Head coach Gary Kubiak spoke to the media Thursday afternoon following practice.
**Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on the changes on the offensive line)** "You all know how much I thought of that young left tackle (Charles Spencer) and the progress he was making and the future he has, and still has. But I feel good about Ephraim (Salaam) because that's why he was brought here, for this reason and he'll go in there and play well, I know he will, he's played a lot of football in this league. Mike (Flanagan) will probably still be a game-day decision. We'll see if he can do something tomorrow. Probably what we would do is, if Mike thinks he'll be able to play then we'll probably suit up eight offensive linemen and hold Drew (Hodgdon) up to back-up Mike. Drew had a good week, he had a good practice today and that's what he's here for. It's an opportunity for him to step up."
(on sliding Steve McKinney to center and play Fred Weary at guard) "The minute you do that, first off, Steve would have to work there all week so he works there all week and we really don't have another guard to go in and play and if something happened during the game Steve would have to go back. I don't want to waist the reps. Drew's on this football team because we think he has a chance to be a player and we're in a situation now where it's his time to play then he's got to step up and play. That's why he's here. I want to keep our rotation at guard. I think Steve played well last week at guard and went to center when Mike got hurt so you try not to disrupt things more than they already are."
(on the running game improving with three set backs) "I sure hope so. That's what we got to do. This offense is built around running the ball. The two acquisitions (Ron Dayne and Samkon Gado) that we've had, they should only get better. As we rep, we should only get better. In the preseason, I thought we did some good stuff, but a lot of times you don't really know until you hit the regular season and you're down in and down out against the best in football so it's just telling you that we've got a long way to go and we just need to continue to get better at it."
(on RB Ron Dayne) "He's a big physical player who's always fallen forward. You watch the Indy game, I thought Ronnie was still a little rusty from the Ronnie I know, but you got to remember that he really didn't have a preseason. I thought he got better as the game went on. I just think he kind of fits the mold. Right now we need somebody to pound the ball for three to four yards and we need to get some third down and threes because on third down and long, we're not very productive right now. I think he'll keep our offense on schedule."
(on the starting running back for Sunday) "I'll start Wali (Lundy) or Ronnie, but chances are it's going to be Ronnie with the direction we're going. They're going to all play, but what you're going to see is Ronnie and Samkon's role get bigger and bigger as the weeks go on and on."
(on David Carr's impressive passer rating) "I've never been around a quarterback with that type of number, period. It's a heck of a number. I know that a lot of it happened in the fourth quarter last week, but he is doing some things better, making strides as a player, but as I told you guys and I told him, we have to make leaps and bounds. I just want him to keep going. I like his progress and his preparation. He's night and day preparing for a football game from when I first got here. The first night we got ready to play Kansas City, I met with him, and he's night and day from that night. David's getting better every week and that's what he has to do for this franchise."
(on the highest rating he ever had as a QB) "I didn't qualify; you have to throw it enough to qualify. Come on, that was many, many years ago, thanks for making me laugh though."
(on how strong a statement it is to say he's never been around a quarterback with Carr's current rating) "That's quite a number, what is it 123? I mean that's off the charts. If you look at the history of football, that doesn't happen very often so there's got to be some good things going on there, but we need to get some W's."
(on LB Roy Manning) "Just being flat honest with you, we'd love to see him get on the field and play. The thing we're battling right now is that we're a couple of weeks from a bye which gives you an opportunity as a coach to spend more time with him to get him ready, but things are going so fast right now. He's being very close to being a guy that we want to have up (on the 45 man roster Sundays) and helping Joe (Marciano-special teams coordinator). He came in here; he's trying to catch up with our scheme. If he's not out there over the next two weeks, I would expect to see him out there after the bye."
(on what he likes about Manning) "He's very athletic, he can run. He's what you're looking for as an athlete at that position, but he's way behind just as far as our scheme and when you're talking about 45 spots, you can't have someone who doesn't quite know what they're doing yet because that spot is too valuable."
(on a stat that means the most to him from his quarterback) "Winning. Winning is what it's all about. I would just reiterate that the kid (David Carr) is making strides. I'm with him every day and I'm watching how he's going about his work and how he's preparing for football games. Does he need to get better? Yeah, we all need to get better, but he's definitely making strides."