Philadelphia Eagles News

How Concerned Is Sheldon? How About A -24

On a scale of 1 to 10, cornerback Sheldon Brown's level of concern regarding the state of the defense through two preseason games is ... -24.

"What stats count in the preseason? We're building towards the regular season," Brown said. "If stuff starts happening in the regular season, then we'll take about it."

Against two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks in New England's Tom Brady and Indianapolis' Peyton Manning, the first-team defense experienced some growing pains. Brady was 10-of-15 for 100 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Manning was 10-of-14 for 167 yards and two touchdowns. The second of Manning's touchdowns was a 76-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne where cornerback Ellis Hobbs passed off Wayne thinking he had help over the top when he didn't.

"We just have to keep communicating," Brown said. "We understand what we have to do to fix it or correct it."

Brown didn't play last Thursday because of a rib strain. He recalls a couple of seasons ago when the defense struggled out of the gate. Brown said the players knew the mistakes were correctable and they went about taking care of business.

"We would come here in the locker room and be like, 'We're one or two plays from making or breaking it' and (the critics) would laugh," Brown said. "Then, before you know it, we were in the playoffs."

In the preseason, Brown said that the defense doesn't game plan and that's the very essence of being successful against an offense.

"I can play wide receiver. Coach gives me a route. I know where I'm going," Brown said. "From a defense (perspective), you have to game plan. You have to anticipate what an offense is going to do. Defense is all about anticipation. If I don't game plan for them, how am I going to anticipate what he's going to do if I don't have film on them? It's the game."

Added Brown, the team uses this time to learn who can play what positions and what calls can and can't be made during the season. The first-team defense will get its most extensive playing time of the preseason this Thursday against the Jaguars.

-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 2:38 p.m., August 23

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