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NFL Week 1 - Denver at Cincinnati Weekly Presser -- Josh McDaniels, Kyle Orton, Brian Dawkins


On Cincinnati's offensive weapons

"They have more than a couple. This will certainly be one of the most, if not the most, explosive group of receivers we'll play. They do a lot of different things, too, with them. They go down the field and make plays. (Cincinnati QB Carson) Palmer can certainly get the ball down the field to them accurately, but they also do a lot of things where they catch the ball underneath and then make a bunch of people miss. (Running) after the catch is a significant portion of some of the things they do to make big plays, too. Tackling them is an issue. Covering them is an issue. Trying to disrupt Palmer and his rhythm is going to be a big challenge. Certainly, like you said, they are explosive. They can score from anywhere on the field."

On Cincinnati's offensive line

"(They are) playing pretty well. In the preseason, you are seeing bits and pieces here and there, and Carson didn't play the whole preseason, obviously. They're physical. They're big, and they keep everybody out of the middle of the pocket pretty well. They run the ball extremely well. They led the league in rushing in the preseason, obviously, and that is a big credit to their offensive line. They are doing a lot of good things up there."

On the Broncos' ability to apply defensive pressure during the preseason

"We did some good things in stretches. (It) certainly started well in San Francisco. That's a process where you have to take each week and look at what you may be able to do to get some pressure in the pocket, and we are certainly trying to do that this week against them. It will be a big task because they do a great job of keeping people out of (Palmer's) face."

On Bengals RB Cedric Benson

"He is really playing well (and is an) explosive runner. He can bounce the ball to the edge, (is a) good cut-back downhill guy (and is) very physical. He kind of fits their running game very well. There offensive line is big and physical. Their runner gets it downhill and isn't afraid to put his shoulder down and try to run you over either, so tackling him is going to be an issue. That plays hand in hand with trying to cover the receivers at the same time and disrupt the quarterback. They have got a lot of weapons, they are very explosive and we are going to have to play well on Sunday."

On the Broncos' 2009 captains

"The players voted on it and the captains have been named for the 2009 season. They are (C) Casey Wiegmann, (QB) Kyle Orton, (TE) Daniel Graham, (ILB) Wesley Woodyard, (ILB) Mario Haggan, (CB) Champ Bailey and (S) Brian Dawkins. (They are) very worthy of that recognition, and the team made it clear those were the guys they felt that way about." 

On WR Brandon Marshall staying after practice for additional work

"There were a lot of guys that worked in there yesterday after practice, did some extra work. He was one of them. I love every one of our players that will stay after and do more and try to work on some of the things that are important to this week. That is always important that they feel that way about what they are doing and want to try and improve at their craft. I feel really good about that, and it was really good seeing everybody working extra after practice yesterday."

On Dawkins and Orton being named captains in their first seasons in Denver

"It obviously speaks to how they interact with their teammates, how they lead their teammates on the field, what they do when they're not on the field and how they conduct themselves in terms of their preparation. They are both in here early and out of here late and take care of their bodies and do all the right things that you want them to do. That's recognizable when you are around them all day long. The players see that. It is a very big compliment to them and the way that they approach it. It certainly wasn't surprising in either case."

On the excitement of opening the season

"Opening day is great. I know this is my first time as a head coach, but opening day in general, it is a great day for the league and tons of excitement and uncertainty kind of abound. I am sure I will have the same feeling I have had for eight other opening days: nervous, not eating a whole lot on the day of the game. That's part of football and I'm looking forward to it. I can't wait for it."

On playing the first game in his home state of Ohio

"It is kind of nice the league put both Ohio teams on our schedule first. I will have a number of family and friends there, and that will make it more special in that regard. I will be able to see a few people, maybe before the game or after the game, and just the support that you get from people that you grew up with or around. I played there a number of times in Cincinnati. It is a neat place to play, great fans (and it's) loud. It will be a great place for us to start the season."

