HEAD COACH JOSH McDANIELS
On the offense's performance the past two weeks
"I think we haven't sustained our ability to stay balanced in both games. We didn't run the ball very effectively in the Baltimore game (and) didn't run it very effectively in the Pittsburgh game. That always puts more pressure on your pass protection (and) more pressure on your passing game in general. It is not really an effective formula to win any games in this league. I don't care what offense you are playing with. We have got to do a better job of being able to run the ball, stay in positive situations (and) stay out of third-and-longs, which we found ourselves in too many times the other night in the second half. If we do that-that is really kind of the formula that we played with for the first six games, and we have got to make sure that we sustain that going forward."
On why the Broncos have had difficulty running the ball the past two weeks
"We've played against two good defenses, and that's not an excuse that we are going to use. We have got to do better than what we have done, whether it be execution, whether it be mistakes (or) whether it be just somebody made a nice play on defense. We are playing against physical teams, and that's what we play against every week. We've got to do better at the point of attack. We've got to do better with the ball in our hands. We've got to do better in terms of scheming something if we can do that to help ourselves, but we haven't lost faith in our ability to run the football or play good offense here. We've just got to go back to work and do better."
On starting RB Correll Buckhalter against Pittsburgh
"We made a decision to do that. (There was) no huge reason. We're going to play both of them. They know that. It just so happens that that's what we started with the other night."
On the offensive line's performance against Pittsburgh
"Any time you give up pressures and sacks and don't run the football well, you always say, ‘Well, we didn't play very well up front," but I think it is a lot of things. We have got to work together as a group. We have got to work together as an offense. Our backs have got to compliment them in the running game. Some of the pressures that we gave up the other night had nothing to do with the offensive line, and then, yet, some of them did. We've got to work better as a group. We've got to play better in every area on offense, and that is not just the offensive line. That's everybody involved in playing good football on that side of the ball. I know we can play good football, and that is what our goal is going to be. We've got to get back to work and make sure that we start doing that this week."
On his interactions with QB Kyle Orton have been more intense in the past two games
"It was probably less heated the last two weeks than it had been the first six weeks. I think I've coached the same way in every game we have played. He knows that I want him to play as well as he can possibly play. I want everybody to play that way. (I am) just trying to get the best out of the guys, and if there are some mistakes that need correcting, sometimes you've got to pay attention to what people are saying and not how they're saying it. I think he has got extremely thick skin. He knows that. I'll handle him the same way going forward."
On his relationship with Washington LB London Fletcher after playing together at John Carroll University
"I have coached against him a number of times. It is always great to see him. London Fletcher is a great person, first and foremost. I think he is the leading tackler in this decade in the National Football League. I'm proud of him for what he's been able to accomplish in this league coming from John Carroll. We kind of all knew when we were playing with him that he was a special player, a special person and would have a bright future ahead of him. It's always great to see him, and I'll look forward to seeing him in pregame and talking to him after the game, also."
On Orton's interceptions against Pittsburgh
"There were a couple-I'm not going to make excuses for it. We threw three interceptions. The first one, obviously, we hit the umpire, and I don't know if that ball gets intercepted 10 out of 10 times, but we've got to keep the ball down over the middle. Any time you're trying to throw into the middle of the defense, which the Steelers were playing some coverages where they dictated that that is where we go with the football, we have got to make sure that we keep the ball down. Those are the kind of balls that either get tipped or sail over someone's head and end up with somebody else carrying the ball. We've got to go back to playing good mistake-free football and being aggressive like (Orton) was in the first half and just taking care of the football when we have the opportunities to do that."
On needing to throw more deep passes to have the opponent's safeties drop into deeper coverage
"It's easy to say that when (Pittsburgh S) Troy Polamalu and (Pittsburgh S) Tyrone Carter are 35 yards deep during the course of the game and you threw for 190 yards in the first half or whatever it might have been. We were having success doing what we thought we should do to win the game, and there were plays that we have in our offense, and we always will, that if nobody is back there, that is where we are going. If somebody is back there, we are not going to go there. We're going to continue to coach and do the things we have done to be successful. We're not going to change that."
On the need for an explosive play to open up the Broncos' offense and build its confidence
"If you need that and you're looking for that, you are in trouble because those plays are few and far between a lot of times in this league. If you're sitting there trying to play offense hoping for one big play, you're going to have a long day. You better be able to execute against good defenses. These teams know what they want to try to take away. When they try to take those things away and you try to force the ball in spots, you could end up turning it over four or five (or) six times in the game. It's always great when you get big plays, but I think the biggest thing is you can't force things like that to happen. If you do, then you play bad offense. Would we love to have a bunch of explosive plays every week? Sure, but you have got to try to do the smart thing. Those explosive plays will come, but you can't do it where the risk is going to significantly outweigh the reward."
