In the first game against Washington, you didn't know what Robert Griffin would do and how far back he was to his old self. So if you look at Terrelle Pryor this week, is this the biggest challenge in terms of someone that can run?
BILL DAVIS: Absolutely, Pryor is a phenomenal athlete. The more film you watch, he makes you say wow a lot of times with his escapability. So we've got our hands full this week with trying to keep him contained and really limit his play making ability which is tough to do, because he's such a versatile athlete. He's big, he's strong, he can move, he can throw the ball, and his escapability is probably the best we've faced.
The Giants ran a lot of two tight ends on Sunday and kept you guys in your base defense for most of the game, which is contrary with the first time. Why do you think they were doing that?
BILL DAVIS: On first and second down there was a slight change. On third down, they were going to 11 personnel. But on first and second down, they showed a little bit more than in the first game. I don't know the exact reason behind their thinking. I think probably more than anything else they were going to run the ball more. I think they came into this game saying we're going to run it, and we're going to run it more. They had success the week before with ball control and running the football. I think that was the base, but you'd have to ask them. That's what I thought.
At what point did you know or think that Cedric Thornton could really be playing at this high level?
BILL DAVIS: I think each week, like all of them, he's a hard worker. Cedric's had to work for everything he's ever gotten. He came into the training camps in the off season with one of theI mean, he just puts his head down and works every day. We hit the sled every day. He's all into it. He takes a lot of pride in every rep he has. He's slowly gotten better and better at the things coach has asked him to do and the techniques we're asking of him. So it's not a surprise, because you see how hard he works. It's nice to see he's being rewarded for that work.
From the beginning of the season, has anybody improved more than Nate Allen? He looks very, very decisive and confident right now.
BILL DAVIS: I believe Nate Allen is one of ourthere are a handful of guys that have made that steady improvement like Cedric we just talked about. But Nate, I know everybody was talking about him early in a negative way, what about Nate, what about Nate. And now he's playing a lot better football, and I think you should still be talking about Nate and the improvement that he has made. Again, he's another guy that just put his head down and one week at a time is trying to get better at the little parts of his position and his role in our defense. As these individuals get better in their roles, collectively, we get better.
Could you talk about the play, I think the Giants had three wide receivers bunched to the left, and you had Fletcher Cox out wide?
BILL DAVIS: Yeah, they weren't supposed to go out that wide. They went out there at first. They weren't supposed to go that wide. We got them back in, and they rushed off the edge.
So it wasn't something you were just following the Giants lead on that when Cox split out? It wasn't what the Giants were doing?
BILL DAVIS: Yeah, they bunched out wide. He wasn't. He was supposed to be back inside. That was a slight error, and we got him back inside.
Brandon Boykin played 27 snaps. That seemed a little low. Was there a reason he wasn't on the field a whole lot?
BILL DAVIS: He's our nickel. Our nickel player is a starter for us. And the intricacies of that position are just like a corner, but it's different than the corner and the techniques we asked him to do. We have a lot of the same coverage calls, but the nickel play is a completely different leverage in position and responsibility than a corner does. So right now Brandon is our nickel. So when we put our nickel package on the field, Brandon is our starter and he plays the nickel. If the opposing team doesn't play as much 11, then he won't play as much as you would if we were playing more nickel because of the three wide receiver sets.
So the Giants didn't use much 11 then?
BILL DAVIS: They did on third down, the two minute and a little bit on first and second down, but not as much as they had in the first game. Because, again, I think they wanted to run the ball out of a two back formation more than anything. And they were taking their second tight end and building him as a fullback sometimes.
Chip mentioned Clifton Geathers as a guy who stepped up and had a good game. What have you seen from him?
BILL DAVIS: Cliff is one of our best run defenders. When teams step up and start throwing those two back runs at us, all of a sudden, we put big Cliff in and he's a handful for them. So he's gotten better and better as we go. There are some people that come out, Dallas was all spread you out, empty, and it wasn't the downhill run game. New York came back and presented a two-back downhill run game and played better and really just got to show what Cliff's capable and what his strengths are is really what happened there.
You've coached in games in Oakland before, right?
BILL DAVIS: Yes.
It's kind of a different type of place. Can you talk about the atmosphere there?
BILL DAVIS: It's an exciting atmosphere. I remember early on in my career I was with Kevin Greene and the Pittsburgh Steelers and that is a huge rivalry there. They have all theit's like Halloween every weekend there because they all dress up especially in the end zone. Well, Kevin Greene, I'm going through individual drills and he starts screaming and running and he dove into the end zone where all the supposedly crazy guys are and they loved it. They're some of the nicest people in that end zone that are all dressed up like Halloween. They couldn't have been happier to see him dive in there even though he was a Steeler at the time. So I learned back then it is a great place to play. They're friendly. They're good people. They're very passionate, and they like dressing up in Halloween every Sunday. It's a good weekend to do that.
Do you expect something strange to happen there though?
BILL DAVIS: No, I don't.
I mean, like six seconds missing from the clock or something?
BILL DAVIS: I don't know if that happens now. It happened in the past, but I don't think anything like that. I think it's a fun place to play, and a good fan base.
The beginning of the season you kind of braced us for it's going to be an overall transition. A lot of potential bumpy series. What did you think the odds were that your defense would be as far along as it is right now?
BILL DAVIS: I don't know the odds. But I knew wherever that Washington game was our starting point because I've been through this before. I knew what kind of overall we were making. It all comes down to the work that the players and the position coaches right now are the ones that's should be out front talking to you guys. They're the ones that have made the progress we have happen.
