Thursday, August 18, 2005

Eagles defensive coordinator news conference

From the Eagles:

Jim Johnson press conference

On whether he expects to have defensive tackle Sam Rayburn on Saturday:
“I think probably there is going to be a decision made tomorrow, if it has not already been made. I think that it is very questionable right now. We will just have to see. It’s probably a 50-50 chance.”

On how Rayburn looked at practice today:
“A little rusty. He doesn’t have a lot of strength in that arm right now. He’s got to get his strength back. As we know, he hasn’t practiced a lot, so he was a little rusty.”

On how he thought the young guys played on Monday night:
“I think that every time you go into a preseason game, you look for the good and the bad. So, there were some good things, especially out of the young rookies. [DT] Mike Patterson showed exactly what we think of him. He still has good quickness, but he still has to work on his pass rush. But we were happy with him. Martin Patterson, the free agent linebacker, had an awfully big game. We were impressed with him. I think that [LB] Matt [McCoy] is still struggling with some stuff. I think that outside linebacker is a hard thing to learn. He’s still struggling a bit, but he is going to play a lot more this week. We only played him about a quarter, but he needs a lot of reps. We have to get him into the game more. But, some of those young guys, like [DE] Trent Cole, we are really happy with him. I’m not sure he’s going to play Saturday night, but he got a lot of reps and it was good to see him perform that way.”

On how linebacker Martin Patterson has looked so far:
“He’s a very physical linebacker. He shows, in between the tackles, that he can play middle linebacker. He can take on a lead block. He takes on a lineman well. He’s still working on his pass coverage. I probably think that is his weakness, but he’s had an excellent camp. No question about it.”

On whether he thinks that Martin Patterson is ahead where most rookie free agents in his position should be:
“I think so, yeah. For a free agent young guy coming in, I think he’s done an extremely good job. He’s ahead of a lot of guys we’ve had.”

On how much being out has hurt defensive end Trent Cole:
“It’s just the reps. It’s just a rookie learning the system. It’s a shame, because he was really coming along well and this is going to set him back a bit. But hopefully, we can still get him ready for the opener.

On the progress that Jason Short has made from this point last year at the linebacker position:
“Night and day so far. Again, he had a great game the other night. He had a lot of plays, 50 some plays. He looked like he could be a linebacker for us. Again, he is still making some mistakes and he has to work on that. He didn’t have a great week of practice. He knows that, but he did play well in the game the other night. He’s going to play a lot this week. With [LB] Greg Richmond down, he’s going to have to fill into that SAM linebacker as far as a backup. But we are happy with him. He’s really so far ahead of last year.”

On whether he would have said that same thing about Jason this time last year:
“I had a bit of question, I really did. He really struggled. He was a good special team’s player, but he struggled at linebacker. But right now, [Linebacker Coach Steve] Spagnuolo has done a good job with him and has got him ready. He seems like a different linebacker this year so far.”

On whether this is one of the better groups of young linebackers he has had since he got here:
“Well, I say we have a lot of versatility with [LB Mark] Simoneau and [LB Keith] Adams. But, the thing we miss right now is Greg Richmond. We were counting on him and he’s going to be out for a while. We are still mixing and matching a bit and I think we will find guys for that SAM linebacker and that MIKE linebacker. But, at least we have some guys and depth to work with. We will just have to see how it shakes out.”

On defensive tackle Keyonta Marshall’s development:
“Yeah, he did a nice job. He’s showed that he is a very good run player against a good run offense last week. He made a lot of plays inside. He held his ground. I think that he has to work on his pass rush, no question about it, but he did show us he can play in the NFL. Now again, that is the first game and we will see how things go the rest of the 3 preseason games, but he looked very good against some good offensive linemen last week.”

On whether he has heard anything at all from defensive end Jerome McDougle:
“No. It’s one of those situations where we are staying out of. We are just going to let him get ready when he can. Talk to [head coach] Andy [Reid], talk to [head trainer] Rick [Burkholder] and we really have not even tried to tell you the truth. We know that it is tough, not a lot of conversation right now.”

On whether he is concerned with the depth of the defensive line for this week:
“Yeah, especially at defensive end we are a little short this week. We will have to really watch it. We will see how much we play that first group. I’m sure that we will play them a heck of a lot more than last week. We just have to watch it. Guys are going to have to double up a little bit. No question about it, we are light there.”

On whether he would consider playing defensive tackle Darwin Walker at end:
“No, not this week. Not unless it is a real emergency. Not this week.”

On the timeframe of getting linebacker Greg Richmond back:
“I don’t know exactly. You have to talk to the trainers. But it’s going to be a while.”

On why he is high on Richmond:
“He is a very intelligent guy. He’s very strong. You know he was a defensive end in college. He can handle a tight end because he has good strength. Just what we saw of him early, he’s a good special team player and a very physical player. He is a pretty good athlete, so we liked him. It’s just a shame.”

On how many defensive ends will be available this week:
“We will have 4. We will have [DE] Norm [Heuer] rotated in there, so we will have four.”

On how the young safeties played last week:
“I thought they did well, [S] Quintin Mikell especially. He showed he can still help us right there. I thought that both those free agent corners, [CB Linj] Shell and [CB] Aric [Williams] did a nice job. I was happy with that. I think that the two safeties hit a wall a little bit. Just the mental part of it, so they probably were not as aggressive. But I thought the corners did a nice job.”

On whether he can assume that defensive tackle Corey Simon is going to be here for the season:
“If a guy is not here, I assume he is not going to be here. I think it’s as simple as that. We just have to go on. If he is not here we are making plans and if he is here, great. But, that is how we have to approach it.”


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