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Ravens Wednesday Quotes: Week 15 vs Broncos

Posted Dec 12, 2012

Includes Head Coach John Harbaugh, C Matt Birk, LB Dannell Ellerbe, QB Joe Flacco, S Ed Reed, RB Ray Rice and WR Torrey Smith.

Head Coach John Harbaugh

 

Opening statement: “Good to see you guys. Thanks for coming out. We obviously are beginning our preparations [for Denver]. We’ve made a roster move. We’re bringing up Omar [Brown]. We had a situation with Asa Jackson, who, as you all know, has been suspended for four games. So, we have the roster spot, and we need a defensive back. Omar will be the guy on that. He’s ready to go. He’s been practicing all year, and we feel like he’ll contribute for us, potentially in this game.

 

“From an injury standpoint, there’s really not too much to talk about. Jameel McClain will not make it to this game. We’re taking a look at the neck/back. Nothing major there, but he will not make it to this game, and we’re going to do some more tests and things like that just to see, down the road, where he will be. [There is] nothing to announce on any of the other guys today. We’ll know more by the end of the week in terms of how much they are able to practice and stuff like that. I’d say they all have a chance to get there. Some have a higher chance than others, but I’m not going to get into those percentages today, on Wednesday.”

 

Do you feel good about Ray Lewis’ chances to play this week? (Jason Butt) “I just said I’m not getting into percentages of that. I really don’t know.”

 

What about [facing] Peyton Manning? He has had so much success in this league over time and has played pretty well this year. (Jason Butt) “He really has. He seems like he is getting better, too. As the season goes on, if you watch him, he looks just like he’s always looked. He’s doing a good job of building the offense. He and the coaches there are building the Indianapolis-style offense into what they’re doing. Give Denver a lot of credit. They ran a different offense last year, according to the quarterback that they were playing with, and now they’ve got Peyton, and they are running an offense that fits into his skill set. So, they’ve done a great job.”

 

Setting up the offensive scheme for this game, how has it been with Jim Caldwell over the first 36 hours? (Nestor Aparicio) “It’s been fast-paced. It’s been a lot of work. We’ve really gone to work. It’s always a lot of work, but probably more so than ever just to set the foundation as a little bit of a new course going forward. We’re running the same offense. We haven’t changed the offense, per se. As far as how we game-plan this game, it will have Jim’s imprint on it along with the rest of the coaches and what they did for 48 hours there. So, it’s going to be fun to see how it practices today and how it looks. I know that we are all excited. I was excited, everybody’s excited about – we talked about it Monday – just going to work today and getting ready for this game, and it’s a good thing.”

 

Is there concern with communication with 24 seconds on the clock for who is going to hold the card make the decisions and how they are going to get implemented without Cam Cameron? (Nestor Aparicio) “With 24 seconds on the clock? (Aparicio: “The play clock.”) Oh, you’re thinking basketball, the NBA, the shot clock. (laughing) That’s always a concern, sure. That’s going to be new. We have not had a chance to go through that. There’s no preseason game – nothing like that – to work that out. So, it will be something we will do in practice to some extent. But Sunday we’ll see how it works out. I’m very confident that it’s going to work out well. These guys have all been there before. They are all veteran coaches on offense. But, it will be a new dynamic.”

 

Has Jim Caldwell run this offense to know the language backwards and forwards the way that Cam Cameron would? (Jason Cole) “Well, there’s no comparison on that. There’s no value in making a comparison, but I am quite confident Jim knows the offense inside-out. He knows the terminology very well, and it just won’t be Jim. It will be all the coaches. Jim will be on the headsets with the other offensive coaches. [Wide receivers coach] Jim Hostler will be a big part of that, in terms of working the communication. We still haven’t decided how we are going to do it yet, whether Jim will be up and ‘Hoss’ [Jim Hostler] will call them to the field, or whether ‘Hoss’ will be up and Jim will call them to the field. So, we will work that out in the next couple of days and see how it goes.”

 

Are you going to go through like a mock game? (Jason Cole) “No, we don’t need to practice that. We’ve got our hands full practicing just executing our plays. We don’t really have the manpower to put our players out there and run them through a mock game with play-calling.”

 

Sometimes coaches do that without players, like they go out and spend two hours in those situations? (Jason Cole) “No. We’re not doing that.”

