Philadelphia Eagles News

SS Quintin Mikell

On whether it is hard to establish continuity on the defense when there are still positions up for grab:"It's a little bit more difficult trying to adjust to different guys, but it's a situation that happens when you have injuries and things like that. It's something you have to deal with. We all have to pull together by this time next week. This is what we're dealing with and we just have to do it."

On how much of a difference LB Omar Gaither's familiarity with the defensive scheme will make: "It's going to help a lot. He's been there before. I know he knows what to do and where to be and stuff like that. That's definitely a plus. He's played pretty well over the years, so I'm glad that he's back there."

On how he feels about where the defense is right now: "I feel like we still have some work to do. We definitely are not where we want to be, but with that being said, I feel like we've shown flashes here and there. We have to become consistent. I think that over the next week and a half we have a lot of growing up to do and a lot of jelling to do. I think we can do that. We have to get out of the camp mode and start realizing that it's season time, it's time to get it corrected. I think we'll be fine."

On why he thinks S Quintin Demps hasn't earned the number two safety spot yet, and whether he thinks Demps is trying too hard to fill Broncos S Brian Dawkins' shoes: "I think, especially in the secondary, it's tough because he's Dawk – we always go back to that. Everyone kind of gets compared to him and that's fine. I think that at times in the secondary, you can try too hard; you can try to take too much on your shoulders. Sometimes you have to learn that it's a working unit, that we all work together and we all depend on each other. I think Quintin, he's learning that. He's learning that, look these guys are dependent on me, I need to be where I'm at, just as I'm dependent on them to be where they need to be. I think he's getting fine. He's progressing fine. I think he's going to be a heck of a player. He just has to keep working hard and keep going."

On whether he felt Dawkins' shadow when he first started playing more, and whether he still feels it:"I think I'll always feel that. That's not a bad thing. He's one of the greatest players to ever play the game. I feel like as long as you're feeling that, you have something to strive for. It doesn't bother me as long as he's playing. As long as I remember what he was able to do, I know I have to step up my game, and that's fine."

On whether he watched Dawkins last night:"Yeah, I watched him last night."

On whether it was strange seeing Dawkins in a Denver uniform: "It was really weird, that orange jersey on and stuff, it was a little different seeing him. It was fun watching him play. He was flying around out there and having fun and playing physical."

On whether watching Dawkins last night made him wish Dawkins was still an Eagle: "You don't want to get caught up in that. I will say it was a little nostalgic sitting here (thinking), 'I remember those hits' and stuff like that. It was a little weird but I'm happy with the situation that we're in and I'm sure he's happy. It's the position we're in. We just have to move on."

On how he thinks Demps has mentally handled the fact that he's following a legend like Dawkins: "I think he's handled it well. Everyone in the secondary, we're all getting that question, and I think he's had more eyes on him than anyone because he's the new guy. But I think he's handling it well so far. He's had some ups and downs. But he's come to work every day and he's not a quitter and he's fighting and that's all we need. I think he's going to be fine when it's all done."

On whether it's safe to say that they want to be a more consistent run defense this year, and who that starts with: "You have to stop the run in this game. If you look back, even last year, we finished third in the league, but the games where we didn't play so well, teams were running the ball on us. You have to stop the run, and I believe that it starts with our front four. Our front four, they are some beasts and they have to get it done. I think that we have some guys that are going to play lights out. Then, after that, it's the linebackers and they are coming along and they are doing thing. The secondary, if need be, we need to be great tacklers too. I think, though, the front four is where it starts."

On whether DT Mike Patterson and DT Brodrick Bunkley took it personally that the run defense wasn't very good at the start of last season: "I think as a defense we took it as a whole, personally. I think that if you look at what was happening last year, not only were they getting three yards, they were getting 10-yard gains and so that becomes the secondary, that becomes the safeties and linebackers problem. I think as a whole, we all took it on ourselves to stop that run, the linebackers, everybody. I think right now going into the season we all have to have our minds set, except for our corners, we don't want our corners to worry about runs, so our front seven and the safeties have to deal with that."

On whether he thinks Patterson and Bunkley can elevate their game even higher this year: "I think so. I think everybody can grow and get better. I think at the end of the season they were playing at a high level and you could see it. I think right now we're only getting better. We've changed up a couple of things and that's going to help them out, help us out. I think we should be fine."

On how he said earlier that the defense still has some work to do before being ready for the regular season and how they go about accomplishing that: "You can learn a lot in practice. I think the stuff that we need to get better at is stuff that we can fix in practice, guys knowing where each other are going to be, guys flying to the ball, guys playing physical. Sometimes at the end of training camp it kind of gets like that, you kind of get tired and you're thinking about other things. Then, once you get to the regular season you kind of refocus. Once we start really focusing on Carolina we should be fine and everybody is going to come together."

On whether his responsibilities have changed this year: "No. I'm pretty much the same. (I'm still a) strong safety (that) usually makes the checks and does the talking. I'm pretty much the same as I was last year. We ask our free safeties to just go out there and make plays and do what they need to do and that's that."

On whether he has more responsibility this year as far as covering the tight ends: "I think the way our scheme is, both safeties cover the tight ends. We'll see what happens. It depends on who we are playing each week. If the coach needs me to cover a tight end, I can do that. (If he needs me to) guard a receiver, most receivers, I can do that, too. I'm fine with that."

On how hard it will be for the coaches to cut down the roster at the cornerback position: "It's going to be tough. I wouldn't want to be a coach dealing with that. We have a lot of good players, a lot of good guys that have stepped up and made some plays. The good thing is that if you're not on this team, if you get released from this team, you're playing somewhere else. Everyone that has left here is a starter or a good player on another team. As long as those guys go out in this final game and show out, they should be fine. It's going to be tough, but I think everyone is going to be okay in the end."

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