Q. You probably weren't too surprised that LB Jordan Hicks was placed on injured reserve given the nature of his injury. What does that do to your inside linebacker group, and is everybody --
BILL DAVIS: It's a big hit. You know, it's a shame that it happened, but as soon as I saw the nature of the injury, you've seen enough of them, been around enough, especially having a background in linebacker coaching, I kind of had an idea that's what happened. Like we talked about last week, Jordan did a great job of bringing himself into the conversation of [being] a main rotation guy, through just the circumstance of injuries that presented him an opportunity. It's a shame that he only made it halfway through the season, but in the NFL, it's a bad part of what we deal with. Jordan will get everything fixed and then we'll move on, and we're back to the guys that we originally started with, and they go day-to-day. It's not something – Obviously, it's a shame for Jordan because he really was coming along strong. I think he would have been a Rookie of the Year candidate without question.
Q. How does LB DeMeco Ryans look for Sunday?
BILL DAVIS: It's day-to-day. It really is. It's day-to-day. We're very optimistic about it, day-to-day, but I have no way of telling. One day you're out here and everything is exciting, then one little thing happens, and it's no longer.
Q. Is LB Kiko Alonso at a point where he can play 60-70 snaps?
BILL DAVIS: I don't think yet. I really don't. I think that's a process to come. I think we played him about the right amount the other night and we'll take it in the right way, because again, you'd rather pull him for just a couple less snaps and say, 'Well, we probably should have played him more,' than overloaded him and then you lose him again. With all the guys that are injured, we try to be a little bit more on the conservative edge, so we have them for longer.
Q. You had 17 players play on defense against the Cowboys. That's a pretty slim rotation. Why is that? Would you like to get more guys involved than just 17 players?
BILL DAVIS: Well, every game takes on its own life. You know, we only had four drives in the first half last week -- or two days ago. And that was a little bit odd, so we really didn't have many first-half rotations going like we usually do. Sometimes we have six-to-seven [drives] in the first half. Every game takes on a life of its own with packages and then how many drives [are there] and [how much] possession time. So you know, we try to get everybody that's active for us playing a lot.
Q. Is the signing of LB Emmanuel Acho similar to your signing of LB Najee Goode earlier in the season? Is he a guy that you can just kind of plug in since he has been with the team before?
BILL DAVIS: Yeah, Emmanuel is an extremely football-intelligent guy and he could run the defense right now. I mean, he's missed, what, six or seven weeks? He could go out there right now and run it. He has that kind of a football IQ. I go way back with Ach; he's a very intelligent player and very comfortable to have to where you know that you can put him in and trust him to be – He can get everybody aligned and be our quarterback.
Q. In the last two weeks, you haven't had Ryans available. In those two games, you allowed your first two 100-yard rushers of the season. Is that a direct correlation?
BILL DAVIS: Without taking anything away from DeMeco -- I love him to death and I think he's a great asset -- but there's no excuse for the run game the last two weeks. We've got to get that plugged back up. To me, when I look at it from my eyes, I see it more about getting back to the discipline of gap discipline and being where we're supposed to be, and the tackling. All of those are elements of run defense that we've done so well and have taken a step back. That's not taking anything away from DeMeco; we miss him and love him. But [we're not making] an excuse saying that if DeMeco were in, it would be different. But we just have to get it right with the guys that are in there.
Q. Was Hicks the one wearing the headset for your defense?
BILL DAVIS: Yeah, it moves around from game to game, but Jordan the last couple weeks has had it, yes.
Q. With Hicks out, who would wear the headset if Ryans isn't playing? Will it be LB Mychal Kendricks or Alonso?
BILL DAVIS: Depending on the roles that they're playing, because we interchange them, it could be Kiko. We are a heavy signal team, so we don't rely as heavily on the headsets as most teams because we are a no-huddle defense. We don't get in the huddle; everybody gets the signal. So [the headset] is a bigger piece for other teams than it is for us.
Q. Among the inside linebackers, who sets the front?
BILL DAVIS: Depending on who's in, we rotate it. They can both set the front. It's really not, 'Hey, has to set it.' Now, when each guy goes in, because we rotate those guys, we do say, 'Hey, you're the communicator. You're the main one.' It could be Kiko or Mychal. It could be Najee [LB Najee Goode]. It depends on who we say on that drive, 'Hey, you make the calls.' So you don't have them both doing it. If that's your point, yeah, we can't have them both doing it, so yeah, we pick one. But their rotation is --
Q. Have the Miami Dolphins been doing anything differently schematically since Interim Head Coach Dan Campbell took over?
