He’s only officially been the Eagles’ defensive coordinator for about five weeks, yet Sean McDermott has already learned what some like to call “Reid-speak.”
During his press conference following Thursday’s preseason game against Jacksonville, McDermott said all he needed to say without actually saying anything.
That’s true talent. And that’s Reid-speak.
Unfortunately, the biggest victim of his first major foray into the world of Reid-speak was perhaps the one player who needs as much positive reinforcement as he can get—Joe Mays.
Unaware of what I mean? Well, here’s what McDermott had to say about the current status of the MIKE linebacker depth chart.
“It is a work in progress. There is competition at that position, which is what we want at every position. That will remain up until and throughout the rest of the season."
Really? Could have surprised me. I mean, I thought that nine of the 11 positions were on lockdown. Although Trent Cole, Asante Samuel, and Chris Gocong will be glad to know they haven’t nailed down starting spots, I’m sure.
Of course, McDermott also denied he was specifically speaking about Mays, but had this to say about his development:
"We're looking for consistency out of whoever is in the middle in order to execute the defense. As a young player, Joe has a very bright future and he continues to develop. Consistency would be the biggest thing, every down."
Translation: He’s not ready yet, and we won’t be patient enough to let him learn because Stewart Bradley is our middle linebacker anyway.
Conversely, when the subject was switched to Omar Gaither, McDermott was rather complimentary. When asked about Gaither as a possible MIKE, McDermott nearly glowed.
“My biggest thing is that I want to see Omar come out and handle the reigns of the defense in terms of the leadership, make the huddle call, get us lined up, quarterback the defense. Then, from a health standpoint, that he has confidence in his leg."
That sentence reads like the job description for Eagles MIKE linebacker—especially on the leadership front now that Brian Dawkins is gone.
Further, when asked about Gaither’s skills in coverage—a trait Mays is well-known to lack—McDermott heaped on more praise:
"I think he brings a lot to the table in the nickel passing game, sure. He's a very aware and instinctive player, and as I mentioned before, does a great job of getting us lined up."
Funny thing is, no one asked him about the nickel. It was a general question, and in trying to avoid saying anything definite, McDermott said all he needed to say.
Translation? Omar Gaither will be starting in the middle by Week Three and Joe Mays will be long forgotten.
But if that doesn’t happen and you come call me on it in October...chances are I won’t have an answer.
Hey, it works both ways.