for him, in critical situations especially, so he's tough to handle. Last year, I believe, is when he got hurt in our first game down there, so he's always given a fit."

On whether it is easier or harder to prepare against somebody you are familiar with: "Probably a little tougher, just from the standpoint of separating the man from the opponent. Like I said, being around Donovan, most of us have been around him for a number of years, and just have the utmost respect for him as an individual off the field, and tremendous respect for him on the field, in terms of what he brings to the table as a quarterback. It'll be a big challenge for us as a defense."

On whether DE Juqua Parker is playing the same amount of snaps he was when he was the starter: "It's about, I believe, and I'd have to go back and check, I believe it's where he started off last year. He's in the 25, 20-to-30 range, in that range there. So we're hitting our target right now with (Parker) and trying to keep him in fresh, just like the rest of the defensive linemen and keep him firing off the ball and productive at the same time."

On whether that is the primary reason for his early success or whether it has to do with being motivated by being moved to the second team defense:"(Parker)'s not a guy that you have to motivate. He's a very driven individual and plays hungry, which we've all seen the first three weeks. I just think it's about him being a key component of our defense, and leading that defensive line like he does. And I appreciate his blue-collar approach."

On whether this is one of Parker's more consistent stretches with the Eagles: "I mean he's been productive in each and every game. Just like interceptions, sometimes sacks come and go and you go on a hot streak or you go on a dry streak, and you've just got to keep on pushing, pushing, pushing. And right now, (Parker) is very hot right now."

On how Parker reacted to having DE Brandon Graham named starter: "Like I mentioned, (Parker)'s not a guy that needs any extra motivation, and that's what I would hope if an individual is taken out of the starting role, that he continues to push and plays even harder. I think that was the case with (Parker). He's an extremely-driven individual and hard-nosed football player, and a leader for the defensive line. I appreciate the way he's accepted his role right now and continues to be a good football player for us both on and off the field."

On what he saw in DE Darryl Tapp that would make him think he was ready to dress for the Jacksonville game: "Like a lot of our players who had been inactive, he worked his tail off during the weeks leading up to last week. I thought, number one, that he handled himself well and gave himself an opportunity to be considered to be active for the game. (Head) coach (Andy) Reid makes that final decision, but number one, the way he handled himself when he wasn't active, his work ethic, and then he just seemed each and every practice, each and every week to continue to catch on to how we were doing things and the scheme."

On whether rookie S Nate Allen has exceeded his expectations: "Each and every week's going to be a little bit different, but from a rookie standpoint, he's been extremely impressive. You guys have been around him, as much, sometimes, as I have, and he's a true professional at a young age. He just needs to continue to prepare like he's prepared to this point, and make plays for this defense like he's made up to this point."

On what he has seen from Allen that he has not expected: "We made it a big point of ours to get to know Nate as much as we could, prior to drafting him. And our personnel department, I visited him down there at South Florida specifically and spent a lot of time with Nate. You never know what you're getting in the draft as we all know. But in this case, we felt like we had a really solid individual character-wise, work ethic-wise, and a very solid football player. You never know for sure how it's going to turn out and I think he's been very dependable, number one, and trust is a big thing. The players back there trust him, and as a coaching staff, each and every rep he continues to earn more and more of our trust."

On how far rookie LB Jamar Chaney has come after he was active last week as the backup MIKE linebacker and what the team's trust level is with Chaney: "As far as Jamar, obviously our trust level is enough that we dressed him to be the backup middle backer last week. Each week will be different, but just like Nate, a very mature individual, almost beyond his years at this point, in terms of his NFL experience and continues to work his tail off, off the field to prepare himself in the event that he had to go in. We've got to be prepared if (LB Stewart Bradley) goes down, he's in there for almost four quarters of a game."

On now that the defense has found an attitude, how does the team sustain that going forward: "Well, number one, it's a credit to the players. They accepted the challenge last week and showed up for four quarters. The vision for the defense is just that. We take the field and you have a certain attitude about yourself and it's about a culture and a way of life and playing on this defense. We're going to continue to push until we get there for four quarters each and every game. Now, is that realistic to think that it's going to happen at the flip of a switch here? No, but that's the goal at this point."

On whether he has seen a difference in S Quintin Mikell's play this year because of Allen's play: "Yeah, and Quintin would tell you that he's extremely comfortable with Nate, and I think the two have worked well together. They continue to talk in between plays and in between sets on defense there out on the practice field, so it's been good for all of us."

On the importance on pressuring the opposing offense and the impressive play of DT Trevor Laws last week: "That's been big. It's huge, because Trevor dedicated himself this offseason to becoming more physical and more sturdy. And that inside push is very important to us because of the speed we have outside. If you have speed outside, but the quarterback can step up all day, it doesn't do you any good. Trevor's had a good start to the season so far."

On whether LB Akeem Jordan took a step up this week: "I would say so. He continues to work hard at playing that new position. The players have faith in Akeem. I think the very first play he attacked the fullback and really set the tone for our defense for the day."

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