Head Coach Brian Daboll
Daboll: What's today? Tuesday? So it'll be a Wednesday walkthrough on a short week.
Q: Can you talk just a little bit about the excitement for your ballclub and for this fanbase, for this game?
A: You work really hard to get to this point. But I think you have to focus on keeping the main thing the main thing. It was good to move on, but you've got to put that in the past really quick and get to the preparation on this week's opponent. Number one seed. They won the (NFC) East. They beat us twice. They got eight Pro Bowlers, six All-Pros. I think they can get your attention real quick, so we got a lot of work to do.
Q: When you play a team twice in three weeks, like you did against Washington, is there anything you take from that approach upcoming for this weekend?
A: It's pretty much what I talked about last week. Washington, we played each other pretty quickly. Minnesota. I think December, we played four teams. We played Washington, Philly, Minnesota and the Colts, I think. So, we've had some time that was close between each opponent. So, again, you watch the games. You do everything that you do each week to prepare for a team.
Q: It's pretty obvious, though, when you played the Eagles the last time, they were using (Eagles quarterback Jalen) Hurts differently. They weren't going to use him on designed runs. How much do you expect a different version of him this time around?
A: I think you've got to go through all the tape from the entire year at this time of year and plan for everything. Again, there's only 65 to 75 plays this time of year, and you've got to make sure that you're trying to give your players everything you can in terms of the preparation process of it. What they do or not do, you never know going into a game. So, it'll be the standard procedure that we usually do.
Q: Do you expect them to run him more? Or him to be able to run more than he did during that game?
A: I don't know. I think you've got to prepare for everything. (He's) a dynamic player. I've said this before, he can throw it, he can pass it. That's why he's up there for MVP. And we've got a big challenge ahead.
Q: Because of the circumstances in the last time you were there, who played, who didn't play, are there still things that you were able to gain that day as a team, whether it was schematically or even your guys watching and breaking down that film that helps you now that you will have a lot of players who weren't on the field?
A: Absolutely. Look, we put together a plan we thought was going to work like we do every week. So, again, when you have two games to look at, you really study those games. But you're studying every game they've played, and you've got to have your best this week.
Q: Defense – where do you think they've gotten better recently at this point in the year?
A: I think throughout the year, you try to get better at everything. All that matters is this week, who we're playing and having our best game this week.
Q: The physicality of your receivers in the run game – Isaiah (Hodgins) has some key blocks the last few games. Last week, (running back) Saquon's (Barkley) run, (wide receiver Kenny) Golladay's out there knocking a mouthpiece out. Can you talk about what they're bringing to your run game?
A: It's important. Perimeter blocking – whether it's the receivers, whether it's a (running) back out there, tight ends – it's important for every run game in the league, and I'd say particularly important for ours.
Q: What do you make of the Eagles' front on defense?
A: They're really good. They're hard to block. They can stop the run. They got a lot of really good players. They use them well. They're a challenge to block. On the perimeter, they're a challenge with the tackles. And inside, they're a challenge. So, that's where – like I talked about before – the offensive line and defensive line, that's where usually the game starts. And they're pretty much All-Pro or Pro Bowl at every spot.
Q: You're sort of insulated in your bunker, so it's hard to get a sense of the vibes outside. There's excitement for sure. But you were in this area with the Jets in 2007 when the Giants went through a similar run like this. Do you remember anything about that, what the area was like?
A: I was probably about 40 pounds lighter. Look, we appreciate our fanbase. They've been great all year. Like I said before, they're part of our team. And they've been a help all year. They were loud in Minnesota. That was a hostile place, and we just wanted to go out there and do a good job for them.
Q: If it's hostile in other places you've been this year, how would you describe the atmosphere in Philly you're expecting on Saturday night?
A: Hostile. I don't have good adjectives for that one other than that.
Q: In the spring, you spent a lot of time at the Garden (Madison Square Garden) with the Rangers' playoff run, too. Did that open your eyes a little bit to what this area's about when teams win?
