Philadelphia Eagles News

Eagles Locker Room -- Defense

Defensive Coordinator Bill Davis

On how they defended Saints TE Jimmy Graham: "Sometimes we were jamming him at the line and covering behind him. We played man on him, threw zones at him sometimes. We chipped him too. We gave him and (Saints RB Darren) Sproles the most attention."

On why the defense was not as strong against the run as they had been all season: "That is on me. I made the calls so their passing game wouldn't result in big plays. There was a lot more split-safety and pass oriented calls. Some of the runs leaked out. I could have called a more of a run heavy defensive game and shut that down, but we were trying to keep the points down and the big plays off us. That run game comes down to me, not the players."

On whether he was surprised the Saints ran so much: "Yeah, I was. But that's a credit to them. But we adjusted back and by the fourth quarter, we knew the run game was calling and went back to some of the run calls. The whole thing is about keeping the points down and the big plays off of us. That was our goal."

On why the Saints were able to get positive running plays when the defense knew they were coming: "Before they got into field goal range, it was a run or pass situation. They could have done either. But once they got into field goal range, that's when you saw them run. We were in heavy run calls. But they still had Graham and Sproles out there and we were still playing the game. It came down to them making one more play than we did. The guys played hard and played well. We got turnovers and kept the deep balls off of us for the most part."

Linebacker DeMeco Ryans

On how difficult it was to not be able to get a stop on the Saints final offensive possession: "It is very disappointing. The game came down to us as a defense making a stop and we knew it was going to come down to that. That is what the playoffs are all about. Whoever is on the field last has to stand up and make a play. Defensively, we didn't make the play to get off the field."

On the run defense: "They did a good job running the ball, credit to them. We didn't stop the run well enough to win the game. Essentially, that is what it came down to. They ran the ball well, and we did a poor job of stopping the run."

On how surprising it was that they struggled against the run when it was strength for a majority of the season: "It is surprising to have a letdown at this point in time in the season where we needed to step up the most and we didn't play to our strengths and stop the run."

On the disappointment of not playing their best game of the season: "It came down to the point of the game where the team was counting on (the defense). The team was counting on us as a defense to rise up, and get them the ball back and sit on it and win the game. It is disappointing to me as a defensive player to not be able to stand up and make a stop or knock the ball out or make some type of play. It is a disappointment."

On what he saw was making it difficult to adjust to stopping the Saints running game: "I think they were successful on first down. They were successful on first down running the ball and that is where they got us."

On the little things in the game meaning the most: "Of course, it is always about those little things. No matter how big the game is on the outside when we step across the white lines, it is all about fundamentals. Fundamentally, we were not sound enough to win the game."

On how far the defense has come throughout the season: "We came a really long way. As a team overall, we really came together as a true family, a true brotherhood. It was a very special team that we became throughout the ups and downs of the season. Everybody kept working and fighting. Nobody gave up. Everyone always kept believing. That is what was special about this group."

Linebacker Trent Cole

On how tough it is to be on the losing end of this game: "It was a hard fought game. It came down to one point. They came out on top. There is not too much to say. We have to get back together. It has been a long road, and we played hard and believed, but some things happen the way they are supposed to happen."

On how much it hurts losing a playoff game: "It hurts really bad. You work so hard and a lot of different changes went on and that is NFL football. You never know what is going to happen. I don't know what to say."

On what happened to allow the Saints to rush for 185 yards: "They ran a little bit more. I think they had respect for our defense. They ran a little bit more than they normally do. When we go out there as a defense, we have to stop it and get off the field. Some parts of the game we didn't do that and some parts of the game we were great."

On what the team has to be proud of: "There is a lot to be proud of. There are a lot of guys that are playing different positions and learning new schemes. For the whole team, guys had to step up, and it was a lot of hard work and we have to hand it to these guys, especially the coaches. (The coaches) came in here and made us a playoff team. It is a start for (the coaches) and a start for a lot of the young guys. Everybody has a taste (of the playoffs) and when the time comes next year, wherever they are at, they know what to build for."

