Jul 26, 2014 4:22 PM
The Denver Broncos wrapped up day three of training camp at Dove Valley, Saturday. It was the first day of padded practice for the team. Sunday the team will participate in the first of three practices at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. Head Coach John Fox and selected players spoke with the media following Saturday's morning practice.
HEAD COACH JOHN FOX
"On the injury report, [S] John Boyett has a little lower back tightness and [DE] Derick Wolfe has the same issue. [DE] Greg Latta strained a knee. Other than that, we are pretty much all healthy."
On how it feels to practice with pads for the first time
"It's been a while. A lot of these guys haven't been in pads since February with all the offseason rules being practice without pads so it was pretty good. We've got a ways to go, but overall it was a pretty good first day."
On if Wolfe has any physical hesitation since last injury
"No, not at all. The kid loves to play football and he loves coming to this building. It's a big part of his life and I respect that. I like the way he has come back."
On if he thinks the defense is ahead of the offense early in camp
"No, not really. I just think we have improved defensively and we made not of that through the offseason with workouts as well as the acquisitions of players and getting guys back healthy. It's competitive. There's ebbs and flows to it throughout camp with guys competing so it makes it fun."
On if the players are excited to practice at Sports Authority Filed at Mile High on Sunday with the fans
"I think our players are excited. Anytime they walk in there it's such a great spot and we have such great fans. That obviously sparks them especially since the fans aren't able to come out here. I think they are definitely looking forward to it."
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR JACK DEL RIO
On the first day of pads
"It was good. Good day. Good energy. I think guys have been preparing during the offseason. It kicks off camp, officially, when you get into pads, so we had a couple days in shorts to begin it and it's really been super."
On limiting some of the contact
"We work hard. We're competitive, but we understand its Broncos on Broncos, so we want to be smart about how we work. To me, you come out here and compete hard. Football is a rugged sport. You work your way into shape. I thought it was a good start today."
On LB Von Miller losing some weight
"I don't have any question that Von will be ready to roll and be at his best this year. I think he's worked extremely hard with [Strength and Conditioning Coach] Luke Richesson and the staff and ‘Greek' (Head Trainer Steve Antonopulos) and the trainers, and he's continuing to do that. He's been a real good teammate, working hard with the guys. I have no doubt he's going to have a special year."
On S Rahim Moore's progress
"Rahim is doing real well. He's healthy. You'd never know he went through that traumatic experience. He's bounced back. He's 100 percent. He's communicating. He's moving well. He's poised to have a real nice year."
On when CB Chris Harris Jr. may return
"That's something for ‘Greek' to answer or [Head Coach John] Fox. From my standpoint, he's participating, mentally excellent, doing a great job, being there as a leader, participating in the meetings and taking mental reps here. I know he's working hard. It's just a matter of the doctors and trainers and everybody clearing him, but he's into it mentally. He's ready to go."
On putting the pads on
"It's always good to get the pads on. Camp has really started now. Before you put the pads on, it almost doesn't count. It was good though-a good morning and a good first day. We've got a good football team. Part of what we have to do-and Coach Fox talks about it-is be really competitive but take care of each other. I think we're working to get that balance."
On if he likes what he's seen from S T.J. Ward so far
"I do. I like what I've seen in the meetings. I like the way he conducts himself. He's going to bring some toughness to our defense, and we've got some tough guys on our defense so he'll fit right in with that. A welcomed addition."
On the depth of the defense
"I feel great about what we were able to accomplish last year with guys stepping up, playing big in big moments and helping us get all the way to the Super Bowl. We've got our guys back now. We've also added some talented guys to the mix. We're excited to get back together. Obviously our depth has been strengthened and improved. We have some guys that are going to be in reserves that we know we can count on."
On what he's seen from players like LBs Brandon Marshall and Lerentee McCray getting reps
"[It's] early for them. I like the way they're approaching it. They've got a lot of work to do, but certainly we're excited about the way they're beginning things. [I] look forward to watching them compete and work and assert themselves as we go through training camp, but those two guys are in position to earn themselves as backup players here. Hopefully they take advantage of those opportunities, but there are other guys you didn't mention that are right there that they're competing with. I think it's a competitive group, and we'll let it play out."
