Coach Gary Kubiak didn't like the tempo of Wednesday's morning practice, but he was impressed with the play of cornerback Jamar Fletcher, who could be the biggest surprise in camp this year.
Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on today's practice) "It was good. We had a lot of situations we had to cover. As you get closer to game time, there's so many things as a coach that you've got to get covered - situations, organizations, sidelines. We took some time this morning to do that. That slows practice down usually, and that's my fault from a tempo standpoint. But we got it done and we'll settle down here and do a little Denver stuff here the rest of the week."
(on how LB DeMeco Ryans and the linebackers lead the way) "There's no doubt. He's the leader of the defensive football team and he's one of the big leaders on our football team. I think we all know that. He and Morlon (Greenwood) have been mainstays, and I think for the first time that they sense some good help around them. We're more athletic at that position. I don't know what's going to happen, but they're bringing Zac Diles along. The thing that I'm excited about is I think our linebackers could be even better for us on special teams this year than they've done in that past."
(on CB Antwaun Molden's situation) "You know what? He's got a hip/groin tightness. He probably could have gone yesterday, but we held him. I told Kevin (Bastin, head athletic trainer) to let's just hold him this morning. I'm hoping he's back out here this afternoon, maybe start with him on the turf. He's fine; he's going to be fine. My goal is to make sure he plays this weekend, so I'm going to do what I have to do to rest him up."
(on CB Jamar Fletcher and CB DeMarcus Faggins having a good practice) "They really have. (Jamar) Fletcher has had a surprising camp in my opinion. He has comeback a real pro and ready to go. He's earning his way on this football team right now. (DeMarcus Faggins) has been back now for about three practices and seems to be OK health wise. It's going to be some tough calls so those guys are going to have to play a lot, probably more than they have ever played in the career in the preseason as veterans. It's a tough group to make so they've got to step up and do it."
(on CB Jamar Fletcher's surprise camp) "I just think he was disappointed last year. He made our team and he was playing a little bit early for the team. Kind of got to a situation where he didn't suit up some. I know he got upset, which you should if you're a player. That should bother you. He was not a big part of what we were doing late in the season. A lot of guys can go south in those type of situations. But what he did was rededicate himself, get his mind right, and he's had an excellent camp."
(on what CB Jamar Fletcher's performance on the field) "He's just making plays. Fletcher knows what he's doing. He's a real pro but he's making more plays on the ball. He's finding ways to get his hands on the ball and playing a lot of spots too."
(on CB Jamar Fletcher's possible future on the starting lineup) "I think he's making a heck of a push. Right now in nickel he would go inside there if Fred (Bennet) had to stay outside and do a heck of a job. You're going to play three, four, or five cornerbacks on any given game day. You can list two starters but hell, those guys play. So he's pushing to get a lot of playing time."
(on how WR André Davis is doing in camp) "He's done good. He's done really good. I mean he's a very consistent player. We're playing him in a lot of different spots because of Andre (Johnson) being out, but he's everything we thought he was last year and I think he's getting even better."
(on S Will Demps) "He bounced around the league a little bit. We were fortunate to get him. He had elbow problems last year; he played through that. What a very solid guy for us as a player from the standpoint of leadership on the back end. I think he's taken another step forward. Our guys really look up to him and he's having a good camp."
(on WR Andre Johnson) "He's better. I would say if we were playing a regular season game this week we'd be pushing him. And I think it would be close whether or not he could play. Since we're in the situation we're in, in preseason, we'll be extra cautious with him. He's conditioning with Kevin (Bastin) right now and hopefully we get him back to work next week."
(on if WR Andre Johnson will play this week) "As of right now we think there'll be a very slim chance that he'll play."
(on the Denver rivalry) "You got me on that one. Teams are teams whoever you play. Just get to see some old friends, guys you work with for a long time. But yeah, I would say three years later I have moved on. We've got a lot of things to worry about. It just so happens that we're playing some buddies this weekend."
