Coach's Corner - Josh McDaniels 10/18/10

Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels discusses Sunday's loss against the New York Jets and discusses this week's preparation to face the Oakland Raiders. Check out the full transcripts.

Opening comments
"First, on the injuries — the only thing that I have to update as of right now is (WR) Matt Willis had a foot injury that will require us to put him on injured reserve. As we said yesterday, (the Jets are) a good football team. They deserve a lot of credit for the way that they hung in there and played. We had a specific game plan in mind — we wanted to try to execute it in all three phases. There are definitely some things we did well, but (we) didn't make enough plays early in the game to put ourselves out in front when we had the opportunity, or late in the game when we had an opportunity to close it out or at least take a bigger lead or finish the game there defensively. Again, congratulations to the Jets. They're well coached (and) they played hard. I thought our team kind of played them neck-and-neck in all three phases. In a game like that, you're going to make some good plays and make some mistakes and that's what happened. It came down to the end and we're going to have to try to build on this — the improvements that we made in some areas and then try to fix some of the things that we haven't done so well and head into our division this week against Oakland."

On OL Zane Beadles
"There were definitely some things that he did well yesterday. A young player is always going to come out of a game with things that he can do better and I think we'll see those and work hard to try to fix some of those things. But, I thought he played tough in there (and) did a decent job in pass protection against a team that really gives you a lot of different looks and brings different types of pressure. I thought those guys held up pretty well in there against one of the most difficult teams to prepare for and then also one of the most difficult teams to play because of how physical and aggressive they are too."

On the competition at right tackle
"It'll be competitive. Like I've said, every situation on our team that has competition, we'd like to let it play out — that's just another one of them."

On the performances from the team's rookies this season
"I think it's still early in the season and early in their careers, but yesterday we had a lot of young players out there playing in a big game. I thought (CB) Perrish (Cox) held up pretty well. (CB) Syd'Quan (Thompson) played well in his role — intercepted a pass, made a couple tackles in the kicking game, was aggressive in there in the slot when we used him in the nickel and dime packages. The two offensive linemen (Zane Beadles and J.D. Walton) — they made some mistakes but a game like that wasn't too big for them yesterday and they played hard and at many times they played well. (WR) Demaryius showed up again — I think the more he can practice and the more he's out there on a regular basis with us getting the work that he needs, the better he's going to be. (QB) Tim (Tebow) made another contribution in a different way, but I thought that gave our team some energy and some production in that package we have for him — and then (WR Eric) Decker was playing a bunch in the kicking game, played some on offense when (WR) Eddie (Royal) went down. (S Kyle) McCarthy was out there, (LB Kevin) Alexander was out there in the kicking game as well. So, there are a lot of young players that were in there playing important roles in one of the three phases or in some cases, two."

On whether the package for QB Tim Tebow can be effective without him passing the ball
"We certainly can throw the ball with him out of it. We haven't yet, but I think we can't do the same thing with it week, after week, after week. I think that's something where if you're going to use it — it's kind of like the Wildcat or the (Jets WR) Brad Smith stuff that they were using. I think the defense knows that if it's a quarterback back there, you certainly have to be ready to play the pass and that's would be certainly the case with Tim. We'll see how it goes. I know it gave us some good plays yesterday. We'll probably continue to tinker with it, including his ability to throw the ball too."

On why the package for QB Tim Tebow fits the game plan better against certain opponents
"I think it's been ready to go in most instances. I think there are certain situations where the game is going a certain way and you feel good about going ahead and putting it in there because the momentum of the game or the score or what have you is in our favor and it feels like it is the right thing to do. The other thing is the rhythm that (QB) Kyle (Orton) is in. I think you take that into consideration — I know it's not much different than having him hand the ball off, but in some ways it is different and Kyle has played pretty doggone well this year and I think that's kind of factored into the whole thing as well. But, we're going to continue to push that a little bit and see what happens with it. Now everybody has kind of seen us do different things from it and we have to try to find a way to be creative and see how far we can take it and continue to make it productive. I don't want to just do it just to do it. If we can continue to be productive with it, then I think it makes sense to do it."

On keeping QB Kyle Orton on the field when QB Tim Tebow comes in the game
"We have thrown the ball with Kyle when Tim has been in the game. Tebow lines up somewhere else, so if the defense wants to play one specific call when Tim goes into the game, then they have to play that call when Kyle is the quarterback, too. If we know what the defense is, then we can call the best pass play to take advantage of something they are doing — that would be a reason to consider doing that."

On what he calls the formation when QB Tim Tebow is in the game
"We have all kinds of names for it. We don't have one specific name for it. Yesterday, there was ‘Trick,' ‘Blimp,' ‘Raven,' ‘Steer' — I mean we have all kinds of different things. ‘Blimp' is the one with all the big fat guys in the game."

On the stretch of the schedule against Indianapolis, Tennessee, Baltimore and the New York Jets
"They are all good teams — there's no question about that. We will play another one this week in our division. Every game is that way I think. If you play really well and they play really well it is probably going to be a close game, it doesn't matter who the opponent is. If you play well and they don't, you might have a chance to get out in front of them a little bit. If you don't play well, it really doesn't matter who you are playing — they are going to have a chance to beat you. So, our approach is we have to continue to get better and improve. We talked a lot about that this year, about focusing on trying to improve during the course of the season and play our best in November and December. That opportunity is still out there for us to do, and we have to focus on trying to build off of some of the good while we are correcting some of the bad. Hopefully, we will play our best football late in the year."

