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Jonathan Gannon values versatility in the defense

Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon
Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon

Here's the thing about being in Training Camp with all of two practices finished: There just aren't a whole lot of answers. So, when Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon addresses the media and is asked speculative questions, he can only answer honestly.

Take the case on Friday morning when Gannon was asked what "expectations" he has for first-round draft pick, defensive tackle Jordan Davis. The kid hasn't even taken a practice in full pads yet, so Gannon was understandably reluctant to promise anything.

"No expectation from me right now. I would like to see him play and practice and see what he can do," Gannon said. "It's just like everybody else, you know, how he fits in with the other guys he's in there with and what he does well. We've got to put him in those situations so he can be successful."

And so it went. Gannon was asked about linebacker Haason Reddick and how the team would balance sending him as a pass rusher and dropping him into coverage in the passing game and Gannon had a similar answer – "That's what I love about camp. We're in the process of figuring those things out with not just Haason, but everybody. It's a process that we take that, 'Hey, let's see what we like, what we don't. This is what this guy is good at, what he's comfortable at, what we need him to do, what looks good, what do what we want to add, what we want to throw away.' It's just all a process and getting better every day."

The one thing to note from what Gannon said, and we knew this already, is that he wants the defense to be multiple and unpredictable and flexible in as many ways as possible. Will the Eagles play a four-man front, or will they use a lot of three-man looks?

No answer, other than to say you are going to see from the Eagles' defense a lot of different things through the course of a long, 17-game season and now, right now, in Training Camp, is the time to work on all of it.

"What you see is what you're going to get," Gannon said. "There is value to be able to play different coverages, different fronts, depending on who you're playing and our matchups. You're going to see a lot out there. That's by design. That's to say, hey, over the course of Training Camp, we want to work this for the first week, and then the next week we want to work this. Because we might not need this for the first couple weeks, but all of a sudden, we're going to need it, and we wanted to have it repped and rinsed and see who's comfortable, what looks good, what doesn't.

"I'm not a big percentage guy, but we're always going to do – when we set up the game plan, guys, you know how we are. How do we need to win this game and what do we need to do? You don't want to put something new in Week 4 the first time they've ever run it.

"So, you guys out here are going to see, 'Holy cow, seems like they're doing a lot,' but we're really not. We're playing football. We're trying to prepare our guys for what they are going to need to execute to win games come the fall."

One of the newer players added to the defense is safety Jaquiski Tartt, signed late in the spring after the team finished its Organized Team Activities. Tartt played seven seasons with the 49ers and started 64 games, so he knows his way around the field.

Gannon's glad to have another veteran in the fold at safety, adding to the depth there.

"Good addition by Howie (Roseman)," Gannon said. "What I look for in the safety position, he has that. He's played at a high level in San Francisco. He's smart, tough, he can tackle, he's a great communicator, and (we are) looking to see what he can do out there and how he integrates with our scheme and other players."

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