[Defensive line coach] Jerry Azzinaro and [assistant defensive line coach] Erik Chinander in the D line, and then [inside linebackers coach] Rick Minter and [outside linebackers coach] Billy McGovern in the outside backers with [defensive quality control coach] Mike Dawson and [assistant defensive backs coach] Todd Lyght and [defensive backs coach John] Lovett doing it in the secondary. It's a credit to them and the individual periods and the fundamentals that we've talked from day one. Every day we hit the sled. Every day we tackle. Every day we talk about foot work. Every day we talk about eyes. When you do that and just keep your focus on those things, you get better as you go. I like where we're improving to this point, but we've got a lot left. We've got a lot of improvement left. We've still got so many inconsistencies in what we're doing. We've got eight more games to get a lot better.
To that point, how do you measure it? You've played better teams and lesser teams. In the last couple of weeks we've seemingly seen a lot of progress. Do you measure it by the opponent or what you do?
BILL DAVIS: It is hard to measure because every week is a different unique set of challenges. As I said, some of our players play more on the two back run games and some play less when they spread us out. So to say we're getting better, you're playing such unique offenses and where are their talents, where are their stars? The last two weeks we had three wide receivers at least that were their strengths. As you go forward, now we're facing a quarterback that can make every play in the book because he can run around and break down whatever you're in and make something happen. So this is a unique set of challenges. So the statistics aren't as much the measure as the techniques.
I personally watch the tape to see if the mistakes we were making two weeks ago are still happening. If they're not repeating themselves, maybe we have a new set of issues we have to fix. That's where we as a staff say we are getting better. That's why after the Denver game because of the tape, watching and watching and even though the results weren't anywhere near what you wanted, but you knew we were moving in the right direction. Now you can win a couple games and see the opposite on tape and get a knot in your gut about, hey, this is going the wrong way even though we are winning. Though winning is the goal and what we want, when you judge if you're getting better, that is the details of the tape that can tell you that.
*Going back to that first game against Washington. I was wondering if you noticed early on RG3 wasn't able to move around? *
BILL DAVIS: You absolutely adjust. When you go in to play the mobile quarterbacks, you have a lot of different tools in your game plan that say, hey, we're going to handle his mobility. When you don't have a mobile quarterback, then you take those tools and you play some other places and you double a bracket our take some extra coverage somewhere elsewhere you don't have to put on the that quarterback. As the course of the game is going, if you do see that mobile quarterback isn't so mobile, you take those tools and you put them away and you use other ones if that makes sense to you.
It's ever shifting even when you're getting hurt about a certain receiver that maybe you didn't expect to hurt you. Then all of a sudden, you can move some of the attention to him and off of another guy.
So you're constantly moving like that.
Chip said that Mychal Kendricks may have played the best game of the season Sunday. With him it seems like downhill comes naturally to him. The things he needs to work on are dropping and covering?
BILL DAVIS: Well, Mychal is a second-year player. He's getting better and better, and it's the second scheme he's been in. We are seeing progress each week. That particular game was a downhill run game, and Mychal was much better in the downhill run part of it than we've seen up to now. He's good, but he really jumped out of how he was taking on the lead block, shedding blocks and making tackles. He did have a very productive game inside the tackles for us on that particular style of game. Every part of his game can get better. But he is going in the right direction.
The one third down catch where Brandon Myers sort of shucked Kendricks aside and caught the ball, do you think that should have been a flag on Myers or does Kendricks have to fend off the guy there?
BILL DAVIS: You have to fend it off. They really are allowing both sides to do more. After eight games you can see they can get away with more on the defensive side and they can get away with more, which is letting us play more. We tell the guys, holding is legal in the NFL and so is shoving off. So you can't complain about it or take a second to pout because you just got pushed. You have to scrap your way through that down. Pushed, not pushed, held, not held, and still find a way to make the play. So we go off that premise, and, again, the calls go all different ways. They made a play on that play and we didn't. Next time I think Mychal will make that play.
Does it surprise you at all as a defensive coach to look at the Eagles offense and say, hey, what do you see as a defensive mind? Why the offense is struggling?
BILL DAVIS: No, we talk about defense when Chip comes in with me. There is no doubt in my mind he'll figure it out and the staff will figure it out. He's one of the brightest minds I've been around. There is no doubt. He doesn't need my help on that one. I've got my own issues. I've got my own work.
What have you seen from Pryor throughout the season?
BILL DAVIS: He's getting better each week. It's interesting to watch his progression, because you can tell the offense has kind of moved to things he does well. And he had a great game passing against San Diego. He lit them up. So he's got the skill set.
Like most young players as they play more, they start settling in and say I do belong. I can play this game. You can see the confidence growing in him. We've got our hands full trying to stop this offense.
From what you've seen, how are defenses playing the Raiders?
BILL DAVIS: I think there are all kinds of different techniques and schemes that people are using. Either the spy technique by ends, some are bringing in defensive backs and doing it. Some are changing up how they pass rush and the stunts they use. When you've faced the mobile quarterbacks, there are a handful of tricks and tools that you can apply to try to keep them contained. But then at the end of the day, these great athletes with his capabilities are going to make some of their plays too. So behind it you have to make sure you're plastered in coverage, and you have to cover longer now because they move around more. The pass rush isn't quite the same pass rush when you have a mobile quarterback. The timing is different. The clock in the head of the defensive back has to go longer because it's not a five step drop, plant, and throw. It could be six seconds you're covering, and that is where the challenge comes.