Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott explained to the media what he expects to see during the Eagles preseason opener against Jacksonville. He also talked about his rookie DE Brandon Graham, the starting SAM linebacker position and even QB Kevin Kolb.
Here are his press conference quotes:
On what he is excited to see the most during the first preseason game on Friday night:
"What I want to see is us to continue to develop as a defense, watch the players build the chemistry that they started to build in camp and execute the scheme and fundamentally be smart."
On dealing and evaluating rookie FS Nate Allen play in his first preseason game:
"This is preseason, and part of the preseason and the evaluation process is seeing how players respond under the lights, and that will be a part of the process with Nate. I think that he's earned the respect at this point with his peers, and they'll take care of him."
On his coaching of Allen compared other rookies he has coached:
"Each situation is different. Nate is a very mature young man and he has to this point been very unshakeable. Like I said, I think that [S] Quintin Mikell and [CB] Asante Samuel, [CB] Joselio Hanson and [CB] Ellis Hobbs all have a lot of trust in Nate. Especially at this point, we're not very far along, and he's done extremely well up to this point."
On Allen’s tackling:
"He's tackled well, he's tackled extremely well and I can't think of a tackle that he's missed to this point in camp, which for a safety is saying something. So, with that said games are different, games are a little bit faster, and like I said earlier it will all be a part of the evaluation process."
On LB Akeem Jordan and his role:
"He looks good and he continues to learn the SAM linebacker position and there's going to be some things that he hasn't seen, and that's been the case so far in camp. But he continues to learn on the run, and the biggest thing is that he doesn't make the same mistake twice. He's a good football player, and he's working well with both [LB] Stewart Bradley and [LB] Ernie Sims."
On Jordan's playing the SAM linebacker position and his strengths there:
"He's productive and he's got great instincts, he's an undrafted free agent coming out of college and he's playing that position. All of the reasons that he's playing that position are the reasons why he's been around the NFL as long as he has. He's productive, he's got great instincts, and he's a tough hard-nosed football player."
On Jordan’s ability in coverage:
"I think he looks pretty good, I think he looks better than usual and after that ball today on that side line [joking]. No, you know we're working on it in all honesty we're working on it. It's an everyday chore, and it's an everyday fundamental that we're going to attack and work and work until we get it straight."
On starting linebackers being on the field with each other all through camp and it’s advantages:
"That's a significant advantage than what we had last year with the different moving parts with the injuries and what have you. I look forward to that. To have those guys healthy like we've had them to this point and to see them come together. That's all part of training camp and spending time with one another and going through situations together where they see formations, they see things, they get on the sideline and they can talk about them. That's a part of the growth process that takes place between a unit."
On the chemistry at the linebacker position:
"At any position, you know, chemistry's big; it really is. When you have moving parts, it's hard to develop chemistry and knowing where your partner is going to be. Sometimes all it should take is a look and you know how to handle something and then you come off the field and you verify it. Those of us that have played it, that's just how the games work. When you get good working together, it doesn't even take communication. It takes, like I said, the look and we're off."
On helping QB Kevin Kolb by throwing different plays and formations at him:
"We've got quite a bit of our playbook in at this point, and to Kevin's credit he looks like he's handled it extremely well. And I know that the offense pushes the defense, and the defense continues to try to push the offense and I think that Kevin's in a good place right now."
On being more comfortable as defensive coordinator this year compared to last year:
"We'll you know I've mentioned this before. From a timing standpoint alone it's allowed for a different situation and that's made us all more comfortable. I think that the players are more comfortable with the scheme, the coaches we've been together since February, a normal offseason if you will. And we're anxious to see how we fair on Friday night. But we're just continuing to bring these guys along; we've got some new guys, some young guys. There is a process in place here and we need to take it one step at a time."
On DE Juqua Parker’s camp and the competition at the DE position: "Well, JP is a significant part of this defense and I know all the attention has been on [DE] Brandon Graham. Brandon has done extremely well, but it's important we don't forget about JP. He is the starter and one of the leaders on the defense. What he's done for this defense over the years on the field, he's been very productive including last year. I think he set a career high in sacks for himself last season. He's a big part of what we do."
On Graham getting first team reps:
"It'll be just like you saw out here at this time. I'll leave the rest to – I believe coach [Andy] Reid is going to talk to you guys tomorrow."
On tackling so far during the live hitting sessions of training camp:
"We've had some good periods and some tackles that we could've done a better job with. You saw us out here working. Each position was working on it again this morning. It's hard to be a good defense, or a great defense if you don't tackle well. That's our goal and we will spend time tackling. We've spent more time on it last year than we had since I've been here and we're going to continue to spend time on it."
On if Friday's first preseason game will reveal more about his defense than he already knows:
"Well, that's the advantage of coach Reid and how he scripts our practices in the live periods. A lot of people I know don't go live, but from a defensive standpoint, it's tough to know how you're going to tackle if you don't work on it live. It's tough to drill it when tackling means taking a player, one of your teammates, down to the ground. The live periods give us that opportunity to work on our tackling and evaluate it at the same time."