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Quotes: Wade Phillips press conference

Posted Dec 23, 2013

Interim head coach Wade Phillips addressed the media Monday.

(opening statement) “As far as the ball game is concerned, going into the game obviously they were one of the top teams in the league, maybe the best team in the league. I thought we fought really hard. We had an opportunity, we were in the third quarter, late in the third quarter we had the ball twice behind three points and also in the fourth quarter behind three points. One those possessions we were on the 28-yard line. Even though the score doesn’t seem to say that, I thought it was a hard-fought game. We played them toe-to-toe right through three quarters and into the fourth quarter but we didn’t make the plays at the end of the ball game that made the difference. They got a lot of points at the end that made it look it wasn’t a close game but it was a close game. Our team had an opportunity to win. As an interim coach, that’s what you want to try to do, is get them to the point that they have an opportunity to win. We played two really good teams, obviously. But it’s not just to get them an opportunity to win but also to win the ball game. That’s what we have to do this last ball game.

“As far as our injuries are concerned, (RB) Dennis Johnson, who started this game as a rookie, he got hurt in the game and he’s got an injured hip that may or may not keep him out. He’s questionable right now. (CB) Johnathan Joseph tore a ligament in his big toe, which will be operated on. So he’s out for the season or out for the last game. (RB) Deji Karim also got hurt in the game, broke his collar bone; I think they call it clavicle now. But anyway he’s out and won’t return. (FB) Brad Smelley also got hurt in the game, tore a calf and so he’s out also for the last ball game. And Smelley, he hasn’t been here very long and we only have two tight ends, but these offenses, Gary’s (Kubiak) offense and (Mike) Shanahan’s offense, those offenses are geared around tight ends and we only had two going into the game and one of them got hurt. So it certainly limited what we could do. In fact, we couldn’t do anything in a two-tight end offense. It did hurt us scheme-wise during the game. Jonathan Grimes is now our starting running back. He’s the fifth starter this year at running back.

“I thought we obviously had some good things in the ball game. I thought out special teams, punt and punt return both played really well. Our returner out-returned their guy and we out-covered them. We had a 51-yard return on a punt, which their guy certainly is a scary and has had some big plays but I thought we played well in those areas. (K) Randy Bullock has hit (11) straight field goals now. He had a rough spot for a while. He is a young player but he seems to be coming through accuracy-wise, over and over. And (Ryan) Griffin played good again, as far as a tight end being a target in the passing game. You don’t see it too much, but the last two weeks, I thought (RB) Brandon Brooks has really been a good football player. He’s really come on. He’s learned to play fast. He’s dominating some players up front. So I was glad to see him do that. And we fought tooth-and-nail defensively. We had a lot of pass breakups. Of course, you have an opportunity when they throw it 51 times. We had opportunities for interceptions, a couple of them for touchdowns but we didn’t make those and that’s pretty much the story of the game, that they made the plays and we didn’t.”

(on QB Case Keenum’s status for Sunday’s game) “We don’t know yet. We will practice tomorrow and we will see where Case (Keenum) is. We don’t know yet. He’s been rehabbing and been in a splint for a whole week, so we’ll see how he is.”

(on if he has decided who will start at quarterback Sunday against Tennessee) “It’s like I said, Case (Keenum), we don’t know what his situation is so we’ll have to wait and see.”

(on if he’ll consider starting QB T.J. Yates or go back to QB Matt Schaub if QB Case Keenum is not ready to play) “We’re going to look at all of that and see what the situation is for sure as far as injuries are concerned. I think that’s what we’ll do.”

(on if he was bothered by Denver going for touchdowns late in last Sunday’s game) “No. It didn’t bother me. We were in a defense that we felt like they were going to try to run the ball and run time off the clock and get the game over and they threw it. You’ve got to stop those plays. But (Peyton Manning) set the record against us and he’ll set the record next week if he plays, I can tell you that. We won’t be the last team he set the record against if they play him this next week.”

(on if he will bring in more running backs with all the injuries at the position) “Obviously with (Deji) Karim out, we’ll have to get somebody in, out for sure. And then Dennis Johnson obviously hurt. Like I said, we’re down to one and he’s only been here a week. ‘Yes’ would be the answer to that.”

(on if he’s seen any “quit” in the players) “No, like I said, I thought they played tremendously hard. We had opportunities we didn’t take advantage of. Any time you’re in a ball game at the half time against maybe the best team in football and you come out and four straight series you stop them three-and-out, we stop them three-and-out. I mean, we had a lot of momentum going for us in that ball game and we were playing tremendously hard and really, tremendously well at that point. I thought we did get our dobber down a little bit when we got behind there at the end but I still think they were trying hard.”

(on Denver’s second touchdown in the fourth quarter) “Let me say something about the touchdowns, too. I didn’t realize this year that there’s a new rule that if you can juggle the ball all the way through the end zone that it’s a touchdown. But I guess we’ve got a new rule there, along with pass interference. I think there’s an arm bar and then there’s grabbing a guy when he’s catching a ball and evidently, there’s one where the ball is thrown over his head and nobody touches him and it’s pass interference. There’s a couple new things that I’ve learned since being a head coach.”

(on if it’s harder to come back from a deficit in a game this late in the season with the weight of a losing streak already there) “Mental attitude, certainly. It’s mental toughness when it comes down to that. I think everybody knew that we were in the game. I felt like we could come back even though we got down 10 but we didn’t do that. It’s hard to say with the players overall. I still think they were playing hard. We just didn’t move the ball and gave it back to them quickly. And then they had a 28-yard touchdown and then they had a pass interference that was a 27-yard drive. So they had a 28- and a 27-yard drive and then obviously they threw one for a touchdown.”

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