Aug 27, 2014 12:17 AM
The mood was light for the Broncos final practice of the preaseason, Tuesday.
Denver plays the fourth and final preseason game of 2014 on Thrusday in Dallas.
It will be the return of DeMarcus Ware to the team and town he called home for so many seasons before coming to Denver in the offseason.
The Broncos talked about the offense without Wes Welker and moving on without kicker Matt Prater after his suspension by the NFL for violating their substance abuse policy.
HEAD COACH JOHN FOX
On players earning a spot on the roster in the final game
"I've seen guys make a showing-or the reverse of that-that affect the final pick. These guys understand that. They understand that every one of these [games] is a resume. It's on tape and gets sent throughout the league, so even if it doesn't work out with the Broncos due to our situation, it's an opportunity to put good showing on tape for somebody else. It's a tough job. These guys have tough jobs-it's a tough way to earn a living. They earn every penny."
"More of the same-he's doing fantastic in the process. We'll take it one day [at a time], and [he had] another positive day today."
On starters wanting to play more in this final game
"Our players feel comfortable communicating with the people in our building-coaches, personnel people and the likes-but at the end of the day, we make those decisions."
On if players who missed time early in preseason getting playing time against Dallas
"We try to get guys out there so they're comfortable. This game is so much mental [effort]. Obviously it's physical. [We're] getting them comfortable with real football as we prepare for the opener against Indianapolis."
On whether he's preparing for the Cowboys and the Colts at the same time
"I don't want to get into how we game plan or what we're doing from a competitive standpoint. We're getting ready to play Dallas, and we'll move on to Indianapolis when that's completed."
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR JACK DEL RIO
On the tough cuts coming
"Yeah, I mean usually things sort themselves out. I think we've got a good group on defense and so right now we just want to make sure to do all we can to prepare for the season and get ourselves in position to select the best guys who can help us."
On how tough it is to cut guys
"Yeah, that's the toughest part of our business really is having to tell somebody whose dream it is to play that they can't be with you. In cases where you have a really strong roster, there's a good chance some of the guys who won't be able to make it here will end up playing other places."
On if it was different cutting people when he had to do it when the Jacksonville Jaguars were on "Hard Knocks"
"No different. It just happened to be documented with a camera. It still is uncomfortable to tell somebody that, give them that news. But it is part of the business and it's part of what we have to do. You come out here, you start camp with upwards of 90 guys, and at the end of the day you know you're going to keep 53 on the active roster and now 10 extra guys on the developmental squad. So you make the decisions you have to and move on."
On how much he'll advocate for defensive players
"Of course. Yeah, I'll lobby for my guys. But I think they understand-[Head] Coach [John] Fox makes it very clear from day one, special teams is a way to make it here. You have guys like [Ring of Fame RB] Terrell Davis come speak to the team who made it here first with a great coverage of a kick and that's how he opened eyes and went on from there. So it's definitely part of what we do. Special teams is a big part of it and that will factor in."
On how many guys can change their standing on Thursday
"I don't know. There is a number there but I don't care to get into specific numbers. We'll have some decisions to make. [Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager] John Elway, Coach Fox-they listen to all the staff input and they make the call and then we move from there."
On if there's still time to change the coaches' minds
"Sure, absolutely yeah. I think there are still decisions to be made. I don't think they're set in stone by any means."
On if anything about S T.J. Ward has surprised him
"Not really surprised. He's a good player. We thought we were getting a good player. He's able to handle multiple roles, which is important. We've got designs on doing a lot of different things with him, so I think he's fit right in."
On if Ward is doing more here than he did in Cleveland
"He did quite a bit there. But we'll plug him in our system and utilize him where we can. But I think he's got the ability to do some different things and we'll try to take advantage of it."
On rookie CB Bradley Roby
"I love the fact that-there are a lot of young guys that have developed, but I think he's the one that-obviously as a first-round pick-is going to garner most of the attention. He's just worked at his trade every day, he's competed every day, he's gone up against really talented players and I think it's helped him. I think he's responded in a good way. I think he's a much better football player right now and he's poised to be able to help where needed this year. We'll see where that role goes. That's not set in stone at this point, but I do like the way he's progressed and come on as a player."
On what he's seen from Roby since the Broncos drafted him
"He's learned how to practice better. I think some of those things pre-draft-that's a snapshot from various scouts on the kid at that time. And then you get him and then you see what you can do with him. What I know is he's bright, he's a good communicator, he's a big strong kid, he can really run, he's got great feet, got good hips. I think he's going to be a real good player and so the biggest thing for him was to come in here and go to work. We've got a good group and you're going to have to earn your way. So he's busy at work doing just that."
On if Roby was like that from his first days with the Broncos
"Right away, first day. First day I met with him I let him know that I don't want you to be frustrated come November or October if you spent first part of the season not playing much, because that could happen because we've got a good group. So if you want to play, earn your way and you're going to have to come out here and fight every day and you're behind because these guys have been here and they know what it takes. But I don't think he was phased by it, I think he appreciated that and he went about his work and continues to go about his work and my message to him is you still have a long way to go so keep grinding but we're happy with the progress you've made."
