DENVER BRONCOS CONFERENCE CALL
(with local Baltimore media)
Head Coach Vance Joseph
A lot of talk here in Baltimore about OLB Von Miller. You see him every day. What, do you feel, makes him so special? _(Jamison Hensley) _"He's a physical freak. That's his major trait. He's a guy that's built like, obviously, an outside linebacker, but he's got defensive back movement. He's got defensive end and outside 'backer explosion. But, that being said about his physical traits, he's a technician when it comes to pass rushing. He spends a lot of time working his hand placement, working techniques, working strategy on how to beat his man each week, so it's not only physical ability. Maybe it was five years ago, six years ago, but right now, he's using both. He's a very, very intelligent and smart rusher, and that's what makes him great."
We saw on the Denver beat writers' Twitter feed that QB Case Keenum didn't practice. Is that a concern for Sunday? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"It's not. It's not. He's got a little knee soreness, and he didn't work today, but it was really more a precaution for us. He's going to work tomorrow, so that won't be a problem."
How much can you take from kind of the game plan the Bengals had against the Ravens, and how much do you kind of borrow from that or just kind of look at that when you get ready for this game? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"You always go back and watch the previous game. And again, I was with the Bengals for two seasons, and I played against this team probably six times, six to eight times, so I'm familiar with their personnel. Obviously, [Michael] Crabtree was in our division last year, and John Brown and those guys, so I'm familiar with this team a little bit. But absolutely, you watch the last game, and you pick the things that you hope can help you win, and you do it. But, every system is so different, so you can't mimic what the Bengals did. We have to do what we do best and find out what's the best way to attack this team in all three phases."
It seemed like Raiders QB Derek Carr had a fair amount of success against you guys last week. Was that simply because he gets rid of the ball so quickly? _(Childs Walker) _"Yes. He had a hell of a first half against us, 18-for-19, and the ball was coming out fairly quickly. So, we have to do a better job on the back end of challenging guys early and obviously attacking the catch and not giving up plays after the catch. But, most teams are going to do that with our pass rush. With Von [Miller] and [Bradley] Chubb and 'Shaq' [Shaquil Barrett] and Shane Ray, we've got four real pass rushers, so teams won't hold the ball. Last week, when [Carr] held the ball twice, we had two sacks. So, we have to prepare for what we saw on tape last week and put it to bed, because I wouldn't blame Coach [Harbaugh] if he came out and threw a bunch of quick gain and challenged our corners. It's on tape. My guys have to play with more aggression there and have tighter coverage early in the downs."
We keep talking about OLB Von Miller, but it certainly seems like OLB Bradley Chubb has played up to his draft status so far. Have you enjoyed having him, it seems like not just as a rusher but as a run defender, too? _(Childs Walker) _"Yes. He's been very solid in the last two games here. He's a very mature and smart football player. It's been quiet, but he's played good football. He's pressuring the quarterback. Von [Miller] beats him to all the sacks, so he has to get there quicker, I told him. But as far as being a pro, he is what we thought he was going to be: very, very, very tough, smart and a very good football player."
What has impressed you most about your rookie running back? (Jeff Zrebiec) _"Which one?" _(laughter) (Reporter: "[Phillip] Lindsay.")"Lindsay, OK. We've got two rookie running backs now. Phillip was obviously a free agent, so that's the story, but from Day One of rookie camp, he's been the same guy. He's been a confident guy. It wasn't too big for him. He's a great pro. He's got a great football I.Q., and I tell you, what's more impressive than him being a running back, he's our best gunner right now. He's our L5 and R5 on kickoff, and he's really good at those things. And on the depth chart, he's our third guy, because he does so much for this football team, not just running and catching the football, but he's a bell cow on special teams for us. Speaking of Royce Freeman, Royce has also had two very solid games. He's a bigger back. He's a one-cut runner. He runs downhill, and he takes care of the ball. And, we've got Devontae Booker, who's our third-down back, primarily. He's done great in protection at catching the ball out of the backfield. So, we've got three guys, and they're all young guys, and they're all different, and they're all playing, right now, very, very solid football."
