How was that first game for a start?
BILL DAVIS: Yeah, first of all, it was great to get a win, and then when we went back and looked at the tape, naturally when you first get the win, you're excited, you enjoy it. I learned a long time ago no matter what happens on the field, you walk out of the stadium with a win, that's first and foremost. So we were excited about that.
Then when you put the tape on you saw how much work we have left to do. It was a great effort, a great performance by the defense. The plan going in was to take care of the running game, which is really what they're built off of, and I think the guys did a great job of executing the plan.
Now, within that were lots of mistakes and technique errors and things that we need to work on and must improve on.
What did you learn after stopping their run game? They ran for almost 1,700 yards last year.
BILL DAVIS: Yeah, that's an outstanding offense. Both the run and the passing game is really what they're built on, and the guys, the outside backers did a great job of setting the edges and keeping the ball from getting outside, and the inside defensive linemen and backers and safeties really were pretty gap sound, and that was what our emphasis was going in, and the guys executed, and good results happened.
Washington announced that there were things that they didn't see in the preseason. What do you need to do to stay a step ahead?
BILL DAVIS: The system is built ‑‑ the defensive staff, we've built the system to where hopefully it can handle the issues of the week, and every offense that you face has a different dynamic to it. I mean, this offense we're facing this week is so much different than Washington's. So you've got to within your scheme and the techniques that you've used, build it around what you're trying to stop and what they do the best, and it's really what every offensive and defensive coordinator is attempting to do is stop what they do the best and what that offense or defense is built off of.
And what are the issues this week?
BILL DAVIS: Well, they've got a great passing attack and running game. They've got [Antonio] Gates, a perennial Pro Bowler, [Philip] Rivers has been in and out of the Pro Bowl, they've got a new system. It's a great passing attack. They've got a very solid run game. It's week one. There's not a whole lot of tape on them, either, so we looked at the preseason tape of what they're trying to be. They've got [Mike] McCoy and [Ken] Whisenhunt and a couple guys have coordinated, so you've kind of got to get their personality down, and they came out the other night and were on fire early and sputtered a little bit late. But it's a top, top offense.
One of the things that we've been watching for a couple years now is tight ends taking advantage of the Eagles defense because they were in a 4-3 alignment. That didn't seem to be the case the other night?
BILL DAVIS: Well, the nature of the 3‑4 defense in general helps you in getting that accomplished. I think each week, again, it goes back to who you're trying to ‑‑ what elements are really are you trying to stop of what they're doing. But it is an element of the 3‑4 defense that you do get the tight ends have a little bit tougher time releasing into the routes when you employ the 3‑4.
You were not surprised by Trent Cole's performance. You have felt from the beginning that he could adapt well to that role.
BILL DAVIS: I think the number one factor in Trent Cole having the performance that he had was the attitude that he took when we asked him to change to on outside backer and do something he's never done before, and his attitude and the way he attacked the challenge is why I believe he played like that.
Now, Trent Cole I don't think has ever played a game where he hasn't gone 100 percent on every snap, and that's part of the reason he's so productive.
But I really believe that the attitude that he attacked this thing with is why he had success the other night and I believe he'll continue to have it, because of the way he works at it every day.
You blitzed your corners out of the slot a few times, Brandon Boykin and Cary Williams. What kind of flexibility do they have to go? Is that something that they've got to see, or is that kind of determined pre‑snap?
BILL DAVIS: The scheme is built to where any member of the defense can be blitzing at any given time. We have blitzes for every position, corners, safeties, nickels, dimes, mike backers. Anybody can be a blitzer. Either through an active call or a check.
So through the system and through the week, depending on what formations we're getting and what protections, there's so many things that go into it, but anybody can be a blitzer at any time.
What went into the decision with Vinny Curry to become inactive?
BILL DAVIS: It's a team effort. We had to go in and stop the run, and special teams played in and who we were facing, the offense we were facing, so Vinny was the odd man out this week.
You said special teams went into it. We've heard a lot about the importance of special teams for backup players. Is lack of that ability part of it?
BILL DAVIS: I wouldn't say lack of, and again, I don't have all the special teams info. I would just say that probably somebody had ‑‑ again, the special teams has a game plan that they have to stop, so all of us collectively pick and choose who are going to help us stop effectively execute that game plan of the day, and special teams, offense and defense all factor in, and you're only allowed so many up. So that decision is really an organizational decision.
How hard is it then for him to just get in?
BILL DAVIS: We all tell the players from the beginning, the special teams is really what gets you active more than anything, if you're in a backup role. And I think all players know that and understand it, and that's why it's such a vital part.
Those snaps are just as equally important as any offense or defensive snap. It's a play in the game that can affect the outcome, and we take it very seriously.
Cary Williams, obviously you expected a lot out of him. Talk about his performance the first game. Was it even better than anticipated?
