Head Coach Gary Kubiak**
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
CB Johnathan Joseph
WR Keshawn Martin
ILB Joe Mays
C Chris Myers
FS Ed Reed
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on FS Ed Reed's status) "He practiced the entire practice today. He took more reps than he did yesterday. There was improvement once again, so I think there's a shot. I think we'll see how he comes out of today's work. He kept his pads on the whole practice, since he's behind the other guys. There was obviously some improvement."
(of if FS Ed Reed will be a typical game-time decision) "I think that's probably where we're heading because of our situation with some other things going on. When we look at our 46, it's probably the last available spot, game-time decision right now."
(on if he was impressed with the way FS Ed Reed was moving around) "Yeah and he did some one-on-one stuff and things he hasn't been doing. He got involved in some team periods. Yeah, I think from where we've been and where we're at right now, it's just exciting to see because it's coming along quick."
(on what he's seen from FS Shiloh Keo to make him feel more comfortable with him starting) "He's just a much improved player through opportunities and repetition. He's just has much more confidence in what we're doing and had a real good preseason. Just seeing the natural progression of a young player that all of a sudden gets pushed into a starter role and he responds to it. So he's done that."
(on ILB Joe Mays' role on defense) "First off, he had a really good practice today. It's funny you bring him up. He's been trying to catch up and fit in, type of deal from getting here late, but he's very talented, very athletic, fits what we do inside. Him and Cush (ILB Brian Cushing) are a great combination from a speed standpoint inside. I think what's going to happen, you're going to see Joe only get better each and every time out for our team because he has not been in the scheme very long."
(on how important it is to win this first game and get off to a good start) "Everybody wants to get off on a good start. I think the biggest thing for us is it's very challenging because Monday night on the road, long day, late late game and then our turn around next week is going to be extremely difficult in such a short period of time. There are a lot of things, lot of factors that make it tough on the road team that opening Monday night. We're trying to prepare for that and work through it. They're all challenges, but, yeah, we're excited to play. Every team kind of goes into some unchartered waters this weekend, plays more plays than they've ever played. The starters play longer than they've played in a month. There are a lot of things we're trying to prepare our football team for."
(on where ILB Darryl Sharpton is in the concussion protocol) "I don't (know) the number. He's in the middle. He's not at the end yet, I can tell you that. Five is good. Remember I told you that, five is good."
(on if the team is more comfortable playing in primetime this year) "I don't know if I view it as a primetime. Every game is on TV nowadays, but I think we've had, because of some of the things we've done, we've had to fight the scheduling issues, Sunday, Thursday, Saturday sometime late in the season. So we're playing all over the place, so we've learned a little bit more how to adapt. I think we've done a good job with our patience this week of not giving our players too much too quick. We've held on before we started our week and they've responded pretty good from that standpoint. If anything else, we have a little bit more experience with some of these different schedules."
(on how WR DeVier Posey has progressed) "Good. Yeah, he's going to play a lot of special teams. That's the number one place his play is going to pick up. We'll put a play count number on him also offensively. Like I told you, he's probably in preseason game two, but that's okay. It's great to have him back. We'll get him along. He's competing out there with (WR Lestar) Jean right now. Between Lestar and Hop (WR DeAndre Hopkins) and Posey, they'll all play that position for us."
(on his expectations for WR DeAndre Hopkins) "Well, they're very high, but I've also tried to settle down here because he missed the last two games and that was important. He needed to play. There's nothing he could do. So there has been a catch up period. Good thing we've had a long week because he's trying to adjust to, 'Okay, here comes an NFL game plan. Here's what's expected of you on a given week,' and it's been a shock in a lot of ways. It's our job to get him comfortable before we get to Monday night. (WR) Andre (Johnson's) helping him. (WRs Coach) Larry (Kirksey's) doing a good job with him. But that's something he's got to learn to adapt to week-in and week-out."