A: It's great. Again, our fanbase is awesome. They've been awesome all year. We appreciate their support. I know they've helped us along the way, particularly in home games. They're an important part of our team.
Q: When you see signs of confidence in your team, what do you see when you look at them?
A: I just see a humble, hardworking group that tries to get ready to play each week to do the things that we need to try to do. Each team, at this time of year, is really, really good. And I think they do a good job of maintaining their focus on keeping the main thing as the main thing, which is our preparation here the next few days and then ultimately how we play.
Q: What does it mean to be among the elite eight that are remaining right now in this playoff run?
A: I don't think of it like that. I understand the question. I think that you have to get ready to play a game, and you have to do the things necessary to get ready to play the game. That's where my focus is. I know that's where the team's focus is. We'll try to have a really good week.
Q: Is there any extra motivation you guys can pull from the first meeting with Philadelphia and how it got a little lopsided?
A: No, every game's different in this league. Every time you play a team – whether it's the second time, third (time) – it's all different. What matters most is our process leading up to it and then how we play.
Q: You were obviously on the outside coming in prior to this year. In regards to the perception of (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) and what people thought of him, how much do you think what he's done this year has changed the look of people from outside – fans, critics, pundits?
A: I understand the question. I'd say that my focus is just trying to help him be the best he can be. He's done everything that he can do since I've been here. A great guy to work with. He works extremely hard, and I think that's where our focus is.
Q: Was Sunday the best he can be?
A: I don't know. We just try to play as good as we can play each week.
Q: You used the words 'proud of your team' after the ball game the other day. What are you most proud of?
A: They competed for 60 minutes, and we advanced. So, they did everything they could do during the week, which I know is a boring answer. But that's what it is. And then they went out there and executed in a tough place. So, that game's done and over with. We've got to turn the page pretty quick here, which we already have, and try to do what we can do this week to be prepared.
Q: There were two different results from those games against the Eagles and obviously two different personnels on the field. Do you still view both games equally in terms of the film from when the starters played in the first matchup?
A: No, there weren't two different results. There was one. We lost both of them. I thought we went out there and competed and got outplayed, got outcoached, by a really good team. That's why they had a bye week.
Q: What does it say about (outside linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux) that fairly late in the game the other day that (defensive coordinator) Wink (Martindale) called a defense where he's with (Vikings wide receiver Justin) Jefferson essentially one-on-one, and they're trusting him to make whatever play is there to be made?
A: All the guys we've had have done what we've asked them to do since we've been here. Our job is to try to put them in position, and when they go out there and practice it and prepare the right way, you've got to have confidence in your players. Whatever we ask them to do, we try to do the best job we can of putting them in good position and then have faith that they're going to go out there and do it.
Q: Does your quarterback have to be your best player on offense to maximize an offense?
A: No, I mean it's a team game. Obviously, he touches the ball on every play, but it's such a team game. I think the offense helps out the defense. Defense helps out the offense. Kicking game. So, we need all our players to be at their best.
Q: This season, how has Daniel (Jones) gone from the start of the year, where you're asking him to make situational plays, to now it seems like the whole offense is on his shoulders and he's carrying it?
A: I'd say every game is different. Each game we ask him to do quite a bit. One week is different than the next. What we did in Week 2 might've been different than Week 15, but we've had confidence in Daniel. I've had confidence in Daniel since training camp.
Q: Is there something about your coaching staff, the way you guys have come together, that in these games where you see an opponent for a second, in this case a third time, that you can appreciate your guys the way you've built it and said, 'This is the way I anticipated them to work week to week'?
A: I've felt that way since I got here, since we started. We had late nights in March and in April. They work extremely hard. They're smart. They're good teachers, good communicators, work really hard to put together a gameplan. And they're good team players.
Q: Do you value, do you think, because you've been in that – and you've told us stories, you've been in the role where you're not the position coach, you're the guy that's in that room breaking down film? Does that appreciation, did that help you put together your staff when it was time to put together your own staff?
A: I think you draw on all your experiences. It was a collective effort trying to put together the best people. Our guys and women have done a really good job for me.