On the key to containing Saints TE Jimmy Graham: "Locking him down. Locking coverage down and trying to get pressure on the quarterback."

On the frustration of the last Saints offensive drive for the defense: "It was very frustrating. As a defense, we were called on to go stop them and they drove down the field on us. You can't go out there and make mistakes. You have to be disciplined. If you don't play as a team on defense, it can be costly."

On how much the defense has grown: "It has grown a lot. Regarding the scheme, a lot of guys had to learn how to play together. For myself, it was hard at first. I think that is one thing we can be proud of the way we came together as a team. We didn't know each other. We all came from different parts. We built a team that made it to the playoffs."

On not playing their best game of the season in the biggest game of the season: "Yes, that is something we strive for as a team. When you get to this point of the season, you want to have our best game. Being three games away (from the Super Bowl) and this happens and we end up losing. We learn from it and re-boot."

Linebacker Brandon Graham

On the last Saints drive: "I can't really put a finger on every little thing. They made the right blocks and were chipping at the bit to get every yard they could. We had to make a play and we just couldn't."

On how far the team has come since last season: "We've come very far because a lot of people have doubted us this year and didn't even think we would make it this far. I'm definitely happy how far we came and we fought hard every game. I thought we really were going to get this (game) because we fought back, but Chip (Kelly) has everyone fighting. We have great leaders on this team. As long as everyone keeps getting stronger and working hard, I think we will be alright. I know the fans want a Super Bowl, but we really are trying as hard as we can. If you can't tell how hard we worked in that game, then I don't know what else to tell you."

On whether the Saints did anything he didn't expect in terms of rushing the ball: "They ran a lot more, and they are a passing team, which is what we were worried about this week. We knew (the Saints) were going to run it here and there, but we definitely did not think they were going to run it as much as they did. We thought they were going to air it out, and we came up short. We adjusted in the second half but it wasn't enough to win the game."

Linebacker Connor Barwin

On not being able to come out on top: "It's frustrating, very frustrating. You want to be out there at the end. The offense did a great job scoring and giving us the lead. The defense has to stop the run and get off the field, and we didn't get it done."

On how much more the Saints ran the ball than they usually do: "We wanted to force them to run the ball because we had to play some coverage against Drew Brees. Looking back on it, we did what we wanted them to do, but we let them leak out for too many yards on some of those runs."

On the last Saints offensive drive: "That was the story of the game. We have been keeping teams under 100 yards rushing all season long. This was the wrong game to give up a good rusher. It was way too much and it showed on that last drive."

On the disappointment of losing a home playoff game: "Our fans have been great. We didn't come out and perform. There was a lot of excitement last week after clinching the playoff spot. We felt like we were in position to take care of business tonight. This is how it is in the playoffs; you do not expect to lose. And then like that the season is over. It's unfortunate, but we need to hold our heads high, and be proud of what we accomplished this year."

On the lessons learned in the last couple weeks of the season: "You have to bring your best when it counts. That's the biggest disappointment for me today. Defensively, I do not think we played our best game of the year. I think that I learned that there are a bunch of good team guys on this team. Everyone played their hearts out all season long, and it is good to be a part of something like that."

On what he could have done differently in terms of defending the run: "It is the same thing every week. All across the board we could have played better up front with better technique. I'm sure when we look at the tape that will be what it is. We needed to stay more square at the line and get off blocks a little faster and tackle a little bit better. Whenever you let a team run the ball that is usually what the problem is."

On whether this takes away from the success the team had this season: "It is just a disappointing end. It doesn't take away from what we did in the regular season. We won our division, but obviously that is not the end goal. The end goal is to be a championship team. We are going to hold our heads high after this year, but we have to get back to work next season to make it further (in the playoffs)."

On what Head Coach Chip Kelly said to the team after the game: "He just said that it is a special group of us (in the locker room). We will figure out what happened, but we need to re-group and go in and have a great off-season and come back and have a great season next year."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.