(on if WR DeAndre Hopkins has become more comfortable in general) "That's never an issue. He's very competitive. I think the biggest issue for him right now is volume of NFL stuff and what we do, but that's on us because, if he's on that field, I've got to do what he's comfortable with. So I've got to know what I'm doing calling things for him and those type of things. That is the next adjustment for him. That will come as we go through the season because it's just a natural shock to begin with."
(on if there are any injury updates) "Sharp (ILB Darryl Sharpton) is the only one. Still not out there. Well, (G) Wade (Smith) was great today. He was fine."
(on who will return kicks and punts) "(WR) Keshawn (Martin) will do both. I'd like to use (SS) Danieal (Manning). Until (FS) Ed (Reed) gets healthy, I don't think you'll see Danieal back there, but you'll definitely see him in the regular season."
(on if SS Danieal Manning will return kicks earlier in the season than later) "Yeah, we did it later last year. I think you'll see it earlier as long as (FS) Ed (Reed's) healthy and we're healthy on the back end with the numbers of safeties we've kept on this team, then I would feel comfortable doing it."
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(on comparing RB Arian Foster to RB Earl Campbell) "Earl, obviously, was special. Earl was a different runner than Foster. Production for Foster has been tremendous. That equates, but Earl was like a lawnmower. When we played on grass, it was like a lawnmower. The grass was coming out as he was going through the line. I just haven't seen anybody like that since him. Now Foster has the great quickness and movement and the ability to make people miss, a great back. Maybe both of them will be in the Hall of Fame at one time. I think if Foster keeps going like he's going, he's certainly got a chance to do that. I've been on defense with both of them and I've been lucky to be with some great ones: LT (LaDainian Tomlinson) in San Diego, Thurman Thomas (in Buffalo). I've been around some great backs. I've been lucky to be on the defensive side where they control the football so we don't have to play as much."
(on S Ed Reed's improvement) "Ed Reed, I wouldn't have given him a shot early in the week, but he's practiced more and more. He's moved better and better. He's felt good after he's practiced. I think we'll still have to wait and see obviously, but he's getting real close and that's a good thing for us."
(on ILB Brian Cushing saying that he was his favorite coach because of all the freedom he gives him in the system) "Yeah. He had his best practice. Brian had his best practice today. I thought he would be loaded down, heavy, but he was moving. He was moving pretty good. He had his best practice today. He's one of those guys. It's not about me coaching him; it's me letting him do the things that they do well. I think you have to identify that as a coach. I think that is a part of coaching, identifying what a guy can do and then let him do that. Brian is such an aggressive player that we let him be aggressive. In fact, we let him be overaggressive in a lot things. Somebody else will cover for him, just like we do with (DE) J.J. (Watt). Any time you get a great player, you've got to let them go. You've got to let them do the things they do well. He does so many things well. That's important for us. He's fun to coach. I told the story before, when I first got here, we started playing and he plays so hard and so fast that I showed all the players on tape on the video. I said, 'If everybody plays like this guy,' and I showed the plays he was playing. I said, 'If everybody plays like this guy, we're going to win.' You've got a guy that is an example of how to play and players started to emulate how fast he played and it made them better. He's an exceptional player and a great guy. And he's got a lot of money."
(on how much he's looking forward to having ILB Brian Cushing and DE J.J. Watt on the field together) "Any time you have playmakers out there, that's what you want on defense. Of course, we missed a playmaker more than half the year last year with Cush out. We've got a lot of playmakers now I think. I don't think they'll be the only two. I think the other guys, we've got some guys that have improved. We've got some guys that can really play, that were really good players anyway. I can almost name all of our 11 guys on defense. We've got guys that can play. I think they're going to do well."
(on how comfortable FS Ed Reed is with the defense) "Yeah, Ed's on top of everything as far as what we do. He really is and, they've said it, he is a coach on the field type of player. He knows what he does, but he also knows what everybody else does. And he also knows what the other team does. He's that kind of player. That sets him apart from most any guys I've been around. He can jump into our defense and say, 'All right, J. Jo's (CB Johnathan Joseph) matched up with this guy over here and I'm supposed to help J. Jo or J. Jo, you go take that guy, I'm going to go help somebody else.' He can already do things. I just haven't had many players that are like that. He's getting closer. It'll be soon."
