Jacksonville worked a lot of no huddle into their offense and the Colts seemed to do it a lot, too. Are you expecting week to week to see the same type of offense you practice against?
COACH DAVIS: I think the league in general is going to more of an up tempo. I think they saw the success we had with it last year and I think people are taking elements of it and applying it. I think it's an effort to keep us off balance a little bit or most defenses.
The thing for us, that's all we practice against. It's a different tempo for us when you get in a huddle and put a fullback in the backfield. That's different for us. But we face it every day. I thought we handled it well the other night.It didn't affect us in any way one way or the other.
You said you were a little concerned about your linebacker depth before. You lose LB Najee Goode. What's your mindset? Can LB Emmanuel Acho just step right in?
COACH DAVIS: Yeah, I think he'll step in and be fine. We have complete confidence in [LB] Casey [Matthews] and Emmanuel, and it's their turn to step up. They both have played in the league for a while now. It's not like they are rookies and don't know what's coming at them. We are okay. The next guys will step up.
You had CB Nolan Carroll and LB Earl Wolff come in and play certain snaps. Did you have the same plan for Najee and then he got injured?
COACH DAVIS: We've got a plan in place to roll every position depending on how it's going and the feel of the game and some situations that we don't do it, some we will.
So yeah, there was always that, in place, when we execute it. Obviously we dug ourselves a hole pretty quick, so our mindset was about settling down and getting the guys to just settle down and play our defense and they did. But the rotation will always be a littleagain, I can't control what personnel groups are coming at me, and that dictates a lot of how that substitution package is rolling.
Given what Najee was good at and with you guys trying to scale back the snaps on LB DeMeco Ryans a little bit and he played a lot of snaps
COACH DAVIS: I don't think being Najee being injured was a big factor in that. It will fluctuate as we go. We just monitor everybody and make sure nobody's climbing up with too many reps, but we can do that same thing right now with putting Casey in there or Emmanuel. It's nothing that we are going to overly overthink.
The plan is always in place; if the numbers of reps get really high on us defensively, I think we have a better opportunity this year to get guys and keep them fresh, especially second quarter, third quarter ish. Not quite when the fourth quarter hits but somewhere in the early mid part of the game is when we would do those things.
How big of a loss was Goode? He had a big role.
COACH DAVIS: We'll miss Najee. I was really pleased with the way he was coming on. I feel terrible for him, like we do with all the guys that get injured. He had a great offseason. We finally had him for a whole offseason. Really understood the defense well and was picking up the package. He's a good athlete in space and coverage and has a good feel for the game. We are going to miss Najee, yes.
Colts QB Andrew Luck has a great arm, but does his ability to run for yards make it very, very difficult to scheme against?
COACH DAVIS: Yeah, he's one of the best young quarterbacks in the league right now and he's got the big body like a [Steelers QB Ben] Roethlisberger. He's a tough sack when he's in the pocket and has the athleticism and speed to get out of the pocket.
When you're in your man concept, he sees them and goes. He sees lanes and he's got the big arm. You can see why he was taken where he was taken and he's had the success in two years that he's had. He's a rare talent and he is a young guy that we are going to be dealing with for a long time in the NFL.
Did LB Travis Long's injury push LB Brandon Graham to playing both sides at the linebacker spot or do you envision him playing both? He didn't play much at Jack last year.
COACH DAVIS: Brandon after a year in the system and a whole offseason has practiced at both. He prepared for both. He had a nice game and went in and filled in real nice at both spots so we were happy with Brandon, and he can play both, yes.
How far is LB Marcus Smith from being able to play a role?
COACH DAVIS: He's close. He's close. We'll continue the progress and go on and when an opportunity presents itself to get him in there, we will and we'll grow him. In that game, again, we dug an early hole and Brandon was going in there and making a difference and so was [LB] Trent [Cole] and [LB] Connor [Barwin]. We had good production out of the outside backer group. Like most young guys, it's not easy breaking in the NFL starting lineup. You have to go through some very savvy vets that are holding on to those spots. Marcus is going to be challenged because he's got a good group in front of him. Nothing against Marcus.
How difficult is it for you to separate the fact that Smith's a first round pick and the fact that there's expectations for him to play and play well, and whether or not he's ready or not to play?