On the quarterbacks gelling with the offensive line

"I don't think it is as much us breaking that down as it is any quarterback getting comfortable with two things-one being how good the offensive line does protect for him and secondly, what you're trying to do on a certain play or with your system in general. If you are trying to force the ball down the field, sometimes you'll obviously need more protection. If you are not, if you are trying to get it out quicker, you have got to get a certain comfort level with these guys, ‘Give me a certain amount of time to throw' and the coaches are asking me to do these things with the ball. I think that all of our quarterbacks are new, new to this system, new to this line, new to our team, and I think they have adapted fairly well to it."


On if he will be able to start at Cincinnati on Sunday

"It is an ongoing process. It will be something that (Head) Coach (Josh McDaniels) has to decide and myself, but I am going to do everything I can. Everybody wants to play, obviously, on opening day, and I am no different. I want to get out there and compete and do everything I can to help this team win."

On the factors affecting whether or not he will play

"I have got to be the best guy for it. If I am not ready, I cannot hold the team back, obviously. It will just be a process throughout the week."

On the amount of pain he is experiencing

"It doesn't feel great. It doesn't feel ideal, but that is football. Everybody has to deal with a little bit of pain, and I am no different."

On his ability to grip the football

"I wore a glove yesterday. I don't know if I will do that on Sunday or not, but right now that is the best way for me to go."

On if he has previously played with a glove on his throwing hand


On the benefit of wearing a glove on his throwing hand

"It just gives you a little bit of an extra grip on the ball, sometimes just a little bit too much grip. If I can play without it, that would be great, but if I have to go with it, (it is) no big deal."

On his throwing hand's status

"I think we got lucky that it wasn't more than it was. To have a chance to play this weekend is great."

On the biggest obstacle of wearing a glove on his throwing hand

"I don't think there are any huge issues with it to be honest with you. There weren't any yesterday. It was a pretty clean practice yesterday."

On if he will start at Cincinnati on Sunday

"I am preparing like I am going to play, no question about it. (I am) trying to take as many reps as I can this week in practice to get ready and be ready to go on Sunday."

On preparing for Cincinnati in comparison to previous opponents

"Different than preseason. We were still working so much on ourselves. I think when you get to this point in the season, most teams are pretty much off of yourselves and moving right on to focusing totally on their opponent, and we are no different."

On WR Brandon Marshall

"Brandon Marshall had a great attitude yesterday. We worked hard, worked after practice and got a few more throws in. He has been great."

On his limited time working with Marshall being overhyped

"If he is open, it is overrated. It is not all that hard to throw to open guys, and he does a good job of that. I don't see us having too many issues."

On Cincinnati's defense

"For the last three or four years, they have just created so many turnovers, and that is the way they win. Offensively, we have got to, certainly, take care of the football. They have got good players that can create a lot of havoc and like to create a lot of pressure, so we have got to be smart with the football and make plays."

On the excitement of opening week

"It is a lot of fun. Nobody knows exactly what you have as a team until you step out there opening day. You can look at preseason and all that stuff, but nobody really knows until you get out there opening day and the bullets start flying for real. We are all excited. We think we have a good football team and a good chance to go out and show everybody week one."

On the relief of starting the season

"It has been a long offseason. I know we put a lot of work in here learning the new system. Everything that we have done since I have gotten here has been geared toward Cincinnati and getting off to the right start. Everybody has put a lot of work into it, and it is time to see what we have."

On Denver's offensive line

"Obviously, our line is critical in our success. When they play well, it seems the running game works, the passing game works. They do a great job of protecting me, obviously, and it will be nice to have that little bit of extra time this week."

On comparing Broncos' offense to the Bears' offense

"It was certainly a different system and a different style. We certainly got the ball out of our hands as fast as we could and took a completion. Here, if an opportunity presents itself, we are going to move across the field and try to get down the field a little bit more."

On if the stitches in his throwing hand will be removed next week

"I sure hope so."

On if players are more intense in practice this week as compared to the preseason

"I think everybody has. Every player, every coach, this is what you prepare for. This is what you work for. You can't go out and make mistakes in practice and practice poorly. You have got to have good practices and carry that over into the game."

On how the intensity manifests itself

"This is what we do and this is how we play, and I think everybody knows. Once it gets to opening week, the game moves faster. It is not like you do not try in the preseason or anything, but for some reason the game is faster and it means something."

