Following are comments made by head coach Gary Kubiak after practice on Friday Aug. 26.
**Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on whether DeMeco Ryans will be the starter at MLB)** "There's no doubt. The guy has earned it, and he has earned it from day one. He's going to go through some growing pains, but we believe in him and there is no time like the present. He has earned the right to play that spot. He will be our starting Mike linebacker on opening day."
(on what Ryans brings to the position) "Well, I like everything the kid stands for. He's very smart. There is not too much he can't handle. He's very versatile. If we had a problem, he could move around. The kid loves to play the game. He plays with passion. He's doing the same things here that he did in
. It's a great opportunity for us to build our defense. We have two great young players right in there for us to build our defense around for a long time to come. We know we're putting a lot on his shoulders, but we're ready to go do it."
(on whether DT Travis Johnson will play the same spot he did last week) "We'll play it like a regular season game, so you'll see those eight guys rotating for a good three quarters. We'll continue to do that in the regular season."
(on who will be returning on special teams) "You're going to see (CB Phillip) Buchanon doing a little bit of both—punts and kicks. We're going to see (WR Richie) Ross after Phillip (Buchanon) leaves the game, as far as a punt returner, and (RB Chris)
will be the other kick returner you will see, if there are some to return."
(on the health of the team) "Everybody's fine. Just the guys that won't make the trip. (LB) Kailee Wong, Petey (CB Demarcus Faggins), and (RB) Domanick (Davis) will not make the trip. They will stay here and continue to rehab and do their work. Other than that, we are fine."
(on whether CB Demarcus Faggins' injury affects how the roster is cut) "Petey's going to be on this football team. We're expecting him to be back. He's going to be part of our 53 (53-man final roster); we know that. That is just something we have to tweak ourselves around until he's back full speed. But we don't see any reason that he's not (coming) back sometime after a month into the season."
(on whether the team can get away with a practice squad player at that position) "I don't think when you're replacing a player like that, you're going to get away with anything. You have to have someone who can go in there and play. That's just something, we're going to use that spot for a period of time until he's back. But he's that valuable to this football team, so we'll use him."
(on whether the team is getting close to having to make a decision on LB Kailee Wong and RB Domanick Davis as far as roster spots) "Of course it goes into the conversation every day, but we're getting pretty close to that. We're 11, 12 days away, something like that, from getting it all set, but we talk about that all the time. Those decisions will be made at the final 53. We'll just have to take everything into consideration."
(on whether RB Domanick Davis will possibly be on the 53-man roster) "There's no doubt. He ran yesterday. It is week-to-week with him. We'll sit down with the doctors with him and really get a thorough evaluation of where he is at and where we think he's going, and then that will be a decision we'll have to make."
(on whether he hopes to get three running backs involved on Sunday) "Well, we'll definitely get two, and the third one will work in the fourth quarter. That third one will either be (RB) Antowain (Smith) or (RB) Chris Taylor. But (RB) Wali (Lundy) and (RB Vernand) Morency will play the game rotating as if we were playing opening day."
(on whether TE Bennie Joppru is getting more comfortable working at both TE and FB) "You know what has been happening to him since we're out of camp mode now. His body really struggled through the two-a-days and he looks fresher. He's made some plays out here today. I think with the practices settling down to one-a-day and getting a little weight back (that) he's lost, he's going to be getting better and better every week. He'll be a valuable player on this team because he'll play a lot of spots."
(on whether Joppru will have responsibilities as the back-up FB in addition to TE) "There is no doubt. To me he already is. That's what he's doing, playing some fullback, playing some tight end. He's a very smart kid. He gives you, as a coach, flexibility on gameday as what you can do. I'm expecting him to be a big part of the team, and he needs to keep going."
(on how he feels about the kicking game) "(P)
) could have punted better last week. One of those is on us (the coaches) because of what we were asking him to do. (K) Kris (Brown) has missed a couple. He's hit the ball well. He's missed a couple. I'll say it again. I have been around a lot of kickers, but I have never been around one who works as hard and is as tough on himself as this kid. I'm expecting him to have a great year. We have confidence in him and expect him to do well."
(on how this week's practice went, overall) "What they are doing is they are adjusting to our week of preparation, so everything they did today was probably a little different than the past, but they adjusted well. They practiced well. They were really sharp out here today. They know our routine now. We really have a tough week here to work though, with the game Sunday and trying to turn around on Thursday and all the cuts. It's going to be a tough week to 10 days to get settled for opening day. But the guys have done a good job."