On his feelings about downfield contact and pass interference being points of emphasis for officials again
"My biggest thing is to really understand how they're trying to emphasis and call it and make sure we're teaching our guys, so we can play within the rules. I don't waste a whole lot of energy worrying about whether I like it or don't like it. To me, it's about helping our guys understand what they have to do to play well and spending your energy on that and teach and instruct. Hopefully, they get an understanding of how we can play within the rules and make sure we're prepared to do that."
On if he has a good understanding of what officials will call
"I do, based on what I heard when they came through. They'll be in next week, and we'll get a better feel for it as they work with us in practice. It's always beneficial for us."
On certain penalties being called in the preseason and not in the regular season
"You know there are things that are going to be emphasized. Depending on how that goes-if the emphasis results in a five hour game, then they probably would de-emphasize it. Again, I don't think I need to worry about that kind of thing. It typically takes care of itself. We just make sure, as coaches, that we instruct the best we can so guys are well-prepared."
On having Rod Woodson as a training camp coaching intern
"Having Rod around is great. He's got a wealth of knowledge. I was there as a young coach in Baltimore when we won that Super Bowl together. I know the way he prepares and the way he approached the game. [He was] just a great, great football player and having a guy like that around here to give a little insight to guys is very valuable."
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR ADAM GASE
On practicing against a better defense this year
"It has been a challenge. We knew it in the spring that it was going to be tough and now that we have the pads on, we can see the addition of [DE] DeMarcus Ware and [S] T.J. [Ward]. You can see a real big difference now."
On the growth of RB Montee Ball
"You can see it has slowed down for him, protection-wise especially. Run game-he is a natural runner, but with the schemes that we run we are trying to do things that fit him as well. Then we are doing some things with [RB] Ronnie [Hillman] and [RB] C.J. [Anderson] and the younger guys and trying to play to everybody's strengths. Right now you are installing a run game-you are doing a variety of things, we have to figure out who likes to do what and when we get into preseason we will try to do those and show their strengths."
On the biggest area of growth he wants from Ball from his rookie year to this year
"Being comfortable. There are a lot of things going on whether it be in the run game, routes [and] protections. It is a little different than college and he has developed just the way we wanted him too."
On if Ball's pass protection has improved
"Yeah, he did a good job last year as a rookie, which usually you don't say that about a lot of guys and he has only gotten better since the spring and training camp with the first three practices."
On rookie WR Cody Latimer
"He has done a good job. It is good to see him being able to make some plays and we will just keep putting him in positions to try to accelerate his growth as much as possible and see how far we can take him this year."
On his thoughts on changing "Omaha" after all its publicity last year
"We are always looking for suggestions so if anybody has anything, we will take it (laughing). It's tough because it has to be smooth for him to do it and "Omaha" kind of flows off the tongue pretty well for him."
On QB Brock Osweiler
"During the spring he was trying a few different things. He was really aggressive and probably turned the ball over a little bit too much in the spring and he knew that. We sat down and [Quarterbacks] Coach [Greg] Knapp did a good job of [saying], ‘Hey, training camp now, we have to start playing like it's a game.' He has done a good job out here so far as far as protecting the ball, not turning it over, getting through his progressions, making sure he is getting completions and moving the sticks."
On how the reshuffled offensive line is
"It's been a good transition for us. It is great to have [T] Ryan [Clady] back, obviously, and then [G] Orlando [Franklin] has done a good job at left guard. Right now we have [T] Chris [Clark] who has been working at that right tackle spot and those guys feel comfortable together right now but we are still competing there at that right tackle spot and we will just see how it shakes out once we get into preseason games."
On G Ryan Miller
"Everybody in that area-it is a tough group because they are pretty deep. I think all those guys, even him, they are competing for those final spots and we will just see how it shakes out."
On if someone who has lived at altitude has an advantage over others
"I think once you get out here and start working you get used to it but when you first get out here and waited until about a day before we started training camp, you felt it that first day. Probably today was the first day guys felt comfortable."
On if he's confident WR Demaryius Thomas will catch up to speed when he comes back to practice
"He has got a great grasp of our offense. There is no concern with me. Once he gets back he will just jump right in. We will probably be smart with him, make sure that we don't do anything crazy. He is not going to come out here and just run all go routes-none of that on the first day. We will work him back in, we will be smart, make sure he gets caught up to speed with his conditioning but then he will slide right in. The mental aspect of the game with him is a non-issue."
RUNNING BACK MONTEE BALL
On how he feels after the first day in pads
"I feel great. There's still a lot of work to do, which is the great thing about watching film and critiquing yourself. But I feel good. I think it was a great day today-the first day in pads."