 

Certainly, every game is important, but you guys have lost two straight and you are playing another AFC contender. Is it a little more important to maybe right the ship here, and at home? (Dave Ginsburg) “It’s always important to right the ship. You want to bounce back, and you want to get back on the winning side of things. That’s something that we’ve tried to do, and we need to do. It’s always tough. The losses are disappointing. I know it’s tough on the fans and it’s tough on the players and tough on the coaches. For us, we have to get right back at it on Monday. We have to be back here on Thursday with that behind us and ready to go. So, that’s what we are in the process of doing, and it’s really important that we do that.”

 

John, anything in the last two games defensively at the end as you have watched the tape that you saw that you can pinpoint as something you need to do better down the stretch? (Drew Forrester) “A lot of things, and those are the things that we tried to make a real emphasis on today in our meetings this morning. It’s playing the defense, basically. It’s not trying to do too much. It’s trying to just do your job – play within your box. And you stay in your coverage, you stay in your rush lane, whatever that is, and execute the defense. That really is what it boils down to. In the most critical situation when the most is at stake, it is most important to keep it the simplest in terms of executing my job and doing my thing and not trying to make more of it than what it is, and sometimes guys try a little too hard. We’ve got to try to avoid that.”

 

John, I know the “next man up” philosophy, but how difficult has it been with the amount of juggling you have had to do on defense and how far you were down on the linebacker depth chart on Sunday? (Jeff Zrebiec) “It’s been tough. It’s been as many injuries as we’ve probably ever had on defense here in the last five years, and I’m really proud of the guys. The guys have stepped up. We played really well in that game. After we got our feet under us for the first two series and got a feel for the offense, they had six points up until 30 seconds left in the game. So, we’ve just got to finish. We have confidence in whoever we put out there. We are starting to get a little healthier, so it would be good to get some of those guys back. But, it’s like that for every team to some extent.”

 

Playing off that question – and I realize you are not doing percentages here – but how nice would it be to have Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis on the field at the same time this year? It hasn’t happened. (Dave Ginsburg) “We’ll just see. When that happens, we’ll be happy about it. We’ll be excited about it.”

 

John, what has this week been like for you personally with the change in the offensive coordinator, a friend of yours? What has it been like for you? (Kevin Cowherd) “A lot gets made out of that. We’ve got a lot of great relationships in this building. I think too much gets made of that. It’s tough for all of us in any situation. Ed [Reed] is sitting right over there; he knows. When a player comes in that you have a relationship with and you have to let him go at the end of training camp, or whatever, or a guy gets hurt and he’s never going to be able to play again for you, it’s just as tough. It’s a tough business. We’ll all be fine. We’re all grownups about it, and it’s something you move on from, so we understand how it works.”

 

John, some people would say that this is dancing very close to the edge of chaos … (Jason Cole) “No, that’s ridiculous. That’s ridiculous.”

 

C Matt Birk

 

On his reaction to the news that Cam Cameron was relieved of his duties as offensive coordinator: “It’s a unique situation. I think it caught everybody off guard a little bit, but at the same time, we’ve got to know that [head coach John Harbaugh] is always doing whatever he thinks will make us better. If you’ve been around long enough, you realize that things happen, good coaches get fired sometimes. Obviously, where this offense was five years ago and what it is today is a big difference and the expectations are a lot different. Cam Cameron certainly had a lot to do with that.”

 

On how much this offense has underachieved this season: “We always feel like we can do better. Certainly, there have been a few games and a few situations where we feel like we haven’t performed as well as we’re capable of. It’s not like we’re at the bottom of the stats or anything like that. In a couple of places where we needed to come up big, we did. I guess sometimes things happen because of that.”

 

On what the coaching change means for the expectations of the team: “Expectations are high. We talk about it all the time; we know [what they are]. We are here to get as good as we can possibly get and get in the playoffs and see what happens. Obviously, we know what our ultimate goal is. If we don’t achieve our ultimate goal, then we are all disappointed. That’s what we’re striving for, and that’s clearly communicated to us.”

On QB Joe Flacco’s pocket awareness and ball security and the Broncos’ pass rush: “They are second in the league in sacks. They obviously get after the quarterback. You are talking about Joe’s pocket awareness and ball security … You talk to the O-line. Give him a good pocket, give him clean lanes to throw to, receivers get open. Everything is connected. Everybody is in this together. It’s no one guy. We’re all out there. Everybody has a piece, everybody has a role, everybody has a job to do. If one guy doesn’t do the job, then offensively, we don’t get it done.”

