With the Ravens preparing to take on the Denver Broncos this weekend, two members of the enemy team answered a few questions about their squad.
BR.com gives you Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels and defensive end Elvis Dumervil.
Head coach Josh McDaniels
What makes a successful pass rush?
JM: "There are a lot of reasons for a good pass rush. Anytime you're having success rushing the quarterback, it's a complimentary portion of the game with the coverage. As long as you can cover people in the back end and force the quarterback to hold the ball a little longer. Then you combine that with people doing their job up front and being in the gap that they're supposed to be in – not being selfish and trying to do too much and allowing people to get to the quarterback when it's their turn. When those things happen and you work together, and you do it on a consistent basis, good things happen to you in the pass rush. That's really all that it is – what our start can be contributed to."
Why did you decline to interview for the coaching job in Baltimore a few years ago?
JM: "First thing, I appreciated the opportunity. The two reasons why it wasn't really the right time for me was No. 1, the season that we were in required a lot of our time and we were all putting a lot into it. We tried to finish it the way we wanted to. Secondly, this didn't feel like I was as ready as I wanted to be to handle that type of challenge and needed at least… I didn't know at the time how much more time I was going to need to feel like I was capable of doing it. I certainly didn't feel like that was the perfect time for me and moved on, finished that season and tried to improve myself in that area when I could during the course of the off season last year. I felt much better about it this year."
What did you need to improve on as a coach?
JM:"Just, there are a lot of things. The head coach does a million things, and I think when you're an assistant – you're so focused on your side of the ball or your position or your coordinating the offense or the defense – that many times you're not aware of some of the things that a head coach needs to deal with or you just don't have. You're not really [privileged] to that information many times. So, over the course of the last year or year and a half, I've been able to try to improve myself in many areas that were more relative to becoming a head coach than being a position coach or a coordinator. You know, there are so many things, [that] it's so hard to sit here and list them, but there are a lot of things that you need to be able to handle and do well. And I just felt like I was at a better place this year."
What stands out when you see Joe Flacco on tape?
JM:"He's a solid player in every way now. He's got a great arm. He's accurate, throws the deep ball really as well as most quarterbacks in the league, if not better. And he's extremely tough. I love that about every quarterback that I see, but he stands in there, the rush and the blitz don't affect him too much, and he knows what he's trying to do on each play. He's got a lot of weapons at his disposal. He knows how to use them. It's hard to rattle him. He's really done a nice job of taking their passing game and taking it to a level that's hard to match."
What makes defensive coordinator Mike Nolan the coach that he is?
JM: "Mike's a very good communicator. I think that's very important for every coach, and Mike certainly has the great ability to get his players to understand what he's asking them to do and then get it out of them. He's very intelligent, understands what offenses are trying to do, and how to put his players in the best position to be successful. [He] works well with our staff, with myself. [He] calls the game very aggressively on game day. [He's] just an excellent coach in every sense of the word, and like I said it starts with his communication. I think his players have a great belief in what they're doing on the defensive side of the ball, and Mike's doesn't a great job of having those guys prepared every week."
DE Elvis Dumervil
What has Mike Nolan done for the Broncos' defense?
ED: "He's done a tremendous job. It starts with coaching in the games. Mike Nolan sets aside a package so guys are not thinking as much, and guys are playing football. Coach does a great job of using the personnel and getting guys that can play to their strengths. [He] tries to get guys to their strengths throughout the course of the game. It has been huge for us. I think he's been a great teacher. It's been fun getting guys fired up and ready to go."
What do you bring to the table individually?
ED: "I just try to be a guy who is relentless and is trying to play for four quarters. I just go hard and play all out – just try to be disruptive."
What do you think of Flacco?
ED: "I think he's a big strong kid who is athletic. He has a really strong arm. He's done great his first two years. So, I think we've got our work cut out for us. We've got to make sure we're prepared because he can beat you over the top. He does a great job with checkdowns and scrambling. We've got to make sure we play our best game on Sunday."
Do you think the Ravens have a desperate mentality after losing three in a row?
ED: "I wouldn't say it's desperate. They want to get to where they've been in the past in winning. When a team is used to winning, I'm sure they're not at a panic stage. They've got a group of veteran guys over there and a great coaching staff. So, I'm sure they're just going to have a great weak of preparation, just like us, and try to come out and execute and see who the better team is on Sunday."
Why are you guys playing so well in the second half?
ED: "Coach McDaniels emphasizes finishing. A lot of it has to do with conditioning. I think guys understand that in the NFL. It's going to be a four-quarter battle and nothing is ever given to you. You just have to continue to outwork your opponent."