McDermott, Mornhinweg Talk About Respective Units
By Lance Epstein
On Monday, Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott and Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg met the media to discuss their respective units.
For McDemott, he got the chance to rave about how good his defense has been over the first three games of the preseason, but still say there is work to be done. He sees the rookies picking up the defense better than he could have imagined and the starting linebacking corps having toughness along with the ability to play every snap. Additionally, he talked about the improvements in CB Asante Samuel’s game.
On the other side of the ball, Mornhinweg had to face questions about his struggling offense and in particular QB Kevin Kolb and TE Brent Celek. Additionally, Mornhinweg talked about the offensive line needing some time to gel and his running back situation.
Here is more their thoughts and their press conference quotes:
Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott:
On rookies learning and picking up his defensive scheme:
"They've done a great job. They really have. Our scheme is larger than most in terms of what we do defensively and what we ask of our players to execute on the field and they've done a nice job. That said, we've tried to cut back some things in the playbook this offseason knowing we would have a number of new faces, as you already mentioned, and so we could get the contribution we have up to this point."
On the rookies relying on each other to get the play book down:
"You know the Fab 5, you guys remember the Fab 5, right, from the University of Michigan basketball team. So, when you come in together with the class that we brought in this year, it builds that bond. And when you spend time together, that bond only becomes stronger, and when you go through ups and downs together it becomes even stronger. So, these guys seem to stick around one another. But, at the same time, the part of the overall chemistry of the team is such that the veterans, if you will, on this defense have pulled those guys along and haven't just turned their backs on them. So, what we've seen over the last three, four, five weeks is the coming together of a defense, here."
On LBs Stewart Bradley, Ernie Sims and Akeem Jordan as a unit:
"Good. I like the toughness in the group there with the three that you mentioned. And they look like they're building that chemistry from being out on the field together, which is important. There seems to be balance both in the run and the pass game."
On the linebackers being able to take every snap is going to help him out and the defense:
"Big. It really is big. And this gets back to us being healthy, for the most part, right now. We got banged up in a game the other night. But, for the most part, we're healthy. And as I mentioned earlier, that continuity builds the chemistry and the consistency that you need at the position."
On the linebackers being better and being more vital than in past years:
"Well, they're young and they're fast. As I mentioned earlier, they're very tough, which I like in our linebackers and our overall defense. I want to make sure that we can play a tough brand of football each and every week and that we're physical and aggressive."
On the linebackers setting a tone for the defense:
"Well, you would hope so. The core of your defense and the strength down the middle of your defense needs to be just that."
On the defense looking better so far in the preseason than last year at this time:
"Which point last year (laughing). You know, there's a number of new faces and it's one thing to look good in preseason; it's another thing to look good throughout each and every week of a sixteen game schedule. So, we still have a lot of work to do and the players know that more than anybody. And that's what we're working on this week and we'll continue to work on each and every week."
On having former players who played in the scheme in Shawn Barber and Mike Zordich is helpful to the defense:
"Absolutely. You have ex-Eagles here and not only do they know some of what we do scheme wise, but they also know the culture and the winning culture in this organization. And so, the contribution of the coaches that you mentioned is not only on the field, but off the field with the young players, as you mentioned earlier."
On concerns coming from his defense:
"There's a process in place and when you start in training camp, or really even back in the spring, there's a to do list that's this long and you try each and every day, each and every week to check off a number of those boxes. And I think we've done that in terms of moving the defense forward. Are all of those boxes checked off? Certainly not, and that's what we need to continue to push forward on and make sure we're working on it. If you go into specifics, we'd be showing our hand and I don't really want to do that right now."
On the tackling and his evaluation of the tackling in camp/preseason so far:
"I think we've tackled well this preseason. Have we been perfect? Absolutely not. But, when you are an aggressive defense, there are going to be some tackles that you miss because you're flying around and guys are working to get to the football. So, we have work to do, certainly in that category as well. And one thing about tackling is that it is a core fundamental on defense and we're going to continue to work on it because when you stop working on the fundamentals, then you really breakdown."
On CB Asante Samuel being more physical this year:
"We want our whole defense to be more physical than we were last year. And in my mind, you can never be physical enough. At each and every position we are going to look to be aggressive and be very physical and tackling is a big part of that, as you mentioned, Asante's hit the other night. I was very happy with the way he came up and stuck it to the receiver, there. I've never worried about his toughness, as you mentioned. I've never worried about that at all. But, I did see an improvement to this point in camp."
On CB/S Macho Harris’ role in the defense:
"Right now, he's playing safety. I think he started eight or nine games for us last year at safety and because of the numbers - and I think (Head) Coach (Andy) Reid mentioned this the other day with the play of (CB) Trevard Lindley and what he's given us at the corner position - we feel good about that position. And then moving Macho back, we just (prepped) him a practice or two before the game the other night and he looked fairly comfortable in terms of his recall."
On DE Trent Cole's training camp and preseason:
"Phenomenal. I don't know that Trent's had a better preseason than he's had this year. I think you guys saw the last two games he really dominated when he was in. The last two games he looks like he's right on pace, right now."
On Cole adding some bulk:
"I think he's about the same size. But, he looks in great shape."
On working on plan for Green Bay and their high powered offense:
"We're keeping an eye on them; keeping an eye on all 59 points the other night."
Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg:
"The last ballgame, really the only thing we did pretty well was the first drive and the last drive. Everything in between wasn't very good. So we're looking to improve upon that, get better every day. We've got a great challenge this next week. This Jets defense challenges you and so it will be a good challenge for our twos and threes. They challenge you in every aspect. They challenge you up front, they challenge you out wide, they challenge you with some blitzes. So it'll be a good challenge."
On TE Brent Celek not being very involved in the offense in the preseason:
"He didn't play a ton. There were several routes throughout the preseason designed to go to him, take it away, goes to somebody else. It's a little cyclical as well, but he'll be a big part of our offense."
On defenses purposely eliminating him:
"Well, it certainly looked like that on several of them and then we would complete the ball somewhere else. That's why some games get a little cyclical, you know."
On using more two-TE sets this season:
"I'm not going to get into percentages. It's not as much as some and it's a little bit more than some others, but I'm not going to get into percentages."
On if the two-tight end formations do not work, what will he go to:
"Well, we can do a lot of different things. We can do a lot. We use all different personnel groups, almost as many as possible as there is."
On the difficulties to sustain a offensive rhythm with a first-year starting quarterback and a makeshift offensive line:
"Well, you know what I think about rhythm; it's real. It's hard to explain, but it is real. You go through things like that through the season and through games, so you can't make any excuses. You have to stay in rhythm, it's just that simple. The next guy comes in and plays and you keep with the rhythm."
On G Stacy Andrews and performance in the preseason:
"He's good. He's done a fine job. He's got a couple things to work on. If we just have that mentality of improving every day, then we'll be in good shape."
On if Nick Cole, Max Jean-Gilles or Andrews will start at RG to begin the season:
"I'm not going to get into anybody starting this week or any of that stuff. It's too far away. But, yeah, he's been our starter here."
On the importance of center when players miss blocks on a blitz:
"Well, again, I'm not going to get into exactly how we do it, but we do an awful lot of things up front and it happens fast and it happens quick. We love people to blitz us. We want to be the best in the league against the blitz. We want to have a certain mentality with people blitzing us."
On getting comfortable with the offensive line and how long it took last year:
"Well, I can't put a time factor on that. However, I will say everything we do is important and every play in practice that we do on the field is important; certainly the classroom work. You just can't get away, there is no substitute for that. Hard work and preparation, there is no substitute for it. We have to get it in and that offensive line is – I've never seen an offense that was any good at all who wasn't really good up front and by that I mean playing together as a unit and being very consistent. The offensive line is important to every football team, certainly ours.”
On the running back situation:
"Oh, the running backs are fine. We had some problems last week in scat. Looking at it, I was disappointed on several plays, day one-type situations, and there were some other ones that we've got to get cleaned up real quick. Those were very basic things that we didn't do very well. Now there were some great highlights in that game. There were several plays, but we were so inconsistent that we just (scored on the first drive and last drive of the game) and then I think we had a 71-yard drive and then ended up with a field goal and that was about it. Well we expect better. We expect more points, we expect to move the ball a little better than that."
On RB LeSean McCoy and being more consistent:
"He hadn't played all that much as far as amount of plays. Really, none of the ones have up until last week. Yeah, I'd like him to be a highly consistent, tough, physical back that gets the extra yards and I know he's gotten better at that."
On RB Mike Bell running a route out in the flat against the Chiefs:
"I'm not going to get into any specific play, but we do scat the backs a lot. Everybody's involved now and sometimes from afar you think it might be this or it might be that. It's hard to tell from afar because we could be in scat, we could be in a certain – in the end, everybody's responsible; everybody's responsible. It starts up front, tight ends, backs are involved in it, the quarterback certainly is a big factor beating the blitz and the receivers certainly come into play with end backs with hot and quick throws."
On WR DeSean Jackson not being the prototypical size has any affect on the play calling:
"This is a tough, physical game. It's a collision game and he's pretty good at avoiding those big hits. He's a tough guy now, a real tough guy and so he's trying to get a couple extra there and you saw him lead and took a big hit. It's going to happen on occasion. It's part of the game."
On he and Reid playing starters in the final preseason game:
"No, well, you might want to ask Andy that. As far as I understand, no."
On QB Kevin Kolb saying and making the right adjustments after the bad plays/throws in the Chiefs’ game:
"Yeah, I have great confidence in Kevin Kolb. Look, he missed a few things and he's done those things before just perfectly. I have to go back and evaluate myself. I think he was thinking a little too much. He knows some of those plays inside and out, and then all of a sudden, he missed a couple. That's my responsibility, as well, and we did that that week. That cut back to day one and got a quick review on these type of things."
On if his bad plays were due to poor decision-making:
"Our mistakes were well-accounted at every position. I'm not going to get into details now. We've got great confidence in Kevin Kolb, no question about it. Some of those things he missed, he's done in the past, he's done beautifully. I don't have any hesitation on that."
On if he re-evaluated QB Michael Vick's role in the offseason:
"You certainly think about it because I do believe in it, however, it is all the mentality, really. If you have the mentality – and our offense has it, all of our players have it – where we don't care how we win the next game. We'll do whatever it takes to win the next game. We don't care how we win the game; run, pass. We don't care who gets the credit. We don't care who scores. With that attitude, then you're in pretty good shape."
On quarterbacks coach James Urban having depth at the position this year:
"Well, he's a heck of a coach and he does a heck of a job with the quarterbacks. Yeah, it's a good challenge for him. Yeah, he's a heck of a coach. He does a tremendous job with sort of highlighting every quarterback's strengths. Every quarterback is different, and so you need to teach them differently and he does an excellent job of that."