BILL DAVIS: I don't know if it's a product of the head coach -- they were doing a little bit more tempo before. You don't see as much of it, but they still have a big part of it. The four games that they've had [with Campbell] have been really lopsided. They've whipped two teams and they've been on the other end of that a couple times. I don't know if I can really say that that's a big impact. Bill Lazor is still the [offensive] coordinator and Bill Lazor has been running his stuff, so I don't think much has changed because of the head coach.
Q. Have you ever had a position group with so many injuries before? It feels like every inside linebacker has been hurt.
BILL DAVIS: Yeah, I have. Every now and then it happens. When it hits, it's like you're snakebit in one spot and you've just got to try to get out of it. Luckily, you're not getting injuries at other spots. Injuries are going to happen in the NFL.
Q. It just seems like they are all at the same position --
BILL DAVIS: It is, and there's no correlation to it, it's just having --
Q. Going back to Bill Lazor, what do you see in their offense even with the head coaching change that's familiar to you?
BILL DAVIS: Oh, there's a lot. There really is a lot of the offense that Chip [Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly] runs, and he took a lot of that with him. So we see a lot of familiar plays that we've seen over time and that we practice all offseason. He's got a great scheme. He's got a running quarterback who played receiver [in college] and played it well, so he's got the mobility piece. They have designed quarterback runs; a lot like we [faced] in Carolina. There's a big bubble-screen element to it, so after the zone-read is read out, they can still hit a bubble at the end. So it's a really dynamic offense with shifts and motions on every play, so there's a lot of moving parts that really stretch your communication part of it. There are unique motions. So we've got to make sure that we're on top of what we're doing, but we are familiar with this offense. It's what we see a lot of in the offseason.
Q. Does Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill have the whole playbook available at the line?
BILL DAVIS: I don't think as much. No, I don't. I think it's run a lot like ours. There's pieces he does. He's got a lot of read options, like when you read, you can hand it, you can give it, you can keep it and you can throw the bubble. He's in control. He's really throwing a nice deep ball. He really impressed me when I turned on the film to watch him. In the pocket, he's calm in the pocket, he's not nervous in the pocket, and he throws the ball downfield well. He really was.
Q. How much do they go tempo?
BILL DAVIS: They go more than most. Not as much as us, but more than the rest of the league. Lately it's been 50-50, but I think that's [because of] some of the lopsided scores they've been involved in. But it's more than most teams, not as much as us.
Q. Does that familiarity not only help preparation in the week leading up to the game, but also help players dissect information at the snap?
BILL DAVIS: Yeah, and I think it comes back to the conversations we get to have in the offseason. When Chip and the Eagles offense present us with something, we as coaches and players talk about these are the things we have to do to stop that. So now we haven't had those conversations in a little while, but now we come back and it's not like it's a brand new thought for anybody, player or coach. It's, 'Hey, remember when we did this and we had this tool we had to use versus what they're doing? Let's reactivate and let's bring that conversation back up.' That's different from other teams that never have it: the first time they play Miami or the first time they play us, it's a new conversation. So that's where we've been.
Q. Are smaller, shifty slot receivers a tougher cover for you guys because of the size of your safeties?
BILL DAVIS: If you're referring to [Cowboys WR Cole] Beasley, Beasley did a -- he's unique. There are a couple of [slot receivers] in the league like [Beasley] that stop and start so fast that they're a tough matchup for almost anybody. You almost have to get somebody that size -- but then you gain in other areas. So the matchup with those quick guys, is you have to have the right matchup with the right help to help the leverage piece of the slot guys because they always work against your leverage. If you go inside, then it's almost an option the other way. If you align outside of him, he's going to work inside and keep playing that game with you.
Q. It seemed you adjusted late in the game to put CB E.J. Biggers on Beasley. What went into that move?
BILL DAVIS: Well, we just thought that we needed to make a change and shift around who was on who. So we actually put Malcolm [S Malcolm Jenkins] on [Cowboys TE Jason] Witten and then moved E.J. out there. So we were just moving around. There was a little bit of a stretch there where the third downs were moving off Beasley getting the ball, and we had been giving the attention to Witten and Dez [Cowboys WR Dez Bryant] and leaving that one-on-one just in place, so when that one-on-one wasn't holding up, we just moved things around.
Q. Is there anything on Hick's injury where you can from the angle he was kind of reaching and you see where the Pectoral --
BILL DAVIS: I've seen him make a bunch of arm tackles. That's what you're doing. You're trying to just get the guy down, and he just reached out, and sometimes it pops and sometimes it doesn't. It's like the Achilles; you can't figure that one out. You see a guy jump up and land and it just lands wrong. It was just one of those things where the arm tackle just hit the wrong spot.
