Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott held a press conference after this morning's practice and spoke at length about his relationship with beloved Eagles coach Jim Johnson and how Johnson will influence McDermott and the Eagles defense moving forward. Johnson passed away at the age of 68 on Tuesday afternoon after a battle with cancer.
"There's just no way I can say in one word or in one statement what (Jim Johnson's) done for me, or what I've learned from the man," said McDermott. "Everyone wants to talk about what a defensive wizard he was, and there's no doubt about that, but first and foremost he was a good person, and an excellent father, and grandfather, and it's important you don't lose sight of that."
McDermott then talked about Johnson's legacy as one of the best defensive coordinators in NFL history and the legacy he leaves behind.
"You look at the family tree, so to speak, that he's put out there, and there's a reason why we've been so successful, it doesn't all come back to us," McDermott said. "Jim has imparted a tremendous amount of knowledge on his assistants, and there's a reason why we've all been successful up to this point in our careers.
"It was interesting last night. We got the word right before we had meetings, and by the time I got out of the meetings, I had messages from all those 'brothers' that we have if you will. John Harbaugh, Steve Spagnuolo, everyone was checking on everyone else to make sure everyone was doing OK, and that's the way Jim would have wanted it."
"He demanded excellence, and that's what you want."
And McDermott plans to do the same in his role as Johnson's successor. In fact, he expects the upcoming season to be one in which Johnson would be proud.
"I mentioned to Vicki (Johnson's widow) and Jim's family last night that we'll try to honor Jim by the way we play this year, and how we play on the field and how we approach our job," McDermott said.
"And if I'm 50-50 on something going forward in the future, (Jim's voice) will be that little voice in my ear that may sway me in one way or the other."
While McDemott is looking forward, he won't forget where he's come from.
"It's an honor to follow Jim Johnson in any way shape or form," he said. "And out of respect for him, I take this seat seriously, out of respect for him and the people who have come before me."
- Posted by Bo Wulf, 10:58 a.m., July 29