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Broncos In Dallas - Afternoon Report - Cutler Talks To The Press

The Broncos returned to the sauna that is the Dallas Cowboys practice facility to continue combined workouts with the Cowboys. Andrew Mason, once again, brings us all the sweaty details. Here is the best of the best --

ATTENDANCE REPORT: Just like in Denver, a slew of players were given the afternoon off as they remained on the one-practice-per-day schedule. Among the Broncos excused from on-field work were offensive tackle Matt Lepsis, tight end Stephen Alexander, cornerback Champ Bailey, safeties John Lynch and Nick Ferguson, defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban and defensive tackle Sam Adams … Aside from them, the only player in uniform who missed the afternoon session was running back Andre Hall, who is grappling with a hamstring injury that kept him out of team work Wednesday morning.

WHO’S WHERE: Chad Mustard had a new number — 71 — as he worked with the offensive linemen at tackle. Mustard also saw time there early in the 2006 offseason before shifting back to tight end … The first-team offensive line included left tackle Adam Meadows, left guard Chris Kuper, center Chris Myers, right guard Montrae Holland and right tackle Erik Pears … Travis Henry, Cecil Sapp and Mike Bell took the lion’s share of the time at running back … Brandon Marshall saw plenty of first-team repetitions.

POINTS OF EMPHASIS: Third-and-long yardage was a focal point for the offense, upon which I paid close attention this afternoon while the Denver defense went up against Dallas’ offense … After the Dallas punt and field-goal teams took repetitions in the morning, the Broncos followed suit, with Jason Elam and Todd Sauerbrun each kicking against Dallas’ special-teams kick-rushers.

STANDOUT PLAYS AND PLAYERS: Cutler looked sharp in the afternoon practice. He didn’t throw an interception and looked particularly comfortable in both the shotgun formation running the playaction from under center, beginning his work in team drills with a completion to Nate Jackson and progressing from there … Brandon Marshall continued to be actively involved in the passing game, but fell just short on his chance to make the catch of the day downfield, tumbling along with Cowboys cornerback Alan Ball after his attempt at a diving reception went for naught … Patrick Ramsey and Quincy Morgan connected on a deep pass up the right side, beating double coverage … Darrell Hackney also made the deep pass work, finding Glenn Martinez between two defenders. Martinez returned to the field Wednesday for the first time in two weeks … Denver’s only interception came when a deep pass from Ramsey to Javon Walker was intercepted by Aaron Glenn
QB Jay Cutler took some time after the afternoon practice to answer some questions for the media...Enjoy!
On seeing a different defense in facing the Cowboys --
"It is good. We are going against another 3-4 seeing some stuff we are going to see during the season. It is also good to get a break in camp. Those first two weeks you are banging against each other and it is good to get the linemen and the defense against somebody else and break things up a bit."

On the heat --
"This morning was rough. With all of the travel we did and having to sit on the plane (delayed flight on Tuesday) for a little bit is tough. This afternoon cooled off a little bit, and we executed things a little better."

On competition during practice --
"We didn't really get a chance to game plan these guys. I don't think we are trying to win essentially. We are just trying to come out and see something different, learn from it and get a different experience."

On not facing his own defense --
"Going two weeks against our own guys, you kind of get a good feel for things and what exactly we are going to do. It is good to come out here and kind of learn on the run and go back and look at it again. It does wonders for us, being able to pick things up and go from there."

On Saturday's game against the Cowboys --
"We will have a little bit better feel for them. I am sure both sides are kind of holding some stuff back, playing the game. It is going to be familiar to us so we should execute better. They will probably stop some stuff that they have seen and recognize so it should be good."

On getting WR Brandon Marshall back on the field --
"It makes a big deal for us. Getting him, getting (TE) Tony (Scheffler) back and hopefully getting (WR Brandon) Stokley back after this preseason game opens things up for us. Having someone opposite of (WR) Javon (Walker) so they cant just role over there and play against just him. Brandon is looking good out there, and I am happy to have him back."

On Mike Shanahan's reacting to his dive for the goal line against the 49ers --
"At first he did, but then the next day on Tuesday he told me he would have done the same thing. When you go down in the red zone and you are trying to score, between the 20's you slide, but down there when you are trying to make something happen you have to go for it."

On RB Travis Henry --
"He is a great back. He obviously sees the hole and reads things a lot better than some of the guys we have had in the past. He is able to protect in the pocket and catch out of the backfield. He brings a lot of things, and we are excited for him."

On if facing the Cowboys is a good change from practicing against his teammates --
 "Definitely. It breaks things up for us and lets us go against somebody else. We get to see something different for a change instead of two weeks of just butting heads against ourselves. It is doing well for us."

On this year compared to last --
 "I am a lot more comfortable. Last year was a learning experience from day one, and I was trying to figure things out learning a new playbook, new city and new teammates. This year I have a better feel for everything. I am more confident and I am just trying to get better each day."

On the Cowboys' defense --
 "It is a 3-4 and they play it well. They cover a lot of zones out there and they have some good guys up front. They are talented and they are going to be good in the NFC."