Coach's Corner - Josh McDaniels 11/25/10

Check out what Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels had to say about the Thanksgiving Day preparations, leading up to Sunday's battle with the St. Louis Rams at Invesco Field.

On the coaches' schedule this afternoon
"We have to plan for tomorrow. We'll plan for tomorrow's practice, but we got ahead on Tuesday. We stayed late Tuesday to try to game-plan the things that we normally game-plan on a Tuesday. So, we're already well ahead in that regard. We'll plan practice when the players are gone and then make sure we're all set for tomorrow with the scripts, cards and things like that, which we need to take care of and then everybody can get out of here at a good time and have the rest of the days to spend with their families."

On whether he'll be able to focus on his family today
"I will today, there is no doubt about it. I'm sure that's the way everybody is. This is a great day for us — we talked about it this morning in the squad meeting, that we're fortunate to be practicing and/or playing on Thanksgiving Day, because it means we're doing something we enjoy doing. There are a lot of people that I know football is a big deal (for) on Thanksgiving, and we're happy to have one another to celebrate it with and when we leave, I'm sure everybody will spend the day with their families, as I will."

On LB D.J. Williams
"We weren't in pads (yesterday), we weren't banging around or anything like that. He's fine in that regard — we weren't going to hit this week coming out of the Monday night game. Hopefully we'll be good to go, in terms of clearing all the tests and that and he won't have any recurring symptoms."

On S Brian Dawkins' game against San Diego
"It's football — I think players never intend to make a mistake and never intend to have a game where they don't play as well, but I think that's just being human. It doesn't matter if you're old or young — we had young players that played well two weeks ago too and didn't play well on Monday night. Everybody looks for an excuse or a reason why a performance could change in a short time span, but the best thing I can say is if you look at our team, that's pretty much what our team has done. We've kind of went up and down and then, players do the same thing."

On CB André Goodman's health
"I think each situation is different with each player. You can use the past as some kind of measuring stick for what you may see coming up in the future, but I think there have been plenty of examples both ways where a player has been very healthy through most of his career and then all of a sudden hits a patch where he just can't stay healthy. And then, there have been other players, where they've struggled to maintain their health early and then eventually got to the point where they played a long time. He's a good example of that, because he did have some issues prior to two years ago, had a really good season two years ago, had a good season for us last year and has hit a couple of bumps here in the road, in terms of his health this season, but I don't think you can really say that each situation is going to play out the same. We'll try to use all the information that we can. That's one of the reasons that I know André wants to get out there and we want him to get out there too. Because, he wants to prove it to himself and we know what we have with him as a person and a player and we want to see him come out there and be successful again. We haven't lost faith in any player due to an injury, so we're going to maintain that stance and we'll allow him the time to do that."

On why the team has not placed TE André Goodman on injured reserve
"I am not a doctor. I use the information that (the doctors) give me, and if they say that he is going to be healthy enough to perform and play and help us in a certain number of games then we maintain that stance. I certainly don't make those decisions on my own."

On game planning against Rams Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo
"Getting ready for Steve's defense is not fun. It is a huge challenge, and I think in that regard, you embrace the opportunity to try and go against somebody who I consider one of — if not the best — one of the very best game planners, strategists and defensive-scheme coaches that there are in the league. I have a great deal of respect for him. We have had some very interesting games in the past, and I would expect Sunday to be no different in that regard. There are always things that you are going to see that you have never seen before. He does a great job of understanding your scheme and then breaking it down on you. So, we have kind of taken the (thought) that he has our playbook this week, and we better make sure we understand that he is going to try and take advantage of the little things that may hurt us from a scheme perspective. But, it is exciting; you are never really far from the next question in your mind of what he may do. We are certainly going to practice some things — we have looked back, not only this year, but years prior. We have watched both of the (Patriots') games from 2007 (against the N.Y. Giants) because, again, he has some success doing some things against our scheme that we may see again. We are going to relish the opportunity to try and coach and play the game against him and his scheme and their defense and we will see what happens Sunday."

