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Transcripts: 9-14-2022 Press Conferences


Opening Statement

"Once the football season starts, those games start, they start rolling. Whether you win, lose or tie, you move on and that's what we've done. Denver needs a win just as much as we do. Good football team that did a lot of good things on Monday night. I know what the score said but if you watch the game, you take a few turnovers away and it's a totally different ballgame. Every week you start with the quarterback, and Russell Wilson has been a good quarterback for a long period of time. Can make all the throws, mobile, smart. They have a commitment to the run also. Good wide receivers. On the defensive side of the football, it starts up front as we say too. They have some defensive lineman that can rush the passer so it will be a big challenge for us. Whenever you go on the road for the first time, I know we went there during the preseason, but going on the road for the first time especially in a hostile environment like Denver, it is a challenge. Practice today, it went about how you would expect a Wednesday practice to go in season, getting back into the flow of things after a lot of snaps that we played on Sunday. Injury wise, I think you know about most of the guys injury-related that missed today's practice. Justin Britt missed today for personal reasons."

What are the challenges of game planning for Broncos QB Russell Wilson?

"It's been a that way for some time. I had an opportunity to go against him, of course we played him last year. I'd say we're dealing with some similar things offensively with him. As I mentioned, mobile, accurate thrower, smart decisions, that kind of opens everything else up."

What's your experience with altitude and do you talk about it with the team?

"We're going to Colorado to play the Broncos. A lot of people talk about if that changes (preparation). We played out there a few times. This is what we ask guys to do each week: get as much rest as possible, hydrate as much as you can, just recovery that you normally go through."

Do you expect OL Justin Britt to be back Sunday?

"Yes sir. Through the course of the year, we're going to have players and maybe coaches miss for personal reasons."

As the defensive coordinator, how do you teach your safeties to not bite on the play action?

"With a play action pass, you don't tell them to go for the play action. With the run, play the pass. We're going to tell them that. I think the guys have played enough football right now, they realize that. It's not like we're getting ready to play a team that's playing a new sport. We'll be ready for all of that."

Does a tie change the complexity of the week?

"The complexity of the week doesn't change when we win, lose or tie. You move onto the next opponent. You watch that video, critique everything that needs to be corrected, praise everything that you did well and you do move on. And for us, we moved on quickly. We had the opportunity, in an ideal world, to see your next opponent play, which we were able to do with Monday Night Football. Who did we play last? It was a long time ago, that last game we played. They are all back there in that same box that we've left."

How is DL Rasheem Green trending with his return to practice?

"I liked the way you asked that question. Yes, he is trending in the right direction. He is trending the right way. Good practice today. We'll need him. When you play a quarterback like that, you need all hands on desk that can rush the passer. So hopefully Rasheem (Green) will be able to help us a little bit, that's if we decide to let him go."

How do you bottle up the energy you had in the first three quarters against the Colts and take it to the Broncos game?

"We try to be real. As much as we've talked about moving past the game, whatever happened in that game, all of those plays, there were a lot of good things that we did in that game expect for finishing. It doesn't matter if we win or we lose, we critique plays the same way. If they're positive, good. We praise that. If not, this is what we have to do to correct it. The players are into that too. The first thing we do on Tuesday when the guys get here for the first time, is we correct. All the things we did wrong, we'll work to correct those things and move on. That's exactly where we are. And guys just watching the video, they see. That's why you can't wait to get back to practice, especially Wednesday's practice. You're a little sore with all the bumps and bruises."

Over your career how have you seen players recover from Achilles' injuries?

"I think with where we are in society, everything has changed. There's an upgrade with everything. There's a time when an injury like that may really be bad for your career. Nowadays, no matter what the injury is, it seems like guys come back stronger than they did before. Excellent medical care, which we have, our sports performance, our medical staff, our doctors, all of that. That's what I've seen. Most of the guys come back strong as ever even with things that used to be major."

When you're evaluating a player 10-15 years ago to today, you're noticing differences?

"Those kinds of decisions, that's why it's a team. The medical staff, they evaluate it and they tell us yes and no. From what I've seen, most of the time it's yes. This is what guys are doing now. There's a time when you've had an ACL injury, it might've been two years or so. Everything has gotten a lot better now."

OL Justin Britt said if there are communication errors it's on him, what do you think about that?

