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Quotes: Coach Brian Daboll, DL Leonard Williams

Head Coach Brian Daboll

Daboll: How's everyone doing? What we got?

Q: Injury-wise, how is everyone doing?

A: So, we'll see after today's practice. Probably two guys on it. We'll see where they're at – (outside linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari) and (cornerback Fabian) Moreau.

Q: Moreau, did that one happen at the end of the game, and that's why (cornerback Cor'Dale) Flott went in? He got hurt on that last drive?

A: Yeah, he got dinged up.

Q: Azeez said yesterday that after he gets through the week, they'll try to figure out if he can hurt it any worse, and if not, he's going to try to play. That's a contusion-type thing, so more pain tolerance?

A: We'll come out here today. I think he's made progress every day. He'll hopefully be a little bit better today, tomorrow. So, we'll kind of see where we're at here with those two guys.

Q: If Moreau can't go or can't go fully, Flott would be the guy selected?

A: We talk about that tomorrow night with all the guys we got out there.

Q: Can you speak to the role that (inside linebacker) Landon (Collins) has taken on? Is that exactly what you and (defensive coordinator) Wink (Martindale) spoke about when you brought him back here?

A: He's earned a good role for himself, kind of a, however you want to call it, 'down in the box' type safety/linebacker. He's in certain packages. He's done a good job for us.

Q: What's is like piecing together this plan where you've faced these guys twice but really haven't had the same matchups with some of your defensive players who haven't played at all. When you're putting your plan together, matchups are such a big part of it. So, how do you kind of rectify those two things? You've played them twice, but not with the same guys.

A: It's kind of like you're getting ready for another game. You're doing all the same stuff, and then the guys that have played, those are matchups and things you're looking at. And the guys that haven't, it's like a normal week if you haven't played them in terms of the matchup aspect of it.

Q: When your offensive line has seen a team for the second time – with the division games, but also in Minnesota – it seems like they play a cleaner game, that the first time wasn't necessarily as productive. Is there something that (offensive line coach) Bobby (Johnson) and (assistant offensive line coach) Tony (Sparano, Jr.) do with the line that helps them in that rematch scenario?

A: I think those guys do a good job with them. Ultimately, it's going to be coming down to being able to block them, and whether it's the run game or the pass game, this is certainly a big challenge with these guys right here.

Q: You have position coaches, and (quarterback) Davis (Webb), he's a player. But he's also part of that room in getting (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) ready. So, does his experience, being on the field against these guys two weeks ago, does that help him, do you think?

A: I think Davis does a great job in preparation. Even if he's not playing, he does a really good job. I think he's a valuable asset in the room to the other quarterbacks, to (quarterbacks coach) Shea (Tierney), to (offensive coordinator Mike) Kafka – he spends a lot of time studying – to the other guys. He's really the same every week. So, Daniel played against them. He's a good resource to have in there.

Q: A lot of times when an injured player is out for the year, he's not around as much. (Wide receiver) Sterling (Shepard) is around a lot, and I'm just kind of curious what kind of role he's continued to play with these young receivers. As a follow up, how difficult do you think this is for him as the longest tenured guy to have to watch this and not be a part of it?

A: I just think he's very grateful. We wanted him around. (General manager) Joe (Schoen) and I wanted him around. He's a great teammate. He provides a lot of juice. He's out here at practice every day. He's one of the better leaders that I've been around – very selfless. I wouldn't know how he feels. Certainly, I believe that he wishes he could play. But he comes out here with a great attitude. He's our music guy. So, he's been great. Very fortunate for him to be here.

Q: Everybody knows the stakes are higher but being in the locker room and watching the players, they seem to be taking the approach that it's 'business as usual.' Have you had to talk to them about that this week, or that's just them?

A: Yeah, that's just them. I want them to be themselves. We have a job to do – to try to get ready to play our best game this week. And that's what we're trying to do.

Q: How have you seen Shep (Sterling Shepard), especially with the rotation in the receiving corps, maybe help the new guys, younger guys, especially someone like Isaiah (Hodgins)?

A: I think he helps everybody. He helps the defensive guys, the receivers, the offensive guys. He's all over in practice. Walkthrough, he's talking to those guys. He's played a lot of football. I think the guys have a lot of respect for him. He's just been a really good teammate for us.

Q: Did you ever talk to him? When he went down with the (ACL) injury, obviously it was devastating. Did you ever speak to him about, 'We still want you around. We still want you at practice,'? Or is that just something where he came to you, and he said, 'I don't plan on going anywhere,'?

