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Potent Quotables - Dawkins Talks Philly Return


Opening comment

"We are full blown into our preparation for the (Philadelphia) Eagles. This team is, I would say, as explosive of a team as we've played all year, no question about it. They start fast, they've pretty much dominated the first quarter all year long (and) the first half all year long, and that's the key to their success. They've got explosive players on offense. All of their skill players make great plays. (QB Donovan) McNabb is certainly one of the premiere quarterbacks of the league. Their (offensive) line protects him. They've got guys who can score from anywhere on the field. Defensively, obviously, it's a very aggressive unit that pressures you a lot, can create a lot of negative plays more than anybody in football so far this year. (They are) plus-17 in the turnover margin, which is obviously another key to their success. They create a lot of turnovers and they score with it. Then, they've got two really good kickers (K David Akers and P Sav Rocca), and then (WR) DeSean Jackson is as explosive as a returner as we're going to face all year. (We have) a great challenge ahead of us, a very well-coached football team. (They are) extremely sound with all of the things that they do, and they've been here before. They're playing very well."

On Philadelphia WR DeSean Jackson's speed

"(He is the) fastest guys we've played, no doubt. I don't know if there is anybody that I could even say is in the same category. When he's got the ball in his hands as a returner, it's a chance for a huge play. When he goes down the field, you see him break the cushion with the defensive backs faster than everybody else that you watch. He's got such an explosive burst to him, and that's why you see-I think his average touchdown is 61 yards. That's almost unheard of."

On teams looking past Jackson because of his size

"He's every bit as talented as any other player in this league on offense. Whether he weighs 170 (pounds) or 175, I know this: he doesn't take many big hits. It's hard to hit a guy who you can't catch and all the rest of it. He's tough, too. He goes over the middle. He catches balls inside. You've got to be tough to be a punt returner. He's fearless, fast, explosive, (has) great hands (and) runs really good routes. He is probably one of the better route runners that we will play all year long, too. There is nothing that he doesn't do very well."

On defending Jackson's speed

"There are not too many players in all of football who could fight his speed with their speed. I think you've got to be sound (technically). You've got to know what he's about, first of all. You've got to defend the deep part of the field well. You can't take plays off, and you've got to know what he wants to do and try to stop that from happening. Certainly, if you can disrupt the rhythm of the passing game somehow, whether that be disrupting (QB Donovan) McNabb in the pocket or trying to have a couple guys near him so that he can't just look over there and see him wide open and hit him. He's a huge problem, but there are so many of them. (RB Brian) Westbrook is going to play; (RB LeSean) McCoy and (FB Leonard) Weaver, all of them are good backs; (WR Brent) Celek is their leading receiver; (WR Jeremy) Maclin has made a bunch of big plays; (WR Jason) Avant is as physical a slot receiver as we'll play all season; and their (offensive) line does a great job of protecting. It's not like you can just take away one thing and say we're okay. You've got to defend everybody."

On looking for insight on Philadelphia from RB Correll Buckhalter and S Brian Dawkins

"I think that goes on most of the time if you've got somebody who is familiar with a team, a former team that they've played with. Anything that they can help us with in terms of the look we're getting in practice or something that may help us prepare better, we're certainly willing to listen to them and take their information and apply it."

On if he wants Broncos wide receivers to have more balanced catch totals

"You just want production. If one guy had 200 catches and we're real productive, we're throwing for a high completion percentage and making yards and scoring points-you do what's working. You do what's moving the ball. We've never been shy about throwing the ball to anybody in our offense. I'm not looking for a specific variance between No. 1's catches, No. 2's catches and No. 3's catches. They could all have the same number as far as I'm concerned, or we could have a little bit of a different deal. When you look at (WR Eddie) Royal and (WR Jabar) Gaffney, a lot of times they're splitting that position. Between the two of them, (they have) 80 catches. (WR Brandon) Marshall has got 90-something. It's close."

On establishing the running game to open up the passing attack

"Any time you're running the football and you can stay balanced, then you've got a lot more things that are going to be open to you in the passing game. Our ability to continue to run the ball for four quarters, obviously, will help us in the passing game. It has during the course of the season all year. It certainly will be no different this week."

On if he is concerned that Dawkins' is overwhelmed with the emotion of returning to play his former team

"No, I don't think-I know how he is. He's the ultimate professional, in my opinion. He's going to get himself ready to go. He's going to be himself. Emotion has always played a part in his preparation (and) has always played a part in his leadership. His energy and enthusiasm and what he does, I think that affects our team in a positive way. I think it affects him in a positive way. I wouldn't expect him to do anything different. Might he feel a little bit more emotion this week? Sure, I think that would be natural."

