**Courtesy of the Broncos P.R. Staff
HEAD COACH JOSH McDANIELS
On if QB Kyle Orton’s performance was his most impressive this season
"He didn’t play perfectly, certainly, but I think that (New England) is a defense that gives you a lot of different looks to prepare for. (They) certainly gave us some things during the course of the game that Kyle adjusted to pretty well. Some things we didn’t practice because you couldn’t practice them. Going against a defense like that, (New England Head Coach) Bill (Belichick) always challenges you with different things. Kyle did a nice job of when he did get new things, he limited his mistakes, got us into some good situations and stayed ahead on the down and distance, for the most part, for the whole game."
On what he observed about Orton before acquiring him in a trade this offseason
"Kyle has always been a smart guy. You could see that very clearly on the film, any film. Put on any film of Kyle Orton and you will see a smart football player that has always had a lot of responsibility at the line of scrimmage identifying the defense, getting his team into the right situations. That is what we ask him to do here, and he has done a nice job of it."
On if Orton could improve from his performance last year with Chicago
"I think there is always room for improvement for every player, but I think Kyle has certainly gotten better, more used to our system. He has played better and better in it each week. To me, if you have got a player that works as hard as Kyle does, which I think we have a lot of those kinds of players here, you have a chance to get better everywhere. Hopefully, we coach him the right way, and he learns more and more about what we are doing. Hopefully, we can teach him about the other team’s defense, and he digests all of that information very well. My hope is that the quarterback can always play better than what he has played and continue to get better. That is such a hard position to play a really solid, perfect game. It is almost impossible. If you are always shooting for that and striving for it, I think that you are always seeing that there are things that you can do better and that there is definitely room for improvement. I think Kyle is in that boat."
On if Orton can become an elite quarterback in the NFL
"I don’t know how ‘elite’ quarterbacks are judged. I don’t really know that. All I really care about is that he can help us win. I know he can do that. I know he has done a nice job of running our offense and our system. We put a lot on his plate, and he handles it. Quarterbacks are judged with wins and losses, touchdowns, how affective he is at running our offense and not turning it over. So far he has done a nice job, and (we will) continue to try to push him to get better."
On San Diego QB Philip Rivers
"This guy is a great player. There is no denying that. (He is) probably playing the best of any quarterback—We have played some good quarterbacks, and this guy is playing right up there with all of them. (He is) a great deep-ball thrower, a fabulous deep-ball thrower. (He has) great touch, and they have great deep ball threats: (San Diego WR Vincent) Jackson, (San Diego WR Malcom) Floyd and (San Diego TE Antonio) Gates. You can go on: (San Diego WR Chris) Chambers, (San Diego WR Legedu) Naanee. You can see his toughness every time he is back there in the pocket. The pocket is clean a lot of the times, and there are plenty of times where he stands in there and takes a shot and delivers the ball exactly where it needs to be very accurately. To me, that is a sign of great toughness. I know he is a good leader. I played against him a bunch of times. He played with a torn ligament in his knee in the AFC Championship game a couple years ago. He is a quarterback, and he is a tough guy. He is a winner. He is playing extremely well this year. He has done a lot for their offense, and he allows them to do a lot with how good he is."
On the Broncos limiting opponents’ long-passing plays
"You try to play sound defense, and part of playing sound defense is not letting somebody behind you. As simple as that sounds, any weekend you turn on a game in the National Football League and you are going to see guys behind people. It just gets back to doing what you are supposed to do. If you are responsible for the deep part of the field, then you have got to get back there. This week will probably be our greatest challenge in that area. They get behind people. (San Diego Head Coach) Norv (Turner) is kind of a master at figuring out exactly how to manipulate the coverage to get people down the field. (He) creates a lot of softness in the coverage, creates a lot of mismatches at times. We are going to have to do a great job of carrying out our responsibilities and making sure we don’t give up a bunch of big plays because I think they have got 12 or 13 passes of over 25 yards already this year, which is number one in the league. They lead the league in yards per pass attempt. When they throw it, they are throwing it to gain a bunch of yards. It is not a dink-and-dunk offense."
