Following are excerpts from players after the fourth two-a-day practice of the 2006 season.
Head CoachGary Kubiak**
(on RB Domanick Davis' knee)** "He went two days, and he was very sore the third day. We knew that was coming. We're going to do the smart thing. If that means Domanick doesn't practice tomorrow and takes another day, and then comes back for two, we're going to do what's best for Domanick, and in return what's best for this football team. We have to be smart. He has a knee that's giving him some problems, but he's also proven that he knows how to get ready to play through that adversity. We're going to do what's best for him and the team."
(on TEOwen Daniels) "I see a lot of ability. He's kind of up and down right now. He'll show you some days that he's ready to go, and he'll show you others that he's a rookie. He's a tough kid. He should be able to play on the line of scrimmage and catch the ball. Pre-season will be interesting because he will play a great deal."
(on the importance of the tight end position in his offense) "It's very important. We like to play with one who's physical, and one who's a 'can stretch the field kind of guy.' Anytime you find somebody you think can do both, and you've got an every down player, and I think he (TE Owen Daniels) can do that."
(on LBSam Cowart) "I think what happened to Sam is the fact that, after he missed all of those workouts, he was behind our players when camp started. When you're in day three and four and you've been playing the game for nine, ten, eleven years, that's about as bad as you're going to feel all year. He hit a wall the other day. Now we just need him to work back from it, and get back to his old self. He does have a little more catching up to do."
(on his challenge to DTTravis Johnson) "It's not so much me; it's our team's challenge to him, to the players and each other," Kubiak said. "They need to be able to look at each other and say 'we need you to be ready to go, we need you to be a great football team' so it's about all of us not just me challenging him. We're all trying to get everybody on the right direction."
(on when WR Jerome Mathis and LB Kailee Wong will play) "I don't think you're going to see Jerome any time soon. I think Jerome is going to be a decision from a PUP (physically unable to perform) standpoint, it could be about week five or week six before a decision is made about him as far as coming back this year. He has a ways to go. Kailee is a week-to-week situation right now; we're probably going to make a decision on him in about two weeks throughout this pre-season, and see if he's going to be ready to go."
(on GSteve McKinneyresting today) "I just gave him a break. For a guy who's played a long time, he hasn't missed a day. I told him this morning I wanted to give him a break, and move (G) Fred (Weary) up. Fred deserves some reps with our first team, and has been playing well. We're going to give those guys a break from time to time to keep them fresh."
(on where DEMario Williamswill play on the defensive line) "We're going to play him inside and out. One of his strengths is that he's a smart, young man, and he did a lot of that in college. If you leave him in one spot, people can lock in on him. If you move him around a little bit, you create more problems. He's picking up what (Defensive Coordinator) Richard (Smith) wants him to do."
(on the offensive line) "They're doing some good stuff. We're playing a lot of guys and rotating some guys. There's some great competition going on there. I like the way they're picking up on what we're doing. We have a long way to go. This morning during red zone drills was very impressive to me; I thought they came off the ball well."
(on CBDexter McCleon)"When he came out yesterday and threw the pads on for the first day, he struggled a little bit. He practiced better yesterday afternoon, and even better this morning, so I expect him to continue to get better."
(on losing weight)** "That was probably the hardest thing, because now, rehabbing and losing weight at the same time is a tough thing. I went after it a little different; kind of the way I went after it my senior year in school."
(on his performance last year) "No, I don't think I'm disappointed on how I performed last year. You draft a four-three defensive linemen to play a three- four and hold up guys three hundred and forty pounds, and everything that was my attributes coming out of school was not utilized. If I play head up on a guy, and he knows where he's going; I don't know where he's going. I'm not kicking off, I'm not doing anything; I'm not using gifts that God gave me to elevate myself. I was actually kind of happy with my season; the way I performed as far as getting adjusted to doing something new and actually doing a pretty good job. I finished with forty-six tackles; that's alright."
