***Transcript provided by the fine folks with the Denver Broncos P.R. Staff***
HEAD COACH JOSH McDANIELS
On releasing QB Tom Brandstater
"With the way practice was going and the repetitions, we felt like it was clear now that it's time for us to make the decision to go ahead and not try to get everybody reps. The reps have been dwindling, and to try to continue to keep a guy in a loop where he can be a competitive player on your team with very few reps, it's hard to do. I thought this day would come at some point where we'd eventually end up going down to three (quarterbacks) and we have seven practices, now six left to try to really work with three that are left on the roster and give them the attention that they've earned."
On whether Brandstater wasn't a fit in Denver
"I didn't say it wasn't a fit, we've just got three guys who are a better fit than he is."
On the timing of Brandstater's release
"Tom is going to go somewhere else and have an opportunity to make a career for himself. Certainly nothing that he did that was negative or bad, it just wasn't quite as good as the other guys. That's the NFL."
"None of them participated, obviously, in the team drills or the competitive situations in the 7-on-7s, but to have them out there in the huddle, hearing the plays called and actually working with their teammates and communicating, being coached, I think that's really an important part of this year. Really for two of those guys they've never really been in a huddle with us yet. So this was a good week for that and I think that every day hopefully it will get better for those players. Certainly for our team, it's exciting to have as close to a full roster as we can out there."
On what Thomas, Harris and Arrington participated in Friday
"Just some group stuff. This was actually Demaryius' (Thomas) first day out there running around and everything. But Ryan (Harris) had been in the group stuff earlier this week, and J.J. (Arrington) had about what he did today earlier this week as well."
On how Thomas is coming along
"We obviously have extra meetings for the rookies, and I think he's doing well. (WR) Eric (Decker) is pretty much in the same boat. A lot of the young receivers, young players in general, they've got to take a lot of mental reps right now, and I think they're doing that. We try to quiz them and test them and see where they're at in terms of actually understanding what the heck's going on, not just being able to hear one thing and go out there and do it. So he's doing a nice job of staying up with the material. I think ultimately it's going to come down to him coming out there and taking reps, making some mistakes and correcting them then doing better the next time. He'll be a rookie just like every other one is."
On LB Braxton Kelley's injury during practice
"It's obviously a non-contact thing, and an accidental situation where we have bags out there actually to hold. I don't have any update yet. Certainly hope it's nothing serious, but it's a fluke incident and we try to talk to them all the time about just taking care of each other. I don't think the two that actually ran into each other even saw each other. That can happen, obviously. We certainly don't want it to, but hopefully he'll be fine."
On QB Tim Tebow
"Tim (Tebow) is progressing, I would say well, in terms of understanding what the offense is asking him to do. There's no issues in terms of what he can do calling the plays in the huddle or communicating with his teammates in terms of what he wants from them. Today was a day where he and Brady (Quinn) obviously got a little bit more action in the huddle and got to do some things that they needed to do over from days prior. Right now, until you understand exactly what's going on on every play, until you have your head and eyes in the right place on every snap as a quarterback, playing in our system or any other system at this level, it's hard to consistently look the right way. I think that's fair to say for every player at any position. He's no different. There's certainly a bunch of good plays and then there's some other ones where we've got to work hard to get him right. That's what we're doing and that's what he's doing."
On Tebow's arm strength
"Fine. No issues. None at all in terms of his arm strength, velocity, anything like that. Nothing."
On if he is happy with the three quarterbacks on the roster
"I would hope so."
On if Tebow is ahead of schedule in his development
"He's ahead. I think that's very fair to say that. I also think he's working on some things in his game. A lot of our veteran players that weren't out there in practice, there's things that they have to clean up and work on also, but like I said I think we've got a competitive situation, which I think is great for that group of players. I think we have a lot of competitive situations on our roster right now, and I think that's really making players better. They're making one another better because you can tell that they notice the competition, and they know that there's some people right behind them that are capable players. We've got a long way to go, a lot of practices left between now and the end of August, and we'll see what happens. Certainly that's where it's at right now."
On Thomas running routes that he hadn't in college
"Injuries are something that you have to manage because it's something you can't control. He couldn't do much until right about now. I think he's done as much as he can possibly do to get ahead or stay up with the material and now he's going to get an opportunity to run routes. This is actually the first time he's been able to run routes and play football in Colorado, too, which is always different for your conditioning. He's going to have to do it and I know the kid, well, I hope I do, and I think he'll put in plenty of time on his own and plenty of time with other players, work on it and make sure he's ready to go as soon as possible. He's very eager to get out there in the huddle and start competing because he wants to help us win."
On if any guys surprised him today by practicing
"This is an opportunity practice, that is what we call it. It is for the rookies and younger players and some of the players, maybe because of the situation they find themselves on the roster without us being able to give them the amount of reps we would like to give them to evaluate them as players at different positions. Like you saw (CB) Nate Jones playing some safety today. There were some guys playing different spots that we want to be able to give an opportunity to compete and be evaluated at and we told them yesterday that this is the group that we would like to see out there tomorrow and the other guys we told them, it's a workout day. There were two lists, so I didn't wake up this morning and say, 'He's out here?'"
On what Tebow "looking the right way" refers to
"It has nothing to do with his throwing motion if that is what you are referring to. I'm talking about where it's 10-12 plays in a row and bang -- it's a right read, there's a right throw, calling the Mike (linebacker) out the right way, making an audible, checking the protection. Those kinds of things I'm talking about consistently, if you know it, you have a chance to be able to go out and do that. I think there were a lot of good plays today and that's kind of happened more and more every day with he, Brady (Quinn) and Kyle (Orton). I think that's what I was referring to, once you start to know it like the back of your hand and I don't think you could after nine practices. So 20-25 practices in, 30-35 practices in, is it going to be better than it is today? Absolutely. At that point I think then the player starts to feel more comfortable, they know what their adjustments are to deal with the problems they are facing."
On if players at this level still need competition
"Absolutely. I think that is one of the greatest things you can give them to help them to continue to improve themselves. You hope that every player is self-motivated to go out there to improve and to continue to try and get better at their position. I think we have a lot of players on our team that would fit that description but I also think that having players that are playing their position that are also pretty good players -- somebody is going to get better and win the job and somebody is going to stay the same or not get as far up the ladder and may end up being a backup or whatever it may be. I just think that if somebody is competing for your job, you'll probably do your job better, too, and I'm the same way. So I think it's a good thing for all players."
On what he has seen from RB Knowshon Moreno that he didn't show last season
"He's doing a really nice job of carrying out his assignments in every aspect of his game. He's been impressive in terms of his pass protection, which as a rookie he could do it but it wasn't always consistent. Now it's been pretty consistent. He gets open and he catches the ball in the passing game on a regular basis, daily and should be an impact player in the passing game for us. There is no question he's got the skills and ability to do that. He's in his second year and he knows more what to do. He's able to communicate with other players if something's not right, and he can help us get it right. We're expecting a good year from him in a lot of different ways."