December 06, 2017

Brandon Brooks: We need to start faster and execute vs. Rams

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Brandon Brooks expects to see plenty of Rams All-Pro DT Aaron Donald on Sunday.

After nine straight wins, the Eagles' express hit a pothole last week, dropping a 24-10 decision to the Seahawks in Seattle on Sunday night. The task doesn't get any easier this week when the Eagles visit the Rams, who lead the Seahawks by a game atop the NFC West. With the Eagles sequestered on the West Coast this week, here's some thoughts Brandon Brooks shared with PhillyVoice's Jimmy Kempski and the Eagles beat writers. 

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What were the lessons learned from the Seattle loss?

I’m going to more or less speak offensively. We have to start faster and execute. We have to bring our own energy and sustain it. The biggest thing from last week to this week getting those mistakes and things we didn’t do well corrected. We have to get them corrected so that don’t pop up later down the road.

It looks like Aaron Donald will be staying on left guard Stefen Wisniewski’s side, but does he mix it up occasionally?

He goes both sides, the same way [Seattle’s] Michael Bennett went. He’s a good player.

Do you like challenges like that?

Last week and this week, playing Pro Bowl guys. I’m not good on the list of things that they do well, but between Bennett and Donald, they do everything well. We’re going to look forward to the challenge.

Is it difficult to face a guy short like [the 6-foot Donald] to get your hands on?

No, not really. I don’t look at it like that. Like I said, Donald is a great player. He does everything well. I look forward to the challenge.

Do you similarities between the Rams and the Seahawks’ defense?

They’re aggressive guys, guys that get off the rock. They rush the passer well, really across the board. To Lane [Johnson]’s point, they run a lot of man-on-man, five across the board. Five-on-five, mano-a-mano, who’s going to beat who, so like I said, I’m looking forward to it.

What makes [the Eagles'] offensive line special?

We’ve played together now for almost two full seasons and we’re veteran guys across the board in general. This is year six for me, five for Lane, seven for [center Jason Kelce], seven for Wiz [Wisniewski] and I think JP [Jason Peters] 13 or 14. We know what to expect. We know how to play the game.

There’s only so many ways you’re going to run the blitz. There’s only so many ways you’re going to block up front. The only thing that changes from team to team really is the terminology. The blocking stuff stays the same and on top of that, it’s a room full of good guys. We keep it light, we jump around. We hang out outside of the building.

We have a good relationship with [Eagles quarterback Carson] Wentz. Things like that.

I have to give credit to Jason himself. Although he had torn his ACL, you saw when he came off the field he was coaching up V [left tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai]. He was thinking about helping the next guy, so he could perform to the best of his ability. He still comes around the locker room. He’s still that same leader, that same force when he was around. That’s how we kept pushing.

Is there anything Jason said to you that helped you?

Although I have a lot of experience, I’ll ask him, "what do you see here? How would you handle it?" All you can really do is just learn and get a different perspective, not just on the field but life issues. Probably the biggest thing he questions about is last year I went through the anxiety deal, he was the person that stepped up and had my back early. He would be like, I know what’s happening, I get it.

He was that positive voice, kind of like that rock to lean on when I was going through it.

He was someone you can really open up to tell what is exactly is going on. He really helped me. That’s probably the first thing. All of the accolades he has. He’ll probably be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He still has that undrafted mentality. If you didn’t know who JP was, you wouldn’t know great he was, had you not seen a film of him.

He’s a super down-to-earth guy who talks to anybody.

He’s the best offensive lineman I’ve played with probably in my career, however long that will be.

Any advice JP give you for Aaron Donald?

I really haven’t talked to him about the game yet. I’m sure I will soon.

What do you remember about Wade Phillips’ defense when you played under him in Houston?

Wade Phillips is a good coach. He especially likes to run that 3-4. He likes to bring guys. He was always trying to create one-on-one matchups. That’s the biggest thing I remember when I was in Houston. He was about creating one-on-one matchups and getting pressure on the QB.

Is there any extra knowledge about this defense you may know?

Three-fours are 3-4s, and 4-3s are 4-3s.