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Philadelphia Eagles News

FS Brian Dawkins

On the identity of the defense: "I think that you can see that the direction we're headed is a very positive one. We still make some mistakes. The fans, obviously, couldn't see it, but when you go back and watch film, you can see mistakes that were made, so we still need to make sure that we tighten up everything and play a complete game. What you always try to do is play the perfect game, and obviously, that probably would never ever happen, but you always try and strive for that. I think you saw the speed that we have on the defensive side of the ball. The aggressive play calling by (defensive coordinator) Jim (Johnson) allowed us to just turn loose and let our athleticism and our speed show."

On CB Asante Samuel: "I'll tell you what, he has sticky fingers. If the ball gets close to his hands, that first game, don't think that that was him. He dropped a couple of picks in that first game, but if the ball gets close to him, it's pretty much a catch. He's the type of guy that's a playmaker. He's going to make plays on the ball, and we're on the (same) side of the field a lot and I know how he likes to play, so we play hand in hand with one another."

On whether it was inaccurate for people to say that Samuel would not fit into this defensive scheme: "It's completely inaccurate. Obviously, there is some wiggle room that he and (CB) Lito (Sheppard) have for (them) to be able to do what they do best, and that's to jump things and be able to play and jump some things sometimes, and that's him. I think the thing that I found out very early about Asante is the type of person he is. (He's) very astute. (He) wants to know what's going on, and like I said, we, for whatever reason, seem to be on the same side of the field a lot together. We work hand in hand, and he lets me know exactly what he wants to do and vice versa. He tells me what it is, that I can jump and he'll have me over top. We communicate big time out there on the field with one another."

On how much it meant to him to have a big game against the Steelers: "It meant a lot to me because I'm going to go back to what I do for my teammates. When I talk to you guys I try to be as honest as I can about it. Obviously, there are some things that I'm not going to tell you, but I try my best to make sure that I'm who I need to be for my teammates, and I try to go all out and play so that I can make big play after big play in order for us to win games. If I would have had that same game when we lost, then what? I would have had a good day, but we lost the game. It's all about wins and losses and me being on the positive playing side of the things when I make those plays for my teammates, and that to me, that will always be the most important thing for me as I play this game."

On the fact that RB Brian Westbrook compared his ankle injury to the injury Dawkins suffered during the preseason: "It went away pretty quick. Not really scary. The thing that scares you is when you feel something click or you hear something pop, then that's the scary thing. When it's just one of those things that you twist your ankle, and I've done that a gazillion times playing basketball when I was younger, you twist your ankle and you're sore for a couple of days, you can't really move for a couple of days. Then all of a sudden the progress is tremendous once you're able to put pressure on it. For me, it wasn't a scary thing. I knew I was going to be able to come back and do what I needed to do."

On when he hurt his ankle: "Are you serious? The Patriots. You guys wrote about it. The Patriots game in preseason. That's when it happened."

On the key to the run defense: "The quickness is the key, but I'm going to always fall back to those two cats inside and the rotation. Bunk (DT Brodrick Bunkley) and Mike P. (DT Mike Patterson) and that rotation inside. When they can get the penetration that they get and force teams to pay attention to them a lot longer, to have that double team stay and not be able to slip up to Stew (LB Stewart Bradley), it allows Stew to do his thing. And even when they do get up, they are not getting up with a lot of power on Stew, so Stew can use his strength to get off the block and float to the ball and from there we're getting to the rock. If one guy misses the tackle, and it's the same thing on blitzes, if you see one of us fly past the quarterback, soon after somebody else is coming right behind us to corral them. It's about running to the ­rock. It's something that (defensive coordinator) Jim (Johnson) has always preached and we really do have the speed to get it done."

On whether he expects the amount of blitzing to be maintained: "I think that Jim has always said it's a feel thing. It's a feeling that he gets. Obviously, when they are not able to pick up what we are doing, obviously you're going to feel a lot more, but it's a feel thing for him. I think him knowing what we are as team, as a defense, attacking wise, that we want to attack. Defensively, our personality, to a man on our side of the ball defensively is that we want to attack. And so that being said, I think that you'll see a lot of that, probably not as much as you saw against Pittsburgh all the time, but it's a feel thing for Jim."

On the attitude of the run defense: "It started last year. I think you kind of saw Bunk mature. You saw Mike P. starting to mature and start to play some great ball for us at the end of the season especially. It is a mentality. That's really what defense is, especially stopping the run; it's a want-to thing. Everybody can get the interception and the glamour and the big play but the grunt work, fighting off blocks, beating double teams, not staying blocked, you have to have an attitude and you have to want to do that, and we have a lot of guys on our side of the ball that want to do that. Then, it's a trust thing. You have to trust guy next to you that he's going to do his job to stay in his gap and not try to do something extra and try and get out of his gap. So everybody is playing gap-sound and you get to the ball."

