(Quotes courtesy of the Denver Broncos)
On the bye week
"One of the reasons why you work hard to get to this situation is that it gives you an extra week to prepare for a potential opponent. You don't know exactly but our guys had a good workout today. There was good focus and this is an opportunity to get better. A lot of people on the outside call it a ‘bye' week. To me it's a ‘get better' week."
On the postseason
"The challenge is that it's a new season. All the records go out the window, all the stats go out the window-it's a whole new season. The key is not so much the bye-it's playing the best football during this playoff season. It's a single-elimination tournament, so you can't have a bad day. You have to be on your game from the beginning to the end and the team that usually does that is the team that usually wins it all."
On being in the playoffs
‘It took me nine years to get where I was last year with my first playoff game. And you guys are first-year-and-second-year [players] and you are in the playoffs again.' You can't take it for granted. That's why you have to go out there and practice hard and give us good looks or vice-versa if they are out there playing. Enjoy the moment but at the same time, know what we have to do and that's get that ‘W.'
On last year's loss
"It's unspoken. Half of us were here last year. I'd be mad if you tell me what happened last year. I know what happened I was there so it's unspoken. We know what we got to do. We're ready and I don't want to beat a dead horse. All 32 teams have this goal in mind and that's to win the Super Bowl. Obviously only one team can do it so that's our goal."
On having already faced three of the AFC's playoff qualifiers
"Yeah. It's teams we're familiar with and that can be good and bad, it could work both ways. It could work in the way in your hands, but you know they you know what they're going to call you know what they're going to play. Or these guys know you so well they know what you're going to do and they kind of get you wired a little bit. You just got to go with the flow and just be ready to play. Be locked in and ready to go."
Chris Harris Jr.
On being motivated to play a team you've already lost to
"Oh yeah, definitely an advantage. Last year, in that case, we had beaten Baltimore. We felt like we had beaten them pretty handily last year. For them to come in here and play us how they did, definitely that was a time that we hadn't had any adversity going into the [post]season-winning 11 straight games. Us having a tougher year, but still having the same record, I think definitely gives us a lot more confidence. But it's a whole new season. Whatever people say-we had a bad defense, people say we have an amazing offense-but all those stats and all those points, it doesn't matter anymore. It's a new season. So we'll just try to be No. 1 to end it off right now."
On the defense being toughened up due to adversity/injury
"Definitely. I think tougher and a lot smarter compared to last year in how we scheme, how we're going to scheme up and play against teams. Last year, it was a little bit of a learning curve for us, I think. I think going into this game, whoever we'll play this year, we'll be a lot more prepared, a lot smarter and a lot more confident. That just comes from having that experience of last year. People are going to talk about the numbers, but we feel like we're way more confident going into this year's playoffs than we were last year."
On the difference between this year and last year
"It's a different team. We've got some new players. It's been a different season. I think we've been through- I talked about this a couple of weeks ago- I think we've been through a pretty unique season with some of the injuries and some of the different things that have occurred. Offseason, on the field, whatnot. All that has kind of passed us at this point. Hopefully, we have learned from it and we can use it. Kind of like we talk about preseason-you want as much to happen in the preseason to prepare you for the regular season as possible. And I think the same is here. You hope you face as many situations in the regular season that can get you prepared for the postseason. I think we have faced a lot and seen a lot-and certainly haven't seen it all. But hopefully we're more prepared. It's about using what we learned in the regular season hopefully to our advantage and applying it here in the postseason."
On learning from last year's loss
"Like I said, I think you can-as painful as it was-I think you can learn from it. I think you can use it certainly to fuel you. But you can learn from some of the situational football parts of it. I think you can learn from 16 more games this regular season. It was a new team last year. It's still a new team this year but there is more familiarity and hopefully we have more chemistry with the players that have been on both teams. The players that are new this year, I think we've been through a lot here in just 16 games and hopefully that can help us."
On Bubba Caldwell and Jacob Tamme contributing more to end the season
"I would certainly think so. Getting a chance for those guys to get on the field, I think, has helped them. It's helped our offense. Those guys have stepped up and done a heck of a job. It gives everybody confidence when those guys are in there, we're still going to be able to execute."
On Adam Gase
"I think Adam has done a good job taking the different strengths of the players that he has and putting those guys in the best situations out there. I always think that's the key to a good offense is putting players in positions where they feel comfortable, where they can thrive. I think Adam has done that. He has studied what players do well, what players don't do so well and has kept them out of those situations. That has allowed guys to go out there, play fast and play with confidence. I think that has made a big difference. So that is a credit to him for studying his own players and kind of knowing what each guy does best."
On being concerned about timing with the time missed
"I don't think so. We have a bunch of practices and stuff. We have practices this week and next, and it will really give us a chance to get back into the groove of things and hopefully have a little bit better timing with fresh legs and everything else."
On improving from the concussion
"It took a little bit of time. Even when I felt like I was 100 percent, looking back, you know you weren't 100 percent. So it's always a tricky injury and just trying to manage it and everything else. But the doctors and trainers did a great job of just doing the things necessary to get me back out there on the field."
On getting the timing back
"I feel like we were kind of on the same page today. You have good practices; you have bad practices. Things like that. Hopefully just keep it rolling into tomorrow and keep it going. But I feel like we've been around the league long enough where we know each other's thinking and can get on the same page and ready to go."
You certainly get the feeling that the Broncos want to put last year behind them, not even really wanting to address the loss. But they are completely right, this is a new year, new team, and new situation. While teams like NE look to get healthy during the bye (and the Broncos to some extent), it is also great to hear the approach to the bye week of getting better from an execution standpoint.