Q: You're obviously at the beginning of building something here. When you look at what they've built in Philadelphia, is there anything that specifically impresses you about what they've done long-term to make that team good and that franchise good?
A: No, I've just got a lot of respect for that team, that coaching staff, that front office and the players. They've done a really good job. That's why they're where they're at.
Q: Any injuries?
A: No, everybody will be doing something today. It's a walkthrough, but if it wasn't, everybody would be doing something. I think (safety Jason) Pinnock has turned a corner pretty quick here. (Outside linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari) will still be limited. A couple other little bumps and bruises, but hopefully heading in the right direction.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: Is Philadelphia any more hostile to play in than other cities?
A: I mean it's a divisional game, I think that brings some intensity to it. They're known for having a good crowd to support their team. We're prepared for it; we've played there before.
Q: What makes it so difficult? I know you've only actually started there once I believe, as an organization you guys haven't won there since 2013.
A: I think every game is different. I think we'll approach this like we would any other game, but they're a good team, it's a good environment, they bring a lot of energy, fans are passionate. Like any road game we'll prepare for that and be able to handle that as part of the game.
Q: What is it like to have this opportunity for your team being one of the eight teams that are remaining?
A: Yeah, it's a great opportunity for us to still be playing. This is where you want to be, playing these big games. It's an awesome opportunity for us but as far as our approach and our preparation it's going to be consistent with what we've done all year. We know that's the way we're going to prepare to play our best on Saturday.
Q: How much have you grown as a quarterback since that first matchup in Week 14 against the Eagles?
A: I think I've gotten better every week. Go back and look at what we did well, what we didn't do as well and see where we can improve, (and) find a way to make some more plays.
Q: Do you think that was one of the best offensive outputs that you guys had against the Vikings?
A: I thought we played well. I thought we were able to run the ball well, we were efficient in the pass game. I thought the guys up front played a really good game, opened up a lot of stuff for us and we made some plays. Yeah, I think it was good. Still some things we can clean up and do better going forward.
Q: Eagles have 70.0 sacks, aside from that number what makes their front in the pass rush so challenging to deal with?
A: They've got good players and they know how to get to the quarterback. We'll have a plan for those guys, and we've got a lot of confidence in our guys up front. They've played really well the whole year and they'll be ready to go.
Q: How much has your confidence in particular grown in (tackle) Andrew Thomas over the years? He's really improved from his rookie season.
A: I've always had a lot of confidence in Andrew. I think he's been rock solid. Like anybody playing that position, early on there's some things you've got to learn but I thought he learned them quickly and there's no one playing at a higher level right now at that position in the league. Huge credit to him, he's an unbelievable player. If you saw how he works and how approaches everyday you wouldn't be surprised.
Q: I know it's not at the top of your list, but you hear what's been said about you over the years, the perception of everything since you got drafted. What's it like knowing that you're proving all these people wrong at this point?
A: I don't think I've spent a whole lot of time thinking about that. I think if there's anything I've learned it's about what you do the next week, so I'm focused on that. Continuing to try to improve and play as well as I can on Saturday, that's my focus.
Q: Have you noticed people reacting differently to you though? Have you seen that at all? People thinking differently about you as a quarterback either on the field or off the field?
A: Yeah, you hear some of it for sure and notice some it. It's part of it. I can't control how people respond positively or negatively, just control how I play and that's my focus.
Q: (Wide receiver) Darius (Slayton) told me he sees it on the field that even other players have gained respect for you. Do you see that in opposing defenses? Do they attack you differently maybe than you've seen in the past?
A: Not necessarily, I don't think anything sticks out. Just as an offense throughout the course of the year you see how some defenses will change their approach to us, but no not specific to me.
Q: Does the team still feel like there's unfinished business? That it's nice that we've gotten to this point but there's still much more to accomplish?
A: Yeah, without a doubt. We certainly feel like we've played well to this point but by no means are we satisfied with just getting here. There's a lot of work to do for us and we're excited to do it. That's been the approach this week. Guys came in today ready to work and ready to get after it. We've got a lot still left to do.
