Philadelphia Eagles News

FS Brian Dawkins

On whether he thinks that the defense this year has the potential to be one of the best in his 13 seasons here: "We'll see. I think we have that potential to be a real good defense. Thirteen, it's hard for me to sit here and tell you that I can remember every defense that we had and all the players, but I can tell you that I've been a part of some real good groups. Obviously, there are a lot of young guys out there, but I think the potential that I've been talking about this whole training camp, from the start of this thing, the potential is there. I think we've gelled quite a bit, and I think that we have a lot of playmakers out on that field. If we do our job, like I've always said, on first and second down and getting third down, let (defensive coordinator) Jim (Johnson) do his thing, we have a lot of playmakers on our field."

On whether he thinks the defense this year has the right flow to make turnovers happen: "I think it's a mindset first. It is a mindset. You have to think about being aggressive on the ball when it's in the air, but from there, then you just let your abilities take over. When you have the potential that we have on the field, and I know potential sometimes is a bad word for people, but we do have that. To know that we are going to be able to get to the quarterback, quite frankly very fast, with those guys that we have up front, and that's going to give us a lot more playmaking ability back there in the secondary to be able to jump some things. It works hand-in-hand. If we can make the quarterback hold the ball a little bit longer, then we can get to the quarterback. But to know that we have that speed up front in the secondary, I mean, you just lick your chops back there."

On whether there is any concern that agent Drew Rosenhaus is causing problems in the locker room: "No. I'll let them handle that business side of things."

On whether there comes a point where the leaders of the team try and stop that: "I don't know even what you guys are talking about. I'm not going to dive into that pool. I don't get into all of that stuff."

On whether he felt that coming into this season he had to prepare himself for questions about what he has left to offer to this team: "I give the same vanilla answer. I have a lot. You don't prepare for it. Once you get to a certain age, for whatever reason 'you lost steps', for whatever reason 'you can't do it anymore', so once you get past a certain age, it's a blessing and curse if you want to call it that. You're blessed to play a lot of years, but then you're cursed because you're going to have to be scrutinized about your age. I don't even worry about it. I just go out and do my thing. My responsibility is to my teammates, not anybody questioning me, so I just make sure I do what I can for them."

On whether WR DeSean Jackson plays like a rookie and how he has differentiated himself from other rookies: "It has been the preseason and preseason is different. In the preseason you've seen his potential to be able to make big plays, make people miss in the open field. I've talked about his step-back move when he catches the ball, to be able to step back and make the first guy miss, and he has the acceleration to get past that first guy. Those are all talents that not a lot of people have, but preseason is preseason. This is a different ball game now, so (I'm) just hoping that he will be able to still do those same types of things during the season on a consistent basis. Consistency is what we're talking about."

On whether it weighs on his mind that this might be his last season: "Not at all. I think the bottom line for me is my teammates, it really is. Did I do what I was supposed to do this offseason? I think I did. Am I in shape? I believe I am. With all that being said, I believe I'll be able to do everything that I need to do for my teammates, and I'll let everything else handle (itself). If I go out and do what I'm supposed to do, I'll let next year handle this stuff."

On what Rams QB Marc Bulger has shown as an opposing player: (Jokingly) "A Rams question. We're playing the Rams this week? I'll tell you what, he's a guy that if you allow him to sit back there with time, he's a timing quarterback, not that he can't put the ball into tight places, but he's a timing quarterback. Once he hits that back foot he wants to release the ball, and he has a great relationship with his receivers, especially (WR) T. (Torry) Holt, to be able to get that thing out to him fast to allow T. Holt to do his thing. For us, it's going to be, we're going to have make sure that we get pressure on him, not allow him to get comfortable back there in the pocket, and not allow that timing offense to run, and try and corral that big dude (RB Steven Jackson) they have in the backfield there. That's a big dude back there."

On whether home field advantage is an emphasis this year given there were a couple of games that got away from them last season: "It is. The couple we've talked about. Andy's talked about them. We've talked about them. In any sport you want to have home field advantage. But I think the potential to have definite home field advantage here in Philadelphia, I think is far greater than any other place in the NFL, not withstanding domes because, obviously, the domes are different. But with the fans that we have and how they get after the team, and if we go out and get after the team, that's a lot of getting after the team, so hopefully we'll be able to do that this year, and we'll come out on the winning side of things."

On whether it was frustrating for the team to lose games at home last year: "We had some opportunities to close some games out and we didn't last year, also. I mean, there were up a couple of games that we lost at the house. I think on one side it was a learning experience for a lot of the young guys, and for the rest of us, I think it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth of our home record last year. We definitely don't want that to be a consistent thing."

On whether the fact that Rams RB Steven Jackson didn't play during the preseason makes him fresher for his start against the Eagles: "I think it varies from player to player. If you talk to (San Diego Chargers RB) LaDainian Tomlinson, I'm pretty sure it's a good thing for him. He's not taking any pounding and he's ready to go. Different guys handle things differently. For me it would be a bad thing. I would want to have some preseason work even though it's something that everybody doesn't like, but you need those games to just get yourself ready a little bit. We'll see. Hopefully it's the latter, and he'll be a little bit off his timing, but I'm not expecting that. I'm expecting him to come and be that big bruising back that can make you miss at the same time that we've seen on film."

On whether head coach Andy Reid did anything differently this preseason to try and help the team for the season opener: "I know he's helped me out tremendously with the 30-plus thing. I've been better off because of that, and I think he did some things differently. We went after it like we always do, but he pulled back at times and allowed a lot of the guys to get their legs back under them and all that good stuff. But we'll see if this is the right mixture, and see how we come out against the Rams here."

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