HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS
(On how TE Rob Gronkowski has played since returning to football and his role moving forward)
"We haven't had that many red zone opportunities and I don't see him running 40 yards past people anymore. If we get him press coverage, hopefully he can. We brought him in to just play tight end. If that means no catches, it means no catches. If it means 10 catches, it means 10 catches because he's open and that's where the ball goes. We just fortified a room with a veteran player, just like we did with A.Q. Shipley."
(On if there is anything QB Tom Brady has specifically mentioned he wants to improve)
"We talk constantly about how to make him more comfortable. As we formulate a gameplan, we had good conversations yesterday about what we think we need to do to beat these guys – just like we do every week."
(On the altitude in Denver and how he will mitigate the impact on Sunday)
"It is a factor, especially on long drives. It's a factor in two-minute [situations] when you're out there for a while. There are different ways to train – sports science is doing some stuff with our guys. Oxygen therapy [and] some other things that you can do to train to help yourself be better in high altitudes. Most of it is just being in good shape and being ready to go."
(On if the rotation of players in the game will be deeper with players possible being fatigued due to the altitude in Denver)
"It's just normal. We have enough rotation guys. We don't need to be playing backups just because we're at high altitude."
(On if WR Justin Watson participated in Wednesday's practice)
"He did not practice today."
(On the severity of Watson's injury)
"It's day-to-day. We'll see. It's getting better, but he couldn't go today."
(On if the team had to change its gameplan last week due to WR Mike Evans' hamstring injury and if Evans will be fully healthy for this upcoming game)
"He's still getting back in shape. He missed a lot of work as far as conditioning, so it's just a matter of getting back in game shape and being able to stay out there for a long period of time. We substituted him quite a bit last week and just getting him back healthy."
(On Broncos S Justin Simmons and S Kareem Jackson)
"Really solid. Good tacklers, play the defense the way it's supposed to be played. They're extremely well coached and they catch the ball when it's in their area. They don't drop many interceptions when the ball is tipped and they can make plays on the ball, so they're good cover people, also. They're good, interchangeable guys."
(On Broncos QB Jeff Driskel and his evaluation of Driskel as a quarterback)
"He's been around for a while. I've [faced] him a couple of times. He's a heck of an athlete [and] has a great arm. I thought he played really well against Pittsburgh – against a really good defense – bringing them back [and] almost had a shot to win it there at the end. He's a quality guy. He can beat you with his legs and he can beat you with his arm. He's a smart guy and I thought he handled that situation he was in last week like a pro does."
(On talking to the team about not letting up against an 0-2 opponent battling injuries)
"I don't think we're anybody that can let our guard down. We haven't done [anything]. We better have strapped on and ready to go. They're a very well-coached football team and everybody's got injuries. We're nobody to look past anybody, so that message was passed."
(On Denver being competitive in each of its first two games this season)
"They're a damn good football team. They can beat anybody on their schedule. They had a chance to win that one, even with injuries, and they should've won the first one. Their tape doesn't lie – they're good."
(On how the team prepares to keep players fresh throughout the early portion of the season with the bye week not coming until December)
"Well, you have that mini-bye – that Thursday night ballgame – which comes at a good time for us. You use that time to refresh. You basically have to watch your Wednesday [and] Thursday practices as this grinds out into Weeks 7, 8, 9 – in that area. I lean heavily on our sports science guys and all the data we get from each individual player as far as our workloads, who's tired, who's not tired and those type of things. You have to be very, very cautious of it."
(On Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy)
"He can run – he can fly – he can catch. He had a great career at Alabama. They have [WR KJ] Hamler who can also run, [WR DaeSean] Hamilton – they've got players. [Noah] Fant is one of the best young tight ends in the league. But Jerry Jeudy – he's a number one pick for a reason."
(On what the team does in practice to eliminate dropped passes in games and what caused the dropped passes last week)
"Concentration. You dropped the damn ball – you can go get on the JUGS machine [or] you can beat yourself up about it. You wouldn't be here if you couldn't catch, so fix it."
(On having a running back like RB Leonard Fournette who is fresh in the fourth quarter)
"He did it once – hopefully we can continue that trend. We'll see if he is just that. He did it last week for us and it's a luxury to have three backs the way we have. I like Ke'Shawn [Vaughn], too. It's a luxury to have a guy that has been there and done it."
