October 24, 2002
Did the bye help this team?
I think it did. I think we are having a good week of practice. Obviously we have gotten some extra work that we are going to need for this week. So, I think it was good. It was a good time and I think we all feel refreshed and ready to go.
Is this viewed as a must-win situation?
Well, certainly if we lose this game we go down two games and everybody knows that. However, it is only the seventh game of the year and there is a lot of football to be played. But, certainly this could make a difference in the way the rest of the season goes for both teams.
Philly is supposed to be the city of Brotherly love, but there is no love lost between these teams, right?
Itís a hostile environment. We know that. We get to play there every year and we know what itís like. And, of course, being Monday night, Iím sure itís going to be louder than ever. Itís going to be a big challenge. We know it is. We play there every year and we know how loud it can be and just what kind of home-field advantage they have. I think it is definitely going to be loud and it is definitely going to be a big challenge for us.
Do you have you remember not to get too hyped and remember what you have to do?
I think any time you go on the road, you have to be able to handle a lot of different things. I think one of the things is, especially against a division opponent, you have to be careful not to get too wrapped up in the crowd. You have to be able to keep your poise. During the game, we have to be able to keep our poise. They are going to make some plays and we are going to make some plays and you have to be able to keep your emotions in check. I think thatís where veteran leadership can come in. We know we have to band together. We know itís going to be a tough, hostile environment. But, you have to be able to keep it in check and just concentrate on what you are doing.
When you go into a hostile environment, do you take an Ďus against the worldí approach?
Yes, you have to. You have to be tighter than ever when you are on the road, and especially in that kind of environment. We played well in St. Louis. I think that was encouraging. I really liked the way we came together. Dallas was the same way. I felt like we came together really well. Itís going to take that to win on Monday night. We know that itís going to be just as loud, if not louder, than any place we have played this year. We have to be a whole and play as a group if we want to win this game.
Do you know how blitz happy this defense is?
Yeah, we play them every yearÖtwice every year. You always have to be aware of their corners and safeties. The thing about this team is that there is no rhyme or reason when the blitz is coming. With some teams, you can see a pattern and say ok, second-and-long, third-and-long they are going to do it. This team can bring people anytime, anywhere. You always have to be aware of what is going on in the secondary. They have good guys doing it. Dawkins is one of the best blitzing defensive backs in the league, if not the best. They will bring Vincent. They will bring Taylor. Blaine Bishop will be up there around the box. So, you have to be able to see the whole field, always know where they are at and have an answer when they do blitz.
Re: The importance of Monday night vs. Sunday afternoon.
I donít think it has that much of an importance. Obviously, we know everyone is watching, but once you start playing the game, I donít think it has much of an effect on the way you see the game or the way you approach it.
When you make your reads, is Dawkins the guy you look at to cue you on what the defense is doing?
Yeah. You try to see both safeties. I think they both can tip it off. But, we know that Dawkins is their featured blitzer, so you have to know where he is. And a lot of times, he is a guy you will see around the line of scrimmage and in the box. I donít think itís so much as you have to look at him all of the time, but you have to know where he is.
Does that secondary rank among the best in the league in your opinion?
Yeah. No question. I think with the addition of Bishop, they are better. Both corners are playing as well as they ever have. Certainly, Dawkins is at the top of his game. They do a good job of keeping everything in front of them. That is one thing they have always done well. You hardly ever see them get beat deep. That is one of their strengths: they always keep everything in front of them.
Re: the Eagles banners in the locker room.
I didnít put it there. Itís just a motivational thing. I donít even know who put it up there, but they are everywhere.
They blitz often, but donít give up a lot of big plays. Why?
They are good tacklers, they have a sound scheme and they get home a lot. They hit it so hard and so fast that there is not a whole lot a quarterback can do but get rid of it, throw it out of bounds or lay it off to somebody. They are very sound in their coverages behind blitzes. Itís one thing if you are just blitzing and giving everything up. But, they have good cover guys, they tackle well and their scheme is pretty sound.