On Philadelphia's fans reacting warmly to Dawkins return

"He and ‘Buck'(halter) both played a large role in a lot of the success that they've had over the years. I'm sure that those people in Philadelphia appreciate both of them greatly, and they should. I'm sure they feel the same about their experience there. They were at a great organization with a great coaching staff, great owner, and I'm sure both of them really relished the time that they were there. It'll probably be very exciting for them to go back there and see a lot of old faces, and hopefully, play well."



On what has contributed the Philadelphia defense's high interception total

"(Their) scheme, talent, they're very aggressive and like you said, they've got talented guys on the outside. They have guys who if you do throw it to them, they catch it and certainly make a lot of plays after they do (intercept) it. (CB Asante) Samuel, (CB Sheldon) Brown and the safeties, they all can cover a lot of ground and make a lot of plays on the balls in the air."

On his mindset following the loss to Oakland

"(It's on) Philadelphia. That's the only place it can be. This team presents so many problems that if your mind is anywhere else, you won't be ready to go."

On if Philadelphia is the toughest place to play in the NFL

"There are a lot of tough places to play. Certainly, (as) an offense working against their defense, you have to have so much communication because of all the things they do that it is tough. There is a ton of communication that is going to have to go on this week to pick up the blitz (and) to pick up all the different looks that they bring. It'll certainly be a bigger issue with all of the crowd noise."

On Philadelphia's fans

"They're good ones. Guys love that stuff. You love when you go on the road and the fans are nasty and they're in your face and all that stuff. Guys love to play in that kind of stuff."

On if he has a natural tendency to pass to WR Brandon Marshall more than other receivers

"No, I go through my reads, and a lot of times, he's the guy who I'm going to. He does a great job of getting open. No, I try to just continue to go through my reads, and if he's the one that's open, then I'll give him the ball."

On if he has forced the ball to Marshall

"I haven't tried to force it to him, no. Certainly, in critical situations and you need a play, you're going to go to your best guy, and he's our best guy, for sure. I'm not necessarily trying to force him the ball at all."

On if he is surprised by WR Eddie Royal's reception total

"I don't know. He's had games where he's had 10 or 11 catches and he's had games with no catches. Obviously, we'd like to get him the ball more consistently. He does such a nice job with it and certainly just kind of turns into that punt returner when he gets the ball. We'd like to get him the ball in space and let him make plays with it when it's in his hands."

On the defensive attention that Royal receives

"You'd have to go through and look at all the plays, but we'd like to get him the ball on a more consistent basis, for sure."

On the need to score points playing against Philadelphia's explosive offense

"You have to score points and hopefully, do it early to get the lead. I think this team that we're playing, they love to play with the lead so much, and they're so aggressive (defensively) that if they get the lead and they can put you into passing situations, you're going to see a blitz on every down at that point. If we can come out early, play well and be able to stay in phase and run the football, we should be able to slow down some of the things they like to do."

On Philadelphia's 36 takeaways this season

"They blitz so much that you have unblocked guys coming at the quarterback, and the quarterback has to get the ball out. There's no question about it, they blitz so many guys that you just can't pick it up. When the quarterback is under duress, he's trying to find open guys and they're trapping guys, they're jumping routes and Samuel is very playing aggressive and coming off of his guy to make a play on another guy. Everything is just coming at the quarterback so fast and they're extremely aggressive and smart in the back end trying to be just as aggressive and making plays."

On the offense when RB Correll Buckhalter is healthy

"It's shown to be better, and ‘Buck' has played great all year and has really hit some long runs for us and has done a nice job. Hopefully, we get him back and have that one-two punch (with RB Knowshon Moreno)."

On the mental challenge facing Philadelphia's aggressive defense

"You don't want to throw the ball too quickly if you don't have to, and you don't want to hang on to it when you've got to get it out, so you've got to be on it every play and try to figure out as much as you can and get the ball to the right guy."

On Philadelphia's ability to disguise blitzes

"They do a great job. (They're) probably one of the best teams in the league at disguising their blitzes."

On the importance of establishing the running game against Philadelphia

"We'd love to get the running game (going). Like I said, we'd love to play with the lead. More than anything, we'd like to stay out of long-yardage situations and stay right in phase."



On returning to Philadelphia

"It is a big game for us as a team, as an organization. We still have some things yet to be done and this is a huge game for us as a football team moving forward."

