***Transcripts provided by the fine folks with the Denver Broncos P.R. Staff***
BRONCOS HEAD COACH JOSH McDANIELS
On what the team can get out of practicing in windy conditions
"A lot, you may not hit as many passes as you'd like but I don't think that any team playing in those conditions would either. I've coached in games like that before and you try to throw all of your passes to the right sideline because the wind is blowing that way or all of them to the left when you flip around in the other direction. We're just focusing on what you need to be focusing on which is your job and trying to do whatever you're being asked to do on that play and you've got to try to block the wind out - it's just another condition that can be a distraction. There are certain things that you can't do well in the wind like punting or kicking or throwing the ball, but everything else, for the most part, in football you can. I was worried about our camera guy, that's who I was worried about. As soon as (the tree) come down, I was worried about the (camera) tower. I don't know how gusty it got but it was pretty severe."
On the possibility of the 2014 Super Bowl being awarded to a cold-weather city such as New York/New Jersey
"I think that if that's what they feel is best for the game, you know, it's just the site of the game. We play a lot of cold-weather games during the course of the season and hey - if we're in the Super Bowl, nobody is going to be complaining about what the weather is like or what the temperature is. I know it may be different than what they shoot for normally but I think it would be a great place to host it. I always enjoyed playing games in New York against the Jets or the Giants. It's a very passionate fan base, like the one we're here with in Denver. That's what it is and we just hope to be able to play in it."
On whether he'd like to have a player be labeled as the No. 1 wide receiver
"I think we have a lot of depth. I think there are a lot of young players, there is no question about that. We'll see what Eric (Decker) and Demaryius (Thomas) can do when they get out there but they're doing well in terms of their learning in the classroom and their ability to pick things up quickly. I think the guys we have out there competing right now - we have some different players who haven't played a lot - Kenny McKinley, who played a lot on special teams last year and Matt Willis. Both of those two players are two of our fastest players on the team and add a different element to us. Eddie (Royal) is moving around a little bit, playing more in the slot and I think you saw that today. Jabar (Gaffney) and Brandon Lloyd have given us a lot of plays on the outside. No. 1 and No. 2 - whatever numbers they end up being, we don't really ever say that in our meetings or our building. I think that will be determined by what they do. If one of them deserves that recognition or a certain number of plays drawn up to be thrown in their direction, they'll earn it by what they do between now and the season."
On whether he thinks the team will be more balanced in terms of catch distribution
"Yes, we probably could see that happen very easily. I'd love for it to be balanced. We're not looking to be kind of predictable or throw to just one or two players. We'd like to be able to attack the defense with a lot of different skill players and hopefully that's what we'll be when we ultimately get everybody out there and have enough time to practice with one another."
On whether he would consider keeping seven wide receivers on the 53-man roster
"Depends on their contributions in the kicking game. Not if they could not play on special teams, no, but I think we have enough players that may impact us in the kicking game that you could conceivably do that. I've been on teams before when we did carry seven, but six and seven better be able to contribute on special teams or they can't ever get to the game and if you're going to carry a bunch of receivers that can't ever play - you might as well have depth somewhere else."
On whether he's concerned with the injuries on the offensive line
"No, everybody is going through injuries right now. There are a lot of players in this league that probably aren't out there yet. We expect and hope for everybody to be back by August. Whether or not a guy is ready to participate fully by then, we'll have to wait and see but Russ (Hochstein) and Ryan (Harris) - Ryan (Harris) will hopefully be out here pretty soon and Russ, maybe before Ryan Clady but I think that this time of the year is good for the lineman from a communications standpoint and execution in terms of communicating and working together but it's not a physical time of year so they're not really missing that. That will obviously take place in August and hopefully they will be back by then."
"I think a lot of the guys are definitely understanding our system and understanding the terminology. They are asking fewer questions than they were a year ago, so that's good. I think it allows them to play faster. Any time you're being moved from one position to another, it takes a little bit more time and he was able to go in and out of some different things today which was good for us and we just hope that he continues to get more comfortable. I think we can probably say that about a lot of our skill players. They are in their second year (in the system), most of them, and hopefully they know it better now than they did last year."
On Broncos wide receiver Jabar Gaffney and whether he can be a No. 1 wideout
"Again, I don't know. I think that's more for (the media) to say. I'm never going to come up and say, ‘No. 1, No. 2.' I hope that we have a lot of guys that end up being our No. 1 receiver at different times during the year. A tight end that catches 10 balls, two different receivers that can catch that many balls during the course of the season on a certain week. There are different ways you can take away any receiver. If you really try hard enough you can try to really force the ball to go to someone else and if teams decide to do that then you hope your guys are able to make the plays when the ball comes their way."
