Q. How is S Marcus Epps doing? Seems to be a little concern over the back. Will he get some practice time today? (Ed Kracz)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, he’s going to be out there in practice. He’s good to go.
Q. How do you view the safety spot, especially the depth? CB Josiah Scott now seems to be taking more reps there, you brought in a new guy, S K’Von Wallace and S Andre Chachere are in the mix. How do you view that? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: [S] Reed [Blankenship] and [S] Anthony [Harris] as well. You’ll see us continue to mix guys. I think they’re doing a really good job. Excited to see them practice versus some other people now and be in there with different guys.
We talked about the reasons for that. Excited to see what they’re doing. I think the DB coaches are doing an excellent job with that room, and look forward to getting out here and having fun with those guys.
Q. What have you seen from S Reed Blankenship that you’ve liked? (Ed Kracz)
JONATHAN GANNON: Just like all those guys, he’s very smart, he’s instinctive, and has a unique skillset. When I say unique skillset, he’s not a post safety or a box safety. He can do it all. He tackles and he processes fast, and he just needs some reps and time on task.
There are certain things, as a rookie, he hasn’t seen like some of the older vets have seen. I really like though that he’s a guy that when he makes a mistake, he’s not a repeat offender.
From that, you know he’s going to continue to keep progressing. I’m excited about Reed.
Q. Do you have any hints about how you bring along rookies, or if you don’t, how do you determine what you give them, how quickly you throw them into things? (Dave Zangaro)
JONATHAN GANNON: They get it all. They get a different progression of learning than the vets do, but once they’re out here, they have to know what everyone else has to know.
That’s a good question. That’s always a case-by-case basis when we get them. Normally we have a pretty good feel where they are mentally before they come into the building.
As you go through OTAs you kind of see that, and you see, okay, well, he’s ready for the next step; he can move on; or hey we have to retouch this; we have to go back to this; repeat this.
So, all our rookie class, [Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manger] Howie [Roseman] has done a great job bringing in guys that are smart. We play some different things, like everybody does, but those guys have to be able to pick that stuff up to be able to play, and they’ve done a good job with it.
Q. Among the characteristics you value at safety, what premium do you place on range? (Zach Berman)
JONATHAN GANNON: That’s ball skills and coverage ability. You’d like to be able to see when the ball goes up in the air and they’re on that side of the field, if they can make a play on it, to make a play on it.
But range, that comes in a lot of different forms. Depth equals range. You hear me say that. How deep are they? That gives them more range.
Anticipation, timing, what their eyes are seeing and the coaching points of all those things within each coverage to be in the right position to have a chance to make certain plays on balls down the field.
Like I said, I like where those guys are.
Q. Are there certain things you’re looking for in the next two days? (Eliot Shorr-Parks)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah. I want to see us compete against a really good offense that’s a very drastically different scheme than we’ve been playing against for three weeks.
That’s what I told our guys. I’m looking for a couple things. I want to see you show up and we’re going to run our stuff, and it’s awesome that we get to do this. They’re obviously very well coached, a lot of talent on that side.
These two days and the game on Sunday will be a good evaluation piece for us.
Q. There was some concern about DT Jordan Davis coming out as far as conditioning, how many snaps he might be able to play in games. What have you seen from him from a conditioning standpoint, and maybe the progression from the spring until now, and do you see any reason to limit him at all? (Reuben Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: No. No, I don’t. I mean, when he gets in there, he goes full tilt. It’s always a thing for bigger guys. The hardest guys, when we grade our effort, is the backside corners and the D-line, because they don’t always — they a lot of times aren’t play side.
So the backside pursuit, running out of the stack, finishing into the pile, all that stuff, we grade and evaluate that.
He’s done a good job of taking to that. Hey, man, just because the ball is over there, you have to go run and hit it. I really thought he showed good effort in the game and good stamina, and there are no limitations on him.
Q. When it comes to the H.I.T.S. philosophy, you’re big on that one too, what’s usually the last one that rookies tend to pick up on and how are DT Jordan Davis, LB Nakobe Dean and LB Kyron Johnson when it comes to that? (Chris Franklin)
JONATHAN GANNON: Intensity, because you don’t get to do it. Intensity is kind of that last piece to the puzzle. When we talk about the ways that we measure that, that’s full tackle to the ground and hitting.
So, we really made an emphasis on that in the last game and these next two games coming up. That’s where that shows up.
They know how that’s measured and what’s expected and what the standard of that is, but they don’t get to really go do it until game day. It’s just a good learning piece for those guys of, ‘Hey, here is what we have been talking about. That is what it means right there,’ on the game tape.
They’ll continue to learn and grow, and they’re doing a good job.
