HEAD COACH JOSH McDANIELS
On the matchup between Broncos OL Ryan Clady and Jacksonville DE Aaron Kampman
"I would say it's an important matchup. Kampman doesn't show, to me, any signs of slowing down from what he has done in the last four or five years here. I think he has had as many sacks as guys like (Chicago DE Julius) Peppers here in the last four years. He's a good pass rusher. He's got a great motor, and it will be important for us to keep the blind side of our quarterback protected and also to do a good job on him in the running game because he's disruptive there too. So, I think it will be very important for us to play well over there on the left side, and I know, obviously, he will be excited to play with a different team and everybody will be ready to go for the opener."
On the Jacksonville pass rush
"They are very active. The whole front is active. Kampman obviously adds a lot of pass rush to them. (DT Terrance) Knighton and (DT Tyson) Alualu are young players, but they are big, physical and active. They are hard to move out of there. They have been in the backfield plenty in the preseason, and (DE Derrick) Harvey to me just continues to get better. We watched him last year, and relative to this preseason you just see the guy - you know he has grown into a good NFL pass rusher and he's going to be productive too for them. So, whether it is the right or the left side (or) inside with the two younger players, they (have) different styles but nonetheless they cause issues for you."
On how WR Demaryius Thomas looked in his first day back at practice
"He did fine. You know, we are going to be smart with what we try to do with him early, but he was out there the whole time and I think he is just going to fight through the normal soreness that you have to fight through as you come back off of something that has bothered you. When your job is to run, like the receiver's job is, it makes it a little tougher. We are just going to see how he does and take his progress day-by-day, make our decision at the end of the week and then hopefully every day is a better day for him."
On Thomas missing practice in the preseason
"I wish for his sake that he had an opportunity to play in some of those preseason games. I think that's important for any rookie, but we have to deal with the situation that we have and if he is ready to go and when he is ready to go we will be excited to have him out there."
On the rule to bring the umpire to the offensive side and the controversy it has caused
"It hasn't really affected us a whole lot. Whatever they determine is the best thing for us to use in terms of rules within the league, then we are going to play by them. Like, I said, it hasn't disrupted us yet and I think that's what the league is trying to do is avoid any kind of disruption and also protect the officiating crew because I know that's why they made the move in the first place."
On the strength of the Jacksonville secondary
"They played a lot of bodies in the preseason. The corners - (CB Derick) Cox led them in interceptions last year, (CB Rashean) Mathis is fifth in interceptions in the last five or six years behind a lot of really big time players. I had an opportunity to be on a staff that coached Mathis in the Pro Bowl a few years ago. So, the corners are good. They are active, they are athletic (and) they have really good ball skills. (S Sean) Considine, I think kind of brings them a steadying presence there in the secondary. The communication is obviously important when you play a lot of man-to-man coverage - and they do play their fair share of man coverage. Versus different formations, you've got to get those things communicated, so it will be different. (S Reggie) Nelson was a different style of player, but I think their secondary is solid and their front seven really works well with them. They provide them with some different pressure when they blitz and the secondary does a good job of anticipating when the ball is coming out."
On how he has prepared the team for the heat and humidity in Jacksonville
"Hydrating. We have talked a lot about that in the offseason. Do you go early? Do you go into the indoor facility up the road and crank up the heat to 100 degrees? I'm not sure you can get used to it totally in one or two days. I think if you do that you may risk wearing somebody down, injuring somebody before you make the trip. I've been on West Coast trips or Southern trips where we went on Friday and got crushed, so it didn't really make a difference whether or not we went early or didn't go early. It was how we played in the game. It's not dissimilar to people coming out here and saying that the air is different. I think mentally we've just got to be ready to go. We know it's going to be hot. We know it's going to be humid. It was hot and humid in some of our preseason games, and we just have to stay hydrated. We've talked about that to our players all week. We started last week talking about that and hopefully we won't have a bunch of issues. We saw the Boise State situation the other night where they had four defensive backs out at the same time. I think our players - it caught their attention and we talked to them about that. So, we certainly can't afford to have four starters out at the same time."
