Q. Just wanted to talk to you about the last time you faced Buccaneers QB Tom Brady; no sacks in that game. Anything that you feel like you can do differently after looking at that to generate more pressure on him? (Rob Kuestner)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, we’ve been looking. When we were came out of that game after we evaluated it on that Friday, we looked and saw things that we could have done a better job with.
After game planning these last couple days here, we know that it’s very hard to get to him, but feel like we’re up for the challenge and got some things that we’re going to try to do.
Q. I know what you’re going to tell me, but I got to ask. There is a report out there that Denver wants to talk to you. Can you confirm that? And when it comes to Tampa, how much have they changed offensively without Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin? (John McMullen)
JONATHAN GANNON: I appreciate the question. I can confirm that, but my sole focus is on Tampa Bay.
What you’ve seen when [Buccaneers WR] Chris [Godwin] got injured, they do a really good job of filling his spot in different ways. The production that he had throughout the year, they’re filling that up with different people and deploying people in certain ways that they really didn’t miss a beat too much.
Obviously, we understand he’s a really good player, but they’re doing a heck of a job of really not missing a beat.
Q. How difficult is it from a defensive coordinator standpoint when it comes to seeing a team previously before deploy a certain offensive attack with Godwin and former Buccaneers WR Antonio Brown, and then you see different players come in. Do you see possibly a different philosophy offensively from the Buccaneers? And how difficult is it to potentially face off against that? (Chris Franklin)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, you can tell through the course of the season where, just like every team, depending on who you’re playing and who you have playing for you, where you start to see some minimal changes as you go.
But like I said to John’s question, they’ve adapted and adjusted with the people they have. They’re top in the league and it’s for a reason. They make good adjustments, they’re on the same page and they execute at a high level.
So, do we have to know how they’re deploying people and what they’re doing as it sits here today in January, unlike when we played them? Yeah, absolutely, because that’ll go into how we’re defending them.
But we got to be ready for everything. It’s going to a big-time challenge.
Q. I think we all know what Buccaneers WR Mike Evans brings to the table, but what do the other guys that have filled in, what do they do well? Like Buccaneers WR Tyler Johnson, Buccaneers Jaelon Darden, Buccaneers WR Breshad Perriman, Buccaneers WR Scotty Miller, et cetera? (Jimmy Kempski)
JONATHAN GANNON: I would say just from a global offensive perspective, the timing of their routes are very, very, very good. The distribution of their concepts is very good. The ball, obviously, comes out extremely fast, it’s on time. And in the passing game, just like on defense, you got to have all 11 executing at a high level.
You see whoever’s out there for them, they all execute at a very high level. Their offensive line is very good, they have a lot of continuity with their offensive line. Tom [Brady] is on the same page with all the receivers and the backs. They know how to adjust their routes based off coverage. When they call certain concepts, the spacing is spot on, the timing is spot on and they execute at a high level. Their technique within that is very good.
So, that’s what sticks out on the tape more than the people. We know have they have weapons all over, but it’s the same page and the continuity and the execution level is very high.
Q. You said you went back right after the Bucs game and kind of reviewed it. How much thought had you given to the possible rematch? I know you’re busy week to week, but was that in the back of your head throughout those weeks, of how you’d handle Tom Brady and the Bucs differently? (Dave Zangaro)
JONATHAN GANNON: That’s a good question. It wasn’t for a long time and then as we got – you know, kind of as you start seeing the matchups start to take shape and who we could possibly play once we knew we were in, you start to give it a little more thought. Especially because that was a high probability of one of the teams that we’re going to play.
So, kind of had in the back of my mind some notes how we played the first time and you kind of review those notes, you watch our game and say, ‘Hey, this is what we said coming out of that game,’ and you try to learn from it.
Then just go through your process and dive in, just like any other week. You use all the tools available that you have and try to set up a good plan and go out and compete.
