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Quotes: Defensive Coordinator Bill Davis


Q. Third-and-long was kind of a problem for all the good things you did Sunday. What is going on there?

COACH DAVIS: Yeah, the last two weeks our third down has been terrible. It is a combination of things; if it was one thing, you could change it. But, we've looked at it hard; it's individual; sometimes it's technique; sometimes we could have been in a different coverage; sometimes it's the pass rush wasn't there. So, it's different breakdowns. We are going to put a heavy emphasis on it this week and we'll get it right. I'll put more reps on it in this week's practice because one week it happens, but two weeks in a row, you have to really throw some extra reps and time into it, so we will.

Q. It seems that the Giants get teams into their sub-packages. How are your sub-packages looking now in these past few weeks?

COACH DAVIS: We are doing okay. Almost everyone in the NFL majors in 11 personnel: the three wides, the tight end and the running back, and so do the Giants. That's who they are, that's home base for them. So, we'll have to make sure our sub-packages, which in this day and age any more, you're playing more sub than you are base because of those personnel choices. Now, we'll move in and out of staying base against that and going to some other packages.

Q. The Giants have some wide receivers banged up; do you think that might affect what they do?

COACH DAVIS: I think they are all going to play, I really do. I don't think it will affect them. I think you have got guys that know the system well. Everybody is playing well within the system now; whether they practice or not, I don't know, but we believe that they will have all hands on deck for us.

Q. You were counterintuitive a couple of times against the Saints, second-and-10, second-and-long, you went from nickel to base. Was that simply to switch things up, or was it all personnel driven or something you just --

COACH DAVIS: It's a little bit with matchups and what they are doing, from what the situation in the game is and how they are using that 11 personnel. A lot of teams go into 11 personnel to run better against your nickel or sub-packages, some are just there because they are going to throw and they have the best weapons on the field. So, you've got to kind of go in and out and you don't want them always seeing the same thing, at least I don't. I think a guy like [Saints QB] Drew Brees, if you give him the same coverage and the same look every time, he gets it real quick and then he is going to attack it. With him having the playbook at the line of scrimmage like he does and [Giants QB] Eli [Manning] does, they will change into a better play for what you show them.

Q. What does LB Jordan Hicks do well in terms of when he drops into coverage, whether it's a zone or a man situation?

COACH DAVIS: In the zone, he's got great awareness for -- he had great depth the other night. One of the nicest things to see out of a young guy, linebackers a lot of times, especially against play-action, stay too low. So, any kind of a 10, 12, 15-yard dig gets them. Jordan knows that that is an issue and, like [LB] DeMeco [Ryans], those guys drive out of there for depth. And a couple of sacks the other day were because of depth of linebacker drops and coverage was making them hold it a little bit longer. And then, man, he's athletic enough to have match-up with most of them.

Q. It looked like on one, he actually might have bit too much on DE Fletcher Cox's third sack, and he had to turn almost to get back?

COACH DAVIS: Yeah, we like him to turn. When you get caught in play-action, we tell them to turn and run and find work first, and then look back and see what the quarterback is doing. But, he was doing it well.

Q. In the last three weeks, you've faced quarterbacks that tend to get rid of the ball than take a sack; what do you see out of Giants QB Eli Manning in that regard?

COACH DAVIS: You know where he's ranked in the NFL in getting the ball out of his hands? Third. So once again, it's a high-efficiency, quick ball-out-of-the-quarterback's-hand offense. And again, they have only had, I think, four sacks maybe and two interceptions, so Eli not only makes a quick read and gets it out of his hands, if there is any pressure, he throws it away. He's not taking the sack and he's not throwing the interception. He would rather take the intentional grounding and just eat the incomplete and play another down, and I think that's why their offense is pretty efficient.

Q. He wasn't always like that, right?

COACH DAVIS: No, he wasn't. He held the ball our first game--

Q. He was a drop-back guy, right?


Q. They moved into a new offense?

COACH DAVIS: Yeah, they moved into a new offense, and I think he's very familiar with it. It's a lot what [Green Bay Packers QB] Aaron Rodgers does, too.