"I think if there's those problems it starts with the head coach, offensive coordinator, offensive line coach and then players. If there's bad communication, that's something that, in every game there's going to be a few plays like that. I've been doing it a while and I can't think of a perfect game and there wasn't something like that you need to correct. As a center, things do go through him. Christian Kirksey on the other side would tell you the same thing. There's a miscommunication that we had there. Davis Mills would tell you the same thing. It's great when you don't win the game and when you have a good team, everybody wants to say it was their fault and I need to do this better, which you like. It's so much more than one guy and what one guy did on one play."

Can you talk about giving RB Dameon Pierce more touches?

"I'm saying the same thing right now. We need to get Dameon (Pierce) more touches. Without giving the Broncos our total game plan, that's what we need to do. You look at the reps, that's why as you play evaluation is looking at those things to. You can get in a game and situations dictate, you may have to lean a little bit in the one direction after you analyze it more, you wish you hadn't. I just know this week we're going to try to get him more touches."

What did you see from the secondary and their confidence?

"Jonathan Owens has played some ball, but not a lot. He wasn't a full-time starter last yar. Of course, we talked about Jalen Pitre and Derek Stingley, guys that haven't played an awful lot. Look at their first game. We like what they did. That's a starting spot. They're going to tell you all the things they can improve upon. Each week you have great receivers. Each week, it's going to be like that. There's great receivers, another big challenge and that will be a big challenge going on the road for our guys. I know they are eager to play. We talk a lot about taking balls away, the back seven when the only interception you have comes from a defensive lineman. They'll show up."

With wide receivers and tight ends, is the production outside of WR Brandin Cooks a concern for you?

"No, we're not satisfied with very little. The production from (Brandin) Cooks was good. What O.J. Howard was able to do was good. But we need more, absolutely. A lot of times we had three receivers set and a tight end. There are more opportunities but that goes along with things we'll need to improve upon, the second thing. We can talk about the running game, we're going to start with it. I know we've gone to work on all those, and we've identified things that we need to do differently for this game."

Is there anything you remember last year when you played QB Russell Wilson that can help you on Sunday?

"Every time you play someone, you rely on all the information that you've gathered through the years, so yes, yes and yes. Experience of being in that situation, of seeing him on the other side. Game planning for him. It doesn't matter where you are, the person doesn't change lot, maybe some of the calls have. I've see a similar offensive attack when we played the Seahawks last year. Nowadays, quarterbacks have a big say in what teams do, especially guys that have been around the game for a while. We'll rely on our video. Even if you don't know, or have not played against him, you watch the video, you start to get a picture in your head pretty quick."

RB Dameon Pierce was very positive and said that he learned a lot on the sideline watching RB Rex Burkhead play on Sunday. How does that make you feel as a coach?

"Knowing Dameon (Pierce), that's the only way I would see him taking that. Being a team member and our one running back is not going to get every carry, so we're going to play two guys. How many reps, of course we'll have to analyze that. That's how he is. He's a team player and he's excited about Week 2 and that's it. You leave what happened there and like all players, we're all saying we should have done a few things differently. But we get another change at that. We took a couple looks, he'll be fresher as I see it. How about Dameon Pierce who's going to be fresher this week because we didn't play him as much? How about the glass being half full that way."

When you look at the talent from Broncos OLB Randy Gregory and OLB Bradley Chubb, how you prepare for that?

"We have good players that will be blocking, they're great players also. Each week we play, you know who the legitimate pass rushers are. Both of those guys you mentioned. Of course (Randy) Gregory coming in new. They know how to rush on the outside. If you're one of the best offensive tackles around, how do you get that reputation? Going against great players. A big challenge for our two tackles, it's worth watching, definitely. I know we'll need to play our best ball and we did some good things since last week."

Were you impressed that veteran TE O.J. Howard made an immediate impact after only being with the team for about a week?

"Absolutely. It's one thing to play a long time. When you come into a new system, there's a lot of things you have to learn. O.J. jumped in right away. I talked to him the first night we made the move, he said what he's going to do. Can't wait to get in and get started, find out what is role will be. As he started practicing, the guy can run. The guy can catch. He showed that right away. I think he got what, 12 reps this past week. We talked about more production, tight end is always a position that goes unnoticed a little bit. We feel like we have three guys that can play at that position."

TE O.J. Howard talked with some of his former teammates and your former players from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. How does that make you feel?

"That's a long time ago with the Bucs. I just know from my time down there, in football, there's lifetime friends that you have coaching and I definitely have some longtime friends down there. We talk about experience in playing against a Russell Wilson, somebody like that you call upon and you use those experiences to. Even before you bring someone in, if that person has been somewhere where you know someone, you want to get their opinion on them. Everybody said the same thing about O.J., in Tampa, in Buffalo, where we know people personally. We're just glad he's with us and excited about what he can do after he's had a few more practices with us."

