Last year, in order to even the playing field between the offense and the defense, the NFL decreed that one defensive player per team would be allowed to communicate with the coaching staff through their helmet.
For the most part, the starting middle linebacker is the player who gets the defensive play call in his helmet. This was the case in 2008 for the Eagles, when Stewart Bradley received the play call, and in the first three games this season when Omar Gaither wore the receiver in his helmet.
But when the addition of Jeremiah Trotter created a rotation at middle linebacker, the communication device was put in the helmet of starting strong safety Quintin Mikell.
"To me, it seemed flawless," defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said of the process of relaying the call to Mikell. "(Mikell) did a nice job with it and stepped into the huddle. He's a leader on defense and we want to have our leader up front."
It's an interesting progression for McDermott because in 2007, before the defense was allowed to have the communication device in a player's helmet, McDermott was the person who would relay the play called by then-defensive coordinator Jim Johnson to the players from the sideline.
So how exactly does the process work?
"It depends," Mikell said. "If there's time, then I relay the call (to the middle linebacker)." The middle linebacker then calls the play in the defensive huddle. "If (there's not time), then I'll (call the play in the huddle myself)."
"It worked pretty well," said Gaither. "Sean (McDermott_ got the play in pretty fast and that's what it's all about. If you get the play in fast enough, we can get the play in to the huddle."
Wearing the device allowed Mikell to be more involved in the play-calling process.
"I liked it," he said. "It was fun. I was able to get the call right away. I didn't give that many calls in the huddle, I let the linebackers do that, but it worked really smoothly, we didn't have a problem."
And it's a good thing Mikell enjoyed it, because McDermott confirmed that Mikell will continue to wear the headset for the foreseeable future.
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 2:51 p.m., October 16