On how satisfied he is with QB Tim Tebow's growth in the NFL
"I am not going to use the word satisfied, but I think that he's definitely come along. There's a certain percentage, I think, when you get through your first offseason with the rookies, that you feel like the rookies can actually go out there and operate. It doesn't matter what the position is, it's not going to be 100 percent - that's hard to do in three months, and it would take a pretty unique experience for that to happen. So, we didn't really try to do that. I think the things that we asked them to do in the preseason, I think he executed them better as the preseason went on. He certainly did some good things. He certainly made some mistakes, and we've talked about that and he understands that when you go in there the first series or two need to be a productive. The last couple of games that he had an opportunity to play he struggled early, and that's just a rookie going in there and trying to feel out the speed of the game. Once he kind of got a handle on the speed of the game, he did fine. I think that's kind of how a lot of our rookies played. Early in the Detroit game we struggled up front when we had some guys playing in there early against different styles of defense. I think overall he made some strides. (I'm) very happy with what he knows in terms of our offense, but I think the biggest thing is we understand what he's ready to do and what he's not. If he's playing, that's what we've got to do with him."
On the progression of OL J.D. Walton and OL Zane Beadles
"I think they had more opportunities (during the preseason). They have seen more because they have been in the game more; and because they were in there so quickly, whether OTA's or training camp, I think they had an opportunity to see a lot more and I think that goes a long way to help the curve get shortened a little bit. They're certainly going to make their share of mistakes; we know that and understand that. They are going to play against good players, but that is football. We are not going to have anybody out there that doesn't make a mistake because they are playing against good players every week. We understand it is part of the game and we have to try and make it go no matter what."
On QB Kyle Orton's progression this season compared to last season
"We expect him to improve, I'll say that. I don't know what echelon he is going to break into. That's all still way out in front of us. I just hope that he shows his improvement here starting in Week One. I think he did that in the preseason, but we all know everything changes when you get to the regular season - the speed of the game, everything that coaches have hidden all preseason long kind of starts to show up and that's when the real bullets get flying. I think he has prepared as well as he could prepare. I think he's done as much as he could do in the offseason to put himself in position to have maybe the best season of his career. That's what he's focused on and that's what we are hoping for too."
On his feelings toward an 18-game schedule
"It's really hard for us to say because whatever they tell us to do we are going to do no matter what. If they give us four preseason games, we'll play four preseason games. If they give us two, we'll play two and try to get the football team ready to go in that time frame. If they tell us to play 18, then they tell us to play 18. I don't really care. I really don't. I know that other people care more about how the outcome of that all kind of ultimately unfolds. Personally, I hope we play 20 more games starting on Sunday. Hopefully, if you are doing well the games are going to pile up on you anyway, so I think whatever they decide is best for the league going forward that's what we are going to do and we are going to be happy about it."
On his comfort level going into this season opener compared to last year
"I think our players totally understand what we are trying to do. They totally understand the message that we give to them each week. They understand where we are at as a staff and how we game plan and how we install things. I think that gives me great comfort because they go out there and they practice with confidence and they know more about the way we want to play than they did last year. I think there's always some uncertainty going into opening day. There are always butterflies - there's no way of getting around that because you don't really know exactly what you are going to get on opening day from the opponent. You have a good idea of what you are going to get from your football team, but again that's kind of all to be played out in front of you on opening day. We are real excited. We love the group that we have and our confidence and comfort level comes from their confidence and what they can do. Hopefully things will go well."
On the receivers and how he sees that group evolving
"Like I said, we are not going to try and force the ball anywhere. I think the goal is to put a lot of guys on the field together that can really do good things in the passing game when we choose to throw it, and we feel like we've got a group of receivers that when they have had their opportunities in the preseason - when they have had their opportunities in training camp - they have really made the most of them. We'll kind of see how many we are going to end up dressing during the course of the season too. I would imagine it would be somewhere near five each week, but it could be more because we do have some players that play in the kicking game too. I think by and large you are going to see a group that goes out there and tries to do their job, and the ball is going to go to all of them."
On how he expects RB Knowshon Moreno to improve this season
"I think, again, it is hard to say from practice, but I know from the spring everything was so much slower for him - the defense, the reads, the blitzes, the blitz pickup, the route running - we felt like he was ahead of everybody else whereas last year as a rookie those are things you kind of feel like you've got to catch up to the speed of the game. I think the speed of the game - he definitely had good control on that when he was out there. Certainly missing the last month or so here obviously can't help. You know, you start where you were, but I think that out there yesterday in practice he's getting back into the flow and hopefully the next three days will be the same thing; but I think the overall speed and rhythm of the game has really slowed down for him."
