How Jim Johnson will solve the crowded cornerback situation

   You're going to be seeing Asante Samuel, Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown playing together a lot more than you might think next season.

   Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson said today that nickel situations won't be the only time the three cornerbacks all will be on the field together next season. He said he's also considering using all three together occasionally against two-wide receiver sets.

   ``Here's the thing,'' Johnson said. ``There's going to be times when all three of them are going to be on the field. It might be 60 percent of the time. It might be 70 percent. We're going to get our best football players on the field. And it might not just be against three wideouts.''

   Johnson feels he can do that because Brown, who is one of the league's better run-support corners, could essentially be a quasi safety. Brown also will play the slot in the Eagles' nickel package, with Samuel and Sheppard on the outside.

   ``The nickel has to be a physical-type cover guy,'' Johnson said. ``We've used (Brown) sometimes as a safety in the past. We feel comfortable with that. It's not going to be every down. But it's going to be part of the package.''

   Brown said Saturday that he has no problem playing inside when all three of them are on the field together.

   ``I'll be honest with you,'' he said. ``I love it when we have two great ones (cornerbacks). Because I get to stay inside and play nickel. I get to rush the quarterback. I get to do a lot of different things in the slot. I hate it out there (on the outside). It's boring. I like it inside.

   ``The last couple of years, we've had people down and I've had to stay outside more. But before that, I was usually inside (against three-wide receiver sets). I've done that my whole career.''