JONATHAN GANNON: Just wrapping up. Seems likes a long time ago, but good win on the road, battled hard, did some good things in that game, got some things to clean up as always.
We’ll work on improving those things, and I thought our guys in a 14-14 game in the third quarter made some big plays to step up and help our team have a chance to win.
So, I like how we finished out that game, and looking forward to playing Washington at the Linc.
Q. Obviously tackling hasn’t been a strength of this defense. What’s your concern level there? And you’re not on the field all that much. What can you do to get better there? (Reuben Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: I believe in the players that we have, and when we’ve needed to make it an emphasis to improve that part of our game, we have.
I think it’s really – there are points in certain games, in every game, and there are different times throughout the season, that’s just got to be on our mind, and we have to improve it and we have to coach it better.
It’s just consistency you’re looking for with everything, not just the tackling, with covering and execution and situational ball. It’s just being consistently sound and good at what we’re doing.
I think, too, like a lot of that in that last game, we knew that was a really good back. That’s a challenge on a short week going down there, not to make an excuse because everyone has to do it. But I think getting back to a normal week of practice and going through our normal routine will help us with that part of our game.
I talked about it with the team, with the defense. There were some things that I could have done a little bit better to get us in some better spots to make some easier plays for our guys.
There were a couple calls in there that I didn’t love that I was really kind of honestly putting our guys at a disadvantage because I was thinking one thing and it wasn’t happening, and that makes it hard for the players.
I think we’re all collectively working to improve that, and we’ll get better at it.
Q. Is it also any byproduct of scheme because there is more space at times to have to cover for these guys? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: Cover for who?
Q. If you’re playing to prevent the big play, is there more space underneath for guys to cover and then therefore there will be more missed tackles? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, there are certain times depending on the route — in the pass game you’re talking about in?
Q. Just in general tackling. (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, there are times in the pass game with different coverages, we talk about it strengths and stresses of each call. Well, there are some calls that depending on the route, you can be all alone one-on-one in space, and it’s tough, you know what I mean? But we have to get those plays down and we have to make those plays. Our guys know that.
In the run game, when you’re thinking that you’re going to get a shot play or here or there and we’re in a light box, obviously we have one less person in the box. If they run the ball, we have to rally to it and get a half a hat on the ball and win some one-on-ones and tackle the ball in space. A lot of times you set edges and build a wall on the line of scrimmage, well, you’re one short. So that’s what I mean about the calls.
Everything that we do we’ll try to continually improve. It doesn’t matter the call. We have to be able to execute at a high level and play good defense.
Q. It was a short week, so how do you think you guys handled not having DT Jordan Davis, and does that affect you toggling back and forth between the four- and the five- man? The short week and the absence? (John McMullen)
JONATHAN GANNON: I thought the head coach did a really good job. We changed our short week schedule this year, and I really liked it. I think that should be the blueprint moving forward because I felt like we were ready to play mentally and physically.
When you go back — you guys know, when you go back in and out of certain groups by situations, first, second down, things like that, depending on what they’re giving you, what personnel groups, the time of the game, what I’m thinking, what I think they’re thinking, it’s a challenge for our guys to click in and out of those calls and execute them at a high level, which we’ve done a good job with. We’ll continue to do that.
I think it’s just knowing the stress and the strength of each call, and hopefully you’re more right than wrong as far as when I’m calling something what you’re getting there or what you’re not getting.
Q. How different does watching this offense look with Commanders QB Taylor Heinicke compared to Commanders QB Carson Wentz? (Mike Sielski)
JONATHAN GANNON: A lot of the same things. I think he presents a certain challenge because he can make a lot of off-schedule plays. He doesn’t have a lot of fear of throwing the ball into coverage, and he’s got good skill guys around him and he gives them chances to make plays on 50/50 balls, which you’ve seen him do as he’s come back in a little bit.
It’s basically the same offense to me. It’s just that he can move around and make some off-schedule plays, which that presents a different challenge to us when we rush and when we cover.
We’ll have a good plan ready to go, and we have to execute at a high level to give ourselves a chance to win the game.
Q. Some of S C.J. Gardner-Johnson’s interceptions have been tough catches this year. How much of that is natural ability to catch the ball and how much work goes into it? (Dave Zangaro)
JONATHAN GANNON: Well, I mean, they do, they catch a lot of balls. That’s one of the things that our head coach does. Like he makes guys that have the opportunity to catch balls, he makes them catch balls.
So, they go through the same catch circuit that the receivers do, and that’s dictated by him, which is awesome.
The DB coaches do an excellent job of when we throw ball drills — I love to throw ball drills because I’m an accurate passer. Well, you really don’t want to throw accurate balls all the times in practice because a lot of times when you have the chance to take the ball away, it’s not pitch and catch.
You saw the one. He’s catching like this. The other one that — who was that against? The one night game from the center of the field. Who was that against?
Q. Dallas game. (Zach Berman)
JONATHAN GANNON: Dallas game. I mean, that was an unbelievable — that was right in front of me. He caught it an inch from the ground.
That’s a talented player that works on it every day with the coaches, and he’s done a good job of capitalizing on some of those plays that he gets his hands on. That’s a really good question.
Our other guys have done a good job with that, too. [CB Darius] Slay, [CB James] Bradberry, those guys – [CB] Avonte [Maddox], those guys have made some catches when the ball is around them, and that’s why we’re playing really good pass defense right now and taking the ball away at a high level because they understand where to be.
They understand where their opportunities are going to come, and they make some plays that if me and you were out there, we probably wouldn’t make them.
It’s been good. They’re executing well, and we need to continue to do that.
