Q. LB DeMeco Ryans had the most snaps among the inside linebackers. Why did it pan out that way?
BILL DAVIS: DeMeco did? Well, it was just the rotation we have. There's no rhyme or reason to it. We really were trying to get all three of them about equal snaps. Again, we don't always dictate where they are as far as base personnel, how much 11-personnel we're getting. We kind of had a little different rotation going there, but we were looking for all three of them to get equal amounts. We really were.
Q. So what was LB Kiko Alonso's role then, because he was clearly behind the other two in terms of snaps?
BILL DAVIS: Just a little bit. We're just bringing him along. It's a little bit of a snap count, but again, it's real tough to hit, at the end of the day, everybody in the perfect amount. But our goal was all three of them and just kind of checking them as they go. How is DeMeco responding? Does he have any setbacks? How's Kiko? How's he feeling? So, there wasn't a plan to get this guy more than the other. All three of them, we have the upmost confidence in and we were trying to get them all in. It's real hard to nail exactly. You don't know how long the drives are going, you know, all those things.
Q. Is Alonso at the point now that he can take a full load of snaps?
BILL DAVIS: I think he's getting closer. I mean, we really were excited about him coming out of that game with no setbacks at all. We're going closer and closer to more reps. Now, we've got two big games in 10 days coming up, so we have to see how their bodies respond to that kind of workload. There's a lot of things that go into it. But right now, there's a three-man rotation that we kind of go on health.
Q. Kiko hasn't played a lot of football in the last year and a half. Do you think that it's going to be a process until he gets back to where he was as a rookie?
BILL DAVIS: I do. I don't think it's going to be a long process, though. I think more of it happens when they practice every day of the week. That speaks more to them coming back and getting in the groove than the playing 'X' amount of snaps in a game. Now, that is a piece that counts because it's full speed, but the fact that he's practicing all of the reps gets me more encouraged about him coming along, being where he was.
Q. How did Kiko play against Miami?
BILL DAVIS: Kiko did a nice job. There were no major, glaring errors. He was where he was supposed to be most of the time. You didn't see any big 'wow' plays, but he was doing his job and doing it well.
Q. Before his injury, DE Brandon Bair was playing well and making a lot of plays. What does he have to do to get back on the field?
BILL DAVIS: It's close. It really is. Every week, we go all the way through with who is going to be active and who is inactive and how we're going, and right now, it hasn't gone Brandon's way. But we have nothing but confidence in Brandon and he's close to getting back in.
Q. Is there anything you guys can do on the deflected ball? Is there any way to communicate it?
BILL DAVIS: There's no way you can signal it or communicate it. I thought the guys played it as well as it could be played. [S] Malcolm [Jenkins] and [CB Byron] Maxwell passed off a route; so we're in man, their eyes are on the routes where they're supposed to be. We had a full six-man blitz going and as soon as Malcolm looked back to the quarterback, the quarterback was standing there without a ball. So, I thought the same thing – I thought it was Maxwell was where the ball went. He looked back at Max, Max didn't have it and then he saw the receiver responding so he went right to tackle the receiver. It was a bang-bang play. [DT] Bennie Logan was coming out of stack, he was trying to get it. I thought the guys played it as well as it could be played. The last place you tell them to look is straight up in the air three stories. They did it as fast as they can and it was just one of those plays that didn't fall our way.
Q. How could some of those rub routes that they got you on be defended better?
BILL DAVIS: Well, some of them we defended very well. The one that had the longest play was a better call than I had. I had a five-man, man-free call and if they're going to run that Apollo route that we talk about, it's a legal pick at the line of scrimmage and what our guys do, they have a tool that they can pass that off if they're close enough. It was just one of those deals where it was just a little bit too far to use that tool because you can get in trouble if you use the tool and they aren't doing the rub. They did it, so as it came across, it was a better call than I had and then we just need to tackle quicker than we did and it got picked off. There were a couple others that we defended very well and there was another zone or two that we didn't. It's just a matter of getting that thing defended better. It is a block at the line of scrimmage and we just have to rep it more and be better at it.
Q. What has Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston shown you on tape?
BILL DAVIS: He's impressive. He really is. As a rookie, I was very impressed with the poise. They're actually giving him some checks at the line and he's doing a good job with it. I think he's protecting the ball well. He's not forcing the ball. I just got done watching the Tennessee game where he wasn't quite as – the very first game of the season where he turned it over a little bit. Since then, I think he's learned every week, I think he's grown every week. The scheme is kind of fitting his skillset and I was very impressed with the quarterback, the decision making part of it.
Q. Are you using LB Marcus Smith moving forward so that you don't wear out your other two outside linebackers on third downs?
BILL DAVIS: Well, I don't know if we are burning anybody out. We are always on a rotation. I think the teams, like this week, we'll probably see more base because of who they are and he'll get more snaps this week, I'm anticipating, until they come out in a personnel grouping that doesn't make us go base.
Q. Is Buccaneers WR Mike Evans as dangerous of a receiver to defend as anybody you've faced?
BILL DAVIS: Yes, he is. He's very, very talented at going up and getting the ball. He has a wide catch radius. He's a big man that catches the ball away from his body very well. He's a great leaper. They go to him often. There's a lot of vertical balls in this offense. They're going to take eight, nine shots per game, and a lot of them are to him. That's what he does best, is go up and get it. He's a big target of theirs, he's a main target and he's a big threat down the field.
Q. What does DB Eric Rowe have to do to get on the field more?
BILL DAVIS: Eric is making steady progress. Eric will get more and more play time as we go forward. He's doing well in practice. He continues to grow and learn the scheme. I think we're bringing him along at the right pace. In the second half of the season, I think you'll see him play more and more.
