Coach's Corner Pt. 2 - Josh McDaniels 3/23/10

Denver Broncos Head Coach Josh McDaniels meets with reporters at Tuesday morning's AFC Coaches Breakfast in Orlando, Fla. - Check out the full transcripts - Part 2.

On how similar the Broncos' offense is to QB Brady Quinn's at Notre Dame
"In talking to him a few times, he certainly knows the base of our offense. The terminology is, I would say, very close. Not exactly the same. Our offense has evolved since (former Notre Dame head coach) Charlie (Weis) left in 2004. Charlie's offense, I'm sure, evolved in a different way. We weren't together. Not that it veered off path significantly, but I think the basis of the terminology, he probably knows 85 percent of the terms and the words we use and the routes and all those different kinds of things. He was coached by the guy that really taught me. I think that's something that's going to be a positive for Brady. I don't think it's going to feel like a fish out of water, certainly, in terms of knowing that system. Again, I think that's why it's a good fit for us, because I think that gives him an opportunity to really go in there and compete and see what he can do. I think that will make our entire quarterback room better."

On dealing with restricted free agents
"We're in the same boat, everybody else is. We certainly went through the process when we placed the tender on them. Some of them I've talked to, some of them I haven't. I think that's a normal process now. They're doing their thing, they're working out on their own or they're rehabbing on their own, they're relaxing and they're getting ready for the next season in their careers. It's not something that I think you have to have a daily conversation with all your players. This is the time of year where they look forward to trying to just go ahead and work on their craft, their techniques, their conditioning and all those kind of things. They have contact with the coaching staff some. Some of them I've touched base with, and some of them I haven't."

On if he has spoken with WR Brandon Marshall
"I reached out to Brandon at the Pro Bowl and exchanged a message with him there. I'm not in a hurry to do that."

On whether players will sign offer sheets
"There's nothing we can do. We did what we did with all of our restricted free agents, we made those decisions, we placed the tenders on them and the process is out of our hands at this point."

On if he is surprised with how restricted free agency has gone so far
"I didn't really listen to all that in terms of expectations. I think our focus in the offseason is on trying to do everything we can to improve our football team. We're going to work hard at trying to improve our system. We're going to try to build our team the best we can in all the different methods that we can use, and then focus on the draft until April. Once May gets here, it will be time to start on our process of what we're going to do with our players, our scheme, how we're going to fit everything together and that process of trying to improve everybody."

On if he has a timeline for when he expects all of the tendered RFAs to participate in offseason workouts
"I have no timeline for them. I understand this process. It's something that we can't mandate and no coach can. Like I said, we are going to try to do the best we can with what we've got."

On WR Brandon Marshall
"I think you take all of your players that you feel like are part of your team—and I do feel like he's a big part of our team—and we're going to plan that way. I think we're not naïve to the fact that something could change and if that happens we have to make decisions and we have plans for those. Some of those things we can't control and if we spend too much time right now focusing on what might happen and what might not happen then I think our focus is kind of distracted from where it needs to be, which is trying to have a great offseason program. That's been our focus now since a week ago, on Monday, and (we) are really trying to improve our team any way we can over in the weight room—with our conditioning program, our lifting program—and let that be the focus right now. Ultimately when football kind of picks up a little bit in May in terms of our players being there and scheme and all that stuff then we have to worry about how we have to adjust. To me it's no different than having a player and then all of a sudden he has an injury. You have to deal with that. There is nothing you can do about that. You can't predict those, you can't control them. All you can do is adapt to what you do have and try to play to the strengths of your players that are there."

On other players on the roster that can play Marshall's outside spot
"We move Brandon (Marshall) around, we move (WR) Eddie (Royal) around (and) we move (WR) Jabar (Gaffney) around. Eddie is certainly going to do more moving this year than he did last year; there is no question about that. We started on that process late last season. We didn't really get to get into it because Eddie had the concussions at the end of the year. It's something (where) we've got a lot of players on the outside that fit in in terms of what we do with them. So if something happened then obviously we have to ask more of somebody else, but I think there are a lot of players that have some experience there doing some of those things. Certainly they would have to pick up their load."

On moving WR Eddie Royal around in different spots
"I think that's' something that we've always done with our outside receivers. Eddie can play in the slot, but Eddie played more ‘X' than anything else last year. We are going to be able to flip him over. He wants to be able to do that, to have that flexibility. We would like to be able to have him do that as well. It's something that Jabar was already able to do because he had been in the system before and we tried to put Eddie more at the ‘X' spot. I think he's a smart player, a versatile player (and) a guy that we need to do better with. We didn't do a good enough job of getting Eddie involved in the offense in certain games and we have to do a better job of that. He is certainly capable. He is (at the facility) already, (he is) ready to go and is having a good offseason so far. We are looking forward to him having a better year than he did last year and we need to do our part."