After going down to the wire with a good team like the Indianapolis Colts, how much confidence does it give you going into Denver?

"They (Indianapolis) came in here last year where they shut us out. It has to give you confidence when we tied the game. We feel like we caught them. You start with that. From there, you acknowledge the good plays that you made. When you know that you can do it and you've done it, it has to give you more (confidence). When you do still have an empty feeling, you just can't wait for the next game. I think if you talk with Denver, they're going to say the same things. Everybody's anxious for that second game, to see exactly where you are. I think if we can clean up some things, we're going to like it. You look at our schedule, I think you're going to be seeing that each week. There's a very good opponent coming up, waiting for us."


What do you see from the Broncos in the secondary and personnel after you watched them on tape?

"Lot of talent. They play really well together. A lot of their guys have played for multiple years together so there's a lot of coordination and disguises in what they want to do. A lot of their stuff they're showing a quarter-shell pre-snap and either they'll stay in something similar or change into something post-snap. We have to be really good at recognizing immediately post-snap to what they're getting to so we can go through our progressions and how we want to attack them on offense."

How much work goes into figuring out what they do post-snap?

"A lot of it. We talk about it in all of our reads in the playbook really. A lot of it as a quarterback is keying on two players, the boundary safety and the slot defender. Being able to see their immediate reaction post-snap, kind of gives you a good feel of what the defense is in along with some of the clue and cadences you're using pre-snap. So just being tuned into that and what play we're running on offense and how you need to react based off that. That's the things you've got to be looking at."

Can you talk about being on the same page as the wide receivers?

"Continuing to build chemistry in all situations. We had a third down late in the game where Brandin (Cooks) and I were on a little bit of a different page. Stuff like that will pop up. It's good that it happens early in the season so we're able to talk about it, correct it and make sure we're moving forward in the same direction on the same page and being efficient in that way."

What corrections do you need to make heading into this week?

"Continue to stay efficient, get through my reads, be ready to step up in the pocket and use my legs a little bit to help out the offensive line and open some guys up on the defense. You saw on Monday night when QB Geno Smith stepped up in the pocket, some big things happened when the defense collapsed on him, when he was a run threat. So add some stuff like that. Last season I was capable of doing that. So other than that just stay efficient, going through my stuff and letting our offense do its job as a whole. We feel like when everybody's clicking on the same page, straining for a finish, we can play against anybody."

What similarities do you see from Broncos OLB Randy Gregory and OLB Bradley Chubb compared to the Colts pass rush?

"Both teams have really good pass rushers. Those guys are coming off the edge, firing off the edge and making plays. I feel like we have tackles and the guys on the edge who are going to be able to protect against that and are confident versus anybody. They are going to do their job to game plan and study those guys and their pass rush moves and how they want to attack. We'll be able to block them up and give me enough time to make plays to those guys on the edges."

How much did you watch Broncos QB Russell Wilson over the years?

"A little bit. I grew up an Atlanta fan on the east coast so you'd miss some of the Seattle games. He's been a big name quarterback in the league for a while now so there's obviously some time I got to see him."

What does it mean to have TE O.J. Howard come in and contribute immediately? How valuable was it to have him out there?

"Extremely valuable. He came and got to work immediately, early last week really, and knew that he wasn't going to be in on the whole offense but those plays where we had him available, he was going to be a master at what he did. When he was in there, he stretched the field vertically and made really good plays. We're confident that he's going to keep doing that."

Going from Week 1 to Week 2, is it a big jump now that you're in your second year?

"I think what a lot of people talk is the biggest jump from game-to-game is from Week 1 to Week 2. Week 1 you're back to live football, flying bullets again. Week 2 you're able to kind of settle in there, you know what it's like already, already to kick things off and get rolling again. I'm excited to see the jump we're going to make as an offense and as a full team."

How do you prepare to make throws in less ideal situations mentally and physically?

"For mental, know like the back of your hand your progressions and where you need to go with the ball in certain timings. Your feet will tell you as a quarterback. Just being trained in the system progression wise, your feet will tell you when you need to get off something or need to get past something. Other than that, we're trying to replicate pressure and guys rushing you throughout practice so we're able to step up and really avoid the rush while staying on our timing and throw the receivers open."

As a quarterback is there any adjustments you have to make playing in this type of altitude?

"Not necessarily. It probably affects everyone but it doesn't change too much for anybody. Just be ready for it."

How do you carry your momentum from the second and third quarters against the Colts into the game against the Broncos?

