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Quotes: Wednesday practice

Posted Dec 18, 2013

Interim Head Coach Wade Phillips
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
RB Jonathan Grimes
WR Andre Johnson
CB Johnathan Joseph
QB Matt Schaub
DE Antonio Smith
S D.J. Swearinger

Denver Broncos Head Coach John Fox
Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning


Interim Head Coach Wade Phillips
(opening statement) “Unfortunately, I have to go over injuries again. Ben Tate has a cracked rib. Therefore, this is his fifth one. So we had to put him on injured reserve. He’s not going to be able to play the rest of the year. We brought in Jonathan Grimes to take his place. And then the quarterback situation, Case (Keenum), his right thumb has some ligament problem that he has to be in a splint all week, so he will not be able to play this week either. So Matt (Schaub) will be starting at quarterback. Our team’s 100 percent behind him. I know our real fans are going to be cheering for our team and also for him because he’s had a rough year like all of us, but he’s determined to come out and play well. We’re going to support him. We have a lot of other injuries. Some of them I named the other day, but Garrett Graham’s about the same as he was last week. We saw some progress early in the week, but he’s similar as he was last week. We had some guys that didn’t practice, Greg Jones, but he’ll practice tomorrow. Andre Johnson, we’re resting him. Johnathan Joseph has a slight groin (injury), but he will be able to practice tomorrow. (Darryl) Sharpton, same thing, he had an ankle (injury), but he’ll be able to practice tomorrow. Antonio Smith will be able to practice four  tomorrow. He had a new strain. And then Wade Smith is normally out on Wednesdays. He’ll practice tomorrow. (Justin) Tuggle was limited with his elbow and he’ll be limited all week, but he should be able to play. Also, Brad Smelley has some low-back soreness that’s still aggravating him. He was our second tight end and just came in last week. He was our second tight end. So concerned about him also being able to play this week.”

(on if QB T.J. Yates will back up QB Matt Schaub) “Correct, yeah.”

(on anything new on TE Owen Daniels’ status) “No, nothing new on Owen Daniels.”

(on if RB Ben Tate’s fifth cracked rib was a surprise) “Well, you hope they don’t get it again. We had it protected, certainly. The concern really was is it’s on the same side, too. Ben said himself, had it been on the other side, he probably would have tried to shoot it up on the end side. But now he’s had five on one side, I think it’s time to make sure he’s -- worry about his health first.”

(on his thoughts on RB Ben Tate playing through his injury up until now) “Yeah, I‘ve said all along that I thought he was a really tough son of a gun. A lot of guys won’t get shot up for anything. A cracked rib is a problem, but it’s not something that that it could be too serious as far as his overall health. But once you get it multiple times, I think you’ve got to shut him down.”

(on who will start at running back) “Well, DJ (Dennis Johnson) has been our back up guy. He’ll start. Deji (Karim) is also there. (Jonathan) Grimes will be the third guy. So we have three running backs available.”

(on how prepared QB Matt Schaub is to resume the starting role) “That’s the thing about Matt, is he’s been preparing every week. The last eight weeks, he played a little bit in a couple of games. Matt’s a true professional. He works at his craft and, even though he’s been the backup guy, he goes through the same meetings. And he practiced some. Case (Keenum) didn’t take every snap. He still practiced some because he was the second quarterback. I feel alright that way.”

(on if he’s concerned about the fan reception for QB Matt Schaub this week) “I’m not worried about that because I know a majority of our fans are with us no matter what and they’ve stuck through no matter what. We appreciate them. This is our last home game, so we need a lot of support and I think we’ll get it.”

(on how much it will help QB Matt Schaub to transition back to being the starter) “I told him, ‘Fresh arm and fresh leg.’ Like I’ve said, he’s a consummate professional. We know Matt. We know he’ll work hard at what he does and he’s going to give us his best effort. And we’re going to support him.”