 

 

LB Dannell Ellerbe

 

On how he feels and the injury situation among the linebackers: “We’re just getting everybody ready who could possibly go in the game. I’m getting ready mentally. I’m going to try and give it a go to see how I feel. I’m going to do my best to try to get the guys ready if I can’t go.”

 

On missing the past two games due to injury: “That’s a terrible feeling, to see your guys out there fighting and trying to win the game. You can’t help them – and you know you’re an asset to the team – but you can’t go out there and help, and you want to go out there, play good and help. It’s just something that is hard to deal with.”

 

On facing Broncos QB Peyton Manning: “It’s a chess game with him. He’s going to look for anything that you’re going to give away – safeties rotating down, the alignment of the linebackers, key steps, everything like that. It’ll be a game where you can’t show anything and you’ll just have to go out there and make him make decisions after snapping the ball.”

 

 

QB Joe Flacco

 

On his knowledge of Cam Cameron’s removal and when he was told about it: “John [Harbaugh] called me that morning after he had done it. So, I called John back and came in, and we just talked about it.”

 

On if he was surprised: “I was definitely stunned to hear the news.”

 

On what his reaction to the news was: “Like I said, I was stunned, I was surprised. I just wanted to come in here and talk to John about it. I would say that’s probably everybody’s initial reaction.”

 

On how much he thinks the offense will change under new coordinator Jim Caldwell: “You know, we’re 13 games into the season. The philosophy, the way we call plays and all that, it’s going to stay the same. It’s just going to be a different guy back there.”

 

On if he feels any responsibility for Cameron being fired: “No doubt. I think as an offense, we have to look at ourselves and see what we can do to be better. Obviously, we weren’t good enough.”

 

On how much pressure this move puts on him in particular as the quarterback: “I don’t really care [about the perception of added pressure]. It doesn’t matter to me. My job is to come in here and get our team wins and do the best I can to put our team in a winning position. I’m going to continue to do that, just like I feel like I always go out there and work hard to do.”

 

On if he had a chance to say goodbye to Cameron yet, and his overall thoughts on his five-year relationship with him: “I talked to him. And listen, Cam has done so much for my career. He brought me here and trusted to bring me here, first of all. He’s just helped me every year I’ve been here, so I’ll never forget that. He’s been great for me.”

 

On if too much was made over the speculation that he and Cameron did not get along: “I don’t know. I don’t really pay attention to how much you guys [in the media] may or may not overblow it. But if you’re asking me the question, then I’m sure, yeah, probably, too much is made of it.”

 

On what his relationship is like with Jim Caldwell: “Jim’s great. He’s a great person and he’s a great coach. The little time that he’s been here, we’ve had a great working relationship.”

 

On what he and Caldwell have discussed regarding what they need to improve upon going into this game: “The biggest thing, obviously, [is] he got the news the same time everybody else did. So, he’s had to gather himself and get ready to make this change pretty quickly. The biggest thing that we’ve talked about is just coming together as an offense and everybody helping, and giving their input, because we’re going to need it. It’s a quick change, it’s late in the year, and it’s going to require all of us to be focused and work hard and come into this thing and work together.”

 

On his reaction to Harbaugh saying that his ball security and pocket awareness needs to be better: “Well, turnovers hurt us. Obviously, the third down [against] Pittsburgh, I got stripped, and the same thing with the first one in Washington. Yeah, that does have to be better. Anytime you lose the ball in the pocket, you look at yourself and see what you have to do. Those guys made good plays, but you have to hold onto the ball. The biggest one I look at it is probably the interception I threw down there; that was totally on me. I’ve just got to get rid of the ball and I didn’t get rid of the ball. But yeah, we don’t want to turn the ball over, and I think I do a pretty consistent job of doing that, and we’ve just got to make sure that we continue to do it moving forward.”

 

On if he thinks he’ll have more input in the offense and if that was an issue with Cameron: “I don’t think so. I think that we were definitely working on it and becoming very good at that. I think with Jim [Caldwell] and everybody being in the meeting room together, we’ll all be on the same page, and we’ll go out there and know what’s coming and go out there and play fast.”

 

On how much Caldwell has had his hands in the play-calling since Week 1: “You’d have to go behind the doors and ask Cam [Cameron] and Jim [Caldwell] and all the other offensive coaches. They all work on the game plan together, and I’m not sure who puts in this, who puts in that. Obviously, [Cameron] may see a couple things of film every week and give them to Jim, but you’d have to ask those guys. I’m not in on those meetings.”

