Jim Johnson press conference: 11-11-05

On what he learned from what happened the last time they played Dallas:"I think the biggest thing that happened is that [Cowboys QB Drew] Bledsoe got in a rhythm. We didn't do a good job of covering. We didn't do a real good job of pressuring him at the start of the game. We were kind of in a hole and we kind of stayed in a hole.

So, I think it's important for us to get off to a good start. I think we have to challenge their receivers, make sure we have better coverage and get pressure on them. It's not as simple as that, but that's the one thing we learned."

On the DE situation this week:

"[DE] N.D. [Kalu] is the biggest question. He's still having some tests. I'm not sure how he got listed, as doubtful or what, but right now we're planning to use [DT Darwin] Walker some of course, and [DE] Trent Cole, in that rotation."

On how Cole has played recently:

"He played well the other night, Sunday night. He did a nice job. He got some pressure. He's still a rookie learning, but I was happy with the high energy he showed. He'll be playing a lot this Monday night."

On how CB Sheldon Brown has played this year:

"He's probably been one of the most consistent players we've had, no question about it. He's been a playmaker for us. He's been very consistent, good tackler, good coverage and probably our most consistent player, one of our most consistent players."

On whether CB Lito Sheppard is playing too much with his injury:

"No. That's the problem with cornerback. He's getting challenged quite a bit. They're going after him a little bit and he's got to have a short memory and get over some of the plays he's given up and come back. That's all. But he's fine right now. He's healthy. There's no reason for him not to play at the caliber he's used to."

On what he makes of the inconsistency on defense:

"I don't know how much I make of it except that I know that we have not been consistent, on the road especially. We've gotten off to slow starts. You try to rally them and I think it's important for us to get off to a good start and our guys come through with big plays. It's hard to attribute it to anything, but overall defense, we haven't been that consistent."

On why he thinks the defense has been better at home:

"I don't know. I know our crowd of course has been great. We've gotten off to good starts and that's been a big part of it. We played decent on the road the other night, but again, we got off to a good start with 3 downs and out, and our field position was much better. So, that's all part of it, stopping them and getting field position for our offense too."

On whether this game has a feel of a playoff game:

"No question about it. This is what you play for. I think we're all excited. The players are excited, coaches are excited. Dallas is coming to town, Monday Night football, it can't get any better than this. And we know where we're at. We're 4-4 like some other teams are and this is a big game for us, and that's how we approach it."

On whether there is one player who has played the best so far:

"I can't say that. You asked me about Sheldon Brown. He's played well. [LB Jeremiah] Trotter's played well. [FS Brian] Dawkins has played well, [DE] Jevon Kearse and so on. There are several guys that have played well. I just think we'd like to say, ‘As a team, as a defensive team, just try to be more consistent and not give up big plays.' I think some of the big plays have hurt us more than anything else."

On whether he can pinpoint why they have not gotten pressure on the QB:

"First of all we're facing good football teams, facing good quarterbacks, facing teams that know how to protect pretty good too. So, there are a lot of things that go into it. People are still giving us a lot of max protection, just like the Washington Redskins did too. We have to live with that sometimes and play coverage. Sometimes we have to play coverage and not get the pressure."

On how putting Walker at DE affects the defensive line:

"He'll be playing both. If we do this quite a bit, which we're anticipating, it just means that [DT] Hollis [Thomas] is going to play a heck of a lot more, [DT Mike] Patterson playing a lot more, and [DT] Sam Rayburn playing a lot more. And we'll probably see [DT] Keyonta Marshall, how much he'll play. So, we'll have to kind of see how much Walker is going to play at end too."

On whether speed is Cole's best asset:

"Yeah, good speed, good rush, plays with a high motor. He's still a young rookie learning how to play, but at least he's playing with a good, high motor."

On why the defense has struggled in the red zone:

"We break that down every week. I don't think it's one thing. I think it's a combination of things. When we're on the road we've got to learn not to panic a little bit I guess, making sure that we know what we're doing a little bit down there. We've always been good. It's a combination of [lack of] pressure a little bit. It's a combination of coverage. It's as simple as that. I can't make it more simple than that."

On bad tackling being frustrating:

"There were maybe two or three plays where we really didn't tackle well [against the Redskins]. I can remember one on the screen and stuff like that. If you're going to be a good defensive team, you've got to be a good tackling team. We all know that, but that's in the past. Right now I'm thinking about Dallas and playing at home. That's what we're concentrating on."

On whether the challenge Dallas poses is the same as last time:

"Yeah, good team, good skill people. They've got Bledsoe playing at a good level. We're still a good football team. We've got to play one of our better games because we're playing one of the better teams in the NFL right now. There's no question about Dallas. They're a good football team."

On what he expects to see from their running backs:

"I think they'll probably go both with [RB Marion] Barber and [RB Julius] Jones. I think they'll probably play Jones. I think they want to get him back in the lineup, but they like Barber I know. So, we'll see them both."

On whether he worries about the defense's confidence:

"You're always working on confidence. Confidence comes with success too. We haven't played well on the road. Sometimes when you play better on the road you have confidence playing better on the road too. We've played well at home so we have confidence at home too. The crowd gets into it, so we'll see."

On whether he worries that he has become predictable:

"You do that every week. We self-scout ourselves. We make sure we don't have a tendency, but I think people know what the Eagles are going to do. We're going to try and pressure when we can and I don't think we're going to change in that. I don't think that's been a problem."

On teams being able to throw underneath:

"We saw the [Redskins] tight end [Chris Cooley], who we had good coverage on, came up with some nice catches. There were times where we had him actually doubled, good matchups, and the thing you want to make sure of with a guy like that, or any tight end, is that you have good matchups. We felt we had a good matchup and the guy caught the ball in good coverage and made a couple of plays. Overall, I was happy with most of our stuff. It probably came down to 2 or 3 plays. There was a 3rd down and long play one time. Other than that I thought they played hard. I was fine with that. We missed some tackles and we gave up a couple of plays."


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