Q. On whether he has a goal in terms of points per game allowed:
BILL DAVIS: We'd like to be number one in points per drive at the end of the season. That really comes down to 15 points. We did a study during the offseason where if you're under 15 or at 15, you're usually in the top two or three in the NFL. The greatest ones of all time hung around 13 and 14 which is very difficult to do, but it's the goal we're setting for ourselves. If we're not in the teens – really, at the end of the day, you have to defend enough to win the game. Points allowed is the only thing that matters. The rest of the stats don't. Our goal is about 15 [points allowed per game].
On whether the team's current average of 20 points allowed per game is something that he is pleased with:
BILL DAVIS: No, I'm really not. We have to win more games. We have to play to where we win the game. The points have to be at 15 and that's where our goal is and we're going to continue to fire at that goal. It's like three turnovers per game. We didn't have any [against the Dolphins]. I thought our safety had the best shot at that turnover, but it wasn't. We'll continue to fire away at turnovers and points allowed.
Q. On whether he factors in defensive points, like a safety for example:
BILL DAVIS: No. If we score a pick-six or anything, that doesn't factor in. It's defensive points with the defense on the field and then we go by drive. We think that the most accurate way of comparing ourselves to the rest of the league is saying, "Okay, how many points per drive are we allowing?"
Q. On whether he places an asterisk next to a drive if the offense starts on the eight-yard line:
BILL DAVIS: Nope. That's where we have to respond. I was very disappointed after the punt block that we didn't respond to make that a field goal. The guys are [disappointed as well]. That's our mentality that we're taking out there. We've got to respond to that adversity and come out with three points at the very most.
Q. On how he is managing LB Kiko Alonso's reps, especially with next week's Thanksgiving game:
BILL DAVIS: We rotate more than anyone else rotates with all of our positions. That won't change and that's part of how we do it. I think other places I've been, we would've had more of a conversation about instilling and making the rotation a bigger part of what we do. It's already who we are. So all of our focus will go into Tampa Bay knowing that we'll divvy up the reps accordingly. A Thursday game is a Thursday game. Everybody in the league deals with it and you just have to make sure that you go into both of them fresh.
Q. On what makes S Walter Thurmond a good blitzer and what dictates his usage:
BILL DAVIS: You know, I think his speed and awareness. He was an unblocked man off the edge to a blindside quarterback. He did a nice job of hitting him and getting the ball out which is what we're always looking for. There's a lot of speed coming off the edge. The smaller the man you send off that corner, the faster they get there and that's what you saw. He was there in an instant and the coverage was really impressive. [LB] DeMeco [Ryans] was right under a skinny post and he made him hold it that much longer and then we got him. There was some good coverage there.
Q. On how LB Mychal Kendricks' health has helped the team's blitz packages:
BILL DAVIS: Mychal is a good blitzer, he really is. He's got such a burst and a change of speed to him. The sack that he had was an unblocked sack, but there were a couple others where he leaked in there and we got some good pressure from Mychal. I think his speed and athleticism are what separates him. When there is a [running] back waiting on him, he'll beat the back more times than he won't. He's a dynamic blitzer.
Q. On whether he was expecting something on the two unblocked sacks:
BILL DAVIS: Well, the NFL offensive coordinators and line coaches, they vary their protection. So you can't guarantee any protection that you're going to get. They move them. The ones that sit in one protection, you really have a field day with them, but they were not doing that. We kind of hit the right blitz in the right protection at that time.
Q. On whether the team still needs to improve on their third-down passing defense:
BILL DAVIS: I think so. The two places that affect the points per drive allowed the most are turnovers, but the third down is a turnover. If you're getting off the field on third down, that's a turnover that is real close to an actual interception or fumble. We have to get better at getting the ball back for our offense and that's keeping points off the board and how many possessions can we get back to our offense.
Q. On whether he approaches a rookie quarterback differently:
BILL DAVIS: I think it's about what their offense is and what they're having him do and you try to break it down. Every rookie is different. Some rookies are doing a lot of reading and checking and some aren't. We have to take each individual case and then what is his skill set? Is he a scrambler? Is he a runner? Is the boot game alive? What is his particular skill set and how far along is he? If you play him the first or second week of the year, it's a little bit different than when you're playing him in weeks nine, 10 and 11 when everybody has got a little bit of a better feel. Everyone is different.
Q. On what Ryans could have done differently on Dolphins RB Lamar Miller's touchdown:
BILL DAVIS: The timing of that thing – as soon as he caught the ball, the receiver blocked him. It was legal. It was not illegal. The referees had it right. He could have been a little bit lower that would've kept him from doing that, but that's nitpicking. It's one of those bang-bang plays that they hit on us in man coverage that worked out for them, not us.
Q. On the challenge of defending running backs who make big plays out of the backfield in the passing game:
BILL DAVIS: I think it's the type of play. The screen play is always a challenging play especially when you're pressuring. In the screen play, they hope we blitz so they get five guys behind the running back and then they have more blockers in front of the rest of our defenders. Is it a screen play you're talking about or is it the wheel routes? A lot of times, that whole concept is a pick and we're trying to fight over the top. It's kind of the play of the year. Everybody is getting that wheel route going with the x-nasty and blocking you.
Q. On whether the Buccaneers execute similar concepts with RB Charles Sims:
BILL DAVIS: They do that quite a bit, but everybody is doing it so every week we're practicing it. I think around the league everybody is practicing defending it. Really, what you do, is you apply different tools when you get those formational tendencies. It's a big play in the league right now.