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OTAs quotes: Day 10


Linebacker Brian Cushing missed a few reps on Wednesday because of a sore hamstring, but the move to the sidelines was precautionary. Cushing plans to be on the field for the rest of the week.

Head coach Gary Kubiak

(on FB Vonta Leach being important to the team) "Yeah, he's very important to our team. He's become a leader. Played extremely well last year, his best year as a pro, and I expect him to even take it to another level. So he's been a very good pickup for our football team."

(on CB Fred Bennett saying he's been mentoring the younger cornerbacks) "Fred has? I think Fred's more comfortable, naturally with year three for Fred, just in what he's doing. So when you get that way as a pro, it helps you branch out and help those other guys. I imagine that's what he's talking about. But he's really had a good offseason. He's a better player right now than he's been since he's been here, so that's important for the team."

(on P Justin Brantly) "Well, he's done a good job. We felt like going into the draft, he was a guy that would get drafted as a punter. When he didn't, (he's a) local kid here, we get a chance to look at him. So (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano) will look at him, evaluate him. Will we take two punters to training camp? I don't know. It's hard to do nowadays, but I don't think you ever say never. Especially when he's an Aggie – you've got to give him the benefit of the doubt."

(on how P Matt Turk has been doing) "He's fine. It just doesn't make a sense for a guy like Matt at this stage in his career to be kicking a bunch of balls every day. We know what Matt can do; we know what he's capable of. And he's doing a good job this offseason in our offseason program. It just gave us a little bit of a luxury since you can have those extra eight guys when the rookies aren't signed to look at."

(on LB DeMeco Ryans being a mentor to the other linebackers) "Anytime a team starts calling you captain, that's your nickname, or Capt, whatever they call him, that talks about respect. It's as good a group as we've had going into training camp at that position, and he's the leader of that group so there's a lot of respect there. For this football team to take a big jump defensively, the linebackers should play better than they've ever played. And it's the best group we've ever had and he's the leader, so we'll see what happens."

{QUOTE}(on LB Brian Cushing) "You know what, he's been fine. I don't know if y'all noticed we pulled him out today; his hamstring is bothering him a little bit, but he's been excellent. He's made great progress; he know what's we're doing. He is probably even more of a physical specimen than we thought he was. We knew he was a big, good looking young man coming out, but to be 258, 260 and run like he can run, brings another big, physical presence to our defense."

(on what he expects out of the second half of OTAs) "They'd probably remind you that they have five more days so they're more than halfway. You know what, we'll do some of the odd stuff here over the course of the next five days. Today, we worked on two minute (drills). We'll start to work with crowd noise. We'll start to talk about situations being backed up, just do some of those things and then we'll decide what we're going to do with those three days of mini-camp. Whether we just work with young players or work with the whole team, I haven't made that decision yet. We'll see."

LB Brian Cushing

(o how USC's program prepared him for the NFL) "I think it's an advantage coming from the program that I did, the coaching that I've had to really come in here and excel. You can kind of see the difference in some people that came from different programs. Luckily enough, I've had the opportunity to come in and step right into the defense."

(on if having a coach (Ken Norton) at USC was a pro player helped him) "Of course, that's the biggest thing, the day in day out grind of trying to get better. The physical toughness, the mental toughness, just everything combined has really made me the linebacker that I am today. Like I said, I've just been able to step right in."

(on the learning curve) "Well anytime you come into a new playbook, you have to adapt as quickly as possible. You get guys who've been playing this defense for four, five, six years under Coach (Frank) Bush and Coach (Johnny) Holland; everyone else has been here for a while and they are comfortable. But then again, I'm coming in as a rookie, learning a brand new playbook and then adjusting to the speed, too. Everyone out here's faster; everyone's strong. Everyone out here's a pro athlete. That's the biggest thing right now, but so far everything's been pretty good."

(on if he feels pressure as the first round pick) "No, I don't. It's something that, like I said, I've been expecting for a while. You come in, you know the kind of role that you're going to have to play; you know the kind of expectations people are going to have for you. So it's just part of being the number one pick and living up to it."

(on what he learns from LB DeMeco Ryans) "Just his work ethic. He's a quiet leader. He knows a lot and you hardly see the guy ever make a mental mistake."