COACH DAVIS: He's not a first-round pick to me or us. He is a Philadelphia Eagle player that's fighting for starting spots. Once they come to us, we have no control of that. Actually over time, you don't even know what round half of the older starters were drafted in. I couldn't tell you.
What I can tell you is where he is in the scale of players that we have currently, Philadelphia Eagles and how he's fighting to get on. I don't care if it was the first round, undrafted, fifth round, it really to us, during the season does not make a difference. It's their play and can they help us win a game on Sunday.
And again, he's a talented player that has a tough group in front of him. He's got a very talented group, three deep in front of him that he's got to crack through and it's going to be a challenge, but he's a good, solid, hard working young man and over time, I think he'll be okay.
You've talked in the past about creating the illusion of pressure as opposed to blitzing, how big was that Sunday generating some of those free rushers and hits on Jaguars QB Chad Henne?
COACH DAVIS: I think the guys did a great job producing pressure and moving the quarterback off his spot, giving him different looks. I thought we did a nice job executing the plan that we had on third down. Took everybody, took the secondary and their presentation, it took the front and their presentation, it took some great pass rushes. They worked together as a pass rush unit. We put a little bit more emphasis on that, and year one, especially with the outside backer/ends, we had to drop, drop, drop and make sure that part of it was in intact because we had not done it before.
This year, we now have the luxury of saying, now we know the drops. Let's get back to really focusing on our pass rush, our games, our stunts, our pressures and I think that showed the other night.
Has Graham reached a point where you say, we have to find a way to get him on the field more?
COACH DAVIS: He's a good option. It's having three solid players there, you just want to make sure now that any of the three that are in there can play and roll and they are going to produce. Again, it's that no huddle defense and a lot of reps are going to be on us and we have to make sure we are fresh. We are very pleased with Brandon. He had a solid game, he really did.
Will he get more time because he is producing right now?
COACH DAVIS: Then you take one of the other guys off. There's only 11 spots you can put out there at once and we like the fact that it's a heck of a dilemma to be in. But again, who theythe personnel they bring at us kind of dictates a little bit of that, too.
When you took this job, how did you view DE Fletcher Cox and LB Mychal Kendricks? Did you view them as foundation pieces in your defense?
COACH DAVIS: Well, it takes time. I don't think until you really know a guy and you coach him and you watch him in practice every day and you get the interaction of where he is in an understanding of the scheme, you don't really know him when you first take a job.
So I didn't have any expectations other than, everybody gets a clean slate and now show me who you are, or show us who you are. Very pleased with both those guys and they both had big games Sunday. Fletcher Cox, he didn't reallylike on a stat sheet you may not see it, you may, but he's moving the spot big time in the line and had a lot of big plays for us and so did Mychal Kendricks.
Are you close to seeing a ceiling for either player
COACH DAVIS: Ceilings are tough to even predict. It's just one day at a time, just get a little bit better. That's what we focus and talk about a lot is just get a little bit better, just a little bit. And with ceilings – hopefully there are no ceilings. We just continue to climb and climb and climb and get as good as we can get and that's really more the focus than if there's a ceiling.
With most opponents, will there be situations where you will have CB Brandon Boykin on the field more?
COACH DAVIS: Absolutely, that's a nickelwhen you get more three wide receivers sets and it's more of a passing game. The other thing is are they running from their three wide receiver groups or are they passing?
We are really excited about Boykin and the way he's progressed and where he is as a nickel corner for us. He's a starter for us like he always has been. Again, they dictate how many times we'll be in that more than we do. But we're pleased and again another great dilemma to have. How do you get another good player on the field more?
Penalties on both sides seem to be down from the preseason; is that what you expected?
COACH DAVIS: No, I still don't trust it. I'm still making sure that we don't get those penalties to extended the drive, you know what I'm saying. It's something that we have got to make sure that we are on top of, we are continually practicing it the right way, and we did a nice job the other night. That's part of the reason, we talked about it, it's one on ones and guys that don't have to grab and pull as much.
So we are not seeing as many for a couple different reasons but I think they are still calling it the same way.
You don't want to go through what you went through Sunday obviously but looking back, how much of an advantage is it for you to know the character of your team is what it is after they pulled that out Sunday?
COACH DAVIS: I think it was an unknown going in. We talked about this game telling us where our starting point is on a lot of different schematic levels and a lot of different talent levels and what we learned in that game is where we are as a character level and where are we as a mental tough team and I thought we responded great. It was fun to watch those guys play poorly early, not panic, respond, get it right and then make a difference in the second half.
