Q. You faced the Jets, obviously, in the joint practices. Can you use any of that? (Dave Zangaro)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, we watched some of that tape. Obviously, the tape from what they’ve been doing in games, but you start to see like how they try to attack different defenses and then certain staple plays that they have that they were running, I’m sure, in training camp versus us and all the way out throughout the season.
So, we looked at that tape and had some good thoughts about how they were trying to attack us in those joint practices and in the game as well. So, yeah, we looked at it.
Q. They played four different quarterbacks this year. How much does their offense change with each guy in there? (Mike Kaye)
JONATHAN GANNON: You can see them – [Jets Offensive Coordinator Mike] LaFleur, I think, does a good job of trying to tailor fit for what each quarterback’s skill set is. It looked a little different with [Jets QB] Joe [Flacco], with the other two guys playing, obviously, with [Jets QB] Zach [Wilson] now. They have certain staples that show up from things that he likes to run that have been good plays for them.
So, we’ve looked at, obviously, the entire year, but they play a little bit differently when Zach’s in there. So, just got to understand how – what he’s comfortable doing and how they’re trying to attack with him playing quarterback.
Q. You guys are 30th in sacks per pass play, but you also, in other analytics, do well in terms of pressures. Do you have a metric that you measure the worth of one versus the other? Is it based upon how many yards you lose on sack versus how many you lose when you do – is there anything that you – and how do you justify one versus the other? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: No, I wouldn’t say that. You look at it in totality. Like in passing situations, are you affecting the quarterback in a positive way for us? You do that a lot of different ways.
There’s no one that wants sacks more than the D-line and us because those are some splash game-changing plays. It’s a way to get off the field on third down. It’s a way on first and second down to put them behind the sticks, and you’re always trying to get them to known pass situations.
I forget what we were on third down on Sunday, but a lot of those third down stops, yeah, we didn’t sack the quarterback, but we’re affecting him in a positive way.
So, like off the top of my head, the first third down, we’d run a little stunt in there and Fletch [DT Fletcher Cox] wins on the outside and Sweaty [DE Josh Sweat] wins on the outside and the quarterback is throwing off his back foot with a guy in his lap, and it’s an inaccurate pass. For as good as the coverage was, the play really – we really – it’s rush and cover, cover and rush. Like that affected the play, the rush.
So, I don’t think just measuring sacks is a good measure as far as how’s your defensive line affecting the game. So, I think they’re doing a good job. Yeah, hopefully, we get some more production with sacking the quarterback at times and there’s a lot of different ways to do that, as you know.
Q. With that said, why do you think the pressure hasn’t translated into sacks? There’s been games where you’ve had good pressure, like you said, but it hasn’t kind of converted into sacks. (Reuben Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, it’s a lot of game plan specific things. How are you attacking, who they have blocking, protections, the routes behind it. Sometimes, it’s a deeper route where we have a couple guys one-on-one. Well, if you try to block some of our guys one-on-one for a long time, that’s hard duty, you know.
There are other times where we’ve sacked the quarterback where we’re affecting a protection a certain way and you get a couple more one-on-ones than what you’re normally used to. I think that our D-line is doing a good job with that, affecting the quarterback in a positive way.
And with us, from my standpoint, it’s always looking at, ‘How can we set it up a little bit better? What looks do we need to give? How can we change the picture on the quarterback, where you’re forcing protection adjustments?’ I think that all bleeds into our guys having success with sacks. So, ultimately, it comes down to us and to myself.
Q. DE Derek Barnett wasn’t on the field late in the game. What was the reason for that? (Zach Berman)
JONATHAN GANNON: He had a little bit of – I think he had a rib or something going on with his back. He tightened up, got hit maybe or something. So, he was getting worked on on the sideline.
Q. When you talk about the pass rush, everybody likes to be disciplined, but I guess there’s – I don’t want to say freelancing, but there’s certain coordinators, defensive lines that preach pin your ears back. Is discipline a big part of your plan when it comes to the pass rush? (John McMullen)
JONATHAN GANNON: Huge. Huge, yeah, especially when you look at where the game is now. [Giants QB] Daniel [Jones] is a good one to – he will gut you if you do not rush in a disciplined way. When you’re playing coverage, certain coverages, you don’t have a lot of guys looking at him. If he creases you because somebody gets out of their rush lane or you don’t balance the rush the right way, or even with pressure, it’s how the pressure gets balanced, those end up being explosive plays.
So, yeah, there’s definitely a blend of, ‘Hey, cut your ears back and go and beat your guy. Oh, but by the way, you can’t end up on this side of the center,’ you know what I mean? Even if you get the slide or vice versa. Or for ends, you can’t turn – turning the corner is great, but if it comes in and it’s 13 yards, that’s no good for anybody.
So, there’s always a blend of winning your one-on-one matchup in a disciplined way when we’re four-man rushing. Four equals one, they have to be cognizant of their rush lanes.
