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January 23, 2014 at 4:09 PM

Dispatches from Denver: player quotes from the defense


On going home to New Jersey for Super Bowl XLVIII

“I can’t wait now. We had a good practice today. We did a lot of good things on the field—good game plan that we have. Just ready to roll now.”

On how special it feels having played at Passiac Tech High School in New Jersey and play Super Bowl in his home state

“It can get overwhelming because that is where I won my first high school title—right in that stadium. Well, it’s new now, but at Giants Stadium. Now, I’m going home where all my family can see and watch. It’s been 10 years, 10 long years just to get to this point. Now we’re finally here and now we’ve just got to finish.”


On the way that the coaches at Passiac Tech helped influence him as a player and as a person

“They definitely took me under their wing because I wasn’t always a straight and narrow guy. They had to come get me a couple times from my house for missing practice. You all didn’t get that, did you (laughing)? They always kept me on the right track. Moved to quarterback—got a scholarship. Now, 10 years later, look where I’m at now. I always give them credit for what they’ve done and how they shaped my life—where I’m at now.”


On whether there is any special way players will prepare for the cold

“The cold? We’re talking about the Super Bowl. I’m not worried about the cold, I promise you that. Weren’t we practicing in like minus-3 degree weather here? So I’m definitely not worried about any cold weather. If anything, I’m worrying about them cancelling the game. That’s the only thing I’m worried about (laughing). Other than that, I’m worrying about playing, that’s it. Not the weather.”

On whether it is tough to not get caught looking ahead this week

“Yeah, it’s tough. But we’re all human. We’re going to do it a little bit anyway. And that’s the honest truth. But we know once we come in this locker room and once we get in the meeting rooms, we’ve all got to zero-in and focus on what we have to do on the field. And then when we go on the field, we’ve got to focus on what we established in the meeting room. We try taking our tickets to family, try to set people up and do different things. That’s part of the territory. [QB] Peyton [Manning] said it earlier. He said, ‘We’ve just got to soak it all in, enjoy the moment. But when it’s time to work, let’s work.’”

On what it feels like when Manning and others talk about their Super Bowl experience

“It means a lot because me—I’ve been in the league a long time and I think I’ve won more games here in two years than I did in my career. And that is saying a lot. So with them giving me knowledge and saying, ‘Oh, you’ve got to expect this. Or watch out for this. Or do that’—I take heed to it. And I listen. And it’s all great information that they give you so again, I don’t want to be too wide-eyed and out there and lose focus. All that information is pertinent and it helps.”

On his communication with CB Champ Bailey

“We had practice today, all he did was say, ‘Mike, Mike!’ I knew what he meant and I was in the right place and he was in the right place. We’re always in-sync. We’re always on the same page. He knows the game. Then off the field, he always comes to me as a corner coming to a safety like, ‘Hey, watch out for this, because when they come in this, they do that.’ It’s a big help just having him around, just his presence. I’m glad he came back at the right time and I’m happy for him.”

On Bailey’s presence

“He’s humble. You don’t see Champ being flashy or demanding respect or using his seniority to get things. His presence alone—when Champ walks in the room, it’s like—that’s Champ. His presence alone says enough.”

On Head Coach John Fox

“Coach Fox, his presence alone and the way he carries himself, he’s a player’s coach. When Coach Fox comes in the room, everyone knows. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve had. He’s the ultimate player’s coach. He doesn’t let you get away with things. He’s fair, but he lets you know what is what and he listens. There are not many coaches that will listen to players, and he listens. He might not give you what you want, but he’ll listen.”

On DT Terrance Knighton

“Pot Roast? He’s got a lot of personality, I’ll tell you that much. When he came in, him and ‘Vick’ (DT Kevin Vickerson) they were monsters together. I thought they were just beasts in there. Then when Vick got injured, I thought he stepped his game up to a whole other level. He took the D-Line by storm and said, ‘You know what? I’ve got this.’ At times in the game, he’ll say, ‘Mike, come here. Don’t worry about nothing. Don’t worry about the run. Just stay back, take care of the pass and I’ll take care of the run.’”

On being appreciative of the success the team has had in Denver these past few seasons

“I definitely appreciate it. I know [Knighton] does. It’s a different feel when you come to work. I’ve been a part of winning two games a year and you wake up in the morning and you’re like, ‘Here we go.’ Sometimes here I wake up 30 minutes early and get to work. It’s definitely a different feel.”

On winning being contagious

“Everything is easier. It’s the mindset. When they say losing is contagious, it’s true, because it gets dreadful. When the sun is shining, it still seems gloomy. But when you’re winning and the sun is shining, it feels like it’s 80 or 90 degrees outside.”