Q: Has it even sunk in that the reality is you're two wins away from the Super Bowl?
A: We're just focused on this week. We're focused on everything we have to do to prepare to play our best on Saturday. We can't really afford to look beyond that, we've got a big test and Philadelphia is a good team, obviously.
Q: You had two completions in the second half to (wide receiver Isaiah) Hodgins where you ran to throw. Is that something you've had to practice both mentally and physically to get to that point? Because you have the legs to run, so what is the thought process and what has the progress been for you to get to that point where you keep your eyes down field?
A: I think just trying to find those opportunities throughout the game, I think you can watch on tape a little bit and see how they've handled some of those situations but more than anything I think it's about just reacting in the game. The guys, you brought up Isaiah, I think he's got a good sense for that, a good sense for getting open and making plays, some of those loose plays that aren't necessarily how you expect them to unfold. I think it's just about reacting and finding guys in those situations.
Q: Because of some of those injuries in the wide receiver room, that group is looked at as a liability, but they've quickly turned into a strength. How much have you been impressed with the opportunities that Darius and Isaiah and other players are making out of them when you give them the ball?
A: Yeah, those guys have done a great job. I'm certainly not surprised. I don't think guys on this team are surprised by that. They're really good players who have the ability to impact the game in a lot of different ways. They've all played at a really high level throughout this season so, a lot of credit to them. They've showed up time and time again making plays.
Q: Ownership has reinforced recently, especially after the last win, their belief in you as the solution at quarterback here. What does it mean for you to hear those comments at this juncture knowing what that likely means for your future here?
A: It certainly appreciate the support but like I said we're focused on what we've got to do this week, what's ahead of us now and that's all that matters. For any of us, it's what you do next week and with the next opportunity so that's what I'm focused on.
Defensive Lineman Dexter Lawrence
Q: To get another shot at the Eagles – how much are you looking forward to that?
A: I'm looking forward to the battle. The third time, just trying to come out with a different result this time.
Q: Do you look at New York and Philadelphia grit – both teams with that kind of mindset?
A: For sure. Both prideful places. I know their fans are going to be out there and I hope we travel well.
Q: How do you describe that environment?
A: Like he said – gritty, hard nose. I told my mom she can't come to the game because she'll go back at them. It should be fun and I'm excited.
Q: What makes their offensive line a challenge to deal with?
A: They are some big dudes, physical. They've got a good leader in (Philadelphia center Jason) Kelce, he helped them learn a lot. They can latch on to you pretty good.
Q: When you look back at the film from that first matchup, the 48-22 loss, what was the biggest thing that stood out to you with the defensive mistakes?
A: We didn't play well, and they attacked us, they did a good job of that. We just have to play well and make less mistakes to be able to compete.
Q: How much do you think the defense has grown since that first matchup?
A: I think we've grown a lot. We grew together (rather) than apart during that time. I think that kind of shows in the play. We just keep that confidence and that want to be there for each other and play for each other and we'll be good.
Q: Are you looking back at all like, 'Hey, we got here,' or are you looking ahead to what else we can do?
A: I think it's just ahead right now. This is a new season. We're 1-0 right now and the Eagles are in our way right now.
Q: You mentioned Kelce. He's not the biggest guy but he's able to get his job done, a hall-of-famer, right? How is he able to play so well even though he's a little undersized for the position?
A: He's little and he's scrappy. He knows how to get his body in good position, he knows how to manipulate d-linemen and the guards do a good job pounding down and helping when he needs it.
Q: Last week, (defensive coordinator) Wink (Martindale) was speaking about the moment where he realized this was a playoff defense. Obviously, you are still alive, so you are a playoff defense. Do you remember the moment you, or even a conversation that took place with teammates, where there was something that clicked or something on the field that showed you?
A: I think as players, we all see how we see it. We all think we can be whatever we want to be. The best, the greatest – all these things. For a coach to say that it just helps build that confidence that we're seeing the right things. He's seen it before, he's seen a good defense before. For him to say that it just builds extra confidence for us. As players, we always talk about it, and we always try to be about it.