"Just continue to stay aggressive throughout the game. Start the first quarter a little faster and put some stuff together. There was some third downs where we had opportunities to make big plays on and convert and we just didn't do that early on in the game and started to pick it up second and third quarter. Needed to just continue to stay aggressive in the four quarter, get through my progressions and make plays on the edge. If we can do that for a whole game, the result is different. I think if we can do that this upcoming Sunday we can come home with a win."

How would you feel about seeing RB Dameon Pierce getting the ball more?

"It would be great. Anytime you can open up the running game and attack them on the ground, it opens up a lot in the pass game. It also wears down their defense when we're consistently picking up four, five-plus yards in the run game. That's huge for the offense and that's huge for the momentum of the game."

How difficult is it to determine the line of being conservative and aggressive late in the game when it comes to making decisions?

"It's within the game. That's what we get paid to do, to dance on that line, when to take a shot and when to be smart with the football. Anytime when you talk about stuff like that, you're never exposing the football to the defense. You're always being smart in that regard and the shots will come in with how we're calling the offense, how we're game planning against them throughout the week. Situationally, there will be time to take chances, but it's never blatantly exposing the ball to the defense. It's something that's not smart to do."

What are some ways you're going to try and make WR Nico Collins involved in the passing game?

"Game plan stuff. He has routes. He has individual routes on the backside as the X receiver, where we see him matched up with somebody one-on-on we trust that he's going to win. There's other stuff where he's just going to be built into a concept as really the first one, two or three progressions. There will be organic ways he'll get the ball and he'll make big plays for us."


What concerns you about playing the Broncos secondary?

"As the offense, we look at it as what can we do and how detailed we can be. We'll worry about the opponent when it comes to game day."

Can you talk about the challenge of facing Denver's secondary?

"You talk about guys that have been playing at a high level for a while, Patrick (Surtain II) coming into this league playing at a high level early on. You look forward to those types of matchups, great defense, but we've got guys who can play too. We look forward to the matchups."

After watching the film, how can the team get better for the next game?

"Practice. That's what we usually practice for is being able to talk through some of the things, but also be able to go out there run at full speed and be able to get on the same page."

Do you think coming from a football family has helped Broncos CB Patrick Surtain II?

"No question. Any time you're around football your whole life and you see your family playing, I think that's huge. Hopefully that's my son one day and his brothers. No doubt."

Does practice allow the team to work on correcting miscues or other things that come up during the game?

"No question. Obviously, you're trying to practice all the looks that you can. We know on game day, some things change up. Being able to just be on the same page and be able to think the same will help us be able to execute some of those that we missed."

Can you talk about what TE O.J. Howard was able to bring to this offense?

"Anytime you get a tight end that can go out there and make plays the way that he did helps the whole offense, no just from a passing standpoint, but from a run game standpoint as well."

Does the altitude in Denver affect your preparation for Sunday?

"No, just one of those things. Like Lovie (Smith) said, we're going to do we do. I'm going to sleep with my nose covered tonight and breathe out of my mouth. Hopefully that helps me get ready for it."

What did you see from OC Pep Hamilton as offensive coordinator in Week 1?

"First game, I thought was great. I think at the end of the day, players have to be able to help execute. Obviously, he's hard on himself, so he goes back to the drawing board. We've got to be able to execute those little things, those small details and talk through them. You see that sense of urgency from him today which leads over to the offense."

As a receiver, what did you take away from the last game and the two-minute situations late in the game?

"I think the biggest thing is just the little details. I say that because that's what two-minute (drills) is all about. You have to be your best when your best is required. Some of those pre-snap penalties or misalignments, we have to be better at, help keep the ball moving at the end of the day. Being able to start with a positive play and keep that momentum going."

Can you talk about your teammates' attitudes and leadership when they take responsibilities for their mistakes?

"That's huge because everyone looking at themselves asking themselves what they could have done better. That's the type of attitude and mindset that you want, not just from your coach but your players as well. I think we've got that mindset as a team, and I think that's going to help us going forward."

Since you've played in the outdoor environment and the altitude in Denver, what goes into tracking the ball?

"I haven't thought about that. See ball, get ball. That's my mindset."

Can you talk about the importance of players who can play in a variety of roles on the offense?

"It's going to be huge. We've got guys that can play all over the board. The more guys that you can get the ball the better for your offense. No question. I look forward to that because we've got a lot of playmakers in the offense from wide receivers, tight ends, running backs. It's not all about me. At the end of the day, I just want to win. However we can do that, that's what I want to do. "

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