Q. I want to ask you about CB Mario Goodrich and what you’ve seen from him this summer. I saw him working the inside a little bit, seems like a versatile player. (Reuben Frank)
SEAN DESAI: I think that’s it. You see the versatility, you see quickness. He’s smart. He’s picking it up really well. It’s just about, like with other guys that are young, just keep trying to stack reps for these guys and put them in competitive situations to get them to compete.
It’s nice to get one-on-ones and things like that going a little bit, too, so you see everybody a little bit that way.
Q. I saw LB Nolan Smith getting some work as an off-ball linebacker yesterday. What was behind that? Is that part of his skillset? (Tim McManus)
SEAN DESAI: We’re just trying to get guys reps at different spots. In certain periods, like 7-on-7, we can get some of these OB’s [off-ball linebackers] some work in coverage. We can do that, and try to strategically put them in some different spots to keep it same-as for them.
It’s just trying to keep testing out different combinations of guys in different spots.
Q. How do you think LB Nolan Smith translates to that position, and what about him makes him a good candidate? (E.J. Smith)
SEAN DESAI: I think right now it’s just we’re still in the kind of formative evaluation phase to see our best combinations, and so we don’t know until we stack reps for it. We think he might have had two or three reps at it the other day or something like that, so we have to keep putting everybody in those different situations.
You saw some other guys in those roles, too. We will be able to keep testing that out. It’s early.
Q. What did you do in 2021 to unlock former Eagles DE Robert Quinn for lack of a better term, and is that something you can do with LB Haason Reddick? (Zach Berman)
SEAN DESAI: I don’t know if I had the magic key to unlock Robert Quinn. I mean, Robert’s potentially a future Hall of Fame pass rusher, over 100 sacks and everything. We were able to just try to create different matchups and obviously we’ve had great success doing that here recently, so hopefully we can just keep trying to leverage matchups and putting guys in a position to win when it’s their down to win.
We talk about that a lot on defense. There are different times that different people have a chance to win, whether it’s a DB or a rush guy, and when it’s their chance, it’s time to go.
Q. Since the last time we’ve talked, you kind of unveiled a big nickel package with the three-safety look. What do you like about that or is that just an opportunity? (John McMullen)
SEAN DESAI: It’s just the similar thing to these other packages where you’re just trying to find matchups. So, when you get some guys in those roles and they can cover tight ends, it is just trying to leverage your matchups and leverage your talents and our talents to find the best combination of 11 situationally.
So, we are just going to keep toying with that stuff early here in camp. We have about three or four weeks to figure out those matchups.
Q. When do you anticipate LB Haason Reddick will be a full participant in practice? (Dave Uram)
SEAN DESAI: I don’t know. When [VP of Sports Medicine and Head Athletic Trainer] Tom [Hunkele] and the trainers tell me he’s full-go for practice. He’s doing a great job around the building, he’s really sharp, really engaged in meetings.
And then everything that we’re adding to him, whether it’s Indy drills or 7-on-7, or whatever it is, he is really doing a good job with that. I’m really thrilled where he is. Whenever they say he’s full-go, that’s when he’s full-go.
Q. So you don’t anticipate like missing these reps early on will impact LB Haason Reddick’s play come the regular season? (Dave Uram)
SEAN DESAI: I hope not, he’s a pro. He’s a pro’s pro, and that’s what happens in this league. Guys know when it’s time to be ready, it’s time to be ready. When you don’t get the physical reps, you have to get the mental reps, and he’s doing a great job of embracing that.
Q. What’s your philosophy on matchup zones and techniques? Like how often do you like to use that? How often do you allow the player to decide when to use that? (Jeff McLane)
SEAN DESAI: By call we have a lot of different types of zones and mans that we kind of play. Really the overall philosophy is trying to get the guys to play as fast as they can given the call and really empowering them with the tools that they need by play to do that.
So, there will be times that you’ll see some match stuff, times you’ll see some zone stuff, but it’s really based on how we want to pick up routes and how we want to leverage our defense in certain spots.
Q. How much leeway do you allow CB Darius Slay and CB James Bradberry to have? (Jeff McLane)
SEAN DESAI: We’re at the point — it’s funny, we had a unit meeting last night and we talked about that. This defense is built to leverage people’s talents, and the faster we grow in it, the faster everybody’s going to be able to figure out where they can go take their shots and leverage their talents, and we’ll give them those liberties.
