Quintin Mikell embraced a new position Thursday as he fielded reporters' questions inside the media tent much like former Eagles free safety Brian Dawkins had done during a portion of his time in Philadelphia.
And the reporters didn't hold back as Mikell was asked to assess a camp that opened with a contract holdout and the passing of Jim Johnson, followed by the injury to Stewart Bradley, and most recently, legal trouble for a defensive starter. Add in the fact that the team has yet to have all five of its projected starters on the offensive line on the field at one time.
"There's no doubt about it, we've had some things going on and we've had distractions," Mikell said. "But I think we have guys that know what it takes to win. We've been there before and as long as we remember what we're here for we should be fine once the season starts."
Of course, there's the ongoing issue of filling a leadership void on the defense.
"I think the the whole leadership thing will work itself out," Mikell said. We have a lot of guys that can step up. I can step up if something needs to be said, or we have guys like (LB) Omar (Gaither), vocal guys. The main thing that we have to realize is we have a lot of starters coming back. We have a lot of guys coming back that have been there before and know what it takes to get there. With that, you're always in a good position."
Mikell said he learned so much from Dawkins, both on and off the field.
"This is where I've always wanted to be," Mikell said. "Being in the seat that 'Dawk' sat at, in my opinion, that's the best you can be. I'm proud to follow him. I know I've got big shoes to fill, but I'm excited for the challenge and I think I'm ready."
Some other notes from Mikell's press conference:
On rookie RB LeSean McCoy's blocking: "He's pretty good. I don't know who had the knock on him about that, but he's looked pretty good so far. Once he gets his hands on you, he's pretty tough. He's gotten me a couple times. He's doing some good things. Obviously, it's different in practice than it is in a game, but if he keeps working on it, he's going to be pretty good."
On MLB Joe Mays: "I like what I'm seeing. He's a young guy, but he's hungry. He's a thumper, man. He gets in there and he's not afraid to throw his hat in there."
On possibly wearing the defensive communication device this season: "I haven't heard anything about that yet. I practiced with it last year. I loved it. I would like to do that, but in our defense the MIKE (MLB) makes all the calls. We'll have to figure that out as we go."
On Friday's memorial service for the late Jim Johnson: "It's going to be a tough day. We didn't get a chance to really grieve. He passed and then we had to get ready for camp, and that was pretty tough. It's just going to be tough. A lot of what we've been holding inside is going to come out. It's going to be tough, but it's necessary."
-- Posted by Bob Kent, 1:55 p.m., August 6