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November 29, 2017

Brandon Brooks: We're always trying to make good better

Eagles NFL

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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 Chicago game. You were in control from start to finish.

BB: We were able to run the ball. Their defense, despite their record, was a pretty damned good defense, especially against the run. We were able to run the ball. I think we had over 150, 160 yards [176] and trying to keep [Carson] Wentz as clean as possible. Obviously, going back to the tape, there were always good things and bad things that we can improve on, but despite their record, that was a good football team out there.

  • 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: I thought they were really stout against the run. They played a lot of jam front. One thing about us, we were pretty well balanced. With the run game, whenever you’re able to do that, it opens up the throwing lanes for Carson and you saw what happens. It was a good game for us.

What exactly is a jam front?

BB: A jam front is where basically everybody is covered inside. The center is covered. The two guards are covered with three techniques, and two head-up guys covering outside the tackles. A jam front is used like a short-yardage [defense] when you’re really trying to stop a team from running. We had been running the ball exceptionally well for the last couple of games. To stop the run, you really just stack the [tackle] box and try to get guys out of their game plan and start throwing it. I wouldn’t say it’s like a goal-line defense. It’s a 5-3 jam. It’s made to stop the run on short yardage. You’re not supposed to be able to run the ball on it.

Do guys sense that you’re going to be seeing this type of defense moving forward the rest of the season?

BB: Hopefully with what we did last week teams won't think they’re going come out and think they’re going to stop us or anything like that. No matter what defense that they’re running we’re going to try and run the ball and get it done. I don’t think just because you’re running the jam front doesn’t mean that you’re going to stop us or slow us down.

Chicago stacks the line and Wentz kills them [for 244 yards passing and three touchdowns]. Back off and you run through them. Right now, you guys seem to be unstoppable.

LJ: It looks textbook right now, but I promise you a lot goes into it. There are so many defenses that you play, but it’s really about how you scheme it up. But how we game plan each week nothing really catches us off guard.

You handled a pretty decent defense with ease, yet I sensed you guys weren’t completely pleased. Why?

BB: You’re always happy winning a game in the National Football League. It’s tough to go out there and win on Sunday. I don’t know man, I think it’s a good quality of a good team where you’re expected to go out, and I know winning is good, but it’s not just about squeaking by. When you put a sloppy game together and know you could have done things better, you have guys coming in upset. Once again, everybody is happy to win the game but you’re always trying to make good better. That’s what guys are looking at after any game, win or lose. You’re always focusing on the things that you could have done better. Obviously, we did some good things out there but guys are driving, looking to do it better next time.

I’m going to touch on this a little here after your last game. I think Jay Ajayi got a little bit of a bad knock after the Bears’ game. You guys wouldn’t be the best in the world at what you do if you didn’t push yourselves. Like I’m sure Jay Ajayi wasn’t doing handstands and backflips over fumbling the ball after being caught from behind.

LJ: He demands a lot out of himself. Whenever stuff isn’t perfect or close to his standards, he gets upset, just like every other player. He’s making steps each week. To me, he’s playing really well. He came in short notice, learning the playbook and has been playing really well. He’ll bounce back.

I have the sense that he’s taken to you guys. You’re a likable group to begin with. From an outsider’s perspective looking in, I think Ajayi really likes this team.

BB: We love having him. Obviously, you see what he’s doing on the field. In the locker room, you can see he’s just happy to be on a winning team. He always smiles, he’s always having a good time. He’s out there working his butt off. Having him around has been awesome, not just on the field but definitely off. I think that whatever negative rep he had prior to coming here, I hope people see that’s just not the case. It’s not who he was. Or who he is. He’s a hard-working dude who likes to have fun and likes to get after it. It’s just been great having him.

It’s back to a 4-3 team in Seattle this week. It’s a defense that’s giving up 98.4 yards rushing/ 213.4 yards passing per game. What kind of challenges will you guys face in their front four of Michael Bennett, Jarran Reed, Sheldon Richardson and Frank Clark?

BB: They’re all really good players in their own right. They do different things. Obviously, we’ve heard of Michael Bennett and the things that he’s done. For years now, Sheldon Richardson from the Jets, and him going over there, he gets off the ball. He’s a fast guy, strong.

LJ: Clark is real shifty. They have a whole lot of guys that can do a lot of different things. Michael Bennett can play inside, he can play outside. Their versatility is … they have a lot going on for them.

