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September 27, 2017

Brandon Brooks: NFL protests were never meant to disrespect the flag

Obviously, 61 yards is a long way, and as a team, [when] it comes down to it and we did a great job. Whenever you practice the field goal, you practice to cover, too, as well but I was like everyone else, on pins-and-needles waiting to see what was going to happen.

Honestly, I was blocking [when Jake Elliott’s field goal attempt went up], trying to get the protection inside. I looked up, once I heard the kick. I was looking down [the field], but I couldn’t really see. When I saw the arms of the referees go up, and heard the crowd react, it was crazy. It was extremely exciting. We were all hugging and embracing. It was a hard-fought game, it was extremely hot outside. We were out there grinding as a line out front, so you embrace anyone who’s around.

  • Each week during the NFL season, Eagles offensive lineman Brandon Brooks will sit down and speak with PhillyVoice contributor Joseph Santoliquito about the previous week’s game, their upcoming matchup and whatever happens to be on his mind. 
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It’s hard to win games in the NFL. So when you get one, especially in that fashion, you just embrace anybody around.

Some good things happened against the Giants. You ran the ball 16 times up the middle for 66 yards and a TD/averaging 4.1 yards a carry, which you had a lot do with. You ran the ball to the right side (your side), nine times for 47 yards averaging 5.2 yards a carry. Combined, it translates to 25-for-113 yards (4.5 ave. behind you) of the team’s 39 rushing attempts for a 193 rushing total and two TDs. What was working on Sunday that enabled that to happen?

The first couple of weeks everybody was talking about how come we didn’t run it more, and what was the problem up front ... why were we doing this, and why weren’t we doing that? It was the first and second game of the season. Let us get into a rhythm. Obviously, it was truly what a lot people on the team said it was — it was situational. We happened to throw the ball a lot. We were able to lean on the running game [against the Giants] and get it going and keep it going consistently.

That was that.

Did it bother you hearing some of the criticism and some of the junk that was coming at you guys?

Yeah. Obviously, we know what’s going on as an organization; how we want to handle the game and what we’re trying to do. Trying to go from there, you just hear why isn’t this that. Just relax. Everybody is panicking, trying to say different things. Although we heard it, we just blocked it out. We knew what we had to do and we knew what we were capable of, and we knew we could get it going.

It was like the trust [Eagles’ coach Doug Pederson had in the running game] was never gone. It was situational, and when there was the opportunity to consistently call runs and lean on us up front to get the ball moving, we did what we had to do.

Can you describe what makes an NFL running game work? You’ve previously described reaching certain landmarks on the field before a defender arrives. Was that what made Sunday’s running attack work?

That’s pretty much the way you exactly described it. A play is drawn up and it’s not just you go out there and run into a guy. It’s blocking them and techniques we use; different hat placements, hands placements, however, you use double teams using our force together, instead of working against each other. Different things like that. When it gets to the nitty-gritty, that’s the way play offensive line and get it going.

Now you’re faced with another winless, though desperate team in the Los Angeles Chargers. Like the Giants last week, you’re facing a dangerous team that’s playing for [its] season. The Chargers are also a good team, despite being 0-3. What is the general attitude you’re going into this game with?

First and foremost, they are 0-3, but they do have a good team and they do have a good defense. We’re not taking them lightly, not overlooking anything, not leaving any stone unturned. We’re obviously happy with the win last week, but we have to put that behind us and really focus forward. Great front seven that works well together. [Joey] Bosa, [Melvin] Ingram, Damion Square, who I understand was here for some time, and then they have Corey Liuget and Brandon Mebane. I played Mebane when he was out in Seattle. He’s a strong guy who uses his hands well. He’s stout in the run, the same with Corey, and they have two good edge rushers outside.

Are they a stunting team?

They run different line games, different blitzes. They switch some of the outside guys inside and different packages.

Are you looking at area blocking or man-to-man blocking here?

We’ll figure that out as the week goes on.

What’s on your mind?

I think what’s probably on everybody’s mind. Obviously, the [President Donald] Trump comments and how he attacked us as a league and different things like that. I guess what is interesting to me is, first and foremost, Colin Kaepernick taking a knee was never meant to disrespect the flag. I thought he made that clear originally from the beginning. It was really to protest inequalities and injustice to minorities and police brutality that’s going on for people of color.

From there, it seems like once Trump came out with these comments, all of a sudden everybody wants to band together and take a knee and think the protest is about the disrespect of the flag. That just was never the case. That’s what’s on my mind. Trump calling us sons of bitches and things like that; saying they should be firing people who kneel for the flag. That’s one of our amendment rights. You have to be able to protest and speak freely in a nonviolent manner.

Saying you need to fire these people and saying these people aren’t patriotic, and I think as this has gone on, maybe people forgot the original purpose or misinterpreted it, but for whatever reason, that’s what has happened.

Getting to know you and Malcolm Jenkins very well, and I don’t care if I embarrass you or not with this, you might not come across two better people than you two. If God forbid this country was ever threatened in any way, I got a strong feeling Malcolm Jenkins and Brandon Brooks are putting on a helmet and getting a weapon to defend this country.

Without question, without question.

Finally, you have to feel pretty good as a team and you have a chance to go into the quarter break at 3-1.

Obviously, it’s early right now. We’re just getting started on what we set out to do. We’re taking every practice week-by-week, and trying to go 1-0 each day, each game, trying to go 1-0. That’s the mentality. Happy to get a win last week, but we have practice again, put it behind us and go 1-0 this week.

In addition to reading Brandon's comments, each week we'll post audio of the full interview so you'll have a chance to hear to Brandon's words in his own voice.