Jim Johnson press conference: 9-9-05

On whether he is excited for the regular season to begin: "No question and of course it is Monday Night Football. We are going against a great football team with a good quarterback. I know our guys are excited, you could tell when they came back on Thursday after that Wednesday off. They could not wait for the game. It's exciting for the coaches as well. No question about it."

On not having DE Derrick Burgess or DT Corey Simon going against QB Michael Vick:
"I think every coordinator that faces Vick says the same thing. Michael Vick is the problem. Our guys realize that. Burgess did a nice job last year and Simon, we will miss those guys. Other guys will fill in with [DE N.D.] Kalu playing there and [DT] Mike Patterson. So, what we did last year might not be the same thing we do this year. I'm sure they feel the same way. What they did, we have to try and counter that, so it becomes a little bit of a game, but we all know that it begins with [Vick] #7. He's a very special quarterback and we tell our guys, he is going to make plays. He's a big play guy and we want to make sure we limit those big plays."

On whether N.D. Kalu needs to play disciplined on Monday night:
"It's a very happy medium of being a very aggressive football player. Not just playing on the line of scrimmage, but knowing what this guy is. In your own mind, you have to have some discipline too. I don't think we were soft last year. We were very aggressive and still attacking. But there is still a mentality to know your opponent, no matter who he is. That is what we stress all week."

On whether there are any special challenges in playing season openers:
"You always worry about what kind of shape they are in. We think they are in good shape. Yesterday was a good practice; it was warm so we pushed them. The first teamers took almost all of the work. It is going to be the same thing today and we will kind of rest them up, because they really have not played. They played a half against Baltimore, so you are always making sure we are in good shape. We are still going to rotate our line, but the linebackers and secondary you have to make sure are in good shape. We look like we are in good shape, but we have not played a whole football game yet."

On the Eagles not always playing their best on opening day:
"I don't know why we are 2-4 in our last 6 openers. We have analyzed that. We went up against some pretty good football teams too. I remember losing to a good Tennessee team there. We lost to a good Tampa Bay team. We have beaten some good football teams too. I don't think we have put anything into that. I think that everybody in the NFL is concerned with what kind of shape they are in, because a lot of time you don't' play a whole game. I'm not that concerned about it. I hope we are in good enough shape."


On DT Sam Rayburn's arm:
"He seems fine. He is going to play quite a bit, but he seems fine right now. He has not complained about it, at least to us. So we are assuming he's going to be ready to play 20 or 30 plays."

On whether he thinks that Atlanta needs to open their offense up more to hurt us:
"Here is the thing. I think Michael Vick has another year under his belt, in terms an offensive system, in [offensive coordinator] Greg Knapp's system. So he's going to know that system a little better. He has some good receivers as far as size. I think that they want to open it up a little more. I still think it is still a team that was #1 in the league in rushing last year. They got to the playoffs because that is what they did. Sure they are going to throw the football a little more. If Michael Vick has time, he has a great arm and knows the system better. He has looked very good at times as far as throwing the football during the preseason. How that is going to play to us, we still have to do a good job against the running game and play contain. That is still our main goal."

On whether S Sean Considine will be ready to play on Monday night:
"I don't know if he is ready to play or not. Right now he has not played in the preseason. I'm not sure what his status is going to be for this game. It might be a game time decision."

On whether having the CBs stay with Atlanta's receivers will be difficult while playing against Vick:
"Yeah, for the cornerbacks there is no question about it. We try to drill that during practice. We have our quarterbacks scrambling outside of the pocket and have the guys staying with their receivers, but you talk about discipline with the line, it's the same things for the secondary and corners, because Michael Vick, besides running the ball, has made a lot of deep throws on the scramble. So you're concerned about that and our guys know that as well. They are ready to accept the challenge. But they are aware that this is one of the things he does best."

On whether Vick looks for TE Alge Crumpler when he scrambles out of the pocket:
"He likes Crumpler. I think he likes him more when he goes to drop back. When he scrambles he will find any receiver down field. There is no question about it, he does like Crumpler. That is his go to guy."

On rotating the DTs more since the defense has not played a full game:
"No, I think we are going to go just like we have every other year. Like I said, I don't want to make a big deal about guys not playing much, because we are anticipating they are going to be in shape. We have not seen them play 60-70 plays. You wonder about a guy like [DE] Jevon Kearse and how many plays he can go. So, we still have a plan about how we are going to rotate. Nothing is going to change there. Those are the guys that get tired more than everybody else, the line."

On who will start next to DT Darwin Walker:
"It will be [DT] Hollis [Thomas]."

On Hollis earning the start:
"Hollis had a great preseason and he deserves it. This is a great game for him. We are going to start that way."

On whether this is the best defense that the Eagles have had since he has been here:
"I said this before; I don't want to say that because we have only played the preseason. Now you get into the game planning. Everyone is a little bit vanilla during the preseason. Now we are going to see things we have not seen and we will see how we react to things we have not worked on. So, it's too early to see. Right now, I like our attitude. I think we are very aggressive. I like the way our guys are working, so I am happy with that. But, I am not going to make a statement till midseason."


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