On his impressions of Broncos defensive lineman Jamal Williams
"It's hard to say physically, but it feels good having him out there. He's such a big guy - his handshake is incredible, I've never had a handshake like that from anybody. He's got very strong hands and he just fits in with our group. I think he's such a veteran guy, he understands our system and what we're doing very quickly. Obviously he has a great relationship with (Defensive Line) Coach (Wayne) Nunnely who worked with him for years in San Diego. He's kind of a perfect fit for what we needed. We needed a veteran presence in there that can play that role and he seems ready to go."
On Williams' character
"Well they have to be a very talented football player and have good character. That, to me is what you're looking for because you're not going to win if you don't have good players, and if you have good people, that creates less distractions so it's more time to spend on football."
On whether he's seen progression from Broncos' quarterback Tom Brandstater
"Yeah, (he) has. I think for the quarterback, there is a certain part of the offseason that you have to go back and relearn some of the things that you're seeing for the first time. Like today, we blitzed against each other and the offense - I've been in the NFL for a number of years now and we've always lost on this day, it doesn't matter what we were doing and Tom was part of that today. You know, he knows the system a lot better than he did last year - there's no question about that. I think he's more comfortable in terms of the communication that he's responsible for. We put a lot on those guys' plate and he can handle it better now than he could last year. We put him in a position to compete and that's what we ask him to do. We've shuffled their reps around a lot and he went in there at times with the first group, he's been in there with the second and third group as well. We've given him an opportunity to show that he can adjust and adapt because if you're a backup quarterback sometimes you never know exactly when your number is going to get called so you've got to be ready to go in there and execute. He's like a lot of those guys, he's doing better and has to continue to push and get better than he is right now."
On whether he thinks Brandstater can be a starter in the NFL
"I'm not going to say, I'm not going to predict that. We can get him to ascend to a level where we feel that he can compete."
On whether he's noticed a difference in Broncos linebacker Robert Ayers' approach this season
"Yeah, I definitely noticed a difference. Robert has taken a very professional approach that this is his job. I think for every rookie coming in, sometimes it can be overwhelming at times because there are so many different things coming at you and you're doing so many things for the first time. Last year, he contributed a lot in our nickel packages but right now I think he's really committed himself to our offseason program. He's one of our top performers in terms of the offseason program which is exciting for all of us. He's a big, strong guy as it is that can run and that can rush the passer. He's improved in his coverage techniques early in camp; we've seen some of that. He's just a versatile player that we can move into a lot of spots that we hope will become a no doubt three-down starter for our football team and help us stop the run, rush the passer and be a factor on third downs. If that's the case, then his role in the kicking game will probably diminish because of that but it won't be because of his attitude because it's been great."
On whether he's noticed a difference in Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno
"Yes, I have. He's been able to help some of the other guys. He's a second-year player in a second-year passing camp and he knows what to do. He's smart - one of the smarter backs that I've had an opportunity to coach this young in his career. You can't put too much on him because he can handle it mentally. Physically, he looks good; he's got a burst to himself. He's always got a lot of energy and I'll say he's one of our guys who gets the offensive group kind of going. Maybe not always with his words but with the way he carries himself and the way he practices and the way he works. He's got a confidence about him that I don't know that he had as a rookie because I don't know that you can as a rookie."
On changes to the playbook from last season
"I think we've changed quite a bit on both sides. I don't want to say that's abnormal but we always evaluate some other teams in the league to see if it sparks any ideas and then we always try to create some things on our own that we think will be useful for our players. Not necessarily thinking about other teams and other players, but if there are some schemes that we think fit our guys then we try to utilize them. We're definitely doing some different things on defense and definitely doing some different things on offense and we're actually practicing differently in the kicking game this year than we did last year. We've made some adjustments in every area and I think our focus is on being aggressive. Whether that means blocking kicks in the kicking game (or) pressuring more on defense than what we did in the past. Offensively, there are some different things we're doing to throw the ball downfield that we didn't do last year. We're going to try to be aggressive. That would be a very big word for us."