 

On if this type of a move can spark the offense: “I don’t think you’re looking for anything else. I think that’s kind of what you’re looking for and you’re looking for us to kind of take that next step and go. Obviously, this is what John [Harbaugh] kind of felt needed to be done at this point. So yeah, hopefully it works like that.”

 

On if he is concerned at all about communication and execution in the framework on the game: “No, I’m not concerned about it and I can’t concern myself with that. Everybody has confidence that that stuff is going to get taken care of and [that] we’re going to go out there and be able to play the game quickly. If for some reason, something crazy happens, then we’ve all been put in those situations before and we know how to react to them.”

 

On if he, as a player, feels like the offense has underachieved this season: “Yeah, probably. I think we’re working on becoming a very good offense around here, and I think we all probably wish it would have happened a little bit quicker. But I think we’re still working towards that. We’ve got to look at ourselves and make sure that we kind of, over whatever we have left – the regular season, the playoffs – we’ve got to make sure that we put our heads down and really try to excel at that process and get it going.”

 

On his long-term expectations for changes to Jim Caldwell’s offense: “I haven’t really sat down and thought about any of my expectations. We’re trying to go out there and win a football game this week, and that’s really what we’re focused on.”

 

On playing one of the NFL’s best teams this week in the face of all these changes: “These guys are good. They can get to the passer, they can stop the run, and they have good guys in the secondary. So, it will be a good test for us.”

 

On whether it was a tough conversation to have with Cameron after he was fired: “No. Cam felt at peace, and it was a good conversation, very natural. We did spend a lot of time together, and if that conversation was tough, I think that would have been a little bit crazy.”

 

 

S Ed Reed

 

On how tough it is defensively with all the injuries, and if OLB Terrell Suggs or LB Ray Lewis could return this week: “I see you prying for information. (laughing) It’s always tough when you get guys hurt. Lardarius [Webb] went down, Ray [Lewis] went down, [Terrell] Suggs was out. It’s always tough, but this is the NFL. Guys get paid to be professionals, so you expect that guys will come in and do a good job. We had to sign some guys, C.J. [Chris Johnson] being one who had to come in and just play right now. So, it’s tough, because your communication and everything has to change a little bit more. It puts more on guys like myself, which comes with the territory. You are a professional, this is your job, and you should be willing to want to do that.”

 

On how much the defense is focusing on the final drives in games and what needs to change on them: “We are focusing on the game – it’s not just the final drives. It’s the game that you’re playing. There are many other plays out there that we had, that we could have made. So, it’s not just the last drives. Of course you want to finish the game and finish it strong, but it’s more of the whole game, putting it all together. I don’t think we’ve put it all together just yet.”

 

On if he stresses finishing the game to his teammates when going out for a final drive: “Yeah, you say ‘finish’ throughout the game on the sideline. I was telling guys just to stay focused, but it is what it is. What happened, happened. You learn from it, you move on.”

 

On how much chemistry a defense can build with practice intensity winding down at this point: “It’s probably easier, because you’re not moving as much. Guys are a little bit calmer; you’re doing more talking. So, it’s probably a little bit easier. We have a lot of communication going on right now. Like I said, it’s just going to be a matter of putting it all together and guys just being on the same page and executing and doing their job. That’s what it comes down to at this time of the year – what team is executing the best.”

 

On if he remembers a year where there were so many moving parts on defense: “No. No, this is by far one of those years. I remember – I think when coach [John Harbaugh] first got here, his second year – we had a lot of injuries, but not like this.”

 

On the challenge of facing QB Peyton Manning: “Oh, man. (laughing) Peyton throws to everybody, man. He’s still Peyton Manning. That’s the reason why they’ve won, what, the last eight games or something like that? He’s still Peyton. Peyton still throws the ball well, he still gets the ball to his playmakers, and he gets the ball to everybody, like I said. So, every man has to be on point on what he’s doing this week.”

 

On if he sees any changes out of Manning from when he played in Indianapolis: “You know, it sort of looks like Indy over there to me. Just the things he’s doing, looking at Peyton on the sideline – you watch the games – you see Peyton on the sideline, he’s coaching everybody. That’s no different from when he was in Indy. So, I don’t see too much of a difference. I really don’t.”

