Q. There are a lot of new starters, new people in new positions, people in new places; you’re new. How do you see it all coming together over the last month, and what’s your feeling from that standpoint going into Sunday? (Reuben Frank)
SEAN DESAI: I’m really proud of the way we’ve gelled, and we’ve really connected really well. Putting all those pieces together, now it’s the exciting time where we start to get into our routine of game week and playing for the opponent and really digging deep into our routines and our plans. So that’s the exciting part as we start the season.
Q. Is the biggest challenge in that, is it the communication or the mental aspect, is it doing it on the field? (Reuben Frank)
SEAN DESAI: I think right now it’s really we’ve been working to overcome all those challenges for the last six months really, through the off season and training camp, and so we feel like we’re in a good spot and have a really good foundation that we’re going to keep building off.
Q. To follow up on that excitement, what’s your excitement level to roll out the defense that you guys have been putting together all summer into an official game on Sunday? (Dave Uram)
SEAN DESAI: I don’t think it’s necessarily about me and the excitement level. I’m just excited to really start digging deep into planning and planning for an opponent.
Obviously, we have a great one in week one here. Really giving our guys an opportunity to go play somebody else and then letting them showcase their talent and their brand.
Q. You have three linebackers on the active roster. I know you resigned LB Nick Morrow to the practice squad, but feels like a low number. What is your take on that? Any challenges to that? (Ed Kracz)
SEAN DESAI: No. I think we have a great plan organizationally. I think the roster process is such a fluid process throughout the week. You see that in all the teams in the NFL and how they are trying to construct their roster, especially the first month of the season.
I think we’re in a really good spot. We have a really good plan, and we’re prepared for a lot of different avenues that we need to go toward.
Q. How much have you leaned on Senior Defensive Assistant Matt Patricia this week in particular? (Jeff McLane)
SEAN DESAI: Heavily, just like we’ve relied on a lot of these coaches heavily to kind of come up with their plan, and Matt’s got a lot of insight, especially in terms of the people there, the actual personal attributes and the guys we’re playing against, because some of those we haven’t seen much off the pre-season tape.
But he’s been great. He has been a tremendous resource.
Q. LB Haason Reddick explained to us that he’s going to be playing through his injury. In your experience, what’s the challenge or the obstacle kind of for a pass rusher when he’s limited with his hands, so to speak? (Zach Berman)
SEAN DESAI: I think it’s just going to be a comfortability thing of him getting used to using his hands that — you know, whatever type of cast and things that him and [Vice President of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer] Tom [Hunkele] and those guys have worked out.
He’ll be great. His mentality is great. He’ll be ready to go to be able to do the things we need him to do.
Q. In terms of the defensive line rotation, what’s your philosophy in terms of having a target like snap percentage versus sort of feeling out how the game is going? (Bo Wulf)
SEAN DESAI: I think that’s something that obviously there is a core defensive philosophy that’s been at the Philadelphia Eagles for almost two decades, and we’re going to continue that.
We’re going to roll guys and we want to try to play guys and put our best guys in the best situations as much as we can and make sure that we’re fresh throughout the game, especially in critical situations.
And so, we’ll continue kind of with that plan.
Q. Is it on Defensive Line Coach Tracy Rocker to be the one monitoring the snaps, or is that somebody else’s job? (Bo Wulf)
SEAN DESAI: It’s a collective, it’s a process. It’s part of our game day checklist of who is responsible for what and how we communicate to make sure everybody is — there are so many different jobs and roles everybody’s got to get done on game day, and we have a really good, strong staff with people upstairs, downstairs to be able to get our communication in order. We’ve had three great reps at that throughout the preseason.
Q. Along those lines from a logistics standpoint, how does it work in-game when you’re bringing guys in and off the field on that D-line? How do you dictate situationally? (Dave Zangaro)
SEAN DESAI: Situationally, again those are all things that’s part of our game planning process. We discuss about how we try to get our guys in different situations at different times of games and all that kind of stuff, and we’ll have a plan for. We have that kind of written up and we plan for it and then we roll with that plan.
Obviously, the most important thing, is you got to be able to adjust and adapt based on the game flow of that, and teams will try to no-huddle you, try to put you on tilt a little bit and get you off your playbook. We have a good plan for that also, so we feel confident about the way we’ll plan that.
Q. You talked about the long-time organizational philosophy of rotating up front. We’ve seen increasing rotations in defensive back field and linebacker. How do you feel about the strengths and weaknesses of doing that in general? (Jeff McLane)
SEAN DESAI: I think in general it’s really by player and by team of what your needs are and where you think you can leverage your talent the most. You’re always trying to optimize your talent versus their talent and get your best 11 on the field for really every single play. Whether they’re running a zone play, a gap scheme play in the run game or play-action pass, you want to put your best players to match those best plays as frequently as possible.