BB: Bobby Wagner leads their defense. He’s definitely one of the best all-around linebackers in the game. I would put him up there with [Luke] Kuechly neck-and-neck as far as what he does with the defense and what he means to the team. I definitely give their defense a lot of respect. I know some of the secondary guys have gotten hurt, but they just got hurt. We’re not taking them lightly. We’re not looking past them. We know who Seattle is, and obviously with the crowd noise.

What kind of schemes, in general, do they run?

BB: They actually stunt quite a lot. They run a lot of overload fronts and run games off of it. Not just the down guys but the backers run games along with the down guys. We’re going to keep our eyes where they need to be within our keys and passing guys off will be one of the keys to the game for sure.

You use an interesting terminology about “Running games.”

BB: It means stunts. A ‘U’ stunt, a ‘B’ stunt.

LJ: It’s different guys hitting different gaps.

BB: It’s basically not rushing straight forward through the gaps. One guy may start in a gap outside, while the guy inside may wind up outside. It’s like guys replacing each other.

LJ: It makes it difficult on you to pass it off [to another offensive lineman].

Have either of you guys ever played at CenturyLink Field?

BB: Yes.

LJ: No, I haven’t.

So this will be a first for you Lane.

LJ: I played Seattle here [at Lincoln Financial Field]. I never played there.

BB: It’s extremely loud. Fans pride themselves on giving offenses communication problems, getting false starts. Things like that. Between them and Kansas City, those are probably two of the loudest stadiums in the NFL. That’s another factor we have to take into consideration going into this week.

Does get loud enough where you and Lane can’t hear each other?

BB: We’ll be able to communicate because we’ve been around each other for a long time. We’re around each other outside the building, too. But just the guy next to you, you have to really lean to pay attention to what’s going on.

We’re talking leg taps, bumps of the elbow to the guy next to you, things like that to communicate?

LJ: I’ll tap Brandon on his arm if I don’t know something. I’ll make sure I know the call. [Eagles center Jason] Kelce is real good about communicating. He’s kind of the conductor to the band, so to speak, whenever we get up to the line. It’s our job to listen in on what he does. We follow off of what he calls.

The Eagles are the brink of some history here. They haven’t beaten Seattle since 2008. The Eagles also have never won 10-straight games in one season before. Are you guys aware of the history? Furthermore, do you care?

BB: Honestly, no, and no. I’m not aware [of the history]. I really don’t care. I’m literally just trying to go 1-0 every week. Winning the game, man. To go 10 straight, that’s great, it’s great to win 10 straight. I’m trying to win, no matter if it’s 10, 11, 12, 13. I’m trying to go out there and win.

LJ: I’m the same. There’s really no prizes, there’s no blue ribbons in it. Coming in, we know what we can do if we play up to our potential. We should be able to play with anybody and beat anybody in the league. It’s about being consistent with it. That’s real difficult to do.

What’s on your mind?

LJ: Something to eat right now. I’m just being honest [laughs].

BB: Nothing is on my mind. I ate.

LJ: Thanks for calling me [laughs].

Now you guys have to help me here with something here. There are a few things in this world that I can’t stand. I can’t stand the chicken dance.

LJ: I don’t like it either.

The second thing I can’t stand, and I hate it at weddings, is the Electric Slide. Can you change that move?

LJ: We want in on the touchdown celebrations. We put in a lot of work. The receivers catch the ball and it’s off to the races with them. We [the offensive line] gets left behind. I think there’s going to be a takeover here in the next five games. I can promise you that.

So the offensive line is going to be the new choreographers of the Eagles’ celebrations?

BB: I like the Electric Slide. The Electric Slide is a classic.

So we’re going to continue seeing the Electric Slide?

BB: For sure!

I need inside input on Carson Wentz and his look-a-like, Prince Harry. Do you guys have any plans for that?

LJ: I saw that today. There are definitely similarities. No doubt about it.

BB: We’ll have some fun with that. I always keep it close to the vest [what they’ll do].

LJ: He looks like a combination of [Prince Harry] and Bear Grylls mixed together.

Who’s Bear Grylls?

LJ: Bear Grylls, you know, the outdoor guy, the survival expert. He did shows with Marshawn Lynch and Will Ferrell. It’s pretty funny. Go check him out.

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.