On if he expects CB Chris Harris Jr. to play tomorrow
"That'll be a decision we'll make. Coach Fox will help with that decision, the trainers, everything. We'll look at it but he is repping as though he'll be prepared and able and we will just see where we are with it."
On if CB Kayvon Webster will be ready
On what LB Brandon Marshall needs to keep improving on
"Well everybody-for us it's a constant process. You want to continue to get better in the fundamentals of what we do. How you understand where you belong, how you communicate with people, how you leverage and tackle, how you strike blockers and get off them and make plays. He's done a nice job, he's excited about the opportunity in front of him and looking to make the most of it."
On if there is a particular position he is excited to watch in last preseason game
"No, I mean really just evaluate the tape. [We] want to get through healthy as possible and cleanup whatever battles that we have to make decisions on. Those will be the areas of the most focus."
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR ADAM GASE
On players working their way onto the roster in the final preseason game
"I know it's not going to be as big of a group as we usually have going into a preseason game because I'm sure [Head] Coach [John] Fox will have a few players sitting down. We're going to have a lot of guys getting a lot of reps in this game, and we'll find out who's ready to take that next step and possibly make this 53-man roster."
On game-planning for Dallas
"We know what Dallas does as far as their defensive scheme. I'm sure they'll kind of do their base defense, and we'll do our base offense. The good thing is our defense plays a similar style as what Dallas does, so we're able to use a lot of our training camp stuff to let our guys go out and play and not think about a whole bunch of stuff."
On WR Emmanuel Sanders
"It's tougher when you haven't had the practice time. I know he's done a lot of the walk-throughs and [QB] Peyton [Manning] has spent a lot of time with him one-on-one, but the only experience that is that valuable for him is playing in games and live practices. Right now he's done a good job of mentally being there, but we have to get out there. It's going to have to be in season. We're going to have some growing pains there, but we'll push through that. He'll figure it out and we'll put him in good positions."
On WR Cody Latimer
"He's done a good job. He's really come on, especially the last two weeks. He makes his mistakes. He's a rookie. It happens. As soon as we can get him caught up to the rest of the guys the better. He's got to be ready to go. We'll see how it shakes out for that active roster on game day. I think he's progressing well, and we'll just see where he is towards that first game."
On how Latimer has improved in the last two weeks
"It's the mental aspect. The physical part we all can see. The guy has a lot of talent, and there are a lot of things he can bring to this team. Right now, it's just figuring out, ‘What do I need to do? What adjustments can I make?'-and how he can play fast. We can help him with that, but when you get live bullets going and the quarterback starts changing plays or you start moving at a quick tempo, he's got to be on it."
On the offense without Welker
"We're able to move pieces around and still do a lot of the same things that we've done. We don't really teach by position, so everybody can move in and out. We've done some things with Wes over the last year and a half to where we use some of the things he ran in New England, and we've taught him some of the things that we were doing with [WR Brandon Stokley] and what Peyton has done in the past with [TE] Dallas Clark or Brandon Stokley or [WR] Austin Collie. He's done some of the things that he wasn't accustomed to in New England, but we've done a good job of making sure everybody is at least able to run our concepts that we like."
On if bigger receivers should start operating in the middle of the field
"We're more interested in guys that get open. Size, to me, is irrelevant. It's football. If you can get open, find those open areas and get vertical, that's what we're looking for."
On how he calls plays in the preseason
"In this game, we'll be looking to get looks at guys. We'll see who is in the right spots. [QBs] Brock [Osweiler] and Zac [Dysert] will do a good job of getting the ball to them and see what they can do after they get the ball in their hands. That's in the passing game. In the running game, we'll try to make it as simple as possible and let these young backs go out there and play to their speed."
On the young tackles
"They've done a good job. They really have. It's tough in this position. I know [Offensive Line] Coach [Dave] Magazu has spent a lot of time with these young guys to make sure they can play multiple positions and be able to adjust in games because there's going to be things they haven't seen before that you see in the NFL compared to college. It's a tough adjustment for them, but the young guys have done a really good job."
On how many quarterbacks he prefers to keep
"I'm for whatever the front office wants to do. That's the best answer I can give you. Whoever they decide, whether it's two or three, we'll make it work, and we'll get those guys better."
On if the front office asked him how many QBs to keep
"I'll just say, ‘Whatever you guys want to do.'"
On the difficulty of trimming the roster
"It's not easy. When you're as deep as what we are at a lot of spots, somebody good is going to have to go. Is it going to be even at the end of the day or is one side (offense or defense) going to be heavier than the other? That's why there are people that are in the decision-making higher levels. We state our opinions, and then they make the decision."
