Q. A lot of cornerbacks in that room. What’s the reason for that? (Ed Kracz)
JONATHAN GANNON: Excited about the room. I really am. Obviously we just added [CB] James [Bradberry] last week. I think he’s a really good addition for us, and guys that have been here that have played at a high level and guys that are looking to make their way and contribute. So, a lot of competition in that room and excited to see where they go.
Q. With CB James Bradberry, we’ve heard a lot about what he can do as a zone corner. He’s talked about how he can do both clearly, but what is his style of play and the fit to your scheme? Why did it make him intriguing? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: He is a very versatile player. [He’s] smart, tough, physical, can get the ball, can cover. Anytime you have that type of skill set with your outside corners, it’s a good asset to have. He allows us to play certain things predicated on what we’re trying to stop that week, as [CB Darius] Slay does, [and] as all those guys do. That’s why you look for complete players. Can they play off? Can they press? Can they play with vision? Can they play with man eyes?
He does all that, and really with that type of player, it gives you flexibility with some of the coverages that you can play, which I like flexibility with coverages.
Q. With the players you guys added not only in the draft but in free agency, how important was that versatility as far as implementing your scheme this year compared to last year? (Martin Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: We’re always looking to add really good football players that are versatile, and there are a lot of reasons behind that, one being scheme. One being it’s a match-up driven league, so we’re looking to accentuate some of our matchups.
It’s always on game day, there are so many jerseys, and you like guys to be able to do a couple different things on game day.
Then it’s our job to kind of piece it together over this next four or five weeks, six weeks, and then we get into training camp, hit the ground running, and put them in the right position to be successful.
Q. What went into the decision to separate the edge rushers into a separate position group? (Bo Wulf)
JONATHAN GANNON: Just a little more time on task because we play different forms, different spacing, and we wanted to kind of group those guys together. There are times where they’re going to meet together and there are times when they meet separate, but the different front structures that we play felt like it was — sat down with the head coach [Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni] and said, ‘Hey, how can we maximize the staff that we have with what we’re doing to ultimately improve our players.’
That’s where we decided to go. I’m excited about it.
Q. What makes you comfortable with the safeties you have? (Zach Berman)
JONATHAN GANNON: Production. I feel like that room, each guy that’s in that room right now that’s played has shown that they can play at a high level for us. [S] Anthony [Harris] obviously coming back and [S] Marcus [Epps] playing a lot of snaps for us last year, [S] K’Von [Wallace], Dre [S Andre Chachere], [S] Jared [Mayden], I feel really good about that room. Everything that I look for in a safety, all those guys in that room have those qualities. Really have to put the work in and then see where it goes.
Q. You could go about seven or eight deep with your pass rush now. A lot of those guys are used to being on the field a lot to rush the passer. How are you in the early stages navigating your veterans and – (Geoff Mosher)
JONATHAN GANNON: The more rushers the better. We’ll figure that out as we get closer to game day and then on game day how we deploy those guys. But the more guys that we have that can affect the quarterback, we’ll get them on the field and have them affect the quarterback.
Q. What’s the challenge specifically for S Marcus Epps going from part-time player to full-time player? (Reuben Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: Just like any young player, a guy that hasn’t been a full-time starter, is just consistency. He’s played at a high level the times that he’s played for us, and you have to be able to do that over the long-haul snap after snap. Really excited to see him play this year.
That’s just the thing is just one snap at a time and being a consistent football player and executing at a high level with everything that we ask the safety position to do.
Q. You seemed to have a pretty good reaction with DT Milton Williams when he got drafted last year, what was your reaction when LB Nakobe Dean came on board? (Ed Kracz)
JONATHAN GANNON: The same. Anyone that we bring in here I have basically the same reaction. Really good to get all three of our draft picks. Super excited about all those guys. Nakobe is a high, high football character, highly intelligent, versatile, production was obviously through the roof. Excited to add him to that room.
With [DT] Jordan [Davis] same thing, high football character, versatile, tough, big, strong, violent, can play a bunch of different spots for us, can affect the game in a positive way.
