Q. I want to ask you about DT Fletcher Cox and DE Brandon Graham. How unique is it that they both came two years apart in the early part of the decade? Have you ever seen anything like that, teammates that have stayed together that long of a period and had that kind of success? (Ed Kracz)
JONATHAN GANNON: I have not. You know, in the NFL today, I think they purposely set it up so where you don’t have that. It’s a very unique thing, and [Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] has done a great job to draft both of those guys – and they have obviously played at a very high level for a very long time – and keep them Eagles, and I am glad they are both Eagles.
Q. A player like LB Haason Reddick, how do you balance the desire have him drop back since he’s done it, versus just having him go after the quarterback? (Eliot Shorr-Parks)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, good question. That’s what I love about camp. We’re in the process of figuring those things out with not just Haason, but everybody. It’s a process that we take that, ‘Hey, let’s see what we like, what we don’t. This is what this guy is good at, what he’s comfortable at, what we need him to do, what looks good, what does, what we want to add, what we want to throw away.’ It’s just all a process and getting better every day.
Q. S Jaquiski Tartt, this is the first time we talked to you since you guys brought him in. What does he add to the defense? (John McMullen)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, good question, John. Good addition by [Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman]. What I look for in the safety position, he has that. He’s played at high level in San Francisco. He’s smart, tough, he can tackle, he’s a great communicator, and [we are] looking to see what he can do out there and how he integrates with our scheme and other players.
Q. What are your expectations for DT Jordan Davis in terms of being a one-, two-, or three-down player as a rookie? (Shamus Clancy)
JONATHAN GANNON: No expectation from me right now. I would like to see him play and practice and see what he can do. It’s just like everybody else, you know, how he fits in with the other guys he’s in there with and what he does well. We got to put him in those situations so he can be successful.
Q. Following up on Haason Reddick, in what situations would it be advantageous for him to drop in coverage as opposed to just going to the quarterback? (Zach Berman)
JONATHAN GANNON: He’s a really good cover guy, so sometimes that’s a matchup driven thing. He knows that when he would be dropping, like all our overhang players, there is a reason why we do that – flexibility within the defense, depending on what the offense does that’s the kind of spacing we want to play, and it helps his teammates win some one-on-one battles. So, that’s a process with all those guys that we are figuring out now.
Q. There is a lot of whining going on about the short practices. How does a coach get everything in that you need to get in in camp? (Howard Eskin)
JONATHAN GANNON: First of all, let me say this: I don’t know any narratives out there because I don’t really pay attention to that, but I think the head coach’s schedule for what he has set up this training camp is phenomenal and I’m in love with it.
You know, when talked about it, ‘Hey, here is what we’re going to do,’ you know, it’s not just a day-by-day thing. Sometimes you can look at, ‘Oh, they’re only the field for a buck 15.’ Well, we have 30 some odd days. You don’t see the walk-throughs and the hours of meetings that these guys go through, and the film study and the film session. Our guys will be ready to go with this schedule, and I actually think they’ll be more ready to go this year.
Q. So you don’t feel at the end of this that there is anything, gee, I wish we could have done that at camp? (Howard Eskin)
JONATHAN GANNON: Not at all.
Q. DT Jordan Davis, what do you need to see from him this summer? (Tim McManus)
JONATHAN GANNON: Everything that why we drafted the player, he’s that. He’s smart, has high football character, he can play multiple positions, and we think he’s going to be a play maker. Just getting him integrated with our scheme, playing with different people, getting comfortable with what we ask him to do from a communication standpoint and a physical standpoint, and we’ll see where it goes.
Q. With pre-snap disguise, when you assessed the team last year overall, how did you feel it was and how much do you feel you were able to give guys, based upon their first year in the scheme, and what kind of emphasis are you placing on that? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: Very good question, Jeff. [The] head coach [Nick Sirianni] talks to the defense a lot. That’s one of the talks he’s going to have with our defense is about disguise and the value of it and the stress that that puts on a quarterback. I think we got into some things last year that were good, some things that we have adjusted since. ‘Hey, we need to make this look a little more similar to this,’ so on and so forth. But our guys know the value of that. That’s not just like one or two guys. That’s all 11. And really the guys standing on their feet, they all blend together. It’s not just one guy. Everyone talks about [Vikings S] Harrison Smith in Minnesota. ‘Wow, he’s this ultimate disguise guy.’ Well, it’s because [LBs] Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks and [S] Andrew Sendejo make it look like something, too.
So, all those guys fit together, disguises, everybody on the defense blending in together. It all works – they all work hand in hand. That’s a step that we have to take. That’s a really good question, Jeff.
Q. At corner where you have more guys than reps to go around, how much do you have to think through what the rotation is like in practice, and how tough is it to get a true evaluation on all those guys? (Bo Wulf)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, good question. I think over the course of camp there are enough reps to go around. Our guys will get a good evaluation of the type of players that they are, how comfortable they are playing with each other and on their own, too.
