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Conference Call: Broncos Head Coach Josh McDaniels




(on if it makes it more difficult to prepare for the Titans with how infrequently the two teams have played in recent years)

Anytime you're not familiar with the team you're playing, it certainly presents a challenge in terms of preparing your football team on a few days of preparation to really try to understand the identity of the team you're playing.  I think I am fortunate because I've had the opportunity to play against them a few times when I was in New England, but certainly a lot of our players here have not.  I think we're on a crash course to try and make sure we understand the personnel; we understand the philosophy that they use, how they try to win games and the people that we have to stop or the things that we have to stop in the game to try and make ourselves successful.  I have a great deal of respect for Coach Fisher.  He's done a great job for a long time.  He's got a specific philosophy that I know works, and we're going to try and get our players ready as quickly as we can to go down there and play the best we can.

(on if he would ideally like to see more balance between the pass and the run with Denver's offense)

Certainly, there is no question about that.  The goal for us is never going to be to be one dimensional.  It's going to start with our ability to finish plays in the running game.  We haven't had a lot of bad plays—in terms of negative plays in the run game, but we certainly haven't had enough really good ones to balance that out.  We've had some shuffling along the offensive line, we've had some backs miss time in training camp and I think our continuity all-in-all is really something that we're really focused on and trying to put the same group out there to rep and practice as many days as we can.  We're focused on trying to get better every day, and there is nothing we can do about the past and we're certainly going to try and be two dimensional as many times as we can.

(on if stopping Tennessee is dependent on stopping Chris Johnson)

It certainly does.  I don't know if you're going to stop him.  I'm not sure that is a great word to use when you're talking about him, he's one of the most decorated players that I think I've ever coached against and one of the best players that I'll probably ever coach against.  He's going to touch the ball a lot, we know that.  He's a great, great player—he can score or hurt you in many, many ways.  He was their leading receiver last year in terms of receptions, did a great job on third down, screen game, certainly a bunch of different types of runs.  We're going to have our hands full—our work cut out for us in terms of trying to contain him and really try to limit the big plays.  I think that's the best thing you can say.

(on how difficult it is as an opponent to know you can stop Chris Johnson all day and know that he's still one touch away from a big play)

It's real tough.  It really tests your discipline and your focus.  It also tests your endurance and your conditioning because I know the Giants, last week, did a decent job for most of the of the day and then gave up a big one late in the game.  He's done that a lot in his career.  You can feel pretty good about holding him to, whatever it is, 78 yards rushing and then all of a sudden you give up a 60-yarder and all of a sudden you've given up 140.  It's an every play, all-day challenge for your defense to not only know where he's at, but to play the run the right way and to also tackle him because he's one of the most difficult backs in football to get to the ground.

(on if he thinks that Chris Johnson has had to struggle a little more this year to get his yards)

Not with what I'm looking at.  We've prepared for this team by looking at film from last year and this year at the same time, so there are so many great plays that you can put on film.  It seems like you're making a highlight tape, but it's really not a highlight tape—it's just Chris Johnson.  I think in our respect for him and what he's capable of doing and for their offense in general is at a high level.  We know that every play can be a bad play for us and every play can be a good play for them if we're not on top of everything that we need to be on top of.

(on if he would prefer to have a featured running back or a running back committee)

I think that depends on who you have, and the style of runner that you have.  Certainly if a back is productive enough to deserve that many carries and continues to maintain his productivity on his 25th carry, his 30th carry or what have you, I think that you go ahead and treat it like that.  It's a fluid situation for you, certainly I've had games where we've handed the ball to one player 20-some times and then there have been other games where we have kind of bounced in and out of backs and let them all touch it.  I think both ways can be effective, and I think you just have to gage your team and what's best for your backfield and what's best for your offense.

(on if Vince Young can sneak up on a defense now that he has Chris Johnson for defenses' to focus on)

I think Vince is—I've had an opportunity to play against him a few times, and it seems like every time we play him he just gets better and better and better.  He seems like all he does is win, and he's got a great winning percentage as a starting quarterback—which I value the most in terms of our quarterback position here so I have a great deal of respect for him.  He's been very effective on third down this year.  He does a good job of throwing the ball down the field and making big plays in the passing game in that regard.  They've got really good receivers now, a good tight end, certainly (Chris) Johnson helps right out of the backfield.  So he's got a lot of players to throw the ball to, and at the same time he can certainly extend plays and make you pay if you rush undisciplined also, because he can do so much with his legs.  I think he's really a very dangerous two-dimensional player that can certainly beat you in a lot of different ways.  We're going to have to try and do the best we can to contain him as well.

