Birds back to fundamentals

It won’t happen again. Those were the words from Quintin Mikell.

Of course, the Eagles safety was referring to all the whiffs his defense committed last week against the Giants. Asante Samuel, Will Witherspoon and Sean Jones were all culprits. Mikell looked especially bad on a 68-yard touchdown catch by Hakeem Nicks.

“We’re not going to panic and run for the hills,” Mikell said. “We didn’t play great, but if you take away the two missed tackles on the long balls, we were still right in there.”

Right in there won’t be good enough against San Francisco. The 49ers punished the Cardinals last Monday by turning what was supposed to be a football game into a street brawl. The Eagles linebackers and safeties better get physical this week, or 49ers studs Frank Gore and Vernon Davis will bully them down Broad Street.

Mikell said the team has focused on tackling all week. He also wanted to clear up a misconception about players not being allowed to hit in practice.

“We’re not going to the ground. We haven’t done that since training camp, but we hit each other, we wrap up and work on the little stuff like that,” Mikell said.

Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott took it a step further by breaking out the tackling mats in practice. Instead of landing on the turf after making a hard tackle, defensive backs fell onto the mats.

“We’ve pulled out the mats, which is another mechanism we normally utilize in training camp to reinforce wrapping up,” McDermott said. “We go back to working on fundamentals and the fundamentals that need to show up in the game.”

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