Q: This rivalry is always intense, now you add the playoffs to it. What does that do to the intensity of this game?
A: I think it's always an intense, physical game. I'm excited for that, I like those types of battles. A little more is at stake now – winner wins all and loser goes home.
Q: Why do you like those battles?
A: Battling somebody? What do you mean by that?
Q: Does it ratchet up? Does it do something inside you?
A: I think it's probably just a pride thing. It's more like, you're going against a great guy – you want to beat him more than he beats you type of thing.
Q: When you have a mobile quarterback like (Philadelphia quarterback) Jalen (Hurts) is there anything from the attack point that you have to be more cognizant of because he can slip out?
A: Yeah, it's more just being disciplined, if that's in your rush lanes or if that's in your run lanes. You've just got to be more disciplined with a guy like that, a dual-threat guy. Planning on doing a better job of that.
Q: What is it like for you personally to be in the playoffs, to have this big opportunity?
A: It feels good. I feel like it's more than just about me. I'm here for my guys and I want to win for my guys. I hold all that on me, just being consistent every week and dominating.
Q: Why do you think this team is here? Why do you think you've played this well this year?
A: Just the resiliency we've had. Through adversity, we've stayed strong, we've stayed positive, we stayed with each other. That just shows a lot in the leadership that we have.
Safety Julian Love
Q: How would you describe playing in Philadelphia?
A: Playing in Philadelphia? Electric. Their fans are very passionate. They're very into it. The team feeds off the crowd. It's a city that loves their football team, for sure.
Q: What leads you to believe that there's more work still out there, that you guys can make a run here?
A: That's why we play the game. We had one goal this whole year, and that was to win a Super Bowl. I think you're selling yourself short if that's not your end goal. And so, yeah, we're happy we're in this spot. But there's a lot more to go.
Q: What did you learn the first couple of times that you played the Eagles that you think can help you in this matchup?
A: A lot of things. They're a talented team – a lot of superstars on their roster, both sides of the ball and special teams. So, we learned a lot about them. They learned a lot about us. And so, third time go-around with them. This is going to be a battle.
Q: How helpful is it to have the secondary fully healthy, especially going up against their wide receivers?
A: It's great. We have battled. We rode the roller coaster all year long with guys up, guys down. Obviously, you want your ones or whatever ready to go. And it's exciting that we have that right now. And I think this past week showed you, though, that whoever's in there needs to be able to perform and make plays. (Safety) Dane Belton hopped in there this past game and did well. (Cornerback Cor'Dale) Flott came in there; first play, made a play. So, that is a mindset that we've got to have no matter who's out there.
Q: It seems like this defense is turning a corner, at least the last few weeks. You held the Vikings to 61 yards rushing. Just talk about the difference in the defense recently and your estimation.
A: I think we play a good brand of football. It's our brand. We're successful in certain situations. We're a pretty stout, situational team. And we have to be that versus the Eagles. They're a team that's also really good situationally – whether it's third down, red zone, two-minute, they play at a high level. And that's why they're the first seed in the NFC. So, we've got to be clean. We have to be authentic to who we are and play our brand of ball because our best is needed against the "best team."
Q: When you play your brand, you've got to have confidence. So, what is the confidence level of the team right now? We're kind of here. We see it at the podium. But we don't know what's out here.
A: We're all grown men in this locker room. There is no sense of fear, no sense of lack of confidence no matter who we're playing. I think our first job is to be at our best and execute how we want to execute. They've got really good players on the other side of the ball, no matter who we're playing. But the goal, week in and week out, is to make sure you got your stuff handled. And Philly has some stars, like I said, on their team. And they're going to make plays quite frankly. But we have to make more plays and have that confidence and have that mental focus to reset after each play.
Q: It's a great rivalry, and now you add the playoff twist to it. How big of a twist is that?
