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FS Brian Dawkins

On how he thinks CBs Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown and Asante Samuel can work in one system: "I think you saw a little bit of that this past game (vs. Carolina). I know it's preseason, but even in preseason, when plays are there to be made, you make them when you're a good player. You saw that from each one of those guys; all of them did something pretty special in that game. That being said, the potential for those guys to do those things and more in the game, when the speed picks up and the gameplan increases and we do more blitzing, is that much more amplified. To have three guys like that be able to cover, especially in those third down situations, there aren't too many times - I've been through it twice so it's a little different for me - but there aren't too many times that you'll have three guys like that on the field at the same time that are able to do those things."

On how he thinks the defense has played so far in the preseason: "I think we've done decent enough. I think there have been some opportunities there to get some turnovers that we haven't capitalized on; there have been a couple of mental mistakes like some sacks that could have happened. Those are the things, like some missed tackles, mine included, that you iron out through the preseason. You get yourself ready and revved up during those first couple of games. It's always been said, and I heard it a number of times, that you should see a big difference from the first game to the second game, preseason wise. I think you saw that from us as a defense. This past game, there were a lot of distractions as far as the weather and the stoppage. We were able to come out and prevent a touchdown from being scored when they got a pretty good drive going. So, I think that's a plus on our side."

On whether there are any young players who he's been impressed by: "I guess I might be a little biased because he's a safety, but I've liked what I've seen (S Quintin) Demps do. I think he's a playmaker back there in the secondary. He's going to have to work on his eyes a little bit—he's in the backfield too much, but I think that's because he's always trying to make a play on the ball. I think he's a guy that has impressed me with his athleticism also. The things he can do with moving him out to corner a little bit and seeing what he can do out there also."

On why players who can play both safety and cornerback are tough to find: "It's tough in the respect that you have to have an individual, who, first of all, you trust to do both. And then, that individual has to be of a mindset to not be afraid to do one or the other. Some people are afraid to get into contact so that's why safety is out for them. And, some people are scared to get out there in corner because of what we call 'the highway' out there because of that speed out there. It takes an individual with athletic ability, absolutely. But, you have to have a mental toughness about you also to be able to step out there and lineup against receivers out there on that highway and hold your own. I've always given every guy that I've played with, whether it's (former Eagles CBs) Troy (Vincent), Bobby (Taylor), Al (Harris), Lito, Sheldon and now Asante, I give them a whole bunch of credit for lining up out there and doing what they do out there at corner. It's a grown man's job. At any given time you can get taken deep and you have to have a short memory to be able to line up again."

On what makes a prototypical strong safety and whether he thinks it's a dying position in the NFL: "When I got into the league, it was a little different. You want to have the prototypical big guys at strong safety. You want to have maybe a taller guy with range at free safety. What (defensive coordinator) Jim (Johnson), and even what (former Eagles defensive coordinator from 1995-98) Emmitt (Thomas) had me doing, it was none of that with them. I was actually going down in the box, I was asked to blitz, and I was asked to cover receivers. You're kind of seeing that across the board now. There are not too many teams that say 'this is absolutely the strong safety and this is absolutely the free safety.' We don't do that here. Q (S Quintin Mikell) is technically the strong safety, but any given play I'm going to be dropping down in the box also. He can cover receiver and I can cover receiver, or he can cover tight ends and I can cover tight ends. I don't know if it will ever be a point where we'll say 'let's just get a big body here to stop the run.' You need a guy that can be able to move and stick his nose in some traffic too."

On whether the change is due to the league gravitating towards more of a passing game: "I don't know if it's because of more passing offenses. When you have the potential for either guy to do both things, then, to me, that's an added weapon. As an offense, you can't say every time 'if this guy is in the box, he's going to come down in the box so let's anticipate that.' You can't anticipate that all the time, especially with us. As I said, sometimes I'm down in the box or Q's down in the box. It's not doing it to throw the offense off, it's doing it because we both know we can do a good job at it; stopping the run also. I don't know about league-wide, but I think, because of that added dimension, to be able to have guys like that is a plus for a defensive coordinator."

On whether CB Lito Sheppard can be positive about the fact that he could benefit from playing mostly on passing downs: "He's going to do that anyway. Obviously, he is a player - he's a Pro Bowl player and he's going to be frustrated by the situation. Like I've always said, if he's on the field, Lito is going to play and he's going to go out and make plays like he did last weekend and more. Hopefully, the offense will start capitalizing on those drives. I've heard different guys, whether it's (QB) Donovan (McNabb) or some of the guys talking about consistency and putting the ball in the end zone. Hopefully we'll put the ball in the end zone like they're talking about doing and we'll get up on teams and they'll have to throw the ball. Those guys will be on the field a lot because of having a lead and then (defensive coordinator) Jim (Johnson) doing his thing and then you'll see Lito do what he does. That is turnovers and scoring touchdowns for us."

On what he wants to see out of himself in this preseason game: "I don't know that there is anything specific that I need to see from myself. Just from my play itself, from that missed opportunity in that first game, making that tackle on (Steelers WR Santonio) Holmes and being able to come back the next week in the same type of situation. It was a little bit different, but at the same time it was a third down-and-long situation in the red zone and this time being able to make the play. Those are the types of things you want to do as a player. Plays are going to be made against you in this league. I don't care who you are, I don't care what phase of your career you're in. If you're a Pro Bowler or a backup, plays are going to be made against you. You have to be able to get that thing out of your head and make plays when the opportunity presents itself and not shy away from it. Me, personally, I just wanted to come back this past week and play a better ballgame all around and I think I did that. This week, I would look to correct some of the other things I saw on film I didn't like. (Jokingly) Those are for me to know and you guys to try to find out."

On what areas Quintin Demps can improve on: "His eyes. Like I said, his eyes. In college, you can let your eyes wander a lot and try to read the quarterback all the time. Up here, that'll get you in trouble real quick. He'll look you off and you'll be on the other side of the field and he's throwing the ball down the middle. With him, just disciplining his eyes is something he needs to work on. Also, just the speed of the game itself. There aren't too many people, especially on the defensive side of the ball in the secondary, who are going to be able to come straight in and have a huge type of impact, just because of the speed of the game. I think that'll be another thing that will have to take (some time). Especially game time. Practice is completely different from a game. We all should know that."

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