Q. We’ve spoken this year about the philosophy of forcing opponents to try to go on long drives as opposed to the chunk plays. I think the Bucs averaged ten and a half plays per drive on their four touchdown drives in that first game. Do you find that approach to be universal? Or do you think you need to tailor it depending on who the opposing quarterback is? (Zach Berman)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, good question. You do need tailor it a little bit and that’s – just as a philosophical team discussion, how we want to set it up, like I talked to you guys about how we set up the game plan and want to play certain teams, that also goes into the offense and special teams as well.
So, you do absolutely have to tailor it to the quarterback you’re playing and the offense that you’re playing and how the game is set up from just a global perspective of our team, the Eagles versus the Bucs.
Q. How important has CB Darius Slay been, not just for the secondary, but the defense as a whole? And I guess is there anything you’ve learned about him this season, is there anything that comes to mind? (EJ Smith)
JONATHAN GANNON: It’s kind of my same answer all the time with him: His football character is extremely high, and he is a team-first guy. His skillset allows us to do some things with him that helps the defense.
He’s willing to play whatever style we want him to play to be successful for that week. It’s been an unbelievable year with him, being around him, as all of our guys. But he really has been a joy to be around. Just from the football character standpoint of one of your premium players being team-first.
Q. Keeping on the Slay subject, does his role, importance I guess, change at all with the fact that they don’t have Godwin and Antonio Brown anymore? Obviously, it would seem to be he would be the guy on Mike Evans most of the game, traveling and all that. Do you see that happening at all? (Martin Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: Still working through that, but his importance of his role is always extremely high within our defense when we build a game plan.
Q. I can certainly appreciate you’re focused solely on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but can you confirm when you will interview for the job with Denver? And how do you feel about having your name come up and having that opportunity? (Rob Maaddi)
JONATHAN GANNON: I’ll sit down with [Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] and [Eagles Head Coach] Nick [Sirianni] and we’ll talk about that when the time comes.
Q. On the subject of this Bucs offense, they have this dichotomy where they are towards the top of the league in explosive plays, but also not a lot of negative plays, they get rid of the ball super quickly. How are they able to accomplish both of those things at the same time? (Bo Wulf)
JONATHAN GANNON: Their coaching staff and their quarterback. I mean, flat out. This guy, he’s a trained killer and he knows how to play good offense and what he needs to do to keep his offense on track, so it’s going to be a big-time challenge.
Q. Just wanted to ask you about tight ends. It seems they have been kind of a challenge for this defense. I think you have given up 12 or 13 touchdowns to tight ends, and now you’re playing one of the best to do it for such a long time in Buccaneers TE Rob Gronkowski and Buccaneers TE Cameron Brate. How difficult is that matchup? And why have tight ends given this defense some trouble along the way here this year? (Ed Kracz)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, good question. [Buccaneers TE] O.J. Howard, too, he’s a good player. First time we played them, they didn’t have [Buccaneers TE] Rob [Gronkowski]. From Tampa’s standpoint, it goes into the one question I already answered. It’s like those guys, those tight ends are where they need to be at the right time, and they get open. They got big catch radiuses, they’re hard matchups for anybody. If you have a DB on them or a linebacker on them or when you’re in zone coverage, he knows his answers, where the ball should go and how quickly.
And for us, I think it’s sometimes we’re willing to give certain things within each coverage up, but there is no question we got to do a better job controlling that position to be successful.
Q. Where would you say your group has improved the most since week six or so, the first time you played Tampa? (Reuben Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: Execution.
Q. In what areas? (Reuben Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: All areas, honestly. The run game, passing game, rush and cover, cover and rush, being in the right spots, winning our leverage side a little bit more.
I’ve always thought we tackled pretty well. If you look at the Tampa game, I don’t think we tackled as well as we have in some other games. Some of that was them; some was us.
So, just we know to be in this game, our execution level has to be high.
Q. I believe this is the fourth time you are coaching against Tom Brady, but I’m sure you’ve been watching him since he was at Michigan. The teams that have success or a degree of success against him, what do they do well? (Zach Berman)
JONATHAN GANNON: Get him out of his comfort zone a little bit. He typically has success versus most people, but I do think that we got to be able to get him a little bit out of rhythm with the different tools that we have to do that.