On whether Welker's concussion history may lead to a change in how he's used
"I think we'll take a look at our route concepts and see what we need to tinker with and maybe why something like that happened. If we have to make an adjustment, we will. If he came to me and said something about a certain route he didn't feel comfortable it, we would make an adjustment. For right now, I feel like our scheme is pretty good. What happened, like Coach Fox said, it's a football play, and those things happen sometimes."
On his impression of CB Bradley Roby
"Early on [in camp], we were probably picking on him a bit to let him know-a ‘welcome-to-the-NFL type deal.' He's done a good job, and he's really matched up well against our older guys. It seemed like last week he did a really good job."
LINEBACKER SHAQUIL BARRETT
On his goal for the fourth preseason game
"I've just got to come out there and make some plays in a game, show the coaches I can do it in a game. So just make some plays."
On what he needs to show the coaches
"Just that I can make plays in the game. They say it in practice-that practice goes far-but you make your money in the games. If I don't do it in the games I'm pretty much worthless to the team."
On his confidence level
"It's been going up. After the first cuts and still being here, it helped my morale and confidence a little bit. It just gives me another opportunity to come out there the next game and just prove that I do belong here."
On if he can make another team
"Yeah you've got to keep that in mind. I'd love to stay here but if it doesn't work out, hopefully I've put enough good stuff on my preseason film that somebody will want me."
RUNNING BACK KAPRI BIBBS
On how much work he needs to do on Thursday
"I don't think I've proven myself enough because, me as a football player, I want to be the best at this position. I want to work as hard as I can to be the best at this position. Not only for myself to think that I'm the best, but for other people to think that I'm the best as well and to see that out there on the field. So that's what I'm striving for right now. Obviously people don't think, ‘Kapri Bibbs is the best NFL running back,' but that's what I'm working for and that's what I want to be."
On if he thinks Thursday is his best chance to prove himself
"Definitely. I definitely do think that this is a great opportunity for me and [RB] Juwan [Thompson]. We're going to get a lot of snaps on special teams and the offense. It's going to be the most playing time we've gotten this preseason and this is going to be a lot of our film for the Broncos to watch and for all 31 other teams to watch as well. This is a big game."
On CU-CSU game this Friday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High
"I told somebody yesterday-CSU. I've got them 35-17. CSU with the [win]."
On working with QB Brock Osweiler
"It's been great. Brock's a great guy. He's very competitive. He's trying to get his offense because in a couple of years he could be running this thing, so he's a great athlete and he's a great thrower and he knows his stuff. It's just good being back there with him because he just has a lot of poise as well. He knows when to pull it down and run and he can also escape a couple of sacks and continue to play. He's a great player and I like being back there with him."
QUARTERBACK ZAC DYSERT
On if he hopes to repeat the performance he had in last year's fourth preseason game
"Definitely, definitely. It was awesome to just get back there in the San Francisco game-it's been a year pretty much, so to get out there with the guys and to just play and have fun, it was a great time."
On if it's frustrating watching teammates play while he is on the sidelines
"It is frustrating. Obviously you want to be the guy out there, but then at the same time you understand that it's better for the team and you need to do what you need to do to get better. It's kind of a motivator too, because you obviously you know what you need to work on to get better and be that guy. It gives you a little extra motivation to work harder."
On the night before the fourth preseason game
"Usually I'm pretty calm before. I usually get some butterflies probably right before I run out, and then you get that first play out of the way and then you're good. But probably a little bit before."
On if he's a better player now than when he first came into the NFL
"Tons. [Quarterbacks] Coach [Greg] Knapp, [QB] Peyton [Manning], [QB] Brock [Osweiler]-they've all helped me out a lot. [I] just learned so much the last year. I was just trying to be a sponge and just learn as much as I can from Peyton and I think I did a good job with that."
On if he hopes the team keeps three quarterbacks
"No doubt. I'm trying to give them a reason to make them keep me. I'm just trying not to force things and just trying to do the best I can."
QUARTERBACK BROCK OSWEILER
On the difference between starting the game and coming in as a backup
"Everything about it. When you're coming in later in the game you don't necessarily know when you're actually going to go in. So you go through the week of practice, then you travel, then you do pregame warm ups and then you just kind of hit the bench and you get cold and you don't really know when you're going in, whereas when you're the starter you can kind of ride the energy of the pregame and things like that. Just step right into the game."
On if his teammates ask him to throw them the ball because they want to make the team
"I'm always accepting envelopes (laughing). I'm kidding, I'm kidding. No one's really doing that. I think we have a great team. We have a great team atmosphere, so guys don't really beg for the ball and do things like that. I think our wide receivers and [running] backs have just done a tremendous job of making plays when the ball comes their way and I expect the same thing Thursday night."
On the importance of this game for QB Zac Dysert
"Absolutely. I think it's a huge game for everybody. Everybody-when you're not playing in the game I guess as a starter, all the second, third, fourth string guys-we all have something to prove. I think everybody's trying to prove something different but we all have something in the end that we would like to show. It's a big game for everybody."