(on when QB Case Keenum was hurt in last week’s game) “He got hurt, basically I think the last time he got sacked, he fell on his, they wrapped him up and he fell on his thumb. Stretched or whatever with the ligament. He couldn’t grip the football yesterday. I’m not a great coach, but I can figure out he can’t play quarterback.”

(on QB Case Keenum being in a splint this week) “Yeah, he’s going to be in a splint this week. We don’t know from there.”

(on any thought about starting QB T.J. Yates this week) “Well, Matt (Schaub’s) been working the whole time. Like I said, he’s had all the practice. And we have complete confidence in Matt, anyway. But he’s been the backup quarterback in all of these games. He’s more ready to play that way.”

(on if he needs to talk to QB Matt Schaub about how he might be received by fans) “I’ll talk to him, but he’s a smart guy. Like I said, I think it’ll be different than what some people might think. I think he’ll get a good reception because we’ve gone through some tough times, and I know we’ve lost a lot games, but I still get a lot of tweets that say, ‘Hey, we’re still behind you guys.’ And we appreciate those fans and those are the guys that pay for the tickets and come to the games. I think it’s a big game for us. This is an opportunity for us to change some things that have happened previously and feel good about ourselves. And our fans, we expect them and hope they will help us.”

(on what Broncos QB Peyton Manning is doing better now at his age) “Yeah, I don’t know. (John) Elway at the end of his career was pretty prolific and maybe that’s why John spear-headed to get him. At that point in your career, you know almost everything, the great ones I’m talking about. And they can still do the mechanics and so forth, they’re able to produce wins. That’s what they’ve done.”

(on teams writing off Broncos QB Peyton Manning two years ago before he signed with them and how he felt about him at that time) “I told him to go get him. But no, you know, I know the family. We played against Archie (Manning) when I was in college. We broke his arm. I think he’s still mad at me. But yeah, at Ole Miss. But no, we’ve been close to the family for a long time. They’re a great family. Obviously, three great quarterbacks in it and Peyton is the highlight of that right now.”

(on how much staying in a splint this week will help QB Case Keenum) “Well, it’s still in the air. But they feel like if he can stay in the splint this week, that that will help him a whole lot”

(on if QB Case Keenum could play next week) “Potentially, yes.”

(on the 28 penalties the team has had the last two weeks being more of a problem)
“Yeah, it hasn’t been. And obviously, we still have the officials out there (at practice). I’m harping on it with the coaches in the meetings to just over-emphasize anything that we see that might be a penalty. The players will hear that from our coaches today, but it’s an inordinate amount of penalties, certainly. I do know that the most penalized team in the league is Seattle who has the best record in the league and I know the Broncos are exactly tied with us as far as number of penalties. So you can overcome penalties. There are some things that you don’t overcome well and can’t win by having too many penalties. But those two teams certainly tell you that you can win even though you had penalties.”

(on if he had to put anybody in ‘timeout’ today at practice)
“We were pretty sharp today overall. We had one offside penalty on the scout team, one illegal procedure on the scout team. But we go back and look at the tape with the players and, if there’s any holding, you know we have to call them ourselves too. If there’s any illegal chuck, all the things that we’re emphasizing, our coaches are doing that in the meetings right now. Like I say, I over-emphasized that today because I want our players to know we can’t have those things.”

Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
(on being thrown another curve this season with the injury to QB Case Keenum)
“Yeah, but that’s the way the game is. It’s the NFL. Things change, but we’ll work. We’ll do our job. Work as hard as we can. We’ve got to win a ballgame.”

(on how QB Matt Schaub reacted to the news that he was starting)
“Well, I haven’t talked to him personally about it, but he was no different today in practice than he’s been the entire year, and my entire stay here. He’s always been sharp, and on task, and asking questions and helping out. Today was no different. He just got the bulk of the reps on offense as he’s done before.”