"I would also like to announce we voted for our captains and there are seven. We are real proud of the group that will lead our team this year. We have talked before about the experience and the leadership and how valuable it is, but I think these guys do a phenomenal job. It was heavily voted on by the team - (QB) Kyle Orton, (OL) Chris Kuper, (TE) Daniel Graham on offense; (LB) D.J. Williams, (S) Brian Dawkins, (CB) Champ Bailey on defense and (LB) Wesley Woodyard in the kicking game - seven guys that we feel very comfortable with leading our football team and it's a well-deserv(ing) group."
LINEBACKER ROBERT AYERS
On Jacksonville's offense
"You want to make them not do what their strength is. Their strength is running the game, so if we can get them into 3rd-and-10, 3rd-and-8, things like that - that's where they're not as good. When they get 3rd-and-2, 3rd-and-1, that's when it's tough because they can pound it and (Jaguars QB David) Garrard - he's pretty good at converting those situations too so we definitely want to make them one dimensional."
On the challenges presented by Jacksonville's rushing attack
"We're going to go down there and they're going to try to run the ball and that's what they're going to do and they're going to stick with it in the fourth quarter and throughout the whole game so we've got to stop the run - that's our No. 1 priority."
On whether the defense has to prove itself to the rest of the league
"Definitely, everybody wants to prove everything and same can be said for all 32 teams. Everybody wants to prove who they are and come out and show the league on opening day, ‘We're a legitimate team to be reckoned with.' That's our goal and I'm pretty sure it's the same for every other team."
On the heat and humidity in Jacksonville
"You've just got to hydrate throughout the week and be mentally ready. You're going to get tired, you're going to be breathing hard, it's going to be hot but you've just got to suck it up and go play."
On whether the heat has more of a mental or physical impact on players
"It's a lot of mental, but I'd definitely say it's physical too. When the heat gets on you and it's hard to breathe, you've just got to suck it up and go. It's definitely physical and mental."
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN JUSTIN BANNAN
On the challenges presented by Jacksonville's rushing attack
"Yeah, it's probably the biggest test that we're going to have and it's just fitting that it happens in the first game. There's been all kinds of talk how we've upgraded and done all these moves and made all these things happen - now it's a matter of going out and proving it and letting everybody know that we were brought in here for a reason."
On Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew
"He's an incredible running back. The guy - his balance is second-to-none. He's got a low center of gravity, he's heavy, he can do it all - whether it's catching balls out of the backfield or just running downhill, there aren't really too many things he can't do."
On whether opening on the road helps the team bond
"No, I think you bond regardless and that just comes over time being together, learning your teammates, having good chemistry and working hard for each other."
On his first regular-season game as a Bronco
"It's exciting, it's a dream come true just to be able to come out and represent the state of Colorado and go out and play this game. It's been a long road and a long path for me and I'm just really excited about it."
SAFETY BRIAN DAWKINS
On the opening game
"There's no sense in looking past the first team because that's the most important game on the schedule at that point and you tool up everything you have for that one opponent. Everything else will take care of itself, but if you don't take care of what you're supposed to take care of as far as being ready for that first opponent - that's not the way you want to start the season off."
On being in his second year with the club
"You know, for me, I'm more in tuned to what's going on, which is always a good thing as far as the schedules and everything like that. I'm more familiar with the surroundings, obviously. As far as the team - I think we're focused in the right direction - we're going in the right direction as far as detailing our work and working hard. This has been a physical camp for us obviously and guys are coming back healthy and we're going to see if we can go put our best foot forward."
On how his emotions change from year to year
"They don't - I am what I am on game day, that doesn't change. I just have to be able to calm myself down at times before the game starts, so I won't' have to ventilate and stuff like that but I am who I am on game day."
On whether he gives advice to the younger players
"Well, our coaching staff has done a good job of that. (Defensive Coordinator Don) "Wink" (Martindale) and all the coaches have done a good job on preparing those guys and if they have further questions as far as detail - that's where we'll have our conversations. For the most part, the coaches have done an excellent job of letting those guys know what's going to happen going forward as far as the speed of the game."
