Philadelphia Eagles News

Quotes: Defensive Coordinator Bill Davis

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Q. Coach, what do you have on CB Byron Maxwell and CB Eric Rowe, health-wise?**

COACH DAVIS: Right now, it's day-to-day. I'm hopeful that we get both of them, but I really don't know. It's day-to-day. We'll practice accordingly, have everybody prepared. When we get to Saturday, we'll play who's ever healthy.

Q. Is Byron going to practice?

COACH DAVIS: I don't think so today, no. I don't think so.

Q. What is the issue there from what you understand?

COACH DAVIS: You know, it's something upper body. It's in the upper body region that they've got some soreness in. I'm really not exactly sure the specifics. I just know he probably can't go today. But it's day-to-day. We're confident by Saturday, he may be fine. Eric is the same thing. He's in the protocol. So we have to see where he is.

Q. Will Rowe go today?

COACH DAVIS: I don't think so, no.

Q. Do you have to assume you're not going to have both, and then if you do it's a bonus?

COACH DAVIS: I do. But I'm confident that we'll have them. I think we will. I'm a little bit hopeful probably. But I think we'll be all right. If we're not, like I said, we'll play the guys that are healthy.

Q. When DB Jaylen Watkins first got here, you mentioned how good his recall was. How much has that helped him be able to play significant snaps?

COACH DAVIS: A lot. The other night, the intelligence and the football IQ of our secondary really was on display the other night when those guys went down. We were moving multiple positions. There were two- and three-man positional shifting going on within the drives. And because of the recall that Watt has and the mental IQ, the football IQ of the secondary, we were able to play the packages that we wanted to. Now, we had different guys in there and they hadn't had the practice reps there. They were where they were supposed to be. We were able to function because of their ability to position swap.

Q. Chip Kelly said Watkins was up because of the versatility between safety and corner. Who is the better corner, CB Denzel Rice or Jaylen, in terms of the outside?

COACH DAVIS: It's close right now. But Jaylen has the nod on the outside because of his experience. Jaylen covered well last night. When we asked [CB] E.J. [Biggers] and Jaylen to go outside, even [S] Walter Thurmond had to go outside, and all of them played the corner position pretty well. They didn't get behind Jaylen. Jaylen ran with a lot of speed. The deep ball didn't get over the top of him. He had a chance to make two interceptions. In coverage, Jaylen and E.J. and Walter out at corner did a nice job the other night.

Q. With Thurmond, would you move him to corner?

COACH DAVIS: If we had to. We did the other night. I think he played 10 or 12 snaps. If we had to have him out there, depending on what is the best combination, that's the moving part. What makes us the strongest both from what they're presenting us, who are their targets, and who are we and where are we and where are our size matchups, our speed matchups. All those things factor in.

Q. Has Thurmond practiced there and will he this week?

COACH DAVIS: Walter at corner?

Q. Yes.

COACH DAVIS: No. Right now, Walter plays most of the safety.

Q. Is LB Kiko Alonso the player you thought you were getting when you made the trade?

COACH DAVIS: Kiko coming off of the injury -- there's a lot of dynamics to Kiko. If you're asking Kiko the rookie year, the healthy guy, flying around. We had Kiko injured, coming off injury. He is now settling in. He had a nice Buffalo game. We've got to continue to grow him in the system. Again, those inside backers, it's about flying to the ball, not thinking and being frozen up with your thoughts of where you fit and where you don't. We got to get Kiko to a place where it's set, hike, go get it.

Q. After the first Redskins game where you gave up the game-winning drive to them, you said that's not going to happen again. You see what happened Sunday night with the way the defense played. How motivated is this defense going into this game and angry?

COACH DAVIS: It is angry. I wish we would have gotten to the last drive the other night, but we didn't even let it get there. As far as the two-minute drives that we've defended since then, we've done a really nice job. I think the only time the two minutes hit us was the Dallas game where they drove to get the tying field goal at their place. Since then, the two-minute drives have been there. The group is very angry right now, very disappointed, very embarrassed. We didn't play our best football. We're determined to play it against the Redskins. Everything we've wanted, everything we've worked for, the season hasn't gone the way we wanted it to, stats, wins, losses. But the fact of the matter is with two games to go, we're in the driver's seat. All we have to do is step up and play the defense that we know we can play for the next two games, get into the tournament and see what happens from there.