But we’ve got to grow together. We can’t have 11 guys going rogue. We won’t have any guys going rogue. It’s about all 11 playing as one.
When everybody is on the same page and they’re able to relate with each other, that’s how you create some dynamic defensive plays.
Q. Yesterday QB Jalen Hurts mentioned that he’s been using you as a resource a little bit. He did that with the previous defensive coordinator too. What’s your relationship been like with him, and what kinds of things has he tried to learn from you? (Dave Zangaro)
SEAN DESAI: Man, I’ll tell you what, he’s a stud. It was really impressive. I was just in my office one day, I think during dinner time, and I was watching tape. All of a sudden, he’s just standing there at the door. I’m like, ‘What’s up?’
He just started asking questions. I told him I love it. I love it. He’s so sharp, he’s so bright. You see, now being a part of the organization you understand why he’s so special. From afar you see it, but you don’t really know until you’re a part of it.
The way his brain works, the questions, the types of questions that he asks, you could tell that he’s just trying to elevate his game to the next level, and really it helps us. It helps me. I told him that. Those questions are important for me to know because our job is to impact the quarterback. We want to try to do that.
When you’re a top-level quarterback like he is, I want to get in his brain too and learn what’s actually helpful. Are we doing something that we think is helpful but really isn’t and it really impacted him. So, I think that dialog is great, and he knows he’s got an open door. When he has the opportunity to come and talk ball with me, it’s there.
Q. We talked to C Jason Kelce last week and we talked about Offensive Coordinator Brian Johnson popping into the offensive line meetings. What’s your philosophy as defensive coordinator? How do you handle the D-line, edge rushers… (John McMullen)
SEAN DESAI: I try to be present. You guys see me at practice. I try to hit all the Indy drills. I try to go to all the meetings every day. I want the guys to see me, I want them to be around me, I want them to feel comfortable with asking me questions, I want the coaches to feel comfortable.
I’m not there to criticize or anything. I’m there to add whatever I can add to a meeting. Often times, if I can’t add something, I won’t. I’ll just sit there and take notes.
I’m learning also. It’s about me learning the players and coaches and us being in this together. So, my philosophy is I try to be as present and accessible as I can be to everybody.
Q. The second group of defensive backs behind CB Darius Slay, CB James Bradberry, and CB Avonte Maddox, we’ve seen CB Kelee Ringo make some plays and CB Greedy Williams at times, who is standing out in the second group so far? (Ed Kracz)
SEAN DESAI: I think they’re all doing a good job. Like you said, you listed them and they’re all showing their talent at different points in camp. Right now, it’s about consistency and stacking the reps. This is the second or third day of padded practice. We have to keep tracking those reps, and to be at a high-level defense, you have to be able to sustain consistency over a long period of time.
That’s what we want all the players to do. Day in, day out, rep in, rep out, from day one, day two, day three, how can you stack the days mentally and physically. That’s part of the evaluation of these guys.
Q. Because LB Haason Reddick has missed team reps, you have gotten an extended look at some of the other guys. What stood out to you about the depth? (Josh Tolentino)
SEAN DESAI: My gosh, you want to talk about a deep defensive front unit. It’s pretty special how [Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] and [Head Coach] Nick [Sirianni] have built this roster. We’re really deep, and that’s a cool thing to have. It’s fun. It’s fun to be around that.
Q. We were talking about CB Mario Goodrich earlier, just the whole group of guys you’re working in at Nickel with CB Avonte Maddox’s reps being limited, what do you see from that whole group and what do you look for in a corner that maybe indicates some playing time? (Reuben Frank)
SEAN DESAI: Yeah, great question. What I’ve seen from that group is that they’ve all gotten better. They are really taking to the teaching that we’re doing. There are some things that we like to teach as a staff at that nickel position.
That nickel position is such a marquee position in this league, because there are so many matchup issues created there. We want to be able to respond to those issues and teach our guys how to respond to that, and really that’s what we look for. Everywhere. We look for really good football players. That’s the first thing.
If you’re going to be a really good football player, we’ll teach you how to play football within this defense. That starts with high instincts, high brains, quickness, foot speed. All that stuff are the traits of any good position on defense. So, we’re looking for all those things.
And then that’s how you can move guys. When they’re really good football players, my experience has been they can be really good football players anywhere you put them on the field.