On being elected as a team captain
"It's an honor to be selected as a captain. To know guys trust me, respect what I do on the football field, not just in the locker room for them. It urges me to always try my best - which I do anyway - to put my best foot forward for them on game day."
On the responsibilities that come with being a captain
"Being able to answer tough questions when questions are asked, being able to stand up after tough losses and talk about things and being able to make the right decisions in tough, tough times. (They are) not always the most popular decisions sometimes a leader has to make - you just have to be able to follow your heart and make the right decisions."
On the excitement surrounding QB Tim Tebow playing in his hometown of Jacksonville
"I understand the situation, I understand what Tim has done in his career thus far. Being right there, 45 minutes away from the house, playing in Florida, the career he had in college - that's a college town first and foremost in Jacksonville, period - and (the University of) Florida - big time. So, I understand the hype and the excitement about Tim."
On his experience playing in his hometown of Jacksonville
"I've played there a number of times, including the Super Bowl (XXXIX), which we lost obviously so I've had my time playing there and going home to the family and all of that stuff so that part of it - I guess being anxious has passed - now it's about playing football. If my family is there, I'm going to play a certain way - if they're watching on TV, I'm still going to play that certain way. It doesn't matter who's at the game, I'm going to play (hard)."
On whether it was strange playing a Super Bowl in his hometown
"It was, it was real tough, that was real tough. That was real tough emotionally."
On the possible 18-game season
"I mean, if I'm asked, I would give my honest opinion on it - that's basically what I can do about it and we'll have our discussions as far as the (Players' Association) and the NFL is concerned and we'll hash out the things, the pros and cons of it and hopefully we'll come to an understanding both ways to be able to do whatever is best in the players' interest going forward but like I said, I'll speak my two cents and put them in when it's called for."
On whether there is anything that would put him in favor of an 18-game season
"I doubt it - I'm pretty steadfast on what I believe in as far as that is concerned because of how physical the game is, period, and then to add two more games on top of it and then going into the playoffs and all that good stuff. When you're playing in Philadelphia, it feels so long going into the playoffs so many times, I know how I felt every year and to add two more games on top of that for those teams that go deep into the playoffs - that's a lot to ask so I'm' pretty steadfast on where I stand."
TIGHT END DANIEL GRAHAM
On Jacksonville's physicality
"It's just going to be a fun game for us. It's a good team for us to start off with. It's going to show us a lot where our team is this year."
On the Jacksonville weather
"It's difficult. We're hydrating now. We know it's going to be hot out there. There's nothing we can do about it, so we're just going to go out there and play our game."
On the fans in Jacksonville supporting QB Tim Tebow
"It'll be nice to have support, but we know we have to bring our own support within the locker room. It's going to be a hostile environment. It always is on the road. We're prepared for that."
On if he's worried about the offense's rhythm
"We're not worried about that. We're doing a lot in practice right now. We're getting prepared for it. For those of us who have been out, we're getting used to being back out there with the rest of the guys on offense. Practice has been good so far, and we'll be ready on Sunday."
On the challenges of Jacksonville's front seven
"They're physical. They make a lot of plays on defense. We have to account for everybody on their defense. As long as we do that, our offense will roll and we'll have good production on Sunday."
On the excitement of the season opener
"After you've had as many as I have, it's almost like another game. It's a whole new season. I'm looking forward to starting this season off. I can't wait."
On being voted a team captain
"It's an honor. It means a lot. It means my teammates respect me - respect what I do on and off the field. It's an honor again to be named a captain."
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN RYAN McBEAN
On the opportunity of starting a new season
"Every week is an opportunity to go out there and prove to the league we are what we are."
On the differences in the defense this season
"New guys. We have (DL) Justin (Bannan) and (DL) Jamal (Williams) - guys who are 'Been there done that' guys. They're going to be here to help us."
On preparing for the heat in Jacksonville
"Water, man - being hydrated. You see these guys walking around with gallons of water. You've got to just keep drinking to be hydrated."
RUNNING BACK KNOWSHON MORENO
On how it felt to start running again
"It feels good, I feel good so we'll see what happens this weekend."
