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Potent Quotables - Josh McDaniels Black Monday Media Meet-up

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Opening comments

"As I said yesterday after the game, we just missed so many opportunities in critical situations, and at this time of the year against a division opponent, those ultimately always come back to haunt you. Yesterday, that's really what the case was. We couldn't score on the goal line for a number of reasons. We couldn't keep the ball away from (Oakland) when we got the ball back with four minutes to go in the game. We couldn't stop them. In the two-minute defense, they had a couple penalties that kept the drive alive. We ultimately couldn't stop them there on the fourth down or the touchdown play. (We had) trouble in the red zone again-three negative plays, a sack, a penalty. Then in the run defense, (Oakland had) seven runs for 161 yards, a 23-yard average, and then the rest of the game, (we allowed a) 2.6-yard average on 26 carries. It wasn't all bad, but certainly on those plays, it was close to terrible. Again, if you don't make the plays in those critical situations this time of year, you're going to be in close games, and ultimately, those are the plays that determine the outcome most of the time."

On his emphasis on situational football in practice

"It's definitely something that we emphasized, definitely something that we've done a lot of. I think our team understands the importance of it. It's not that they aren't playing hard. It's not that they're not giving great effort. It's not that they're not trying to do everything that we're asking them to do. They're not entirely to blame for any of this, either. This is a game where you've got to coach well in those situations, you've got to play well in those situations and it's got to kind of marry together. It's frustrating, but I think that tells you how important it is. Again, we're not dead. We're going to keep playing, and we've got to get better at some of these things, certainly. As long as we have the opportunity to practice and keep playing, then our focus will be on trying to improve in all these areas so that if we get into those situations again this weekend that we can convert or hold them or stop them or not commit a penalty, whatever it may be, to lose those critical situations because sometimes you can play the rest of the game evenly or even win the rest of the game in some situations, but if you lose a few of these critical plays, that determines the game."

On getting a goal-line stop against Oakland in the second half after allowing three runs for 86 yards on the same drive

"That was kind of symbolic of the game. Like I said, seven carries accounted for 160 yards and the rest of the game we gave up 2.5 yards a carry. You can break down statistics however much you want to. The bottom line is we gave up way too many big runs, obviously. To keep the field position that we wanted to at times-I think the drive you're referring to started at the (Oakland) 11-to let them out and to let them out that quickly, to let them go right down the field and end up at the 3-yard line in three plays, it's going to be hard to beat anybody."

On the philosophy that rookies begin to show more fatigue at this point in the season

"I understand that this is a different experience for all of the rookies. I also think that we have other players that play every position that those rookies play. Those are the guys that take a lot of snaps for them. I'm not saying it's not a challenge for them mentally or physically to focus and to be able to maintain a certain level of play, but there are a lot of other things that go into winning and losing, good plays and bad plays. It's not just a one-player type of thing. We all have got to do better."

On if RB Knowshon Moreno has shown signs of fatigue late in the season

"Again, I go back to say the run game is not about one player. There are a lot of things that have to go right in the running game. If they go right, everybody's happy and we make a lot of yards. If they don't, then we don't. It's got to be a lot of things that go hand-in-hand and work well together, and if they do, then we'll be successful at that. If we don't, then we'll have trouble."

On what allowed Oakland to record multiple long runs

"We did some things well most of the day in the run defense. On some of those big ones, a lot of them were (on) the back side against a zone-run team. It's really critical that you play the front side well, also, so that you don't just let the ball keep going outside to the sideline. At the same time, when you force the ball inside, you've got to squeeze hard from the back side so that there's not a big comeback lane. They had a few of those that were cutback runs. Any time you're playing the zone-run scheme, the ball could hit anywhere from the sideline on the front side to all the way on the back side. I think (RB Darren) McFadden's run there that took it to the 3-yard line started right and went all the way back to the left. We've all got to play that play well. The front side has to play it well, the inside has got to play it well and the back side has got to play it well. That's the challenge when you play against a zone-run team. It's not okay to do it right 26 times and not do it right those seven other plays because they can kill you."