On if he loves the practices where the run game is emphasized
"Yeah, I love them because you all know what type of quarterback we have so the ball is going to be in the air, but us running backs, we love to have the ball in our hands and see what we can do with it."
On what the biggest difference is for him this year compared to his rookie year
"Confidence. I'm a lot more comfortable there in the backfield. As soon as the play is called I'm not second-guessing myself-if I know the play right or something like that. I'm just going out there looking at the defense and I react."
On how he did in 1-on-1's against the linebackers
"Today I don't think was good. I didn't do too well today in the 1-on-1's with the linebackers, because I'm challenging myself and going against the best linebackers we have-on purpose, because it's going to make me better. I'm looking forward to doing it next time and that's the great thing about practice."
On if he felt he needed to change anything physically from last year to this year
"Upper body strength. Upper body strength to protect the ball a lot better, take more hits, deliver a lot more hits and be able to pick up pass protection."
On how Running Backs Coach Eric Studesville coaches him differently this year
"He does a great job-he's a lot more confident in me. He takes me to the side and he just says, ‘Hey, we need you to move faster here on this play. We need you to do this, we need you to do that.' And he'll just leave it like that, he won't yell at me or anything. I mean he will, he will yell at me but I can tell he has a lot more confidence in me and he's a lot more comfortable with me in the backfield."
On going against this year's defense
"The running lanes are a lot smaller and that's great. It's great going against this type of defense, it will make us better for the games. Hats off to the defense, they're doing a great job."
On the tempo of practice
"We wanted to start simple and fast because that's what type of game it is. It's going to be extremely physical and we set the tempo early."
On learning during the offseason that he was the expected starting running back
"I was excited but really it's not set in stone. So I just told myself I have got to work even harder because it's my second year. There are a lot of expectations for myself and the team. So not much really changed except I have to work hard and keep improving."
On if there has been an emphasis for him to work on pass protection
"Of course. You can be great at it but I always think there's room for improvement on it because you're going to go against some great linebackers. They're there for a reason too."
On if he feels comfortable in all aspects of his game-running, passing, and blocking
"Oh yeah. The catching part, that's second nature. You can always improve on the running part-being more explosive through the hole and past the linebackers and past the last men of defense. But I always tell myself there's always room for improvement in every aspect of the game and if I keep approaching it that way the sky is the limit."
On how much emphasis has been put on ball security
"A lot. It's no secret that the ball was put on the ground way too many times last year on our side of the ball. We're putting a lot of emphasis on it with the blue balls that we have and I think it's going to be great. It's going to help us a lot."
On practicing in front of the fans tomorrow
"We're very excited. We love the game; we love to give back to the community because they do so much for us. They provide us with so much support which we love. We love to play in front of them and sign some autographs for sure."
On what he learned from former Bronco and current Miami Dolphins RB Knowshon Moreno
"His physical mentality that he had before every snap in practice and the game. He was a very, very physical runner and I most definitely am going to try to throw that into my game and be more physical in pass protection. He took a lot of pride in pass protection. I'm, most definitely trying to steal that from him."
WIDE RECEIVER ISAIAH BURSE
On being a returner versus a receiver
"Obviously they think I'm a good returner, but I know a lot of them know I can play slot as well. I really try to focus on doing everything correct when I'm playing wideout. They actually have me playing outside and inside, so there's a lot going on in my mind. I just try to stay focused and show them I can be a good receiver as well."
On comfort with kick or punt returns
"Both. Kickoff is actually a little easier, but yeah I'm comfortable with both."
On the altitude
"I don't think it's a big deal. Obviously the ball floats a little more, but as far as breathing and stuff, if you're going to get tired. I think when people get tired, they start blaming it on altitude, but it really isn't that bad."
LINEBACKER LERENTEE MCCRAY
On his focus in the coming days
"Just my overall game. Pass coverage, run stopping, pass rush, pretty much whatever it takes to be the best linebacker."
On the first day of pads
"As a defensive player you've got to love to put pads on because you get to hit somebody. If you dread putting the pads on then you don't need to be playing football."
On timing the snap count
"It definitely comes with film study. I definitely have got to get in the film room and work on anticipating the snap count and doing stuff like that. I've got to get better at a lot of stuff. I'm doing OK. It's the first day of pads but I still have to get a lot better."