(on if it's a natural thing to test a rookie cornerback in his first NFL start)

You certainly know who is out there on both sides, and we have a great deal of respect for (Cortland) Finnegan.  He's been to the Pro Bowl, he's certainly deserving of all the accolades and respect that he gets.  But it's still a game, and we feel like we have good players on both sides in terms of our receivers and we're going to try and run our offense the best that we can without getting caught up in certainly over doing it in terms of matchups.  I'm sure we'll have things called where we'll test Vern (Alterraun Verner) and there are also some things that I'm sure will go the other way too.  We really liked Vern—Verner coming out of college too.  He was high on our list and we were kind of contemplating at the same exact time that the Titans drafted him to go ahead and try and get him on our football team.  We have a great deal of respect for him.  So although this would be his first start, he's played very well in the kicking game already and he's definitely shown that he belongs in the NFL.

(on how Kyle Orton responded to the Broncos drafting Tim Tebow)

Kyle was a great example of a lot of players in this league.  There is certainly players on every team, every year that you draft some guys from college that play the same position that a number of players on your football team already play.  I think every year that goes kind of unnoticed and then every once in a while you make a big deal out of one thing or the other, and the number one thing for Kyle is he stayed consistent.  He worked hard, he wasn't threatened by anything.  All we told our football team back in March was that we were going to try and improve the competition at every position we could.  We didn't think that the quarterback position should be avoided in that regard either, so we tried to do that with Tim and Brady (Quinn) and Kyle has responded exactly the way that you would like a player to respond. 

(on if the acquisitions of Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn motivated Kyle Orton )

I don't know if it's motivated him.  I think Kyle is a very driven person himself.  He wants to do well for our team, he wants to play well, he pushes himself hard in the offseason.  He works extremely hard during the course of the year to prepare for each team each week.  He's been a great leader on our football team and I don't think that has anything to do with somebody behind him.  I think that is more about Kyle Orton trying to maximize Kyle Orton.  Again, I couldn't be more complementary of the way he's handled himself and we're excited because this is his second year in our system.  Last year, I think the entire year he was still learning, and this year he really has his hands around what we do in our offense.  He really controls everything that we do and we feel very good about our quarterback play.

(on the health of Knowshon Moreno and if Laurence Maroney is becoming more comfortable in Denver's offense)

Yeah, I mean Maroney's familiar with our system because he was with us in New England—I was with him in New England so I don't really think it's that.  He's coming off of a little bit of a thigh, but I think every week that he is out here working with our guys, getting to know our players and understanding how that all kind of works together will be better for Laurence.  He certainly is still getting used to the air too, it's a little thinner out here than it is in New England and that can certainly play a difference in your play and your endurance, but we expect him to be better.  Moreno, we're just going to see.  There is nothing definite at this point, this week we're going to make sure that we're smart about it and make the best decision that we can at the end of the week.

(on Brandon Lloyd and what he brings to the Broncos)

Brandon is a very talented player.  I have a great deal of respect and admiration for him.  He went through a lot last year.  He stayed on our football team and was deactivated for 14 weeks in a row and just kind of waited his turn patiently, got ready for the game each week and then when his number was called last year he did a good job.  We felt highly enough about him to try and resign him and we got that accomplished.  We knew what we had with Brandon who is a special player.  He has some unique abilities and talents and he certainly made the most of his opportunities early in the season.  We look forward to Brandon continuing to have success in our offense as long as we can continue to do the things that we've been doing.

(on if it means a lot to coaches to watch a guy put in the work and persevere back onto the active roster)

I think it goes a long way with his teammates and it goes a long way with our coaching staff.  It certainly told me a lot about Brandon.  He was our scout team player of the week I think five times last year, and usually those things are given mainly to younger players or rookies because that's usually who's running your scout team.  But Brandon went out there and did everything he could to help us win the game by helping us prepare and had a great attitude and great mindset.  He was very unselfish and again, I have a unique relationship with him and look forward to his continued success here.

(on how tough Kenny McKinley's death has been on the locker room)

I think that it is certainly not an easy thing to go through.  Our players did a great job of supporting one another.  Anytime you go through a situation like that I don't think you're going to have two people who grieve the same way, or handle it the same way.  We gave one another a lot of support and also respect for the different ways that we handled it.  Some of us knew Kenny more and better than others, and that's okay, but we all try to support one another.  I'm very proud the way our team handled that situation last week and proud of the way they continued to prepare at the same time they were really handling a situation that is very far from ordinary.  Hopefully we'll be able to continue to support Kenny's family and friends and his son through this entire situation and we'll always have a place in our heart for Kenny McKinley.

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