(on if the injury to QB Case Keenum changes the strategy coming into this weekend)
“Not really. We had a couple wrinkles for Case (Keenum), but the bulk of what we do is our offense. We’re not going to change. We had some aspects that we were going to change no matter who was at quarterback, just based on how we played the other day. Try to make things a little bit easier; get our players in the right position to play. That was really no different based on who the quarterback was.

(on if making the play caller easier for QB Case Keenum will change now that QB Matt Schaub is starting)
“Well, for Case (Keenum) it was one thing, but we also have a young set of running backs, we have some receivers that are going to get more playing time, so it’s not just the quarterback making the call. It’s everybody else understanding what to do. Certainly, Matt (Schaub) can handle any load we want to get to him. His abilities will not be tested in that manner, but I think we’ll make sure everybody is in the right place. That’s our biggest issue is making sure we’re going out there and playing fast.”

(on the growth of RB Dennis Johnson since training camp)
“You know what, he certainly has some talent. He held onto the ball, and that was the biggest thing for us in training camp. He had some struggles with the ball, and ball control, and security of the ball. I think he’s really focused on that. He certainly has never shied away from contact as far as pass protection. He’s always done that very well. That’s been a quick refresher course at him the last couple weeks, as far as what to do. The first week he certainly got back here he had some issues with that, but now I think he’s on task. But each week is a new set of protections; it’s a new set of defenses he has to look at, so I think he’s really on task. He’s working hard at it. Went around the horn, but to answer your questions he’s progressing just as fast as we thought we would. We just need him to have to grow really fast right now.”

(on if he will need to talk to QB Matt Schaub about the possible reception he will receive from the crowd)
“I don’t feel the need to talk to Matt (Schaub) about that. I think he understands his situation, and we’re just looking forward to playing our last home game, and being in front of our home crowd. It’s a lot easier at home than it is on the road. Certainly, that’s what we’re hoping for.”

(on QB Matt Schaub’s performance last season against Denver)
“Well having looked at the tape several times already this week, he did a great job in play-action early. We did well until we gave the ball back to them one too many times, and obviously the quarterback on the other side is a very good player. He made us pay for that. We finished the game out strong though. Their personnel has changed a little bit with that. They’re doing relatively the same thing, but we have to really match what we have, and what we can do with their personnel. Again, we’re not going to get too far out of the box, because we’re going to do what we do the best.”

RB Jonathan Grimes
(on what he was doing before the Texans signed him) “This was the first team that gave me my first shot. Bounced around a little bit and then I was let go by the Jags. In the beginning of the season, I just trained at home and worked out, and just stayed ready for an opportunity.”

(on if he ever thought a team would call to sign him) “It’s hard to tell. It’s not anything I could predict. It was just stay ready for whatever.”

(on how nice it is to be back with the first team that gave him a chance in the NFL) “It’s very nice. (I’m) familiar with the area now a little bit and the team, a lot of the guys are still here. So it’s kind of the same feel and it’s good to be back.”

(on his reaction when he received the call that the Texans would be signing him) “I was just happy. I was like, ‘Man, this is great, another opportunity.’ I just want to leave a good mark this year and go on from there.”

WR Andre Johnson
(on being one catch shy of tying WR Wes Welker for the all-time record of five 100-reception seasons) “It’s pretty good. Yeah, like I said before, I don’t think you really realize it until you’re probably finished playing, and you look over your career, and you just see some of the things that you accomplished as a player. I think that’s when you really realize it. I think as long as you’re still playing you don’t really get caught up into it too much.”

(on how he’s been able to get these kinds of numbers for so long without always being on teams that have been very good) “Just working. Just working at my game, and just trying to get better every time I’m out on the field. It’s working out for me. I’m doing something right. I’ve been able to play at a level for a long time. I’m going to keep doing it until I can’t no more.”

(on QB Matt Schaub being back at starting quarterback) “I’ve said it before, I feel comfortable with every quarterback we have. I think Matt will go out and do a great job for us this week. I know he’s excited about it. He looked good out in practice today.”