Q. You have a stretch of pretty good, physical running backs coming up like Texans RB Dameon Pierce did; he put 139 up. Do you have to make any adjustments going from that light box to — you know, now other teams say, hey, we can run on the Eagles? (Ed Kracz)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, that’s a good question. It’s a blend of how I’m calling the game. That’s what I’m talking about, what goes into that. If the team is trying to pound you, you want to get another hat in the box.
You make sure that you’re not check mated by the number count. With saying that, there’s some give and take to that, too, in the pass game. I think we’ll continue to work on, improve when we are in a light box, how we can be a little bit better, and then when we are in post close to really knock those runs down a little bit quicker and not have some yardage that kind of — you know, I always say, what doesn’t show up on the stat sheet is a three-yard run that goes for six, because it’s now 2nd and 4, not 2nd and 7. It’s a whole different game calling the game like that.
Our guys know that, and we’ll work to continue to improve it.
Q. Head coach Nick Sirianni was saying the other day that there’s a perception that you guys are lucky with turnovers and luck has nothing to do with it. What makes you feel like this is sustainable if you do think so, and that there’s not going to be a regression to the mean in that area? (Zach Berman)
JONATHAN GANNON: Every game is different depending on how an offense likes to play. That goes into it. Do you get them in a known pass a lot? Obviously more passes you’re going to have a higher opportunity to take the ball away.
I kind of laugh at that. That’s the first time I heard it’s luck. We coach that and we have players that take the ball away. There’s nothing lucky about that.
Now, you do know that — I always say takeaways come in bunches. You might go a couple games and not have one and all of a sudden you have a takeaway explosion. What we’ve done is consistently when we get — I think that’s the main thing is when you do get your opportunities, do you capitalize on them? Where we dropped some last year and we had some chances, I think we’re doing a good job of capitalizing on them.
As long as you’re capitalizing on your opportunities when you get them, because you don’t know when they’re going to come up, that stat should stay where it’s at for us.
Q. Is the more dime matchup personnel or is that just you’ve liked that package? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: [Jokingly] After you said put it in, I put it in, and we’ve been running it. [Laughter].
No, that’s a little bit game by game. We play different personnel groups on third down, on pass downs, as well. Just for what you saw how we thought that they were going to attack us, we thought that was some good calls that we could deploy from that group, and they executed it at a high level.
I’m way past the game right now, so off the top of my head I don’t think we pressured once and we sacked him a couple times and took the ball away a couple times, and I think we were pretty good on third down.
We always have calls up like that and our guys know, hey — I always tell them, we’re going to start the game like this and then get to these calls. I’m going to mix the calls. Or I am going to — everything on the call sheet in this group, I’m going to unload it and then go from there.
A little bit of that’s feel and see what’s working, and then certain down and distances go into play with that.
It’s kind of — it goes to everything. That’s a good question. The game before Houston against Pittsburgh, we were going to get to it in the second half and really didn’t need to, so there’s one snap of dime the whole game; that was Chauncey’s [S C.J. Gardner-Johnson] sack.
You just have to see how the game is going and the blend of that and who’s got the hot hand and how they’re playing us. You see a couple third downs you say, okay, this is how they’re trying to play us and what we set up those calls for they really don’t apply, or they do apply and you get to it.
Q. How is LB Nakobe Dean doing behind the scenes, and is there any thought about finding some packages to get him involved? (Reuben Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: [He’s doing] awesome. Yeah, we talk about that all the time not just with Nakobe, but all our players. I like where [LB] Kyzir [White] and [LB] T.J. [Edwards] are at. I think they are playing well with each other.
But Nakobe is ready to go. I think I talked about that with [Amazon Prime Video Analyst Kirk] Herbstreit. He asked about him, and I said when Nakobe has to go in, I have no fret of him going in and functioning at a very high level.
Behind the scenes, that’s a good question. This guy improves every day, like all our guys. They take their reps to heart. They try to maximize their reps in practice. He’s playing scout team, as well, like all our twos do, which that’s the head coach. I love how he sets up practice with ones versus twos. Not just scout team. And they play our calls, so he’s getting time on task into our calls with what we have up in the game plan.
When we need him, he’ll be ready to go.
Q. One of the things Nick Sirianni was saying was that C.J. Gardner-Johnson keeps plugging in to play wide receiver and everything. Do you find that a really good defensive back has those wide receiver type of skills, does that make them better do you think? Especially with all those interceptions lately? (Martin Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, he has good ball skills. I don’t know if he’s ready to go in and run a slant one-on-one on 3rd and 3 and win. I think I’d rather have [WR] A.J. [Brown] do that. But you know, they had Slay [CB Darius Slay] do it. If they’re going to take Chauncey for a third down; I’ll take [WR] DeVonta [Smith] for a third down one time and we’ll go from there.
Q. You’ve been with a lot of organizations during your career in coaching. I’m wondering now that you’ve been here a little while, what have you picked up on that separates the Eagles from other places you’ve been? (Mike Sielski)
JONATHAN GANNON: That’s a great question. That’s why I love it here. The people in the top seats are 100 percent committed to winning. Who I mean by that is the owner [Chairman and Chief Executive Office Jeffrey Lurie], the GM [Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman], and the head coach [Head Coach Nick Sirianni]. When they’re in lockstep to that all they care about is day by day the process and winning football games, and not just short-term but long-term, you have a chance to do your job and do it well and win games.
I think a lot of people out there say, ‘Yeah, we want to win, we want to win, we want to win,’ but their actions don’t really show that. The actions in this building with the Philadelphia Eagles, those three guys, their actions every day, they’re committed to that, and that’s why I love — you couldn’t have a better defensive coordinator chair than I have right now for those three guys and the players that we have.
I love it here, and let’s keep winning some games.