A: Joe and I, we wanted him around. And that's up to him, too, based on how he's rehabbing and stuff. But he's here every day. He's an energy giver. He lifts everybody up: coaches, players, staff members. Just a great teammate.

Q: How would you describe the demeanor of Daniel (Jones) now compared to all season long, what you observed from him?

A: Consistent. He's really even-keeled, same guy every day, which you appreciate for that position. Hard worker. Good teammate. Nothing really rattles him. I think he's been through a lot of different things in his career, and I think players look to him because he is that consistent voice, consistent messaging, consistent player (with) how he practices. I think consistent is probably the best word to use.

Q: Your redzone defense was really good against them (the Eagles) in the finale. It was good all year. Is there anything that you guys do down there? Why has it been such a strength for you guys?

A: I think give credit to Wink and the defensive staff and then ultimately the players. You can only play so many things down there. The field shortens up, and it's usually the difference between having an opportunity to be successful and not. And we're going to need it this week, too.

Q: (Running back) Saquon (Barkley) was talking yesterday about the evolution of the offense, and the simple thumbnail is you were running the ball more. And now you're passing the ball more. So, when you kind of looked at this and kind of scripted this all out, did you see that developing that way? Or can you be surprised along the way?

A: I think the goal is to try to improve every week. Relative to passes and runs, I think that depends on who you're playing and how we think the gameplan needs to be shaped. I have no problem running it 40 times or throwing it 50 times. The biggest thing is playing well, and the chemistry, the camaraderie, the consistency. Some of the same guys that have been throwing a bunch with Daniel, I think that's improved. But in terms of 'we started running and now we're passing,' I think that changes every week.

Q: When it comes to (Eagles quarterback) Jalen Hurts, he can get it done with his arms and his legs. How much does having Daniel, who can do the same thing, help your defense in preparing for Hurts?

A: Well, I think it's hard. There's only one Jalen. He's a very good quarterback. Daniel goes against the scout team of Philly guys. We try to give the best looks we can for Jalen, but it's never (identical). When you have a player of that caliber that can do so many different things, you do the best job you can out here in preparation. And then you have to play well on Saturday.

Q: With the uncertainty in his status, is it causing any difficulties with preparation?

A: No, he wasn't on the injury report. So, I'm expecting his best. And that's what he's given every time I've been around him.

Q: What did you see from your team this week overall? How would you describe their demeanor? Do you see an excited group? Do you see a nervous group? Do you see a workmen-like group? I'm helping with adjectives.

A: You're exactly right. I was not a good English student. I think they've been consistent. We're getting ready to play a game. It's obviously the biggest game of the year, and they've had a good attitude. They prepared well. It's been consistent.

Q: You said last week that you typically don't say much the night before games. Do you intend to keep that the same?

A: I do, yeah. Again, you say a lot during the week. You have meetings and you go through game plans and show tape and do a lot of different things. And usually by Saturday night, or Friday night in this case, you've put all the work in. Your message – you should do a good job of messaging to the players during the week. And the night before the game, they've got to get ready to play. It's a little bit different because it's a later game. So, I'll probably even say less. And then the next morning, do a little bit of a walkthrough in the meeting rooms just to tie up some loose ends and get ready to play.

Q: Because it's a later game, how do you pass the time when you're not with your guys or in the meeting room?

A: I'm always constantly reading my notes, looking at my playbook in terms of offense, defense, kicking game, going through situations in my mind. And other than that, just relaxing.

Q: How about the fact that there's three NFC East teams still alive here? What does it say about the division, how far it's come, especially from what expectations were coming into this season?

A: This is my first year in it, and there's a lot of good football teams in the league. Everyone's good. And certainly, we have a lot of good teams in our division. A lot of talented players, good coaches. Teams that are here at this time of year are the teams that earn it.

Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams

Q: We asked you so much the last couple weeks about the anticipation of your first playoff game. What was the experience like, and do you think that helps you now that you have that experience, and you're going into another one?

A: It was an amazing experience. The atmosphere in the stadium was incredible. Their fans were super loud. Everybody had all their family in town and stuff like that. Then not only going into my first playoff game, but winning it, it felt incredible. Just seeing everybody's smiles and coming together and (being) happy for one another. Then quickly moving on to the next team and knowing (that) every team's goal is every season is in arm's reach of us at this point, it's super exciting.

Q: Even just that one game helps you and the team more? The novelty of the playoff thing is over.

A: You hear a lot before that playoff game that not a lot of players on our team had playoff experience. But we talked amongst ourselves and amongst each other we're like, 'It's a football game at the end of the day.' Most of us have been playing football since we were eight years old. So, we've got to go out there and just treat it like a game. With that being said, it still is a different feeling in the playoffs. Now I feel like we have a little bit of that playoff experience and a win under our belt and just a little more fire and attitude going into this next one.