(on the knowledge FS Ed Reed has) "A lot of players say other players help them and that kind of thing and then not many coaches say a lot of players help them. He knows defense and we'll say, 'We'll make this adjustment here on this,' and he'll say, 'Why don't we do it this way?' We'll say, 'Maybe.' Sometimes, yes. He's come up with a couple of things today, yeah, we might do it that way. Like I said, he's a coach on the field and he's the same way in the classroom. We have a way that we've done things, but the way we do things is to utilize personnel. If he feels like he can do something and gives us an idea, certainly we'll utilize that."
(on how much of a student of the game FS Ed Reed is) "His are better than most of the other ones. He'll speak up for one thing. I'll say that for him because he knows it. He knows what he does, but he knows what other guys are supposed to do and that fits real well."
(on DE Jared Crick's progression) "Crick had a good year last year for us coming in as a role player. He's getting an opportunity to start this game. He's improved his pass rush. He's a pretty natural player in the run in that he finds the football well. He doesn't get knocked off the line. He plays double teams and those kinds of things well. He did those things last year and he's a strong run player. I think he's gotten stronger in the pass too. I'm looking forward to him playing."
(on ILB Joe Mays fitting into the defense) "He's a solid football player that can make plays. If you saw him in the Minnesota game meet the Pro Bowl fullback and knock him on his back, you know he's got some ability as far as physicality. He and even Cush (ILB Brian Cushing), they've just needed a lot of work together and Cush without some. We just need a lot of work in some of those pass things and how to work in passing off to each other and those kind of things. He did have a really good day today as did Cush. That's going to be important for us, those two guys inside."
(on the friendly rivalry between ILB Brian Cushing and DE J.J. Watt) "Cush has got a rivalry with everybody. He's on point all the time. He's going to outplay every linebacker he sees on film. He's going to try to. That motivates Cush to play good. It's he wants to play better than anybody, no matter who it is. Most of the guys that I've had that are really great players are the same way. They want to outplay everybody."
CB Johnathan Joseph(on FS Shiloh Keo) "I really don't know the rotation, but obviously Keo's gotten a ton of reps. He played a lot last year in the base defense and dime defense. He has plenty of playing experience. Obviously, (S D.J.) Swearinger has come in and played early as a rookie. He was drafted in the second round. I think he did a great job in the preseason and in training camp, and showed himself to be ready to play early in his career."
(on what Chargers QB Philip Rivers brings to the table) "He's a veteran quarterback. He's been an All Pro before, a Pro Bowl quarterback. He always plays at a high level. He knows how to utilize everybody that is around him. He gets the ball out quick. He doesn't really take sacks. He's one of those guys you kind of have to make him stay in the pocket, not let him get out and create plays. He's not a guy that likes to run and just running around all day with the ball, but he can create extra time. We've just got to focus on keeping him in the pocket."
(on the Chargers big receivers in TE Antonio Gates and WR Malcolm Floyd) "It's always challenge just because you give up a size difference from a height standpoint, but it's a good challenge. It's one of those challenges that you kind of welcome and you take on. For us, it's just about competing each and every down. It's football. They're going to make a few plays here and there. Obviously, we want to come out at the end of the game making more plays than those guys."
WR Keshawn Martin
(on him being the primary kick and punt returner for the time being) "To go out there and play anything on the field is a great feeling. I just want to go out there and have some big plays for the team."
(on how he can improve in his punt returning given that his average return was fifth in the NFL) "As a team, we've got to cut some of the penalties out. Me, as a runner, I've just got to make those explosive plays that I know I'm capable of. I'm excited to see what we're going to do this Monday."
(on if he's getting more comfortable this year with returning) "Yes, it's much easier. Getting used to it and just getting more of a feel for the game and just having that year of experience under your belt."