Q. Getting back to Kiko for a second. Is he 100% healthy and just still settling into what he needs to do in the defense?

COACH DAVIS: You'd have to ask Kiko about the health, but I believe that he is healthy. Again, these are questions for Kiko to answer as far as where he feels his comfort zone is. We expect big things from Kiko and I think we'll get them.

Q. You guys made a big emphasis on cutting down on the 'X' plays, which obviously you have. You've still allowed as many passing touchdowns as you did last year. How do you explain that part of it?

COACH DAVIS: Well, the touchdowns aren't good. Obviously, that's the main goal. You don't want to give up the passing touchdowns. Every one has a different reason. There's not one collective thing. If there was one thing that we said, 'Hey, this coverage is killing us, let's not run that coverage,' we'd drop it. I'd throw it out. That's not the case. Every one has a different theme to it. We've got to get better in that category. I'd give up all 'X' plays and no touchdowns if that were the fact. But we are moving in and we've gone a lot more split safety lately than we had early on. In a split-safety defense, they can still make it one-on-one. It's the pattern that you're doing. It's about, to me, moving your coverages, being good at both and knowing what attacks both. If you sit in one all day, every offensive coordinator and offense will attack it and break it down. So you've got to move it. You can't have heavy tendencies and then you have to play it well. It's a combination of all those things. The red-zone touchdowns are really where I'm trying to find an answer, to stop the red-zone passing touchdowns.

Q. How much do you have to emphasize discipline this week, especially facing this Washington team and Redskins WR DeSean Jackson?

COACH DAVIS: Right now this offense, the Redskins' offense, they're playing as well as they've played all season. DeSean is getting vertical balls at a high rate. He's got the highest yards-per-catch. He's DeSean. He blows the top off of everything. We've got to be aware and over the top of him and have a lot of concentration on him. But then you break down and [Redskins TE Jordan] Reed is getting all the balls. [Redskins WR] Pierre Garcon is a running back and receiver, extremely good at run after the catch.  The running game has got a solid basic run, downhill stretch game. So we've got to be at our best, we really do. We have to tackle great. We've got to defend the deep ball. It's got to be our best week.

Q. With Kiko, it seems like every game there's two or three plays where it's almost inexplicable, he falls down or he's whiffing on a tackle. Plays that you don't expect from him. Are you seeing that, plays where he looks like he's overmatched?

COACH DAVIS: There are two or three of those plays a game. Kiko is trying to get rid of them, like all of us. There's two or three collectively. You could take almost any player and say, 'Hey, these two or three plays.' Some of them just don't show up. At the inside backer or corner, they show up a little bit more. The d-linemen, it doesn't show up. We've got to collectively be more consistent. I think inconsistency has been one of the biggest things that has plagued us. I've got to do a better job of coaching them to where they are consistent and making the plays. It's all of us that failed the other night. It's all of us that will go after Washington with everything we have.

Q. Cardinals RB David Johnson's first touchdown, it seemed like you subbed late to match their personnel.

COACH DAVIS: I did.

Q. You went nickel. They had a very easy path into the endzone. What went wrong there?

COACH DAVIS: I should have gone to our bigger nickel. I did not want Walter. At the time, you have the three wide receivers and down there, they've had been a huge emphasis in the pass, in that area. To do it over again, I would have put the big nickel out there. They actually left the three technique on the left. [DE] Vinny [Curry], they did not block him. It went over the other side. They did a nice job running it. I could have had a better call than I had down there.

Q. What is your big nickel?

COACH DAVIS: The bigger defensive lineman and it's got the two inside backers. Again, I could have made a better call.

Q. How do you fix the tackling problem on the short week?

COACH DAVIS: Tackling, we work on every day. I think we work on more tackling and talk about it, tackling and turnovers. Now, like everybody has seen, it's tackle first, go for the strip second. In that game the other night, there were too many times that we were going for the strip first. It's not the way we've taught it, it's not the way the guys have been doing it. For whatever reason, when you make a decision to go for the strip, it's usually when the guy's being tackled and secured. The other night, we didn't do it well enough. We'll continue to work on it. Every day we do tackling. We'll continue to do it. Now, you don't have pads, you don't have tackle to the ground. You have all the fundamental basics. We'll continue to work on those.