(on if he’s excited about QB Matt Schaub getting a chance to redeem himself for earlier in the year) “Yeah. You hate to see anybody go through that. He went through a tough stretch there. You want to see somebody get a second chance and redeem themselves. He has his chance this week, going against a very good football team. We’ll see what happens.”

(on if it amazes him how some of the fans have turned on QB Matt Schaub this year) “They’re fans. They’re going to do what they want. It’s out of your control. All you can do is control your play on the field. That’s pretty much it. I don’t really care about how the fans react or whatever, because some of them react certain ways and don’t really understand what’s going on. You do try to give them something good to cheer about when you’re out there. Even sometimes, like I said, before there was a time in the game when they should have been quiet and they were still cheering. Some of the fans don’t understand certain situations in the game and things like that. They’re entitled to their own opinions to do what they want. They buy their tickets and fans are entitled to do whatever they want. They can cheer or boo. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens Sunday.”

(on how big of a blow it is to see the injuries continuing to mount) “Ben (Tate) has been playing with an injury for a while, so I mean it happens. It’s part of the game. You just have to have other guys step up. You hate to see him go through that, but it’s part of it. Injuries are going to happen. You just have to keep pushing forward.”

(on what it says about RB Ben Tate to continue playing with the injuries he has) “Guys want to win. When guys want to win, guys go to the extreme. You know, play through injuries, and do whatever they need to do to be out there on the field on Sundays, and play for each other. That was big to him. I don’t think most guys would have done it. Especially with the situation we’re in as a team knowing you’re not going to make the playoffs and saying that games don’t count and things like that. That was big on his part.”

(on what this team did well last year against Denver) “We just went out and made plays. Hit some big plays against them. We went out and executed our offense, and I think we just played well as a group; offense, defense and special team. That was pretty much it.”

(on what stands out about the Broncos’ defense this year) “They have a lot of good players; have a great pass rush, and they’re good as a whole. They’re good as a group. They play very consistent as a group. It’ll be a big test for us.”

(on how the passing game was able to get vertical against the Broncos last year) “I don’t know. We’ll have to see on Sunday. Against any team you see at times, where teams are able to get the ball down the field and things like that. You just have to take your shots when you think they’re there, and sometimes they work out; sometimes they don’t.”

(on how tough it is to stay patient with the struggles they’ve had this year) “It gets frustrating, but it’s part of the process. Like I said before, I don’t think anybody saw this coming; the way this season has gone. It is what it is. You have to deal with it and just keep going.”

CB Johnathan Joseph
(on what he thinks about Peyton Manning) “Same player. Look over the years, putting up the same numbers, challenging for the records this year. It’s the same guy. Can put the ball all over the field in every spot, get everybody lined up. It’s a tough task.”

(on if you can figure Peyton Manning out more the more you face him) “He keeps evolving. I think it doesn’t overwhelm you as much, just facing him before; last year and things like that. Anytime you have him at the quarterback position it’s going to be a challenge just because the knowledge he has about the game of football, and getting the balls in the right spot; checking into a run play, screening versus the blitz. So it’s just different things that he can do throughout the game to hurt you.”

(on how versatile the Denver offense is) “They’re real. They’ve got a couple running backs they use, tight ends, plenty of wide receivers that they throw the ball to. So, from a skill standpoint they’re loaded across the board.”

(on if there is one target on the team that they focus on to make sure that they stop) “Not one in particular, because he does a good job of keeping you off pace and things like that, making you cover the whole field, so you just can’t single in on one guy. I think he does a good job from that standpoint.”

(on what he can take away from the success they had in last year’s game) “Just making them work for everything that they get. Obviously its football, they get paid. They’ve got players over there as well so they’re going to make some plays, but for us we just have to make them work for everything that they get, and don’t give up the big play, and don’t give them cheap plays and things like that.”

QB Matt Schaub
(on starting Sunday) “I’m excited to get back out there with my teammates. You know, go out there and cut it loose, and end these last two weeks on a good note.”

