The Eagles are back to work on Tuesday as they begin preparing the Los Angeles Rams this weekend, but DC Sean Desai spoke to reporters about how Nicholas Morrow as emerged these past few games, how communication has changed in the secondary with injuries, and what he expects from a Sean McVay offense on Sunday.
Here’s what the defensive coordinator had to say:
On Nicholas Morrow
Desai said that Morrow has done a good job taking their coaching and taking ownership of the role they’ve asked him to step into.
“I think he’s communicated really well on the field, and that’s a big job for the green dot guy, to make sure the calls get out. He’s doing a good job of that, he’s taken ownership of it. He’s being loud and then he’s reacting well. He’s trusting his instincts and trusting the game plan, and trusting the coaching that Coach Eliot and Coach Carter have given him, to go ahead and make plays, and take his shots when he can.”
On the Eagles secondary
The DC was asked how communication has been affected with the injuries to the secondary, and he explained that part of the reason they rotated so many guys in so many positions during training camp, was in preparation for this moment.
“You have to get comfortable with everybody communicating.”
Desai said that he doesn’t think the changes have impacted them much, while acknowledging there’s always a little bit of a transition. Overall, though, he feels like they’ve done a good job preparing for it.
He went on to talk about James Bradberry, giving the CB credit for how he played in the slot.
“It’s a different game in there,” Desai explained. “Things happen on both sides, you got all the motion adjustments, you got all your tools, and you’re the primary communicator at the point of attack, and you’re working with corners, safeties, linebackers.”
The DC said they have plans to get Bradberry in multiple spots, and the CB is a “tremendous asset” as a veteran and leader. Desai admitted that they don’t know yet if they’re wasting his value in the slot versus on the outside, like he’s played his whole career. It’s something they’re interested in learning, as well, but Week 4’s game was the first time Bradberry got a big chunk of plays in the slot, so it’s a little too early to tell.
On the Rams offense
With a little laugh, Desai said that rookie WR Puka Nacua is playing really good so far this season. The DC noted that Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford do a good job with the Rams’ offense and they’ve found ways to get Nacua the ball, and the rookie has done a good job getting separation.
“Obviously got good hands, and then [Nacua] can make some plays after the catch, too. They’re creating some matchups with motions, obviously for him and Tutu [Atwell], that can create some binds for defenses, and so, you see why the production's been there.”
McVay tends to do a lot with motions, so Desai hopes that they’ve built in the discipline they’ll need to play with on Sunday.
“We want to play physical, disciplined football, and that message won’t change.”
- Desai noted that they had penalties on all of the Commanders’ scoring plays, and on ones they didn’t, they were mostly 3-and-out or were off the field quickly. They need to just trust their training, and keep focusing on playing clean, disciplined football.
- He explained that their high blitz rate is a result things they plan and prep for during the week, but emphasized the need to adjust, like they did on Sunday coming out of the half.
- The DC thought the defense did a nice job with disguises, explaining they can look a lot of different ways, and credits that for the QB being off a read or two.
- He talked about Fletcher Cox’s snap count and how they manage things like that over the course of a game and over the course of a season. Desai doesn’t think the veteran is taking too many reps, pointing to Week 3’s nine-minute drive by the offense to finish the game. They are constantly monitoring the workload of Cox and every player as they keep deeper into the season.
- Nolan Smith got some snaps on Sunday, and Desai said that the rookie did a good job, but there are still some things they need to work on with his get off and his striking, and where he’s putting his hands, but it’s a process. Which the DC admitted is tough because Smith is in the rotation, but said he’s taking control of the role they’ve given him.
- They’ll continue to get Sydney Brown reps in different positions during their developmental period, because the rookie is someone they’ll move around as needed.