Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, who leads the NFL's worst red zone defense, met the media this week to talk about the Eagles upcoming primetime matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. Right off the bat, he was asked about the struggles in the red zone and didn't really give an answer.
"Well, any time we've played like we have in the red zone, there is more than one problem and it starts with keeping the players in position to make plays and it goes all the way down to making plays. We're hard at work trying to get that problem fixed right now and if we want to make a stretch run here, we need to do a better job in the red zone."
He also addressed what Jason Garrett has done differently since being promoted from offensive coordinator to interim head coach.
"He's probably running the ball a little bit more than he has in the past and that could be a result of a lot of things. They've done a good job and they've been successful running the ball, so why not stick with it? They've done a great job."
Last year, the Cowboys blew the Eagles out in two straight games basically running 2-3 plays. No joke. The worst damage seemed to be done on screens. McDermott says he's expecting to see plenty of screens on Sunday.
"Well, that's been their philosophy. They are a screen team and a big screen team and they do it extremely well. I wouldn't imagine that would change. We're going to continue to work on it, continue to practice it and any time you pressure like we pressure, sometimes people see that as a compensator for the blitzes."
Finally he addressed the likely return of two key contributors on defense, first Asante Samuel.
That's huge. He's a very good player, very good player. [He's] a Pro Bowl corner. With Asante, though, comes that leadership, that veteran leadership, that experience. When things get out of kilter as they do in the ups and downs of a game, having a veteran player at that corner certainly helps to nail things down. We look forward to having him back."
And Juqua Parker
"[He's a] strong player. [Parker] does a great job in the run and pass game. It's rare anymore that you can find defensive ends that can play both in the run and pass game. A lot of these defensive ends are strictly pass rushers, but [Parker] does a good job at the line of scrimmage using his hands. He's an extremely strong individual."