DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR TODD BOWLES
(On what the defense learned from the second half of Week 2 that it can apply moving forward)
"We just have to finish four quarters. Obviously, we want to win the games early on – and we did some good things – but we have to continue throughout the game and we can't get lax. [We have to] play the game all the way through."
(On S Antoine Winfield Jr.'s performance through two games)
"He plays beyond his years right now. Obviously, he had great coaching with his dad and seeing his dad play growing up. They sit and talk every week, which is a great addition to that. He plays like a veteran, he understands the game, he plays the game the right way, he makes his plays and he understands that when his opportunity comes up, he has to make a play – and he does."
(On OLB Shaquil Barrett becoming a known commodity and how the attention he receives has impacted the other pass rushers)
"I think they help each other out hand in hand. All of them up there are capable of rushing the passer. Shaq – it's made him work harder and become more versatile in the things that he's doing. He's always working on his overall game – not just the pass rush. He's continued to do that and we're very happy with him."
(On OLB Jason Pierre-Paul's play this season)
"He's a football player. He's a dog when he's on the field and I mean that in a good way. He's got a lot of heart and he gets after it. He's a relentless pass rusher, he has a great mind and spirit and he's one of those guys you want to be in the foxhole with because you know he's going to come through."
(On DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches receiving more snaps last week)
"We try to sub some guys in there up front. He's earned some playing time – [it is] very well warranted. The guys up front, we try to rotate and keep fresh here and there. Nacho (Nunez-Roches) has benefitted from getting most of that time."
(On DL Ndamukong Suh performing at a high level at this point of his career and how that impacts the other players on the team)
"It's a credit to him, first of all. Just being a professional at the stage of career that he's in and still doing things the right way – that's how he got to be a great player in the first place. He's continued to do that and show the younger guys that they have to work every day, no matter how long they've played or how many years they've been in the league."
(On what happens on the sideline when he is trying to prevent the defense from letting up after taking an early lead)
"The play calling is fine and what they do on the field is fine. But, when you get a lead like that and you try to play certain coverages, you can't lax in your technique and fundamentals. It's more of what I'm talking about. No matter who we play, what the score is or how sound they are in the first half, the second half has to be a four-quarter game. It can't be a two-and-a-half or three-quarter game – or a three-and-a-half-quarter game. We understand from a fundamental standpoint, we have to go back to basics and we have to finish the game."
(On what he has seen from the players in their commitment to following COVID safety protocols)
"They're being very professional. It's a credit to them. Obviously, Coach [Bruce] Arians – they're taking his lead and his word for it. They're trusting each other and everybody's trying to do the right thing by each other because nobody wants to get sick or make somebody else sick that can put us down a man or two during the season. Those guys have been very professional and great so far."
(On Broncos wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler)
"They're extremely talented. Obviously, both [are] very fast, both [are] great pattern runners and both have good hands. They stretch the field both vertically and horizontally. They'll be a force to be reckoned with along with [Noah] Fant and three or four other receivers that play very well, too. Although [Courtland] Sutton is an All-Pro, I think these guys are great receivers, so we have our hands full. We have our own puppies back there – I have my own to worry about right now, so I can't worry about them too much."
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR BYRON LEFTWICH
(On QB Tom Brady and WR Mike Evans connecting on a play in Week 2 that previously led to an interception in Week 1)
"It was extremely similar. It's football, right? It's football – the teachings, the lessons from week in and week out. That goes to show you how close every play is in this league. It was a perfect example. We all smiled – I know I smiled on the sideline because I knew we obviously got better in the week. It was a different scenario [and] a different situation, but we still had that opportunity and we got that job done. It just goes to tell you – football, the more we can be out there with each other [and] the more we can be in these situations, the more we can begin to capitalize and make those type of plays that we should be making."
(On TE Rob Gronkowski not being targeted offensively and if he feels like it is his job to get specific players more targets in a game)
"With the players we've got, I think of that all the time. I think of the player in mind as I'm creating the plays for that week. The player is always in mind. Like I tell you guys all the time, I never want Tom [Brady] to force the ball. I never want Tom to do something that's not organic. We have good enough players where if we just be organic and put the ball in the right spot, it will start finding [Rob Gronkowski]. The least of my worries is really the ball finding Gronk. There's things that we have to do better to compete and to win football games that we're trying to do right now. Getting the ball to him and getting the ball to any specific player is always thought out week in and week out. We can do a better job of putting them in position – we will – and we're all just starting to make plays across the board."
(On his experience playing in Denver and how the altitude impacts the quarterback position)
"It's a little different – it is. I remember playing there a couple of times and it's a little different. Not enough to really affect anything, but it is different. It's always great to have a pregame to get used to how the ball is coming out of your hand. But, it is a little different. I don't know if it's so much different that there will be a problem or an advantage either way. I just think it is a little different. Unless you just go out there and play in that stadium to understand that, you won't really notice it."
