Q: Talk about the play of Nick Greisen.
A: He played very well last Sunday. He has been very consistent. He also played on special teams. He played a lot of plays in the game. He played well in the game; he played well on special teams. He certainly did a good job.
Q: How much better does your team have to play to beat a team with a winning record?
A: You have to play better than they play. They (Denver) have done a good job. They haven't turned the ball over in four games. They seemed to be able to do whatever was necessary at home. They are 4-0 at home; they are 1-1 on the road. They have an outstanding running game. Their defense features multiple looks with multiple blitzes coming of the secondary. So they put the same kind of pressure on you on both sides of the ball, if you will. They run the ball well. They set up their play action passes, their nakeds, all of the things they like to do off of those particular looks. And then on defense they pretty much come after you with your offensive team having to prepare for a number of looks and to handle that kind of pressure. So to win the game you have to stop the run, do something about the running game to allow you to be able to defend other areas, and you have to be able to run the ball yourself into multiple looks and go ahead and pick up the various blitzes they will throw at you in terms of being able to protect the passer. They have also upgraded, I think, their special teams outfits. Their punter, Todd Sauerbrun, is punting the ball extremely well. Jason Elam, their field goal kicker, the return man, Darrent Williams has done an outstanding job with both punt returns and kickoff returns. They have a fast team that covers well. So you have to take all of these ingredients and go ahead and at least neutralize and play better than they are in those particular areas. The lack of turnovers, of course, that is something that we strive for. We are going to have to force the issue there in order to get any because of the fact that they have done such a good job with that. We are plus-10, they are plus-6. So both teams have done pretty well in that particular area. They are a good football team and you are going to have to play superbly to defeat this team.
Q: Are their blocking schemes the biggest reason they have been able to be successful with different backs?
A: They have a unique scheme in the way they go about their business with their run game. They feature two backs who have right now done an outstanding job, both of whom have long runs. Bell has a long run in each of the last two games. But their offensive line is a very good, very hard working group (that works well) together. Their zone scheme is designed, at somewhere along line, to cut you off to create a lane for the runner to pour up into. They do a good job with that.
Q: Is it difficult to prepare for a team with two backs like Bell and Anderson who are very different in their style?
A: I think they are different in style and that is part of the difficulty in preparation. Bell is a slasher with speed. Both backs are good, outstanding runners, obviously. They have both got the ingredients and the yardage and what have you to stand up for that. Anderson has a 44-yard run and Bell has a 68- and a 55-yarder. So they both are capable of breaking off the long run as well.
Q: RE: Plummer's streaks of good and bad and the fact that he is on a good streak
A: I think they are playing very well. They are utilizing all of their assets. They are running the ball well. They are setting up play action. They are using Plummer on the perimeter. He creates momentum for himself. They are running some of their talented receivers well down the field. He has been accurate with his ball deep down the field. This is a team that has taken advantage of things, too. When you are a football team that is winning, obviously you take advantage of what the other guy does. The Washington game, for example, was an interesting game to study because we know Washington. They fumbled the ball early. Denver put it in the end zone. Denver ends up with a blocked kick later in the game and they end up scoring again off of that, which is really the margin of difference. Washington played very well both defensively and offensively. Denver was able to find a way to win and they did win. And they did the same thing the other day against New England – posting a big lead, playing well, not turning the ball over, not giving any opportunities to light a fire for the other guy. They have done a good job, as I said, with their kicking game – keeping people backed up. So they have done a good job.
Q: RE: Frustration with secondary not coming up with interceptions
A: There certainly is the desire to want to be able to make those kind of plays that you are describing. We were in position a couple of times the other day and unable to make the play on the ball. And that is bothersome. But we just have to keep working, keep scratching, keep working, keep getting better.
Q: Despite the turnover last week, is Brandon Jacobs a major upgrade in your short yardage game from a year ago?
A: I think time will tell on him. We are certainly very much excited about his preseason and the things that he has done on special teams. But he hasn't had enough opportunities with the ball under his arm. We are excited to think that he will be and can be. I think it is just going to take some time.
Q: You are thin in the linebacker spot, are you thinking about doing something there?
A: For now, we will look at it daily. Hopefully both of these people with ankles will be back.
Q: Barrett Green said that he might need surgery.
A: I don't know what he said. He has been unable to perform with consistency and we all know that.
Q: RE: Defensive backs' inability to make plays on the ball…is that a lack of aggressive play
A: Well, we would like to make plays on the ball better, to be in better position. We would like to be tighter in our coverage. We would like to challenge, if you will, the receiver and the ball in all situations. We would like not to give any quarter, whatsoever, in terms of competing with the receiver or with his release with the ball in the air. I would certainly like to see those things improve.