On S Brian Dawkins' pregame routine

"He is an emotional guy and is a leader and obviously, a captain for us. He likes to get going before the game. I have never seen anything like it before to be honest with you. I am glad I am not playing against him anymore."



 On the Bengals having two home-run threats at wide receiver

 "(They have) more than two. They have a stable over there of good receivers. (They) can go downtown and create yards after catch, so we have our hands cutout. This is what you live for as a defensive back, the opportunity to stand up against one of the league's best tandems. Add more than just two to that equation, like I just said. It is always a challenge that you as a defensive back need to stand up and welcome."

On the Bengals being a reenergized team

"I think just the fact of having so many guys back playing healthy once again. Obviously, the number one guy is (Cincinnati QB Carson) Palmer being back there at the helm. That just changes that whole team's mindset, I believe, as far as a confidence factor goes. You know what he can do with the ball. He can put it where it needs to be, and then he has two weapons, like we talked about earlier, to get outside. Defensively, we played them last year in (Philadelphia), and they did a good job against us turning the ball over. We know we have our hands cutout offensively and defensively. It is going to be a huge challenge for us."

On if he will play without his hand wrapped at Cincinnati on Sunday

"Not quite yet. It is not quite ready yet for the physical game. Practice is a lot different than a game as far as physicality goes. It is not quite yet."

On his excitement for Sunday's season opener

"The first week is always exciting. It is always an exciting time no matter where you are in your career. It should be anyway. You should jump up for it. Obviously, this is my first year being here, first time suiting up in the regular season for this team with my teammates here, so I am definitely jacked up for this one to get this thing rolling, to see what we are going to be about, to see if we can capitalize on the opportunities that are going to come and make sure that the mistakes that we made during the preseason were just preseason mistakes and that we can carry on and play some ball."

On his ability to play with a wrapped hand

"I can do everything I need to do. My hands are not the best as it is without the glove. I will be able to adjust and do whatever I need to do with the football. As far as tackling, I can do what I need to do."

On playing in the preseason

"You still need your games, and that was a great opportunity for me to come in and play against Chicago to get that rust off if I had any, to get to game speed and the intensity where I need it to be. I felt great, so I don't look for anything to hinder me or hamper me as preparation goes for this first game. I think everybody needs a touch of it, just to get used to the contact. It's a little different than training camp practices, tackling to the ground and all that good stuff. You need those couple of reps here and there in the preseason to make sure you are ready to roll and running full speed when the regular season hits."

On what the Broncos need to do to be successful this season

"The first thing you have to do is have confidence in the systems and schemes being put in. You have to have that, and I believe we do have that. I can't speak for the offensive side of the ball, but defensively, it is about knowing your assignment, owning your assignment and making that assignment yours. What I mean by that is that you are not just going out and doing what the playbook says. You can move around and do disguises when you know where I am supposed to be at. If you are guessing where you are supposed to be at, you are not going to move around as much. As far as personalities go, we have a great group of guys over there. We jell. We jelled mightily in this short period of time. I don't see anything that is going to hinder us or hamper us from going out and playing the type of defense that we want to play. As a team, period, but especially defensively."

On how emotional he gets on gameday

"That has always been me. When I touch the football field, I play with my emotions on my shoulders. Whatever I feel like doing, I do. Not to show up anybody, but I have a great time on the football field. I am blessed to do what I do for a living, and I enjoy it. Whatever energy I have on that day is going to be given completely and fully on the field for my teammates. A lot of guys have probably heard about me on the football field and the way that I am, but it's a different thing when you see me. That is just who I am. That is who I have always been."

On taking on a leadership role with the Broncos

"I am a blessed man first of all. I am a blessed man of God. I am anointed to do what I do, on and off the football field. That in itself allows me to receive different conversation that I have because a lot of it is not about football. We talk about a whole bunch of different things. I have been blessed to play this game for a long time, and through those times, I have been able to overcome and see some situations and fall into some situations where I can help younger guys. Guys welcome that, and I am always open to conversations."