On the Browns' defense
"They mixed a lot of things in terms of their coverage. They pressured us heavily sometimes and then they dropped and once or twice nine guys back into coverage. When you are mixing those kinds of dramatic—that is a dramatic swing, seven or eight coming at you or two—you have got to be real smart and selective with what you are going to try to do. Sometimes, you don't have enough time to get the ball maybe down the field where you want to get it when they bring everybody. Then, you have got to be real smart when they drop out nine guys and you are going to throw it to somebody. In the second half, we caught them on some pressures there, picked up the blitz very well. We threw 37 passes and gave up no sacks. I thought (QB Kyle Orton) helped that out a lot in terms of his movement in the pocket. He bought some time on some plays where he needed to. He helped our protection out and was able to find some guys down the field, a couple of them on big third downs and one to (WR Jabar) Gaffney that we really needed there in the fourth quarter."
On reacting to Cleveland's two-man rush
"Be smart. Usually when they have got nine guys covering three or four, you don't have too many openings there. We practiced some of that because they had shown that before. It was, ‘just make sure everybody gets out when that happens and then try to give yourself and outlet.' (Orton) hit (TE Daniel) Graham on the sideline on one when they did that, and he waited and bought some time on the one when he hit (WR Brandon) Stokley in the red zone and Stokley got a first down. I thought he was very smart in those situations. Against a team like that, that is kind of the trick. They bring so much pressure at you that you are thinking you have got some things open quick a lot, and then all of the sudden they drop everybody out. The reason they do that is to try to bait you into throwing an interception."
On if Broncos in protection moved up field when Cleveland dropped extra defenders
"We had talked about them. If they all bail, then we have got to bail, too. We have got to get out of protection and get into the route and give the quarterback somebody to dump the ball to."
On the Broncos' transition to the 3-4 base defense
"The 4-3 really wasn't here. The way that they had played, the style and the guys, we just felt like it wasn't like we had a solid 4-3 defensive scheme in terms of our personnel to fit that scheme. In other words, why take a year and (transition gradually) when it really wasn't in place to begin with? We just said, ‘Hey, just make the change. Just go.' Everything from the first few weeks that we got here moving forward, we just said, ‘We are going in that direction, regardless, and it might not be perfect, but we are going to get it as close to perfect as we can get it by the time we start playing games.' It was that simple."
On the Broncos' personnel being a mixture of 3-4 and 4-3 base defensive players
"Mixture, but most of the guys here didn't have much experience playing in that system in the 3-4 system. The 3-4 they played last year was more kind of a hybrid, gimmicky type of deal. I don't think that it created much success when they played it anyway. We were coming in looking at it and looking at what we had and saying, ‘All right, let's go ahead and make the transition, move the guys that were ends in the 4-3, move them out to linebacker and then go ahead and start that process.' Everybody that we have brought in since then has kind of fit that mold: (ILB) Andra Davis, (OLB/DE Robert) Ayers and (ILB Mario) Haggan. (Haggan) was here, but the guys that we have brought in since we have made that transition are guys that we targeted and feel pretty good about."
On OLB/DE Robert Ayers playing in pass coverage
"He is mostly in, in sub, nickel and dime packages. He is working every week to get better and had a good week of practice last week. (It is) just a process for Robert like it is for most rookies."
On the Broncos' defensive success against the Browns
"We knew that they would want to try to establish (RB Jamal) Lewis, and I think we held him to two yards a carry. (We) really clogged up the middle nicely. (NT Ronald) Fields played well. (ILB) Andra Davis played very well. We had a lot of good plays inside with our front seven that really stopped that inside running game. They really never got it going, for the most part. We knew (WR Joshua) Cribbs was kind of a gadget or explosive type of a player for them on offense, and we really tried to focus on limiting his production. I think he had 26 yards on offense. They were a good screen team coming into the game, and we really didn't give up any plays on screens. We wanted to attack our left side, their right side of the offensive line, and that is where (OLB/DE) Elvis (Dumervil) really made a lot of his plays there in the second half. (We) did a nice job on third down. Obviously, when you don't give up any touchdowns, you did something right. They did a nice job forcing turnovers again, forced three turnovers."
On the secondary not giving up big passing plays
"It is a credit to the entire defense, though. It is not just the four guys on the back end. The pass rush is part of that, putting them in long-yardage situations where you can play a little deeper is a part of that. Then, being smart with who you are playing against is a part of that. When you have got (Cleveland Browns WR) Braylon Edwards or guys that can go down the field and can make plays like Cincinnati, you have got to make sure that you are deeper than they are, and you discourage the quarterback from throwing (long passes). That is a defensive thing, and our entire defense has really bought into that and done that nicely for the first two games."
