Coach's Corner - Josh McDaniels 8-29-10

Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels found plenty of things to be positive about but stressed the team still has a lot of work ahead of them. Check out the full transcripts

Opening Comments
"We talked about a few things this week coming into this game – one was trying to match their physicality. We knew that Pittsburgh would certainly play that way and we really thought the test would come in the running game – on both sides – and then the kicking game and how we'd handle ourselves there. In that regard, we gave up a few too many big runs, but we continued to try to continue to establish the running game offensively and got a few there that popped out. I thought we really kind of controlled the field position all night with what we did in special teams so that was good to see. Defensively we continued to stop them in the red area early, which is kind of been a good trend that we've started here in the preseason, and we're going to have to continue to build on that. Offensively, we did some good things, but kind of inconsistent we think is the best way to describe it. We converted on some third downs early in the game, but kind of ran out of gas there in terms of what we could do on third down. All in all, I think that's a good football team over there in that locker room. They're physical, they play kind of the same style that we're trying to play and I thought our guys kind of stood up there to the challenge and fought them toe-to-toe and it's something to build on."

On putting QB Kyle Orton back into the game in the second half
"At that point we kind of gave him the halftime to kind of get his bearings a little bit and it was just a smarter decision to probably wait and hold him and that's all it came down to."

On the offensive line
"I thought we pass protected pretty well. I thought again, the line of scrimmage wasn't always pretty but we didn't go backwards a lot and negative runs are something that Pittsburgh creates a lot of. We focused on winning first down this week and trying to get four or five yards a pop on first down. I thought we had some runs that did that. (RB) LenDale (White) hammered it in, in the red zone too behind some decent blocking, but that was something we planned on doing – (OL) Stanley (Daniels) going left guard, (OL Zane) Beadles at left tackle. I thought they handled themselves admirably the first half of the game. We'll kind of take a look at it and then make our decisions on what we think is best going forward."

On the outside linebackers opposite of Robert Ayers
"I thought there were some good things – (Jarvis) Moss did some good things – got into the pocket a little bit. We lost the edge a couple times in the running game – I think that was more than one different player that happened with. (Jason) Hunter and (Baraka) Atkins both played in there too, plenty, so it's hard to tell at this point. You spend four quarters either yelling or praising all three of them at times so I think they did some good things. I think ultimately it'll probably be something similar next week on Thursday and see kind of how that goes and how that plays out, but (there is) probably still a lot of football for us to play with those three to see exactly how we want to go in the regular season."

On whether he'd prefer RB Knowshon Moreno played prior to Week 1
"I think that's always best for a running back – same thing with (RB Correll Buckhalter) – to get hit before they actually go on to a regular-season game. But, if that's not the best thing for us to do, the smartest decision to make, then we'll probably hold off on that. We're going to practice this week – we'll be in pads on Tuesday and we'll see if we can bang one or both of them around if they're ready to go by then. We don't have a timetable yet but both of them are getting close."

On the run game
"Like I said, the line – I thought we did a decent job at times. Again, this is one of the best run defenses in all of football in the last decade. You're not always going to have a bunch of pretty runs against this team and I thought we tried to continue to stick them in there and our guys made some plays and we kept them out of the backfield. I think the negative runs – something we talked about avoiding – and I think we did a decent job of that early."

On whether the quarterback rotation was planned
"Yes, it was going to go in that order because Brady (Quinn) got all of (the repetitions) last week. We weren't even sure we were going to play Brady in this one, depending on how much time Tim (Tebow) had. And, with Kyle (Orton) not coming back out after halftime, we just felt like we had enough time to go ahead and get both of them in there and it worked out that way."

On QB Tim Tebow's performance
"Up and down, you know. We talked about third down – he had two opportunities on third down to make good throws or good decisions and one ended up in an interception and the other one ended up in an incompletion to (WR) Eddie (Royal). We've just got to make more of those opportunities on third down. Quarterbacks in this league – if you want to stay out on the field and continue to drive the ball, you've got to make good throws and good decisions, good reads on third down and those two plays kind of stood out. I thought he battled though, ran the huddle well and made some good throws. (Tebow) moved the ball and then made a good check down there in the red area on the touchdown throw to (WR Eric) Decker. Some good, some bad – plenty to coach off of."

On DL Ben Garland's status with the Air Force
"He's still here, we're still here. We've kind of got it set up – without going into it a whole bunch – he's kind of going back and forth and then we'll make our decision here after Thursday."

On QB Brady Quinn's performance
"We're going to watch the tape. Again, there are a lot of things that happen out there and sometimes the quarterback ends up being the beneficiary of some good play or on the negative end. We'll evaluate the tape and have a better idea here as we go forward tomorrow."

On CB Syd'Quan Thompson
"A positive one (laughing). Every time he gets an opportunity, he makes the most of it and I think that's what you want a rookie to do. This guy started 52 straight games at (University of California) and I don't think you do that unless you have instincts and have a knack for getting to the ball and doing some good things out there. He's shown ability to be a decent punt returner and he seems to find whatever is there and hits it. (He's) hard to tackle – made a big interception tonight. (The) biggest thing to me is that he keeps standing out in the kicking game – on the kickoff team, punt team – he's made some big tackles down there and our kickers have kicked the ball well so (it's given) him an opportunity to go down there and cover it and he's done a good job so (I'm) very pleased with his performance and he continues to standout for us."

On not getting players action in the preseason due to injury
"I mean, we can only control what we can control. That's the hard part about it, but the fact that we can't put them out there – or at least we haven't been able to put them out there – is something that we didn't have any say on. Again, we're getting ready for the fourth preseason game this week and if they can play, they're going to play – there's no question about that. We've played them last year in the fourth preseason game and that would be our plan going forward right now as we go into Minnesota. We mentioned earlier – (RB Correll) Buckhalter, (RB) Knowshon (Moreno) – if they can get hit, get banged around a little bit there, I think that's big for them before we go into the first game of the regular season. I thought it was good for (RB) LenDale (White) tonight."

On whether CBs Syd'Quan Thompson and Perrish Cox have outplayed CB Alphonso Smith so far
"I wouldn't necessarily agree with that. I think they played more (cornerback) because (CB) Alphonso (Smith) has been inside playing in the nickel spot. I think all three of them – I think (CB) Cassius Vaughn has done some very good things too. Cassius has made a bunch of plays in the kicking game and done some good things at corner too. I think that's a group that we're real excited about. It's a young group of corners behind two veteran players who set a great example for them and I think what that tells me is that they're learning, they're paying attending to (CBs André Goodman and Champ Bailey) and they're getting better every day. I think it's a competitive situation, which is what we wanted, and I think they're all trying to make their case to be on this team."

On QB Tim Tebow not running the ball at all
"Like I said, we're not calling plays for him to run the ball – that's just the bottom line. I don't know what his statistics were, what his numbers were. When he went in there, we wanted him to throw the ball from the pocket, we wanted to do some things and test him, see how he did, see how he handled it and none of the things that we were doing were designed scrambles or designed runs and I told him too – if he scrambles again, get down, you know – that would be better for all of us (laughing). I thought it didn't look like he was trying to (scramble) either – (Pittsburgh) isn't a team that really gives you a great opportunity to (scramble) anyhow. They rush a lot down the middle, they try to keep you in the pocket and force you to throw the ball from a pocket that's closing in around you so the opportunities were probably pretty limited too."

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