Philadelphia Eagles News

FS Brian Dawkins Press Conference

On what head coach Andy Reid does to put them in a position to win after a bye week: "I think, first of all, they do a good job with the team that we're about to play. That's another week of preparation. Usually, we have a very aggressive gameplan on every side, and I don't see it this week being any different. And on top of that, he's always been a certain way as far as being positive, letting you know what it is you need to know every time. Obviously, each year presents different challenges the week coming up. Then, a lot of times we have lost going into the bye, so that's different motivation in itself, but I think that he has always done a good job of preparing us mentally for that next game."

On how much parity there is in this league: "I think you've seen that, and I don't think that this year is any different than any other year. You very seldom see one team that is able to sustain dominance throughout the year. Obviously, we've seen it last year with the Patriots, and Tennessee is doing a good job of it (this year), but you never know game-to-game what can happen, so that's why you have to take care of business. We can't worry about anybody else or what anybody else is doing. We just have to go out and handle our business understanding that any given week you will have a team that is, supposedly, is not going to be able to stay in this game with this team, and they are going to blow this team (out) – Monday night, same thing. They shouldn't have been on the field so to speak, as far as people were saying. Then, what happened in that game? So, you never know."

On why defensive coordinator Jim Johnson's defense is so dominant against rookie quarterbacks: "I think with rookies in general, there's not a lot that they have seen on this level. Now, they've seen a lot in college. Usually, if you have a quarterback that's drafted high, they've been pretty successful against those defenses they've seen. But in the NFL, I think, the speed for one thing disguises the moving around, and I think with Jim, it's the nonstop. We're not going to stop. You may get us every once in a while, but we're not going to stop, so you have to be able to maintain that same cool that you were on that one play that you got us, on the other 20 blitzes that we throw at you, so I think that's always a key."

On what some of the biggest improvements are that he wants to see out of the defense coming out of the bye week: "I think for me and I think for all of us, it's not just me, I think we've been talking about just consistency. You'll see two quarters where it's lights out. Then, you'll see another quarter and a half where, 'who is that defense that's on the field.' I think for us, mentally, we have to stop making mistakes that are allowing good teams to have success. Now, they are going to have success. They are going to make plays because that's what they get paid to do, but you can't assist them. We're pretty good as far as giving assists right now, and that's not a good thing."

On whether it's fair to say that consistency is the hardest thing to capture in all sports: "It is. Obviously, the Phillies are hopefully going to do their thing, and they are going to be able to keep that engine going after they win this World Series, which I think they will be able to do. But for football, it's such a physical sport. It's physically demanding. Every week you have to go out and prepare your body physically to take on guys that are going to be, usually in my case, they're aren't too many guys who are smaller than me, so to be able to handle that physically. Now, mentally you have to rev yourself up every week to be able to take on those challenges, so it's tough. It's not an easy thing. If it was, a lot more people would be able to play this game at a high level. That being said, that's why mental toughness is always a key in professional sports, especially football."

On whether he's looked at Falcons QB Matt Ryan at all: "He's gotten better every week. I think, obviously, with quarterbacks you're not going to dump the whole playbook on him. But you see that he's not turning the ball over, he's managing the game, and the coaching staff is doing an excellent job of not putting him in a lot of situations where he has to throw the ball 40 or 50 times. They are running the ball, running the ball, and running the ball some more. Then they are running boot, running play action, trying to go up top, which he is a very accurate quarterback, so he's doing a good job of controlling what he can control and getting rid of the ball and not taking a lot of sacks either."

On what kind of running back Falcons Michael Turner is: "He's a load to bring down; I'll tell you that much watching him on film. We're going to have our hands full. If you watch him on film, that first guy very seldom brings him down, and if he does bring him down, he gains probably another two or three yards after contact, so it's going to be important for us to get to the ball and be relentless toward him because if they get the lead and if we allow them to pound the ball, they're not going to stop. They're going to continue to do it."

On whether the Phillies World Series appearance alleviates some of the pressure on the Eagles: "No. I think anytime that the team that is further along in the season is doing a good job, that other team is going to take a backseat at that time. That's just the way it is. I think it should be that way because we all should be rooting for the Phillies, and I think the majority of us are, I know I am anyway. So, that doesn't take anything away from what we have to do. And believe me, if we go out in the game, and I'm not saying we will, but if we stink it up, you think the papers and you think the fans will be a little quieter because the Phillies are doing well? No. They are going to be just as upset, just as T'd off, and just as opinionated as they always are, so that doesn't take away our responsibility to do our job and to hold ourselves to a high standard because someone is doing good across the street over there."

On whether Ryan could be an exception to the rookie rule: "Yeah, he could be, and the thing that you have to do as a defensive player, yeah, he's young and all that, but you look at his body of work and throw out the age thing. Don't worry about how old he is and how many snaps that he hasn't taken, look at his body of work, and his body of work says that he scrambles, puts the ball on the money when he scrambles, can get away from pressure, gets rid of the ball, and doesn't make turnovers. He doesn't throw turnovers. That's all the signs of a pretty dog-gone good quarterback if I say so."

On what they need to do as a defense to stop a good running team: "Stopping the run comes down to a couple of things. First of all, it's a mindset that that's what you're going to do. Defense, period, is a mindset thing, usually, and especially stopping the run. It's a physical man-on-man, and they are going to keep running it and we're going to keep stepping up to the challenge. The thing that we have fallen short on, what we've given up on rushing yards, is tackling. We've allowed the running back to get in the second level and get past the second level without him coming down. If he gets to the second level, they're going to do that from time to time, but it's up to me and the rest of the secondary and the linebackers to get him down immediately and not allow the big gains. So, that's what we're going to try and do this weekend. Get to the ball, make the tackle, and then bring him down."

On whether the Falcons are a more dangerous team because nobody had high expectations for them going into the season: "Yeah, it does. To me, I'm pretty sure you know this also, sports period. If you have a loose bunch that feels that they don't have anything to lose, they're going to be dangerous. Because they're probably in their locker room right now saying nobody gave us the chance anyway, everybody is counting us out so we can just go out and have a good time and have fun. And you can see it in their play; see that emotion that they are playing with, that they're feeling that way. I'm pretty sure they are also feeling that 'we don't feel the way people are talking.' People are talking this way about us, we're not thinking that but at the same time we know that people aren't really giving us a chance in a lot of games, so we're going to go out and have a good time and prove a lot of people wrong. So that's a very dangerous team."

On what it would mean to have a consecutive string of wins coming out of the bye week: "It's huge for us to win every game. I know you look at one game and you say let's get another right behind, but what we have to do in our mindset, we have to say that Atlanta is the most important game on our chart right now. It's the most important game for us as a ball club, as an organization right now. It's easy to say that. Mentally, you have to make yourself believe that because it is. This is a very, very important game for us, and we have to come out as such. In our mindsets, believing in the fact that this is a very important game for the Philadelphia Eagles' season right here."

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