BB:** We're winding down here for the week on Denver. It's a team, like I said at the beginning of the week that offensively is quite a bit different from what they were last year. That's been a little different: different type of preparation from the option stuff that we worked on last year with their offense. Defensively, again real active group especially with [Von] Miller who definitely looks like he's 100 percent this year, not playing with that club and cast, and some of the other new players they have on defense, like [Tracy] Porter, [Derek] Wolfe and those guys. It will be a good opportunity here for us today and tomorrow to try to pull everything together, tie up a few loose ends and hopefully be ready to go on Sunday.
Q: Is having Aaron Hernandez back at practice encouraging? Does it surprise you at all?
BB: Yeah, good to see him back out there of course, always. It's good to see all the players back out there. If somebody is out, it's good to see him come back and good to see him do more. We'll just take it day to day and see where we end up here.
Q: What is it Ras-I Dowling is dealing with since it's not injury related? Is it sick or is it something more personal?
BB: It's not injury related. I'm sure you'll see him out there today.
Q: Watching the Broncos film from the Raiders game, Jack Del Rio was doing a lot of standing up with his defensive players. Is that something they've done in all the games?
BB: Yes. They have a defense where nobody is down and they kind of walk around and they don't really have anybody in a three-point stance or maybe sometimes one guy will get down. They've done that, they've shown that, I'll say, in every game or a number of times during the year. It's not like a onetime thing against Oakland; they've been doing that.
Q: I guess the goal is to mess with the 'Mike' identification?
BB: Yeah, well again, they have some versatile guys that sometimes they rush, sometimes they cover. They like to bring a lot of defensive backs when they get into their six and seven defensive back defenses so they're really like linebackers but they're defensive backs, but it just becomes an identification thing for the offense: who is a DB, who is a linebacker, who has who, who is down. And so you potentially have 11 guys in coverage instead of just say seven, if it's a traditional four-man line. Then your combinations of who has who and a lot of cases where you have on third down – a guard might have a 'Mike' to a nickel back or a back might have a linebacker to a safety or whatever it happens to be, then it just becomes like a who's who game. They've done that and again, that's one of the many things they do that creates problems for you preparation-wise, making sure you have that. They do it every week and that's something you have to be ready for because you kind of know that sooner or later they're going to give it to you and you have to have a way to handle [it] or just in your normal rules, go over how you're going to cover.
Q: What improvements do you see in your running game?
BB: I don't know. We'll see what happens this week. We had our moments in the previous games, but that doesn't really matter. We're not playing any of those teams this week; we're playing Denver. We'll see how it goes against the Broncos, I don't know.
Q: Are you surprised that Shane Vereen hasn't had a bigger role in the running game so far this year?
BB: Well, he [was] active for one game. We have confidence in all our backs, so whichever ones are in there, we have confidence they'll be productive.
Q: With Aaron Hernandez not playing for the last few weeks and Rob Gronkowski missing a practice or two, has this been a good opportunity for Daniel Fells? Have you liked what you've seen from him?
BB: It has. Daniel and Mike Hooman [Hoomanawanui] have both gotten some of those opportunities when those guys haven't had all the practice time. It has been good. I think it's helped them just in the overall communication. Mike wasn't with us in training camp; Daniel was with us but didn't participate in training camp much until the last couple weeks there when he came off PUP. So, just being able to get out there, hear the calls, get the timing with the quarterbacks and the other receivers in the passing game or the tackles and tight ends in the running game on combination blocks, double team blocks, things like that, how to recognize the linebacker-corner or linebacker-safety relationship on perimeter plays, things like that. It all helps, absolutely. Those guys have gotten a lot of snaps and I think it's definitely helped their execution and their timing, their understanding of the plays and working with different [players]. Those guys have to work with a lot of different people, they have to work with tackles, they have to work with the other tight ends, they have to work with the receivers in pass protection and in the running game. That's been a good opportunity for them.
Q: Daniel Fells wasn't out there much in training camp, so we haven't seen a whole bunch of him, but it looks like he's a pro's pro. Is that what you see in practice?
BB: He is, yeah. Absolutely yeah. Dan knows what to do, he works hard, he's an experienced player, very professional in his attitude, his preparation, his film study and all of that. No question, he's very good on all those things.
Q: In the secondary, with Champ Bailey, is he somebody capable of by himself changing the way he's playing a receiver in the look he gives a certain receiver or even the tight end?
BB: I would start by just saying with Champ, to me he's one of the few corners in the league that really can match up against anybody. He matches up against the Andre Johnsons of the world, the big, strong, physical, fast guys. Then he'll match up against quick, real good route running, quick receivers, guys like that too. [It] doesn't really make any difference. You can watch him match up against whoever they want to put him on, whether it's Mike Wallace or whether it's Calvin Johnson, through the years; I'm not just talking about this year. At times, he's been on tight ends, like when he would be on [Tony] Gonzalez back in the day and things like that. So, I think he's really capable of being physical and standing in there and banging with the big guys. He's got enough quickness and length with the little guys to match their quickness and give them a problem and stay with them, or if he gets his hands on them and jams them, he can destroy the route right off the bat. He's a very instinctive player, so he has a good sense of what the guy is trying to do and what their tendencies are and things like that. He's on a lot of routes just because he's experienced and he's smart. I think he can cover, I'd say there aren't too many corners in the league – it would be hard to think of who the next one would be – who like him could match up as well against any type of receiver. Some guys do well against some type of players and have a little trouble with another type of guy. It looks like to me like he does a pretty good job against anybody – on whoever the other team's best receiver is, if they want to match him up, which sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. They don't always match him but at times they will. He can match them or not match them or he can take whoever comes out and do a pretty good job with it. Man, zone, he's a good Cover-2 corner, he's a good one-on-one corner, he's a good zone corner, tackles well, he's a good run-force corner, he's pretty much a prototype corner in terms of having a full set of skills, does everything well, plays the ball well, very good hands, but he's a strong tackler and a good run-force player too.
Q: In the play of the rookies, we've seen Chandler Jones, Tavon Wilson and Brandon Bolden make some big plays. Are you comfortable with their development at this point?
BB: I think they're all working hard, I think they're all improving. They have helped us. They have a long way to go, I think there are lot of things they can do better. If they continue to work hard and prepare and pay attention to the little things and the details that will take them to higher ground, then I think they'll improve and they'll continue to be good players. They're going to be better than they are now, but they have helped us. They definitely have some talent, they've done a good job so far, they just have to keep adding the experience and the little things and the coaching points and take advantage of their opportunities to learn from their mistakes and the things that they don't do well to correct those and get them right the next time or make them positive the next time.
Q: Did you get a chance to watch 'Cleveland '95'?
BB: Yeah I did, I saw it.
Q: What were your thoughts?
BB: As usual, NFL Films, I thought they did a good job. It was a lot of good people there, a lot of talented people that I had the privilege to work with and I learned a lot from. I think it captured things pretty accurately.
Q: Did you guys have a group plan at the local eyeglass place?
BB: [Laughter]. Yeah, we had a few things like that. We had a lot of guys on the budget plan there too.