(on bringing a mean and nasty attitude to the field) "I don't know, you just come onto the field and you just try to fly around. I don't even notice it; I think it's just my demeanor of how I play. It'll be a little more intense once we get finally the pads on."

(on how he developed that demeanor) "I don't know. I've had it for a while now, ever since I've been born. I don't know if it's genetic or where I came from or whatever, but I just know anytime I stand on the field, I don't have any friends anymore."

(on if he had a lot of friends in high school) "I had a couple of friends, just not on the field."

(on how he approaches the guy with the football) "You know, it's not anything that clicks or any kind of certain mindset. I've just been taught since I was a kid that once you step between those lines, it's go time. Everyone out here is trying to make a living, and this is our job now, the competitive environment. Football's the kind of sport where you can be a different person on that day when you step on the field and you can get away with a lot of stuff you wouldn't be able to off the field."

(on what he thinks after tackling a guy) "I don't know; it's just a physical game. I've been there too, where I've gotten knocked down. If he's not going to hit you, you better hit him."

(on his hamstring) "Big time pre-cautionary, there's no problem right there, it's just a little sore. We've had a couple of practices, guys are flying around. The biggest thing is that I'll be 100 percent tomorrow. I don't want to risk anything though.

(on if it happened on a single play) "No, it's just been tight the last two days. And I thought it was a smarter move just to take it easy today."

(on if that frustrates him) "A little bit. I never want to miss a snap and sit down and make guys overwork because I'm not there. But, like I said, I'll be back tomorrow."

S Nick Ferguson

(on if his age affects how he plays) "You know, actually, people say age is nothing but a number. For me, I don't think it bothers me that much. As far as calendar-wise, I'm up in age, but as far as body-wise and how I feel, I mean, I don't feel a day over 25. That's what it's about in this game. You play as long as you're healthy, and I feel great.

(on safety being a hard position to play as well as he has at his age) "Well, you know what, yes; it is. And I think what has helped me is the manner by which I tackle. Some of my tackles are really aggressive, physical tackles where you really put your body out. But then there's some technically sound tackles that they always try to teach you how to tackle, and I think maybe those kind of tackles have kind of helped me through the NFL over the years."

(on why the secondary will be better this year) "Well, the reason I think is going to be better is for three things. Frank Bush is our defensive coordinator. We have David Gibbs as our coach. And the acquisitions we made in the offseason. Antonio Smith is give us some pressure. Hopefully, the quarterbacks throw some balls off the wrong foot and people and give us an opportunity to get interceptions. And Brian Cushing . He's going to allow us to do so many things with our defense. Possibly, I mean, I don't know if we're going to do this, but this personnel allows you to do 4-3 or 3-4 types and really keep the offense guessing. It'd be great for the defensive backfield. We'd have more opportunities for interceptions."

(on if the team is going to meaner and nastier) "I think so. I mean, that's Frank Bush's background. He used to be a linebacker for the Houston Oilers, and that's how he wants his defense to play. He doesn't want anyone on the defense who's not like a nasty guy. And I mean not nasty in the sense that we're going to be taking cheap shots, but just trying to be aggressive and tougher on defense. You know, Jacksonville's in our division. They're known for their smash mouth style and especially for their run game. Same with Tennessee. That's what you want as a defense, aggressive type of play."

LB DeMeco Ryans

(on what in particular impresses him with LB Brian Cushing) "I'm impressed with the way he moves. Being a big guy he does a good job of moving around."

(on being a mentor to the younger guys) "Yeah, these guys they know they can come to me and ask me any questions that they have about the defense or about anything on the field, off the field, whatever they have questions about I'm here to help them out wherever I need to be."

(on the competition) "The competition is definitely heavy. We have a lot of talented guys which makes everyone better, so the competition is always good to have when you have 10good player. That's always good to have. That's going to be a tough choice coming down to the end; that's going to be a tough choice. I know we're going to have some good quality linebackers."

(on feeling more comfortable wearing the headset) "Oh yeah, the headset just made my job a lot easier last year. So it's definitely going to be easier this year, having it for a year now and knowing how it works, knowing how it cuts off sometimes and you still have to have your signals. But the headset is definitely a good tool that they implemented into the game."

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