Q: What made it different last week when you first played? Did it feel different during the game?

A: I mean the difference is that a mistake is magnified, and you need your best players to play their best in a situation like that. You know it's all on the line, so everything is at a higher level. Whether you're making a mistake or making a play, it's just at a higher level. I think we did a good enough job of staying together and playing play after play. If their offense scored on us, we weren't hanging our heads down. We were ready to go out there for the next play. I think that type of mentality that we had has to keep going in the next few games.

Q: NFL films put together a little highlight video of (defensive lineman) Dexter (Lawrence) in that game. There were times it looked like he was playing against a high school team or something. Do you sometimes marvel at the way he's able to dominate like that?

A: I do, actually. 'Gamers play game' type of thing. Some of the stuff that I've been able to see him do this year has just been like, 'Whoa.' I've seen D-tackles do a swim move or do a rip move or do a long arm or do like all these things that will get them free. But I'm like, 'Okay, I've seen another D-tackle do that before.' Whereas he's doing things that I'm just like, 'I've never seen (any) other D-tackle in this area do that.' He's a one-of-a-kind type of player, a generational player in my opinion.

Q: That first matchup, you guys gave up 250-plus yards on the ground to this team. How much do you put that on the defensive line's shoulders to want to limit that run game this week?

A: I mean, the defensive line always takes the credit for everything. Whether we're not getting enough pressure on the quarterback, whether we're not stopping the run, we're going to put it on our backs at the end of the day. That obviously is not going to be enough going into this playoff game if we allow them to do that again. It takes all of us, though – not just the D-line, the whole front seven, safeties, everybody to stop the run. That's our goal this week is to try to make them one-dimensional and stop the run as early as possible.

Q: You've played a lot of quarterbacks who can move. What's the key to dealing with (Eagles quarterback Jalen) Hurts?

A: I think once he becomes a runner, just treat him like a running back. I think that's a big thing about Jalen Hurts. He's a strong runner. He doesn't run like a quarterback once he's in space, and I don't think you should approach him as a quarterback once he is starting to run. I think you need to treat him like a running back, take the right angles, put your body on him and tackle him strong. Try to fluster him when he's back there standing in the pocket.

Q: You didn't play in the first two Eagles games. What have you observed looking at the tapes of those games, and also, what about their offensive line specifically, going against (Eagles center Jason) Kelce?

A: I haven't been able to play against him the two times that we played them this year yet. I'm looking forward to this one. I feel like their offensive line works well together, starting with Kelce. He's a really good center. A lot of people call him the (Buccaneers quarterback) Tom Brady of centers because he knows protections. He just has feelings for pressure and blitzes and all type of stuff like that. Give him credit where it's due. He's a good guy, he's a good center. We're going to have to attack this offensive line.

Q: Given the fact that you guys were banged up in that first matchup and resting a little bit in the last matchup in Week 18, do you feel like that provides you guys with a little bit of an advantage because they haven't seen your best shot yet?

A: I mean, I don't know about advantages or weaknesses or anything like that. I do know we do have a more healthy team this time going around. I'm looking forward to most of our guys on defense – a lot of our guys on defense were banged up the last few times we played them. I'm looking forward to playing with a complete team this time around.

Q: I just talked to (safety) Xavier (McKinney), and he said that you're going to walk in through the tunnel at the stadium, and it's going to be crazy. But he said you guys were kind of able to tune that out. The fans aren't playing, you are. How do you handle that, because obviously this is one of the most heated rivalries in sports?

A: I guess everybody looks at it in a different way. I don't really tune it out, I just make it my own noise. When I hear crowd noise, I don't see it as, 'That's the opponent's crowd.' I'm just like, 'It's a crowd cheering at end of the day.' Whether I'm in my own stadium or someone's stadium, it's just crowd noise. I almost channel it and make it mine. When I hear the crowd getting fired it, it fires me up. I don't really care if they're rooting for the other color or not. I take it as my own. I actually love that type of environment. The last game we played in against the Vikings, they just had an incredible environment and I loved it.

Q: You guys appear really loose during practice, dancing around and whatnot. How important is that not to make too big a moment of it? How much does that come from your head coach?

A: I think that's huge. I think that's something that I really value in this team is we're serious when we have to be. Obviously, we're taking this seriously. But at the same time, I think we have to be loose and have fun and remember that it's a game. Be where you're supposed to be and know what you're supposed to do and all those types of things. At the end of the day, I feel like when we play with that type of fun and looseness that we play with a different type of swagger, and it allows us to play fast.

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