On not addressing the offensive line early in free agency
"There are a lot of ways to do that and free agency is one of them. You have to go through your process and evaluate what is the best for your football team. (General Manager) Brian (Xanders) and his group have done a great job with that so far. I think that anytime you go through an evaluation you have to also put a price, so to speak, on ‘What is this player to our team? How is he going to fit in? What is the cost of having him on our roster and on our football team and trying to make us better?' If you feel like it fits your team and it fits what you need to do to get him then I think it's definitely an option. If it doesn't then it's something (where) you make a decision to go in another direction. There is still the draft left. There is still a lot of time left for us to improve our team in a lot of areas and certainly we will let that all play out."

On whether he would play a young player at center
"There are a lot of times where you end up playing a younger player on your terms. Sometimes you can get stuck playing a player where maybe you have to hurry along the process and try to get him ready to go, but (OL) Russ (Hochstein) has played center in this league. (C) Dustin Fry is a guy that I liked coming out of college. We added him to the roster late in the year obviously and we will see kind of how that all plays out. We are not concerned right now. (G) Seth Olsen has snapped the ball before. We will see how it goes. We are not panicked about it, certainly, like I said, our focus is on the offseason program and we will worry about that as we go along."

On placing a tender on WR Brandon Marshall
"We are focused on what we can do to try and improve our football team right now and that is not our business. We placed our tender on him and that's our part of the whole thing. If and when he is here that will be great and it's the same thing with all of our RFAs right now. (QB) Kyle Orton is there at the facility working out. We are not unique; there are a lot of teams that are going through the same thing right now."

On OL Russ Hochstein's injury rehabilitation
"He's coming along. There is no timeline or projection on when he will be ready to go. The injury happened late in the year, which is always unfortunate, but he's working hard and I think it's going in the right direction. Hopefully he will be back sometime in training camp, if not at the beginning of training camp."

On if he has expectations of the club's tendered RFAs to attend OTAs
"I have no expectations on that at all really. If they are there, great, and if they are not then we know that we have to focus on the other players. We are going to focus on the guys that are there and that's not a negative towards anyone who is not. We just think it's an opportunity for us to build our team and hopefully they see that the same way. I think that's really the response we got last year, and hopefully we get the same response this year."

On playing San Francisco in London on Halloween
"I think it's exciting. It's certainly exciting for our organization and the Broncos fans. It's an opportunity for a lot of us—I've never been overseas and I think that's the case for a lot of our players and staff. It's exciting for us to have to opportunity to go over there and represent the National Football League in London. We have some people—(Assistant to the Head Coach) Mark (Thewes), my assistant, has been over there. He's seen the stadium, he's seen our facilities. He sent back pictures and talked about how wonderful the experience seems like it's going to be for all of us. We've also talked to some of my friends in New England that were there last year. They enjoyed the experience thoroughly. Again, it's an exciting thing to do. Anytime you get to go and play in a different venue like that—it kind of feels like a playoff-type atmosphere, I've heard. We're excited about going there and joining the 49ers and competing there in London. There is some uncertainty, but I think more than anything else there is a lot of excitement."

On how the players have taken to Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale
"I didn't go down and poll the team (laughing), but I certainly think he's a great coach. He's a great teacher, a great communicator and somebody that they trust and some somebody that they respect dearly. I know he had a profound impact on a lot of our players, the linebacking core for sure. Assistant coaches don't just touch their position groups. They have an opportunity to affect a lot of different people and I think that's what Wink did. I think that's what kind of stuck with me—that I noticed that. You can see when they have any effect on a player or players and he did. There is a lot of support for him, certainly. He's already doing a phenomenal job and we're excited about it.

"I've talked to a few of them during the process. (S) Brian (Dawkins), (OLB/DE) Elvis (Dumervil), (ILB) D.J. (Williams), (CB) Champ (Bailey). I've talked to a lot of the veteran players and you certainly respect their opinion. They see things differently than coaches do sometimes and that's a valuable opinion to have when you have a player that understands the league and understands what it takes to be able to give you that input. We got (input) from a lot of players that really understand what we are trying to do here in Denver. He's doing a great job. I think our staff is well on its way to improving. We have a lot of things we can do better and we've started that process already."