On tackling Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch

“With such a strong back, a sleek-footed back, a quick back and somebody his size— you have to gang tackle. You can’t just leave it up to one guy. We have to try to get 11 hats to the ball all the time. That’s the mentality of every defense. They want to establish that but it’s definitely more prevalent and prominent for this game.”

On if he’s gotten random ticket requests

“No, not anything random just a lot of different text messages, e-mails reaching out and congrats or whatever. But nothing like people out of the woodwork asking, ‘Can you get me this ticket?’”

On what Head Coach John Fox and QB Peyton Manning have said about how to approach the Super Bowl week

“They told us just to enjoy the process and talked about the schedule of the actual game day and just to remember that it is a business trip. We go out there to take care of business. Enjoy the moment, enjoy everything about it but it will be a lot more enjoyable if you come back with a win and not a loss.”



On whether he expects cold weather to be an issue

“We’re here in Denver, Colorado, so it’s a cold city. We’re used to practicing in the cold every other day. The weather shouldn’t be a problem for us. And this is the biggest game of the year, so I don’t think anyone is worried about the weather. And both teams have to play in the weather, not just one.”

On whether it bothers him that he doesn’t get to play in warm weather like previous Super Bowls

“No, I’m just happy to be in the Super Bowl. I wouldn’t care if we played wherever. Both teams have to play in this weather, whether it’s cold or it’s not. We’re just excited to be in this game.”

On Seahawks QB Russell Wilson

“We watched film on Russell. He’s very athletic. He can throw the deep ball very well. And they have a power running game, so it complements him well. They’re a great offense.”

On Wilson’s athletic ability

“You can never count him out on a play. He can make things happen with his legs and his arm. We’re going to work hard on that for these next few weeks and just make sure we’re 100-percent prepared for him.”

On practicing in the cold

“It was a little chilly. We’re expecting cold weather, maybe snow, in the game coming up, so I think it was a good test for us so far.”

On the intensity of this week’s practices compared to last week

“We’re pretty much bringing the same intensity because if we didn’t win last week, we wouldn’t be in this game. Coach Fox is doing a great job of just telling us to continue on doing what we’ve been doing, not change up our routine. I think we’re going to do the same thing we did last week.”

On having to get tickets for family and friends

“I’m doing well. I kept it simple—just immediate family. It’s not a struggle for me.”

On whether players are scrambling to get tickets

“Yeah, it’s all new to us as far as Super Bowl, so guys are scrambling for the tickets, trying to figure out who they can get some from or how this thing works out. But once we get that done, early in the week, we’ll just focus on football.”

On what it meant to him personally to get so much playing time under his belt in the AFC Championship Game

“Me personally, yeah, it definitely was a huge confidence booster. Just to play in the Super Bowl is exciting. Without winning that last one, you can’t get to this one.”

On the secondary jelling at the right time

“I think we’re doing a good job of just communicating with each other. We all trust and believe in whoever is out there. And the coaches do a great job of putting us in a position to succeed. We all trust and believe in each other. The secondary is like brothers—the whole defense is. We complement each other.”



On the defense flying under the radar for much of the season

“We think we’re a pretty good defense. Obviously it didn’t show that much earlier in the year, but we’re starting to click and we’ve been hitting on all cylinders for the last few weeks. We’re OK with our offense being the No. 1 offense. I think that is a good problem to have. If they overshadow us or if we’re in the backdrop, that’s cool with us. We don’t mind it.”

On whether the Seahawks defense makes the Broncos defense want to elevate its game

“Oh, yeah. No question. I’m sure it brings their offense a little bit up because I’m pretty sure they hear about our offense and we hear about their defense. That’s just how it is. I think all sides of the ball are going to be pretty competitive and have something to prove this game.”

On what has gone well for the Broncos defense the last few games

“Just our preparation. Just our preparation and our communication in the back end. We’ve just been getting off the field on third downs and we’ve been fortunate enough to get a lead and hold onto the lead going into the end of the game.”

On where he believes he has taken the greatest strides in his first year receiving significant playing time

“I would just say my confidence and my consistency. More so now than earlier in the season. I’ve just figured out a way to be consistent a lot and prepare exactly the same way as the prior week so I can have the same results. I think that’s the biggest thing.”

On whether it is surreal to finally be playing in the Super Bowl after setting this as the team’s goal from the very start

“Yeah. I think it’s surreal for a lot of players. Even guys like [CB] Champ [Bailey] who have never been to the Super Bowl. So, it’s definitely surreal for me. There are a lot of other teams and other players that want to be here, but they’re not. So it’s definitely surreal.”

