Eagles To Bunkley: "We go on"

The Eagles come into camp without first round pick Brodrick Bunkley, but the company line is that Bunkley is only hurting himself. Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson says life goes on and the birds are focusing on who is at Lehigh.

In just a few short sentences about Brodrick Bunkley, defensive coordinator Jim Johnson used the phrase "we go on" three times. That's what it comes down to for the Eagles as they start training camp at Lehigh University. "Our philosophy is just to say, 'If he's not here we go on.' But, anytime a guy misses it's going to hurt him," stressed Johnson. "There's no question about it. It might set him back a little bit, but we go on. Hopefully he'll catch up and hopefully we'll get him in here. But, hey our philosophy is just to go on and coach the guys that are here and we can't worry about it. That's all, that's how we approach it every time."

For Johnson, he's not at the stage where he's worried about Bunkley and the time that he's missing, partly because of the position he plays, but he still thinks time lost is time lost. "Not as much as a linebacker or safety, no question about it. But, there's still a lot of things, especially in our pressure package, that he's got to pick up," said Johnson. "Pete [defensive line coach Pete Jenkins] is doing some new techniques, so it's important that he picks that up. Of all the years, especially you've got a new defensive lineman, and you've got a new defensive line coach. You need philosophy and techniques a little bit, so he has to be around." said Johnson about the missing big man.

As Johnson stressed though, life goes on and he's happy with the players who are in camp.

Chris Gocong is one of the players that the Eagles will watch closely in camp as he works to move to linebacker. "It'll be a good challenge for him. He's got to spend a little extra time on his own just kind of picking things up. The biggest thing with him, I think he's got the physical ability," said Johnson of Gocong's chances. One observation from Johnson about Gocong wasn't inspiring though when the defensive coordinator mentioned that he thought Gocong looked like he had "tired legs" in the first practice of the summer. Johnson is glad to have Gocong in camp and thinks he's going to be an important part of the Eagles plans eventually. "We're going to work him at linebacker. Now, we're also going to work him at rush end, and on third down he's still going to work with Pete down on the defensive line once in awhile. You'll see him in camp go down and get some pass rush techniques because we want to see what kind of an end rusher he would be in a third down situation or a joker. But, right now there's no question about it, he'll be working at linebacker for everything else," said Johnson.

What else Jim Johnson had to say on Friday.

On how LB Matt McCoy is coming along:

"He had a good [minicamp]. He'll be back here Sunday and it's still good competition. We've got good competition this year, on the defensive line, the linebackers with Shawn Barber coming back, but [McCoy] has done a good job. We'll see when the pads come on how he does, but he's picked it up pretty good. It's so much better than last year, no question about it."

On whether he likes more competition as a coach:

"I love it, more competition, no question about it. It's nice to be set in a way, there's no question about that, but you still like to have good competition. You like people pushing other people. I think of all the years, we have it, especially the defensive line we've got really good depth. And in the secondary with our safeties, we've got good depth with our safeties. So, that's good competition. And the linebackers, there are some spots open. We'll see how it works out."

On whether he can point to one or two areas as to why the defense was not as good last year:

"I would say at least two things. I think, first of all, it starts with the rush. We didn't get the pressure we normally had. We've always been in the top five as far as pressure and we didn't get that for whatever reason. And the second thing was more big plays in the secondary, between penalties, big play penalties and big plays. I think we still want more production out of certain guys, but those are the two areas, a better pass rush and not giving up big plays. When I say big plays, I'm talking about big penalty plays too. I can think of 40-yard penalty plays that happened at least eight or nine times. That kills us."

On how much the problems they had rushing the passer contributed to the big plays:

"They go hands in hand, there's no question. They go hand in hand. I'm not going to put all the pressure on the defensive line. We all have to play better, we all have to coach better and all that, but we just didn't get the rush we've been getting because we just didn't. We think we've improved that with [DE Darren] Howard and some of the guys we've brought in, so we'll see how it works out."

On whether he was able to call the type of game he'd like to call last season:

"Well, probably not."

On how much of the defensive scheme they expose to the rookies in the first few days:

"We expose them quite a bit. The next few days they'll get all our base coverage and all our base fronts, all our bases on pressure. The vets come back in on Monday. We'll start over with all of the same stuff. So, they actually get three extra days of information before the vets come in. Their heads are spinning right now."

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