Eagles Notes: Davis’ Sam Bradford Story
Bill Davis spoke to the media today before practice. Here are some notes from the defensive coordinator’s press conference.
- Davis recalled a story about Sam Bradford to explain why he’s always been a fan of the quarterback.
“I’m highly impressed with Sam, I always have been. I’ve always known the skillset he’s got. I was a defensive coordinator at Arizona his rookie year the first game he played; Pat Shurmur was [his] coordinator. I blitzed Adrian Wilson off the edge probably 10 times to 15. He kept hitting Sam and hitting Sam. It must’ve been the third quarter Adrian comes over to me and says, ‘Hey Billy D, we’re in for a long one. This boy’s not rattling. I keep hitting him with everything I have and he just won’t rattle. I can’t shake him.’ So we knew right then that Sam has mental toughness and capacity and then his throwing ability. You just gotta watch practice to know he throws a real accurate, real pretty ball.”
- Kiko Alonso is sitting out of practice again today due to a concussion, but Davis still isn’t worried. Davis also relayed doubts that Alonso will play Sunday when he was asked if Alonso would likely miss it. Besides Alonso, Zach Ertz, DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, DeMarco Murray, Earl Wolff and Bryan Braman are also not practicing today.
“I would guess that’s probably fair, but I don’t know. He is fine. I’ve got no worries about Kiko. He’ll be alright, just staying cautious. That’s all. I’m not concerned about him at all.”
- Marcus Smith has made a big jump from last year, partially because he’s better at dealing with the pressure of being a first-round pick. Davis also said he sees Smith as more of an outside linebacker than an inside linebacker.
“He’s way ahead of where he was [last year]. The confidence level and the pressure you put on yourself and others are putting on you kind of calms a little bit or you actually have some coping skills where you can handle it and still function and play and put your focus on the football part. Marcus has got his focus on the football part and controlling what he can control. He’s in a much better place, he’s playing faster, he’s reacting faster, he’s seeing the field better and those are all indications that he’s really taking some big leaps forward.
“He’s an outside ‘backer, that’s who he is. It actually gives the linebacker himself a much broader understanding of the defense because those guys inside are our quarterbacks. The guys outside listen to calls; the guys inside make calls. When you have to make the calls then you move to the position of listening, you have a much better understanding of why and what is about to be called.”
- Byron Maxwell could trail receivers or play the nickel at different points this season.
“We’ll mix that up more this year. It will be a game-to-game thing. We traveled Cary [Williams] last year a game or two. You have to really see a difference or reason why to do that and take him out because a lot of times those guys get into a nice little pattern with their footwork on the left and right [sides].
“He’s in the conversation [to play nickel], but it’s the latter part of the conversation. Right now we’re so excited about having him out there wide and covering the big, longer receiver and matching up there. He absolutely could get some reps in there [at nickel].”
- Transitioning from the 4-3 defense to the 3-4 can be difficult for some players, but Davis explained why Brandon Graham’s transition was relatively smooth.
“His ability to both mentally absorb the outside ‘backer stand-up role and physically handle the moving backwards. That’s the biggest piece: the backwards moving piece.”
- Davis explained how he evaluates his players in the preseason and why he focuses on tackling, communication and technique.
“I’m looking for the tackling piece because you don’t see that [in camp]. The communication when the lights are on. It’s about evaluating your ability combined with your coachability. Playing great defense is 11 guys playing as one. Are you down in and down out consistently using the technique we’ve been working on this whole offseason? You don’t have to give us a bunch of wild plays to impress us. We’ve got to see that the defense in it’s whole are doing what they’re supposed to do.”