Q. There was a play in the first half where I think Dallas had 22-personnel out there, you went to nickel, and then they broke a little running play outside. What were you looking for there and what happened on that?
BILL DAVIS: It was an absolute mistake and error on my part. They were running 0-2 personnel, which is two tight ends and the receivers. So seeing the big tight ends out there, there was an empty set, so I ran our nickel package out there on the third-and-3, thinking too quickly that it was the other personnel grouping, and then when I got it, I was stuck in it. The guys did a great job adjusting. I'm actually glad they ran the perimeter play. I thought we might have been able to get that thing down. But that was 100 percent on me. That wasn't something I was trying to get done. It was a mistake.
Q. LB Brandon Graham had two sacks against the Cowboys. What was he doing that made him so effective?
BILL DAVIS: You know, Brandon has a great pass rush and he pushed that pocket. He changed up his pass rush a little bit from bull, bull, bull, to the illusion of a bull rush and then he took the edge. Brandon does a great job of getting the ball out when he gets there. He just made a little tweak, and he's doing -- you can see him growing as a veteran player in his note taking and in the way he thinks through his pass rushes as opposed to just, 'Set-hike. Hey, let me just go do my thing.' He's really breaking down and having a plan with his pass rushing. He's adjusting in the game, and that's the growth that you love seeing players take.
Q. I mean, so you're able to see that even though the sacks might not always be there?
BILL DAVIS: Oh, yeah, the sack number -- That is so frustrating for me because I see them doing it so well and really the outside world just says, 'It was a sack or not.' We see pressures and we see wins and we see guys -- to be able to play that veteran game of 'What are you doing to stop my pass rush and how can I expand the different things I have that can beat you?' That's a big step that I think Brandon has taken.
Q. Is Kendricks back to where he was last season or is he still kind of struggling?
BILL DAVIS: I think Mychal, with the three weeks now under his belt of practice, I anticipate him hitting his stride and being where he was. It usually takes about two or three weeks of getting back to practicing every day and playing in the games to where you settle in. Hopefully Mychal is back to where he was.
Q. How did you evaluate Alonso's play?
BILL DAVIS: Kiko was good for the first time back. He really was. He's very natural. I've said that before in here. You know, it takes a while to get everything going and playing back into that zone, like we were talking about with Mychal, it's two to three weeks. So he had a good Phase One of it, or Game One. Hopefully he takes a step this week, and by Game Three back, hopefully he's where he left off.
Q. How did you view CB Byron Maxwell's coverage on the two pass interference calls?
BILL DAVIS: You know, pass interference is frustrating, but we talk about it with the players all the time. His technique was good, it really was. He was sound. The second one, it really looked to me that he was actively playing the ball. To me usually an official says, 'Okay, there's two men, the ball is in the air and it can be either man's ball. If they both go for the ball, then there's no harm, no foul.' If we try to restrict [the receiver] from catching it and not go for the ball, they usually call us for pass interference. My interpretation, it just looked like he was going up for the ball and then he contacted him there. But it's irrelevant what my interpretation is or Maxwell's or anybody's. The official calls it like they see it, so we've got to play.
Q. With those types of calls, how do you coach around that? Because if you think he's doing the right thing, but you get called for it.
BILL DAVIS: All you can do is just harp on technique. If you're playing the technique and then when you're at the ball, play the ball and go for the ball. That's part of the reason we're getting turnovers, is we believe it's our ball, and [Maxwell] believed it and he was trying to go for it. It's like the one in the end zone where it looked like he was going to get the interception and he got pushed and they caught the ball and they flagged it and they called it on the offense. We can't control that. We can control playing with the best technique and going for the football.
Q. Did you ever ask for clarification or anything like that from the league?
BILL DAVIS: No, I gave up on that a while ago. [Laughter] It really is. I've never seen a guy really complain to a point where [an official] says, 'You know what, you've talked me out of it, never mind, I take back the flag.' So instead of losing my mind anymore, we've just got to go to the next play, and more importantly, we've got to be able to teach the guy, 'Hey, you're doing it right or you're doing it wrong.' There's some that they call where it's like, 'Hey, you [the player] were wrong, that was a penalty.'
Q. What did you see from CB Nolan Carroll specifically on the first drive against Bryant?
BILL DAVIS: It was a great throw and catch, is really what it was. [Nolan] got up, he pressed him well and they put one right over the top of his head at about the 12-yard mark. I would have liked to see it tackled. It turned into a 52 [yard gain] because we didn't get it tackled. But every now and then, players like [Bryant] are going to make some plays. You know they're going in, but you've got to minimize that thing and stop them where it started. At the start of the down, he looked okay. He got a little out of phase, but good receivers sometimes do that to you. Then it was about the tackling part.