Q. So you guys picked up DB Andre Chachere off of waivers. He hasn’t played in a regular season game, so we don’t know much about him. But what stood out to you during his time with you and then in this preseason that you kind of jumped and grabbed him? (Mike Kaye)
Jonathan Gannon: Yeah, so I have a relationship with Andre from Indy. Very high character individual, very intelligent.
He played in Indy when I was there. He played three different spots. So that was good. And it just felt like it was a good piece to add, and as many good players as we can bring in here, that’s what [Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] and [Eagles Head Coach] Nick [Sirianni] are trying to do. So excited about his addition.
Q. With that versatility, though, how does that help you from a game day depth perspective? (Mike Kaye)
Jonathan Gannon: A lot. And like we talked about since way back when, guys that are up on game day, you know, there’s only a few guys that only play one spot.
They have to be able to play multiple spots for our pair and a spare. So he’s one of those guys that can do that in the back-end. You know, he can play multiple spots back there. And it’s good for Mike Clay [Eagles Special Teams Coordinator Michael Clay] on special teams, so really happy about the addition.
Q. You obviously knew S Marcus Epps beforehand or at least through other people. What was your opinion of him before you got here and what’s it been since you’ve had him for several months? (Jeff McLane)
Jonathan Gannon: Yeah, I was never with Marcus. I was in Indy when he went to Minnesota. But since I’ve been here with him — so I can’t speak to what he was when I wasn’t with him.
But since he’s been here with me, he’s doing everything we ask of him. He’s another guy that’s highly intelligent, processes quickly, really understands how he fits within our scheme and what we’re asking of those guys to do.
And I think that position, you guys heard me talk about, like, you know, the guys that are intelligent, that have fast processors, they can make a bunch of plays with how we’re playing. So, I’m excited about what he’s going to do.
Q. How do you feel about your depth in the secondary? Because there is a lot of inexperience there. (Dave Zangaro)
Jonathan Gannon: Good, good. I feel good about it. I think the guys that are, playing, and you guys are going to see, everyone that has a jersey, hopefully will get some snaps. I feel good about it.
I think those guys have all come along through the start of training camp to where they are now, the joint practices helped a lot. Because we were going against different schemes and different people.
And they’ve improved as a collective unit. Dennard [Eagles Defensive Backs Coach Dennard Wilson] and D.K. [Eagles Assistant Defensive Backs Coach D.K. McDonald] have done a great job with those guys. They are really understanding ball. You see them take strides, not just physically but mentally, you know?
Whether it be by coverage or by the split of a receiver, or what’s your thought process on this down and distance, within this situation. They’re all making strides. It’s good.
A lot of times, they rip it out, you know, what they’re thinking before I do. So that’s always good to see.
Q. You’ve talked about the pre-snap disguise a lot over the summer. When you have — or going against a veteran quarterback like Falcons QB Matt Ryan versus a younger quarterback maybe down the line, how much does that shift for you? Do you kind of put it in the back pocket because you have a guy that’s seen everything? Or how does that work? (John McMullen)
Jonathan Gannon: Yeah, we’re very aware of the quarterback position being able to — and how offensive play callers call the game now. They’re getting into ideal looks versus the look that they see.
So we talked about that way back when. It’s not just how you put pressure on the quarterback. Everyone thinks in their mind, bring more than four. And I agree with that.
But the second part to that is you have to apply pressure to the quarterback pre-snap so he doesn’t know — before he gets that ball, he doesn’t know, ‘All right, I’m throwing it there.’
So that’s the reason we try to move around and disguise. And going against Matt Ryan, that’s a big-time challenge because there’s not a lot of looks that this guy hasn’t seen. There’s not a lot of coverage — there’s not any coverage that this guy hasn’t seen. And he’s got a very fast process, so that’s why he’s a top ten guy. And he has weapons.
So we just have to do a really good job of [saying], ‘Here’s how,’ — we talked to the guys today like, ‘Here’s what we’re doing, this is how we are starting the game, and here are the adjustments coming down the road.’
Q. As a follow-up to that, Falcons Head Coach Arthur Smith is known for the way he uses pre-snap motion. As a defensive coordinator, what are you watching for before the snap from the offense’s perspective? (Zach Berman)
Jonathan Gannon: Yeah, you have to figure out why he’s doing it. And I think we got a pretty good beat, just from having gone on him for a while.
