Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher -- December 26, 2019
Opening Statement: I hope everyone had a good holiday. You see it out here, guys working hard, practicing with great energy. These guys are still focusing on the details. Iíve kind of said that all along about why I love working with this group, itís because they have continued to run to it. They havenít run from anything. They look at their tape, they work to correct the mistakes, they work to get better fundamentally and technique wise. I think thatís the thing that probably looking through the course of the season I appreciate probably the most with this group. Youíve seen the progress with guys. Youíve seen guys really try to lock in on some very specific things in their game and get better at. Youíve progressively seen those things get better. I really appreciate those guys for that and how hard they have been working.
Q: Do you sell your players on this is a game we can deny them the playoffs? Letís go out and do that.
A: The first thing we sell them on is itís a division game. We want to win games in our division. The second thing is just the plan, the matchup, the execution and all the things after that. Thatís what the players will have a conversation about.
Q: How much do you have to change game plan wise from seeing them just a couple weeks ago? Is it a continuation of what you did?
A: Thereís certainly a balance. It is recent, and you believe in some of the stuff you were doing in the game. And you also look at whether it was injuries they might have or maybe how they have shifted using different personnel in the last couple of weeks, which they have done. You try to build your plan based off of both thoughts, the early season thoughts and these last two weeks since we have played them.
Q: Why are these guys so good on third down? They are second in the league in third down conversion.
A: One of the things is they have two really dynamic targets in the two tight ends. Whether the ball is going there, or the ball is going somewhere else, you have to account for those guys and some of the routes theyíre able to run. Those guys run receiver type routes and they do a great job of creating separation in space on their routes. They are very detailed in the way they run it. Overall, they do a nice job running the ball on first and second down to try to create some two to sixes where on that third and two or third and three, just like when we played, they are going to try to run the ball too and keep you on your toes in regards to that. That helps them have a good balanced mix. The first thing that pops into my mind is the two tight ends.
Q: You got a chance to see Markus Golden again this year. It looks to us like he is back to sort of his previous form. Whatís that been like watching him?
A: For me, that one is personal because I have such a great relationship with him. Having worked with him when he as a rookie coming in and seeing that first year, how hard he worked. To go from just being a 4-3 defensive end at Missouri to learning how to do some different things in this league, whether thatís dropping or understanding leverage or just picking up the scheme. I saw how hard he worked and how important it is to him. To watch the injury going into a year where he had big plans for himself in Arizona and we had big plans for him. Then coming off that injury and continuing to battle and a knee turns into an ankle turns into another injury. Seeing him come into this season and just have the chance to play the game healthy. Have a chance to play as long as he can, as hard as he can during the course of the game. Iíll forever be a Markus Golden fan and be one of his biggest supporters. Heís done a heck of a job for us this year and I think he is anxious to go finish.
Q: What is your evaluation of his play? What do you see (that says) okay that guy is back to what he was?
A: I think just the burst. The power that heís able to play with. When he rushes and Markus might be the first one to tell you, heís a blood rusher. To be able to have his power back from the lower half of his body and just to be able to have the burst when he might separate from a block and the first two steps off the block, that burst is important for guys like Markus. You can see that back and with that, I think, comes confidence. Confidence comes because you feel good and youíre able to do some of things you know youíve been able to do in your career. Once he got his confidence going, heís been pretty dynamic.
Q: Weíve talked a lot about the young defensive backs, you have played almost all of them. Do you look at them and say they are good NFL players, maybe not right now but in a year or two. Wherever they are Beal, Ballentine, Baker and Love to a certain extent. These are all legitimate NFL players.
A: I think all of those guys are certainly trending that way. I think we kind of talked about this, this was probably earlier in the season. Iíve been around it enough in this league to know that, whether itís one of those guys if you said he didnít have a good rookie season, or he didnít have a good second year. Players develop at different rates and that might be just them learning things at a different rate than other players. That may be their bodies physically maturing at a different rate than other players. I donít think there will be a true assessment on that until year two or three with some of the guys. Thatís the same with some of our second-year players. It will be year three, we all know pass rushers, thatís year three and four. Weíve seen that with some guys that are now this year having really great years that some people probably tried to write them off early in their careers. Thatís just a development thing, itís strength, its physicality, technique, fundamentals. I know I have said this before, for instance, as a corner, the releases these receivers in the NFL are able to give you are so different than the college receivers. Thatís just because theyíre faster and theyíre all physical and most of them are pretty tough. To be able to play from press is different for those guys. The same thing for rushing an offensive tackle in this league. Heís the most athletic guy that you might have rushed against in college. Some of the things you might have gotten away with, you canít get away with. You have to narrow those techniques down. The second piece of all that is narrow the techniques at the position that match you, match your body type, your skill set, what do you do well and understanding how you can use your tools to go compete on week in week out basis. I think all these guys are progressing. Their arrows are up and Iím anxious to keep coaching them each and every day.
Q: Do you sense an anxiousness in your players to have chance to get back at the Eagles fairly quickly after what happened last time?
A: I think so. I think these guys are anxious to go out and compete. Theyíve been that way every week in the way weíve prepared and the way weíve worked. We just have to make a couple more plays in the second half.