(on how much it helps that he's played a year and building on that) "It helps a lot. Like I said, just getting a feel for everything and trusting your guys out there. I trust my guys blocking for me that they're going to get me into the end zone."
(on how exciting it is that he can have an impact by being a returner) "It's very exciting. Any time you return one for a touchdown, it changes the whole momentum of the game. That's really want I want to do for the team and help us win."
(on how WRs DeAndre Hopkins and DeVier Posey have looked as they try to get back this week) "They look great. Posey and Hopkins, both of those guys, they're going to help us a lot this year and I'm looking forward to seeing those guys play."
ILB Joe Mays
(on his quick adjustment to the defense and now looking ahead to playing the Chargers on Monday night) "I'm looking forward to it, man. It's been a ton of headaches. I think Coach (Wade) Phillips told me I gave him gray hairs. I'm just out here trying to work, trying to get better and do whatever I can to make the defense better."
(on what he did to give defensive coordinator Wade Phillips gray hairs) "Just making mistakes. I've only been in the system maybe a month. I try not to use that as an excuse but at the same time, I want to do what it takes to go out there and perform and be consistent and know what I'm doing. There have been a couple of bumps and bruises but I think I'm getting there."
(on getting in sync with ILB Brian Cushing) "It's going great. I think the best thing we do right now is communicate. We're always talking, whether we're on the sideline or on the field. Communication is the key. That's the key to success. We try to do as much of that as we can."
(on what the San Diego offense brings to the table) "They're explosive. (QB) Phillip Rivers, he makes a ton of plays. I don't think he gets a lot of credit for the things that he does. He's very consistent. He goes out there and he can throw the ball. He can really get after it. They have some explosive receivers too. Let's not forget (TE Antonio) Gates. That guy has been consistent for the past, what? How long has he been in the league? 20 years? (joking) He's been doing a great job. We definitely have to come to the table and be ready to play because they're definitely going to bring their best."
(on the production of TE Antonio Gates) "Yeah, he's been producing ever since he came into the league. He's been the premier tight end, at least top five, each and every year. I think he's finally healthy. He feels good. He's going to bring a big game to the table. Now we have to do whatever we can to stop him."
C Chris Myers
(on where he thinks the offensive line is heading into the season opener) "Good. We've had a great camp, great year with OTAs and training camp and throughout the preseason games. With (LG) Wade (Smith) coming back now from being unhealthy the past few weeks and the right side kind of meshing together with (RG) Brandon (Brooks) and (RT) Derek (Newton), it's going to be great to be able to see it all come together in Week 1."
(on what stands out about San Diego's defense) "Just a tremendously talented defense. They've got a lot of new guys there inside they picked up right after the preseason was over. They've been plugging in guys here and there and they've been running with it. They're pretty similar to our defense, a 35 front for the most part, so I think we're kind of familiar with the overall structure. But they get a lot of pressure. That's one thing we'll have to keep an eye out for."
(on how important it is to go 1-0) "It's been our theme here for the past two, three years; I don't know how long it's been that way. It's been working so I don't see us changing. 1-0 every week. You're focus is always in the game at hand."
(on if it's harder to prepare for the first game of the season not having seen what San Diego is going to do) "That's the way it is usually when you're playing a team that has a new coordinator or new head coach. It is what it is. All you have is the preseason games and then the previous team that coordinator was with. So you find yourself kind of watching some other teams and only watching a handful of plays throughout the preseason but a lot of teams have to go through that Week 1."
FS Ed Reed
(on how he's doing right now) "I'm doing well. It's progressing. Last time I talked to you guys, it was progressing and it was good. It's much better now. I've still got some scar tissue that needs to be broken up and that's probably the thing that makes my hip guard. Mentally, I guard it a little bit, but it feels good."
(on if he thinks he'll be able to play on Monday or if he'll be a game-time decision) "Like Coach (Gary Kubiak) said, it's day-to-day. He's asking me how I feel every day and, like I told him, it feels better pretty much every day. I'm getting a lot of treatment. I've had my therapist in town. My doctor's coming into town. That's stuff I do year long. It's not anything I would do any differently. I'm feeling good. Honestly, I want to play. That was my goal from day one, but I know Coach and myself and Kap (Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Kaplan), we want to be smart about it."
