Coach's Corner - Josh McDaniels 9/19/10

Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels discusses today's 31-14 win over the Seattle Seahawks, the role Kyle Orton played in the win and the team's incredible success rate on third down. Check out the full transcripts.

Opening comments
"Let me give credit to our players – they had a great week of practice and I think the preparation that they put in, the practice, the days that we went out there and worked hard really paid off today. On defense, offense – kicking game was still a little sloppy, certainly, but some of the things that we needed to do, we did. We wanted to try to force (QB Matt) Hasselbeck into some tough throwing situations. We thought we had a chance to get some turnovers and our guys made some plays when they were given the opportunity and then the offense capitalized on those. Real happy, thrilled for our team to get a good home win in our first home game and we look forward to trying to build on it next week."

On the team's success on third down
"I thought the key was trying to get it into 3rd-and-under-5. I don't know how many of those we had, but it had to be 12, 15, somewhere in that neighborhood. We didn't want to play the game in long-yardage situations. You never do, but against this team, the schemes that they've used when it was 3rd-and-10, 3rd-and-8 – we felt like it would be especially difficult to convert. So, again, we tried to keep the ball 3rd-and-2, 3rd-and-4 – in that range and that really allowed (QB) Kyle (Orton) to operate in those situations very effectively. We used four receivers on the field a lot in those situations today and we were able to create some mismatches in the secondary. "

On the Seahawks' pass rush
"We didn't really give them a lot of situations where they could really just kind of tee off on us where Kyle had to hold the ball a long time. When we threw the ball early in the series on first down or second down, we used some play-action passes where we were hoping that the run fake would maybe hold the rush a little bit and all the third downs seemed like they were 3rd-and-3 or 3rd-and-4, where the pass rush really shouldn't matter a whole lot in that situation because the ball is going to come out pretty quickly. I think that also contributed to the lack of difference that their pass rush would make and again, they just go back to, the guys executed the game plan, we got it into those 3rd-and-short situations and we kind of minimized the pass rush."

On QB Kyle Orton's completion to WR Eddie Royal following a lateral from RB Knowshon Moreno
"We've tossed the ball a little bit out of that formation in the preseason and now we tossed it again last week and everybody just seems to flow, obviously, when you toss the ball – they run to the sideline. We tried it against our defense this week without telling them that it was coming and our defensive players all said, to a man, ‘You've got to use that in the game, it's going to work, there's no question about it.' It worked against our defense, so we had confidence in it. We never go into a game and run a gadget play where we haven't practiced it a number of times. We practiced it a number of times this week, it worked every time, and I think our players had great confidence that it was going to work today. They all knew we were going to use it early and we were really excited that we got to put it in, in that situation. I wish (WR) Eddie (Royal) would have scored, but we got it in anyway."

On finishing the game strong
"I think, really, when we got it down into the red area, we ran the ball – it wasn't easy, it wasn't easy – they've got a bunch of 325-pound men out there too. We didn't go backwards, but it took us a couple of times, a few times, to get it in but I think our guys executed in the passing game well (in the red area). (WR) Demaryius (Thomas) made a nice play against the corner there for the last touchdown and (WR) Eddie (Royal) made a good play to get it in on the first touchdown. They gave us time to throw when we chose to throw (in the red area) and our guys were just determined and ultimately got it in (the end zone) in the running game. Again, I think even when we get into the red area, the biggest key is to stay in positive situations – 2nd-and-3, 2nd-and-4. We were down there on the goal line, 1st-and-goal from the (1-yard line) and didn't get deterred because we got stopped once or twice. We still kept at it and (RB) Knowshon (Moreno) got it in that last time. We practiced really hard at those situations to try to finish drives and I thought that was a key today."

On whether continuing to run the ball in the red area after being stopped initially was a gut-check for the team
"It is – we ran (the same play) twice and there are other plays on the call sheet and they were looking over(to the sideline) and Kyle went like this (making arm gestures), ‘Give it to me again.' I think any time a quarterback is saying that, you've got to trust him to tell the huddle, ‘We're not going to come off the field until we get it in on this.' (Seattle) knew what play we were running – they knew what play we were running, and they lined up the way they wanted to line up to it and we still got it in, so it feels good."

On WR Demaryius Thomas
"Nice to have him out there finally. He's, again, I think you saw a little bit of what we think he can be. He's a big-bodied guy that, I think the last time, the last play they got up there to try to jam him and he just kind of shrugged the guy off. A couple of the times they'd play off of him and gave him a lot of space, because again, it's a big man that runs fast. I think he's one of many that made some good plays today. (WR Jabar) Gaffney was huge on third down, (WR) Eddie (Royal) was big early in the game, (WR) Brandon Lloyd seems to make big catch after big catch down the sideline now, the last three or four weeks. I think we're just going to keep incorporating those guys into the offense and I'm not really worried about where it's going. I have great confidence in all of them and Demaryius showed when he's healthy, he fits in well with that group of guys. "

On Thomas' versatility
"He's a bigger-bodied guy but he's a good route runner and I think that's important. I think there are some bigger receivers in this league that really, their route tree is very limited and we've never considered him one of those players. We've always tried to give him as much as he can handle. He's still working off a little bit more limited menu than the other guys because he hasn't been out there as much but hopefully if he continues to practice and continues to get out there and get the work in, that will soon be equal. I have great confidence in him being able to run lots of different routes and he showed that versatility today."

On the interceptions by CB Champ Bailey and S Brian Dawkins
"I thought they were huge. Obviously (Seattle was) down there in the red area and to come away with a turnover – at that point, you're hoping to stop them for a field goal and to be able to turn the ball over – I don't remember exactly what the exchange was, if we went out and scored on either one of those or one of those – but to change field position, deny points and then go down there and put up seven points on them, I think that's really a big thing. That's a huge swing in the game and any time you turn the ball over down there in the red zone, you feel like it's a missed opportunity and we worked really hard at our red-zone defense this year. It's an area we struggled at some last year and I think our guys have really kind of taken what we've given them there and it paid off today."

On the offensive line
"We've got to find a way to pound our more effective yards in the running game – that's not a criticism of anybody, I think that's a team thing. We ran the ball a ton today, I just don't know – we weren't as effective as we'd like to be but I think they kept (QB) Kyle Orton clean, they allowed him time to throw the football and they didn't allow too many negative runs and had a couple of plays on some screen plays. They got out there and made some key blocks for (WR) Demaryius (Thomas) and (RB) Knowshon (Moreno) (on) a couple of those plays so those guys – they're working hard. They know it's not the same five every week but that doesn't seem to hurt their effort and the way they go about practicing and I think the longer we play, the better they're going to be."

On taking a 14-point lead
"I would say that when you have – that's a point in the game, I think, as a team, when you're up seven early in the game and you have an opportunity – whether we ran that (QB Kyle Orton pass to WR Eddie Royal following a lateral from RB Knowshon Moreno) play or not – we had an opportunity to go in and try to make it a two-score game early in the game and I think you have some urgency at that point to really try to finish that drive and make it either a 10-0 or 14-0 game. To be able to run that play in that situation, it was kind of perfect, it really was. In terms of the timing, the score, the situation, where we wanted to run it on the field – it was about exactly where we wanted to run it on the field also – the right hash mark, it kind of set up exactly the way we wanted it and our guys executed it."

On what he calls the flea-flicker pass play
"(Laughing) Toss-238-gator-throwback. See, it's too long for you to write in your column (laughing)!"

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