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November 22, 2017

Brandon Brooks: We asked coaches at halftime to let us run Cowboys into the ground

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We’re joined again this week by a special guest, Eagles’ right tackle Lane Johnson, so we have the complete right side of the Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive line. So let’s break into the Dallas game. The end looked great, but if we can talk about the game in general. What did you guys feel after the Dallas game?

BB: Honestly, I thought the second half was the team that we know that we are, who we believe we are. We were more or less upset with ourselves offensively that we didn’t get off to the start that we should have, the kind of start that we wanted to. We went in at halftime to make some adjustments that really got us back to our bread and butter as far as running the ball, and how we run it. Among ourselves, we were upset with being sluggish from the start. We finished the game strong. We finished how we wanted to. We had Sunday and a little bit of Monday to enjoy the win. Now it’s on to Chicago and it’s behind us. We’re trying to go 1-0 this week.

  • 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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LJ: The first drive you saw how successful we were running the ball. That’s what we believed we could do in the second half. At halftime, we knew what we needed to do. It was just a matter of getting it done. It was a good game, a division win. We needed it and it’s on to the Bears. The weeks go by so fast now. It’s really about how you prepare.

What caused the sluggish start? Was it the layoff possibly?

LJ: I don’t want to put a blame on anything, but there were lots of factors. I just think that to win that game we needed to run the ball and that’s all it was. I mean we threw the ball at certain times, but there were mismatches there on the interior that they couldn’t handle, and that’s what we had to attack the second half. That’s what we did. Coming off the bye week, and three home games in a month, and coming off the silent cadence, too, things were different. But overall we recovered well.

BB: Lane said it exactly.

What was the talk among the offensive line at halftime?

BB: Going in [to halftime] we were like just put it on us [the offensive line]. Put it on our shoulders and let’s just run the ball. I mean every week there is a quote in the O-line room that says [a Bruce Lee quote] "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times." Every Wednesday and Thursday we’re out there doing double teams, just rocking dudes off the ball.

Coming into halftime, things weren’t going the way we wanted to. It was like, put it on our shoulders and let’s roll. We’re up to the challenge. We were excited. That got it going from there.

Was something said to one of the coaches, was something said to Carson Wentz? Did someone pass on something to Doug Pederson?

BB: It started with Stout [Eagles’ offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland]. Once we came off the field for the first couple of series, we were like, “Stout, you know, we can definitely run the ball on these guys straight downhill.” He relayed that on. Stout does a good job of listening to what we’re saying and taking that feedback off the field and relaying it up. That got up to Doug at halftime. He came in and said, “I hear you guys as far as running the ball downhill. Coming out in the second half, we’re going to listen to you guys and we’re going to make it happen.”

There was talk, and I stress ‘talk,’ that Dallas quit. Did you both sense that Dallas quit?

LJ: You can see in the second half their body language after we put a few scores on them. You can see them deteriorate. They played hard, but after they saw the game going in a different direction, they thought the game was over.

BB: Like Lane said, they were playing hard but as the game wore on, you could tell it wasn’t the same energy they had in the first half.

Have you guys watched the game film of the Dallas game? I thought your trapping and pulling was excellent. The way you guys got out, Brandon you were like ‘Twinkle Toes’ Brooks.

LJ: (Laughing) That’s pretty good. Don’t be fooled by Brandon’s size. Don’t be fooled by his quicks. He was bragging to me the other day how he ran a 4.9 [40-yard dash] at 350 coming out of college. I don’t know if he can do that now.

BB: (Laughing) I take pride in getting after it. I’m a bigger dude and I want to create a little bit of space and have a little wiggle as I sing. Just getting around there and looking for a color to hit. I pride myself in the run game. Whether it’s traps or pulling, or screens, or the backside. When I pull around, I’m looking for the first opposite color I see, I’m looking to lay the wood. I take pride in myself and moving guys off the ball.

LJ: When you’re pulling like that, you’re either going to be dishing out the pain or getting the pain. Brandon does a lot more dishing out than he does taking it.