(On what was done differently that led to generating turnovers in Week 2 after not doing so in Week 1)
"Well, we dropped two interceptions that we should have caught in New Orleans. Obviously, we turned the ball over too many times. They come in bunches. We had a good opportunity to strip-sack – Shaq [Barrett] just missed one in that ballgame, also. Turnovers are a funny thing. They come in bunches sometimes and some of it is the team you're playing."
(On if having multiple running back options is an ideal situation)
"I think that's the ideal situation. When everybody knows their role and accepts their role, that's the ideal situation."
(On if the interior defensive linemen are able to produce more with OLB Shaq Barrett receiving more attention off the edge after leading the NFL in sacks last season)
"That helps a bunch. Those guys worked their tails off in the offseason to get bigger [and] stronger, working on their toolbox [and] getting better moves. The attention that Jason [Pierre-Paul] and Shaq [receive] is sometimes going to open it up for those inside guys. They're going to pressure that pocket and those outside guys are going to continue to get their sacks, also."
(On what Barrett has to do to adjust to the amount of attention he receives from opposing offenses)
"Just keep rushing and don't get caught up with the hype. Just win. It's not about numbers, it's about winning. Congratulate those other guys when they get the sacks."
(On QB Tom Brady suggesting the team run a flea flicker against Carolina and what it has been like working with Brady on a gameplan throughout the last two weeks)
"Well, it's great, but that's the wrong Tom. It was Tom Moore that put in the flea flicker, not Tom Brady. But, we listen to Tom Brady, also. Tom Moore has a heck of a football background, also."
(On the player on the team that is closest to resembling his demeanor on the field)
"I don't know – that's a tough one. That's one I'd have to think about. But, probably [Tom] Brady. He can cuss pretty loud, too."
QUARTERBACKS COACH CLYDE CHRISTENSEN
(On where QB Tom Brady is in terms of being comfortable with the offense)
"I think it's clearly still a work in progress. I've said before that at times it looks like he's a guy running somebody else's offense. Each week, each day, it gets closer to him running his offense – our offense, all of our offense. It's going to take a little time. It was whatever the opposite of a perfect storm is, just not to have those reps in the offseason, not to have March [and] April to work through some of these kinks and to get to know each other. You wish that this was the second preseason game and you're working through those things, but it's not. We're in the season and we just have to accelerate it. It's happening, but it's happening slowly. It's not a done process yet. It's certainly not done yet."
(On where Brady has the most room to grow in his comfort and development with the Buccaneers)
"I think it's just comfort. It's not being comfortable with his receivers – he's done a great job with that [and] the receivers have done a great job. They've logged a bunch of hours this offseason and they really didn't miss their time. I think what it is, is just adjustments. 'What do I do when this [happens]? What about when they don't do it quite like what they practiced?' It's been impossible to get him every scenario, every situation [and] every look that he could possibly get. Then, all of a sudden someone does something that is un-practiced – you didn't get a look at it – and where's his answers? His answers have been one place for 20 years and now, maybe they're somewhere else. I think it's just getting comfortable with all the adjustments. The base thing – if you sat in three-deep zone, you cooperated, you didn't disguise and everyone went where they were supposed to go, then we'd be fine. But, it doesn't work that way. It's just going to take some time – just the fine points of this thing. The hots – where's your hot? Where's your check down going to be? All those different things."
(On if this coming game will be the first representation of what the offense will look like with WR Mike Evans and WR Chris Godwin both healthy)
"Sure – I hope so. I think I get the privilege of seeing [that] there's stretches of practice where you go, 'This is really, really going to be good.' I believe that with all my heart. I don't know that it's [happening] this Sunday, I don't know if it's this month. When it clicks, it's going to click and it's probably going to be a gradual process. I would see us as a unit that's going to continue to improve all year long, hopefully stay healthy and play our best football in November and December. Just with familiarity, that's the way this year's going to go. I think we're going to have some moments where it just clicks and it looks pretty special because there's some pretty special ingredients – players – involved in the thing. As far as really understanding what we're doing and being able to execute it for three hours on a Sunday afternoon against an NFL defense – I think that's going to continue to be a work in progress. We'll keep getting there. The biggest thing – my job, probably – is just making sure we don't get frustrated. We just have to keep progressing [and] keep heading in the right direction and we'll get there. I do think it will be fun having both those guys out there going 100 miles per hour. Even just practice – Mike was out of practice that first week, Chris last week didn't practice. Even practice because now all of a sudden [on] Friday you're switching – 'Hey, this guy's going to be your 'F' [receiver], this guy's going to be in the slot [and] we're going to adjust all these different things.' I do think we've stressed that all year with the COVID thing – that's what this year's going to be. There's going to be some different people in some different places and the chances are you're going to get some curveballs in this next 14 weeks. It should be good practice and we have to function with that. That's what this year already is."