On OLB/DE Robert Ayers' progress
"He is playing better each week. He did some good things in the running game, which I know doesn't really get a lot of focus and attention. He's doing a better job of setting the edge in the running game and playing a lot in our nickel packages and doing a decent job in the pass rush, too. He scooped that ball up the other night and scored with it. He is doing his job. He's learning how to fit in in terms of our schemes. Each week, he works hard to try to get better, and I hope that's true of all of our rookies."
On CB Ty Law
"We rested him a little bit off and on just to try to make sure if we needed him at the end, obviously, in some nickel packages that he would be available for us, but he played a good portion of the game in our sub defense and did a nice job. That's what I would expect of Ty, and I would expect that going forward. He's a smart player (and) understood the defense. It took him a few days to learn it, and he'll continue to learn it and understand in more than he did on Monday night. I would just expect his performance and his play and the number of plays that he's capable of being in the game to go up as we go on."
On Law's ability playing inside
"He's been a matchup guy a lot of his career, so if the matchup took him in the slot, he went in there plenty. He's played in there extensively at different times in his career. With the (New York) Jets last year, sometimes they used him inside. Sometimes they used him outside. They matched up (New York Jets CB Darrelle) Revis last year sometimes on a specific receiver and then Ty kind of balanced off of him sometimes. If you've played in there and had to learn how to play in there because you've played in a matchup style of a defense, I think it's-hopefully for a guy like Ty, it is like riding a bicycle. You get back in there and you understand what you're dealing with. There are a few things that happen inside that don't happen outside, but Ty can handle that, and we expect him to play well."
On Law's adjustment to the defensive system
"This system is different than the system he's played in before, but some of it is similar and carries over. For the most part, the terminology and just the understanding of the words and those kinds of things are slightly different than the system that he grew up in, I would say, but he's learned a few different defenses in the last so many years here. I don't think that's a big task for him."
On defensive adjustments following the Pittsburgh game
"We need to play better longer. That's across the board. Defensively, we did a decent job in the first half of containing (Pittsburgh QB Ben) Roethlisberger in the pocket (and) pretty much handled the running game for what we wanted to do and get done there, and then we let some big plays happen. I think (Pittsburgh RB Rashard) Mendenhall had four carries that ended up being over 100 yards on those four plays. Any time you give up big plays as the game wears on, you sense that is that a loss of focus or concentration, is it some kind of assignment (or) is it a coaching thing or a strategy where we can make an adjustment and help ourselves, but it is all of those things. We've played good defense for four quarters a bunch so far this year. We're not discouraged by the fact that we played well for a significant portion of the game and then all of the sudden, made some errors that gave them some big plays. We have just got to do a better job of executing over the course of 60 minutes against teams like Baltimore and Pittsburgh, and if we do, then the games will be competitive just like the first half of the season has been. That's the kind of game that we are going to play in. That's the kind of team we are."
QB KYLE ORTON
On what the Broncos' offense needs to do to get back on track
"We have got to score points. That is obvious. We are moving on from the last couple of weeks, but we have got plenty of areas to improve on. It is just critical to come out and have a good week of practice like we did last week (and) come out and have a great week of practice and find a way to play for 60 minutes."
On if the Washington game is the start of a new season
"Really, from week to week, all you can do is focus on that week. On a short week like this, we have got so much to do in three days to move on to Washington. Really, all of our thoughts are behind us for Pittsburgh and Baltimore and all those games. We have got enough to worry about with Washington to come out and play a good game."
On if his interactions with Head Coach Josh McDaniels have changed in the past two games
"We strive for perfection in a win and in a loss, so it has really kind of stayed the same from week to week."
On analyzing defenses' success against the Broncos' offense
"You have got to look at what they've done to us and you have also got to look at what we've done to ourselves. I think it goes both ways. We have played two good teams, two good defenses, and they have done some good things against us, but really, the most important thing for us is to look at the things we've done to ourselves and try to correct those as fast as possible."
On what corrections the Broncos have to make
"We've got to stay balanced. We've got to find a way to run the ball. We've got to find ways to make plays in the passing game. We made chunk plays, I think, in the passing game last week, the 20- and 25-yard plays, but we have also got to find a way to make some bigger plays, no question about it. It's tough to always rely on eight, 10-play drives to score points, but it would be great to find ways to score in three- or four-play drives. When it gets down to it, it's based on execution. You have got to find ways to be able to carry that over through an entire drive. I thought we moved the ball inside the 35's halfway-well. Then, we'd get to the 35 or the 40-yard line and find ourselves in second-and-long. It's tough to do that against good teams."
On taking shots down the field
"Yeah, you've got to take shots. You don't want to force the ball, no question about that. We're not looking to force the ball. We've got plenty of weapons. We've got plenty of ways to move the ball down the field to not have to force things, but certainly when they are there, we would like to be able to take them."