Q: Is that a coaching point?
A: You have two young guys back there. You are constantly working with them and coaching them and teaching them. When you do get some opportunities under game circumstances to point out good and bad, they have to learn from that and develop some confidence. The confidence is something that will help. We all know about resiliency, particularly at the corner position. But that comes with time as well. A guy that comes right back after getting beat, a guy that can be the same kind of person as far as competitiveness, no matter what the circumstance is, you are striving for that. We have made some strides along those lines. We have to make more.
Q: Defensive coaches have a real fear of getting beat deep for the quick strike, which you have avoided. Is that part of the issue?
A: It certainly is. Knowing who you are going against, knowing what their strengths are, the particular individual, not allowing them to do the things that you have seen them do coming into that particular game. And yet, then being able to react, if you will, in a better fashion to something that becomes an underneath type problem. Although we still have to understand, as a young guy, that a lot of times people are trying to work to set you up for that double move. If they get you out of position, here comes that double move. So there are a lot of things for young people to have to understand. For example, when (Corey) Webster comes in and plays in those nickel and dime situations, a ball may not come his way for three or four times during the course of the game and yet he is expected to be in position to make the play on the ball if it does. So, there is a learning curve here and we have got to continue to enhance it. It would help, obviously, if in situations where we were not particularly rushing a lot of people, if we got pressure on the quarterback. It doesn't take a lot of strain to look at this team coming in here this week with two rookie corners that have had to play a lot of football. For two games this year they were the starters when Bailey could not play. The pressure part of that thing is very important, as well. Whether it comes from four, or five or however you want to design it.
Q: What is your biggest problem with your third-down defense right now?
A: That is a real issue that has been there since the beginning of the season, and particularly in the long yardage areas. It is amazing to me that people can – with the distance that has to be covered when it is third and 12, third and 13, that we can't do a better job of defending. It certainly is discussed an awful lot, brought to a lot of people's attention. It will continue to be. We changed…it is not the same coverage, we don't sit there in one picture for the other guys. It is just that we have been vulnerable. The question being on occasion, "Is there enough pressure being exerted on the quarterback?" Sometimes he stands back there for a long time. Under those circumstances it is not good. So I think it is a combination of that – pressure, coverage. But definitely an area which is, if you want to use that word, ‘frustrating,' that is it.
Q: RE: Broncos success with talented running backs. Do you attribute that to the system or being extraordinarily lucky?
A: They have done a good job of amassing that talent. There is no doubt about that. They felt strong enough to be able to trade Portis away after an outstanding year. So they have a very good system. They have a good scheme. They either draft, trade for, or through free agency, find the people to run the ball in that scheme.
Q: RE: Being a little more patient with the running game.
A: I think we need more snaps. I think we need more than 1 of 11 on third down. I think that we need to be able to keep the ball so that we can – everyone wants to look at what happened….. Why aren't we talking about the Rams game where we had 100+ yards rushing with 70-some plays. That is what we need. We don't need to go back to 50 plays a game and then try to figure out at the end, "Gee, you threw it this many times and you ran it…." That is not the problem. The problem is: make some first downs so we keep the ball and have an opportunity to be able to run the offense, to be able to rush the ball, to be able to create the balance. It is just not – that is the way we have played throughout the year. It wasn't too bad until this past weekend when everyone decided that for whatever reason it is not good enough. So we need to be able to keep the football, make some first downs. We are averaging over 40% on third down. That is a playoff percentage going into last weekend. To have one for 11 is completely unexplainable, to be honest with you, and certainly a reason why we had 53 snaps instead of 70 snaps or 65 snaps. So that, to me, is where it comes from. We have full intention of running the football with Tiki. We have full intention of doing that. Nothing has changed with regards to that. When we are playing the way we can play and want to play. So to me that is the circumstance. That is the reason. There is nobody sitting over there saying, "Well, gee whiz, we are only getting 50 snaps, so wait a minute, we have to throw it." No, that is not the way it works. The way it works is to try to create the rhythm that allows you do all of the things you want to do. And certainly you are not always going to have eight- and nine-yard runs. You are going to have to go ahead and work your way through some of those two- and three-yarders.
Q: So you consider that one for 11 on third down an aberration?
A: I'm counting on it, yeah.
Q: And do you stress that point?
A: No, I never stress that. Why would I talk about ‘one for 11?'
Q: When Brandon Jacobs gains the necessary experience, will the pattern of your run game change a little?
A: No. That question is so far…let's get this part of it taken care of first. At that point when….
Q: If he was ready to play now, would that be a bonus?
A: 21 is ready to play, too.
Q: But 21 doesn't weight 265 pounds?
A: But he does pretty good with what he's got. Right now that is pretty darn good for me.