BILL DAVIS: That's the Cary Williams we were hoping for, and really when you watch him day in and day out, and he's a firy competitor, and one of the things that jumped out to me in our Saturday practice where we have just a complete walk‑through, Cary was so focused and intense, his footwork, his eyes, his hand placement, in a walk‑through you would just feel that Cary was really amping up for this game and taking care of the details and the little things, and it was a great leadership role that he took that others followed, and then it showed on Sunday.
He played the way he practiced, and he competes every down in practice like he did every down in that game. He was rewarded for it.
Do you anticipate Bradley Fletcher playing in this game coming up?
BILL DAVIS: I think it's day‑to‑day, and luckily we've got Brandon Hughes back, so we've got to see where Brandon is, and we've got to see where Fletch is. It's daily, that element will change. We will prepare and practice for all plans that have to ‑‑ if Bradley doesn't play. Right now we hope he is, but whatever the ‑‑ Who will move outside if Fletcher can't play? Will it be Boykin?
BILL DAVIS: We'll practice in a couple different ways, but that would be our first move probably.
How much did the early lead there enable you to call more blitzes in the game? You were dialing up a lot of those in the second half.
BILL DAVIS: What I was trying to do was keep them off balance, and I keep coming back to that, I think the best defenses are the ones that keep an offense's rhythm guessing. They're protecting, well, there's a couple times early in the game they were keeping seven in to protect, and when they do that, you'd rather fall back and have the numbers better in your coverage than when they have numbers in protection if that makes sense. It was really what they were presenting and giving us at the time, and we were keeping them, really trying to keep the rhythm of that offense off balance.
How tough is it when the Eagles offense is such a high speed offense, when they're off the field quickly like they were a few series in a row? How do you feel about that as far as substituting more maybe, or what can you do to get your guys ready what they're out there so much?
BILL DAVIS: First of all, everybody that was active for us played, and that's part of it. If you're up and got your pads on, in this system you're going to play. And I think from the beginning, and I've said this a couple times, when we first got together, the very first meeting defensively we talked about being a no‑huddle team, not a no‑huddle offense. And the mentality that we take out there is we expect that it could be three‑and‑out or three‑and‑in very quickly, and if you go into it with the right attitude and you prepare yourself and practice and be in the kind of condition ‑‑ extra conditioning through the practice and what we do extra, I think is how you prepare to be a no‑huddle team, not just offense, and that's why defense has got to be in great shape, also.
What you had said about special teams being very important, for you as a coordinator to not have Curry, who seemed to be one of your best pass rushers in the preseason, how does that maybe change your game plan, and is that difficult to not have that kind of presence?
BILL DAVIS: It's no different than any kind of an injury that may happen in the first quarter. I think you go in with a practice plan. We don't know the deacts until really late. We get there the day before and start putting that together depending on injuries and who's back, like for instance, this week we don't know if Fletch is up or down. So you go in there with a contingency plan on everything, but if a guy is deact, it's no different than him being injured early in the game and you've got to go ahead and adjust, and really the defense is set up to where we can play to people's strengths or non‑strengths if we have them or don't.
Is Shaun Prater a factor at corner?
BILL DAVIS: All the guys that we just picked up are doing a great job studying and getting ‑‑ on the practice field, every practice is a goal to those guys, and we can see how far along they are in the learning of the system because they're way behind everybody. But as soon as the system is picked up well and we see what we have, then he can be part of it.
Can Mychal Kendricks call a zone blitz depending on what he sees across the line of scrimmage?
BILL DAVIS: Absolutely not. Mychal doesn't ‑‑ we do have within the package different variations of pressures and who goes and who doesn't. But there are a strict set of rules built each week by a formation, and that's one or two pressures. Other pressures, he's the only guy that's going. Other pressures he's not allowed to go. We do that and dictate it off protections that we think are getting or during the game present themselves to us. It's an ever‑moving target. But Mychal is one of our ‑‑ you saw the other night, the burst he has in his pressures, and his knack for it is very exciting.
Will Cary Williams cover the best receiver each week?
BILL DAVIS: It will be game plan to game plan. We practice our corners right and left. They can play either way, so we have the ability from day one. We told them you're not a right or left corner, you are every day ‑‑ as a matter of fact we switch them out in practice so they can get a comfort zone in either one. So at any time during a game if I felt I wanted to match them, I could, or going into a game plan we felt we could match them against the best.
How did Earl Wolff and Nate Allen play?
BILL DAVIS: Nate is our starter, and Earl will play, and every game takes on a little bit different flavor, and that game, the way it was going early where there weren't many reps and we were in a pretty good rhythm, [Earl] didn't get as many as I thought maybe going in, but he got what we felt he needed in that game, and we'll bring him along as we go and grow him as we go. Those bright lights of Monday Night Football, we wanted to check and see how all the young guys were responding, and it's a little bit different feel. We've got a lot of football left, and hopefully Earl gets a lot of reps and is a big part of it.