Chris Maragos was a safety for Dan Quinn in Super Bowl XLVIII, when Quinn was the victorious Seattle Seahawks' defensive coordinator. Maragos, now on injured reserve after knee surgery, is the Eagles' special-teams captain. Quinn, of course, is head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, who visit the Eagles Saturday in the divisional round of the playoffs.
"Coach Quinn, the thing about him is, he's just so personable. He's got a lot of energy, a lot of excitement," Maragos said Tuesday. "Really optimistic guy, really detail-oriented. Great person, great human being."
Eagles coach Doug Pederson spoke Tuesday about how Atlanta's Cover 3 defense is pretty similar to what the Eagles faced this season with the Chargers — whose defensive coordinator is Gus Bradley, Quinn's predecessor with the Seahawks – and then when they played Seattle. It isn't a defense that requires the quarterback to solve a lot of puzzles at the line of scrimmage.
"You know exactly where they're going to be," Pederson said. "That's the way they play. They play with a lot of confidence; it's an aggressive style. It's fast-flow, and they aren't going to pull any punches. They're not going to try to trick you or do anything to get in your head, or anything like that. It's just, 'Line up and try to beat us.' "
Maragos said he liked that about the system in Seattle.
"It just gives the players the opportunity not to have to think about too much. It allows them to play ball and use their athleticism," Maragos said. "[Atlanta has] a defense that's athletic and fast and really aggressive. That's the style of play. They keep it simple."
Maragos said the setup requires speed, "especially a lot of speed down the middle of the defense … your linebackers, safeties have to be able to run really well … This is going to be a tough test."
Maragos said that in his experience, the best way to counter is not through tricks or misdirection, but to do what Cover 3 dares you to do — "Run your stuff … That's what beats that type of team, is outexecuting, being the type of team that just takes it to 'em and flat-out beats 'em. That's what it's going to take."
Middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbe was the only Eagle who wasn't a full practice participant Tuesday, the team once again working indoors. Ellerbe has a hamstring problem. He said he expects to be able to practice at least on a limited basis Wednesday and to play Saturday against the Falcons.
Ellerbe was deep in mourning for his Georgia Bulldogs, who blew a 20-7 third-quarter lead and the national college football championship to Alabama Monday night, losing 26-23 in overtime.
"This has been a miserable day for me," he said.
Eagles tight end Zach Ertz is well-acquainted with Falcons tight end Austin Hooper, who arrived at Stanford in 2013, the year Ertz left there for the Eagles.
Hooper was lightly recruited out of De La Salle High in Concord, Calif., a rival of Ertz's Monte Vista High, about 15 miles away in Danville.
"We trained at the same gym growing up. He's done a heckuva job kinda growing into his own … He's a really good player and I'm extremely happy for him. I know he's got his work cut out this week against Malcolm [Jenkins] and our defense," Ertz said.
Hooper, 6-3, 254, went from 19 catches as a third-round rookie in 2016 to 49 this season, for 526 yards and three touchdowns. Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said Monday that Hooper "is having a great year," and "has really developed."