Safety Julian Love
Q: How would you describe playing in Philadelphia?
A: Playing in Philadelphia? Electric. Their fans are very passionate. They're very into it. The team feeds off the crowd. It's a city that loves their football team, for sure.
Q: What leads you to believe that there's more work still out there, that you guys can make a run here?
A: That's why we play the game. We had one goal this whole year, and that was to win a Super Bowl. I think you're selling yourself short if that's not your end goal. And so, yeah, we're happy we're in this spot. But there's a lot more to go.
Q: What did you learn the first couple of times that you played the Eagles that you think can help you in this matchup?
A: A lot of things. They're a talented team – a lot of superstars on their roster, both sides of the ball and special teams. So, we learned a lot about them. They learned a lot about us. And so, third time go-around with them. This is going to be a battle.
Q: How helpful is it to have the secondary fully healthy, especially going up against their wide receivers?
A: It's great. We have battled. We rode the roller coaster all year long with guys up, guys down. Obviously, you want your ones or whatever ready to go. And it's exciting that we have that right now. And I think this past week showed you, though, that whoever's in there needs to be able to perform and make plays. (Safety) Dane Belton hopped in there this past game and did well. (Cornerback Cor'Dale) Flott came in there; first play, made a play. So, that is a mindset that we've got to have no matter who's out there.
Q: It seems like this defense is turning a corner, at least the last few weeks. You held the Vikings to 61 yards rushing. Just talk about the difference in the defense recently and your estimation.
A: I think we play a good brand of football. It's our brand. We're successful in certain situations. We're a pretty stout, situational team. And we have to be that versus the Eagles. They're a team that's also really good situationally – whether it's third down, red zone, two-minute, they play at a high level. And that's why they're the first seed in the NFC. So, we've got to be clean. We have to be authentic to who we are and play our brand of ball because our best is needed against the "best team."
Q: When you play your brand, you've got to have confidence. So, what is the confidence level of the team right now? We're kind of here. We see it at the podium. But we don't know what's out here.
A: We're all grown men in this locker room. There is no sense of fear, no sense of lack of confidence no matter who we're playing. I think our first job is to be at our best and execute how we want to execute. They've got really good players on the other side of the ball, no matter who we're playing. But the goal, week in and week out, is to make sure you got your stuff handled. And Philly has some stars, like I said, on their team. And they're going to make plays quite frankly. But we have to make more plays and have that confidence and have that mental focus to reset after each play.
Q: It's a great rivalry, and now you add the playoff twist to it. How big of a twist is that?
A: It definitely heightens it. When you look at all division games in general, it's pretty heated. The games are good battle. So yeah, the hype will be there. It's a night game. Like I said, Philly fans will be really excited. They're a good fanbase. And we've got to be prepared – mentally, physically – for a full 60-minute battle.
Q: How much more discipline is required when you have a quarterback like (Eagles Jalen) Hurts that can make off-script throws?
A: He's a challenge to play against. He's been playing at a super high level this year because of his arm, his legs. He has really elevated his game, and we have to try to play him as best as we can. He has a lot of tools in his bag. He has a lot of weapons around him. He's posed a threat or a problem to everybody he's played this year. Obviously, we got a chance to see him twice this year. And we got to have a good gameplan going into this thing and just be ready to play him.
Q: Is his ability to run kind of the linchpin that ties their offense together, whether it's the designed stuff or the scrambling?
A: It for sure opens up a lot of things. I think that when you look across the league, guys who can run the ball at a high level, he has to be up there with the top quarterbacks right now. He's efficient, and his ability to run the ball, to scramble, opens up a lot of things for their offense – the pass game. For the running back, it opens up holes for him. That's how they get going, and they're doing it at a very high rate right now. So, it's a problem. That's no secret to anybody; it's a problem because of who's at quarterback for them. He's a good player.
Q: What does it mean to play for Dabs (head coach Brian Daboll)? What's it like?
A: It's exciting. It's funny at times. Dabs is a passionate guy, as you've seen. I don't know how many times he rips off his headset on the sidelines; it seems like every other play. But you kind of understand where he's coming from. He's a guy who loves competition. He instilled that into the team – maybe not instilled. We're all competitive. But he promoted that and wanted that to be at the forefront of who we are, just a competitive team. And he has allowed us to just be ourselves. I think his biggest strength is to let players' personality shine through and not suppress anybody, who they are. He lets players play and lets coaches coach, which I think is a hard thing to do as a first-year head coach.
Q: Overall, how would you describe this opportunity for you and your teammates?
A: This is exciting. It's an exciting moment for us. We know we have some more things to accomplish, though. So, this week, we just have to be locked into this game. We can't let this moment –whatever round we're in, the Divisional Round – to overcome anything else rather than us executing come Saturday. That's the name of the game: executing, play at a high level, be mentally sharp, physically sharp. And just treat this game like it is – Giants, Eagles. Just another battle.
Q: What do you say to the people that aren't giving you guys much of a chance at this point?
A: Just keep doing that. It's been all season long. This is nothing new. Maybe a few more eyes are watching us and a few more eyes are doubting us. That's okay. You guys have seen it all year long; we have a confident group in the building. We haven't been the favorite team in a lot of games this year. But we just play for each other. That's as simple as it is. We go out there and just play our brand of football and let the results speak for themselves.
Q: Dex (defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence), about the Philly fans, said he's probably not going to let his mom come to the game. He doesn't know what they're going to say to her, and he's afraid of what he's going to say back. What are your thoughts on the Philly fans, and would you let your family members sit in the stands? (Laughs)
A: Yeah, I mean when you think about it, Philly fans on a one o'clock kickoff, they're hype. They're fired up. Now you add the eight-p.m. start, they're tailgating all day. That level of excitement for them is going to be turned up more. They're a passionate fanbase, not just in football, really in all their sports. So, we've got to understand that. Their fans are going to be their fans. Our families will be fine. It's still a game at the end of the day. But my family's pretty tough. They can handle anything. So, they're good.
Q: Do you remember any real colorful stuff they directed your way in Philly?
A: I kind of love that. They gave the whole college atmosphere of those hated rivalries, and they're up there with probably the best for their team, fanbases across the league, across a lot of sports. And so, I'm sure I've heard some stuff or seen some stuff. But you try to block it out and just play the game. That's all it is, it's a game.