(On if the offense will look to score faster to avoid fatigue on longer drives at altitude)
"We're just trying to score. We're trying to do whatever we can to score, so we don't care if it's three plays, 10 plays, 16 plays – we have to be prepared for whatever it is. As an offense, our mindset is to try to get the ball and try to score points. We don't really think [and] we don't really care about how many plays it is. We just have to be prepared for anything. As long as we stay prepared for whatever it takes, that's all that really matters. For us, it doesn't matter how many plays it is. We just have to be ready if we do have a 14 [or]15-play drive that we can do what we can to get points."
(On if there is a challenge as a play-caller to get all the talented offensive players involved)
"That's why you try to make it organic. That's why you try not to force the ball because in the preparation, you try to put guys in position that the read [and] the progression sends us to a place where we like our matchup. We think that way, and when I'm coming up with these plays, I think that way. It's not really tough because [of] how these guys are focused on just winning football games. They're more focused on winning football games – we're not really thinking about individual things. That means nothing to us. We're trying to do what we can as a team to try and win football games. Whatever that takes – all the guys are sold in [and] all the guys have all hands on deck to do what we need to do to try to win games."
(On G Alex Cappa's development)
"Cap was a small-school guy that nobody knew about. We love how physical he is, we love the way he goes about the game. I love his smarts. This is a smart kid. He understands what we expect of him [and] he understands what we're trying to get accomplished. It's good to see him playing this way, especially the second year in the system. I tell you guys this so much – these guys are getting comfortable across the board and we're beginning to do things and be the players that we can be. We have all the respect for Cap. [He is] one of the tough guys in our locker room [and] one of the tough guys in our huddle. We appreciate what he brings to the table week in and week out."
(On using RB Leonard Fournette to close out last week's game against Carolina and if having multiple running backs to utilize throughout a game is an advantage)
"He's a big guy, he's tough to tackle [and] he's a great four-minute running back. Just give him the ball and let him barrel over guys. He has instincts of a little guy. He has little-guy instincts [and] he has little-guy vision, so he gets to certain cuts [and] he makes the right cuts all the time. We're happy to have him. We're trying to get him more and more involved as we go. He's only been with us for two weeks or something like that – he's picking it up fast. But, as a [running backs] room, I think we have so much production from that room. What Shady (LeSean McCoy) did, what Ro (Ronald Jones II) did and Lenny (Leonard Fournette) – Lenny F is what we've been calling him today – is just working his way in and doing what he can to put his hand in the pile. We appreciate everything he does for us."
(On the running backs not paying attention to who is considered the primary running back)
"I hope not – I don't think so. I think I understand the temperament of our guys [and] I think we have a great room. Ro (Ronald Jones II) is always starting us out – like I tell you, you guys know how I feel about Ro. We were able to add Shady (LeSean McCoy), we were able to add Lenny (Leonard Fournette) [and] it's just a really good room with guys that have had production in this league. Guys that have done good things in this league – it's always good to have that type of experience."
(On RB LeSean McCoy's role in the passing game and his comfort with Brady)
"I think he's getting comfortable day in and day out. He's a guy that we didn't have – it's tough not having [an] offseason. Guys come in [during] training camp and we're trying to play a football game. But, football is a year round job. The way these guys come to work every day – from protections, to what we're thinking in the running game, from what we're thinking from them in the passing game – they really do an excellent job of coming in and honing in to what they need to do as running backs to put themselves in position to be successful. Like I said, the more that this team can practice, the more we can rep things [and] the more we can be in game situations is the better for us."
(On improvements T Tristan Wirfs made from Week 1 to Week 2)
"Tristan is being Tristan. Sometimes it's tough to even know if he's a rookie. He has such a great demeanor, he's a pro [and] he's a man's man. Like I said, I never really have to say his name a lot. I'm never really saying Tristan's name a lot, and that's always great when you're talking about rookie offensive linemen."
(On going into Sunday's game with both WR Mike Evans and WR Chris Godwin healthy)
"We were great in the beginning of camp and we were getting a lot of reps in. Any time you have those two guys out there healthy, you're going to look different when those guys are out there. Like I said, we lost Mike right before Week 1, then we lost Chris, so it's good to have both of those guys out there in the huddle. We know what they bring to us as a team [and] we know that these are our playmakers. These are two of our playmakers [so] you want to be able to put those guys on the field as much as possible. But, the key is being able to really practice with them out there so we can keep developing and keep making sure we're on the same page."
(On if the offense has noticed major differences in not having a crowd in its first two games of the season)
"It's our job to go out and play, and try to play well, regardless of [if there are] any fans there [or] any noise there. It is a little different. I'd be lying to say that [it isn't.] It's different because you're talking to the quarterback from the sideline, and that's never been done. I can talk to Tom [Brady] from the sideline. We can yell at each other [and] we can say things to each other that was never capable or possible of doing before. It's different from that aspect, but once the game gets rolling, we have a job to do [and] we have to go out and find a way to execute."