(on if he looks at this as a chance to redeem himself) “Yeah absolutely. That’s what we do every week good, bad, or indifferent. You have to go out there and prove yourself, and go out there and cut it loose. So I’m looking forward to getting out there and getting in the huddle.”

(on if he’s apprehensive about the fan reaction) “Not at all. I’m just looking forward to going out there and having fun with my teammates.”

(on going against Broncos’ QB Peyton Manning) “It’s going to be fun. It gets you going every time you go against him. We played last year and played a hard fought game so I’m looking forward to it.”

(on if it is easier because he has been there and done that to just step in and play this week after not playing) “Yeah, you just get back in the groove with the guys on the practice field. I haven’t really worked too much with them as of late, so it will be good to just get back going. I’m looking forward to it.”

(on what he did so well in last season’s game against the Broncos) “We just made some big plays. We came out throwing. We had some good plays in the running game, but our guys protected against a very good pass rush, and made some big plays. We’ve got to go find a way to do that again.”

(on if he’s thankful to have a chance after everything that has happened this year) “I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to go out and play and get out there with my teammates.”

(on what stands out about the Denver defense) “Their speed and athleticism. They have a great pass rush. They play a lot of guys in the secondary at linebacker. They disguise a lot of looks, and they make plays. So far this years they’ve played in a lot of games with leads, and they kind of make teams one dimensional. They can get after you from that standpoint, so we just have to remain balanced, and play our game, but go out and make the plays.”

(on if he marvels over the season Peyton Manning is having at 37) “I think anybody does, not just me. I think the whole world, you know coming back from what he came back, all the neck surgeries, and the year he had last year; coming off that, and then to come back this year and continue to do it. It’s just impressive to watch him play.”

(on if Peyton Manning is an inspiration because he had his career changed by the injury) “He’s been kind of; him and a couple guys in the game now that are kind of the gold standard of quarterback play. As a football team we’ve got to get ready to go play 60 minutes and we’re looking forward to that opportunity.”

(on what RB Ben Tate has been able to do with the injuries he sustained) “Yeah, some of the games he’s played with those ribs, it’s inspirational as a teammate to watch him go out and give it up for the guys in the huddle, and the guys in this locker room. My hat’s off to him to watch him perform with all those ribs. It’s unfortunate to see it end this way, but I tell you what, it was something special to watch him go out and play and how he played.”

(on WR Andre Johnson being one catch away from his fifth 100 reception season) “It’s special to watch him every day work, and go out game in and game out; year in and year out, and continue to produce. I’m just thankful that I’ve been able to be a small part of that, so I’m looking forward to giving him that 100th catch of this season, and helping him get there.”

(on all the penalties the team has committed the past few games) “Yeah it’s just something we have to clean up, especially a lot of the pre-snap ones. We can’t have those procedural penalties on offense or defense. It puts us in long yardage situations offensively and defensively it created some first downs for the opposing team. We got to clean those up. Those are just mental things. The physical mistakes in penalties you can kind of overcome, and you can live with them, but it’s those mental ones that we got to eliminate.”

(on why he has been successful in the hurry-up offense) “I’m just comfortable in it. I think the guys respond well. You just get going when you get in a rhythm. You’re not huddling, taking 30 second rests in between each play. You just go. Your mind just clears, and you just go out and play ball. I think that’s something that our offense responds well to.”

(on his ability to read and pick up the blitz) “I think it’s just experience. I think just the times they have thrown it out there that I’ve been in the game you see them, and you make plays. Even if it’s a 6-yard completion, that kind of demoralizes a defense, when they know they’ve busted your protection, but you throw a hot route and you make a play. If it’s a big play, if you break a tackle, then it’s a huge gain. Defenses try to play it safe a little bit, after they might get burnt once or twice.”