Then the free agents that we brought in, the other draft picks, with KJ [LB Kyron Johnson], excited to see him play, some of the free agent rookies that we brought in, extremely excited about that. We have a very specific vision for those guys.
It’s all about we have to put in the work and go through the process, but ultimately what I’m excited about our unit is they embrace that. They’re working at a high level right now.
Q. You talked about wanting to be flexible in your coverages. Do you feel like you were able to be that flexible last year? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: I did, yes. We played a lot of coverages last year, and they did a pretty good job with it. It just goes to we’re going to play those same coverages this year. You’d like to be able to pick and choose when you play them versus certain quarterbacks, certain people, certain teams, how they’re trying to attack you. But that’s why I like smart players, because we get in and out of stuff pretty quick, and they have to be able to adapt and think on their feet quickly and execute.
There is a certain blend of that, though, because we have to still play fast. That’s what defense is. We’ll play all the same things that we played last year.
Q. Is that one of the things you like most about Bradberry, the football IQ? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: One of the things I love about him is the high football intelligence. He has a high football IQ and production, and he can cover. He can cover. That’s what you want. You want people that can deny the football, and he can do that.
Q. In LB Haason Reddick’s case he described himself as a weapon. That’s the position he said he plays. How would you explain that position in your defense? (Zach Berman)
JONATHAN GANNON: A weapon. That’s a good quote by him, I think.
As our overhang players they’re going to rush the passer to affect the quarterback, and they’re going to be violent in the run game and set edges and then they’re going to have to drop a little bit in coverage. He’s obviously very, very smart, very intelligent, high football character, very good skill set, versatile player, and it’s our job to deploy him and to affect the game, to accentuate his skill set.
Q. What was the head coaching interview process like for you? (Bo Wulf)
JONATHAN GANNON: It was good. It was humbling to have the opportunity to get a chance to interview with a couple different teams. Just excited about being in the seat that I’m in right now. Learned a lot from it, but that’s kind of in the past and I’m focused on right now getting our players better.
Q. With the additions of the off-season, is it fair to say that fans will see more of what you want to do defensively rather than what you had to do to make up for some things that weren’t what you wanted? (Les Bowen)
JONATHAN GANNON: No, I wouldn’t say that. I mean, we did what we wanted to do last year. I think hopefully what the fans see is us executing at a little higher level when we need to. That’s what I’m always concerned about. My number one concern or goal is to make sure that we’re playing good enough on defense to keep us in games and play good football to help our team win.
You guys know I’m not big on stats, but got to the playoffs, lost in the first round. I don’t have a great taste in my mouth because we want to do more than that.
That’s one of the things in the back of my mind, is to take the next step. So how we do that is consistency.
Q. How important is it to get DE Brandon Graham back up front? (John McMullen)
JONATHAN GANNON: Awesome. I was talking about BG the other day. It’s like, what’s your ideal Eagle. He’s in that conversation. Just from a production and leadership standpoint and the person that he is and sustained positive enthusiasm, that’s really who he is at his core. And he’s a really good player.
Obviously, it’s good to have a bunch of really good players, so excited about BG. He looks good out there right now, and I kind of had to tell him actually, ‘Hey, we don’t play for a couple months here, you don’t have to go full tilt,’ because he’s full tilt all the time.
Excited to see where he goes this year.
Q. In Jordan Davis’s case, is he going to have a role in the passing game, and what makes you think he can be a factor in the passing game? (Zach Berman)
JONATHAN GANNON: He’s a big, explosive, violent man that can win one-on-one, so yes, he will definitely have a role in the passing game, and he will affect the quarterback in a good way. Excited about his skill set and what he can do in the run and pass game.
Q. How do you project that based on what he was asked to do in college versus what you’re going to ask him to do? (Dave Zangaro)
JONATHAN GANNON: A lot of the same things, and then there are going to be certain times where we let him cut his ears back and rush. At that place, obviously they play really good football there, they didn’t ask him to do that a lot. But he definitely has the skill set to do that when you start looking at how he moves and his body and his traits. He definitely will project to affect the game in the pass game, as well.