On the Broncos' passing game against Oakland

"They do some things (and) play a lot of man coverage. Guys fought to try to get off some of the press and the jams. (There was) a lot of scrapping going on. We definitely got more production out of it in the second half and got some things going. (WR) Brandon (Marshall) made some plays there and (WR Brandon) Stokley obviously made a critical play late in the game. You know it's not easy to throw the ball on that team. Everybody would agree with that in the league. You've got really good corners and cover players, fast players, covering you and you've got to try to create some separation. We missed some opportunities, but I thought we took advantage of some things in the second half and created some openings for ourselves and got some things going. Throwing the ball, ultimately, to try to beat that team is not necessarily the best formula, which is why we tried to stay committed to the running game. It just never really produced enough for us."

On evaluating his decisions the day after a game

"I think you always look at it and say, ‘What could I have done different? Is there a different call that I could've made?' I think as a coordinator or a head coach, play caller, game planner, you always want to call the perfect play. You want to put your guys in the perfect situation every time. That's your hope and desire every time that you put something on the board or put something in the game plan or call something into the huddle. If you feel like you could have done something different, then the next day is always that day where you look at it and say, ‘If we had only called this, maybe that would have worked.' That's why I said that it's so important for the plan and the execution of the plan to be married together. When you've got a good plan and you've got good execution, you usually have a good result. If you have hits and misses during the course of the game in either phase, whether it be the call or the execution, you have trouble."

On times when a different play call could have worked better against Oakland

"I'm not going to go into a play-by-play thing. I think we had plenty of opportunities as I just mentioned. We had plenty of opportunities to win the game. They played better than we did in those situations-that's just the bottom line-and coached better. We've got to do better than that."

On the keys to a successful running play

"When you run any play, I don't care what play you're running, you've got to identify the (defensive) front, identify who's blocking who, block the play properly and then long enough to sustain it so that the back can get through there. The back has to read the play properly and take the ball where it's designed to go based on whatever the defense is doing, and then the quarterback can also get us in or out of-there are a handful of plays that we go either way. There are a lot of things that have to go into that. The issue with the running game-and that's why it's so beautiful when it works and so painful when it doesn't-is if one of those things isn't right, you can end up with a lot of runs and not a lot yards. At the same time, if everybody's working well together and you're running the right stuff and reading it the right way and blocking them long enough and identifying the front properly, you can run a lot of runs for a lot of yards. You look at film every week as a coach and you say we were that block or that read or that adjustment away from that 2-yard run being 25, but that also includes good defense, too. There are a lot of things that have to go right in this league, obviously, to have success on either side of the ball or in the kicking game. The running game is just one example of that."

On if the fact that Philadelphia is favored on Sunday benefits the Broncos

"I don't know about that. I think we're a resilient group. I think I've said it 100 times: we've got great leadership, which I still believe in. Like I said, we're far from being dead now. We've got a lot to play for. We still have put ourselves in position to qualify (for the playoffs) and do the things we want to do. I don't think that that attitude or mindset is going to help us win the game. ‘This is a team that nobody thinks we're going to beat, so we're probably going to beat them.' It doesn't work that way. This is a very harsh league that if you don't play well enough against anybody, you're going to be a in a dogfight or you're going to find yourself on the losing end. We need to have a great week of preparation. This is one of the best teams in all of football, a great organization, and they're playing extremely well. They're playing for a lot, too. We expect it to be a really difficult preparation, a difficult game. Those are the kind of games you've got to win. If you think you're going to do much in January, you've got to be able to play good teams on the road and play your best football and ultimately make the plays you need to make to win."

On if he is hopeful RB Correll Buckhalter and S Renaldo Hill will be active this week

"Yes, I am hopeful on both."

On the offense's progress this season

"Certainly, you can't say that we made progress yesterday, but I think that this game is funny that way in that you might be a week away from progress. You've got to do a lot of little things right, a lot of little things better. Like I said, you've got to have a good plan, and if you can execute it, then you see progress quickly. That's the good thing about this is you can have a really solid performance and say we're making progress, and it only takes one poor performance for you to say the exact opposite. Everything we did yesterday wasn't bad, certainly, in any phase, but really, it's the critical plays where we need to make the most progress. Those are the things that determine the outcome at this time of the year and (are) largely responsible for why we weren't more successful yesterday."