Looked like you were going to be more creative with your blitz packages. Is that true, and why? Are guys more comfortable in the scheme or do you feel more comfortable with the players?
COACH DAVIS: Well, I think a little bit of both. Preseason we were not going to show anything. Preseason we were not going to do anything but vanilla looks and that's what we did.
Looking at last year, a lot of things we did, we were growing into this and it's nothing more than a progression of growth from the end of last year to again a couple pieces we added and a couple schematic things we added to it and just threw it all at them and we will continue to grow that and hopefully continue to grow that way with both the understanding they have in our scheme and the scheme itself.
Kendricks was very effective as a blitzer on Sunday. Do you envision him taking advantage of that a lot more this season?
COACH DAVIS: I think we did a lot last year, too. In a 3 4, you have the luxury of bringing an inside backer more because you are training your outside guys to drop, and sometimes Mychal is just a fourth rusher, he's not a blitzer. He's just our fourth and the outside guys are dropping. That's part of the beauty of a 3 4. So to have him have the skill set of rushing and as being a 3 4, I think it's advantage us as far as using his talents.
What have you seen from Colts QB Andrew Luck?
COACH DAVIS: He's everything advertised. He is a great, timing, rhythm thrower. In the NFL, if you're an accurate thrower, you're going to have a long career and he's a very accurate thrower. He's a big man, so he can keep his eyes downfield. You can hit him and it still doesn't really affect him. His eyes are downfield. His throws are downfield. He has a real solid base. He's a big man so he can still make the throws down the field on you as he's gotten pressure.
So for every reason that they took him in the first round, they are exactly right. He is absolutely going to be a star in this league for a long time.
Luck dropped about 60 out of 70 snaps in the last game; that more based on how the game dictated it orare they generally going to do that a lot of games?
COACH DAVIS: You know, early in the year, it's tough to make absolutes about anybody because they showed you one thing in preseason. Now week one, you see their whole scheme, they drop back. I don't know if it was a product of them being behind and that's what they had to do and they had more to it, I don't know. Right now we are ready for any kind of QB movement or the drop back series. We'll be okay with whatever they do but we're not positive of what's coming at us. I don't have an answer to your question.
CB Cary Williams was very critical of his own play early in the game. Were you surprised and what happened early on?
COACH DAVIS: I've got nothing but faith in Cary Williams and our DBs and the corners. I think collectively, it's great that he takes it on himself but it's also same plays, we had pass rushwe are all connected. The pass rush is connected to coverage. The underneath coverage is connected to the deep coverage.
When one of us gets beat, all of us get beat. The good thing was, everybody has each other's backs. One game it's one player and next game it's another, as long as you continue to work together and fight through it, and we get to thewe solved the problem. That's the biggest thing. When something happens like that, let's solve the problem. Why did it go wrong? Let's talk about it and fix it and move on because we have a lot more snaps to play and if that last play affects the next couple, it's really going to get away from you.
And the great thing about what happened, Cary Williams, one of the mentally toughest guys you're going to be around, he was in a hole early and he got himself out of that hole. And then the rest of the game it was shut down. So that's great.
How did CB Nolan Carroll grade out and is he getting to a point where you're starting to consider him for a starting spot?
COACH DAVIS: Again, Nolan Carroll gives us a great option, like Brandon Graham, Brandon Boykin. We have nice depth at the position now. We rolled him in at corner and he's playing a dime package and again, they only gave us four wide receivers one time. We played dime I think two or three times to get it in the game, I put it up against 11 personnel which is the tight end in the game. We continue to be impressed with Nolan. He's getting more comfortable in the scheme. We're growing our dime package with him and having more calls in it, so we are very excited about Nolan.
What specifically is Fletcher Cox doing better this year than last season?
COACH DAVIS: I think he's comfortable with the two gap alignment. I think it takes a while to learn that, and what you can do off of it and how quick you go from your run gap to your pass rush, and I think the conversion of a run to pass is quicker now for him. So I think you're seeing a little bit of that.
Again, I've said this many times, I think Fletcher can play in any scheme you throw at him. It's not only two gap. It's not only wide-nine. It's not only three-gap penetrating. I think he's got a very well rounded skill set, the run game, the pass rush. We are excited to have him. Glad he's on our side.