Your coverage across the middle on guys like Miles Austin, and Jason Witten, were you pleased with how that came out?
BILL DAVIS: Yeah, I thought the secondary did a nice job of stepping up to the challenge. There are a lot of weapons on that team. And their passing attack is the strength with [Demarco] Murray being out. So we had a couple different versions of how we were going to get different people help. Every time you get one person help, one of the other weapons is one‑on‑one. I think the guys that were on the one‑on‑one part of it really stepped up and played well.
Why did you trust your cornerbacks at playing more of those one-on-one situations than in previous games?
BILL DAVIS: There is really not a choice. You can only double one of the weapons. So you have to step up and say, hey, you other guys have to handle your man. Or you play some zones and we mixed in our zones and our mans. But when a team like the Giants or the Cowboys that have these multiple pass receiving weapons, there are guys that have hard downs, and just have to step up and play. And our guys did a nice job of doing that.
Your pressure was so much more effective this game. What do you think the reason was for that?
BILL DAVIS: There were a couple times I've committed more than I usually committed, which puts you in a little more harm's way behind you. We just felt if we mixed it in and threw a couple different looks at them, we could get some early pressure on Tony and hopefully affect his comfort level in the pocket the rest of the game.
What was your assessment of the way
BILL DAVIS: DeMeco, it showed more with the big stats and interceptions and sacks, but DeMeco's been playing like that every week. He's actually our calming force out there, and he sets the defense up. He makes decisions, he checks us in and out of defenses. He has a lot of leeway. He's really grown as the quarterback of our defense. The big plays just came his way and he made them.
In the past three days you dropped two corners. You have four now on the roster. What is the contingency there with the numbers?
BILL DAVIS: Well, every week is a new challenge. All the different injuries that happen to the team affect the bottom of the roster and who is on the practice squad and who is not. Each week we go into it with a plan of saying who can step in? Who has played corner? Who hasn't played corner? We train different guys in nickel positions because you always have an issue there that you have to be on top of. So it's a moving target. Every week it changes, and this week we have a couple things we're working on now.
From a coverage standpoint, was
BILL DAVIS: It's a work in progress. Mychal is getting better. There is a lot of growth he can make in the coverage part of it. But he's such a dynamic athlete and has such burst to it. The more he's comfortable, the better he's playing.
Will you have
BILL DAVIS: I believe so.
What did you think of him when he was in the game and his progression?
BILL DAVIS: Yeah, Earl's getting better and better as we go. He made some plays, like always. I've never coached a game where there weren't a handful of mistakes in that game, and you go if we didn't make those mistakes how much better we would have been, but the offense is saying the same thing. Our mistakes are coming lower and lower and lower, and that's why our performance is coming up higher. I think Earl is one of those guys that individually is working hard at keeping his errors down and his play is rising as a result.
BILL DAVIS: He's day‑to‑day. I don't know. Patrick's day‑to‑day, and I'm not sure where he's at.
Is that a pain tolerance thing?
BILL DAVIS: I don’t know, so you have to ask Patrick and the doctors. I step away from all injuries because I don't have the knowledge base. I just go day‑to‑day if we'll have him available or not. He looks like he's feeling good this morning, but who knows.
Is it even more complicated when you're playing a team for the second time in four weeks?
BILL DAVIS: Absolutely. I think they have the same challenge we have. We know what they showed and how they kind of attacked us, and vice versa. They know what our plan was. So now you have to move it a little bit, but still try to keep what worked well and get rid of what didn't work so well. They're doing the same thing.About the second quarter, you have to plan for what they're doing and adjust on the fly.
In terms of rushing style, Peyton Hillis and Brandon Jacobs are different than what David Wilson offered and what you guys prepared for there. How does that adjust what you guys do on defense?
BILL DAVIS: I think you try to defend the running game that comes at you from each opponent, each week. For instance, if the running backs are quick scat open field guys, there are more edge rushes. If they're more heavy downhill guys, there are more inside rushes. So you adjust your calls and your defenses that you have up. If at any time they start running outside runs, you're still prepared for it. You have all the gaps. So I think you know you're facing two big downhill runners this week is what we know.
Is one of the ways to combat more slants to do more bump and run? Is that one way to do it?
BILL DAVIS: It is one. You play inside man. When you commit to the inside low man, you get light in the run game and your run defense. Everything's a give and take. If you want to take slants away, you expose yourself to slant and goes and to more vertical routes. Really the trick is to play the vertical game first and be able to break and get tighter on the slant game.
It's a three‑step drop, the ball is out quick. There is no pass‑rusher going to be involved there and they're trying to get a quick one in on you. It's a mini run game. If you go too much into taking it away, you have to know what you're giving up to take it away.