On his expectations switching to the 3-4 base defense this year
"You always expect there to be a learning curve with things where players are playing in positions that maybe they haven't played before. I still think the biggest thing is we have still got a long way to go and a lot of things to improve on. We have played two games. That is really it. We have done some good things. We have also made some mistakes that we need to fix, but there is a learning curve, certainly. We did not play a game yesterday where we didn't make a bunch of mistakes. We did. Fortunately, we got away with some of them, and we have got to work hard this week to fix them."
On OLB/DE Elvis Dumervil's move from defensive lineman to outside linebacker
"The biggest thing is most of the guys playing outside linebacker in this league have never played outside linebacker either. There are not that many teams in college football that play a (3-4 base defense). When you are evaluating players that are coming from college, you are looking at guys that played defensive end with their hand in the ground most of the time like Elvis did. You stand them up, and they still get to rush plenty on nickel and dime (formations) with their hand on the ground like Elvis did yesterday, and then, you stand them up on the end of the line of scrimmage. They have got to do a few things to do in coverage that they have maybe never done before, but we are not asking those guys to cover any spectacular player by themselves all over the field. We are not asking that of our guys. Elvis is just a guy that we know he has got a different skill set than a lot of players do. He is short with long arms. We talked about that last night after the game. He can be very troublesome to pass protect against because of it."
On ILB Andra Davis
"He is a great leader. He has got great work ethic, he studies as much or more than anybody else on our team (and) does a great job of showing our younger players how to practice, how to prepare. He has played in this defense before. He understands what is required of him: to be physical and to go downhill. It is not a jump-around-blocks defense. He doesn't do that. When you haven't played in that style of defense before, to see somebody like that come in and do it the right way, I think it is always helpful. Andra is eager to share any knowledge that he has learned over the last seven years playing this scheme with anybody that wants to know. He is just a veteran player that is just mature, a great leader and obviously, he has been playing well."
On the Raiders' front four
"They are big, physical, quick and disruptive. There are a lot of things that you could say about their front four and their team in general. They have got a really fast team, a lot of speed everywhere. They have got great size, and they are very physical. It doesn't matter whether you are talking about the front four, the receiving corps, the linebackers or the running backs, pick one group and they all fit into that category somewhere: big, critical fast or sometimes all three."
On WR Brandon Marshall not playing during an extended second-quarter stretch
"All of our guys are going to play. They know that. Through the course of the game and some of the personnel groupings, Gaffney took a lot of the single-receiver grouping plays that we ran. That is how we practiced it during the course of the week. During that stretch, I think there were a quite a few of those in there. There were some two-receiver groupings, but we were rotating in and out. That is just the way it goes."
On how a Pro Bowl receiver like Marshall remains off the field for so long
"We have got a lot of guys that deserve to play. That is how we are going to play, period."
On the keys to having a positive turnover ratio
"One is being conscious of trying to create them on defense. Look, (Cleveland) snapped the ball on the ground the one time and we fall on it. We don't practice that. Elvis knocked one out on Cribbs later in the game. We get an interception late in the game. It is practicing them, being conscious about trying to get them but being smart about it. You don't want to try to strip the ball and then let the guy run free and not tackle him either. Understanding the opportunity to go after the ball and not go after the ball is important. Offensively, (it is) just being very smart when you are in a crowd. Our backs did a nice job of really tucking the ball and protecting it yesterday when they got held up because that next guy when usually comes in, he is looking for the ball. It is just executing what you are supposed to do and being in the right place a lot of the time gives you a great chance to create turnovers. If you are making a lot of mistakes where you are not in the right position, you find yourself with very few opportunities to create them. Our guys were kind of in the right place and did some of the things that we try to coach them to do when they have an opportunity. We are trying to make a conscious effort on both sides to either get them or not give them a chance to create them."
On using WR Eddie Royal on kick returns
"We are going to use whoever gives us the best chance to have a successful return. That does not necessarily mean that will only be Eddie Royal. It could be multiple people."
On his involvement with special teams
"That was a good game for us to learn from in multiple ways. We had a couple of ball-handling situations come up in the return game, first of all. The wind was very strong as you look at it coming to our bench. We can cheat our returner a little bit more than what we did on a couple things. It hit the ground and rolled out of bounds. One was touchback on kickoff. For the kickers, it is the same thing. If you are going to get that tremendous cross wind, sometimes it is hard to feel good about starting it way outside the post, hoping that the wind is going to bring it back in. Those of you in this room (media) that are good golfers, you probably understand that more than I do. You have got to start out it a little bit wider and then you have got to count on the wind to do something with the ball. We did once or twice there, and then we happened to miss a couple left where we started it too far to the middle. When there is a significant wind, which yesterday's wind was, I thought, in the kicking game at least, we have to adjust to it."
Coach's Corner - Josh McDaniels 9/21/09
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