But I’ll tell you, you go back and look at certain games with Arthur and you can’t prepare for everything.
And he throws a lot on his guys’ plates, mentally. And they get in a lot of looks that you might not have scouted or seen leading up to that game.
So with that, you have to apply your rules and have guys figuring it out before the snap and post-snap.
And with that, he understands — in my opinion, one of the top five guys out there right now, he understands what motioning — not just to motion to say, ‘Well, they’re going to have to adjust to get what he needs to get for the quarterback before the ball is snapped.’
And he’s really good at — it’s not, like, fake motion. It’s, like, motion for a reason. So, he’s always done a good job with that. And it’s going to be a big-time challenge.
Q. I think one of the results of that is his offense has been so good at play action over the past couple of years. Without getting into any of the specifics of how you can combat that, what are sort of the basic teaching points for your guys on the backside? (Bo Wulf)
Jonathan Gannon: Yeah, you know, if you look at Arthur in the last couple years, he’s an offensive lineman by trade. So, he wants to pound the ball and he’s shown that he’s willing to pound the ball where a lot of guys aren’t.
And even in situations where you think, ‘Hey, this is going to be, you know, he might be getting into two-minute here or they are running out of possessions, or they’re down 14 early, they’re going to start throwing it.’
That’s not Arthur. He’s not going to drop back and throw it until he has to. So we just got to do a good job with understanding with what call we have, how everyone fits into the run game and to the pass game.
Q. Week one, a new scheme for these guys. When you talk about putting a lot mentally on guys’ plates, how do you kind of weigh where they are and how elaborate to get with your scheme? (Tim McManus)
Jonathan Gannon: When I say, ‘Put a lot on them mentally,’ like, we’re not doing anything in the game that we haven’t done already.
I think it’s — and, actually, like, the menu from the day-to-day training camp, what they have to execute and what we call, is actually a lot smaller.
The mental part of it is now, you’re playing a new opponent. And so, this is really interesting because it’s a – our guys are looking at Tennessee from the last two or three years, they’re looking at Matt Ryan, they are looking at [Falcons WR Calvin] Ridley, they are looking at Florida tape. You know what I mean?
They’re looking at different things. They’re looking at Chicago tape with [Falcons RB] Cordarrelle [Patterson]. So it’s, like, how are they going to blend all these guys’ skill sets together?
And we know Arthur and [Falcons Offensive Coordinator] Dave [Ragone] know really well how to do that. So, we’re watching a bunch of different things and look forward to the challenge and preparing. It’s been pretty fun.
Q. Falcons TE Kyle Pitts, obviously, very unique player. But he’s a rookie. So you don’t know what to expect from an NFL level. But when you see somebody 6’6, 240 who can run like that, how do you sort of handle that? (John McMullen)
Jonathan Gannon: Yeah, there’s a reason that guy went as high as he went. There’s a reason all the defensive coaches when they’re talking before the draft, say this is the best guy they’ve seen in the last 10 years.
So, you know, we’re going to have to be smart about how we defend him. And we’re going to know — people that end up on him, they’re going to need to know what he brings to the table. And hopefully that we don’t have — you know, we have help around us when we’re defending him.
Q. Who’s going to be the players with the headsets? (Jeff McLane)
Jonathan Gannon: Not sure yet, actually. Not sure.
Q. CB Darius Slay talked about how much respect he has for Falcons WR Calvin Ridley. What are the challenges that presents game planning for him and is it safe to say we will see Slay matched up against him? (EJ Smith)
Jonathan Gannon: I don’t know that yet. He’s definitely a top 10 guy. You know, I always look for the guys that can beat you vertically and horizontally. And he’s proven over the course of his career that he can do that.
And we were actually in Indy and we played Atlanta and we had our best cover guy on him on a third and five and, I mean, he beat him pretty good, you know?
And he’s a really good player and he’s a weapon that they have that they’re going to use. And we have to be aware how they’re deploying and using him.
Q. LB Genard Avery and DE Ryan Kerrigan are, obviously, both veterans but they missed a lot of time during training camp. How do comfortable do you think they are in this system? (Mike Kaye)
Jonathan Gannon: I’m comfortable with them. It was good to see them out there yesterday and a little bit of rust from both of them. But they’ll be caught up and ready to go by Sunday.