*DENVER BRONCOS HEAD COACH JOHN FOX *
JF: The update on the injury report, Quinton Carter went out in the game and never returned with a neck injury. David Bruton, also a safety, left the game with a concussion, and never returned. Actually, Brodrick Bunkley had a neck [injury], but he did come back.
Q: John, what did you tell your team afterwards?
JF: That I was very proud of them. I thought they accomplished a lot, I thought we came a long ways from a 1 and 4 start, with a football team that had no offseason, no OTAs. You know, really, I was as proud of them as any team I have coached.
Q: Why weren't you able to get anything going, especially in the first half?
JF: I think the New England Patriots had a little to do with that. They are a good football team. Obviously we played them twice in a month, and we're a work in progress and we're obviously not up to par to compete with them at this point.
Q: Especially with your personnel, their tight ends, is that as tough of matchup as your team has gone up against?
JF: Not taking anything away from them, obviously, they are well coached, they had two weeks to prepare, they were fresh. I think Brady was about as sharp as I have seen him. He is a terrific quarterback anyways, but I thought he had a great night. And you know, the fact that we lost a couple safetys early didn't help.
Q: Did the Patriots present anything defensively differently, schematically, that they didn't in the first game?
JF: I think they stunted a little bit more. I think they put people on our inside three. Not that they didn't do that before, but they just did it better this time.
Q: What did you think defensively, what was your plan? In terms of how many people you wanted to bring to the pass rush.
JF: You know, just to mix it up. I think we reached a point there where we didn't have enough people to match up on their multiple wide out stuff, so it limited us to some point, as far as playing man coverage. But, you know, but that's not here nor there, they were definitely the better team tonight.
Q: It looked like Brady Quinn was warming up? Were you thinking about doing something there?
JF: Yeah, we thought Tim [Tebow] was dinged, but he just got the wind knocked out of him. But at the time, it looked like he was holding his shoulder and weren't sure he was healthy. That's typically what happens when you think your quarterback is hurt.
Q: John, you played the long field a lot of the time, you had a long field to travel…
JF: You know, they had a lot to do with that. And you know, they played very, very well and my hat's off to Bill [Belichick] and his staff. At the end of the game, I wished him all of the best going forward in the playoffs.
Q: All that said, do you feel like you were sharp, early, offensively? In terms of just executing?
JF: Well, we had a pretty good first drive and unfortunately it turned into a sack, fumble, so I really don't know how to answer that.
Q: What about Tim [Tebow], this game and overall, how was his performance this year?
JF: Kind of like our football team, I was really proud where he started and where he brought this team. We are a work in progress. We have got a lot of work to do and that hasn't changed, you know, for some time. And as I mentioned earlier, you know, the two matchups we had against the New England Patriots, I think it is evident that we have work to do.
Q: Do you think the scheme that you used this year, including the run-zone read and the option and all that, would you bring that back next year?
JF: I think, yeah, every year has its own personality. You know, we are officially starting our offseason now and you know, we will do whatever it takes to get better. And so, whether that is scheme, personnel, all the same things that the teams that didn't make the playoffs are already ahead and starting on.
Q: You played them twice in a month. How good are the Patriots?
JF: Well, they are better than us, you know. I think pretty darn good.
Q: Can you just discuss Bill Belichick's decision to use Aaron Hernandez in the backfield?
JF: They have used that before and it's something we have seen. Didn't look like it, but we had seen it.
Q: Did you squeeze as much out of this season as you could?
JF: Like I told all the men in that locker room, coaches, players, trainers, equipment men, is that I was very proud of them and they worked very hard and I appreciated all their efforts.
DENVER BRONCOS QUARTERBACK TIM TEBOW
Q:What changes did you see from the Patriots defense from the first game?
TT: They had a good scheme. They came out, played well and executed well. You've got to give them a lot of credit. But before we talk about that I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and thank my teammates for the effort they put forth not only tonight, but our entire season and also I want to thank the Broncos fans for all their support this season. It definitely meant a lot.