On the competition in the AFC West
"I think there's opportunity. I wouldn't use the word encouraged because we are focused on what we are doing. Yes, we have six division games left, which is an opportunity for us in the last 10 games of the season to kind of control what we do within our division. But, I think it still comes down to what we are going to do from now until the end of the year. If we keep getting better and keep making progress in some of the areas we are not proficient in at this point, then I think you are going to have a better football team in November and December, which is our goal. We are looking forward to having an opportunity to play our divisional game this week, because I think we are one of the few teams in the league that hasn't done that yet."

On OL Ryan Harris
"I think it's a combination of a lot of things. I know he had an injury. I think it's a competitive situation where (Harris and OL Zane Beadles) have played in regular season games for us and they compete in practice hard. If it makes them both better, that's a great thing for our team and yesterday I think Zane didn't play perfect but he held up in most instances."

On OL Ryan Clady
"I think he keeps getting better. I think that's the simplest way to look at that. I think he missed most of the preseason, most of those practices and I think as the season goes hopefully he will continue to progress in his play, his stamina and those kinds of things. He didn't' get all those practice reps that most other players got, so I think we are real excited with his attitude every week to try to come out here and work hard and continue to get better."

On his opinion regarding the NFL's pass interference penalties
"I think that's the rule in the game. I mean, it feels like an unfortunate situation either side of the coin. We got one of those calls early in the year. We were certainly happy and grateful the rule was what it was at that point. When it happens to you, you certainly don't feel great about the fact that it's a 46-yard penalty or whatever it is. But, those are the rules and we have to do a good job of playing the ball in those kind of situations, or not playing out of control and putting ourselves in that situation where they can get a pass interference penalty and move it half of the football field. So, it's a good learning experience for us in a situation where you hope you don't' put yourself in that predicament to begin with."

On whether players have gotten away from fundamentally-sound tackling in favor of helmet-to-helmet hits
"I hope not — I don't think there's anybody that's out there coaching helmet-to-helmet hits. I sure know we're not, and I know that I don't believe in my heart that there is anybody out there trying to hurt other players. I think that a lot is made of, ‘We should punish, we should punish (for helmet-to-helmet contact),' and in some situations — tell the player what to do differently in some of those situations. I think there are certain ones you can see and you say, ‘Boy, that was probably avoidable,' but then yesterday's — I'm not even sure that (S) Jim Leonhard made contact helmet-to-helmet with (WR) Brandon (Lloyd). It looked like it, but I'm not sure that's the case. It's hard to tell exactly what happened. I know he wasn't doing it with any bad intentions in that regard. He stood right up and said that — I was right there — (he said,) ‘Coach, I didn't try (to hurt him).' I appreciate that and respect him and (I think) in most instances, that's what's happening. Now, I think there might be one or two instances where you see a guy that you say, ‘Boy, he had a chance to do something differently.' But, I don't think (helmet-to-helmet) hits are being coached anywhere and I think players have to be smart in those situations and try to do the best thing to try to get the player down or make contact with receiver but certainly, let's not try to hurt anybody."

On the improvement in the running game
"I thought our guys up front really did a good job of staying on the double teams up front. In some situations, we didn't even block the linebackers that were off the ball, but that's OK if you're moving the down linemen four or five yards off the ball — sometimes you don't need to block the linebackers because they can't find the ball either. I know we had quite a few runs where our guys did a great job of creating an entry point for our backs. The backs made a few really nice runs — (RB) Knowshon (Moreno) had a really good cutback run. We had a couple other (nice) plays in there. The other thing too — there are some hidden yards in there that weren't just pound it right at the defense. We had the flip play to (WR) Eddie (Royal) when he came in motion and went into the backfield, (QB) Tim (Tebow) had a couple of different things and then (QB) Kyle (Orton) had those three scrambles where that was the perfect scenario. (The Jets) were playing man coverage, nobody was looking at him and he took off running down the middle of the field. The running game was definitely better up front and I thought the backs tried to run hard and hit it where we wanted to hit it — which is again, I think a sign of improvement and something we can build on going forward. The biggest thing for our football team is that we have to continue to maintain our ability to stay balanced with the score. Yesterday it was close or we were ahead most of the game, so you run it 37 times. If you fall behind by two touchdowns early in the game, whether it be (in the) second quarter or third quarter, that can be a problem, in terms of your ability to stay balanced. I think we have to play more games like we did yesterday and then keep getting better."

On WR Demaryius Thomas and QB Tim Tebow
"I think they made a contribution to our team. I hope that it's not about individual production or statistics. I think that Tim certainly felt like he had an opportunity to affect our team in a positive way and I think that any time he gets a chance to do that, I'm sure he's going to take full advantage of it. I think he showed that he can do some things to help us and I think that was the big thing for us. I think our team now sees that we can be productive in that mode and I think that they believe that he's definitely going to be able to play a role to help our football team going forward.

"Demaryius went in there and made a big play and I think that he has proven to himself and to everybody else that he can do that. I think his big thing now is that we have to keep him out there six, eight, 10 straight weeks in a row as best we can. Hopefully that means he's healthy and then continues to build off of some of the good things that he's already done this season. But, I think both guys have confidence that they can help us."

On RB Knowshon Moreno
"The first (fumble) — the defender did a good job, stripped it. We still have to protect the football in those instances. Anytime that you're a (running back) and you don't get a chance to play or you haven't played in a few weeks or however long it is where you face real contact, ball security, run after contact, those kinds of things — I think you slowly start to build back into that and I think that's probably where he's at. He did some good things in the running game, he made some extra yards that probably wouldn't have been made had he not seen something and he showed some of the lateral quickness that we like. I think he's going to continue to get better the more that he's out there too, and I think that's what we need to be focused on."

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