On whether last week is as good as the defense has played: "Yes. I've been here a long time so forgive me if I don't remember every game, but it's been a long time that I can think of that we blitzed that much and got home as often as we did and forced the quarterback to abandon his technique in every way in almost every other snap, it's been a long time. The thing about last game though, and let me make this clear, is last game is last game. As much as we had fun in that game, as much success that we had in that game, we have to make sure that we move on to Chicago and make sure that we are ready to play mentally, physically and emotionally for this ball game against a very good Chicago team that lost two fourth-quarter leads to lose two games."

On whether last year's game against Chicago factors into this year's at all: "Oh yes. Especially for the guys who were out there. For me, it's a different reason because I wasn't able to do anything to help the guys because I was on the sideline watching like you guys. But for those guys who played, absolutely. To know that they did to us, basically what a couple of teams have done to them this year, and that's losing games in the last half of the games. We'll go up and we'll be ready for a hostile environment, and we'll have to come with business in mind for a very good team. I think that people would kind of write them off and say they have a losing record, but you can't look at that with this team right now because they really have been playing some good ball."

On his impressions of Bears QB Kyle Orton: "He's managing their offense. I think he only has two picks right now. He's thrown two interceptions. He's making the plays when they are there to be made up top … and he's managing that offense. A couple of checks that he made in that Tampa game, to go up top when he saw a certain coverage that he liked, and he made a great throw on the sideline over there, so you have to make sure we're ready to play, like I said."

On Bears RB Matt Forte: "He's got young legs, obviously. We have to make sure that we are running to the ball because he has made some guys miss in the open field. Another thing that you notice about him is, I think he's tied for the lead in receptions on the team, so that means if we have 'backers or even if it's my responsibility to make sure that we hug him up in the pass coverage, that we have to hug him up and shluff off him because he can catch the ball and make you miss."

On whether he can see frustration in the other team when the defense stops the run: "Especially to a running team, you can see it. You can kind of sense it, and the way the body language of the running back, sometimes they'll spike the ball, their heads are going down, and you can even see them in the huddle sometimes kind of getting on the linemen about the penetration. We just have to continue to do it. Like I talked about earlier, it has to be a mentality, and we have to try and get teams in third and long. If we can get teams in third and long, then Jim can do what he did this past weekend and we can call the blitzes and we'll just see what happens."

On pressuring the quarterback: "That's always the case for any team, for any secondary. If you are able to get a hold of them upfront, that allows you and the secondary to be able to play very aggressive and to jump some things at some times and not have to cover as long. At the end of the day, believe it or not, their receivers get paid. They get paid to get open, and they're going to continue to run to get open if they have enough time. So, we have to help them out at times, also. If it's a run fake and we can cover our receivers a little longer, that allows them to get out of the run mode and get into a push rush mode, so it kind of works hand in hand."

On whether the defense feels that they have to take it up a notch when the offense has players that are not playing due to injuries: "I don't know if we are saying we have to take it up because of that. What we're just saying is to make sure that we improve on last week, every week to get better and better and better. Obviously, in the back of your mind you are thinking, 'Yeah, we have to make sure we do what we're supposed to do and not let points get on the board,' to let our offense stay in a comfort zone as far as play calling goes and not have to get in the pass set mode, we're going to pass the ball anyways because that's who we are but not have to get in that passing mode. So, defensively, like I said, we're going to go out and we're going to try and do what we do to stop the run, win on first and second down and get them in third and long and play ball from there, make sure that we get off the field."

On S Quintin Mikell: "I've had high expectations of him doing exactly what he's doing for a while now because I saw it, (I saw) the potential in him to do what he's doing. When he finally got everyone, not just outside but inside, to get away from that 'he's just a special teams player' mentality, because for a while that's who people thought he was, and that was not who he was. Then, he had to get his confidence up to play completely wide open. The thing that I said earlier, and I'm not taking credit for his play at all, but the thing is, I did say that we are mirror images of each other. There is no, 'I have to do this, he can do that.' If a tight end comes to my side, I'll cover him. If he goes to Q's side, he'll cover him. That is a great confidence level in a defensive coordinator's mind to know that you have two capable safeties to do exactly what the defense calls for and both make plays, because you see he's not just making tackles, he's making plays on the ball also. (He's) stripping guys and going after the ball, so he's a playmaker."

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