On advice that veteran players who have been to the Super Bowl have given to players who have never been

“I think we only have four people. Four people that have played in the Super Bowl game. But they spoke to us this morning about just treating it like how we are—just treat it [like] every game, just keep to your routine and the things that you have done to get to this point, just keep doing them to the best that you can.”


 On his experience with Seattle Seahawks QB and former North Carolina State teammate Russell Wilson

“He was at home, studying, at the facility looking at film or things like that. He was always in the book.”

 On Wilson’s size

“It’s about making plays. There are going to be different guys in there with different heights, different sizes, but he made a lot of plays in college and that is what the game is about—making plays.”

 On how he felt when Wilson transferred to the University of Wisconsin

“I was mad. I didn’t want him to leave. He had to do what he had to do.”

 On how many ticket requests he’s gotten

“Not too many. If you don’t come to the preseason games, don’t expect to come to the playoffs and Super Bowl game.”

On Seattle Seahawks K Steven Hauschka at N.C. State

“He was a reliable kicker for us. When he went out on the field, we knew we had three points.”

 On whether he’s watching the weather forecasts

“It’s New York in February—it’ll be cold. That is all I need to know.”

 On whether he cares about the talk about the Seattle defense

“We don’t care about that. This is the Denver defense. We knew who we are and what we have to do and that’s what we’re focused on.”


On people trying to get tickets through him

“I’ve got some people—family, friends—just people who you kind of grew up with. You might not have talked to them in a long time, but people who honestly really respect and care about what you do. I really don’t try and beat them down too bad. They just want to support you at the biggest game of your career.”

On the randomness of some of the requests

“No, not that bad (laughing). Not any high school girlfriends or coaches or anything like that. Just people who supported you, really. Even if you haven’t talked to them for a while because you’ve been busy and stuff like that—just people who support you and they just love you and want to be there for you.”

On the advice Head Coach John Fox and others have given the players this week about handling Super Bowl Week

“Get it over right now because within just today—I guess today is the last day to handle all that logistic stuff because we’re trying to get down to business and trying to win this game. The beginning of the season, we set goals of being World Champions. We’re right where we need to be and we need to get the job done. It’s all about focus right now—going out there, practicing. Once this ticket stuff is over with—and really, I’m getting tired of it. I’m just like, ‘Look, let’s just get to the game.’ I just want to focus on football and really focus on getting this win.”

On the difficulty of staying focused on football with so many distractions

“Of course. But that is something that this whole team has dealt with the whole year. We’ve had adversity, we’ve had people challenge us as a team, challenge us as a defense and as an offense as well. We only grew from that. We handled it like professionals and I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to do the same thing at the Super Bowl.”


 On random ticket requests

“Yeah, a lot of requests, but the good thing is that my mom is my “no” person. Once you tell people, ‘My mom is handling all the ticket stuff,’ they don’t even ask. They don’t even want to ask her. They try to put my back against the wall and ask me, ‘Remember that time I did this, remember that time I did that?’ I’m just like, ‘Yeah, my mom is handling it.’ They just stop asking after that.”

On his mom being the “no” person

“Yeah, she’s saying no so I don’t have to be the bad guy.”

On RB Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch

“You have to gang tackle a guy like that. You try not to have so much pride as a defensive player and want to go out there and make the plays yourself. Especially with me being a d-Lineman. Obviously I think I can go out there and handle it all by myself, but we have to gang tackle him. I haven’t seen on film any guys really taking him down by themselves or knocking him back. We’ll have to do a good job containing him and not allow him to break big runs.”

On QB Russell Wilson’s development

“Each week he is getting better and better and better. He has gotten better in the playoffs and I think he does a good job of not turning the ball over. He has a good touchdown-to-interception ratio and he does a good job of extending plays. I think that’s why he doesn’t turn the ball over because he has the ability to beat you with his feet if he doesn’t have the throw there that he wants.”

On defense playing well despite injuries at end of the season

“I think it’s because we’re a close-knit group. In the locker room, off the field—we’re always together. I just think we are all on the same page.”

On the defense

“Our offense started so fast—they came out of the gates scoring 50 points a game. It allowed us to play catch-up a little. We just want to peak at the right time. We didn’t want to peak too early or peak midway through the season. I think the last two regular season games we peaked and we have continued that into the playoffs.”