They’re going to get enough reps where we can say, ‘Hey, we feel really good about this and we’re comfortable with these guys playing.’ Looking forward to really the competition with those guys. That’s what I talk to those guys about that all the time. We know you’re going to make mistakes, but when we run that coverage the next day, let’s not make that same mistake, because hat’s showing improvement. That’s what you’re looking for the entire defense, especially with the young guys that haven’t played a lot of snaps.
Q. Without giving any secrets away or percentages, what’s the value of the having guys who are capable of playing in an odd front or an even front, and what’s the challenge of guys going back and forth and being that flexible? (Reuben Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, no secrets here, Reuben. What you see is what you’re going to get. There is value to be able to play different coverages, different fronts, depending on who you’re playing and our matchups. You’re going to see a lot out there. That’s by design. That’s to say, hey, over the course of training camp we want to work this for the first week, and then the next week we want to work this. Because we might not need this for the first couple weeks, but all of a sudden, we’re going to need it, and we wanted to have it repped and rinsed and see who’s comfortable, what looks good, what doesn’t.
I’m not a big percentage guy, but we’re always going to do – when we set up the game plan, guys, you know how we are. How do we need to win this game and what do we need to do? You don’t want to put something new in week four the first time they’ve ever run it.
So, you guys out here are going to see, ‘Holy cow, seems like they’re doing a lot,’ but we’re really not. We’re playing football. We’re trying to prepare our guys for what they are going to need to execute to win games come the fall.
Q. Does it take a certain type of guy who can play in an odd front and an even front and go back and forth seamlessly? (Reuben Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, everybody that we have on our roster right now wearing a white jersey can do that. [Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] did a great job.
Again, it comes down to the fabric of our defense. Those guys have high football character. They are unselfish. So, they understand when we ask them to do certain things, there is a reason why, and that ultimately is to win the game.
Q. How much has Dennard Wilson’s role changed as passing game coordinator? (E.J. Smith)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, excited for [Defensive Passing Game Coordinator/Defensive Backs] Dennard [Wilson]. I mean, not much. He’s my right-hand man, so he does a great job with those guys. That’s a hard position to coach because there are five or six guys on the field, four or five, six guys on the field all the time and they’re doing different things.
Obviously, we value him as an organization. Myself, I talk with him every day. I think sometimes he gets mad at me. He’s like, ‘Hey, I got to do some work. Get out of here. Stop talking to me.’ [I am] grateful to have [Defensive Passing Game Coordinator/Defensive Backs] Dennard [Wilson].
Q. What have you learned about LB T.J. Edwards now that you’ve had him for a year that maybe you didn’t know about him when you got here? (John McMullen)
JONATHAN GANNON: I think we had a good feel for T.J. [Edwards], and what you saw is he could take the coaching and started getting more comfortable and he is making a lot of plays for us, and that’s why you saw him take over the defense, kind of the first third part of the year or whatever. We expect him to do that this year as well.
I didn’t scout him coming out, but when I got here, you read everything and you talk to different people that looked at him and things like that. I think that if there were a couple negatives on him, they are not negatives with what we’re asking him to do. Actually, they’re positives. Excited to have T.J.
Q. When you look at the veterans you guys added at safety with Jaquiski Tartt and bringing back Anthony Harris, what does that mean for a young guy like K’Von Wallace? (Martin Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, good question. When you have vets that have played a long time with high football character, those are the guys that you want the young guys to mimic.
Now, we’ve all been around guys that are really good players that really you could say, ‘eh, I don’t know if I would watch what he does all the time.’ There is not one guy on our defense that is a vet that I wouldn’t say, ‘Hey, young guy, watch this guy and do what he does, because he’s going to help you become a better player.’
So, very grateful for the vets that we have on this unit because they help the young guys.
Q. How does that help a guy like S K’Von Wallace, for example? (Martin Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: A lot, because, you know, if you want to learn football, talk to the players. We can sit up there, and I can tell K’Von something but it might not be making sense how I am saying it. Well, go ask [S] Anthony Harris and I bet it makes sense, because he’ll put it in his own words of, ‘Hey, this is what the coaches are saying; here is what you got to see, this is what you should feel, this is what you need to, do. You got it? Yeah.’
So, it’s always a very valuable thing to have on your defense – smart players that have played a lot – because a lot of times they bridge the gap from coaches to the young players. They’re that bridge. You see what happens is some of those young guys, all of a sudden, their understanding goes up and they start making more plays.
Q. You said the reason you were confident in the safeties was because of production. What’s specifically have you seen from Marcus Epps, whether in practice or in games, to give you that type of confidence? (Zach Berman)
JONATHAN GANNON: The first thing I look for in a safety is reliability. He’s very reliable, smart, tough, and he has got a very unique skillset that you need, in my opinion, to play safety in the NFL today. In 2022, the safety position looks different than when I got in the league in 2007. You have to be able to cover, you have to be able to tackle, you have to have ball skills, you have to play zone, you have to process. That’s a thinking position. He has all those tools.