 

On if Manning’s most deadly part is what read you’re giving him when he comes up to the line of scrimmage: “The most deadly part of Peyton is that he gets the ball every play.” (laughter)

 

On how important this game is after two-straight losses and playing at home: “Well, first of all, the two-straight losses don’t matter. We know what this game is; they know what this game is about. This game is important for both teams. This is the playoff time. You can answer these questions, man. This is playoff time. Both teams know what this is about. Yes, we’re at home and we need to take advantage of that – both sides of the ball and special teams. But if we don’t, they’re going to expose it, because they’re a good team. They have a great defense, they have a great special teams, and they have a good offense. So, if we don’t play our best ball, and they do, we’ll be on the same stick that we’ve been on the last two weeks.”

 

On how dangerous WR Demaryius Thomas is: “You have to be on him at all times whoever is covering that guy. You have to know where he’s at and what he’s doing. Demaryius is a playmaker, but like I said, Peyton throws to everybody. It’s not just him. I know one play sticks out just thinking about it. It was a play against Pittsburgh when [Tim] Tebow was there, and he gave him the ball, and he just cruised past everybody – stiffed-armed, running over them. He’s a big body. It’s like a tight end but with receiver speed. You have to be real conscious of what he’s doing.”

 

On if he is excited about the challenge of playing against Manning: “Yes, it’s very challenging at this point, because we do have a bunch of guys down. You do want to perform well and be the leader that guys need but not put too much on yourself. It comes back to doing your job. [I’m] definitely excited about these next three weeks going forward, right now, going into the playoffs. This is a playoff game.”

 

On tight ends having success against the defense: “I want to know if that question is for me or Joe [Flacco], actually, because you say Heath Miller, but he throws to the tight ends. He throws to those guys a good bit, because they’re big bodies. Like I said, he throws to everybody also. It’s not just the tight ends. I’m not always going to line up on a tight end. We have to be conscious of where all their receivers are. What’s your job? Do your job. Don’t get caught up with looking at the quarterback thinking he’s not going to throw it to your guy. You have to cover and do your job.”

 

On covering the middle of the field: “It’s just, like I said, it’s just a matter of doing your job. The adjustments are going to be throughout the game kind of seeing what Peyton [Manning] wants to do versus certain coverages that we are giving him. It’s always a challenge playing against this guy, as you can see what the questions are. It’s going to be exciting to see how we fair out against this team.”

 

On if he has respect for CB Champ Bailey: “I have a lot of respect for Champ – a lot of respect. I had a chance to play with him in the Pro Bowl a couple of times. [He’s] just a great player, a great person, great man. [I have] a lot of respect for what he’s done, obviously, for that long at that position.”

 

On if he was surprised by the release of Cam Cameron: “Yes, I was surprised, but at the same time, this is our job. There is a professionalism about it. I’m not the guy in charge, because I’m in the locker room where I see guys go in and out all the time. I’ve talked about this the whole offseason. So, I’m not about to go back down that road, because I was talked about badly, because I was that guy. Coaches are in the same position. I hope Cam is good. I’m sure he is.”

 

RB Ray Rice


On his reaction to Cam Cameron being relieved of his duties: “My first reaction is to sit back and reflect. Needleless to say, I have tremendous respect for Cam Cameron and what he’s done for me over my career. Two Pro Bowls … It’s many countless things. I look back on the good. Cam is a genuinely a good guy. Nobody goes out there and says, ‘I’m going to mess up this kind of situation.’ I did send him a text and wished him well. [I] thanked him for everything that he has done for my career. For his family, [I] wished them much success. He’s a great coach. Like I said before, I know the pressure to win in this business. It’s always tough to see a guy go while you’re still going. Needless to say, he was well-respected by the players. The amount of games we won over the last couple of years is amazing. He had a great run. You look back on the good. Everything was a growing experience. We are still a growing offense. When it happens, you just sit back and reflect. When I reflected on it, I was more not looking at everything else – what everybody else [did]. I was looking back on two Pro Bowls in five years. I was looking back on the amount of receiving yards I have. I was looking back at so much of the good things. I was able to start my career off with Cam Cameron. Right now, we are at a point in our season where we definitely have to focus a lot more and execute. I said it last week about … Cam called a great game last week. Obviously, we didn’t win. But he doesn’t put on the pads for us, so we can’t be naive about that. Us as players, we put on the pads, and we have to go out there and execute at a high level. Coach’s job is to put us in a position to make those kinds of plays. Last week, he did that.”