(on who will start this weekend) "No, we're going to talk about it tonight. Historically, your starters are going to play up to a quarter, and then you're going to work with your twos in periods two and three, and look at all of your young players in period four. Historically, that's what we do. We'll get up there and talk about it. But I think our team is in a situation where we've got some young players that are starters that to we need to play more than the typical first 15 plays. So we've got to go decide who those guys are."
(on alternate punt returners besides WR Jacoby Jones) "I'm just trusting (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano) big time on that. He thinks that the (Steve) Slaton kid has got a chance to do it. He continues to work with him. We know Dexter Wynn can do it. We know David Anderson can go back there and do it. We're going to give this young kid a chance. We would like to see André Davis do it too. Hopefully in a game, we get all of them to touch one. We'll see what happens."
(on RB Ahman Green) "Oh, he's doing great. He's had a really good camp. He's been exceptional, working. We've been able to give him a break in the afternoons. Looks like he's getting ready for a big one and I think all of us know we need a big one out of him."
(on RB Ahman Green's knee) "He's been fine. One day he had soreness and actually it was that first Saturday and I walked over to him and said, 'You think you need a break?' and he said, 'No, I need to work through this.' So that was a good sign and he had a great practice."
(on QB Sage Rosenfels) "He's done well. I think this morning our quarterbacks probably did not have one of their better practices. When your quarterbacks don't practice well, your team doesn't practice well. But they've both been consistent. They understand what we're doing. They handle situations well. Sage is a real pro. He's doing fine."
(on how QB Sage Rosenfels is handling all the talk of trade) "That hasn't been a problem at all. He's a pro. He knows he's got a job to do. When stuff like that lingers it's probably going to affect your performance but nothing ever affected him. His teammates know he's ready to go and I expect him to play really well in the preseason."
(on if assistant head coach/offense Alex Gibbs has changed at all) "He's the same guy. He's just very passionate about his job and has interesting ways of getting results out of players. And he's fun to watch, not only on the field but in the classroom. And it has been very good for (offensive line coach) John Benton and (senior defensive assistant) Frank Bush also. Just a very positive move for us and we're very fortunate to have him."
T Duane Brown(on what his facial hair is usually like) "It is a full goatee with sideburns."
(on what it feels like without the chin part of his facial hair) "I only think about it when someone comments on it and that's when I remember I have it like this."
(on if it is scary to look in the mirror with facial hair like this) "(laughs) No, it's alright. I think I look ok."
(on getting acclimated to the Texas heat) "I am getting pretty used to it. You never get used to it, but I have accepted it and I have my body in better shape to deal with it. At first, it was hectic for me and I had a couple of rough days, but lately I have been doing pretty well."
(on how his performance has come since the first day) "I think I have progressed pretty well. The first day I was still in a whirlwind, but now things are slowing down for me a little bit and I am more comfortable. I am just trying to keep this thing going everyday."
FS Will Demps(on what it says that the coaches want him to wear the defensive transmitter if LB DeMeco Ryans is out of a game) "It doesn't say much. I guess it is good in a way that they feel that I could be a leader and understanding that I could get out the calls. And that's what safeties do. But, you know, no matter what, who's out there, we've still all got to communicate if we had a transmitter or not. Whoever's out there, we've just got to make sure that we communicate and get the job done."
(on being named a Pro Bowl alternate last season despite only starting eight games) "I have a good group of guys around me. I just go out there and play hard. It's a great honor, but you know what? The ultimate honor for us is the playoffs. We've definitely got to take it day by day and take it one game at a time. But, definitely, we're making the right strides to get there. And you know what? It's an exciting year for us."
(on what he sees in front of him when he lines up at safety) "I see a lot of hungry guys wanting to get this chip off their shoulder, because people don't know about us still out there in the NFL and we've still got to make a name for ourselves on this defense and make sure that we play fast and get to the ball and be known as a big-time, big-play defense."
(on if he sees signs that this defense can be successful) "Oh, definitely, but we've still got to go out there and work. Definitely, every year during training camp, everybody's going to talk about going to the Super Bowl and being the best, number one defense. But you know what? You've got to go out and put the work in, and I think we're making the right strides to get there. We've definitely still got a long ways to go, but, you know, you can't sprint a marathon. You've got to take baby steps and get right to the direction where we want to go."