Q. You talked about red zone. I think you are at the bottom of the league in touchdown efficiency right now. What are you seeing and what goes into a good red-zone defense? What do you see that's holding you back right now?

COACH DAVIS: Well, it's a little bit of everything. I wish I had one blanket answer. Really, when you have one blanket answer, you can solve it. It's easier to solve. There have been times where, like the other night, you know, there's a red-zone run on the 1-yard line. I could have had a better call. We've changed up and threw some curve balls and different schemes that have worked, some haven't. Right now with the same basic calls we've had, I've been part of leading the league in the red-zone defense with the similar pattern. We just have to execute at a higher level and I've got to continue to make sure that we are in defenses that stop what they're doing. So it's a combination of calling it better in the red zone and executing it better.

Q. It sounds like you're down to three healthy corners, at least today. Do you anticipate the need to promote someone from the practice squad?

COACH DAVIS: It all comes down to who's healthy by the end of the week. The good part is that they'll be practicing. It doesn't matter if you're on the practice squad or been inactive, you're going to get the reps because of the short week. We only have two really solid days of practice. They'll get the reps. So if we have to activate them, we'll bring them up. Whatever it is we have to do, they'll at least have had the practice reps.

Q. What's been going on with DT Bennie Logan the last couple weeks?

COACH DAVIS: Bennie is playing good football. Bennie has played good football all the time. It's like most people in the NFL right now, there's not a healthy guy out there that's playing fresh and going. But Bennie has played real good football for us. Got nicked up the other night. But I don't think there's been a drop-off in Bennie. Him and Fletch [DE Fletcher Cox] have been real solid the entire year.

Q. Where do you pinpoint the run problem to?

COACH DAVIS: When the big runs go, like Tampa Bay, all three levels fail. That's what's disappointing. You're going to have to a mistake. I've never coached a game without mistakes. You're going to have some d-line errors to get the linebackers, they've got to knock it down. You're going to have times where you have a d-line error, and it gets to the linebacker, error, boom, safety gets it down, corner gets it down. When you have long runs, it means all three levels had a breakdown. Consistency is the biggest thing that I've got to make sure I get out of this group. Right now, we are playing a good game, a poor game, stopping the run, giving up the run, stopping the 'X' play, all of a sudden the 'X' play is a problem. It's about this group getting consistent. I've got to find a way to get that.

Q. What did LB Marcus Smith show you?

COACH DAVIS: Marcus didn't play a whole lot. He had the one missed tackle that jumps out at everybody. Marcus is playing about 10 to 12 snaps a game. He's on a steady incline. But we still need to see -- I'd love to see him make that tackle out in space.

Q. Third down was a real problem in the first Washington game. What stands out to you in that game about the problems you had against them?

COACH DAVIS: You know, they had a nice, you call them pick, screens, whatever you want to talk about, to beat man coverage, stacks. In the third-and-short window, I have to get out of that third-and-short window. You're never going to be good on third down if you're living in the third-and-five or less window that you're defending. They had some good picks, screens, over the top, different things that attacked our man-to-man coverage. We'll have to have some answers for it. Really after that game, some other people copied it and we played it well. We just have to do a better job on getting the third-and-longer.

Q. What has DE Taylor Hart done to earn snaps?

COACH DAVIS: Taylor Hart is playing good football, in my opinion. Taylor Hart is a young guy that's getting better. He doesn't get pushed around in the double-teams. He had the one play on the big run where he did a great job beating the cut block, then went out in space and fell. What started out as a very good down for him ended up a bad down. He is more of a run defender than a pass-rusher. He's in the rotation with [DT] Beau [Allen] and those two are getting about the same. We're growing them at about the same pace.

Q. What do you see from Redskins QB Kirk Cousins and Redskins WR DeSean Jackson? So many of those plays come down to the relationship between the QB and the receiver. It takes a while to develop. Do you see that kind of connection?

COACH DAVIS: Absolutely. This offense is running at a pretty high rate. Again, they've got a lot of weapons. They have Reed, Garcon, DeSean, a solid running game and they've got Kirk Cousins delivering the ball all over the place. Really what a great quarterback does is not focus in on one, but takes what you give him. When DeSean is open and has it, Kirk has all the arm to get it there. He's a highly-accurate thrower, good decision-maker. They're hitting on all cylinders right now. It's going to be a hell of a challenge for us to step up and beat them. Thanks, guys.

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