Keith Burns - Press Conference

Denver Broncos linebacker Keith Burns took time out to speak to the media following Wednesday's practice session.

Keith Burns

On what the special teams has to do to minimize the absence of P Todd Sauerbrun during the first four games of the season
"It's not really about minimizing. If the offense is not putting themselves in fourth down-and-long situations, forcing us to have to punt the ball, that will help. I think it's just about the guys knowing that he is not going to be there and that the guy who is stepping in has to go out there and do the job that Todd would do. I think that is the perspective we are looking at. The guys we have coming in, we have to ask them to just go out there and cover the ball for whoever is kicking."

On how disappointing P Todd Sauerbrun's suspension is
"It's always disappointing, but things happen. At the same time, Mike (Shanahan) has always taught us that we are always only one play from being in the game. Luckily, it happened early enough that it is something management could deal with and the front office could get another guy in here that can perform. From that benefit there is a little bit of leeway, but at the same time someone can still do the job the same way Todd would do if he was here."

On whether he looks forward to going down the field and hitting someone
"Yeah, you have to. It's all about a guy's mentality preparing, and you have to really know what your role is. My job is to make sure the young guys are in the right place and knowing what to do. A lot of times, they come out of college really not knowing how to even play on special teams. At the same time, with a veteran like myself, we know how to do things around here so we take a second and try to show them the right way to do things and hopefully they can follow through."

On how a lot of NFL players don't like to play special teams and he does
"Like I say, everybody can't be the household names, and I think I'm good at what I do because that's all I get to do. Until my number is called on defense, everybody's seeing what I can do on defense when I go in there and get the job done as if (linebacker) Al (Wilson) has never missed a beat. From that perspective, I think that helped me get some longevity and the leap that I have. At the same time, I enjoy doing what I do. Football is a young game and at the same time, I am young at heart and that is the feeling that I have always had coming into training camp."

On his favorite hit
"I do not really have a favorite hit. I think every hit is a good hit for me. It's always as good as your last hit. I think that every hit is my best hit."
On being a ball-hawking linebacker
"I would say it's all about wanting to be around the ball. Everybody has the same opportunity that I have—it's just that my want (has) to be a little bit more is more than anybody else's. I think I have some of the techniques from being around the NFL and being a veteran doing what I'm doing as far as the coverage game and the blocking game. That perspective helped me in getting on blocks and getting off blocks and getting down there and making a play whether it is on punt or kickoff."

On being in the media guide for having three different numbers
"I do not know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. It's always nice to be wanted in this league and I take it from that perspective. At the same time numbers really don't make me, I feel like I make the number. So if I do not like 51 this year I will change it to something else."

On the importance of special teams
"A lot of teams don't make the effort to have just the special teams practice, but here it is really a big deal. For Mike (Shanahan) to take time and give our coaching staff a special-teams practice is saying a lot. Special teams is like that third wheel that many people don't notice when their driving on a motorcycle. Offense has the front side and defense has the back side, special teams are that third wheel. We keep it balanced. At the same time, it gives a lot of young guys, who are not getting a lot of practice reps in OTA's and training camp, it allows them to be able to see and slow things down and knowing where and when they are supposed to be and when to do things on special teams regardless of whether it is kickoff, kickoff return, punt or punt return. It allows them to learn what they are doing."

On whether he would like to return a kick or punt
"I have. Look in the media guide. I have returned a couple of kickoffs before. I don't know about punts, but I think there were a couple kickoff returns (7 for 67 yards). I just do what I can to help the team win and to keep it in that perspective. Whatever it takes, I would be willing to do."

On how he has been creating turnovers the last few days of camp
"Taking care of the football is important. For me, that is the most prized possession on the football field. I think the more times we can take it away from our opponent's offense, it allows our offense to have the ball giving us more opportunities to put points up on the board. In my perspective, the more stiff we get, it is always going to benefit our team. I think you have to learn in practice so it carries over to the games."

On whether he gets mixed feelings on a returner's ability to catch the ball
"No mixed feelings. Like I say, things are going to happen because we don't really factor in tipped balls, hits from behind and stuff like that. We just look at it as a turnover. I think our offense takes a lot of pride in taking care of the ball considering what the turnover ratio was last year and the defense especially. What we do is try and go out here strip the ball, get interceptions… Whatever. We do what it takes for us to get the ball back for our offense."



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