On S Brian Dawkins playing every snap defensively
"The way I feel about it is if he is one of your very best players on your team—I would play him on offense if I could. There is no reason for him to come out. He has got fresh legs. He gets everything lined up back there. He is a very integral part of what we do in the secondary. He doesn’t want to come out, and I don’t want him to come out. I don’t think anybody in our locker room wants him to come out either. He is playing at a very high level. To me, to take him off the field at any point is kind of silly."
On Dawkins freedom in the defense
"He has freedom within the scheme to (make decisions), and he almost always seems to do it the right way, if that makes sense. We don’t say, ‘You can blitz even though we didn’t call a blitz.’ There is nothing like that in there, but when he is supposed to get down in there in the front, sometimes he doesn’t show it early and comes down late. He disguises very well. He has got a great sense of timing, which I think is very important to a safety. You can’t be a good blitzer if you are always going to show your hand too early. Dawk does a nice job of that. He does a nice job of showing down and getting back. It is part of what we do, and he is very good at it. Hopefully, he will continue to be good at it for a long time."
On San Diego RB LaDainian Tomlinson
"The guy is a six, seven(-time) Pro Bowler and will be one of the best of all time To me, he and (San Diego RB Darren) Sproles are a nice combination together, different but similar in terms of the way they can hurt you. They have been behind in some games and have had to throw it more, probably, than they would have liked. I see both of them as very dangerous, effective runners. He can still get to the edge. He has done that already this year. (He is) dangerous out of the backfield and tough in between the tackles. They have got two guys that are relatively shorter backs that sometimes are hard to get a square hit on, sometimes hard to find behind the line of scrimmage. They do a great job of kind of hiding and picking their spots. Regardless of who the back is, it is going to be a tough challenge for us this week because they are a little different than what we have faced."
On addressing the Broncos about last year’s game at San Diego
"I did not have to say anything. Just coming in here and trying to do what we could do to put the best football team in September, that is all we did. I have no idea how much better we are in terms of comparing from last year. I really wasn’t a part of that team, and we have changed it so dramatically since then. We are two different teams, I would venture to say."
On San Diego’s defense
"(They bring) a lot of pressure, a lot of pressure. They have got good guys that blitz, too. When you are brigning (San Diego OLB Shawne) Merriman and (San Diego OLB Shaun) Phillips (San Diego ILB Stephen) Cooper and (San Diego ILB Kevin) Burnett, those aren’t just small linebackers. Those are big guys, so you have got to stand in there and battle them and stand in there and sustain your protection. They create a lot of negative plays in the running game with their blitz packages, too, which puts you into third-and-long, which they are very good at. They may have the two best corners that we have played all year. (San Diego CB Quentin) Jammer and (San Diego CB Antonio) Cromartie (are) first-round picks, get their hands on a bunch of balls. They have had, I think, 50-some interceptions in the last two seasons—their team has. Cromartie certainly has had a bunch of those. Jammer was second or third in the league in passes defensed. There are not many weak links, if you will. They strip the ball out. (San Diego Defensive Coordinator) Ron Rivera, I coached against him when he was in Chicago. (It is the) same thing in San Diego. They cause a ton of turnovers. Ball security is going to be an issue. Blocking the blitz is going to be an issue. Finding some space to throw outside on the corners this week is going to be an issue. We know we have got our hands full. It is a good active defense. I think they are getting back healthy and everybody being out there. We are going to have our work cut out for us."
