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Philadelphia Eagles News

Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott

On preparing for a team after they have changed play callers: "It's presents a different challenge, obviously, and a different dimension because there is not a lot of film available for what coach (Sherm) Lewis has done going back to 2004 with Detroit and then also in 2001 (with Minnesota) as a coordinator. We are trying to scrape up some film and it certainly presents a challenge."

On whether the change to Lewis calling plays can really change the Redskins offense: "That is an added consideration from our end. The impact within one week and the magnification of what he can do will only be seen once we get to game time."

On whether he could imagine taking a few years off and then being thrust into a similar situation: "With coach Lewis you are talking about a veteran coach for a number of years and I'm not so sure that the amount of time, and I'm not sure what amount of time he has taken off but, I have a lot of respect for him and their staff as well down there. They do a good job and I am sure that they are going to work to transition him in with the foundation that they already have in place and move forward as a team."

On whether there is any basis for what to expect now that Lewis is calling plays: "(Joking) That's what I am looking for. If you find it let me know. (Serious) That's the challenge."

On whether he has talked to offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg or any of the other coaches that have coached with Lewis: "We have and the guys on our staff that have interacted with coach Lewis, we have communicated along those lines, yes."

On whether he thinks there will be a feeling out period or more calls for adjustments as the game goes on: "Sure, that may be the case. I think once the ball is kicked off and the first series takes place we'll have a better feel for the direction they are going as an offense. It is a challenge. You don't have, from a preparation standpoint, the evidence on tape in order to prepare that way."

On whether he has to significantly alter things with the loss of LB Omar Gaither: "This is the NFL and you know that with the amount of injuries there are always one or two things that come up every year that you didn't anticipate no matter how well you plan. It is important that we continue to move forward and the next player moves in and steps up and the expectation levels do not change. We are going to come in and we are going to be aggressive. The next player that's in there, whether it's (LB Jeremiah) Trotter or (LB Will) Witherspoon at this point is expected to run and quarterback the defense."

On how difficult it is for Witherspoon to come in and quarterback the defense after not being in Philadelphia: "It's a huge challenge, it is. I don't know if it's ever been done before for a player of his caliber, in terms of a middle linebacker position to come in and quarterback the defense within a week, and playing all three downs like we expect him to do. It all starts with his attitude and his work ethic and from what I've seen over the course of the last couple of days, there is nobody that works harder."

On whether Trotter will have a reduced role with the addition of Witherspoon: "Trotter's role will stay the same."

On Witherspoon quarterbacking the defense and whether that will change the way he calls plays: "It has to. It has to change the way I call plays in order to put our players, and keep our players in a position to make plays. It's important that we limit what we do a little bit in terms of knowing how long he's been with us here. There are going to be growing pains and we expect that, yet at the same time it's important that we continue to improve on defense."

On whether he gave any consideration to subbing out Trotter in a third-down situation against the Raiders because it looked like they would pass or did he feel that they would run the ball to run out the clock: "I was thinking pass."

On whether DE Jason Babin will get a chance to play this weekend with the injury to DE Victor Abiamiri: "We are going to look at a couple of guys, Jason being one of them, as well as (DE) Chris Clemons and continue to roll and platoon guys in there so that we have the right players in at the right time."

On stopping or containing Redskins TE Chris Cooley: "Contain him is probably the better word. You are looking at a dynamic tight end, both in the run and pass game. People forget that he is a tremendous blocker at the line of scrimmage and their run game is very formidable. It's important that we have the right matchups on Cooley at the right times and we are working towards the direction, or in an effort to get better at covering tight ends and running backs."

On whether Witherspoon has been putting in extra work after practice: "As I mentioned before he is working his tail off to get up to speed and he has almost, aside from sleeping here, been here everyday and every night. He's working well with coach (Bill) Shuey, our linebackers coach and there are going to be some growing pains as I mentioned before. Now there is going to be some carry over from the other system, yet he played a different position in that system. There is a challenge. That's part of being a good football coach, you put your players in a position and you know their limitations at the same time, whether it be mentally or physically.

On DE Chris Clemons: "He does bring pass rush ability to the table, so we do want to have him on the field as much as we can and the substitutions are a big part of that, different packages and having the right people on the field at the right time. Chris is a guy that can get off the ball and create pressure on the quarterback and that's what we'll look to have going forward from Chris."

On how Abiamiri's injury changes the defensive line rotation: "It changes it from the standpoint of (Juqua Parker) now not being able to rotate with Victor on first and second down. Then we have to add a body in there, whether it's Jason Babin or Chris Clemons and continue to make sure we are effective at the line of scrimmage with who ever we put in there on first, second or third down."

On whether he would like to get more pressure from the defensive ends with a standard four-man rush: "It's important that you can get pressure with just the front four and they have given us good pressure. As I mentioned last week, you can never have enough pressure from a defensive coordinator's standpoint. Those guys are coming off the ball and in third and long situations and they're protecting it's tough to get there. Then it has to come down to coverage, and we are doing a pretty good job on third downs."

On whether he looks at tape or is consulted prior to the team making personnel moves: "I think that's individually based on different organizations. Coach Reid and I communicate daily on personnel matters and he does a good job with that. As for input from my standpoint, it's important in this particular case that Will Witherspoon had some prior knowledge of the system, in terms of expectation levels to come in within a week, four or five games and play in a football game."

On CB Asante Samuel's tackling: "He's there to tackle and if you are on the field you are expected to tackle. We are going to have 11 guys on the field that can tackle."

On whether it is feasible to have another defensive player make the defensive calls to help ease Witherspoon's transition: "One thing that has worked well for us the last couple of weeks is having (S) Quintin Mikell with the radio in his helmet, making the calls and we are going to stay with that. I think it will only help Will's development in the defense right now.

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