HEAD COACH JOSH McDANIELS
On placing Harris on injured reserve
"His toe was too injured for him to be able to play without having a procedure. We're going to take care of that. After that happens, (with) the length of time that he would need to recover from that, it wouldn't make any sense for us to not make this move at this time on our roster."
On Harris' injury
"It was a toe injury."
On if Harris returned to game action too early against Kansas City
"No, he was fine. The previous injury was not the same injury. That has nothing to do with the new injury. It's the same toe, but it's not the same injury to the toe. It's kind of a fluke deal. He was playing well until the time that it happened."
On T Tyler Polumbus' improvement over the past five weeks
"I've seen a guy who's gained confidence because obviously, in this league when you're playing in the games, that experience is more valuable than the experience that you gain in the offseason and all the rest of it. He knows what we're doing. He knows our system. He communicates well with the other players. He's playing beside good players. We think that we have a guy who's getting better each week. He'll have a big challenge ahead of him this week."
On facing Indianapolis' no-huddle offense on Sunday
"We're just going to get lined up and play our call. That's it. We're not going to try to run a bunch of guys in and out of the game. Nobody does against this team. We're not going to try to do it either. You've got to line up and play good football. There's no more simple answer than that. That's what we need to do. That's what we're going to try to do."
"We will not try to do something that is impossible to do, and that's impossible to do when you don't have the right time. If the ball hasn't been thrown down the field 40 yards, if there's not a timeout on the field, you don't try to do that and disrupt the entire flow of your game by allowing them to create situations where you have to call timeouts or you get five-yard penalties that keep the drive going and all the rest of it. We're going to play with the guys who are out there, and when we feel like we can substitute without issue, then we will substitute if we need to. If we don't need to substitute, then we're just going to play."
On Indianapolis Defensive Coordinator Larry Coyer's game plan
"I would say it's mostly the same philosophy, but you can tell that he's added a few different things that they haven't really done a lot of in the past. I'm not saying that that has taken over what they do. It certainly hasn't. The base things that they do, they're fairly simple in terms of the amount of volume of calls that they use, but they play faster than every team in the league. Everybody on this defense is fast. Their front is fast, they play fast, they stunt fast, they blitz fast (and) they cover fast. Everything that they do is about speed. That hasn't changed. He's added a few blitz-zones and some different coverage wrinkles here or there. They're playing as well as anybody in football on defense. They create a lot of turnovers (and) do a great job of stopping people in the red zone and on the goal line. Larry's done a great job with them."
On why opponents can't take advantage of Indianapolis' size on defense by running the football
"There's a quarterback on the other side who usually puts them ahead. I said the other day it's the best complimentary football team in the NFL, and it is. They play to each other. The offense tries to get out front. The defense rushes the passer and creates turnovers to give the ball back to the offense, which scores more points. Then you're behind by 14 or 21 points, and then if you hand the ball off three times in a row, you get booed. First of all, let me say this: they are not a bad run defense. If you could run the ball 40 times against them-that isn't going to be easy because again, the way that they stop the run is not the same way that we would stop the run, necessarily, or some other teams stop the run. They stunt and create disruption by picking people off or making two of your guys block one of their guys so that one of their fast players is free to the football. That's what they do. There are a lot of ways to skin a cat, and they do it a different way than some teams do, but they're really, really good at it and very effective. Everybody knows their job. They're extremely unselfish when they play run defense because there are a lot of people in that front who know, ‘Alright, I know I am not going to make the tackle on this play, but I'm going to go run in there and I'm going to take the guard and the center out, and now, somebody else is going to make the tackle behind me.' They have great trust and faith in their players."