 

On if the offense will be sparked by this change and why: “This is something that I think it’s a wake-up call for everybody. You never know when your day is going to be called. It’s a wake-up call for everybody around the building. If you can let go an offensive coordinator in the middle of your season … Nobody here wants that to happen, but it’s a wake-up call for everybody around the building. The expectation is to win around here. We want to win. There’s a reason why you put the Lombardi Trophy [banner] in the indoor facility. It’s the only thing you can see; it’s the biggest sign in here. The expectation is to win around here. We’ve been to the playoffs. We’ve been to The Dance. Getting to The Dance is sometimes not enough around here anymore. We like to keep dancing – dance all the way to the Super Bowl. That’s the challenge. That’s a very hard challenge. With that being said, we do have Denver this week who is playing tremendous football. I looked at them on tape – not even looking at Peyton Manning. My job is to look at their defense; they don’t make a lot of mistakes. They play sound football – tough front. We have our hands full this week.”

 

On if he has talked to offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell about the number of touches he will get: “I think Jim Caldwell knows what kind of player I am. I think he’s seen how I’ve handled the situation with Cam [Cameron]. We can’t re-invent the wheel around here and change our whole offense. We can’t do that right now, but we will stick to the things that we’ve done well. You look at the past few weeks, we’ve ran the ball really well. The offensive line is still growing. Joe [Flacco] has been playing at a high level, but we have to continue to do the things that we do well. Coach Caldwell, we have a great relationship. One thing I can say is that he has the respect of the locker room. When you have the respect of the locker room, guys want to be able to go out there and execute at a high level. I’m not worried about my touches as of right now. I’m sure I’ll be getting the ball. I’m sure I’m going to be getting it enough. But me and Bernard [Pierce] have been running the ball really well lately. We all know what playoff football is about. It’s about the team that catches fire right now. You put yourself in a position right now and you catch fire right now. The Giants did it last year. They made a great run. Early on everyone was questioning them, and that team caught fire going into the playoffs. I think it’s about time we catch our fire right now and try to make this playoff run, and not only just make this playoff run, but going into it on fire.”

 

On what he was upset about at the end of regulation at Washington: “You don’t hide your feelings in that kind of situation. When you have a team beat, you want to finish them off. I felt like when we scored the touchdown that we had to get the job done. Obviously, you are fired up. You’re upset, but needless to say, when that coin got flipped again, you vent, you let it out, and you go play football. Did my anger carry on into overtime? No, I got out there, we lined up, and we played football. They made one play longer than we did. That’s just football. That’s the way a lot of these close games go. We’ve had our fair share. These last few weeks we just haven’t had the ball roll our way. It’s our job to finish people off.”

 

On if he wanted to attack with 34 seconds left on the clock instead of taking a knee: “Wet field, [poor] conditions – you don’t want to play that kind of game. I think it was a smart call by coach Harbaugh. ‘You know what, let’s just go play for overtime,’ because the field was torn up – the weather situation. You just don’t want to risk anything right there. I thought it was pretty smart. If we were at our place, I think we would have probably taken a shot – try to get down the field. Being that we were at another team’s stadium – wet fields, [poor] conditions – you don’t want to make anything worse.”

 

On if he finds it cool to have a chance to be playing with QB Peyton Manning, LB Ray Lewis and S Ed Reed: “It’s amazing. Peyton Manning, to see what the guy has done to come back off of that kind of injury – to go from being at an all-time high to maybe an all-time low for him, to have things said by him … One thing that was amazing about Peyton Manning’s situation was – like I said – the Colts had to cut Peyton Manning. You never in a million years … When you think of Peyton Manning, all you thought about was the Indianapolis Colts, and now to see him in a Denver Broncos uniform doing the same thing he’s done for the Indianapolis Colts – taking a team that was – I wouldn’t called them average because they’ve been contenders. If I’m not mistaken they made the AFC Divisional game last year. To take a team and re-invent the wheel with that offense he’s been running, that’s pretty impressive. You’re looking at Hall of Fame guys. In my career – five years – it’s easy to say that I don’t get star struck. I’ve been playing against Peyton Manning for the last few years but on the opposite side. I’m playing against Hall of Famers. As I get a little older, I get to tell my little one that these guys are Hall of Famers that I got a chance to play against.”