On potentially entering the bye in Week 7 with a 6-0 record
"I think it is an important game because it is the next one. It is our second division game. On the road again, we haven’t played a division game at home yet. I think it is also important because San Diego has had our number here for the last few years. They have won five of the last six and average margin of victory has been over 20 (points). We know that. We understand the type of team that we are playing. I think the most important thing for us is we are going to play San Diego. We aren’t worrying about what is after San Diego or what it means for us three months from now. This is a game that we are going to be really excited to play. We need a great week of practice. We know what kind of team we are going in there to play against. They are very well coached. We have got to change the direction that this series has been headed in. It is going to be a great challenge for us."
QB KYLE ORTON
On Head Coach Josh McDaniels sticking by him since his arrival in Denver
"Yeah, it was really the first time that I have really had that. I know there was a lot made out of our first preseason game and everything, but just looking back, I am happy that he stuck with me and had confidence in me. That obviously does a lot for a quarterback."
On if he feels like the Broncos are a great fit for him
"I thought that from Day One this was a great fit for me. I had a lot of confidence when the trade happened. I was excited about the trade and excited for what I and we could do in this system."
On if he is confident in the offense
"I am, and I think that we should be as an entire offense because we did a lot of good things this week, but there was so much that we can improve on that if we make those plays and if we do the right thing, maybe the game doesn’t go into overtime or whatever. We’ve got a lot—we are doing a lot of good things and we are improving week to week. There are still a bunch of corrections to be made."
On being named AFC Offensive Player of the Week
"It was a special win. It was a special week. I guess (winning the award was) kind of topping on all of that, but certainly, just the excitement that we had after the win and all the hard work that we put into the week and all the preparation, it was certainly great to get the results that we did."
On the mental challenges of picking up a new offense
"Yeah, (it is) totally different from in Chicago. That is not good or bad. It is just totally different. It was a lot of work. It was the most that I have worked in the offseason. I think the trade happened on Thursday afternoon, and since that Friday morning, I haven’t really stopped putting myself in the playbook. I have still got a long way to go as just an overall comfort zone, but the more we are in it— and it is not just me. It was new for everybody. Everybody had to put in that effort. We have done a great job so far, and we have got a long way to go."
On the offense becoming natural to him
"(I am) getting close. It takes awhile, but I think for the most part, you are not thinking. You are out there and you are reading the defense and you are not thinking, ‘Well, what do I have this play?’ or ‘What do I have that play?’ That just goes into the work we put in on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I have never been around a team that has practiced so hard on those days and spends that much time on the field. The benefits are paying off right now."
On being a different quarterback than in Chicago
"I don’t think really all that much. I go about it with the same approach and whatever the game plan is for that week, I try to execute it. The coaches do a great job of letting each and every one of us know what our role is for that week. Whatever my role is, I try to execute it to the best I can."
On the game plan changing every week
"I think it speeds you along from week to week. Once that game is over with, you have to put it away and you have to move onto the next week because you are not going to have the same game plan. We come in on Monday, watch the film and get all of that behind us starting Tuesday. I haven’t thought about New England since it happened because you have got so much to do for the next week that you are just moving on. I just think you have got to do a great job of immersing yourself that week in the playbook and making sure that you’ve got that week."
On being prepared to play at San Diego on Monday night
"This is a huge week for us, obviously. Any time you play a divisional opponent, it shouldn’t be hard for you to get up for a game. Any divisional opponent is going to be a tough game. It is going to be a 60-minute game, and it’s on Monday night. I don’t think we will have any issue being emotionally ready to play this game."
On improving the series record against San Diego
"You want to establish dominance inside the division, for sure. Hopefully, that is on a year-to-year basis, but we are thinking about this game and really not thinking of all the implications. We just know it’s a division road game for us and it is going to be tough."
On fixing the Broncos’ difficulties on third-and-short
"Whatever it is—running the ball, passing the ball—just executing that play. We should be able to pick it up running the ball. No question. We have got a great offensive line. We have got great backs and we have just got to—in those situations, you can’t block them all. You have got to—my old college coach said, ‘You have got to fake a few. You have got to block a few, and you have got to run over the rest.’ We have got to do a better job in third-and-short, and that is if we are running it or throwing it."