On whether he's ready for a full workload
"I'm ready for whatever the coaches need me to do. It doesn't matter what it is, that's why we're out here in practice right now just getting ready and seeing how things feel."
On whether not getting any carries in the preseason will affect his regular season
"I just want to get back out there. Basically, that's what it all really comes down to. Get back out there, get my wind back, get out there and see how the game is flowing and make the best of it."
On the weather
"Yeah, I think I'm used to it but I haven't had it in a long time. (Once) I get out there, I think I'll be OK."
On how he'll prepare for the heat and humidity.
"I think for anyone, you've just got to hydrate well, you don't want to get any fatigue or anything in your muscles and things like that. You want to hydrate well to be sure not to get any cramps and get out there and play."
On Jacksonville's defensive front seven
"They're a real good team. They run to the ball, they make big plays and it's going to be a real good contest for us so we've got to get ready and prepare for that."
QUARTERBACK KYLE ORTON
On starting the regular season
"There's no question - just a different feel around the building. We're all excited - you never know what you have going into the season. We're going to find out a lot about our team come Sunday and just the preparation and the atmosphere around the building has all picked up - just like it is all around the league."
On the rotating personnel on the offensive line
"Really, whoever has been in there has done a pretty good job protecting me and whatever group we have in there come Sunday I've got a lot of confidence in those guys and they'll do their job and that's to block and open up holes for the running backs and they'll be just fine."
On whether Denver will use other quarterbacks during the course of the game
"I guess I haven't spent too much time thinking about it. I stay in a rhythm - we did some stuff last year with me split out and all types of good stuff and I really didn't feel like it affected my rhythm at all and I'm not really concerned about it."
On dealing with the heat and humidity in Jacksonville
"Drink water (laughing). I've never cramped in my life - I'm not fast enough, I don't think, to cramp or pull anything (laughing) so hopefully our wide receivers and all those guys will be ready to go but personally, I'm not concerned about it."
On being voted a captain by his teammates
"No question, it's really the biggest honor you could have as a player is to have your peers say, ‘This is who we want to be our leader and speak for us,' so you don't take it lightly, it doesn't come lightly. There's a lot of responsibility that comes with it and I certainly look forward to it."
On the responsibilities that accompany being named a captain
"Well, when the adversity comes, (captains) are the guys that the group looks to and I think we've got great leaders in the locker room - not just the captains - I think we've got a great group of leaders and certainly guys like (S Brian Dawkins) and (CB) Champ (Bailey) and (TE) Daniel (Graham) - guys that have been through it a lot - Those are the people that the group is going to look to when adversity hits."
On the upcoming season
"I'm excited for the year. I feel like the offseason went as well as it could for me - and certainly that doesn't carry over to equaling success in the (regular) season but (I'm) just happy with where my body is at, where my preparation is at, mentally where I'm at, and I'm just excited to go out and play with a great group of guys and play well."
On his confidence level
"At this position, you can't coach experience and you just can't get it so I feel like I've seen a lot of things throughout my five years on the field. I've played a lot in five years so I think I've seen a lot of things - I don't think I'm going to get fooled a whole lot of the times and in those situations where you might not know it for sure - certainly not make a bad play worse. (I) just look to go out and work on that experience and play well."
On which of the captains will call the coin toss
"I had a good streak going because I called it at Cincinnati and won but I choked in the last game and missed it, so I think we kind of rotate. You've got to take the hot hand - you've got to ride him."
On the difference between preseason and regular-season games
"I think when you come into the first game - whether you're in sync in the preseason or not - everything is faster, there are going to be looks you haven't seen. All the teams hold stuff back so there are going to be situations in the game where it's not perfect. I don't think just having a young group is any different from having an older group in that situation so I just think as a unit we've got to have five good days of practice and try to play as fast as we can and try to simulate it as much as we can but when it gets down to it, you've just got to keep your composure and fight through things - especially on opening day.
"I just think as a whole unit, as a whole team you don't know where you stand. You know what you did in the preseason and that's all fine. I think the feeling is excitement. You can't really predict what you're going to have in any phase and you just kind of go out there and try to do as best as you can and then come Sunday, you kind of know what you have."