Can this offensive line play even better than the way you played against Dallas?

LJ: It’s really about being consistent. You can’t go out and try to outdo yourself every time. It’s really about playing up to your potential. The Bears defensive line is really good. I think they’re a lot better than the Dallas interior. They’re a lot bigger. The linebackers are big. This will be one of the bigger fronts that we see all year.

BB: There are always things we can do to get better. We looked at the film and made the corrections.

The Bears play a 3-4 defense. Talk about what it’s like facing that as opposed to the 4-3.

LJ: With a 3-4 there will be two-gappers, so they’ll play the blocks differently as far as angles and different set lines will be adjusted according to that. But I played against a lot of that when Chip [Kelly] was here. We ran a 3-4 defense. I got to go against that in practice all of the time, so it’s in my bloodstream right now.

BB: When I was down in Houston, we played a 3-4 my first four years. I’m very familiar with it. I practiced against it for years. It is a different way that you have to attack the defense. They’re two-gappers, so your aiming points may be a little wider. Things like that.

The problems Bears’ nose guard Eddie Goldman, and ends Akiem Hicks and Mitch Unrein pose?

BB: I’ve played Hicks since the East-West game coming out of college. He’s a super athletic dude; a big guy and not just a bull rusher. He’s light on his feet. He can get after the quarterback. He’s had a good year getting after the quarterback [Hicks has seven sacks]. Eddie Goldman on the inside is a stout guy who really plays the nose well and really plays the run well as far as getting his hands on guys and trying not to get moved out of there.

LJ: It’s interesting you brought up the bull rush because the guy Pernell McPhee on the outside will bull rush you until tomorrow. I think I’m going to have to go to the equipment staff to get me a neck brace for this game (Brandon laughs) for what I’ve seen on film so far. Leonard Floyd was who I was supposed to go against. I went against him last year. He’s out. He’s a really good player. McPhee is 6-2, [280] and he’s run stuffer, and has a lot of power in rushing attack. As far as sheer power off the edge, he has a lot of it.

What’s on your mind?

LJ: Relaxing for a little while, get something to eat and ready for tomorrow’s b-blocks and bull rushing. I got a new place in Jersey with half-court basketball and Brandon is always wearing his Jordans bragging about his shot, so we’re going to put it to the test.

BB: Pretty much the same thing. Just relaxing. I’m going to head out to New Jersey and hang out with Lane a little bit. We'll stop by and visit JP [Jason Peters] and see how he’s doing.

We need some help here guys. This offensive line needs a nickname.

LJ: Let me think. We’ll have to come up with it on the next podcast.

I was thinking of calling you guys the Oompa Loompas.

BB: No!

LJ: I like Barney and Friends. I always call Brandon “Barney” for how he’s built. I’ll leave it at Barney and Friend. Does that sound good?

BB: What about Adam Silver and Friends. You [Lane] do look like Adam Silver. What about the Jolly Green Giants?

LJ: I’m okay with Adam Silver and Friends or Barney and Friends.

Who’s Barney? You mean big, purple Barney?

LJ: No. 79, that’s who Barney is. As in he has the biggest legs in the world Barney [both Lane and Brandon laugh].

You remember me Lane coming up and asking you after the Giants game about this and you said why don’t you just call us the “Fat bleeps.”

LJ: We’ll let the listeners use their imagination.

I don’t know if you see it that often, but you guys are putting a lot of smiles on people’s faces around this city. It’s a 9-1 football team and we’re talking about something even greater right now. I’m trying to keep it tight, one game at a time and trying to keep the same mentality as you both have. There are a lot of people happy in this city and you guys are a big part of that.

LJ: As long as we keep playing up to our potential in what we’ve shown and we’ll be just fine.

BB: Like Lane said earlier, the biggest thing is consistency. We know how to work. We know what we need to do to win. It’s just a matter of week-in, week-out putting together the same formula.

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 Brandon's words in his own voice.