On if he was aware of the public opinion of him when he played in Chicago
"Yeah, it is tough not to be aware of it, especially in a town like Chicago. You are going to know, but if you are talking good or talking bad, I don’t think they have got a very good idea of what my real job actually is. It doesn’t bother me one way or the other."
On the Chargers’ defense
"Well, I know Chico pretty well, (San Diego Defensive Coordinator) Ron Rivera pretty well from Chicago, and he bases his defense off of turnovers and creating pressure on the quarterback. They don’t want to get off the field. They want to score points. This is a defense that certainly thrives off of turnovers. When they get them, they win. When they don’t, it is tough for them. We are going to have to do a great job in pass protection, running right routes, me being accurate with the ball. Like all of Ron’s defenses, they strip the ball better than anybody that I know. We will have our work cut out for us, and I know we had six balls on the ground in the New England game. We are going to have to get that fixed in a hurry."
On his timing with WR Brandon Marshall
"I think we are close. I don’t think we have had an instance here for a few weeks where we were kind of off or anything. He has put the time in practice and in the film room. I think he is a special talent and has certainly caught up with the rest of the guys."
S BRIAN DAWKINS
On San Diego QB Philip Rivers
"I haven’t had a chance to play against him, but from everything that I have seen watching him on film—obviously, he has a very accurate, strong arm. (He is) very competitive (and) throws the deep ball just as good if not the best in the NFL as far as throwing the deep ball. He has the weapons outside to get (the ball to). We definitely, once again, have our hands cut out for us."
On if QB Kyle Orton looks like a different quarterback to him than when he played in Chicago
"Kyle wasn’t asked to do as much as he is doing now, I don’t believe. Chicago is predicated first and foremost and secondly on the running game. If they can get that going, then they will do a couple of things down the field and dump it off to the back. He is asked to do a lot with his talent and he has been able to show what he can do now—reading defenses, putting the ball where it needs to be, filtering through disguises and still being able to get the ball to the right person—he has really been able to expand his game with this offense."
On if he is surprised by Orton’s success
"I wouldn’t say surprised. I knew he had the talent because when we played them, it wasn’t a cakewalk. When you play against a guy, you have got to know what you are doing and be in the right place because he can put the ball where it needs to be. To be able to consume as much as he has been able to consume so early with this offense—it is not an easy one to pick up and I know you guys have heard that—for him to be able to do that."
On Orton’s demeanor
"He is a competitor. Kyle is a competitor. He wants to get that thing done the first time, especially in the game. He is wired up during the game. You guys probably don’t get a chance to hear it, but when he comes onto the sideline, he sometimes says a couple of things to me. He is pumped up by getting that ball back. Let’s just say it like that."
On the Broncos’ defensive success in the second half
"I think (Defensive Coordinator) Mike (Nolan) does a great job of coming in and letting us know what it is we need to concentrate on. Sometimes there is not a whole lot of X’s and O’s. It is just, ‘You know what technique we practiced all week. You guys aren’t doing it. How about we just buckle down and do your responsibilities. Do your job.’ A lot of the time that is enough to get us to where we need to be. Other times, we just know what we need to do as a defense, whether understanding the situation that we just came out of, missing tackles, and buckling down in that respect. We come out in the second half and we do our thing. We just need to make sure that the type of things that are happening as far as the 10-0 lead (and having to come) back (that) we don’t allow that thing to continue to happen."
On if Nolan makes all of the adjustments at halftime
"It depends on the situation. (In) situations that he needs to make a lot of adjustments, he has the knowledge and the wherewithal to tell us what we need to do, but when we don’t (need to make those adjustments), he does not. It depends on the situation."
