Chris Steuber: What is the mindset this week for the defense going up against the Bears offense?
Trent Cole: We have to stop the run. They have a couple of good running backs with Benson and Peterson. We have to stop them and try to get some pressure on Griese.
Steuber: Talk about the Bears running game a little bit. They’ve been struggling on the ground this season, and I’m sure that’s something you can take advantage of on defense.
Cole: That’s a plus for us. I think we have one of the best defenses in the league. Our defense has been keeping teams to fewer than two touchdowns. In our last game [against the Jets], we only gave up one touchdown. It’s a challenge to us to stop the run each week, because all we hear is “Are the Eagles going to stop the run?” Every game we’ve played in this year, I think we’ve gotten the run under control.
Trent Cole celebrates a sack.
(Getty Images/Ronald Martinez)
Steuber: What do the Bears present offensively that may cause problems for your defense?
Cole: Griese plays a good game. I can’t really say too much about him because he just got into that role [replacing Rex Grossman as the starter]. We just have to go in there and get pressure on him. He hasn’t really been under a lot of pressure yet. I think we have a good defense, and we’ll be able to get pressure on him.
Steuber: What do you think is the biggest difference from last year’s defense to this year’s defense? Is it just that the majority of the players are healthy?
Cole: We have new faces on the defense and a lot of people are back from injury. I think it has been great compared to last year. We’ve had Dawk [Brian Dawkins] out this season so far, but I think we’ve made it through just fine. We can’t wait to get him back, because for us it’s insurance.
Steuber: A lot of people wondered how the defense would react with Jeremiah Trotter no longer roaming the middle. But it seems like the linebackers are doing just fine. What are your thoughts?
Cole: Yeah, they’ve been great. You just have to move on in the NFL. There’s always going to be somebody as good as you or better than you. It’s just how it is.
Steuber: Devin Hester is a tremendous weapon for the Bears. Last week, he scored a touchdown on special teams and on offense. If he lines up on offense, what do you have to do to contain him?
Cole: We have to apply pressure on the quarterback; keep the quarterback down. We have a lot of pride and that’s what it takes to accomplish that.
Steuber: The Eagles defensive line, including you, has been playing great this season. Is the rotation what’s made you so effective?
Cole: Yeah, I think it’s the rotation. When you have good pass rushers rotating, it keeps us fresh, and the opposition can’t stop it. We just keep on punching, punching, and punching, and eventually they’ll get worn down.
Steuber: Does the offensive inconsistency hurt the defense?
Cole: We know what we have to do. We have to go out there and get stops. We need to at least hold our opponent to a field goal. We have to stop them from trying to score. We don’t hold any grudges on the offense. When it’s time for defense, it’s time for defense. We just have to stop them no matter what.
Steuber: What do you say to all the critics that said you couldn’t be an every down defensive end?
Cole: I think I’ve proven them wrong, because over the years I’ve done it.
Steuber: Who’re the unsung heroes on the Eagles defense, players you don’t hear about but do a great job?
Cole: It’s hard to say, because it’s still early in the year. But our second team guys who come in and play in different situations, you have to give them a lot of credit. They’re the same type of players as the starters, and they can get the job done as well. They don’t get the opportunity to play too much, but they come in and do the job when they’re called on.
Steuber: You’re 2 – 3 at the moment with a chance to even your record at 3 – 3. How big is this game against the Bears?
Cole: It’s a very big game. All the games are going to be big to us. We just have to go out there on Sunday with the attitude that we’re going to win and try to dominate.
Steuber: For the Eagles to win this weekend, what has to happen?
Cole: No mistakes and our blitzes have to be executed. Our offense has to play well and we should be fine.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber is the Editor in Chief of WarNest.com and an NFL Analyst for Scout.com. Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. If you have any questions for Chris, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Trent Cole, visit his website at: www.coleoutdoors.com.