B: As I said after the game I was very happy for the players and proud of the way they hung together and fought out there in Denver. Watching the tape this morning that was kind of born out in the films. I thought that we played with a real high effort level and hustled made a couple of extra plays got a couple of downfield blocks. There were a couple of those passes that led to extra yardage and longer plays we hustled on defense and made a couple of tackles where it looked like maybe they were going to get out for a longer play and we were able to hustle them and keep the yardage down. So just a couple of little things like that, it really made a difference and then obviously our execution was just better as a football team. We executed better in the red area, we executed better in some key situations and those little things all added up. It was one win. It will take a lot more than one game for this season to be successful so we are taking that in stride, but nevertheless still it is gratifying to be out of the slump and back into seeing some results in the game and on the field from the hard work that everybody has put in over the last few weeks.
Q: How important was the fast start out there with the crowd noise?
B: I think it helped, I definitely think it helped. Denver is a team that traditionally starts fast. This is a team that scored the first time it had the ball at the start of every game and the start of every half. They've had eight opportunities and they've put points on the board all eight times at the start of the game, the start of the half. They are successful the way the script plays and so forth. Not letting them jump on top and get into that type of game I think is always a plus when you play a team like that especially at home with the crowd noise, the pass rush and so forth. You never want to get into that situation, but you certainly don't want to get into it that there.
Q: How big a telling point was the score after the punt return, for the team psychologically to respond like that?
B: Offensively that was a huge drive and even defensively coming and stopping the two point attempt which kept it from being a one score game was big, but offensively that was really answering the bell. I thought that we had two real big drives offensively, one was at the end of the half where we were able to utilize the clock and still get points on the board and then the drive that responded to Denver's touchdown after the return. That was big, real big.
Q: How did your offensive line grade out after watching the film?
B: Overall we protected the quarterback fairly well. We didn't have the kind production in the run game overall that we would like to have. I think the thing that separates this game from some of the other ones we have played is the production that we had in the running game even though the numbers weren't monumental was the timeliness of it. We had some draw plays there in the drive before the half which led to points and then we were able to run the ball three times in a row and
pick up a key first down at the end of the game when Denver used up their timeouts. As we all know it is not only what you do, but when you do it and I think that in the end we ended up with about the same number of runs as we did passes even though it started off passing and ended up running, There was some balance there which is what we are looking for, but again to answer your question I think that overall we need to run the ball better, but when we did run it and we ran it effectively it was a critical times and that's really important.
Q: Even on first down you had a run and pass balance that keeps defenses somewhat on their toes…
B: For the most part this year we have been fairly balanced, not obviously in the Tampa and Minnesota game where we were trying to play from behind in the second half, but in the other games we have been more balanced. It has really been production more than it has been imbalance.
Q: Besides the numbers, what did (Drew) Bledsoe do this week that he hadn't done the first four weeks?
B: I just think offensively, in the passing game our execution was better just on every level. We were more precise on the routes and more precise on the passes. We got some good blocks downfield after the catch, we got some good running after the catch, and we also got some good blocks downfield after the catch which added a significant number of yards to the passing game. Kevin's (Faulk) screen pass and a couple of Terry's (Glenn) catches and especially Troy (Brown) got great downfield blocks and that added a lot of yardage. It was just an overall crispness and just more precision, a little more attention to detail and those little things make a difference. When you have your receivers spaced out properly and you complete the pass then that also opens up some space to run after the catch. It was just a lot of little things. I don't think it was Drew, or the receivers, or the tight ends, or the backs, but it was a combination of all of them just being a little more efficient. Denver is a team that crowds the line of scrimmage, they are tough to run against and they do pressure you so in the secondary, in the passing game you have to be able to make some plays.
Q: Did Troy Brown's success in the first half take a little bit of the attention away from Terry (Glenn)?
B: That's not really the way Denver plays. They basically either play straight man-to-man or they play zone and they are not the type of team that double covers a lot of receivers. They are either trying to pressure you and play man or they are trying to put a lot of people close to the line of scrimmage and then they drop off and play zone. So it isn't really a question of them doubling this guy and doubling that guy trying to take somebody away, they mix between pressure and showing pressure but not coming and dropping off and that in a nutshell is basically what they try to do.
Q: Those quick passes you threw to the wide receivers is that something you do because you can bang it out with the ground game?
B: Yes, no question some of those really replace runs. Some of those plays are really glorified running plays. Instead of trying to block five or six guys to get the ball outside you throw it out to the receiver. We had a couple of plays were Troy and Terry caught short passes, broke a tackle or picked up seven or eight yards on a play that maybe against another team would have been a sweep, but Denver just had too many people up close to the line scrimmage to get it blocked cleanly.
Q: When you against defenses like Tampa Bay and Miami early in the year does that become advantageous later in the year, did you change your offense because Denver's defense is not as strong?
