Q. Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni made a big thing about physicality pregame, postgame. For you, who’s that guy? Is it LB TJ Edwards who sort of brings that extra physicality to the unit? (John McMullen)
JONATHAN GANNON: We had a lot of guys play very physical. TJ being one of them. But I thought our entire unit really had a stinger, edge, whatever you want to call it. I felt like we did a good job of outhitting them. And we played hard.
And that was one of the challenges to our guys, ‘Hey, we need to play harder than this team.’ Which it always is. But I think that they kind of rallied around, ‘Hey, we’re going to outplay this team.’ And I think we did that.
Q. What makes you guys so good in the red zone? (Reuben Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: It’s kind of week to week because we haven’t been great in the red zone some other games.
Execution. It came down to I think our plan was pretty good. Those were huge stops down there. Because that’s a different game, if they score a couple touchdowns.
We always talk about those are four-point plays and just how games are played. And that score looks a lot different in the middle of the third if they convert some of those.
So, really, all about the players on this last week. They executed at a high level. And I do think some of the attitude where they tried to run it in a couple times on early downs, and you see some legit strain from our guys to not let them run it in.
And it was good to see that response of our guys. The plan was not complicated this week and we executed. And that’s why you saw us hold them a couple times in the red zone.
Q. What’s been your evaluation of LB Davion Taylor through five starts? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: He’s playing well. He’s a unique player as far as his skill set, what he can do when the ball is snapped.
We ask our linebackers to do a lot in the run and pass game. He’s continuing to get better on certain plays that he hasn’t seen because he hasn’t played a lot of ball.
Some mistakes he made a couple weeks ago, he’s not making anymore. He’s in the right spot a lot — not a lot more, but there’s certain harder plays and harder things we’ve asked those guys to do, he’s improving in those areas. He’s doing a good job for us.
Q. Obviously, not focused too much on the stuff that he hasn’t been doing well, but for linebackers and young linebackers, when they come in the NFL, a lot of it is with their eyes, etc. what are those areas that they have to work on the most when they come into the league? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: Depending on what system you are in in college and what you’re running in the NFL, as far as — that’s a good question, Jeff.
For us, it’s processing, really. And what I mean by that is: He has a responsibility, alignment, assignment, key technique. So he has a key responsibility. But then pre-snap or post-snap, that can change quickly.
And the picture changes on him — on all our linebackers. It can change quickly. So you can be — before the ball is snapped, he needs to do one thing. But after that ball is snapped, that can change fast.
So, it’s really just a standpoint of pre- and post-snap, what do I have to get done within this call and how fast I can get to it, really, post-snap.
Q. What prompted the rotation at safety? (Zach Berman)
JONATHAN GANNON: We feel like those guys are doing a good job. So, we feel like, dependent on how we set up the game plan, certain packages, certain calls that we have in those packages, we like to try to put our guys in certain spots to where it suits their unique skill set.
And like I’ve said all along, that room is doing a really good job. And if they’re playing winning football, we’re going to figure out a way to get all those guys on the field.
Q. Has S Marcus Epps’s play led to that a little bit? (Dave Zangaro)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, he’s done a good job. A couple weeks ago, whoever asked me that, he’s playing winning football and he’ll continue to play.
Q. With Davion, that balance between he needs the reps to get better and he won’t get better until he gets those reps, you know, balancing the short term and the long term, what made it the right time to put him into the lineup to get those reps? (Bo Wulf)
JONATHAN GANNON: Just what he showed, the small sample size of reps that he had gotten as we were rotating a little bit early in the season and just felt from a standpoint of, ‘Hey, let’s get a guy comfortable in one spot and let him just go and play so we can see that improvement,’ that’s kind of what led to that decision.
If you keep asking a guy to do these couple things in this certain package, okay, well if his grade is whatever it is this week, let’s see if he can improve on that.
It’s like all our guys. Mistakes that you’ve made, ‘Why did you make that mistake in a game or in practice?’ Okay, well, let’s understand why we made the mistake and then improve on that so we’re not making the mistakes over and over.
Q. We’ve seen some of the rookies get in limited action and kind of take advantage; CB Zech McPhearson, DE Tarron Jackson, and LB Patrick Johnson. Have those guys developed to the point where you feel like you can put them in situations if you’re stuck in a spot where a guy has to leave? (Mike Kaye)
JONATHAN GANNON: I don’t really, in my mind, it’s not stuck in a spot. Anybody who has a jersey on gameday should be able to go in and play winning football for us.
We understand a ten-year vet is different from a rookie who has played 50 some odd snaps in a season. I do understand that. And you know there’s going to be certain mistakes that happen just because of some experience and lack of playing time.
But the guys that you just named, I feel good about all those guys going into the game and contributing to us being able to play winning football.
Q. What helped you become more effective, the defensive line or the secondary tightening things up? What was more the part of making the improvement? (Howard Eskin)
JONATHAN GANNON: That’s a good question, Howard. All 11. When we talk about certain games that we struggled, it’s, like, ‘Well, the front’s playing good, the back end not — we could have played a little bit better.’ Or, ‘The back end is playing good. Well, the front, we didn’t win one-on-one’s.’