On why the Broncos haven't thrown more deep passes
"Everybody wants to say, ‘Throw the ball 50 yards down the field.' Well that's all great. You can say it, but there are a lot of things that go into that: coverage, you have got to have time to throw it down the field (and) you've got to have the run, hopefully, to set up the coverage that you want to throw it against. We had a couple called (against Pittsburgh). We didn't get the looks that we wanted, and we didn't throw them."
On the importance of the running game
"We'd love to get balance. It's tough when you have 20 yards rushing or whatever we had. It's tough. Saying that, there are games where it is going to happen and you have got to rely on the passing game. The pass game has got to come through in a big way, and we've done that. We've won games throwing the football, so it's not like we can't do it, but I think just in our offense, getting the run game going, I know the guys up front like to come off the ball and be able to pound on the other team for 25, 30 carries. That makes a big difference, rather than always trying to catch them and pass for the entire time, as well."
On if defenses have played closer to the line of scrimmage
"Maybe a little bit, but like I said, I don't think it's been all what teams have done against us. It's looking back at what we've done against ourselves. We've got plenty of things to fix and we'll get back on that today."
On his response to the Pittsburgh loss
"It's been fine. I've moved on from Pittsburgh. There are a couple of throws that I would like to have back, (but) I don't think (any) reads for the most part. I thought I saw the field pretty well. That's a good thing. The couple of throws that were errant or whatever may be the case-I'm hard on myself. When the offense isn't going, I put that on me."
On playing an early game in the eastern time zone
"We'll be fine to play at whatever time it is. I'm excited for the short week, just to move on, and you're forced to move on and get on to a good football team in Washington."
On what Washington's pass defense does so well
"They get a lot of pressure with their front four. They bring five people to get one-on-one blocks, and they have good guys in the secondary as well, so we've got to get the ball out quick. (We've) got to get open quick and have got to protect up front."
S BRIAN DAWKINS
On the biggest issue defensively against Pittsburgh
"(They are) the things that we will try to fix this week. I can't tell you the things we talked about, but we saw some things that we need to concentrate on to get better at. Those are the things that we'll work hard in practice (on) as much as we can and be very, very aware of that late in games to not allow the things that have happened the last couple of weeks to become a trend."
On if fatigue has affected to the defense's performance in the second half of the past two games
"Sometimes, trying to do a little too much can always be a problem, getting out of your gap to try to do a little too much. Fatigue should never be an issue, regardless, because both teams are on the football field the same amount of time. If you are on the offensive or defensive side of the the ball, so that should never be an excuse, and we will never use that as an excuse. Our job remains the same. We have got to get off the field when those opportunities present themselves, be disciplined to do our responsibilities early in games and be more detailed late in games to make sure those things, like I said earlier, do not become a habit (by) allowing teams to do what has happened in the last couple of weeks."
On adjusting the no-huddle offense during the past two games
"That's not an adjustment. (It is) just the fact that if that is something that teams are going to do, we just have to prepare for it and stop it. It's kind of point blank, to tell you the truth. It's not anything you can adjust to. If it's going to happen, we have to be detailed in our work. We have to get the calls in, get the calls across the board and line up and play football and get off of the field. The thing that you do as a team, any time that anybody presents the same thing over and over again, is you have to stop those things. Until we do it, I'm pretty sure teams are going to do it."
On stopping the run when having a nickel package on the field defensively
"Every individual has to do their job, regardless. The personnel on the field, we still have the talent to be sound in our jobs to get off the field. We've done it before. Why, all of the sudden, is this a problem now? We're not going to make excuses. We have to make sure we detail our work, period. That will be the thing that you are going to hear echo from me the whole time we talk. We have to detail our work. Whoever is on the field, if your responsibility is to do a specific thing, do that specific thing and count on your guy inside of you to be in his position. If those things happen, then we can do what we do what we do defensively, and that's get off of the football field."
On CB Ty Law playing against Pittsburgh after signing with the team on Saturday
"Obviously, that is a tough, tough position to be in. Give him props big time for being able to come in and do what he did as many snaps as he did in that game. We tried to do our best the couple of days we were in there with him to communicate with him and to make sure in the game we were over-communicating, if you will, (and) just make sure he knows where he is, but it's a tough position to be in because even though you are being told and you kind of understand where to be because of years of playing, it is different from stepping in there and now ‘I know where I am supposed to be so I can sit on some stuff and jump some stuff and make some plays.' The reason why I say that is because that's what he does. He knows where he is supposed to be. Then, he can jump some things and pick some balls off and take some balls to the ‘house.' That's really what he brings to the table, that playmaking potential in that slot position to get the ball into his hands and take it to the ‘house.'"