On if Martindale will still coach linebackers
"He is going to be involved with the linebackers certainly. But (Assistant Linebackers Coach) Roman Phifer did a great job for us last year. ‘Phiph' is going to take on a little more responsibility. We added (Defensive Assistant) Craig Aukerman to our staff, another young coach that has some familiarity with Wink from in the past. We will split up those duties and responsibilities but he will definitely be involved, kind of like I was involved with the quarterbacks. As we see the need or the reason to change that then we will do it as we see fit."

On if he will be more involved with the defense going forward
"I don't think I'm any more involved than I was last year. I think last year was probably going to be very similar to this year in terms of, we discuss what we think the best thing for this week, how we think we should attack this offense, what we think we need to do or not do and then how we are coaching certain things. We watch all the film together as a staff and discuss the pros and cons of what we did and I think that's not going to change. The difference for us now is, last year we were trying to put in what were going to do. This year we already have it in and now we're tweaking it or trying to make it better or change something here or there. That's really the difference, and it feels different. Last year there was a lot of coaching the coaches and that process is pretty much done. Now we are trying to make the system better. The coaches are more informed, obviously, about what they are doing and there is a lot more input on what we should do because last year there was more learning going on than anything else. That's a good feeling. We've had very productive conversations about our scheme changes. We are going to do some, but the base of our foundation is basically the same. We're not changing that at all. Wink is comfortable with it, so am I, and I think our players and staff will be too."

On defensive changes
"The foundation of our defense and the terminology of those things will be the same. I think in every offseason there are always some changes that you make to things in your system. We've changed things in our offense (where) players will go ‘Why did we change the way we call that again?' Well, we felt like it was the better way to go. There are reasons to do that and we've done that defensively so far this offseason. We will continue to do that, but that nothing that no player has never gone through before. We're looking forward to growing the defense, improving he defense and really kind of mastering our understanding and fit with the defense. It's our second year with the coaching staff and our players. We've certainly added a few things that Wink is fond of that I feel very good about that we will see in September and October. I do know this: he will be an aggressive play caller. It will be an aggressive defense. We may blitz a little bit more, but that's his personality and I want him to be himself."

On if he talked to QB Kyle Orton about acquiring QB Brady Quinn
"I talked to him right then and I told him this is a competitive thing as far as adding competition to any spot on our football team that we could. This had nothing negative to do with Kyle Orton. We are just trying to improve the competition at every spot. To me, our conversation was quick, and to me, he embraced the concept of competing with another player. I don't think any player would shy away from that. Certainly, I think that our quarterback room is young and competitive and I think that is a good thing for our football team."

On what he told QB Brady Quinn about his role
"I told him the same thing we tell every player which is ‘You've got to create your own role. What you do on the field, what you do with your opportunities—that's what's going to tell us what we need to know and then your role will be created from there.' That's the same thing we tell every player. No different."

On QB Kyle Orton
He is our starter. There is no question. Like I said, he started 15-16 games, he did a lot of things to help us win games last year, and again, I'm excited because this is going to be—once April 2 rolls around—this will be his second calendar year in our system. He hasn't even been here a year. We are looking forward to his improvement and his progress. He is going to know the offense so much better this time around than he did last year. That's going to give us more flexibility. It's going to give him more comfort in terms of what he can do at the line of scrimmage, what he can do with his plays, what he can do with his players. I think anytime you have that feeling that you know the offense, you know the players, you know what they are going to do, you know what to expect—I think that's obviously going to help your performance and I would look for that from Kyle. I would look for that in most of the players in the second year of our system."

On QB Brady Quinn's familiarity with the Broncos' offensive system after playing for Charlie Weis at Notre Dame
"I think that's something that will benefit him now that he's here. I haven't had any conversations with (Kansas City Offensive Coordinator) Charlie (Weis) about Brady. I didn't four years ago and I didn't again this year. It's not something that we have kind of been pursuing or anything like that. I think obviously the connection there is that anytime you get a player that knows—I don't know what percentage, but let's just say 80 percent of your terminology—that obviously is going to give him a little bit of an edge in terms of catching up. Last year was a lot of teaching. Hopefully he can have an opportunity to do a little less (learning) because he knows the terms and those kinds of things. I think he can get in there and try to compete and make our whole football team better. That's a good thing for him. We talked to a lot of people at the (Scouting) Combine, obviously, and I saw (Notre Dame QB) Jimmy Clausen and I threw out a term to him and he had a big smile on his face... It's the same language, so it's just something that hopefully he will feel comfortable with. I‘ve already talked to him about a lot of things like that and I think he does. I think he's excited to be able to try to do that without learning a whole new playbook all over again and try to go in there and do the things that he needs to do to compete."

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