(on having his therapist in town and if that's who he saw in Atlanta) "Oh no, my therapist is for massage and stretching and stuff."
(on if he's further along than he expected to be at this point) "Yeah, like I told you guys, I thought I was ahead of schedule last time we talked. I think I told you I thought I was two, three weeks ahead of schedule. To make the decision not be on the PUP, I think that shows that I'm ahead of schedule and won't miss the first six games like I did last time with the hip surgery. This one was not as severe, though I still feel it."
(on if he has a gut feel about whether he'll play on Monday) "We're going to be smart about it. It probably will be a decision that's made right before the game. That's the way this has been going. Kind of 50-50 right now honestly. I couldn't say if I'm going to play or not going to play. If Coach (Gary Kubiak) says it's up to me and it's up to me to some degree and it's up to him too and how he feels about the team as a whole. But us, we're communicating well and I'm moving well. I'm progressing. I've been progressing. I feel strong, but I know I still have some things that are weak because you have that hip surgery; you lose strength, which you're usually losing your glut strength, your hamstring to overwork. My left hip was compensating as well. It's a lot of maintenance that I have to do to make sure nothing else happens and I pray nothing us happens, but you can't control it. That's football. You tend to have injuries."
(on if he learned more about maintaining his body because of his previous surgery) "No, I knew that from the jump. Just from the history of going through it the first time. I knew that was the case because my hamstring was tight. You've just got to be smart about it."
(on who he went to see in Atlanta about his injury) "My doctor who I've been working for the last six years or so and my son as well. My son is there. Got to spend some time with him."
(on what he thought about the Ravens giving up seven touchdown passes last night) "Yeah, I went to sleep after the third quarter. I thought the guys were playing really well. I thought they were playing really well up until you kind of stalemated on offense and you had some penalties, turnovers are key every time. I can imagine what Coach (John) Harbaugh is telling them. I thought the guys played well. It's kind of a bummer to open up on the road your first game, but that's the business that they had to deal with. I still look for the guys. I still support them."
(on if it was odd watching his former team on TV and if he thought that was odd) "No, not at all. I know it's a business where I am. I know where I am in life and I know where I am as a teammate. That switch has hit a while ago. I did watch my guys because those are my brothers. I have a lot of relationships with a lot of coaches over there and support what the organization did. I have a lot of respect and still support those guys. But I'm a Texan."
(on having a lot of talented guys on this defense and how different the vibe is here compared to the Ravens) "It's different because I'm still kind of growing into the system, even from a practice standpoint. I haven't been in there with the one's, though I went in there a couple of times and the guys are look, 'Oh, oh,' making noise. It's still progressing for me. Thank God it's the season. You go through things and you grow with the guys. Once we get going and they see how I operate, which I kind of think they've got a grip on as far as communicating and just being out there. It's growth process. It's a growing process that I'm trying to not hold back things. It's hard, honestly, not to hold back or to say things because this is their locker room. This is their team. I'm one component that's been added to it, but I came into it wide open, just like they let me in with wide open arms. These guys are great guys, great communicators, willing to do whatever it takes to win and want to win. I saw that from day one and I love that about our team and what we have. I'm not going to hold back my tongue for anything because I've never been that player."
(on defensive coordinator Wade Phillips saying how he would speak up in meetings with suggestions and what makes him comfortable doing that) "I know it's part of winning. I know Wade needs us just as much as we need him. We need everybody who is part of this organization that helps the football team to be successful. That's what I learned in the organization that I just left with Baltimore. Everybody had to be involved to get to where we wanted to go in that championship. It's going to take communication. It's going to take putting your pride to the side, humbling yourself, as players and as coaches, to communication with your players to be successful. We want a championship. That's what it takes. It takes putting your pride to the side and being able to communicate with your players no matter who it is to be successful. I can't stress it enough."