(on how comfortable they feel as an offense with RB Dennis Johnson) “We’re very comfortable. He’s shown that he can run the football and runs hard. One thing I like about him is he’s always falling forward. When you see a running back always getting that extra yard or extra half yard, that counts; that adds up.”

(on if he draws positive experiences after not getting the results he liked in his two games he entered in relief effort but playing pretty loose) “Yeah you do, but ultimately you want to come in and get the job done. We had chances to make plays, and to put points on the board in order to win those games. It’s tough from that standpoint, but the way we were able to move the football, and create some opportunities, yeah, you take some positives from it, but ultimately it comes down to winning.”

(on if it’s easier to be a starting “pitcher” in this game than a reliever) “Yeah that’s the idea. You want to go out and you want to be out there with your teammates.”

DE Antonio Smith
(on his favorite Peyton Manning memory) “One of the times I’ve sacked him I guess. One of them would be my favorite memory.”

(on what it’s like lining up against Peyton Manning with all his pre-snap reads) “It’s fun. I enjoy it every time I play against him. Like I said, it makes you raise your game to another level, and I like playing against the greatest. It’s fun to me.”

(on what it’s like trying to sort out the different reads and calls that Peyton Manning makes) “As a defensive lineman, unless you’re trying to cheat, which I did in years past, it really doesn’t bother you. If you’re trying to get a key on him to know if it’s pass or run, or when you can tee off the ball, and things like that, in some years past I paid a lot of attention to it, and he’ll catch you ever now and then, because he switches it at halftime; sometimes he’ll just switch it in the middle of the game, so after a while I just really stopped paying attention to a lot of it, because some of it is dummy calls, or other calls they mean things, but he can also change the meaning of them, so it can kind of keep you off your toes.”

(on how frustrating Peyton Manning’s release and pocket pressure is and him being able to avoid pressure) “That’s always frustrating for a defensive lineman man, because you work so hard to beat an offensive lineman, and you get right there to him, and he gets rid of the ball.”

(on if you have to be ready for a chess match going against Peyton Manning) “Definitely. You have to be ready for a chess match. But more than worrying about what he’s going to do, if you just play relentless and get in his face, it’ll do more damage than you trying to figure out everything that he’s doing, because even if you know what he’s doing, he still has the ability to make plays with his arm. You can be on a guy; he can still put it right there in his chest where you can’t defend a pass and things like that, so my job is to get in his face and disrupt him as much as I can.”

(on if he thought he had seen the last of Peyton Manning after he sat out the entire season two years ago) “I was definitely surprised. I thought with the way they were going about it, it was going to be probably the end of his career. The big deal that they made about it, I was kind of skeptical about him coming back, because I thought maybe he might get hurt, and it affects him with his life after football, but obviously he knew his body better than anybody else, and its doing just fine.”


S D.J. Swearinger
(on going up against Broncos QB Peyton Manning and where that ranks to him) “An all-time high. That’s something I’ve been waiting on. I’m ready to play against Peyton. Been studying, already been studying a lot on him and just ready for Sunday.”

(on how much extra studying you have to do for a guy like Broncos QB Peyton Manning) “Like I said, I’ve already been doing a lot of studying, more than I usually do at this point of the week. I’ve been studying extra hard and I’m going to keep studying hard because he’s a Hall of Famer. Peyton Manning is Peyton Manning. So I’m going to need to be on my A-plus game.”

(on what stands out about Broncos QB Peyton Manning) “The way he handles his offense. He’s the commander, he’s the play caller and he does his thing. We’ve just got to step our game up and switch up our looks and give him different looks, and be able to play games with him.”

(on how much he thinks he’s developed under Defensive Backs Coach Vance Joseph) “I’ve developed a lot. Coach (Joseph) has taught me a whole lot and I’m continuing to learn. Just trying to just be a sponge and take all of the knowledge I can. Hopefully, just keep getting better for him.”