On ranking Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning amongst all-time NFL quarterbacks
"I don't know where he stands in that. I'm not judging him or saying-I know he's one of the greatest of all time. He's unbelievable to prepare for. You can't beat him with a play call. You make the right call against some teams, and sometimes you have a better call than the other quarterback's coordinator made on their sideline, and hooray for you and you won one. With this guy, if he sees something or you show him something too early, it doesn't make any difference what the guy on the sideline called. He's going to make sure that he changes it to something that's going to hurt you. When he makes a decision to do that, usually, it ends up in a big play. There's a difference between him and everybody else because some other teams try to get out of a bad play and into a play that's a decent play. He tries to get out of a bad play and score a touchdown. He's an aggressive quarterback who gets rid of the football before you can get there most of the time. They've only (allowed) 10 sacks this year, and he's a great part of that. Their offensive line does a great job, but he does a great job, too. He attacks you at your very weakest point in every coverage, and that's what makes him so good."
On the Broncos secondary facing Manning
"When you play with a veteran secondary against him, that can help you. Certainly, we have to play well. The bottom line is when (WR) Reggie Wayne is out there, it doesn't make any difference who's on him. They're going to throw it to him. You're not going to put one guy out there on Reggie Wayne and say, ‘Okay, he won't throw it to Reggie today.' He's a great player. The two young kids who they have who are playing a lot, (WR Austin) Collie and (WR Pierre) Garcon, I don't know that I could imagine two young players coming into the league and then adapting to a difficult system and being able to work in pressure situations with a guy like Peyton Manning as well as those two have. It's remarkable what they've been able to do with those two kids. They're only going to get better. (TE Dallas) Clark is incredibly difficult to defend. You can try to take away some things, but ultimately, like I just said, he's going to throw it to the guy who you didn't take away, and you better be on him and you better be on him tight. You better try to get a pass rush on him because if you sit there and give him too much time and let him see what the coverage is, he's going to throw it to the right place."
On how Indianapolis TE Dallas Clark compares to Atlanta TE Tony Gonzalez or San Diego TE Antonio Gates
"(He has) great hands. I would say (he is) as good as a route runner as those guys you mentioned. He's one of those guys who has a knack for getting open. He can do things with his body. He has great body control when he runs routes. He can sell things and then do something different off of it. The thing about all of their receivers, including Clark, is they don't need much space. If he's from-me-to-the-microphone (approximately six inches) open, the ball is going to be ‘here,' and he's going to catch it because he's got great hands and he's got a good quarterback throwing him the ball. They've got so many weapons. You can't double-team everybody. We've got good players on defense, and we've got to play good defense."
On his decision to practice inside today
"It's sunny, it's zero degrees and we're playing indoors (at Indianapolis on Sunday)."
On how to beat Indianapolis
"I think there have been a lot of teams that have played them tough, and there have been a lot of close games. They've won seven games (by less than) a touchdown this year, which tells you that they execute in those pressure situations and have executed in those pressure situations better than their opponents have. It's not out of the question for you or for any other team to be close and to be in the game in the second half or to be ahead in the second half. You can't play 56 minutes. If you've played 56 good minutes, you might have a smile on your face and you're going to lose. If you play 58 good minutes, it might be the same situation. You've got to play 60 minutes or longer if it takes longer, and you've got to continue to come back to the sideline and say, ‘Alright, what are we going to do the next series?' and go out there and play well again. You've got to battle them, and you've got to play really, really good football down in the red zone, on third down and in two-minute (situations) because that's where a lot of their games have been decided in those crucial situations at the end of the game. They've made more plays than their opponents have, and that's why they've won 12 in a row and 21 straight in the regular season. If you can take care of the football and you can play your best football down there when it matters most, you've got a chance to be in the game and then to win the game."
QB KYLE ORTON
On T Ryan Harris being placed on injured reserve
"He's certainly a good player for us and brings toughness and a little nastiness to the line, so it's disappointing to hear about it. (T) Tyler (Polumbus) will step in. He's played before and he's played well for us, and he's going to need to the rest of the year."
