Greetings from sunny and unseasonably warm Denver. The Broncos had some media availability following their 26-16 win over the New England Patriots on Sunday. Head coach John Fox, linebacker Danny Trevathan and tight end Julius Thomas spoke with the media today.
With the Broncos playing the early game, they had no idea who they would play in Super Bowl XLVIII. And most didn’t have a preference.
“Doesn’t matter to me, they are both really good,” Demaryius Thomas said postgame.
But now the Broncos know they’ll be playing the Seahawks. The NFL’s most explosive offense will be facing the NFL’s most intimidating defense.
“I know they’re a great football team,” Fox said. “I think Pete Carroll and his staff have done a terrific job. They’ve been the No. 1 seed all through the NFC for at least the last 6-8 weeks. I know they got after us pretty good when we were out there in the preseason. We haven’t dug into them too in-depth yet, but any time you reach a championship game—the world championship game—I think usually the opponent is pretty good.”
That preseason game was anything but close. The Seahawks dominated, scoring 33 points in the first half in a 40-10 win. Brandon Browner returned a fumble for score and Jermaine Kearse returned a kick for a touchdown.
Can Fox take anything from that?
“I think you take something away from every experience,” he said. “It’ll be something we look at and I’m sure they look at. We’ve got plenty of time to look at a lot of tape—there is a full-season of tape out there on both teams.”
Richard Sherman’s postgame interview, which has been the talk around the sports world and out of it, was mentioned to Fox. He was asked if Sherman’s trash talking could be used to an advantage. Fox was diplomatic, which was probably smart.
“Again, it’s hard for me to comment on something I’m not familiar with,” Fox said. “I know he is a terrific player, a great cover guy. Like I said, we did see him in the preseason. He’s a talented player, I really can’t comment on much other than that.”
He knows Sherman is good and can back up the talk. What makes him good?
“I think his length,” he said. “He’s got great instincts. He’s been operating at a pretty high level for some time—consistency is part of being a great player. Those are some characteristics, I guess.”
Obviously, he’s going to be asked about the Seahawks’ defense often in the next few weeks, but Fox didn’t have much to say today.
“I haven’t had a chance to dig in to them quite as much,” he said. “I know they are statically very good on defense and in particular pass defense. I’m sure their secondary has a lot to do with that.”
On the injury front, running back Knowshon Moreno suffered a chest injury and defensive back Tony Carter had pinched nerve but returned to the game. But the Broncos got out of the game pretty healthy. Moreno is the biggest concern.
“The x-rays of his ribs were negative,” Fox said. “So he’ll be day to day when we form back up on Thursday.”
Fox was asked about the “pick play” that Wes Welker set on Aqib Talib, that left the Patriots’ top corner injured in the game and what Pats head coach Bill Belichick said today in his end of the season press conference. Belichick, who doesn’t really care for Welker, said of the play: “It was one of the worst plays I’ve seen and that’s all I’m going to say about that.’’
“I haven’t even seen the tape,” Fox said. “I haven’t seen his comments; I don’t feel that I can comment on that other than I know that Wes Welker is a great player, high integrity. We were not doing anything with intent. That’s the really the only comment I have.”
Belichick also said Welker had no intent of getting open on the route, only to take out Talib. Fox denied the assertion.
“I’ll say that I think on most pass routes that we run, there is an intent to get open,” he said.
Asked if he was surprised at Belichick’s comments, Fox wouldn’t bite on the query.
“Like I said, I’ve got a lot of respect for Bill,” he said. “I’ve not seen the comments so it’s really hard for me to stand up here and comment on comments I’ve not seen. So I’ll leave it at that.”
Here’s some more comments from Fox …
On if the moment has sunk in
“Yeah I think you prepare for most everything. I spent most of my morning going through logistics in New York and the practice schedule this week, our practice schedule for next week. There is a lot of planning that is involved. It has to sink in pretty fast because you have to make a lot of plans.”
On what to take away from past Super Bowl experiences
“We’ll address that. I think there are enough young players in that locker room that can get some information from guys that have been through it before. There are a lot of things you deal with during these two weeks. We’ll try to educate our guys to the best of our know-how.”
On when crossing routes became popular
“I think it’s just the passing game in general has changed quite a bit. The rules I think have encouraged more in the passing game. The umpire is in that area—it’s a pretty crowded area—so I think offenses have tried to exploit that. We’re not the only team by any stretch. In fact, our opponent Sunday did the same thing. All in all, I think the passing game in general, not just crossing routes, stepped up in our league.”