Q. What does Jets QB Zach Wilson show on tape? (Tim McManus)
JONATHAN GANNON: He’s got a live arm and he can move around in the pocket pretty well. I think he did a better job this last game knowing where to go with the football a little bit quicker. Just like any high drafted rookie, there’s going to be some learning that you see. Some games he doesn’t look as good as other games, but this guy is a very talented guy. He can make all the throws. He’s mobile. This is going to be a big-time challenge.
Q. How different is it when you approach a rookie quarterback as opposed to a veteran? (Dave Zangaro)
JONATHAN GANNON: Depending what schematic system you’re kind of playing against, it’s a little bit different. With them coming, it’s a new system, a rookie quarterback, that’s different than when you play [Buccaneers Head Coach] Bruce Arians and [Buccaneers QB] Tom Brady, obviously, you know. Or even when they’re playing with [Jets QB] Joe [Flacco], that’s a veteran quarterback in a kind of year one new system.
So, you tweak a little bit how you’re defending them. But I would say for us, it ultimately comes down to the execution of us, not really what they do, but what we do. So, that’s what we’ll preach on this week.
Q. In looking at the Jets, Jets S Elijah Riley has become a starter there and has made some plays for them. What was the process here in terms of 53 and the practice squad? And was it tough to lose him when you did? (Zach Berman)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, I liked [Jets S] Elijah [Riley] a lot, we all did. It just comes down to those decisions being made by [Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] and [Eagles Head Coach] Nick [Sirianni]. You’ve got to balance a lot of different things with the roster and special teams and who’s up and a pair and a spare and all that stuff.
So, it was tough to see him walk out of the building because, obviously, he’s a good player, but we feel good about the guys that we have now.
Q. The other day you had a couple third and longs. What did you see on those plays? You guys have been pretty good on third down, how much do those third and sevens eat at you? (Reuben Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: A little bit. I had a bad call into the one. He ripped a pressure into a screen. Typically – it was really good by [DE Derek] Barnett. Typically, those score. Like when you see that pressure get ripped into a screen, those are like house calls. So, the hustle was really good on that to give us a chance to keep battling them.
I think we almost got out of the drive there with a field goal, but you always want to be higher. I always say, ‘What’s good third down defense? Get them to third and longer because your percentages go up.’ Then it’s the blend of, ‘Are you going to cover? Are you going to rush? Are you going to bring five? Are you going to bring six? Are you going to bring seven? Are you going to drop eight?’ You saw us do that that one time.
So, you’d like to get out of all of those, but that’s the game.
Q. We’ve seen DT Fletcher Cox maybe show up on the stat sheet a little bit more. I don’t know if that is indicative of performance. Do you think so? And do you think that has something to do with getting more accustomed to what was originally, he said, an issue for him playing different positions? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: He’s still playing multiple spots for us. He’s doing a good job. He’s doing a really good job in the run game. He’s really – you’ve heard me use the term train wreck a game. He has done that. When teams try to single block him in the run game, good luck. Then when they double him, that frees up other guys.
Then I think in the rush, I think he’s just doing a good job of winning his one-on-one matchup, and when he does get chipped or bumped or the slide comes to him, he’s doing a good job. Fletch is one of our premier players. That’s why I didn’t really have a lot of concern when — he was still affecting the game in positive ways. You see the production start to go up.
The production will continue to go up, and if he doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, guys, he’s affecting the game in a positive way. So that’s what we need all our guys to do.
Q. What have you seen from DT Milton Williams’ development over the last few weeks? (Mike Kaye)
JONATHAN GANNON: He hasn’t hit the rookie wall. We were laughing about that. I think Fletcher was joking about it with those guys. Normally, college guys, they’re used to being done now. He’s like, ‘We’ve got six more games plus playoffs, buddy, so pick it up.’
What I love about [DT] Milton [Williams] and all our rookies is, again, you’ve heard me talk about it, they correct their mistakes and don’t let – they’re not repeat offenders. ‘Milton, you can’t get cut out in this technique. Here’s why you got cut out. This is what you have to do with your feet or your hands or your body.’ And you see him self-correct that.
It’s awesome to see because we stack back to back to back plays. This is the same play in the same defense. This is what happened in week 12 and this is what happened this week and look why you made the play. Or look why, because you did your job, your buddy made the play.
So, I would say not making the same mistake over and over and over is what I’m most pleased with Milton about and just his intensity, his football character, the motor that he plays with and the production that you see that he’s playing with right now. He’s affecting the game for us.
Q. The sample size has kind of gotten larger since you made the move to LB T.J. Edwards. What has he brought to the defense at the second level there now that you’ve seen him out there for quite a bit? (John McMullen)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, it’s really going to be the same answer kind of all the time. He’s physical. He’s in the right spot. He’s extremely intelligent. What we ask a linebacker to do, the Mike linebacker, from a communication standpoint with the front mechanics, with the back seven mechanics, we put a lot on his plate each week, and he handles it well. He doesn’t make mental errors.
He might miss a play every once in a while that nine out of ten people miss, but his production is high right now. He’s playing good ball for us.