(on noticing the weight loss) "Yeah, I feel a lot better; my back doesn't hurt anymore. It was tough; last year I had to put the weight on to play that defense. Now I'm starting to feel good. Once my calf gets one hundred percent, I think I'll be a lot better."
(on his motivation to the challenge made by coaches) "Everybody wants to get a little upset when you get called out by the coach. At the same time, if he didn't like you or care about you, he wouldn't say something to you. I learned that from Mickey Andrews. I just had to step up to the challenge. Like I said before, I think I'm a lot better when my back is against the wall; when somebody challenges me and says I can't do something, that's when I step up and do it."
Post-afternoon practice quotes
* Head Coach Gary Kubiak
*(on special team practice) "It does a couple things. It gives those big guys a break; let them stay in and get off their legs. It gives these guys a break and it gives (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano) his own practice. It gives him a chance to come out here and concentrate on some of his specific drills, and some of the things he wants to get taught to these younger players. Hopefully it serves a dual role."
(on bringing this strategy from Denver) "Yeah, we did it at times, not all the time. First off, special teams are extremely important. We are trying to sell that message to all these young players that if you're going to make this team; you're going to have to contribute on special teams. We're going to put an emphasis on it."
(on standouts on special teams)"No, not really; we're just teaching technique and various things. The same guys have been doing it everyday, it's just more of a concentration this afternoon."
(on getting into a routine) "I think we have. I think our guys know what's expected of them, they know how we're going to go about things everyday, our meetings at night; I think you have guys that settled into that. This is a big week; it's the only week in the NFL where you go all week, and don't test your self at the end of the week with a game. It's all about work this week and then we'll start to get ready to play next week."
(on TEBennie Joppru) "He's shown that that he can do that so far, so we'll keep our fingers crossed. He's a guy that can run routes and stretch the field a little bit. I think the other kid, Owen Daniels, is a young man who has a chance to be a down in, down out tight end. What I mean is, I think he can play physically, and I think he can also run. That's what you're looking for in this league as a starter. That's why we drafted him; so hopefully he'll come along very quickly."
TE Bennie Joppru
(on adjusting to the new offensive scheme) "It's been similar to the stuff I did in college (University of Michigan). It's a lot of similar stuff. There's a lot of different terminology, and obviously a lot more complex. It's definitely night and day to the old offense."
(on the new offense putting more emphasis on the TE) "It definitely excites you. It's always nice to catch a ball, and get yourself motivated. It's also nice to block though, to move around and block from some different positions other than on the line."
(on help from TEJeb Putzier) "Every once and a while, there will be a play that we haven't heard yet or aren't familiar with, and he knows it just like that. He's been nothing but a great help to all of us."
(on the new coaching staff giving him a clean slate) "I definitely think so. It's been a tough three years, and now I'm kind of starting all over again, and it's nothing but refreshing."
(on his chances of proving himself during training camp) "Yes, I absolutely do. We have a lot of competition; however, it's going to be difficult. I think if I'm going to make the team, it's going to be an uphill battle, and hopefully in the end it will work out."
**TE Owen Daniels
(on understanding the system)** "Yes, stuff is sinking in. Getting into my playbook every night, that's the biggest thing. Coaches can't get over those mental mistakes out on the field and I'm just trying to get everything down like that. I was trying to contribute on the special teams as well at the special teams practice this afternoon."
(on his thoughts about two-a-days) "I'm feeling it. It's been a while since I had three, four two-a-days in a row, because they changed that rule in college. It had to be like two to one, two to one. A little wear and tear on the body, but everyone's going through the same thing."
(on high expectations) "I definitely do. Even the littlest things, they are on me to get it straight. I try to do my best if I make a mistake, not to make the same mistake twice."
(on high quality tight ends)"Everyone's such great guys that we're not at each other's throats or like that. We are still helping each other out. It's good to have older guys like (TE) Mark (Bruener) and (TE) Jeb (Putzier) helping. If you have a question, they know exactly what's going on. Definitely some competition, but it makes everybody better."