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McDermott Excited For Thursday Night

Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott is looking forward to seeing how his players respond to some live-action football this Thursday night in the preseason opener against the New England Patriots.

"We're looking to take the next step in the development process of this defense and come out with an established and aggressive tone," McDermott said during his morning press conference. "I want to see the players execute fundamentals."

McDermott then discussed what he'll be looking for from specific players, the depth at defensive end, and how some of the new players are coming along.

On what he'll be looking for from Quintin Demps: "Like I mentioned before, you look for an aggressive mentality and an aggressive approach. At the same time, for young players, you want to see the look in the eye. That's a part of it. When the lights come on you want to see how they handle themselves in pregame warm-up and the locker room – the whole package right there."

On whether he will test Demps with certain calls or put him in certain situations to see how he reacts: "I don't know if I would specifically look to test Quintin. He'll get tested enough in preseason. You're going against one of the best quarterbacks [Patriots QB Tom Brady], if not the best quarterback, in the NFL, followed by the Indianapolis Colts. That will be enough of a test for him right there."

On whether Chris Clemons will have an increased role this year: "I think he does and that's a natural progression for a player in his second year with this. As he absorbs the defense we get comfortable with him and really get a feel for his skill set. He's very talented in a lot of different ways. We're still trying to absorb what he can do for this defense and where he can add value."

On Matt Wilhelm: "He's absorbing the defense. [He's a] very intelligent player. [He's a] very experienced player. He comes from a framework where there is some carryover. At the same time, you have to move fast, so he's done a nice job up to this point."

On Jason Babin: He certainly can rush the passer. He's an experienced player with intelligence and has a background for the game. [He's a] highly aware football player. It's still early yet and we're still getting comfortable with him as he is with us. Again, Thursday night, as I mentioned before, is going to be another opportunity to evaluate Jason."

On Bryan Smith: "He's coming into his second year and he's getting better every practice, he really is. He comes off the ball. He's learning how to play defensive end in this league. What he brings to the table is a tremendous amount of skill to rush the passer, and we've talked about it before, you want to be able to come off the edge and put stress on that offensive tackle. That's what Bryan brings to the table."

On Joe Mays' camp thus far: "I think he's taken a workman-like approach and that's what we expected. He's improved every practice. He's not making the same mistake twice, and he has great command of the defense."

-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 12:41 p.m., August 11

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