A: It definitely heightens it. When you look at all division games in general, it's pretty heated. The games are good battle. So yeah, the hype will be there. It's a night game. Like I said, Philly fans will be really excited. They're a good fanbase. And we've got to be prepared – mentally, physically – for a full 60-minute battle.
Q: How much more discipline is required when you have a quarterback like (Eagles Jalen) Hurts that can make off-script throws?
A: He's a challenge to play against. He's been playing at a super high level this year because of his arm, his legs. He has really elevated his game, and we have to try to play him as best as we can. He has a lot of tools in his bag. He has a lot of weapons around him. He's posed a threat or a problem to everybody he's played this year. Obviously, we got a chance to see him twice this year. And we got to have a good gameplan going into this thing and just be ready to play him.
Q: Is his ability to run kind of the linchpin that ties their offense together, whether it's the designed stuff or the scrambling?
A: It for sure opens up a lot of things. I think that when you look across the league, guys who can run the ball at a high level, he has to be up there with the top quarterbacks right now. He's efficient, and his ability to run the ball, to scramble, opens up a lot of things for their offense – the pass game. For the running back, it opens up holes for him. That's how they get going, and they're doing it at a very high rate right now. So, it's a problem. That's no secret to anybody; it's a problem because of who's at quarterback for them. He's a good player.
Q: What does it mean to play for Dabs (head coach Brian Daboll)? What's it like?
A: It's exciting. It's funny at times. Dabs is a passionate guy, as you've seen. I don't know how many times he rips off his headset on the sidelines; it seems like every other play. But you kind of understand where he's coming from. He's a guy who loves competition. He instilled that into the team – maybe not instilled. We're all competitive. But he promoted that and wanted that to be at the forefront of who we are, just a competitive team. And he has allowed us to just be ourselves. I think his biggest strength is to let players' personality shine through and not suppress anybody, who they are. He lets players play and lets coaches coach, which I think is a hard thing to do as a first-year head coach.
Q: Overall, how would you describe this opportunity for you and your teammates?
A: This is exciting. It's an exciting moment for us. We know we have some more things to accomplish, though. So, this week, we just have to be locked into this game. We can't let this moment –whatever round we're in, the Divisional Round – to overcome anything else rather than us executing come Saturday. That's the name of the game: executing, play at a high level, be mentally sharp, physically sharp. And just treat this game like it is – Giants, Eagles. Just another battle.
Q: What do you say to the people that aren't giving you guys much of a chance at this point?
A: Just keep doing that. It's been all season long. This is nothing new. Maybe a few more eyes are watching us and a few more eyes are doubting us. That's okay. You guys have seen it all year long; we have a confident group in the building. We haven't been the favorite team in a lot of games this year. But we just play for each other. That's as simple as it is. We go out there and just play our brand of football and let the results speak for themselves.
Q: Dex (defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence), about the Philly fans, said he's probably not going to let his mom come to the game. He doesn't know what they're going to say to her, and he's afraid of what he's going to say back. What are your thoughts on the Philly fans, and would you let your family members sit in the stands? (Laughs)
A: Yeah, I mean when you think about it, Philly fans on a one o'clock kickoff, they're hype. They're fired up. Now you add the eight-p.m. start, they're tailgating all day. That level of excitement for them is going to be turned up more. They're a passionate fanbase, not just in football, really in all their sports. So, we've got to understand that. Their fans are going to be their fans. Our families will be fine. It's still a game at the end of the day. But my family's pretty tough. They can handle anything. So, they're good.
Q: Do you remember any real colorful stuff they directed your way in Philly?
A: I kind of love that. They gave the whole college atmosphere of those hated rivalries, and they're up there with probably the best for their team, fanbases across the league, across a lot of sports. And so, I'm sure I've heard some stuff or seen some stuff. But you try to block it out and just play the game. That's all it is, it's a game.
Offensive Tackle Andrew Thomas
Q: What is it like talking playoffs? How special is that to you?
A: It's a great feeling. I haven't been in the playoffs, obviously, since I've been here. Having this opportunity to play at this level is a great feeling, I'm looking forward to it.