Q. LB Nakobe Dean kind of showed up in the game and made a lot of tackles. Is that kind of what you expected once he got into action? (Dave Zangaro)
JONATHAN GANNON: I expect all our linebackers to hit the ball when it’s in between the tackles. That’s the job of a linebacker, is hit the ball. So I really thought that — and in practice you can see that happening, but, again, it’s not full go and full tilt. But I was not surprised how [LB] Nakobe [Dean] played at all.
Q. LB Haason Reddick is obviously different than what you had at that position last year. How much time did you spend this off-season researching ways to get him loose and like other schemes he’s been used in? (Bo Wulf)
JONATHAN GANNON: The greatest research tool, in my opinion, when we acquired him was his brain. We had a good talk, sat down with him and said, ‘Hey, what are you comfortable with, what are you not, what spots do you want to be in, and what don’t you? Here’s how we see you fitting into the scheme. Here is our vision for you of how we’re going to deploy you and how we’re going to use you. Are you comfortable with that, are you not?’
And we’re still figuring that out. All those overhang players, that’s always a continuous evaluation of hey, this is why we’re doing certain things, this is what this guy is really good at; let’s put him in those spots a little bit more.
[LB] Haason [Reddick] is so smart. Just because I want to do something, if he doesn’t want to do it, we’re not going to do it, or if it’s not the best thing for the team, we’re not going to do that.
So just really pleased with Haason and his growth and the maturity that he brings and the football character that he has.
Q. You approached him to ask him for his input on whatever, have you ever had a player like that that you have gone to? (Ed Kracz)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, everyone that’s been under my watch.
Q. Everyone rotates defensive lineman. You don’t really see that as much at the linebacker position, but you have four guys that seem to have different skillsets and whatnot at that linebacker position. Can you rotate those guys depending on situation? But also like in terms of just keeping guys fresh and whatnot too. (Jimmy Kempski)
JONATHAN GANNON: That’s a good question. You saw earlier in the year we did that a little bit and then it kind of calmed down a little bit. It really goes down to who is our best people and what we’re trying to do that week, what are our favorable matchups.
Also, you have to take into consideration who’s calling the defense, the green dot, because you don’t want that guy subbing out a ton. We’ve done it, but you would like to — 80% of the snaps you would like to be able to just say it and that’s what gets ripped. You don’t want to be sitting there all the time on certain situations.
I think that process will sort out in the next couple weeks. But there is value to having multiple guys that can step in and play really good football for us and help us win games.
Q. What’s the biggest difference in DT Marlon Tuipulotu this year? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: I think he came back with what we asked him to improve his game on, he came back and improved his game on. I really like where [DT] Marlon [Tuipulotu] is at in the run and pass game. He’s another one that’s very smart. With front mechanics he understands why he’s aligned in certain places, why his reads are certain ways.
He’s doing a good job from a production standpoint and playing the run and the pass game. I’m excited about Marlon.
Q. Going back to the overhang players, you mentioned LB Kyron Johnson, but what about LB Patrick Johnson at that same spot? What have you seen from him? (E.J. Smith)
JONATHAN GANNON: He’s doing a good job. He’s been violent the last couple weeks with playing in the run game. When those guys get singled, we expect if the ball comes to them, if they’re getting a blocker, they need to hit the ball.
He’s shown really good rush ability and he’s a natural in pass coverage. When we ask him to drop a little bit, he has no issues with dropping.
It’s really the overhang players. You guys hear me talk about. It’s rush, crush, and a little bit of — rush obviously the passer, crush the run game, and a little bit of drop ability.
When you play those different spacings that’s what you have to have those guys do. He’s done a good job, and it’s all those guys. I’m excited to see them go against a different scheme and different people and this will be a really good week for us to see how we stack up.
Q. Is he behind right now and does he still have a role for you? (Zach Berman)
JONATHAN GANNON: He’s in there competing just like all those other guys. He absolutely still has a role for us, and this will be a big two weeks for him.
But he’s not behind. When he had to take a little bit of time off there, we basically had everything in anyhow. I’m not worried about him getting caught up. He’s caught up.
Q. Any emotions coming home? What was the initial reaction when you found out you were coming here? (Josh Tolentino)
JONATHAN GANNON: I’m close with a couple guys on their staff, so it’s good to go compete versus your buddies. But, Cleveland is one of 32, man.
Q. DT Marvin Wilson, what can you tell us about his progression from last year to this year? (Reuben Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: He’s doing well. He had a little bit of an injury when we got him, a little nicked. You saw that kind of show up at times. I don’t think that’s showing up.
He’s done a good job to get himself in a little bit better shape to be able to play hard for a certain amount of plays like we’re talking about with the effort there.
He’s another one. He’s a big man, he’s violent, he plays with good pad level, he’s hard to block. That’s what you like from your inside guys, that. Are you hard to block? Can they allow one blocker to block you, or do they have to put two on you, and when you have a one-on-one in the pass game, can you affect the quarterback? He’s done a really good job with it.