B: I think it is a valid point. There is no question that you have to raise your level of play when the competition rises. There is no doubt that Tampa and Miami are outstanding defenses, but every week you are going to get some challenges and they will just be different. Denver is a good defensive football team they are no slouches up there. They have a lot of good players and they are aggressive and they play hard and they very active. So each week it is just going to come down to, offensively and defensively you are just going to have to be able to execute the things that will work against that team. You won't always be able to run the same play that you ran against Miami, that you ran against Denver, that you ran against Minnesota. Sometimes you have to make little adjustments or alterations if not in the play itself in the way that the receivers are either getting pressed like they are against Miami or they are not against a team like Tampa or the pass rush or the quarterbacks decision making in the progression of the reads. There are going to be different things each week that you are going to have to do well to move the ball. If you do them then you have a chance to attack whatever the weaknesses are on the defense and if you don't then you are going to have trouble and it will change every week.
Q: What about your defense, the front guys, Willie McGinest and the disruption they were causing?
B: I thought our front seven played well against the running game. We got split on a couple of runs, but overall I thought they did a good job. I think the team tackled well on the running backs (Mike) Anderson and (Terrell) Davis. A couple of times when they might have broken away for longer plays we made tackles and got them down. That was good. We tried to be aggressive up front. The players played with a good attitude and good tempo. We know Denver has the best running game in the league. They have good schemes and excellent backs. I think our players really tried to meet that challenge this week. Willie was inspirational all week. Everybody knows he didn't play last week, but I think that the way he practiced, a couple of things he said to the team and a little bit about the way Willie approached the game this week trying to maybe not just get himself ready, but try to stimulate and motivate some of his teammates I think was very positive and maybe he carried a couple of guys with him.
Q: I see Chad (Eaton) was stimulated?
B: A lot of those running plays cutback inside and Chad was there and that's the way it is supposed to be. I think the whole front seven played aggressively and Chad certainly did.
Q: You talked about guys needing to make plays, you could pick out 10 to 12 yesterday, but two of them were up to Troy Brown scoring touchdowns when if he stops it would be field goals and you'd be going through the same thing. He doesn't have many touchdowns can you talk about his two big plays in terms of needing touchdowns not field goals?
B: One of Troy's strengths is running after the catch and we saw him return a punt against Tampa. He returned several punts this year where he can make people miss. He just had opportunities yesterday where after he caught the ball he was able to get going and he had some good downfield blocking. He had guys really hustling to make block for him and get in the way and screen defenders. He is very good runner after the catch as Terry is too. Anytime you can take those short plays and turn them into long ones that's a lot of hidden yardage and we were able to increase yesterday.
Q: Troy seems to be a guy count on to make big plays, you needed a touchdown early and he helped you get it early?
B: Troy is real competitive player. He is always going to give you everything he's got and you really admire that in a player. Troy really epitomizes that. He works hard, he's tough and he really has good instincts in the game. Knowing where the end zone is, knowing how to get extra yard, reaching the ball across the line, things like that, knowing what you need on third down to convert. Those are all just ingredients, they are things as a coach you constantly stress and harp on try to identify the importance, but each situation is different and players have to apply it really in a short amount of time. I don't know what the yardage is going to be or exactly what route is going to be called or where the guys are going to be standing when the receiver catches the ball, but his awareness of those things and ability to understand the situation and what it calls for at that particular time, that's what separates the good ones form the great ones.
**Q: You talked about taking the pads off in practice last week, did that give you an indication that maybe this team felt ready for a challenge as great as it is in Denver?**
B: Yes. I think on Wednesday and Thursday that the team was making an effort to step up their preparation and I think we have been doing that all year, but hopefully this team is starting to see that there is a level that it needs to be at. I think we stepped up our preparation level from Tampa to the Jets. Not saying it was bad against Tampa, but it needed to be better and it was better against the Jets. I think it needed to be better against Minnesota and it needed to be better against Denver. I think that overall this was the best week of preparation that we have had. Again I am not saying the other ones were bad, but we have tried to press the players and I think this week maybe they pressed themselves a little bit and each other and it wasn't all coming from the coaches there was some peer pressure. I mentioned Willie, but it is not a one-man show or a one-man band. I think it came from a lot of people and I think every player on the team has a leadership role on the team regardless of whether the guy is a rookie or a fifteen year veteran or whatever it is. Each player is a stockholder and a shareholder in the team and whatever they can do to improve the value of the team gives us a better chance to win. Even though guys don't stand up and give team speeches and all of that stuff, they just go out there and do a little bit more and work a little bit harder and staying after practice and watching a little bit more film and spending a little more time with your teammates on something that you are working with them on pays off. The passing game, Drew and Troy and Terry and Eric, Kevin and J.R., J.R. is a guy who has probably stayed out at practice later than anybody working extra and those things started to pay off. I think they paid off along the way I am not saying they didn't pay off before, but the results were more dramatic yesterday. So we will reinforce those and hopefully we will continue to approach it that way.
Q: To stop a slide like this do you and your coaches prepare all week and hope that the leaders are going to take over on Sunday, is there a trickle down effect?
B: Sure, you always hope that the results are things that you emphasize in practice and during the week of preparations carryover into the game and it is always good if they start early, but over the course of the season every team is going to be involved in games where they are ahead and they are going to protect the lead and when they are behind and they are going to have to come back and handle all situations. In the end it will just all come down to the character and execution of the team in those situations and it will be different every week.
