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January 10, 2018

Brandon Brooks: While other teams are sitting home watching, we control our own destiny

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011018_brandonbrooks_usat Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Eagles guard Brandon Brooks is flanked by tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai (left) and center Jason Kelce.

I feel good; I had some time to let the body heal. We haven’t really taken any days off and I’m looking forward to Saturday.

Other teams are home right now. Last week, we earned the bye, and this week we are guaranteed to play football. What more can you ask for? You’re in a position where you have destiny in your hands as far as getting to the Super Bowl and winning a ring, which is one of the reasons why we all get into this game.

  • ABOUT 'STANDING GUARD'
  • 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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The sense I’ve gotten talking to some of the guys in and out of the locker room that there is a serious collective chip on this team’s shoulders?

Yeah, of course. Let’s be honest. I never really paid attention to it, but it kind of sprouted up from different media sources and as the week went on, we’re only a couple of days in and you see it on SportsCenter. We’re underdogs at home as a No. 1 seed. That’s not a good feeling after obviously all of the good work we put in. In order to be the [No.] 1 seed, you have to take care of business when you needed to. You’ve earned that, and for that to happen like that, let’s be honest, guys feel a certain way.

They use it as motivation.

What will see different from this Eagles’ offense that we haven’t seen in your last two games? Or is this a better offense than we’ve seen the last games?

The answer is yes. What we’ll see this coming weekend, a fast start and consistency. Those are two things we haven’t had for different reasons the past couple of weeks. We have to pull our weight and get back on track. We’re trying to start that this weekend.

Is there a chance that there will be some new things that we haven’t seen before?

We’re going to be us. We’re going to stick to our bread-and-butter and do what we do well. The things that we haven’t done well we’ve had an extra two weeks to work on them and get them perfected. Malcolm Jenkins said this the best: When it comes to the playoffs, the things you’ve done during the season is no different from winning a playoff game. The only difference for teams playing at that time are all the different lights, cameras, action, blah, blah, blah, and the name and the title of the playoffs.


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Ball security, running the ball, stopping the run, getting turnovers on defense. Stuff like that is no different between Game Three and us playing the Falcons this weekend.

Do you feel the pressure is on them? What I mean by that is no one expected the Eagles to be here, and as the season developed you saw the direction this team was going in. Two, you are dealing with the defending NFC champions. There is a lot of pride and character there, same as you, same as Lane Johnson, and the same as Malcolm Jenkins. How twisted this may sound, the Falcons may be the ones a little overconfident. Do you feel the pressure may be on them?

With the way the circumstances are, us being the underdogs, this, that and the other, and no one expected us to do this, to a certain degree, yes. But we do have pride in ourselves as well. Obviously, there is the disrespect, which you can take as bulletin board material and motivation. We’re trying to go out there and put on a good show, too. We’re trying to go out there and win as well.

We’re not pressed. We’re not panicking or anything like that. We’ll go out and play our game like we usually do.

On film, is this the fastest defense you’ve seen this year?

They work well together. Their secondary is really good. Their front seven floats to the ball well. They have big [Dontari] Poe in the middle, which is ironic because when I came out, me and him were always assigned to work out together. I actually know Poe pretty well. [Grady] Jarrett, No. 97 on the other side, is quick and you have [linebacker Vic] Beasley out there doing different things. They are fast.

They play well together and play well as a unit.

How does an offense negate that defensive speed?

I’m going to honest, this is the NFL. The speed [difference] isn’t middle school like that. The things you have to do when it comes to double teams and stuff is you have to make sure the backer is downhill, so you can’t hang in a double team as long. You have to conscious of where the linebacker is and how fast he is, and how fast he is moving downhill plugging up gaps and getting tackles for losses.

What needs to work on Saturday for the Eagles to advance?

I’ll break it down from each side and go from there. Offensively, we have to run the ball and protect [quarterback Nick] Foles. Their secondary is good, so guys have to get open as well. Defensively, as always, stop the run and cause turnovers. Our defense has been outstanding in those categories. Special teams, they have to be who they are. Our special teams have been one of the best units in the NFL for years now.

What’s on your mind?

Let me think … honestly, really not much. I’m excited about this playoff game because the playoffs don’t come around every day. There is no guarantee that you’re going to the playoffs every year. I’m excited for another opportunity to further chase the ring. That’s this weekend. I want to take advantage of it. You want to go out and put on a good performance, but at the same time, we’re not pressed, we’re not panicked, we’re not sweating or anything. The plays that we need to make we’ll let them come to us. When they do come, I have all the faith in the world that I and my teammates will make it happen.


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 in his own voice.