On blocking out the distractions that come with the Super Bowl

“You try to, but it’s impossible. You can’t block it out. This is definitely a great environment. I am going to enjoy this—this week and next week going into the game. But ultimately, it is about winning. You don’t get many chances to play in the Super Bowl, so we’re definitely going to enjoy the week, enjoy the festivities, being able to hang out with our families in New York and things like that.”

On whether he asked his mother to handle requests

“That’s exactly what she said: ‘I got it.’ She knew it was coming and she has always been that way. She is overprotective of us. I’m the oldest of four boys and I’m a momma’s boy. She can just look at me and know I need her help. So, she definitely took the onus on herself to handle it.”

On whether it’s been harder since he grew up near New York City

“Yeah, that makes it a lot worse (laughing). If the game was in California—San Diego—then I probably wouldn’t have gotten as many hits on Facebook. But with the game being so close, it’s cool. But that’s not going to change me telling people no or my mom telling people no. It’ll be good to be in my backyard.”

On playing close to home

“Just knowing I’m close and easier travel for my family and things like that. New York is a great city. It is one of those places that everybody wants to visit, everybody wants to be in. I’m just excited to be there.”

On Lynch

“Every week has been a challenge. We stepped up to the challenge last week stopping New England’s run game. San Diego had success running the ball in the regular season and we stepped up to that challenge in the playoffs. It just gets worse and worse each week. Going against a back like this—we obviously have to stop him and can’t allow him to get going. A guy like that who builds momentum and has confidence that he can run the ball just makes it worse for us.”

On attention on the Seattle defense

“They can have the attention. Our focus is on winning. With team success comes personal success. As long as we go out there and do what we’re supposed to do and shut them down and allow our offense to go out there and do what it is supposed to do, we’ll take the recognition after the game.”


 On his high school’s stadium

“It’s one of those things that your mother teaches you, when you become successful make sure you give back to your town and that’s one of the things I decided to give back.”

 On receiving random ticket requests

“Yeah I got some random ticket requests but I let my mom handle that. But the answer is no. If you didn’t get a ticket to Game 1, you’re not getting a ticket to the last game.”

 On getting to go back to his home state of New Jersey

“It’s pretty cool just because at this point in my career and to get to go to my first Super Bowl and to go back to my home town, I think it’s huge. Plus to get your mom to come see you, your high school coaches, brothers and sisters—it’s always a wonderful experience.”

 On Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch

“Every game plan we go into, it’s to stop the run. The more you can make a team one-dimensional the better [chance] you have at winning the game. A guy like Marshawn Lynch, he requires us to do some extra film study and do some extra hitting because he is that kind of player.”

 On Seahawks QB Russell Wilson

“I think the best thing about Russell Wilson is his ability to keep his eyes downfield and to make something out of nothing when something is not developing right. He’s a gifted athlete and a special quarterback and it will be a good challenge for us.”

 On the importance of this week

“We’re approaching it that way, as if we were playing this Sunday. We’re preparing, we got our normal game plan in and going about our normal days and hitting when we need to hit. I think [Head] Coach [John Fox] is doing a great job of keeping us prepared now so that way, next week we can just fine tune everything.”

 On getting advice from players that have been to the Super Bowl

“One of my good friends is [Detroit Lions RB] Reggie Bush. He texted me and was like, ‘Take it all in but make sure you treat it like a business trip. It’s fun and all those things but you’ll have a lot more fun if you win the game as opposed to losing the game. So treat it like a business trip.’”

 On the defense’s performance in the playoffs

“We’re just getting everyone back healthy and everyone is just understanding the defense more. If you look at our defense, we’ve been plugging, chugging all year. And a lot of us guys weren’t even on the team last year so it’s just learning the defense and understanding the philosophy and understanding where people fit at and where people don’t. We’re just getting better and trying to hit our stride as we go on. We’re trying to prepare to play our best football game on defense in the last game of the season which would be the Super Bowl obviously.”

 On Seattle having the No. 1 defense

“We have the No. 1 offense; they have the No. 1 defense. We are looking at that as a challenge for us just like I’m sure their offense is looking at it as a challenge for them. They want to outplay our offense. We want to outplay their defense.”

 On what questions he had for guys who had been to the Super Bowl

“For me, it’s understanding that it’s a business trip. We’re not there to party. When you’re not playing in the Super Bowl you are there to party. When you are playing in the Super Bowl it’s a business trip and that’s the main thing that we talked about. We’re going there and we’re approaching it like a business trip.”

On what QB Peyton Manning said

“Just enjoy it basically, he said enjoy it but you’ll be much happier winning the game as opposed to losing the game. Losing the game, you’re at the ultimate low. Winning the game, you’re at the ultimate high.”


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