On if the offense changed during the four weeks Harris missed
"No, I don't let it affect me. The guys have a job to do, and they're expected to do it. Tyler is expected to do it just like Ryan does. He's done a good job. I don't feel the pressure anymore. We have tough task this week, obviously. Everybody knows that, but we expect to go out and play well."
On if play calls are different when Polumbus is in the game
"No, I don't think so. We've kind of gotten away from doing some empty stuff, but I don't think that has to do with Tyler. I think that's just where we're at as an offense. I don't think we've done a whole lot to specifically help Tyler."
On being aware of each play's timing when facing Indianapolis' pass rush
"All 11 guys on offense have to be aware of it. Receivers have to have urgency getting open, I have to have urgency getting the ball out and the offensive line has to do a great job of running them by and giving me a chance to step up. Not just myself, but all 11 guys have to be aware of that."
On having to play well against Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning
"When you're playing a 12-0 team, I think you've certainly got to bring it, but Peyton is one of the best there is and one of the best who ever played. I'm not going to sit here and try to outdo him, for sure. We'll have to play smart football, and we'll have to play turnover free and mistake free on offense and try to hold the ball as long as we can and let him sit on the sideline and have fun over there."
On the term "franchise quarterback"
"That's all on the franchise. That's all on the organization. That's probably the only way you can decide that is if the organization thinks you're one, then you're one. I guess we'll just wait and see."
On if Manning is a franchise quarterback
"Peyton is a Hall of Fame quarterback. There are big differences between franchise quarterbacks and Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Peyton is a Hall of Famer, and there are not many of those around."
On Manning's star power in Indiana
"Well, he's the Colts. When you think of the Colts, not only in Indiana but across the country, you think of Peyton Manning. He's a premier player, and he has been for a long time. I know how important he is back in the Midwest."
On playing on the road late in the season
"There's a disadvantage going on the road, I would probably say, this time of year. We're playing good teams, and it's tough to win on the road. You go into a dome, and it's going to be extremely loud. They're a dome team. There's no question about it. They're built for the dome. They're fast. This will be the fastest defense that we see all year. We're going to have to handle the operation, have to handle the crowd noise and with all that, have to be able to handle the edge and everything with their (defensive) ends. It'll be a tough task."
On the challenges Indianapolis' defense presents
"They just tell their ends to go the quarterback, and everybody else rallies to the run. The ends really have no responsibilities other than to come back with the quarterback. They get there a bunch and cause a lot of havoc. Everybody else on that defense is extremely fast and they rally to the ball. There are usually five or six of guys there to make the tackle and try to strip the ball out."
On Indianapolis DE Dwight Freeney
"He's great. He's a great player, no question. He's done it for a long time. (DE Robert) Mathis is a great player. (LB Gary) Brackett is a great player. They've got young players-this is a younger team than when I played them last year, but their two secondary players are young and fast and they're not getting beat on the outside. We've got a lot of guys who we've got to account for this week."
On running the ball against Indianapolis' aggressive defensive ends
"A lot of draws are run against this team. A lot of screen passes, obviously, are run against this team, but like I said, they're so fast by the other nine guys who everybody rallies to the ball and they're there to make the plays. They play great team defense."
On scoring points against Indianapolis' defense
"We just know that we've got to go on 10-, 12-play drives. First of all, I think they've given up just a handful of plays over 15 yards, and that's in the run game and the pass game. To sit here and think we are going to have three-, four-play drives and hit big plays on them is kind of well wishing. We'll have to execute and take five yards and take five, six yards and take the backs and just know going into the game to be successful, we're going to have to drive the ball down, and when we get into the red zone, certainly, we're going to have to come away with touchdowns."
On the Broncos' offensive weapons helping him develop as a quarterback
"Everybody on our team has. This is the most talented offense I've played with, and obviously, it starts with the guys up front just giving me a bunch of time to throw and make my reads. I just feel that I'm a smart enough player that if I do have the time to sit back and read the defense, I am going to go the right place with the ball most of the time."