Denver Broncos Head Coach John Fox Conference Call
(on how he feels about where the team is right now with what’s ahead) “I think the good news about Sunday to Thursday is you’re pretty hard-pressed on the front end, but you get the mini bye on the back end. Yeah, I think it came at a good time for our football team. We had a third quarter. We had my incident. So we had a pretty emotional four- to five-week span there. We just didn’t have our best stuff Thursday. It’s not an excuse, just kind of what’s on the tape and what happened. We got a chance to give the players Saturday and Sunday off. They’re well-rested and came into work Monday. Gave them Tuesday off and had an excellent, excellent practice today. Time will tell. You get 16 opportunities in this league and we’re on 15 going into Houston. (It’s a) tough place to play, great fans, some very, very good players, a lot of them we had at the Pro Bowl. So we’re aware of some of the talent. They’ve had close losses throughout the season. They’re a very capable football team.”

(on how he explains QB Peyton Manning playing as well as ever at his game) “I just walked down the hall and I looked at John Elway. I know he won his two Super Bowls late in his career. I it’s remarkable what he’s accomplished really in the past two years. I thought last year was incredible and historic as far as four neck surgeries and six months earlier not even being able to throw a football. He had great development a year ago. This year, he started where he left off. I think that’s why he’s physically had a pretty incredible year thus far.”

(on what is something that has surprised him about QB Peyton Manning) “I think you hear about his preparation, you hear about his work ethic, you hear about his leadership skills in the locker room. But until you see it firsthand, it’s pretty remarkable. The guy might be the best time management person I’ve ever been around, not just football. The guy’s a tireless worker in every stage of preparation. I’ve been blessed to be around some great players, but I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anybody quite like him.”

(on how he feels about his defense right now) “Well, I think we look to improve every day. Hopefully, that translate to improving every week. Really, that’s all three phases, offensively, defensively and special teams. We’re kind of a small focus group around here and just try to take it one day at a time, and do everything we can to put ourselves into position to win on game days.”

(on his thoughts on facing QB Matt Schaub this week) “We had him at the Pro Bowl. He had a Pro Bowl season and usually you’ve got to do that to end up there. So, very capable. Haven’t seen as much of him on tape. We’ll obviously go back and study him a little more form earlier in the season. He came in here and beat us last year. We know his capabilities and know his talent level.”

(on coaching the Texans nine Pro Bowl players last year and if he’s surprised by what’s happened to the Texans this season) “I think they have all nine active right now. That’s part of this league, unfortunately I think, if you’re in it long enough. I’ve known Wade (Phillips) for many years and I’ve been around this thing a bit myself. And you have those kind of situations. It’s not easy. I know it’s tough. When you turn on the tape, you still see the likes of J.J. Watt in there and Antonio (Smith) wrecking offense’s interiors. Those will be guys that I know have stood out in a big way without looking at tape. Andre Johnson’s still leading the league in receptions. You put a veteran back in there like Matt (Schaub) and who knows. I’ve been around this too long that we’re going to have to bring our A game there to Houston.”

(on an update on WR Wes Welker) “Yeah, he did not participate today. He’s still listed as his injury is concussion and he’s day-to-day.”

(on if WR Wes Welker is doing any work on the side of practice) “Right now, he’s with the training staff. The biggest thing with his is we just want to make sure he’s healthy. When they give us the go ahead, we’ll have him out here. Right now, our biggest concern is Wes’ health. When he’s available, he’ll be available.”

(on his thoughts on DE J.J. Watt and what makes him special) “He’s just an incredible young man. Like I said, he’s one of the guys I got to spend some time off the field with there in Honolulu. His length and his athleticism and his motor, they don’t come along very often. He’s a tremendous guy, tremendous teammate, tremendous talent. And I was only with him for a week. I’ve seen plenty of tape on him. He’s one of the more impressive guys in the league.”