Q: What is it about Philly that is challenging to you?
A: Number one opponent in our division. They've done a great job. Obviously, their front is really good. I think they have something like 70.0 sacks or something like that. Definitely a tough opponent but we're getting prepared for them.
Q: What makes (Philadelphia outside linebacker) Haason (Reddick) so deadly as a pass rusher?
A: I think he has a good ability to change his rushes. A lot of guys have one or two go-to moves but you can tell he studies the tackles and he has different go-to moves depending on who it is.
Q: At the beginning of this year, not a lot was thought of the offensive line as a group, I'm sure you guys heard a lot of that. You played the last few weeks, obviously, terrific - last weekend was great. What does it feel like now that you've started to prove people wrong?
A: Honestly, we don't focus too much on that. It's the same approach whether we play well or don't play well – is to get better each and every week, protect (quarterback Daniel Jones) DJ and open up holes in the running game.
Q: Does it feel like your offense is clicking right now as well as you guys would want it to be?
A: I think this past game we executed pretty well. That starts with DJ getting the ball to our playmakers and obviously, if we do our job, we see what they can do. We're just going to do our best to continue that.
Q: You've had a few games in Philly, would you say it's probably top-three for hostile environments on the road?
A: Definitely. Their crowd is brutal, and it helps when their team is as good as they are. We're looking forward to it, it's nothing but us against the world so that's the mentality that we have.
Q: How does this team not look at what you've accomplished so far and look ahead to what might lay ahead in the future here?
A: In the playoffs, you have to have a short-term memory. It's 1-0, sudden death win or you go home. We can't focus on what happened. We can't look forward to what's in the future. All we can focus on is what's right in front of us.
Q: Can you feel any sort of buzz in the city, in the town? I know you guys are pretty insolated, but can you feel what's going on here?
A: I haven't been out much but I'm sure that fans are happy with what we've done so far. We're focusing on getting better and being better than we are right now.
Q: Could you hear those chants in Minnesota from Giants fans?
A: Yeah, definitely. They traveled well. It was a great feeling to be at an away game like that and have that many fans supporting us.
Q: What was it like last week watching (quarterback) Daniel (Jones)? 400 total yards, doing everything. How impressive was that as an offensive lineman to see?
A: DJ was amazing, did everything we asked him to do. When there was nothing open, scrambling and made plays for us, didn't turn over the ball. When he plays like that, we have a good opportunity to win against anybody.
Q: Do you expect Philly to move their guys a lot or do you expect to see most of the same guy across from you?
A: They do a good job of switching it up. I think (Philadelphia defensive end) Josh Sweat will be back this game, so I'll probably see him most of the time and then (Philadelphia defensive end) Brandon Graham rotates a lot more on both sides.
Q: What has allowed Brandon Graham to maintain his level of play for so many years? What does he do that makes him so good for so long?
A: It's crazy. It's like he's got the fountain of youth or something. I think this is one of his best seasons ever. He does a good job, he has really good power – does a good job of switching that up, too. Bull, swim, and things like that. A great rusher for them.
Q: Do you find guys attacking you specifically in a different way than they did a couple years ago? Maybe giving you a little more respect from them in certain ways.
A: Yeah, this year I've seen a lot of power. Don't really get a ton of inside moves and stuff like that. A lot of power and outside moves.
Q: How is that different from maybe how they would go after you as a rookie?
A: Yeah, rookie year it was because I overset a lot, so they were attacking me inside a lot more. Inside counters and stuff like that.
Offensive Tackle Evan Neal
Q: On playing the Eagles a couple of times
A: Just the way they rush, the way that they play. I'm getting a better feel for them. And as I study those guys, having that in-game experience against them is going to be able to help me prepare.
Q: Do you look at this as your biggest challenge?
A: I look at it as another football game. Obviously, it's a big game with big implications. And obviously we want to win. But the game's always going to be the game the way I see it.
Q: Obviously, as a team, you've had success to this point. How would you assess your rookie year overall?
