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A conversation with Hugh


*Jaguars DE Hugh Douglas appeared on NFL Total Access and spoke with Rich Eisen and Ken Norton Jr. about his team's 27-0 victory over the Houston Texans and about his former team, the Eagles. NFL Total Access airs Monday through Friday at 8 p.m. ET/PT (aired Dec. 8, 2003). *

Rich Eisen: From the Jacksonville Jaguars defense, Hugh Douglas. Hugh, You really laid one on them, huh?

Hugh Douglas: Well, you know, we're just trying to win some football games around here.

Eisen: Oh don't be humble! I don't want to hear that. 27-0. You held them to 124 yards of offense, Hugh.

Douglas: We're trying to lay down the ground work for next year because it's obvious that we're not going to the playoffs. But it's very important for the young guys to know that we're laying down the foundation for next year.

Eisen: Well now, just to show you some seriousness, just to give you a little bit of, shall we say motivation of coming correct serious to work, I give you Ken Norton Jr., Hugh Douglas.

Ken Norton, Jr.: Yes!

Douglas: (Laughs) Wait a minute, make-up. We got to put some make-up on that shiny head.

Norton: Hey you like that, Hugh.

Douglas: Man, what's going on? Man, you're changing.

Norton: You guys shut them out. It's a big day.

Douglas: But does that mean I have to come to work dressed up?

Norton: You have to come correct. If you're going to talk about my man, Rich, and you're going to check me out, you got to bring it right when you come on Total Access.

Douglas: I need some time. I need a few more checks under my belt. By the way, thanks for the T-shirts you sent me. I mean that was really great.

Eisen: Anytime Hugh. You know we got to take care of our NFL Insiders. What is going on, what has happened to this defense? The best defense in the last four weeks in terms of giving up points -- just 33 points.

Douglas: We're finding our way. We're not where we want to be just yet, but we're finding our way. In the first part of the season, we were going through growing pains. You got a bunch of new guys out there; we're trying to feel each other out and we're getting comfortable with each other now. And now we're just trying to make a statement in these last few games of the season.

Norton: Hugh, do you feel the momentum now you guys are having will carry you over into next season?

Douglas: Well, that's what we're hoping for and that's what we are trying to establish now. We're trying to just get everybody in and just get comfortable with everything and just make a run next year. That's all we have to look forward to now.

Eisen: Is it something that coach (Jack) Del Rio has been preaching to just maintain focus? Or is it the process of just flipping on a switch and feeling more comfortable in your own skin?

Douglas: Well, you know what? The biggest thing that he has done that no other coach that's 4-9 has ever done, he's kept it loose around here and that's the amazing thing. For a team to be 4-9 and him to be the same guy week-in and week-out. That's just amazing. Coach Del Rio is a great guy and he has really proven that to me this year.

Norton: What about your Eagles? How far do you think they will be going this year? They look pretty good; have had a pretty good run.

Douglas: You know what, I think they're going to win it. They're playing great. Donovan (McNabb) is playing great. Those guys are looking good. Brian Westbrook should be on the Pro Bowl ballot. He should be a Pro Bowler. He has really kept their team in a lot of their games. I'm predicting them to go all the way.

Eisen: So you, NFL Total Access Insider Hugh Douglas, say the world champions are the Philadelphia Eagles right now.

Douglas: Most definitely. I do believe they will go all the way. Big Red (Andy Reid) is a great coach and he has those guys ready. It was tough for them in the first few weeks of the season, but I predict they will go all the way.

Eisen: Yeah, but the AFC has been so dominant, Hugh. The AFC clearly has the teams with the best records in the league right now. And the inter-conference games have gone the AFC's way almost every time they've played.

Douglas: Well, you know what, man? Being a former Eagle, I'm going with the Eagles and I'm sticking with that story. I don't care what's going on in the AFC. Being a former Eagle, I'm going with them all the way.

Eisen: Do you still speak to some of those guys?

Douglas: Oh yeah, most definitely.

Eisen: And do they tell you they're winning the Super Bowl?

Douglas: You know what? They haven't told me that. That's just my prediction. Nobody is up there calling me, telling me 'Hugh, we're going all the way.' That's just the way that I feel because they're playing good football late in the season and that's always important -- everybody getting back healthy and they're playing good football right now.

Eisen: Now I've got two defensive gurus here in Ken Norton Jr. and you, Hugh Douglas. Are you impressed with what the New England Patriots have been doing? Bill Belichick ... the defense he's built again seems to be a Super Bowl-type defense.

Douglas: Well, you know the one thing I know about coach Belichick, the one year that I had spent with him. That's all he ever does is think of new defenses and think of new ways to throw off offenses and he is great at that. He is always going to come with something different. He is always going to show you a different look and he is just a good coach when it comes to coordinating defenses.

Norton: I think it's amazing that Belichick finds a way to take away the opposite team's best weapon. Going into the game, you think Ricky Williams is the guy who's going to pound you. All of a sudden, we don't even hear from him.

Douglas: That's what I'm saying. I can remember when I was in New York with the Jets, he would be on the treadmill watching film or just talking about different defenses that he would like to run. Or just think of ways to take away whatever the offense was trying to do. He is a great guy of doing that. Every day he is always thinking about new defenses or trying different things.

Eisen: Speaking of making a call or trying something different. Chad Johnson, a call of the week apparently, called Deion Sanders and told Deion to un-retire because nobody in this league can cover him right now.

Douglas: Wow.

Eisen: He also named himself 7-11 because he is always open.

Douglas: Is that right? Chad Johnson, you know what. That's good because he is playing with a lot of confidence right now and you can't knock a man for being confident.

Norton: That's what happens. You get these young guys who get a little success and they start talking too much.

Douglas: You know what. That's very big of him and you got to commend a guy that puts himself out there like that. What can you say if that's the way he feels? I guess it's on those corners. Calling all corners out there in the NFL, you have a big challenge and he has put it out there, so hey. You know if it was me, I could probably cover. But that's not my job. This is not a title fight. You got to say all the right things, be a character guy during the week and when you go out there Sunday, let your pads do the talking.

Eisen: I totally hear you because sometimes you got to talk to get yourself up for anything or take off the Kangol, put on a tie and raise the level or your game.

Douglas: Yeah, just put a tie on and just be a character guy with a shiny head. Can we get make-up please? Cause you know the top of the head is shining like new money, but I like the look man. You look great.

Norton: I appreciate it. That means a lot coming from you, big fella.

Douglas: Especially coming from a guy who really doesn't know how to dress himself, that would really mean a lot to you. You look great, but I mean me, I look like a bum. But hey, it's okay.

Eisen: Hugh Douglas. Thank you so much for joining us here on NFL Total Access.

Douglas: Hey, nice tie Rich.

Eisen: I appreciate that.

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