(on his game elevating with a healthy elbow) "Yes, definitely. It's a new elbow pretty much, I say, because I got it reconstructed. I don't have to play with that brace and it definitely feels a lot faster because you don't have to have the mechanics, the extra 10 pounds on your arm. So I'm definitely adjusting to that in camp, but it's a great adjustment. I've definitely still got to go out there and work. I know I've got to get my feet under me. That's what training camp is for, the first game, just to kind of see where you're at. We've got a couple of weeks until Pittsburgh and I think that's an exciting time, but definitely right now we've got to see what we're all about as a defense as well as a team come Denver, especially since it's a big rivalry with (Texans head coach Gary) Kubiak. But we're excited, and I think everybody is pretty motivated and excited about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and getting ready for this first game."
(on filling the leadership void in the secondary with CB Dunta Robinson out) "Oh, definitely. I'm always going to say something just to get us going. Definitely, DeMeco (Ryans), Mario (Williams) are the vocal leaders on the defense. But I'm not going to sit back and just see if it's going bad. I'm going to speak for myself and understand when things aren't going right. Like you said, I've been on defenses where we've been playing fast, getting to the ball, and I understand that we've got to have that tempo. That tempo's always got to be there – make plays and get to the ball and understand that we can't give up big plays at the same time. And right now, just being that guy, the safety, that's what your job is mostly about is getting these guys going, understanding and getting guys lined up and just going and playing fast."
WR Andre Johnson(on what he did today) "I ran a little bit today, so just taking it one day at a time, and like I said, it is nothing really major. I don't have to have any surgery or anything. That is a good thing."
(on being concerned about his injury) "You are always concerned when you have an injury, but I am not killing myself over it. I want to be out there on the field with my teammates, but I have a little nagging injury that I have to heal."
(on a timetable of getting back with this type of injury) "You just try to take it day by day. I am in a pool working out and doing things like that when I am not running on the field. It's getting better; it feels better than it felt yesterday. I ran a little bit today, felt pretty good, and just taking it day by day."
(on not trying to overdo it too quickly) "I mean, you don't want to come back too early and then pull it or make it worse. I am getting massages on it and, like I said, just taking it one day at a time and doing a lot of rehab to make sure that when I come back I am at full strength."
(on how much work he will get on Saturday vs. Broncos) "I don't even know. I don't even know if I will be out there. I am just trying to take it one day at a time and trying to get back out on the field."
(on if he feels any soreness) "Just a little bit, you know, not much. It feels better; it is getting better day by day. We are just taking it one day at a time, and I ran a little bit today, so we will just keep going day by day and see how it feels."
DT Travis Johnson(on training camp) "I am just trying to work harder and continue to get better everyday."
DE Jesse Nading(on his progress through training camp) "You know, I'm just trying to get better every day. It's kind of a grind, so you're kind of just trying to get better with each practice. I'm trying to learn from my mistakes because I'm definitely still learning some stuff, but I feel like I'm progressing a little bit day-by-day and learning. And you've just got to stay focused and keep working."
(on the heated competition for roster spots) "Absolutely. We've got a lot of veteran guys and stuff like that, so I'm just trying to push and do everything I can to be the best player I can be and let the chips fall where they may as far as how the roster spots work out. I mean, if I'm out here working and doing all that I need to do, and then hopefully I can give myself a shot."
(on getting help from Colorado State teammates G Mike Brisiel, TE Joel Dreessen and WR David Anderson) "Yes, definitely. It's nice just to have somebody to ask stupid questions like, 'Where is this meeting room?' or 'What time do I need to be here?' It helps just on remedial rookie things like that, just so I can learn the ins and outs of the facility and where to be and what to do."
QB Sage Rosenfels(on how difficult being a quarterback is) "Well, Coach Kubiak actually brought that up today in practice that quarterbacks are held to a higher standard. We have to come perform everyday at a very high level for the entire team to practice well."