On what he thinks will surprise people about the Broncos
"I don't know. I don't know what the general thought of this football team is (from the outside) so I don't know how to surprise somebody. I know that we're confident, we're excited and we're expecting to go out and play a good football team. Now, if we go out and play well, does that surprise people? I don't know - we're expecting to play a good game."
On OL Ryan Clady
"Guys that are on the field - I have confidence in them. If they're ready to play, then I certainly have confidence in them. He's one of our best players and I'm not sitting back there thinking anything is coming off my left side when he's in the game."
On Jaguars DE Aaron Kampman
"I've played against Aaron for a number of years when he was in Green Bay and he's one of the best pass rushers I've played against and if the play lasts longer than the offensive line wants to play, he's going to make every play because he doesn't stop. He's got a motor that keeps on going and he's a Pro Bowler so he's a load over there and I don't think anything will slow that guy down."
QUARTERBACK TIM TEBOW
On the excitement of playing in his first NFL regular-season game in Jacksonville
"It definitely will be. The opportunity to be a part of my first game and to be able to go to Jacksonville, my hometown - it'll be very exciting."
On whether he expects to see many of his jerseys in the stands
"There might be one or two No. 15 jerseys there, probably a few Gator fans as well but it's just going to be exciting overall for me."
On whether ticket requests from his family has been a distraction
"No, my family is great and so supportive and they kind of handle all that on their own. I really haven't worried about it too much. My family is kind of just taking care of all that for me, so I'm just focused on practice today."
On Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew's comments regarding his popularity in Jacksonville
"Well, it's nice of him to say that, but I think that I'll be so busy getting ready for the game and being with my teammates that I'm not going to work on it at all."
On his first NFL regular-season game being played in his hometown of Jacksonville
"It is pretty ironic. It's also very exciting and something that will be very memorable for me."
On whether he's used to the hot and humid weather in Jacksonville
"Oh yeah, and I'm sure it'll be pretty hot in Jacksonville for kickoff so I think that everyone is feeling like they're in pretty good shape and ready to handle that."
On Jacksonville not selecting him in the NFL Draft
"Jacksonville has been a great city, I loved growing up there but I'm very excited and very proud to be with the team that I'm with."
On his progression as a quarterback
"I feel like I've made some improvement. I think I've got a long way to go. It's just every day - it sounds cliché but it's just every day getting better, getting more comfortable, the speed of my game picking up - it's just constantly trying to improve."
On what he saw from preseason tape of his play
"I think there were some good things and there were some bad things and I think that kind of goes both ways. I wasn't consistent enough and I've just got to improve with that consistency."
On growing up in Jacksonville
"It was a great place to grow up. I had a great family, a great support staff around me and just playing from little league, to Pop Warner, to high school - it was a lot of fun and I had a great time growing up (in Jacksonville).
On whether he's concerned with his status on the depth chart
"To be honest, really not at all. I'm more concerned about getting ready and getting focused for practice and trying to improve and understanding the game plan, understanding what I have to do to get better, to play faster, to learn more and all those things."
On whether he thinks he should be the No. 2 quarterback
"I don't know, that's coach's decision and something that all I have to go out there and worry about is what I can control."
On areas where he thought he was inconsistent in the preseason
"It's just a little here, a snap there, the pick, just trying to convert better on third downs, keep the offense on the field - things like that, little things that turn into big things."
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN JAMAL WILLIAMS
On Jacksonville's offense
"Oh, they have some great skill players - the offensive line finally back intact because they lost a lot of guys last year but they're looking pretty good based on the preseason and the film that we watched. We've just have to make sure that we're well prepared."
On how to prepare for the Jaguars' rotations on the offensive line
"We're studying everybody because those guys do a great job moving around but they're able to play each position well so we've just got to make sure we're on top of our game."
On the challenges presented by Jacksonville's rushing attack
"Oh, we've got a great challenge this week with (Jaguars RB Maurice) Jones-Drew so that's going to show where we are right now as a team so we've just got to go out there and play well."
On how he'll prepare for the Jacksonville weather
"I might as well go step into a sauna somewhere and start running around in a steam room and try acting like this is part of the game right now. It might be a little weird going to one of these little health spas and running around in there but I'm going to try my best.
"I'm not worried about the weather because you're going to play in different types of weather situations but it's football when it all comes down to it."