Q. Can you talk about DB Walter Thurmond and what he has done in these five games and adjusting to safety?

COACH DAVIS: Walter Thurmond, the reason we moved him was because of his vision and instincts and the ability to play the ball from the nickel spot, really, is what you saw him do. And then, when we moved him back, his football intelligence and IQ is very high; he really understands formation of personnel grouping, route tendencies, what two-and-out means with one coming in and those type of things. So that, together with some of the defenses we have to kind of highlight that where he can roam a little bit and pick what route the quarterback is looking at and what looks like is coming, that combination has had Walt playing at a pretty high level.

Q. How much tougher does it make it with this offense when the Giants are not turning the ball over much? They are one of the leaders in fewest turnovers.

COACH DAVIS: We have to play within our defense, and part of our defense is attack the ball. We are about getting the ball and getting turnovers, and tackling. So, if you put those two things -- we have effort to the ball, tackle well, and you've got enough bodies around the ball, good things have happened to us so far and our turnovers have been pretty high causing them, which will be tough to do. They protect the ball well.

Q. You guys have had some really great days against Eli over the years and some really bad ones where he can throw for 500 yards. What's the No. 1 thing that kind of goes into what you want to do to prevent the big ones and that you accomplish when he has a bad game?

COACH DAVIS: Well, take last year for instance; I think we had our best defensive game and worst defensive game against the Giants in the two different games. The last game they threw it over 50 times and over 400 yards of passing. If you can limit the number of times Eli, if he throws it is that many times-- he's going to put eight to ten of them vertically on you, you have to make the plays that he goes vertical with. [Giants WR Odell] Beckham is a hard tackle, so when he does throw it underneath to Beckham, you have to get him tackled, because he's a great run-after-catch receiver. Those dynamics and the weapons they have --[Giants WR Rueben] Randle has had some great games, catches the vertical ball very well. So, it's just about playing within our system, keeping them in front of us, and not letting them get behind us; putting pressure on Eli and making sure he knows we're around him, whether he throws it away or eats it and takes a sack, that's just his choice, I always say that; sacks come in bunches and it's the quarterback's choice not ours. Our job is to put pressure on him and cover him down tight.

Q. Will you have LB Mychal Kendricks today?

COACH DAVIS: I don't think so.

Q. Can you quantify what DT Bennie Logan does for your defense? It seems like more than stats--

COACH DAVIS: Yeah, Bennie, I don't know-- Fletch had an outstanding game, but Bennie had probably an equal game, but didn't have the numbers. Bennie is very strong in the run game, and then a couple of the sacks that Fletch got--Fletch did a great job, don't want to take nothing away from Fletch, because he had a phenomenal game, but Bennie was right there, pushing the pocket, not giving another escape route for the quarterback. One of the things with the sacks, we collectively, as a group, did our job, so there were no escape routes a lot of times and the coverage was tight. So any time you get sacks like we had in that game, it's everybody; it's coverage tight; it's no escape routes for the quarterback when one guy wins, you still need the one guy to win and Fletch did a great job winning, Bennie did a nice job winning. Really the group rushed pretty well. BG [LB Brandon Graham] was close; [LB] Connor [Barwin] was close; [DE] Vinny [Curry] played a solid game. It is just they are all close; it comes in bunches, and the sack numbers will come.

Q. The X-plays on Sunday, what do you think was the issue there?

COACH DAVIS: There were different things. They had a couple nice leverage passes on us where they were running away from our leverage and [Saints WR Brandin] Cooks has tremendous speed, and he got by us a couple times. We have to play some technique things better; some of them could have been better calls. But we were real excited because we had finally made the top five of the positive in X-plays, and we were excited about [how] we were correcting that and going in the right direction and then boom, here it comes. We have to just weather the storm and get back to just taking care of business, keeping the ball in front of us and keeping the X-plays off.

Q. RB Shane Vereen has been a nice addition in the Giants' offense, especially in the passing game. How do you neutralize him?

COACH DAVIS: Randall and Beckham are their top receiving, outside threats and they are getting a lot of outside targets. And then comes [Giants TE Larry] Donnell and Vereen, and those guys are getting a lot of balls. Vereen, saw him in New England last year, he's very good out of the backfield as a pass-receiving running back. So, we have to make sure our matchups and leverage and everything, we have him accounted for, as well as the tight end. And Eli does a phenomenal job of taking what you give him. He's been around long enough to know that you take Beckham away, then he's going to his three other [guys], and that's why so many guys have so many receptions. Again, it's a high efficient, balls-out-quick offense that we have had in the last couple weeks, so we've just got to continue to try to get that down.