On moving on from the win and focusing on the Super Bowl
“I think we were pretty good even in the locker room after the game. I think this group has been pretty focused. They’ve responded well and I don’t anticipate that changing moving forward.”
On the importance of this week
“Again, it’s a race—like all weeks—in preparation. We’ll have a lot to do, a lot to dig into. We’ll treat it like all our preparation this season.”
On if they have decided when to install the game plan
“Yeah, we’ve got a good plan.”
On if he will share that with the media
On what has the defense playing as well as they have all season
“I think any time you get to the playoff season, the second season, you want to be playing your best football. It was something that we stressed; I think something that we learned the hard way. It’s been a focus really since last January. I think you want to be playing your best football and I think over the last couple of weeks, we have. We still have another two weeks.”
On the success of the offensive line through injury and change
“You go through our football team, not discounting what the offensive line has been through, I think [Offensive Line Coach] Dave Magazu, [Offensive Consultant] Alex Gibbs, those players in that locker room have done a terrific job. Some guys have had to step up and I think as a unit they have played very well. But we’ve had a lot of those situations on our football team. Whether it has been the D-Line, the secondary, even the linebacker corps—we’ve had a lot of changes. I think it speaks to the staff and the players that have made that happen.”
On the year LB Danny Trevathan has had since his fumble at the goal line in the season-opener
“That was fairly embarrassing. But anyway, he’s a terrific young player. He has worked very hard. It means a lot to him. He—like all young players—everyday they‘re learning more and more about what it means to be a pro. He’s had a terrific year. I thought he did really well as a rookie and I think he’s definitely grown up and played very well.”
On how Trevathan handled that fumble
“Everybody, you’re going to get knocked down. Sometimes setbacks are setups for bigger things to come. I think in his case, it was a learning experience. Every one of those plays is a learning experience and he’s definitely going to learn from it.”
On if a magic moment turned the defense around for the last four games
“Probably not really a magic moment—I think, just the mindset of getting better every day. Statistically we weren’t where we wanted to be and just kind of putting your mind to improving and getting better. I think the staff, the players, everybody involved has worked to make that happen.”
On if something had to change after LB Von Miller’s injury
“I can’t put it into a specific moment. I think since our Chargers loss (Week 15) we looked at the games remaining knowing that we were going to be in the playoffs—we had clinched a spot—and just really being determined to get better. We’ve done that and we need to continue it.”
On if Trevathan is the team’s most dependable defender
“I don’t like singling guys out like that. This is the ultimate of team games. I think yesterday was a team win—all three phases. Obviously there were some standout performances but all in all I think you have to play well as a team and I think we did.”
On looking for long drives by design
“I think at the end of the day you’d like to do that every drive. The problem is that there is an opponent and there is some resistance. I think we’ve executed well. We didn’t have great field position by any stretch. There were no turnovers in the game to create short fields, so we were having to sustain some drives to get into scoring positions. That’s kind of always the plan. When you look at plays in those playbooks, they’re all touchdowns but like I said, there is resistance and there are matchups that create problems sometimes. All in all, I think we did a good job yesterday.”
On having older players talk about the Super Bowl to the younger players
“I think we’ve been sending that message all season. There is a lot of noise on the outside; you try to just stay focused on what we’re doing in preparation on the inside. There is no doubt this is the noisiest one, I know from my experience. Just saying focused on the job at hand and instead of the noise on the outside, focus on the preparation on the inside.”
On CB Champ Bailey
“It’s been good to get him back. Obviously he brings a lot to the table from experience. He was doing a lot of things in the meeting rooms and those types of things but he’s gotten healthy. He’s gotten back in the flow of playing and I thought yesterday was his best performance of the season.
On what makes WR Demaryius Thomas such a weapon
“First off, he’s just a wealth of talent. I mean he is big, physical, strong, fast—all the things you look for athletically. I think he has worked extremely hard at least I know the time I’ve been here. Our quarterback is a fairly demanding guy and I think it has really helped Demaryius in his growth—as well as all of our receivers. They’ve done a terrific job.”
On if the team has already turned the page
“Again there are a lot things to plan and they were in this morning, they lifted. We’ll do some meetings at 1:30 on logistic stuff because there are a lot of logistics involved on this trip. They’ll have the rest of today [off]. Tomorrow—we’ve got a spouse meeting tomorrow—and they’ll have Wednesday off. Thursday will be the equivalent of our in-season Wednesday preparation. So they’ve moved on.”
On what a spouse meeting entails
“I’m not going to go into too much detail, but it’s an important meeting (laughing).”