On having veteran experience in the secondary
"I have said this from the jump: the communication that we have most of the time-we do make our mistakes, obviously, but for the most part, the communication and anticipation of things to come-is a huge benefit for us, and to have as many guys in the secondary that have been through the war, so to speak. I use that term very loosely, but to have been in those battles, there is no panic. There is no panic. Even though they moved the ball this past week and got in the red zone, we still had opportunities to get off the field. We just didn't do it. There is no panic when you have the guys that have been in those situations so many times."
On playing his former NFC East rival at Washington
"I just know what to expect when I play these teams I have played them so long. I know this is going to be a-every time that I have played the Redskins, it has been a physical battle (and) I come out of the game a lot sorer, if that is a word, because of those big bodies that they have. They pound (Washington RB Clinton) Portis at you, (and Washington RB Ladell) Betts at you (and) take shots up top with these quick receivers they have. This has just been something that has been bred in me to anticipate certain things when I play the Redskins."
On responding to consecutive losses
"One of the things that I kind of live by, my biggest sermon can be the way that I approach things, not so much by what I say, but what I do. If I'm walking around panicking, pouting, then that is what I'm going to preach to others. If I'm working (and) I'm diligent in my study in the classroom, if you will, and if I'm busting my hump in practice, then that is the sermon that I'm also going to preach. It's not so much what needs to be said. We've said what we needed to say. (Head Coach) Josh (McDaniels) has said what he needed to say, (Defensive Coordinator) Mike (Nolan) and down the line. We know what we need to do. It's just about doing it now."
On Washington RB Clinton Portis' influence on Washington
"He has been a huge, huge weapon, to say the least, for that team over the years. You know that you have to be prepared to stop this cat for four quarters before stepping in there and sticking your nose in and bringing something with you when you do, because he does. Even in pass protection, he's one of the, if the best chip blocker there is on the ends. He's trying to do damage. If you blitz, you know you better have your chin strap buckled up (and) your mouthpiece in because he is going to try to take your head off. That is the type of mentality he's brought to that offense."
On the toughest adjustment for young safeties
"I know for me it was the speed, the speed in which things happen. You have to be able to anticipate motions and shifts and be able to put yourself in the next position and still be able to play fast. That's a tough, tough thing to do. The length of the season, your body is going to tell you that the bowl game is over with and it's time to chill out, and we're still playing football in the pros, so your body is kind of telling you mentally to shut it down and you've got to push through that wall. Then, the expectations that are put on you, guys that are drafted high, to be able to produce right away a lot of times, especially on special teams, and then you can't let that fatigue allow you to not make the plays that you need to make for your teammates, so there's a lot of pressure in that respect. It's a lot of pressure on young guys, but when you have guys that have been through it and then are open to be able to talk to them, which we all are, to help them out as much as we can, it helps them out."
On the development of younger players in the Broncos' secondary
"They understand their roles. If anything happens, they are able to step in right away. You saw when (S Darcel) McBath stepped in right away against the (San Diego) Chargers and played some pretty good ball, I thought. I think they're doing an excellent job."
On the origin of his ‘Weapon-X' nickname
"It was just my love for the character ‘Wolverine' and what he is called. He is called ‘Weapon-X.' When that kind of came out that I liked him so much, people kind of put two and two together and that's what I became."
On the Wolverine figures in his locker
"I probably purchased maybe four and all the rest of them have been gifts from either my family or my kids, rather, or fans."
On the atmosphere playing at Washington
"You play for so long, they're all hostile environments. There are a couple of fans that I recognize from behind our bench that have been pretty fun over the years to listen to as they try to get after you. He's pretty good at it, too. I don't know his name, but he's pretty good sitting behind the bench. It can be a very intimidating place if you allow it to (be), just like every opposing team that has passionate fans. This is no different."
On S Renaldo Hill's performance
"I didn't know a lot about him, obviously, going from the NFC to AFC. The thing that has jumped off on me is he is the quarterback of this defense... If he says something, we all believe what he is saying as far as his checks are concerned. He's a very, very smart guy. Every day I'm coming in saying, ‘Hey, did you see this? Watch the film. What did you see? Let me know some secrets. Stop keeping secrets from me,' in a playing fashion. He's a very, very smart guy, so that helps us in so many ways. Then, his potential to get the ball in his hands, he's always baiting, trying to get his hands on the ball."
On Hill's influence on his play
"We communicate, don't get me wrong. If I see something, I'll let him know, but any time you have someone, your counterpart, beside you that is that smart, that intelligent to be able to say things and help in that respect, that definitely allows me to line up and just do what I do."
On his initial impression of Hill
"There is only so much you can be impressed by a guy by talking to him one day. I was just excited at the fact of us coming in together and learning the scheme together and the potential going forward because I knew that he had played some pretty good ball this past year in Miami. I was excited about that."