 

On who he thinks the Comeback Player of the Year is between Adrian Peterson and Peyton Manning: “I’m a running back … Don’t hold it against me, Adrian Peterson, but I have to say Peyton Manning. I have to say it. I’ve never seen a guy come back after an ACL like that. In my history of playing football, I’ve never seen a guy come back that fast off of an ACL. I know he’s a beast, but … You are talking about something about [Manning’s] neck. When you hear about neck injuries, you usually hear about someone being done for their career. No matter what it was, the guy had surgery, lost all his strength in his arm, had to gain it back. He had to even get comfortable back there taking a snap. To see him come back and lighting it up the way he is, [Manning gets] my vote in the Comeback Player of the Year.”

 

On what he thinks needs to be changed in the offense: “I really don’t right now want to see much change. I really just want to do the things that we do well. We do well when we are executing at a high level. It’s simple. It may sound simple, but it’s harder than what you really … We want to be able to play at a tempo. We want to be able to throw different personnel out there, but we want to execute at a high level. That’s one thing for me as a player, as a guy, as a leader who probably … I have to be a little bit more vocal now. You want to know why? Because it’s going to be different. I don’t know whether coach Caldwell is going to be up top or downstairs. You look at wherever the play is being called from, it’s my job, Anquan Boldin’s job, Matt Birk, Joe [Flacco], for us to go out there and get the guys going. There’s not going to be a magic wand that says, ‘Execute.’ We have to go out there and do it. I just want to see the things that we’re good at get better. Coach Caldwell said it: It’s this much that we have to get better at. We’ve shown the ability to score, but we’ve also shown the ability to not execute. That’s one thing that I’ve preached around here is execute. It’s that time of the year where all of the hard work that you’ve put it, you don’t throw it out the window. You actually get back to the base fundamentals, and that’s what this week will be all about. We’ll get back to the fundamentals. [It’s] easier said than done, but the greats have done it.”

 

On if there is a different vibe among the players without Cam Cameron: “Today the meeting room was pretty much the same for us. When we got in there, coach Caldwell got up, spoke, went over everything in detail. The coaches spoke up – the position coaches I meant. [They] said what needed to be said. [We] came out here, and had a great walk-through. Now it’s time to get ready for practice. The message was simple: Get out there and practice with a game tempo. The only way you get better is when you practice with a game tempo. Not that we haven’t done that … This time of year where the reps get cut back, you actually end up getting more work done, because the reps are cut back, but we need to do them fast. We need to do them really fast and execute at a high level. His message was very simple. Coach Caldwell has the respect of this team, the locker room. The pressure is for us to win, but it’s for us as players to help out with the pressure. He’s going to put us in the right position to go out there and execute. We have to go out there and do it. This week definitely is going to be the challenge.”

 

On how excited the offense is for the first practice with Caldwell: “Practice is where we get it done at. Practice is always exciting. [There are] not too many times that I can say we’ve been out there and had a dull practice. The script was pretty much the same. We are trying to keep everything the same. Am I excited? I’m always excited to get out there and practice. It’s the only way I feel like you get out there and get over last week .You get out there, you sweat, and you are out there and focused on the next opponent. I’m always excited for practice. Practice is always fun for me to get out there, get the guys going, get running around. Let’s have some fun.”


WR Torrey Smith

 

On if the team is excited about offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell taking over the offense: “It’s just a change. It’s a business. Players get cut each and every day and players get traded. That’s the decision coach [John Harbaugh] felt was best for the team, so for us, it’s our job to make Jim Caldwell the best coordinator in the league. Nothing has really changed. It’s just a different guy calling the plays.”

 

On if he has spoken to former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron: “I shot him a text just thanking him. He had a lot to do with my development, and I appreciate him. I love him to death. Just because he is gone, it’s not like anything has changed relationship-wise. He is just not our coach. He is still a great guy. We wish him the best of luck.”

 

On if he expects the no-huddle offense to crank up: “We’ll see. Our experience with [Caldwell] as coordinator starts in a few hours. It’s not like he is trying to re-invent the wheel. We already have our offense, and it’s the same thing – really just a different guy calling the plays.”

 

On if the pace of the offense will be different during the game: “We weren’t no-huddling or anything like that [during today’s walk-through]. It is definitely more focused, more attention to detail, definitely a sense of urgency. That’s coach Caldwell’s philosophy. He broke it down right away. He is definitely taking charge, and it’s on us to follow his lead and make the plays.”

 

On what Caldwell’s message to the offense was this week: “Really just picking up the pace, execution, speed and just being consistent. He is clear with his message, and it’s on us to follow. We’re looking forward to it.”

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