Q: What's the run been like, having such a spotlight on you?
TT: I don't worry too much about that. I think the cool part is just my relationship with my teammates. The run was a lot of fun, had a lot of ups and downs. But, we really tried to block everything from the outside off and just enjoy the relationship with teammates and coaches- work and try to get better, and I feel like we did that all year. We just didn't put forth a good enough [effort] tonight, you've got to give a lot of credit to a really good team.
Q: What's it like to be out there with Tom Brady?
TT: It's exciting, a great honor to get a chance to play them in the second round of the playoffs. He's a great quarterback and he showed it tonight, once again. Coach [Bill] Belichick's a great coach and they have a lot of great players that team.
Q: Was it difficult to get things going offensively?
TT: They did some good things, you've got to give them credit. They came out with a good scheme. We weren't able to quite get it clicking tonight.
Q: Why weren't you able to get it clicking?
TT: They did some good things. They did some stunting up front and mixed up their coverages. They played well and I'm just proud of my teammates for the effort they played with even when it wasn't going good.
Q: What's this ride been like this year for you?
TT: A lot of ups and downs. Overall it's been a very special opportunity for me, something I've very thankful for, very thankful I had the opportunity to build some of the great relationships with teammates and coaches. We've overcome a lot of different forms of adversity, to win some special games, to have great memories of last week and to be able to get into the playoffs. There's a lot of things we are proud of, even though it's hard to see that now.
Q: What are your plans for the offseason?
TT: I'm not sure right now. In some way shape or form it would be to work pretty hard and try to get a lot better.
Q: To what degree do you feel like you have proven yourself?
TT: I'm not sure. I'm not really worried about that right now. Just a little disappointed that we weren't able to win tonight. We played a great team, and they played well, and you've got to give them a lot of credit. Overall, it still wasn't a bad day, it was a good day because before the game I got to spend time with Zack McLeod [Broncos fan] and make him smile and overall when you get to do that it's still a positive day and it's still a good day. Sometimes it's just hard to see, but it depends what lens you're looking through. I chose to look through those lenses and got to make a kid's day. Anytime you do that, it's more important than winning the game. So, I'm proud of that.
Q: After playing against Brady and the Patriots twice, talk a little about the pace of the game and keeping up with that offense.
TT: They're a really good team. [They are] coached really well, very good on special teams, great offense, very good on defense and you have to execute well and play well, and play fast, and we just weren't able to do that tonight.
Q: On a night when Brady was almost perfect, how much pressure does it put on you?
TT: I don't know if it puts more pressure, but I think their defense did a great job. Obviously we wanted to make things get going and sometimes I was trying and forcing, but we weren't able to get it going. You've got to give them a lot of credit.
Q: You guys have this history of being able to come back, do you feel like it got away from you?
TT: I mean a little, after a little while when we continued to fall behind. Even at halftime when we came in and said we were going to play one play at a time, you never know what's going to happen. We just weren't able to get it done.
Q: When Brady Quinn was warming up in the third quarter you got a little dinged up, what happened?
TT: It's just the physicality of playing football. Sometimes you get hit and it can hurt a little bit. But, I wanted to play a lot of the game.
Q: With all the attention on you and the whole cultural phenomenon, do you wish it wasn't as focused on you?
TT: There are pros and cons with everything. Sometimes you definitely don't want it all because you'd love to just go to dinner and hang out with friends and be a normal 24-year-old and just go enjoy some time with friends, so that makes it sometimes hard. But I wouldn't change it for the world just because by having that platform to be able to walk into the hospital and share with kids, I have the opportunity to be able to hang out with Zack before the game, I have the opportunity to go build hospital in the Philippines to go do a lot more important things than football. So, I'm very thankful for that platform, so I wouldn't change it for anything.
Q: You said something really interesting about coach maybe taking you out, and you said you really wanted to play that game. It seems to me as things stack up against you, you almost got more fired up, no?