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning
(on if he feels like he’s playing as well as he’s ever played) “When you’re in the middle of the season, I really don’t look much past the game we just played and the practice week coming up. I really feel I’m in the second chapter of my football career. Any comparison that I make may go back to last year. Obviously, I have a little more comfort with my surroundings, the coaches, the culture, my teammates. We still have quite a bit of newness this year with a new offensive coordinator and new receiver, new center. I’ve really stopped making comparisons really to before I was injured and then before I got to Denver.”

(on if it’s worked out better than he thought or like he thought when he got to Denver) “I really had no idea what to expect. As you know, I was so very embedded there in Indianapolis and certainly other players have been injured and have gone on to play with other teams. It just had never happened to me. So I really did not know what to expect, how I would feel, how I would be received, and just the unpredictable of my injury. It just added a lot to it. I certainly feel more comfortable than last year. It’s only my second year in this new place so there’s still plenty of newness.”

(on if he’s surprised by  what’s happened to the Texans this year considering what happened to them last year when the two teams played) “Well, obviously I’m still getting to know them on film. There’s a lot of film to see. Like I said, that’s really where I don’t really, I go back that far last year, as far as there’s new players. We’re a new team. They have some new players due to some injuries or what not. I’m really trying to study the players they have now. They’ve had 10 games that have been one touchdown or less. All I know is we’re facing a good defense. That’s what I know.”

(on if he feels any empathy for what QB Matt Schaub’s gone through this year) “I think quarterbacks is a pretty unique fraternity. I’ve always pulled for quarterbacks. Obviously, when you’re playing against a team, you’re not pulling for them on that particular day. But I think it’s a unique fraternity. Matt’s (Schaub) an excellent quarterback. I think he’ll be fine.”

(on when he was a free agent two years ago and if Houston was ever an option) “Certainly, I was kind of wide open to the whole process. This all happened so fast. When you make a change and I certainly felt certain teams wanting to know an answer quickly. Free agency was nearing kind of toward the end as far as there were certain players that teams were interested in signing and they wanted kind of an answer as to what I know. I certainly felt that. Like I said, I was kind of curious as to what teams were interested in me. Once I kind of found those teams out, those are the kind of teams that I ended up talking to.”

(on if the Texans ever reached out to him two years ago) “They did not.”

(on DE J.J. Watt) “It’s hard to probably do him justice in a short interview. He has an unbelievable motor, a great talent and a disruptive player.”

(on the main reason he’s still having so much success at his age) “Like I said, it’s hard for me to kind of give that summary of kind of this season right in the middle of it. But I’ve certainly put a lot of time and effort into trying to be the best quarterback I can be. I’ve received a lot of help. I’ve had coaches that have coached me coached me hard, coached me every day to be better. Certainly, I’ve had trainers and strength coaches that have helped me in my rehab. I’ve had teammates who like to come to work every day and you’ve got to have teammates who are going to help work with you in a team sport. I certainly appreciate a lot of people helping me.”

(on what bothered him the most about the way they played last week against San Diego) “We lost the game. That always bothers you.”

(on how he felt when New England lost last week and the fact they control their destiny still) “Like I said, I’ve been more concerned with our team and trying to have a good week of practice. We hope to have some guys back. All teams are dealing with injuries. Hopefully, we can get a few guys back and have a good week of practice this week. That’s kind of where our focus is.”

(on how to make sure they don’t take the Texans lightly) “I think our team has a good drive of preparing the same for every opponent. We’ve got a tough game on the road. That’s where our focus is and our team’s done a good job of that all season I think.”

(on if he’s had time to think about maybe breaking the passing touchdown record in a season and winning the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, and if that kind of stuff is important to him) “You really don’t have time to think about it when you’re in the middle of a football season and trying to get ready for new opponents and different players that you haven’t seen before. Every week, we’re still learning new plays that we may be putting in. You’re always working on timing with some new receivers, maybe some guys haven’t played as much, like Andre Caldwell and Jacob Tamme. We’ve got some young running backs and so that’s plenty on your plate each week to keep you focus on trying to get your team ready to play and trying to win a good game.”

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