On working with LB Von Miller
"I'm just working to be an overall great outside linebacker. I feel Von's a great outside linebacker. I'm just working with him on everything it takes for my game to be better."
LINEBACKER DANNY TREVATHAN
On the difference that S T.J. Ward and DE DeMarcus Ware make for the team
"Those guys are savages. Anything that's out there left to be picked up, they're going to go out there and clean it up and they're going to leave everything out there on that field. That's just the type [of player] I am too. I think they did a good job of filling in guys and bringing new guys in that fit within the type of scheme that we play."
On wearing pads today
"It felt good. This is what linebackers live for, to hit somebody. But at the same time we've got to be smart. It's my third year. I know how to keep it smart but also get my work done."
On the need to have an equally good offense and defense
"Equal. I even like for the defense to be a little bit better but that's just us going against the offense and us getting better and working better as a team."
On what he's seen from LBs Lerentee McCray and Brandon Marshall
"There's definitely no slacking from those guys. They came in and they're on the backburner right now. But those guys [put in] steady work. We've got a great group of linebackers and we've got a great group of leaders. We work hard through anything, fatigue and all that, and we've got a great coach behind us. We're solid over there on this defense."
On how much it helps McCray and Marshall having been in the building last season
"It helps a lot. They got a little bit of a feeling for the way we roll and the way we're going in. But this year we've got a different mindset. We're tough, we're attitude and those guys fit with us. They're playmakers and that's what linebackers are. They're paid to make plays and they fit within us real good."
On what lessons he's trying to impart on McCray and Marshall
"You want to try to leave 110 percent out here. You want to try to embarrass the guy, make them get a little better. I call that embarrassing, but it's getting them better, especially with our offense. Because they can be great and just like I want them to push us to be great."
GUARD LOUIS VASQUEZ
On how long it takes for the offensive line to be cohesive
"That's an ongoing process. Even throughout the season there are things that we can fix and get better at, every day in practice, every snap. It's an ongoing process, I believe, because we never get to a resting point. We always want to continue trying to be better."
On his relationship with G Ryan Miller
"He's got tremendous ability. He's a big body, he can move well, as big as he is. Same thing with [T] Chris [Clark]. When I see something going on with him, I'll be a voice in his ear and let him correct it or I'll pull him aside and show him how a few different ways to correct it and whatever feels best for him, I'll let him ride with it and tweak it along the way."
On if he has embraced the role of being a mentor to the younger players
"Yeah, I don't see myself as being any higher than the rest of the guys. We're all one is the way I see it. So if I have knowledge to pass down, I'm going to pass it down because at the end it makes for a better offensive line."
SAFETY T.J. WARD
On the added intensity with the pads
"Yeah, there was a lot of intensity. We're just getting used to it, getting comfortable with the pads and getting used to running around and just getting back to the flow of things."
On if putting on pads changes things
"Definitely. The sorest day is after the first day of pads and then when that rubs out then you're good to go and ready for the season but it's just one of those growing pains, one of those pains you've got to deal with. It's expected every year and it is what it is."
On the hits today
"There were some good thumps in there. Some guys were on the ground, which we need to do a better job of staying up and keeping each other safe but I think the physicality was good for the first day and it will probably pick up a little bit tomorrow in the stadium so I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Guys are going to be a little sore but I think they'll be a little more comfortable because it will be the second day."
On if there will be a good atmosphere tomorrow
"Absolutely. Anytime you get in the stadium around fans and family, it makes it a little bit more exciting to play."
On his hit on WR Emmanuel Sanders and if there's a rivalry between them
"We're complete teammates right now, there's no rivalry there. It's all competition. We're still in practice. I know how competitive he is, how competitive I am. It was just a play where I tried to get the ball out and he fell. It was just a bang bang play. Nothing too serious."
DEFENSIVE END DEMARCUS WARE
On how he feels
"I still have my strength and my speed. When you're in pads, it's all about endurance and stamina, so I'm trying to make sure I keep that this whole season."
On putting the pads on
"You keep the jerseys on for a little bit, but that's not what football's about. It's about putting the pads on and really getting down into the grit, and we're starting with the pads first day today and we had a good day."
On practicing at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday with the fans
"Yeah, I think it's going to be great. We've had the closed practices here and the fans are excited. They're really excited about seeing us and this will be our first real initial introduction to the fans at the stadium. And why not have it at the stadium with the home deal?"