Q. We’ve seen S Sydney Brown get some reps with the first and second defense now. What’s his progress look like to you? (E.J. Smith)
SEAN DESAI: I mean, he’s doing well. You see his speed and ability to break on balls and aggressiveness. He’s still got to clean up some mental things, but that’s okay. We’re all there. It’s practice seven or eight of camp. There are just things we keep progressing.
The exciting thing for him is he’s starting to feel more comfortable every day. So just like all the young guys. They’re starting to feel more and more comfortable and you start to learn the next level of football. What is the offense really trying to do to you. You can’t play every play the same way because the offense is doing different things.
It’s just the elevation of our knowledge that way.
Q. What made you want to have a designated Nickels coach and have you had that exposure in the past? (Zach Berman)
SEAN DESAI: I’ve had the experience doing — opportunity at places I’ve worked at, whether it was in my job title or not, that I’ve taken on that role. I think the nickel is a marquee position in this league. I think they need specialized training.
If you lump them with safeties and corners and go through those Indy drills, you miss out on it. That’s kind of the reason of why. I’m really appreciative to [Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] and [Head Coach] Nick [Sirianni] for allowing that position to be created. It is unique. Not many people have that.
I think it’s been a great blend, because [Defensive Backs] Coach [D.K.] McDonald is still running the room, but now [D.K. McDonald] has opportunities and built a great level of rapport with [Assistant Defensive Backs] Coach [Taver] Johnson and [Nickels] Coach [Ronell] Williams where he can trust them and they can go do the drill under his vision of how he wants that done.
That’s what it’s about, right? It’s about empowering guys and getting all the guys, detailing their teaching and fundamentals and techniques to the best we can so it gives them the best chance of play.
Q. There are limited amount of training camp practices, particularly here. What’s that been like for you, trying to implement a new defense and how are you making up for it? (Tim McManus)
SEAN DESAI: That’s the name of game as a coach. You adjust and adapt to whatever it is. Hasn’t been any different. I’ve been around schedules similar to this in my career. I mean, once you get the schedule – [Head Coach] Nick [Sirianni] is great with that. We had the schedule back in April or something of what this was going to look like.
So you plan for it, and that’s it. I don’t think that’s any concern or issue. It’s great. I love the schedule. It’s great. Players love it. It’s friendly for them. We’re able to integrate our stuff appropriately.
Q. A lot of nickel questions, but one more nickel question. You said it was specialized in the training and all that. Does that mean you want to clearly define outside guys and inside guys? (John McMullen)
SEAN DESAI: No. I think the way we teach, and our philosophy allows for a lot of versatility, and that’s some of the questions you guys have asked. And so we take pride in our teaching. We try to be highly detailed in meetings and really organized, and the players understand the standards at each position and the techniques that we’re teaching.
We feel that’s what allows for versatility and moving the players.
Q. LB Shaun Bradley, former Temple guy coming into year four. He has carved out a special teams role in the past. Where do you see him in terms of linebacker, defense? (Dave Uram)
SEAN DESAI: I think he’s doing well. I think overall, like there is really not — you guys might think it’s fluff, but from where I am, we talked about this in the unit meeting last night, everybody is doing a good job really trying to master their roles and techniques in the defense.
So when you do that, you see that’s why they’re playing fast right now in the field. Can they be better? Yeah. We can all be better. It’s practice eight. I can be better as a coach. I screwed up a substitution yesterday in 7 on 7 in a scripted period. I can’t do that.
There are all these things that we can be better at, but these guys are really taking ownership of it. And that’s really what we’re looking for right now, taking ownership and taking command of the defense. And all those guys, [LB] Shaun [Bradley] included, is doing that.
Q. Did Head Coach Nick Sirianni yell at you when you messed up the substitution? (Jeff McLane)
SEAN DESAI: I think so. And I yelled at myself. That’s what it is. It’s accountability. Part of our five pillars is you have to take accountability when you screw up and I’m not immune to that and the players know that. They’ll hear from me every day when I screw something up. That’s okay.
Q. The competition right now for starting spots, is there something specific you’re looking for? (Ashlyn Sullivan)
SEAN DESAI: No, I think we’ll know. It’s early and the guys know that. The competition is going to keep rolling. We’re not in the business of making decisions too early. We are going to make them.
And usually in my experience when there is a high level of competition, it promotes everybody’s game, everybody’s level gets better, and over time, when you let it sort itself out, it sorts itself out. Everybody knows where it should fall. We’re not in any rush.