LINEBACKER LAVONTE DAVID
(On what he remembers from playing at altitude in Denver his rookie season and if he has spoken to the younger players about it)
"It was a while back, so I really can't remember exactly how I felt during it. I know I had a lot of energy – obviously I was a rookie out there, playing around [and] just running around. I didn't think it was as bad, but I just know for the most part, when you're out at practice [this week] you want to do a little extra running and a little extra conditioning. Good to get a little extra sprints in to help you prolong you through the whole game. From what I remember, it wasn't that bad. I know back then it was a big emphasis on it when we played there as a rookie. But, for the most part, I don't think anyone had any problems out there."
(On if the defense is taking its performance to the next level and if forcing turnovers is the next step)
"That's the main thing. I know turnovers was a big deal for our success last year. We all wanted that to turn around. We didn't get it done in the first game, but we were able to turn around and get it done last week against Carolina. It helped propel us to a victory. That's something we want to continue to stack on. It helps us be a great defense that we want to be [and] continue to attack the football, whether it's going for it as far as forcing fumbles, or taking the ball away while it's in the air. That's the thing that makes a defense great. We work on it in practice and we want it to transpire over to the field."
(On how the defensive line opens up opportunities for the inside linebackers)
"You know who you're working with. When you know who you have in front of you, you know how you can play off of them and it gives you the opportunity to play fast when you know what a guy wants to do and how he's going to play against a certain block. It gets you your opportunity to play fast, gets your opportunity to shoot gaps and that's what you've been seeing. Everybody's just working well together. We've been communicating like I said earlier. Everybody's communicating before the snap [and] during the snap we're communicating. It's just a comforting thing once you get settled in – not really settled in, but once you get a little confident playing in a defense that you kind of know, it gives you an opportunity to do those things and that's what we're trying to do and that's the next level that we're trying to take. We were pretty solid last year, and now we're trying to be great and just put it all together."
CORNERBACK SEAN MURPHY-BUNTING
(On the confidence he plays with)
"I think that I was born with swag, obviously. I don't think that my swag has ever went away. I'm a very confident guy [and] a very confident player. I feel like throughout college I played with a lot of swagger, I played with a lot of confidence and I played with a lot of aggression, and I still do. It's a lot easier when you know your responsibilities and your jobs. You can play a lot faster, you can react to a lot of things differently and kind of be yourself. A lot of guys, they play with either a lot of juice [and] aggression or you've got guys that need to be completely locked in to do their job. For me, I need to be relaxed, I need to feel at peace and just have fun."
(On the key to continuing to generate more takeaways)
"The key to taking the ball away is just being consistent – being at the right place at the right time, just reading your keys and playing the ball. It's one thing to have your receiver bottled up, but you need to get your head back around and look at the ball. I know last week, there was a play that I had where I was in coverage. It was tight coverage, but I didn't get my head around, so I wasn't able to make a play on the ball, and if I did get my head around, the outcome probably would have been different. It's just being consistent, being true to your keys and playing ball – reading what you see and playing what you see."
(On the camaraderie of the secondary)
"We're brothers at the end of the day. We go out there each and every day and we fight for each other. I feel like a lot of people – from the outside world looking in – they don't think we're as good as we think we are. You're going to have times where people are against you and you have to stay together and stay within each other to go through what you want to go through together and get to those triumphs. They had us what, 32nd? The 32nd-best secondary in the NFL – obviously we have a lot to prove. If they don't see it now, they'll see it eventually. We don't need to keep talking about it and restating the obvious, but we're going to go out and battle, and we're going to do our job each and every week."