You were very physical with their receivers. Except for the pass interference on
BILL DAVIS: Absolutely. We go into every game telling the corners that in the first quarter we'll know how the officials are going to call it. If they're letting you get away with more, then play physical. If they're not, you have to back off. Really, the vets have a little bit better feel than the other ones do. But you have to understand how they're calling the game and play your techniques accordingly. So absolutely it helps us. Everybody wants to be more physical. The rules have taken that away from us, so it's nice when we can play a little bit.
By the list of the officials are certain officials you know are going to call tighter?
BILL DAVIS: You kind of have an idea how they're going to call, but then you have to watch to see exactly what they're calling. Overall in the NFL from watching all the tape, they're calling more offensive pass interference and letting more of the little hand fighting go, which is good. You don't need a bunch of penalties. As long as nobody's getting an advantage, nothing's called.
How do you feel now calling a game than you did earlier in the season now that you know some of the players’ strengths and weaknesses?
BILL DAVIS: I think I feel a lot more comfortable. I think the players feel more comfortable in the calls. All of it is a growth that's happening. I feel more comfortable. Knowing what the strengths and weaknesses of the individual players are now that we have almost half a season under our belt. So that's growing. I think more importantly, we as a staff see the players understanding the concepts of the coverage, the techniques within the coverage and how they work with the concept. All of that is growing. We just got done doing the tape evaluation of the game with the coaches and players together. The biggest thing we came away with is we've got to make sure that individually we're getting better on the little things, then collectively the defense gets better. Effort to the ball has to be there. Tackling has to be there. Our turnovers are in a good place. They're consistent, they're constant. We've got to continue to take the ball away. Our third down was a little bit better in that game. We've had some struggles with that. So that's improving. The red zone has to get better. The points per games are at 24 right now. That's not good enough. We've got to get that lower and play really good enough defense to win the game, and last week we did.
It looks like
BILL DAVIS: I really don't think so. I think Trent's given everything he has, he's still the same guy he's been. Sacks are funny. They come in bunches. We've been saying that. We're at the halfway mark, but he's putting a lot of pressure on the quarterback. He's a disruptive force. You turn on the tape, and you see it. He's back there causing double teams and chips and everything to come his way. We're very happy with where Trent is right now.
You really haven't allowed a lot of defensive big plays. What do you attribute that to? Why were the Giants able to get a couple?
BILL DAVIS: I think it comes with attempts. Shots on goal. They threw 11 or 12 deep on us and you're going to hit a couple. Right now we're averaging 45 passes against us a game, and we're glad that we're keeping all these deep ones off of us and making them. If people are going to throw the intermediate and short routes, as long as they don't get the deep ones, we'll continue to scrap and fight and try to get ourselves off the field. But the Giants threw a lot deep and hit a couple. Right now we only had two explosive plays of 20 or more in the passing game last week. They were at 24 and 23 yards, I think. So that's something we emphasize every day. We cannot give up the deep ball. We've got to make everybody work the field, fighting in the distance, and keep them out of the end zone.
Again, our red zone defense, I want to get that better because I know that can keep the points down.
You talked about points per game. Years ago Jim Johnson used to tell us that his goal was 17 points a game. In today's NFL, is that unrealistic?
BILL DAVIS: No, it's not. That's the goal we have. 17 will get you in the top 5 to ten every time at the end of every season. I think there are ebbs and flows to how many points and yards are going. A little bit has to do what kinds of offenses you're facing in that scheduled year. What kind of quarterbacks are you facing? All those things factor in on your schedule. When the schedule comes out, me personally, I look at all the top quarterbacks we have to face, because that dictates the season. I think 17 points is a goal that's attainable. You'll see probably the top 5 defenses in the NFL this year will have that.
Can you compare
BILL DAVIS: I think he's more consistent in everything he's doing. He understands it better. His eyes are better. His tackling is better. Nate has worked very hard. He's very serious about what he's doing. He's in the front row taking notes. He's at every practice. When you do the player loads that we do and see how hard everybody works, he's one of the top guys. So Nate's all in and getting better. I believe the biggest factor with Nate are his eyes. He's not getting out of position, and that's helping him make his tackles, make his plays and Nate's getting better and better each week.
BILL DAVIS: We were facing an offense that was giving us no run threat, it was all pass. Vinny is a great penetrating pass‑rusher. We love what he brings. He works hard and he's disruptive in that back field. He's always back there when we put him in there in those passing situations and we'll continue to do that. Now the game will dictate how much he gets off. How much of those heavy passing offenses.
Your run defense has been very good. Even though you don't really have a space eater up there. What's been the key to success of those guys up front against the run?
BILL DAVIS: A lot of it is the two‑deep, it's a lot harder for these guys to move inside of there. And I think [defensive line] coach [Jerry Azzinaro] and Eric [Chinander] do a great job with the D‑line. Really you watch them every day, we hit sleds, we work foot work and technique every day. When you talk about the run game and the defensive line play, that's where it stands out is the ability to execute the techniques we're asking them to execute.