TT: I just wanted to show character. You just continue to fight and it doesn't change who you are, how you play, how you go out there, you should be the same at all times. That's what I wanted to show, it didn't matter if it was the first play or the last play or you were down by 42. I was going to be the same player and I was still going to give everything I have. Because that's all I have to give. Every time I step on the field, I'm going to give my whole heart, regardless score-wise of what's happening.
Q: You talk about the ups and downs, is consistency the goal?
TT: Absolutely, throughout the season, throughout games, you definitely would love to be more consistent. You look at great teams and usually they are, they have a few lows, a few highs, but for the most part they stay pretty consistent. So, that's something we definitely need to be working on.
Q: There's been a lot of talk about faith and winning. What about losing? How do you make sense of losing in the context of your faith.
TT: Something I pray before games, during games, after games is regardless whether I win or I lose, whether the hero or the goat, it doesn't matter, I still honor the Lord and give Him the glory because He's deserving of it. Just like my faith shouldn't change, neither should that. That's how I try to approach it, and sometimes even in a loss you can honor Him more. For me, I just pray that my character, and who I am doesn't change even though you can be dejected, you can still feel hurt, you can still feel disappointed, but you can still honor the Lord with how you handle things.
Q: You talk about consistency, are there specific things you want to accomplish this offseason?
TT: Just work and improve, fundamentals, understanding defenses, footwork, everything.
Q: Did you talk to Tom [Brady] after the game or Josh McDaniels?
TT: I didn't get a chance to see them.
Q: After all you went through this year, what did you learn about playing as a result of this experience this year?
TT: I've learned a lot. Every single game, including this one, was a learning opportunity. And, even Coach [Adam] Gase and Coach [Mike] McCoy were on the sidelines at the end of the game, they were like, just take it all in, learn from it, understand all these different things that are going on, so when we have an opportunity to come back here we can handle it differently. It's hard right now, but when can go back and look at all the films of all the games and see the things I did well, things I didn't do well, what I can improve on, just everything, from leadership skills to being a teammate, to passing, to decision making, everything. So, this will be a big offseason for me and I'm looking forward to it.
Q: How far have you come since the lockout situation?
TT: I feel like I've improved a lot in a lot of different forms of my game. And I continue to improve and continue to get a lot better, and I believe I can, and I am looking forward to putting in work.
Champ Bailey, Cornerback
(On the type of performance Tom Brady had tonight)
"What can you say he's Tom Brady. He's been around the block a few times and if you're not ready to punch him in the mouth, he's going to eat you up all night."
(On was it a surprise on how they used tight end Aaron Hernandez tonight)
"They been doing that all year I just think they did it more in this game. He's (Aaron Hernandez) not a power runner he is more of a finesse guy."
(On the opening drive by the Patriots)
"We knew they were going to up tempo it, but they didn't do anything different. They just were up tempo, the thing about it is we have to be stronger on our communication that will give us a better chance."
Willis McGahee, Running Back
(On knowing that the team would have to play a perfect game against the Patriots, and did it put extra pressure on the team)
"They did play a terrific game they had us figured out from the beginning to the end.
I think we were all just caught up in the moment at first when they went up on us. We had a couple of fumbles and things like that but that is no excuse, we were supposed to go out there and play good football and we didn't do that in the first half."
(On were there any surprises in this game that the Patriots did on defense)
"They had a good scheme going on, Coach Belichick had those guys well prepared and they were well disciplined."
(On whether they thought they could take advantage of the Patriots defense)
"We thought we had a good plan but those guys (Patriots defense) stepped it up and did what they had to do and we just got off track."
Demaryius Thomas, Wide Receiver
(On the way they ended the season)
"We were really excited and everything. We had a big win last week; we came out and tried to do the same thing. Things didn't go our way and you saw the results."
(On what went wrong tonight)
"I really can't, we didn't convert on our routes. I felt like we just weren't on the same page the whole time."
(What will you remember the most from this season?)
"Everybody doubted us, saying that we were only going to win two or three games. We won eight games and made it to the playoffs. When we were down 1-4, we still had doubters and we came out and worked everything and got better as we went."