(On C Ryan Jensen and what he has done to establish himself on the offensive line)
"His leadership is priceless [and] his physicality is priceless. He puts us in position, he's a smart guy and that's what you respect about him. You respect the violence that he brings to the game [and] you respect his ability to think his way through out there on the football field. He's one of our leaders [and] he's the guy that gets those guys going. He's the first guy to touch the ball and any time you have a guy like that, this is how you want your center to be. You want your center to be a tough guy, a smart guy [who] can make all the calls. When he goes out there and plays the game on Sunday, he goes out there with a certain sort of violence."
(On if Brady or head coach Bruce Arians is scarier on the field)
"I don't know how scary these two guys are – either one of them. I've seen Tom have these bursts of energy – both of them love these bursts of energy where they have to get it out. I love it, though. I love everything about it because it's who they are. We try to ask them to be exactly who [they] are. We love who Tom is [and] we love who Coach [Arians] is, so we want everybody to be themselves here. We preach it – come here to be yourself. Let out what you need to let out. Just make sure that we're ready to work and try to do what we can to win football games. That's the great thing about having a guy like Tom – he brings that every day. That is every day – practice, games, that's the way he approaches the game of football. I think it helps our football team, especially our young guys seeing a guy like that who's 43 years old [and] still comes out every day with that type of energy."
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER SHAQUIL BARRETT
(On how teams are focusing on stopping him from getting to the quarterback and if he has to resist trying to do too much)
"I don't think it was anything too different last week. [I] had a couple of opportunities that I should have gotten there [but] I didn't get there. I don't think it was just me. I just have to worry about my rush plans instead of just doing my go-to moves. I have to set stuff up and [that is] what I feel as though I haven't been doing. I just have to get back to setting moves up and working moves because I do have the whole game. I don't have to rush and try to do too much in the first quarter [or] second quarter."
(On returning to Denver after starting his career there)
"It's going to feel good to go back there, try to get another win. That's the most important thing – to come out as a winner and be 2-1 so we can be on the right page for setting us up for the rest of the season. I just want to show them that they did have the chance to have me and they let me go. I'm happy with my situation down here – I love it. It's literally the best plan that could have happened and worked out."
(On the difference between who he was as a player in Denver compared to where he is at this point of his career)
"Back then I just was comfortable doing the moves I knew. I wasn't really trying to learn any moves because I was scared to do them and scared of failing because nobody wants to do a move and get stuffed or look bad out there. As time progressed, I kept watching [Broncos OLB Von] Miller and D-Ware (former Broncos OLB DeMarcus Ware). I was on the scout team [and] practice squad, so I'm up there going against the first-team tackle. I started working stuff, started working on my get up, just gaining confidence slowly but surely to actually go out and do it in a game. It was just the repetitions and practice that I got the confidence. Practice squad helped me out a lot to be able to build the confidence to go out there and just trust myself and trust my keys to go out there and make plays, have a great get off and not be scared to jump offside every once in a while."
QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
(On comparisons between wide receivers Mike Evans and Randy Moss)
"From a physical standpoint – both [have] big bodies, big catch radiuses and great body control. [They have] great understanding of the game – feel, instincts, [etc.]. Randy is a Hall of Famer. I think Mike is going to be one too and it's been amazing to play with him. I love playing with Mike. He's been just spectacular from the day I met him. I admired him from afar for a long time. I'm just blessed to play with him and Chris [Godwin with] what he's accomplished in his short time in the NFL. I think those two guys really lead the charge for our receivers and they're great mentors for the young players we have. We're just going to keep working hard every day to try and be on the same page more and more."
(On if WR Mike Evans' Week 2 performance was indicative of the growing chemistry between quarterback and receiver)
"Yeah, I think that's pretty natural – the more you're together, the more you talk, the more you communicate, the more you practice [and] play together, the situations come up. So much is non-verbal communication. What did you see? What did I see? As long as we both see it the same way, that's important. It's hard if one guy [says], 'I saw this. Well, I saw this.' Then mistakes happen. Unfortunately, it's just part of the learning process. I've played a lot of football. I have in my mind what I think is going to happen, or what has happened for me over 20 years and the conversations I've had, but unfortunately I've never had those conversations with this group of players, and that's just part of it. It's just the way it is. You can't replicate live, game-time reps. You've got to just do it on the practice field, talk through [mistakes]. Unfortunately, when it happens during a game, you've got to really take those to heart, learn from them and try to improve them. I love working with our group of receivers [and] our tight ends. We're off to a decent start. We've got to really build on it and try to make as many improvements as quickly as possible."
