Q: How big of a loss would
A: That’s not even something that we’re even thinking about because I don’t think it’s anything that serious, but obviously he’s been playing well for us. He’s enabled us to do some things in terms of releasing guys that sometimes we haven’t been able to do. It would be a big loss, but quite candidly, I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.
Q: How has he been at left tackle?
A: Good. He’s done a nice job. He’s done a very good job. He’s very athletic. He’s the kind of prototypical athlete that you’re looking for to play that spot and he’s been very effective. He’s done a good job for us.
Q: The Eagles linebackers have changed a lot since you last saw them. Besides the personnel, are they doing anything differently with them?
A: No. They’ve evolved defensively. With the linebackers, they’ve changed a little bit and they’ve kind of gravitated somewhat back to what they used to do. I know it’s a completely different defensive coordinator, different defensive coach, secondary coach, line coach and everything else, but they’re becoming more old-school Philly or what have you. The blitz packaging, which at the beginning they weren’t going to do at all, now all of a sudden they’re resorting back to a lot of the blitz overload principles that they have employed in the past with great success.
Q: What did you think of DJ Ware on Sunday, and I guess the game before it as well?
A: I think he’s doing well. He’s done a nice job for us – I think we’ve talked about it – with scan principle with a lot of our protection, where you don’t just have a person, you have a guy then you have to kind of clean up wherever the blitzer shows up. He has not made any mistakes in that respect. So it allows you to be a little bit more sophisticated in some of your route running because you can change up your protection a little bit. He’s done a good job with that. When we’ve called on him to run the ball, he’s done a pretty good job with it.
Q: This is the longest stretch of play you’ve seen from him. Do you need this kind of…
A: Yeah. I think to be fair, a guy has to get X amount of time before you can say, ‘hey, that’s where he’s at and that’s who he is.’ Even then, particularly if it’s a first-year guy or a second-year guy, you’d like to see incremental improvement as time goes on. The problem is with him, it’s his third, fourth year in the league so you’re judging him as if he’s a fourth year guy and I don’t know if that’s fair or not, but that’s what happens. You wind up making the judgment, but he’s done a good job for us. He’s filled in nicely.
Q: Larry Fitzgerald was successful by staying on the opposite side of the field as Nnamdi Asomugha. Nnamdi complained about being kept to one side of the field. Do you take a page out of Arizona’s game plan and keep
A: You can do that. I’ve heard the complaints. I don’t know how valid they are. It looked like he was pretty effective on both sides of the field, Fitzgerald. You have two great corners, that’s the way that I look at it. They’re dynamically different in the way they play, but they’re two outstanding players. One (Nnamdi Asomugha) wants to get up and press you all the time and the other one (Asante Samuel) really doesn’t want to get a press, would like to play off and keep [the receiver] between the quarterback and him so he can look through the receiver. So they’re two great players. They play totally different technique-wise. You’d be hard pressed to say who you want to stay away from. You’d like to stay away from both of them is what you’d like to do. Unfortunately you can’t do that.
Q: With Hakeem, it looks like he’s starting to see that ‘have to pay attention to you defense,’ especially in the red zone. Is that the way you’re seeing it?
A: Most teams are going to play [like that]. Very few teams play single-up man down there. San Fran was a big combo team. They comboed a little bit on him, but as soon as you cross a certain point – like the twenty-yard line – and then you get inside –let’s say the fifteen yard-line – everything was combo-covered. When you go to a three-by-one, everything is going to double the X no matter what you do. Sometimes they double three-over-two over the tight end and Victor. Sometimes they double Victor and the W, they rotate it. But to that other side, he was always doubled. That’s been whoever played that spot. Whoever plays the X position, they’re going to always [double]. That’s the way the coverage has evolved. I think there’s a certain respect for [Hakeem] because he’s made some terrific catches and he’s been very efficient when you get down near the end zone in getting it into the end zone. I think it’s a combination of what people do schematically and also an appreciation for his ability.
Q: And then the one play they actually did come up on that side was the one where you hit the touchdown.
Q: Well we weren’t in the green zone or red zone. When we get the single coverage we usually have some combination routes where we’re going to throw over to his side versus this coverage and throw over here versus the other coverage. We just try to rotate, whether it’s to the strong or weak side so people can’t zoom in on us. We’re fortunate that he made a terrific catch. It was a great throw. Just like we caught one where there was a double inside and we were able to throw the fade ball to Mario for a touchdown. It was a tremendous throw. Guess right a few times and we had a chance on the post which would have been a great finish.
Q: When you see them take the shot and then they get burned, does that lead defenses to say, ‘We can’t start to gamble, we really need to pay attention to this’?
A: I think people do, but [the Eagles] have such confidence, and rightfully so, in the two corners they have. They’re exceptional players. The thing that’s interesting about it is you couldn’t be more different in how they play technique-wise. One guy (Nnamdi Asomugha) is much more comfortable with [press], he’s got very long arms and he’s a tremendous press player. He wants to play regardless of coverage, that’s how he’s going to play. The other guy (Asante Samuel) will do that and is effective, but that’s not what he wants to do. He wants to be off. Even if it’s two-man, which normally implies the other one being bump-and-run press, half to three-quarters of the time he’s off and playing the exact same way. He’ll stay outside and he wants to look and see [the receiver] as he’s looking at the quarterback. And yet he’s made so many interceptions, he’s so dangerous. That’s why when I hear, ‘you’re afraid of [Asomugha] so you went over there,’ I don’t know how comfortable we are throwing against [Samuel]. That guy’s a tremendous player and he’s been so productive in terms of making interceptions. We’re not real excited about throwing against either one of them, to be quite frank. They’re great players.
Q: Are they using Asomugha in press coverage as much as the Raiders were?
A: Every time. Not every time. In the beginning of the year – they’ve changed now – it doesn’t matter if it’s three-deep zone, he’s in press. If he’s the third deep player, he’s playing press-man. That’s how he plays.
Q: So he’ll hit you and then bail?A: No, ‘I got you.’ He’ll forget about the deep threat, ‘I got you.’ That’s how he plays. It just the things we have to contend with when you’re in on this side and when you go on this side it’s exactly the opposite. You have to be able to combat this to have any success. [Asomugha] will play quarters-coverage, he’s press, three-deep zone, he’s press, two-man, he’s press. [Samuel] is off. Those are some of the idiosyncrasies. They’ve moved them inside some and they moved them inside some against us the last time. I don’t know if they will, I think they’re probably going to keep the two guys outside and put 21 inside and then with six DBs, probably put 27 in there. We’ll see. They may switch and put 24 inside a little bit. They’re good. They didn’t overrate them, trust me.
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