NT Michael Pierce has drawn some praise for how well he's done as the nose tackle here in Baltimore. What do you see from him, and what does he bring to the Ravens' defense? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"He made some plays last week. I was watching ESPN a little bit ago, and he was one of the Top 10 players on Pro Football Focus. He is a big-stop guy. Obviously, Baltimore has played great defense for eight, to nine to 10 years-plus, so we expect to come in there, and it's going to be hard for us to run the football. Their back end is playing really, really good, with confidence. Even with losing my former [Colorado] Buffalo [Jimmy Smith] there, they're still playing great in the back end. They've got two experienced safeties in [Tony] Jefferson and [Eric] Weddle, who can make calls, who can make plays on the ball, who are great tacklers. Watching [Brandon] Carr compete, he's a long-experienced corner. And, I've been really impressed with [Marlon] Humphrey as a young guy, how he competes and the technique he plays with. I tell you what, it's a good back end, and they're contesting and knocking down balls. Obviously, the D-Line and [Terrell] Suggs, they've always been really solid there, but the back end to me has been impressive."
OLB Von Miller
On the creative ways teams have tried to slow him down throughout his career: "[Initial words inaudible due to background noise.] It's usually just like a tight end shift, receiver motion shift, knock on the line, running back shift, that's about it, play-action, or like boot through you and throw away. Something like that."
On if it's important for him to move around to keep the offensive line off-balance:"No, I mean, I just play. I don't live and fear in the world where I can't control it. I just go out there and play and just control what I can control."
On the biggest challenge in facing the Ravens' offense: "I guess everything. They have a good offensive line, good running backs, a stable of tight ends. We all know what type of quarterback they have over there – great receivers, just about everything."
On how much he knows about LT Ronnie Stanley and RT James Hurst:"I know about them. Yeah, I know about them."
On how much they are preparing for QB Lamar Jackson:"I mean, like you said, it's tough to prepare for a guy like Lamar Jackson. There's not a receiver that can throw like him. It's hard to replicate that on the scout team. It's definitely a challenge."
On how much their team is discussing the rules surrounding quarterback hits and its ensuing penalties:"You were in the Ravens' locker room today?" (Reporter: "Yes.") "What are they saying about me in there? Did you hear anything about Von?"(Reporter: "John Harbaugh said they want to make sure they know where you are on every play.") "Yeah, I saw that. I saw that on Twitter. I'm talking about some real juicy stuff. (laughter)No, nothing? OK. No, but I mean, that's just the how the league is. I think everybody saw the Clay Matthews play. Everybody saw the Clay Matthews play, and it was a tough call on both plays. I did a media car wash yesterday, and I had to talk about it. My response yesterday was [that] I just go for the ball. Every time I get opportunity … If I get half a chance to get to the quarterback, I'm going to the ball. That's the most important thing on the football field, so that's where my attention is at all costs."
On if he takes pride in being the guy that the offense has to be aware of: "I take pride in making plays. If I can do it without having the whole 53-man roster's attention, I would like to do it that way. (laughter)After you make a couple of plays in the National Football League, that's just how it is. Once you get double-digit sacks one time – that's just how it is. If you've got a receiver and he has a great year, they'll say he needs double coverage. That's just how it is in the National Football League. You combat that, and you still have to find ways to be successful. I take pride in still being successful, yes sir."
On if he looked up to OLB Terrell Suggs as he was coming up in the league:"Yeah, 100 percent. Whenever you think about great pass rushers … Especially me growing up, it was Terrell Suggs, DeMarcus Ware, Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis – that was my era growing up. Those were the guys I would watch. Terrell Suggs is definitely a legend. We've got to get him to come to the Pass Rush Summit. If you're in the Ravens' locker room, give him an invitation for next year."