(On if he is comfortable with where he and TE Rob Gronkowski are at together in this offense)
"Well, I think we all have a lot of things we've got to [work on]. We're going to be improving from the time we started until the time we finish the season. I don't think we can be discouraged by certain things. Some weeks it's going to be some guy's week. Other weeks it's going to be other guys' weeks. Everyone is working hard at practice to try to find their spot [and] their role. We've got to figure out what works, what combinations work, what we do well or what we don't do well. That's just part of the season. You wish everything would be perfect, but that's just not the reality of football. There are too many things to orchestrate. There are too many moving parts. You've just got to figure out ways to win games. It starts with eliminating negative plays, turnovers [and] penalties and putting ourselves in good situations to score points. In the end, it's got to be scoring more points than the other team. If our defense gives up 40, we've got to score more than that. If they only give up three, we've got to score more than that. You ebb and flow as the season goes. Some weeks the defense plays better, some weeks the offense plays better [and] some weeks you get contributions on special teams. Either way, we've got to figure out how to win the games when the opportunities present themselves to make them happen – we've got to be able to do it."
(On Broncos pass rusher Von Miller's season-ending injury)
"The feeling is mutual with Von. I think I've played a lot of meaningful games against him and there is nobody that's more of an incredible player than him. It's tough to see guys miss football seasons, [especially] guys in the prime of their career. He's as good of a player as there is on the defensive side of the ball in NFL history. He's just exceptional in every way. It's tough to miss him. I got a chance to know him a little bit over the years and enjoy my time with him. I hope he gets back out there healthy and I'm sure he will be back being the great player that he is next year."
(On facing the Broncos many times throughout his NFL career)
"I've played there a lot being in the NFC all those years – traveling to Denver, playoff games in Denver – it's an electric atmosphere. I don't think we're going to get quite that this coming Sunday, but it's one of the great places in the NFL to play. The stadium is amazing [and] the setting is amazing. Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) and I were talking about the 2015 game that we played against them and how crazy that game was. They've just always been well coached [and] they are this year. They've got a lot of tough, hard-nosed players. They play in a tough division. We're going to have to play good football to beat them this week. We've got to take the things we've learned, try to apply them and make this our best week."
(On having multiple running backs in the rotation)
"I think the more depth you have at all positions – you can't strain any one position too much. You're going to have situations over the course of the year where guys get worn down or guys tweak something and they're not in there as much. Guys are going to have to fill a role and they're going to have to do it well. Having depth at these positions that are so important to our offense – everyone is going to play a critical role. We're really deep at receiver [then] all of the sudden, Chris [Godwin] doesn't play, Mike [Evans] is out for a play, J-Wat (Justin Watson) gets banged up in the game – next thing you know, it's like, 'All right, what happened to the depth?' It just goes quicky. That's just part of football. Every team is dealing with it. Denver [has] injuries – they've got to adjust. We've got injuries – we've got to adjust. It's a contact sport. Everyone is not going to be there every single day [or] every game – it's just not the reality. You've got to work with everybody [and] you've got to have enough communication with everybody. Everybody plays a vital role and I think when you can gain confidence in the players – they may think they're in a backup role, but once the game starts, they're in a featured role – those guys have to take advantage of those opportunities. That's how I got my start. I look at it like, no one ever thought of me in 2001. I thought I was third-string quarterback going into training camp. Two weeks into the year, I'm the starting quarterback. You've got to take advantage of your opportunity because you don't know when you're going to get it. I try to stress that to the young players. Every day in practice you've got a chance to make an impression on a player [or] on coach and build trust in your teammates, so that when you get the opportunity, you go and take advantage of it and you never look back."
WIDE RECEIVER MIKE EVANS
(On having WR Chris Godwin back on the field with him and how they play off each other)
"It definitely helps. Like I said, we're a much better team when we have Chris and myself out there. We're two of the best the game has to offer, but that's just my boy. He gets me riled up to play, I get on him [and] we get hyped before the games. We're just brothers out there, really just playing. It's easy to play with a guy that you really like, so me and him enjoy playing with each other and I'm happy to have him back this week."
(On what the team learned from being on the road Week 1 to apply to this week)
"We have to be good on the road [and] we have to be able to get these games on the road. That will be huge down the line. I've never played in Denver before, so this is going to be pretty cool. We get fans, so I think there's going to be a little extra energy. Even though we came out last game with a lot of energy, I feel like this game we'll come out with even more juice because you get 5,000 [or] 6,000 fans in the crowd. That's cool – we'll take that. That's a good start. I kind of like road trips, personally."
(On what the team focused on this week)
"Just attention to detail, communication and just finishing – those three things. I think we honed in on those really well this week in practice. We have to finish up tomorrow and Friday and then the rest will be mental. If we clean up on those things, we can reach our goal and be a really great offense. We definitely have to clean that up and transfer it to the game, and I think we can do that."