On re-watching Super Bowl XLII
"I think this is a situation where it makes sense to go back there, because there are some things that certainly they found to take advantage of, and I think the schemes are still the same. The players are obviously different on both sides of the ball, but the scheme itself is very much the same for them and for us. Just trying to make sure you cover your basics and don't let something happen two or three times this week that may have hurt us then."

On whether he anticipates CB Syd'Quan Thompson playing on defense vs. St. Louis
"Yeah, I think ‘Syd' is practicing at a number of different spots. He will play in the kicking game for sure. He is practicing in the nickel and the dime, he is practicing at safety and at star and at corner — we always give him some corner reps, but right now he is a jack of all trades and trying to master some o them. I love the attitude he has about doing that because he never gives you the feeling like it is too much, which for a young kid and a young player to put that kind of burden on him is pretty remarkable."

On whether WR Eddie Royal will return kickoffs
"It could be Eddie Royal. We always kind of gauge Eddie's availability as a returner based on a combination of the offensive game plan, how much he is playing, and that dictates whether we would use him on kickoff returns and if we needed to sub him on punt returns. So, there are a lot of things that go into Eddie's overall use in the game. Some of that is we take him out on offense to make sure he is fresh for return opportunities sometimes too. Eddie will be in the mix for sure."

On TE Richard Quinn
"He has kind of really worked in now and we have been playing more and more the last few weeks. He has also played in the kicking game for us, but he is learning from one of the better ones in this league, and I think that is one of the things that we try to do is manage (TE) Daniel (Graham) through using Richard, and (TE Dan) Gronkowski has certainly played his fair share too. But, when we are in a single-tight (end) set, Richard has had some opportunities there. He is definitely playing in the two and three-tight end sets. But, we have tried to limit some of Daniel's practice reps and the things that Richard practices well we have gone ahead and let him continue to do it in the games. So, I think that has been very productive for Richard and for Daniel."

"To me, whenever you are a rookie playing, that position is not an easy position to learn, because it's not like playing offensive line, where you're a blocker and it's not like playing receiver, where you're a pass catcher. You're basically doing everything — you're run blocking, you're pass protecting, you're running routes, you're reading the coverage, you're having to see the different points in the running game and adjust your course and who you're blocking. So, that has always been one of those positions where — at least in my experience — that if you have somebody there that a tight end can learn from, it's always better, because there are a lot of little things that go into being productive at that position. I think that Richard is just taking his normal course — he played some last year for us and he's playing more and more now because I think he's more ready to play, mentally — physically, he's always been capable as a blocker, but I think mentally now, the game has slowed down for him, he's able to see things differently and I think that's a credit to him and Daniel."

On whether WR Eric Decker will have an expanded offensive role this week
"Yes, we only have so many (healthy receivers). So now, because of the way the rotation was prior to (WR) Demaryius (Thomas') injury, ‘Deck' was usually more a swing guy and ready to go if we needed him — played some earlier in the season in the Jets game and a couple others. I think that this week he'll certainly factor into the game somewhere on offense. I don't expect us to play an entire game and not have him go in the game offensively and play something for us. So, he's learning two spots and he's going to need to be our next guy in, no matter what happens — if somebody needs a blow, he'll go in the game. He went in the game the other night (at San Diego) too. To his credit, he really doesn't have one spot. He has multiple spots and it'll be interesting to see if he can help us and make some impact plays for us."

On WR Eric Decker's progress through the season
"I think Eric has a very bright future. I know that his health and his ability to stay out there was kind of similar to Demaryius' in training camp and then when he had his opportunities, he made the most of them and did a good job of playing multiple spots. He's really done a good job for us in the kicking game. There aren't many rookies that you would give the responsibility of being the personal protector on the punt team — we've done that with him. We've also made him a wing on the punt team, which is not an easy position to play. He's on the kickoff team, he's on the kickoff return team and he's learning multiple spots at receiver. So, Eric contributes in every way that he possible can. He's ready to go every day in practice. He gets plenty of reps out there and he does a good job with them. He hasn't let us down in a game, which is a big thing for a rookie, when he has all that responsibility on his plate. I think Eric is just going to continue to go up and we're excited to have him."

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