A: I feel like it was a learning year for me. I had some ups. I had some downs. I had to battle through some adversity, getting hurt, battling back, coming back. So, I feel like it was a growing year for me – a learning year. And I feel like I handled myself the best way I know how.
Q: How are you physically right now?
A: I'm good. I'm ready. At this point in the year, you're not going to find a guy that's not banged up in some way, shape or form. But I'm standing up. I'm ready.
Q: Do the Eagles do anything unique in the way that they rush? Or is it basically, 'These are our guys. We know how good they are. And go get the quarterback,'?
A: Pretty much. They have good players all across the board, so their coaches let those guy's rush. They run some twist games. They pressure. But really, they have good players. So, they let their good players eat.
Q: You mentioned you're still standing up. Physically, literally, you are. But metaphorically, how much has this been a test for your mental process – how you process failure, how you deal with that? How much has this year tested you on that?
A: Failure's a part of life. I feel like failure's something you learn from, and that's kind of how I've been approaching it. The good things I do out there, I try to capitalize on them and do more of them. The bad things, I try to clean them up the best way I can.
Q: You're one of the few starters that played in that finale. Did that half benefit you, do you think, going into this game? Do you think it's good you got those reps against these guys?
A: Yeah, that's just more reps, add the more experience, the more snaps I get. So, I feel like it definitely helped me out for sure.
Q: Particularly against these guys, though. Like you saw (linebacker Haason) Reddick. Do you think that it helped to learn something from seeing him again?
A: Yeah, the more snaps that he rushed against me was a better opportunity for me to understand how he rushes and how he's going to approach going against me, for sure.
Q: I don't know how many Eagles games you would've watched when you were young, but if you were watching, (defensive end) Brandon Graham and (defensive tackle) Fletcher Cox were probably in those games. And they're still out there now. Does their longevity strike you at all, and did you watch them?
A: Yeah, I knew who Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox was as a kid. And playing against those guys, it's cool. It's the NFL. That's what it's all about. The longevity is a testament to them being a pro, taking care of their bodies and doing the right thing, so that way they can make it that far in their career.
Q: How eager are you to show people that the performance you had against these guys the first time – that that's not you. That you're capable of going out there, even as a rookie, playing really well against some of the best pass rushers in the league?
A: I'm here to go out there and compete and give everything I have; empty everything I have in the tank. And at the end of the game, whatever the outcome is, I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and know I gave it my all.
Q: As an offensive lineman, how beneficial is it when you have (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) taking off like he does? Maybe you give him pressure, and he's going to go make a play.
A: It definitely makes it a lot easier when your quarterback's moving around the pocket. Daniel's been doing a great job getting the ball out on time, just being mobile, stepping up, moving around. It's definitely helping us out, cutting us breaks at times whenever we do let pressure through. So, I'm definitely thankful for that.
Q: One thing a lot of your teammates say is that this Philly front line, they talk a lot. What are you like on the field? Do you talk a lot?
A: Not really, man. I like to play ball. Talking takes a lot of energy. A lot of time on the field, you're gasping for air as it is, as a big guy, offensive lineman. On a 19, 20 play drive, the last thing I'm going to want to do is talk trash. That's valuable air I could be breathing.
Q: So, how do you take it when you go against Brandon Graham? People say he just talks the whole game.
A: If he's talking, I kind of just let him do what he does. I'm not going to change the way I play whenever the whistle stops.
Q: Do you guys harbor any feelings from that first matchup because they did put a decent amount of points on the board? They took care of business. As a player, do you look at that scoreboard and say, 'We want another shot at these guys?'
A: Obviously, I believe that we can go out there and put together a better game than we did the first game. But I believe that we're a different team than we were the first time we played those guys. I feel like we're peaking as a team. We're coming together at the right moments. And on Saturday, we're going to go out there and see what happens.
Q: How has (tackle) Andrew (Thomas) helped you this season?
A: He's been in my ear, giving me advice through the things that he went through his rookie year and how he handled it and stuff like that. So, I'm definitely thankful for him and just being able to help me out in that way.