Billy Davis Backs His Corners
Starting cornerbacks Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher have taken some heat for their play down the stretch against the Rams. While Billy Davis did not absolve them, he made the point that there is plenty of blame to go around for the late-game breakdowns on defense Sunday, and maintains that the Williams-Fletcher pairing is the one that gives the defense the best chance to be successful.
“I know everybody is on the corners, but man I went back and looked at every play, we did as a staff over and over again, and the corners have their share but it is not them and them alone,” said Davis. “I can break down every play that they had and tell you multiple other people that had a breakdown on that play.”
Davis pointed to the 30-yard Kenny Britt touchdown early in the fourth quarter, where Fletcher did not react in time to a jump ball in the end zone. Fletcher was supposed to have safety help from Malcolm Jenkins on that play, Davis suggested. On the Brian Quick TD several minutes later, Davis dialed up an all-out blitz, leaving Williams responsible for an entire half of the field. Williams played the appropriate technique but got beat by a back-shoulder throw from Austin Davis.
“Everybody on the outside looking in has no clue as to what’s going on on the field,” said Williams, “and as long as my teammates are behind me, as long as the organization is behind me, I could care less what anybody outside of this place feels.
“It’s a tough position as it is. You’re covering the best athletes out there on the field each and every time. It’s the National Football League so everybody is going to make some plays. The critics are going to be there, everybody has an opinion and I just live with it.”
On both of those plays, though, the corners were in position but failed to make a play on the ball. In contrast, Brandon Boykin came up with a break-up on a third-down pass to Austin Pettis on the Rams’ final drive to help seal the win.
“Yes he did, but so did Cary in the first half, so did Fletch in the first half, and there was a couple plays where Boykin wasn’t where he was supposed to be,” said Davis. “And I’m not coming down on Boyk or coming down on anybody but when you watch the entire game and you know what you’ve asked of everybody, everybody takes turns having bad downs and good downs. And if there is a change that should be made, I promise you I’d make it but right now it’s not time. There’s not a move to make.
“As you ask a player to do something, are you doing what I’m asking you to do, that’s the first phase, and then can you make the play at the ball. And [Williams and Fletcher] do make more than they don’t. We didn’t play at the ball perfect in the fourth quarter and that was probably our biggest fault — at the ball and how we played it — and we’ll continue to work on that and get better at it.
“But as far as every snap, if there was a change to be made I promise you we would make it, but it has to be for the right reasons. It has to be, are they doing what we’re asking them to do and can they get it done? And right now the answer is yes to that. And we’ll continue to grow and be the defense that we want to be.”