Q: You had a lot of defensive players that stepped up yesterday?
B: Yes, they did and there was a chorus of guys too. A lot of people played well, a lot of people made big plays at the right times that's the way it needs to be when you win.
Q: Can you elaborate on the good, bad and the ugly of your special teams?
B: Obviously the worst part of it was the return after the safety. That was a play that we played very poorly. We had a little trouble with punt coverage as the game went on, but I think we got some big plays on coverage early in the game. Our kickoff coverage was good other than the one return. Our punt coverage started off pretty good. We got a couple of good field position plays. Rob Holmberg made a tackle on the second punt and then we got a good kick and good roll on a ball (Deltha) O'Neil couldn't get too at the end which created some field position. The good was we had some good coverage plays, the bad was we had one real bad breakdown in coverage and our punt return game was not very productive. We were spotty on the kickoff returns, We had a couple of good ones, one time we got hit inside the twenty, but our punt return game was not productive yesterday and that has been a real strong point for us, but it wasn't yesterday.
Q: Is the defense progressing the way you want it?
B: I think we are improving really on both sides of the ball offensively and defensively. Defensively we are doing some things better than we did a couple of weeks ago as we should be but we can't take that for granted and I think those are positives. We are playing better team defense than we played, in other words guys understanding not only what they do, but what their teammates around them are doing and it helps us tighten some things up. There are still obviously a number of things we need to continue to work on, but there is definitely some progress being made.
Q: The use of (Michael) Bishop a two-fold effect do teams now have to consider him in those situations, extra practice, extra preparation, is that a factor as well in using him does it create a two-fold effect?
B: I think it does, I think that's exactly right. Michael had probably his best week of practice this week and that third down that he picked up on third and one when we were trying to run out the clock it was a huge play. I mean it was only one yard, but it was a huge play. It ran a couple of minutes off the clock at that point in time. He had a good week of practice. If he can be productive in doing the things that we are trying to have him do then that's like you said it's good for us, it's one more thing for the opponents to work on and it is another weapon that we can throw at them.
Q: Did you see a lot out of J.R. Redmond yesterday that shows you that he could become more of a regular part of the offense?
B: Well it was certainly J.R.'s best effort. I thought he ran hard and had a big catch obviously. J.R has improved steadily since he started. He still has a ways to go, but he's really made a lot of progress in the last couple of weeks and hopefully that trend will continue and if it then he will get more opportunity. He was kind of able to take advantage of an opportunity this week. It is not unusual for me and I don't think it is unusual for the players, but maybe for you to see our point of view on this, Shockmain (Davis) has been working as a kickoff returner with Kevin. He wasn't fully ready to go this week and J.R. was probably a little more ready than Shockmain was so we went with J.R. mainly because of the kickoff return situation. As it turned out that lead to opportunities on offense and he was able to be productive in those opportunities so that will probably lead to more opportunities somewhere else. That is kind of how it works. Once a guy can find a role for himself on the team then that role has a chance to expand. If he can't establish that role initially where he just goes to the game as kind of backup at everything, but you can't ever really get him into the game then you usually end up taking another player who you know you are going to be able to use in this situation, like against Miami. We knew we were going to use Shockmain on kickoff returns, we were going to use him to cover punts, we were going to use him on punt returns so that was a role that he had in that game. This is a case where J.R. has worked hard, got an opportunity and then took advantage of it. That's what it is all about.
Q: This was a demonstration of what you had told the team in the beginning about getting a chance to play, he was somewhat quizzical about the times he was inactive he wanted to know why, he was kid he didn't know…
B: Believe me he was told why, believe me.
Q: Ahead of time?
Q: So it was for the public…
B: Well I don't know exactly where the misunderstanding was but look we talk to every player every week. It is no secret.
Q: Since the day you took over you have talked about toughness and arguably the first four weeks physically it was tough team was this an example of the mental toughness?
B: Definitely, I don't think you can go into Denver and win without being physically and mentally tough. I don't think you can do it and just because you are doesn't mean that you are going to win either. A lot of teams go in their and lose, but I think in order to give yourself a chance to win out there and really to win any game on the road in this league you are going to have to be mentally tough to withstand all the hostility and the adversity that you face on the road. It is going to be like that in every away stadium and physically tough against a team like Denver that's a good running team that wants to run the football, that has an attitude about running it, that has backs that run hard and are hard to tackle and defensively is pretty much always going to have one more guy on the line of scrimmage than you can block. So you don't know exactly where they are coming from, but they are all up there and you have to be ready for them on every play and sooner or later you are going to get them. They are there to outnumber you and to degree outpower you and that is their game and I think they are very good at it. That's a good football team and there tough. So the physical toughness that they bring you have to bring a certain degree of that to play with them and mentally that is a tough a place to play as there is.
Q: So it is safe to say you have a tough team right now?
B: Well I think you prove that over time. I don't think one game proves it, but I think that we have the capability to and if we approach games with that kind of attitude and that kind of mentality I think we can be that team, but I think we have to prove it.