On the Broncos’ potential
"As well as we have played in certain situations, (there have been) many mistakes that we have made as a unit that I can speak of. We have a lot of improvement we can do. We are playing with a lot of effort. We are playing with a lot of heart and enthusiasm and a desire for everybody to do their job on every play is there. Accountability is what I am talking about. From all those things being said, in Philadelphia that is what we did. We made sure we were accountable. We knew what we were supposed to do, and we didn’t take things for granted. This team, we are not taking things for granted. We are 5-0 and that is great, but the most important game for us is this next one. That is what we need to (do): approach every game the same way and put the same amount of detail into every game. If we continue to do that, continue to detail our work, continue to believe in what the coaches are telling us when we are in this position, then we have the potential to do what we need to do."
On looking back this past year and his future in football after his 36th birthday
"The only thing I reflected on is looking at my beautiful babies and my children and my beautiful wife and thanking the Lord for another year spending it with them. That is what I reflected on. My time in this game will come and I will have to hang it up, but it is not that time. I don’t even think about it right now. I am still able to do too many things on the football field for my team. (I am) very comfortable in my role. Mike (Nolan) is allowing me to do a lot of things. I am excited every Wednesday to see the game plan, to see what we are going to be able to do. All those things being said, I still love it too much, can do it at a high level. He still continues to bless me. I am not even thinking about (retiring)."
On the importance of winning division games
"Any time you play a division game, you want to, obviously, come out victorious because that is going to allow you to have your goals in the end accomplished. Every game is an important one. Every game we are facing different opponents that bring different things to the table that we have to be ready for, that we have to be on top of. There is no time for letdowns and obviously, there is no time for a letdown in this game. We are going into a hostile environment against a team that is feeling like they are not playing the way they should have been playing. I am pretty sure we are going to receive their best show, so we have to be ready."
On San Diego RB LaDainian Tomlinson
"I am seeing this cat making moves in the hole, making people standing in the dust. They are sitting there waiting for him to come to them and make a tackle and leaning forward and diving and he is no longer there. He is going somewhere else. As long as he is continuing to do that, continuing to make people miss like that, you guys can write about whatever you want to write about him. I know we have to be ready to tackle all of them, especially him."
On last year’s season-finale loss at San Diego
"This is a different team. I wasn’t here, obviously. I can obviously feel the pain in my teammates for those that went through it, but this is a completely different team. Our focus completely is on the fact that this is a division game, a rival game, a tough environment (we are) going into and trying to correct mistakes we made in this past game in order for us to have a chance of pulling out a victory down there."
On if he cherishes being the underdog
"I don’t know if you cherish it. I don’t mind being the underdog. (I) sure don’t, but either way, you have got to come to play. If we were the favorites, we still have to come play the same ball. If that is the only motivation thing that you can use for a game, then if (San Diego TE Antonio) Gates is not a motivating factor for me, if (QB Philip) Rivers is not a motivating factor for me, if (RB) LaDainian (Tomlinson) is not a motivating factor for me, then I am in the wrong business and I am on the wrong team. I shouldn’t be out there with these guys. You can use that a little bit if you want, but the main focus is on that talent that they have over there."
On being an underdog for the first six games of the season
"I have played a long time. I have been through it before. It is just one of those things. We are going to continue and climb this mountain. Whatever people are going to say outside—I have said this and I am going to continue to say it: whatever people are going to say outside of this locker room, whether good or bad, it does not reflect what we believe inside our locker room, what we can do game in and game out and the confidence we have in our coaching staff. As long as we keep that tight knit and keep the focus where it needs to be, underdog, favorite, whatever, it doesn’t matter."
On comparing Gates to Dallas TE Jason Witten and (Washington TE) Chris Cooley
"(TE Antonio) Gates might be the craftiest of them all. His movements are smooth. Witten and Cooley are very hardworking guys. They put (in) a lot of effort. Gates is just smooth. He is very smooth in his routes and his misdirection. His in and out moves (are) very, very smooth. This is a challenge, but it is a different challenge."