(on FS Shiloh Keo's progress and his thoughts on Keo if he's unable to play) "I love what Keo's doing. I'm asking him questions because he's been in this defense. I have the utmost confidence in Keo. Even when I do come back, he's going to be playing. He's a person that should play on this team that will be on the field. I have the utmost respect for Keo. I'm in meetings asking him questions, tapping him on the shoulder, getting out of the chair and going to ask him things. I know he would do his job and be what he's supposed to be."
(on receiving injections and what his process has been since receiving them) "Those injections, it takes like two weeks to kick in. Two weeks would be Monday, on Monday night. I still kind of feel the injections, the needles. The needles put me to sleep. The needles are this long (gestures to hands) and I had four of them all in the same spot. That's different than having one shot, like I had last time. It's a little different feeling for me. It caused a little bit more scar tissue, a little bit more trauma. It kind of slowed me down a little bit as far as the workouts. Once you get the blood flowing a little bit and everything, I'm starting to feel a lot of better. You can see that I kind of stepped back you could say."
(on what the injections were supposed to do) "The injections basically, in layman's terms, kind of help speed up the healing process. Take the bad blood out, spin it if I'm not mistaken and put the good blood back in."
(on if the injections were kind of like taking a half-step back in order to take a couple of steps forward) "Yeah, pretty much. Just kind of speed the process up a little bit. It does cause trauma. It does sit you down for a few days. Most guys in this locker room know, for a few days if you sit down, it takes a little bit of toll on you. It kind of gets you out of your rhythm and it did, but it's bouncing back well, icing and moving around. I'm still just getting acclimated to the schedule and everything."
(on people maybe doubting him because of his age and having the surgery and if he welcomes that) "It comes with the territory. That's the reason you guys are right here right now, to write something good or bad or indifferent. It's going to happen. It comes with the job. It's just that. You know, form being in this profession or coming into this profession, you know what you're getting involved in. I've been saying that for a minute, even when it comes to injuries. For the most part, either you have the knowledge or you don't have the knowledge. You know something about, as far as, injuries, criticism. It's in most professions. I've been criticized from draft day. You know, 'He's too small or he's not big, he's not fast.' I still have the article. It comes with job and, at the end of the day, we will see."
(on where the article was about him being too small when he was drafted) "The article is at my mom's house."
(on if the article about him being too small during the draft was in The Baltimore Sun) "No, it was not. It was in The USA Today, if I'm not mistaken."
(on if he does miss the first game and if there's a scenario in which he misses the second game as well) "I'm day-to-day. I'm day-to-day. I know my goal is not to miss any of them. I know my prayers are not to miss any of them. We'll go from there."
(on if there's something specific he needs to be able to do before he feels comfortable about playing) "Making it through the whole season. It's about playing on February 2. I've been moving around. You don't want to have that tightness I've talked about weeks back with you guys. You don't want to have that soreness. I don't want to rush it, but who knows that time. Only our Father knows that time. I'm taking it in stride. I've played with injuries before. I've played through injuries before if you guys know the history of my resume. I've played through a lot of things. You just want to be smart and you don't want to hurt the team. That's the main thing. You want to be able to be effective to where you're not hurting the team when you get out there and that's my main thing is that I don't want to hurt the team."
(on what it's been like to be back on the field this week) "It feels so much better when you know you're out there with the guys, when you're moving around in the huddle, out of the huddle, being able to get movement without knowing where you're going to go if you understand that. When I'm on the other field working out by myself, I know that cone is five yards behind me and I know exactly how many steps it's going to take to get to it without even looking at it. That helps. It helps from a mentality from when you're on the field and you know you need to get back 10 yards and you peddle in the middle of the field to break on a certain route or whatever. It helps you mentally, but it's different when you're on the field looking at (QB) Matt (Schaub) and you know he's going to go a certain way and he's going to make a movement, but you can't predict, you've got to wait to react. And that's football. Football is your reaction and that's the thing that I tried to do by myself, but you can't do it. You have to be in the game. It's good, feels good to be back."