It always comes down to all 11 doing their job at a high level and when they get a chance at a one-on-one matchup, to win those one-on-one matchups.
So, I think it’s really a combination of both this last game is is the back seven when we covered, did a good job of taking away certain things that [Broncos QB] Teddy [Bridgewater], I think, wanted. We covered extremely well, I thought. And that leads to the front having a little more tick of time. And they won some one-on-one matchups where it wouldn’t have mattered if we were covering. They just won and beat their guys.
Other times when we pressured — a lot of guys when we pressured, a couple guys won their one-on-ones quickly, which pressure typically forces a couple more one-on-ones.
And then in the backend, we did a good job because the stress when you pressure goes to the backend, because you have less guys in coverage, they did a good job of winning their tougher matchups.
It’s always a blend of who’s taking on the stress within the call and who is the strength of the call. And I think both times where we stressed the front or stressed the backend, and vice versa, they did a good job of either winning or absorbing that stress.
Q. How would you assess CB Avonte Maddox’s season? (Bo Wulf)
JONATHAN GANNON: He’s doing a good job. He’s playing winning football. Like I said before, we put a lot on his plate. And he has a lot to process and think about. And we put him in that spot as a slot nickel corner. He wears a lot of hats. He’s in the run game, he’s covering man to man. He’s in zone. He’s got a pattern match. He makes a lot of adjustments.
So, I mean, I like where Avonte is. I like where he’s going. And he’s doing a really good job for us playing winning football in that spot.
Which you need that spot. I was in another place and we had a good nickel and he got hurt, and I mean, the pass defense went south really fast just because of that one guy.
That shows you the value of that position. That guy has to play winning football in there for you because of what we ask him to do. So, he’s doing an excellent job. I love having him.
Q. What’s been your message to DE Derek Barnett after another couple penalties? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: Just keep improving it. Just keep working on your game. It’s got to be on his mind, which it is. I love how DB [Derek Barnett] played this last game. I know he had some production.
This guy, he’s playing winning football for us. The pre-snap stuff, we have to continue to practice that stuff and put him in those positions in practice, which helps.
The other one that he got, kind of a bang-bang. Sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn’t. We got to keep educating our players, why that penalty was called over and over and over.
Q. Do you know why it was called? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, we actually asked for some clarity from the NFL on that. Did he lead with his crown or did he fall on him with the body weight? So, I actually haven’t heard back on that.
But they’re always going to protect the quarterbacks. And you saw the one third down where [LB] Alex [Singleton] and [DT] Milton [Williams] hit him later in the game, I think it was in the fourth quarter, and Milton did a good job of instead of landing on him — which that’s hard, you guys. They’re going full speed, full tilt, and they’re hitting a guy, and it’s bang, bang. And all of sudden, oh by the way, as you are falling to the ground on top of this guy, pull off the guy. But those are the rules. And so, we have to enforce that and continue to educate our players and tell them about that, ‘Hey, you can’t land on a guy.’
That’s a tough rule for pressure players, whoever’s hitting the quarterback, to, ‘Hey, as you’re going to the ground, pull off.’ But those are the rules and we got to do a good job of it.
Q. As you are getting up, shouldn’t you roll off? Do you think that could have been the call, too, the way he pressed against him? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: I looked at the tape. I mean, I think he was just getting up. But yeah you, obviously, want to get up, and slap him on the butt and say, ‘I’m going to come get you next time.’
Q. How many more doubles has DT Javon Hargrave seen and what are the coaching points for him to try to beat some of them? (Dave Zangaro)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, well, he’s seen more doubles. And I think that you saw, you know, teams — as I always say, teams block us a little bit different than what we see on tape leading into games.
We know that going in. They doubled him a few times and Fletch [DT Fletcher Cox] train wrecked a game, as you saw.
So, it’s kind of pick your poison there. But like I said, Graves is doing a good job. He won a lot of those one-on-ones. He split a double one time.
They doubled him in the run game one time where it’s a hard block and he got back in and got back into his gap and had an assist on the ball. So, he’s doing a good job. He’s playing winning football and his production will continue to come.
Q. Does technique change though when you get doubled? Are there specific ways to try and beat it? (Dave Zangaro)
JONATHAN GANNON: In the run or pass game?
Q. Either. (Dave Zangaro)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, there are. We teach our guys certain things in the run and pass game, depending on the front and what we’re asking them to do.
In the pass game, it’s tough. There’s not a lot of space in there when you’re getting doubled, the slide’s coming to you. Not a whole lot that you can do when that happens.
What you need to have happen is your other guys that are getting the one-on-ones win their one-on-ones. And you saw that happen.
If it’s a six-man protection and they’re doubling the inside guys, well, you should have two or three one-on-one guys on the other side or the other people.
I think that’s what you saw early in the year he was getting some one-on-ones, because Fletch was getting the double and he was winning those one-on-ones.
So, it’s always a blend of, when I get my chance to win my one-on-one, do I? And when I do get a double, to get done what we need to when we do get a double. So, he’s doing a good job of that, as all our inside guys are.