That’s kind of where I would assume a lot of teams go with that philosophy, and I think everybody is just trying to find the best matchup and be as consistent as you can down in and down out without sacrificing technique and fundamentals.
Q. What kind of advantage does it give you, especially going into Sunday, because the Patriots haven’t seen guys like DT Jalen Carter and your defense in general? I mean, does that give you an early edge at least? (Martin Frank)
SEAN DESAI: I think that’s a good question for after the game. We’ll see if it gives us an early edge. We’re confident in kind of who we’re repping and where we’re repping guys. We have a good plan for really all of our guys and trying to leverage our talent a certain way, and then we got to be able to go execute. That’s the biggest thing on game day, is to be able to go execute with the players and people and the scheme we have.
Q. On the flip side of that, what’s been the preparation for Patriots Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Bill O’Brien’s offense? Has it been his old Patriots offense, the Texans, or Alabama, how have you done that? (Zach Berman)
SEAN DESAI: Similar to what they’re probably looking at for me is comprehensive. We’ve had a lot of time to dig in and really try to build — every week we try to build a story for our team what we think the opponent is going to do.
We had our first meeting today as part of that. We’ve had a couple meetings, but our first big one about that today.
So that’s kind of been that process. We have had some time to dig in and look at all of his [Patriots Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Bill O’Brien] stuff in his past from when he was a head coach, when he was an offensive coordinator, to his recent years at Alabama.
He’s done a tremendous job everywhere he’s been, so we’re putting those pieces together to match with the personnel that they’ve got, so that’s our job.
Q. Senior Defensive Assistant Matt Patricia worked with Patriots QB Mac Jones pretty closely. What kind of picture did he paint about the quarterback? (Tim McManus)
SEAN DESAI: Yeah, similar. He was vital in terms of giving us some intel on really all their players, right? He was there for a bunch of years and obviously last year on the offensive side of the ball.
So, he’s been great in terms of providing information on what he thinks they do well and where we can maybe take advantage of some matchups. [Patriots QB] Mac [Jones] is a tremendous player and he’s been playing at high level for a long time through college and the NFL, so it’ll be a good challenge for us.
Q. What are some of his strengths, Patriots QB Mac Jones, that you’ve been able to see? (Ed Kracz)
SEAN DESAI: Yeah, I think he [Patriots QB Mac Jones] has a good pocket feel and good pocket presence. I think he can push the ball down field when he needs to. He is willing to take his shots and he’s accurate on the outside of the numbers, and he’s aware to get the ball out quick when he needs to.
He seems to know and read coverages well enough to get the ball out where the ball needs to go. That’s really what you want your quarterback to be able to do.
Q. You spoke a lot about a Philly homecoming, for lack of a better term there. You have a lot of history in this part of the country this weekend, is that significant to you, going up to New England for your first game? (Zach Berman)
SEAN DESAI: I really didn’t think of it that way. You’re right. I spent a lot of my college time there in that city. No, I haven’t really thought about it that way. Obviously, it’s a special place to play. They’re a great organization and we’re looking forward to taking that opportunity and bringing our brand of football up there.
Q. You talked before about how your philosophy matches the organization’s of keeping the big play off of you is key to winning football games. How does S Sydney Brown fit into that, someone who seems at least more of the instinctual, downhill firing type of safety, and how does that fit into your overall philosophy? (Tim McManus)
SEAN DESAI: I don’t think that philosophy is necessarily per player, that philosophy of eliminating explosives, matches, like you said, the organizational philosophy because it’s important.
You don’t want to give up a chunk real estate of yards. It doesn’t really match, like you can’t just apply that to one player. It’s a scheme thing. We got to be able to make sure our defensive structure doesn’t give up big plays.
We’re not in the business of giving up free yards. We want people to earn things on us and make them work to earn things, and that’s the business we’ll be in. We’re not going to deter from that and our guys know that, that whatever we do give up, every inch we give up on that field, they better earn.
Q. What kind of role are you expecting from DE Derek Barnett? (Zach Berman)
SEAN DESAI: He’s [DE Derek Barnett] part of our wave in those conversations that we go through. Everybody that’s going to be up and active on game day will have a role for us. And they need to. The rosters are so limited on game day that you need to make sure everybody has a plan, and he is part of that plan for us.
Q. How much did you know about S Reed Blankenship before you got here, and how steadying has he been for that position? (Dave Zangaro)
SEAN DESAI: Man, I feel like I talked about this with somebody. I can’t remember who. Not much in terms of my prior knowledge from where I was last year. Not much, but then went through the process really learned a lot about him [S Reed Blankenship] and his play. Watched his tape. Now having been with him the last six, seven months, been really impressed.
He’s such an eager learner and fundamental guy and a great communicator, and really tries to take ownership and step into the roles that we’re asking him to. He’s done a great job at that. He’s like a sponge. As a coach you love being around guys like that, that they just want to keep learning ball and you can keep engaging them and ironing out details and stuff like that.
So, he’s been awesome to work with.