On his emotions on returning to Philadelphia

"My emotions are going to be where they are when the time comes. There is no use of me pouring out my emotions and all that stuff now because it is not going to do any good. When it is going to do good is when we touch the field and I'm everything I need to be for my teammates, using my emotion into that and not just relying on my emotion but allowing my emotions to enhance my play hopefully."

On the best part of playing for Philadelphia

"The best part? I don't know if there is one particular best part. I think anytime that you spend a long time in one place, you connect with teammates and the relationships that you form-me being a blessed man of God, the people that I've been able to come in contact with from a spiritual aspect was always a blessing to be there when people come through there. Then, my connection with the fans is always something that I'll love (and) I'll cherish."

On why Philadelphia fans loved him so much

"Philly is a blue-collar place. They work hard for what they have in their families. Not saying that isn't everywhere, but you understand what I'm saying. They want someone to care as much as they do on the football field. If they don't feel like you are giving your all, if they don't feel like that and you are pulling yourself out on the field, then they are going to let you know about it. They aren't going to hold their tongues. They are going to let you know exactly how they feel. I've always played with my emotions on my shoulders, whether it was crying or whatever I feel like, that is what I let out. I've always been that way. I think that connected with them."

On the atmosphere playing at Philadelphia on Sunday

"It is going to be an electric atmosphere, I know that. It is going to be very hyped, but at the end of the day, once the whistle is blown on that first kickoff, after that first hit its football. I have to dial in, me and my teammates have to dial in. This is not just about me going back home. I know that is the story that you guys are going to write up, but this is about the Denver Broncos going in to Philadelphia, a tough place to play against a very good football team. That is where our focus needs to be."

On Sunday's game at Philadelphia

"It is going to be a fight. We have to make this a fight. I understand the attitude and the mood of what they are talking about in the meeting rooms and their mentality period as far as this time of the year. I understand that. At the end of the day, it is about execution. We have to go down and execute our game plans to a ‘T.' Whatever the coaches are asking us to do, we have to do it and do it with a belief that the things that they are asking us to do will give us a chance to win the ballgame. If we do that, we'll put ourselves in position, and we'll see what happens."

On how to slow down Philadelphia WR DeSean Jackson

"You have to limit him. You have to limit, especially, his yards after (the) catch because he is going to catch footballs. He is a dynamic football player (with) speed, agility, quickness and all that good stuff. The thing that you have to do is, when he does catch the ball, limit his yards after catch. That means having tight coverage. That means making open field tackles at some point on him. That is going to be a total defensive effort."

On RB Brian Westbrook's contribution to Philadelphia's running game

"He doesn't just add something to the running game; he is a weapon all over the field. They split him out at receiver. They get him the ball in screens. They use him in so many different ways. He is not just a running back. Having that dimension back in that offense is huge. We have to make sure we pay attention to him when he gets in the football game. He is definitely somebody-and I don't have to tell anybody this-that you can't take him for granted at all because at any given moment, he is a special guy and he can light you up."

On his relationship with Westbrook

"He is one of my best friends on the team, and I'm constantly in contact with him. There were a lot of prayers sent up by me for him going through what he has been going through with those concussions and other injuries that have seemed to creep up on him."

On his relationship with QB Donovan McNabb

"(We have a) great relationship. I have a great relationship (with McNabb). I know he is just like anybody else coming into Philadelphia that has played there in the past. He is going to attack me. If you give him the opportunity, he is going to throw the ball my way and see if he can fit it in there. He is a guy who loves to play the game, he loves to step up to challenges and he likes to have a good time on the field. Like I said, I don't expect him to do anything differently than they would do with anybody else. Given the opportunity, he is going to throw my way."

On what it will be like to come out of the visiting locker room and tunnel at Philadelphia

"I don't know. We'll see once I get there."

On his favorite memory playing for Philadelphia

"My favorite memory of them is just the party, the celebration we had after we beat Atlanta to go to the Super Bowl (in 2004) after failing so many times before. What that celebration was for the fans and for the coaches and to see the tears flowing in the stands with the fans-because we didn't win the Super Bowl but we had fallen short to get to that point so many times-that will be something that I'll always remember."

On if this is the most explosive Philadelphia's offense has been during his career

"They were pretty explosive our Super Bowl year (in 2004) when (Buffalo WR) Terrell (Owens) was there. I think that they were doing everything they wanted to do then. They have the personnel to do it (now), so (Head Coach Andy Reid) is opening that thing wide open.