On if he has ever had to prepare for a defense that is playing as well as Indianapolis'
"Yeah, we've had to do it. Every year you've got to play defenses like this that are playing great. We feel like we're well matched with this team, and if we go out and do our job, we'll be just fine and win the game."
S BRIAN DAWKINS
On facing Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning
"A couple of times we've faced him, and they've won, I think, both of the times we played them. (It is a) very challenging preparation, as usual, for a good quarterback. This time is definitely no different with him having the weapons that he is using on the field right now."
On attacking Manning
"You can't let him know what (coverage) you are in. You have to do the best that you can to disguise what you are trying to do. From there, you've got to play football. Once the ball is snapped, you play football, and that is the end result in all the checks and all the things both sides of the ball that we will be doing defensively and offensively. When the ball is snapped, you have to make plays on the ball (and) you have to make tackles. We are in for a 60-minute game."
On if Colts' opponents try to disguise coverages
"You just do what you do. We have a veteran group in the secondary, obviously. We are going to do our best to make sure that we don't make the game easier for him than it already is for him. It is going to be, like I said, a 60-minute game of doing that, not getting tired of disguising."
"It seems like a decade ago as far as me playing with the Eagles and going against the Patriots in that situation. I just remember it was a hyped game. We were very jacked up because of the underdogs we were. I remember that, but that is a completely different ball team, completely different situation as far as I'm concerned, as far as where we are with this team and what we are looking to do. I don't think we are focused on that, to tell you the truth."
On if he will practice this week
"That's the plan. That's the plan: to practice and go out and be on the field with my teammates, doing what I can to help this football team this weekend. That is the intention."
On his physical condition
"I feel great. This is football. This is a contact sport. Things happen at different times. (You) may go through a stretch where you feel absolutely great, and then other times, especially late in the season, you are going to have to play through some things. This is nothing new for me."
On Indianapolis' winning streak
"What good is it going to do to be focused on somebody else's winning streak or what they are not doing? That is not what we are about. We are about this one game and what we have to do to see if we can pull out a victory (in) this one game. All those other victories and losses, whatever, even our losses, none of that stuff, means anything as far as this game is concerned. This is the most important game of our season right now at this point. That is what we need to focus on."
On where Manning ranks amongst all-time NFL quarterbacks
"I'm not going to tell you anything different. He is one of the best that I've ever faced as (far as) what he does with the football, his accuracy, his diagnosing defenses (and) him being able to put the ball where it needs to be to his receivers when he does check. I'm not telling you guys anything that you don't already know. He is one of the best to ever play this game."
On DL Vonnie Holliday's contribution to the defense
"Tremendous. Tremendous. He is a vocal guy. He is a guy that understands how to play his position in this defense. I think that has benefited some of the other guys who haven't played in this defense, allowing them to understand how to play their gaps and how to control different gaps and allow the linebackers to run free sometimes. He has been a tremendous, tremendous benefit for this team, and I'm so happy we were able to talk him into coming here."
On RB Correll Buckhalter's performance
"This is what I expect from Buck when he is healthy because this is what he did in Philadelphia when they gave him the chance. They didn't give him a lot of chances, having (Philadelphia RB Brian) Westbrook in front of him, but when he got in the game, he was one of the guys that gave us big plays. I remember last year in our stretch run, he was one of the guys that kept giving us play after play, even receiving the ball out of the backfield, giving us 50- and 60-plus yards after the catch. This is what I expect from him, and I don't think this is anything he doesn't expect from himself. I think he expects the same thing from himself. I'm just happy, and the Lord is blessing him to stay healthy."
On Buckhalter's comment that he may currently be faster than ever
"He is a blessed man of God. He is, and he knows that. He is a humble guy and throughout all that adversity, I was in his ear and I was always praying for him. Coming out the other end of that perseverance, he is a stronger person from it. You see the speed on the football field. Like I said, I'm just excited to be able to enjoy this with him the way it is happening right now."