Q. Will you have Kendricks for the game?

COACH DAVIS: I think he's day-to-day. Mychal's in that spot with the ham[string] and it's a day-to-day--I don't think he'll be out there today. Tomorrow, I do not know. But I think as we go forward, he'll do all he can and do his best to get out there for Monday night.

Q. I'm sure you're aware of other defenses around the league, what other guys are doing, keep yourself up; where do Giants Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo defenses hang their hat?

COACH DAVIS: I think four-man rush zones are really what they do more on first and second down. Then, I think he's got some [former Eagles defensive coordinator] Jim Johnson pressures. Those Jim Johnson pressures that a lot of the guys that were under him use are really dynamic pressures and we have a little bit, not as much as others, but you can see a lot of that in him too.

Q. What makes Giants WR Odell Beckham such a tough guy to cover?

COACH DAVIS: I think his athleticism and explosiveness; he can stop and restart as fast as anyone, and that is always a challenge. Then when he does catch the ball, he's a great open field runner. He is a very talented runner, and so he's getting a lot of yards after the catch, and you've got to contain that part of it, as well as him turning you around with his moves. And then his hands are some of the best in the league and he's getting better as they go. We'll have our hands full with him for a while.

Q. Just getting back to Fletcher for a second, just having the ability to move him around and play pretty much any position, either in a 3-4 or a 4-3, how does that work for you?

COACH DAVIS: Because of his intelligence and because of the guy he is and how dedicated he is to learning the scheme, we move Fletcher around a lot. You just can't say, 'There he is, here is how we're going to double-team him.' He's out wide as an edge rusher; he's in guard as the three-technique rusher; he's on the nose; we've stacked him in linebacker looks and brought him.  So the fact that we can move him around is due to his intelligence and understanding of football. And then his skill set and how we can manipulate matchups and kind of keep the other team from saying, 'There he is, here is how we are double-teaming him.' That combination is working well for us so far.

Q. How have you seen CB Byron Maxwell come along?

COACH DAVIS: Every week he's gotten better. The first week, I think – the expectations are so high when you sign a contract like that. I think right now, he's feeling comfortable in our system; I think we are using him. I'm learning him, we are learning him, and we are using him in the best way, and I think every week, you'll see him climb and climb and be better and better.

Q. So, what's different now compared to Week One?

COACH DAVIS: Familiarity with the scheme probably on his end and ours with him on our end; you know how often do you press, how often is he off, just a little different scenarios that you can put him in. I think he's growing.

Q. The past couple of years, the Giants have really struggled with the offensive line; they have had a lot of changes, retirements, and injuries. What has stabilized them?

COACH DAVIS: I think they have got some continuity going; these guys play really well together. They are protecting Eli as well as they have done. In their run game, they are strong; they can push you and move people around in the run game. So I think the fact that they really are gelling-- I think Coach Flaherty [Giants offensive line coach Pat Flaherty] has done a great job coaching that group up, and it's five guys playing as one. And when you see offensive linemen and when you don't have the continuity of them playing next to each other, you see it's kind of fragmented. Well this O-line is on the same page and that makes it harder to get to Eli.

Q. How did Maxwell play and was he affected by his injury?

COACH DAVIS: I don't think his injury was a factor at all. I think Max played pretty well; it was probably one of his better games. I think there were two shallow crossing routes that they caught on him, but that was about it. Didn't throw at him a whole lot which sometimes as a corner, that's good, it's a good game. But he's getting better and I don't think his injury affected him much. You would have to ask him; I didn't hear anything about it or see anything visually.

Q. You said that you had become more familiar with him; what have you found is the best way to use him, rather than how you did it four weeks ago?

COACH DAVIS: Well, I think it's probably just keep him in less of -- I really had an expanded role, I had him doing a lot of different things. And I think by limiting that and letting him settle into the defense first before he moved too fast forward, is benefitting him. And again, it's a learning process-- all free agents, I don't care how long they have been in the league, there's a learning curve from the coaches learning the player and the player learning the system, and I think we are going in a great direction with Max on that.

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