On how he thinks the spread offense can be applied in the NFL
"We have plenty of that in our system and back in 2007(with New England) that was kind of how we played. We spread everyone out; we had a lot of receivers and tossed the ball around quite a bit. We weren't shy about doing that at all. If some team wanted us to throw it 50 times, we went ahead and threw it 50 times. I'm not saying that's a recipe for every team and every roster but I think you can do it; you can be successful with it, you just have to be careful with how much you're doing it. You don't want to put your quarterback or your linemen in too many situations where there is just tons of pressure on them on every single snap. You've got to take some of that off of them sometimes. In college football they're able to run the ball so much with the quarterback that it can kind of handle that alleviation of the pressure. In pro football you don't do that as much - you've got to find other ways to do that whether that be screens or some kind of bubble screens, shotgun runs, whatever it may be. We have plenty of it in there, we've kind of gotten to some of it now and we'll add to it as we go through the spring but it's definitely going to be a part of what we do. We're not going to abandon that but we probably won't major in it as much as we have in the past."
On whether he thinks the Broncos reacted too much last year instead of setting the tone themselves
"No, I just think that we can focus more on that. It's not really a definition of what we were last year as much as the goal is for this year. We may do a little bit more where we can force another team to react a little bit more to us and attack certain things in different ways and make them adjust to us a little more than what we did last year. It's not that we didn't do it; it's not that we didn't throw the ball down the field, it's just that we're going to focus on some different things this year and see if we can't get to where we feel really good about it."
On how the special teams unit is practicing differently compared to last year
"We're kind of splitting it up and working in segments. The left half of the punt team was working together and the right half was working together. In the kicking game, you have a tendency to coach the whole group because you don't have a lot of time to coach the punt team or the field goal team, or what have you. Then there's what you missed in meetings, that time where you split up and coach just the receivers or coached just the tight ends - you don't coach just the wings on the punt team so we're trying to dedicate some time where we can focus on ‘these three guys that are really key to our protection on the left side so let's let them work together a little bit more so that they can get communication and a certain comfort level together,' and we're trying to do that as much as we can. We'll see if it benefits us, we think that it has already but we're going to continue doing it throughout the spring."
On his reaction to the talk that the Broncos could trade a quarterback
"Zero. There has not been one quarterback on our roster that has been discussed or would be discussed at this point in any trade talks or anything else for that matter. We're going to let them compete and the best guy is going to play. That's it and that's how we feel about every position. (The quarterback) position is no different. Right now we have four guys and if we ever determine that it's time to move the roster down to three quarterbacks, then we'll do it at that time. Right now we have a lot of time on our hands and a lot of practice plays before we have to make a decision like that and we'll wait and see and let it play out. We've got a lot of guys out there competing hard."
On whether Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton is the starter unless someone steps up and beats him out
"That's usually how it goes. The starter is the starter until somebody beats him out. Everybody earns their own role. The best player will play, that's all I'm saying. It doesn't matter if it's a defensive end, punter, quarterback, center - if he's the best player, he's playing. Right now, he's the best player and he's in there first in the huddle, he knows the most. Does that mean it's a guarantee for this season? No, and he knows that, every quarterback knows that. Every player knows that if they aren't the best at that position, then we are going to play with the best 11 that we can put out there on the field, period."
BRONCOS CORNERBACK CHAMP BAILEY
On what the team can get out of practicing in windy conditions
"It's good for the defense. In a real game, it affects our offense but for the defense, (the offense) can't do anything."
On Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow
"It's hard to tell right now. He can throw the ball - pretty hard too. He has a great arm. I think the only problem that a rookie will have is adjusting to the speed and all that stuff, he just looks good throwing the ball."
On whether he watched Tebow play for Florida
"I hated him (laughing). He was a (Florida) Gator and I was a (Georgia) (Bull) ‘Dog. He was a great college football player, probably the best ever. He did everything in college that you can probably do. I wish my career went like that."
On his thoughts when the Broncos drafted Tebow
"We got a great football player. I don't know what is going to happen when he gets here, we'll just have to see. Like anybody else, we'll just have to see - just like any other rookie."
On Broncos quarterbacks Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn
"They obviously look like polished veterans. It'll be a good battle."
On cornerback Alphonso Smith
"He's grown a lot. I think he understands what we expect from him."
On advice he gives to young corners
"Well, doing what you're told to do and when things go bad, don't get too down on yourself. You've got to keep playing because we don't have anybody to come and get him and pick him up."
On the free-agent acquisitions on the defensive line
"It feels good to have some depth out there; I know that they are going to be reliable. We've got a lot of leadership up front."
On Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton
"He's a great professional. He goes about his business in the right way and guys appreciate that. He had the job last year, he's done well for us; until someone unseats him, he's the one."
On Broncos defensive lineman Jamal Williams
"I haven't seen anything but I can tell you what he's done in the past. Boy, he used to give (former Broncos center) Tom Nalen hell up front. It'll be interesting to watch him play when the pads go on."
On the camaraderie in the secondary
"It's good, the thing about last year - it didn't take us that long to gel. I think when you've got a good group of vets, things happen pretty fast. With another season under our belts it's only going to get better."
On his approach to this season
"I'm approaching this season like any other. I'm trying to get better as much as possible and hopefully take it to another level."
On playing a full season last year
"It felt good but we didn't make the playoffs - I didn't help my team get to that point, but personally I felt good because I made it through the season so I felt good about that."
BRONCOS DEFENSIVE LINEMAN JAMAL WILLIAMS
On the wind
"Oh, this is wonderful. I came out here when it was snowing, now gusty wind - a beautiful day in Denver."
On whether it's similar to an ocean breeze in San Diego
"You know, a little bit of dirt, bugs flying in my mouth, but it's good."
"This will pay off a lot. This is like school to us, especially for the new guys learning the defense and learning all the other players out here, knowing what they have to do and what we have to do."
On the importance of a dominant nose tackle in the 3-4
"I'm just doing my job. There's a lot of talented guys out there on defense, and I'm just trying to play my part so we can win some games."
On being a part of the Broncos
"I love it. Before, when I first got here, I was like, 'Uh-oh, how are the guys going to treat me coming from the enemy?' But I'm having fun. It's a good group of guys."
On playing the Broncos for a decade in San Diego
"Well, I'm here. So it's time to go ahead and prepare for all the AFC West teams."
On his health
"I'm great. I don't know what it is, maybe it's the air, but I feel healthy."
On essentially having a year off from football due to injury
"It paid off. I had a lot of time to rehab certain things and get stronger in certain aspects of my body. The strength coach here is taking care of me and I'm doing a good job."
On getting used to the Broncos' defense
"It will take a little while. That's why we have OTAs now, so when we go into training camp we're ready to rock and roll and get prepared for the season."
On his experience in Denver
"I'm having a good time out here. I'm enjoying everybody - the coaches, the players, everybody here."
BRONCOS WIDE RECEIVER EDDIE ROYAL
On how his role will change in 2010
"I really don't know right now. I'm trying to learn each position. We're all learning everything right now so everybody can play every position. In case of injuries, a guy can step in and you won't miss a beat."
On why his numbers declined in 2009
"I don't know. It's tough to say. It was everybody's first year in the offense, everybody's adjusting. You just want to come out and win football games. That was the main thing. None of us go out and play for stats. You just do whatever you can to help the team out."
On if he feels more comfortable going into this season
"I do. You hear a play in the huddle and you don't have to say, 'Wait a minute.' You understand it; you can go line up right away. You feel a little bit more comfortable, and that relationship with the quarterback grows even more in that second year. So we'll see."
On if there is pressure to put up more stats this season
"We don't think about pressure. Our focus as an offense is everybody do a good job. We can't worry about anybody else or what they're doing, you've just got to focus on yourself and doing your job."
BRONCOS LINEBACKER ROBERT AYERS
On how he wants to improve
"In the weight room, conditioning-wise, attitude-wise, mentally - I just want to improve on every aspect of my game."
On the defensive line
"It's kind of hard to tell, being that we went 7-on-7 with no pads, but you look at their track record from the past - who wouldn't want to play behind those guys? Jarvis Green won Super Bowls in New England, Jamal Williams is one of the better defensive nose tackles in the game, Justin Bannan, all those guys. Who wouldn't want to play behind those guys?"
On defensive lineman Jamal Williams
"The one thing I've noticed just in the weight room from working out, he brings a focused mentality. When we're inside in the locker room he's joking, but when it's time to work, it's time to work. He turns it on. I noticed that the first day I worked with him. He was a no-nonsense guy when it came time to work."
On if he is comfortable with his development to this point
"I'm definitely not comfortable with where I am right now. I still want to get better. That's why we're out here trying to compete and get better. Come time for the season to start, opening game, I still won't feel comfortable. I'll still be thinking there's more to improve on. So getting better it just doesn't happen for one year or two years. You've got guys like Jamal, he's still trying to find ways to get better. That's the attitude I'm trying to take."