Lance Ball, Running Back
(On the game getting away from them early)
"Yeah we kind of let them get up on us and it was hard to get back the points."
(On the Patriots being a good team)
"Yeah they are a good team, they got the best and they played better than us."
(On their wild and crazy season, what will you take from it?)
"Every game it was great playing with these guys. Hats off to everybody in here and it was a hard fought season."
Rahim Moore, Safety
(On the loss)
"This was definitely a tough day for us. Hopefully next year we can bounce back and go further."
(On whether Tim Tebow did enough to be the starter of the team next year)
"Of course, he's our guy. People put too much pressure on him, he's going to have some good and some bad, I believe in him and I would like him to be our quarterback. Our team gels around him. He is only going to get much better and I think he'll be a great quarterback one day."
(On whether they could see this season ending this way)
"No, not all. Especially the way we prepared and worked hard. This is definitely a shock, but we have to tip our hats to New England, they came out and played a great game."
Andre Goodman, Cornerback
(On what they can take away from this loss)
"We are a young team. This is a learning experience and we've gotten valuable experience to build on next year."
(On how difficult this loss was)
"It's not like we lost to some bums, we lost to Tom Brady and the Patriots. We lost to a great team and a three-time Super Bowl winning quarterback, so we definitely have something to build on next year."
Marcus Thomas, Defensive Tackle
(On what to look forward to next season)
"There are a lot of things that you look to, I mean, this is the first time I've even been to the playoffs, so I mean it's just something to build on and just get to work on in the off-season, and that's what I can't wait to do right now. It was a tough loss, they are a good team, and I just really didn't show up like I should have."
(On if the Patriots did anything new or just simply execute)
"Yeah, that's just basically what they do, they just execute. They find the mistakes that we made and they capitalized on it. I know me personally, I didn't get a good enough rush, a good enough push up the middle, and Brady had time to do what he do, and do what he do best. He's a great quarterback and it's a great team, and they just capitalized on any mistake that we made. It's something to build on in the off-season, and just get right and that's basically what it comes down to."
(On what will keep you going in the off-season)
"At the end of the day it's a tough loss, and we just have to definitely get better, and I hope I get another chance to be back soon and get things going again."
Jason Hunter, Defensive End
(On the difficulties of getting to Brady)
"Yeah, it's tough. He was getting the ball out quick and they had a good plan and executed well. We just have to learn from this."
(On what the Patriots did differently this time around)
"They just got rid of the ball quickly. They knew with our edge pressure with Von (Miller) and Elvis (Dumervil) and how quick they get off the edge, they knew they had to get rid of the ball quickly, and that's what they did. When you are playing against a team like this you have to be spot on. That's what we talked about during the week, and it's just a good experience for us to go through. We worked hard to get here, and they're a good team. They played well."
Daniel Fells, Tight End
(On the game and the team)
"We ended the season on a high by getting into the playoffs…we wanted to be able to show a little more. We have a lot of work to do going forward but there are some things we can hang our hat on at the end of the day. This team is making strides and we are moving in the right direction. I think Coach Fox has a great philosophy and has gotten this team on track. We hit a little hiccup towards the end of the season. In the middle of the season we did a lot things that got us to the position where we are like being able to make the playoffs and win last week and then coming out this week. We obviously have a lot more high expectations for ourselves."
(On the next year)
"I think the off-season is definitely going to help. Not to use the lockout as an excuse, but when you have a younger team and a quarterback it is harder to gel without all that time and training camp is definitely a good time for you to get that rhythm. We made a quarterback switch and it is always tough to pick things up in the middle of the season. We made strides in the middle of the year and got ourselves to this position. We have to get better in that sense."
Russ Hochstein, Guard
(On the game and why the Patriots had Tom Brady kick)
"I am just worried about what I know on offense. They played gap sound and gave us trouble in certain formations when we tried to do things. It was successful for them and they beat us. I don't think it is the first time he has done that. I don't really have a comment. They chose to do it and they did it. It is hard to answer that and I don't know."