Head Coach Robert Saleh, 10.19
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Good morning. For injuries, Jermaine (Johnson) will be out today. He’s getting a lot better. Hopefully, we can get him back next week. Then, Duane (Brown), Quincy (Williams), and Braxton (Berrios) are all dealing with a couple of bumps and bruises. They’ll be limited — not worried about them for the game.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: You said Jermaine next week? So, you don’t think he’ll be available?
It doesn’t look like it. We’ll see unless something happens today and tomorrow. He’s probably not going to make it.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: What makes Denver so good on defense?
The d-coordinator is doing a phenomenal job, but remember this system was installed almost four years ago with Vic (Fangio). They’ve done a great job adding their flavor to it, and they’ve done a great job with the details and all that stuff. They’re so precise, so fast, relentless. It’s as good of a defense as we’ll see all year. I’ll probably say that a couple more times here in a few weeks, but these guys are legit. They’re hard to move the ball on.
Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: Was there a moment — I’m sure you scouted Quinnen Williams at Alabama — but was there a moment where you got here where you realized what kind of player he was?
We had the second pick. We ended up rolling up with Nick Bosa in San Francisco, but that was a big discussion and he was a big part of it. It wasn’t as open and shut in that building as people think it was. He’s a special talent. It is hard to come into the League, especially as an interior d-lineman, to come into the League and have immediate success. He started to see some in his second year. Last year, like I said, he had the injury in the offseason and that sort of set him back some. He’s, knock on wood, in tremendous health. He’s in tremendous shape, and he’s playing at a great level. He’s only 23, right? 24. He’s still a pup. He hasn’t even reached full maturity in terms of manhood.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: We see all these stats with Sauce (Gardner), like the analytics, and they’re really, really impressive on paper. Is he really playing that well?
There’s things that he’s gotten away with — a couple of penalties here and there that he can be better with. He’s a special talent. The talent — I think (Richard) “Sherm” (Sherman) sent me a little clip of him on a double-move comeback, just the on the field camera angle when I was on the bus, I was like, “damn”. It was a really, really impressive play, especially for a guy his size. He is a special talent. What’s great about him is that he is just absorbing so much information, and he knows he has a long way to go, and he knows he has a ways to get better, and he’s relentless in his pursuit to get better. We got a good one, and he will continue to get better.
Brian Costello, New York Post: When you met him, probably at the Combine, I guess that is the first time you met Sauce. Were you surprised, that interesting nickname, he plays a position where usually guys are a little high on themselves. He appears to be a humble guy for how good he is.
He’s got a different, we didn’t go to the Combine, but with Sauce, some guys have this uncanny ability to be a bunch of smack talkers and you smile and kind of laugh at it because it’s almost enjoyable. He doesn’t rub people the wrong way with his talking, it’s almost like it’s an art. He does all his talking, his personality and he’s an extravert and all that stuff, but it’s such good natured and it’s meant with such good heart that I don’t think people ever take it personally.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: (follow up) What was your impression of him, at the end putting the cheese head on? I’m sure you probably saw that later after the game, and again that kind of hits what we were talking about, he wasn’t really flaunting it, a fan put it on and he just went with it.
Yeah, you always want to hold your opponent in a high regard, but think about how cool it was for him. He’s in Lambeau Field and all that stuff and he’ll learn as he goes, but there was nothing malicious about it, in his mind, just knowing the young man.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: What did you see from Quincy (Williams)? He was carted off a couple weeks ago and then he comes back, and he has like 14 tackles.
Like I said, he’s been playing really, really well, and he’s so raw coming out of Murray State, it’s a small college, out there playing nickel practically. When you watch his college, blurry, college tape, but you saw the speed, the length, the explosiveness, and it’s just a matter of time. It takes time to learn to play behind the ball and last year, he went through a lot of growing pains. We forced him in there and we were doing everything we could to help him and he’s now a second year and he’s been getting better and better so that injury, thank God, it didn’t derail him too long, but he’s having a really nice year and he’s only getting better and even for him, he’s got a long way to go, in terms of not only the physical part we all see, it’s the mental part, not only from a playbook standpoint, but then stacking up great days and remaining consistent in what he’s doing day in and day out. So, he’s trending in the right direction, and we’re really excited about him.
Emmanuel Morgan, The New York Times: Across the board over the League, passing yards and points are down compared to last year, why do you think that?
From a defensive perspective, a lot of people are just doing everything they can to eliminate big plays. There’s a balance of being aggressive and just letting these offenses take shots on your defense and go over the top and throw hay makers. So, from that respect, I think defenses for the most part when you look around the League, are getting simpler in terms of overall scheme, where there’s much more detail and precision being coached rather than just throwing stuff. Now, there’s two ways to do it, I’ve seen them both be very, very successful on teams who are still heavy, heavy pressure like the Giants are doing an awesome job with their pressure system, which is just chaos, but it’s controlled chaos. So, there’s a bunch of different ways, but I think the biggest thing is just trying to eliminate those explosive plays. And if you do that, you make teams go 10 plays over and over again, it’s just really hard to do, playing them game in and game out.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Robert, you mentioned how hard it is for an interior lineman to make an impact. In general, it’s hard for an interior lineman to flash in this League, and you know Aaron Donald we all know, but we have to recognize there’s not a lot of names that come right to people’s minds at all, is Quinnen (Williams) starting to reach that level?
So far, small sample. Just talked to him at walkthrough, he’s got to do it over and over and over again, he’s got to keep stacking, he’s got to be able to do it when teams are about to pay attention to him. Fully expect him to get a lot of attention this weekend, and one-on-ones being presented to the other guys in that defensive line room, and it’s going to be their time to step up and win those one-on-ones. So, it’s going to be a cat and mouse game, and he’s got to be relentless, and he just has to play every play, like a championship play and when his opportunity comes, he’s got to win those one-on-ones. Vice-versa, when they are paying attention to Quinnen and making sure that he doesn’t do damage, the other guys have to step up and win their one-on-ones, so it’s a good problem to have and a problem that we’re welcoming.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: (follow up) So, however you delivered the message, was it like you know, “you’re going to have games like you had in Green Bay, you’re going to have more attention next week”?
Absolutely, you’re fully expecting him to get a lot of attention.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Robert, with Denzel (Mims), obviously a healthy scratch every week, do you have to, and I’m sure this is not how he anticipated his season going, do you have to talk to him, give him a pep talk to keep him going? And what would he have to do to become active?
From a professional standpoint, he’s got to come in every day and do his job, that’s all of us. It is hard in his shoes, but right now the other guys are playing good football, you can only dress five and there’s a special teams value and all that stuff like we’ve talked about. The reason why Denzel is here is because we still have a lot of faith in him, and he needs to continue working and be ready when his number is called.
Brian Costello, New York Post: The way you guys have run the ball the last couple of weeks, do you expect teams are going to now load things up, and say “let’s see if Zach (Wilson) can beat us?”
I don’t know about that because I think that Zach has proven that he can win with his arm too, he did that in Pittsburgh, but at the same time, Green Bay came in, was heavy man to start the game, and really throughout the game, and we just, when you play as much man as you try to play, you’re going to end up giving up explosive plays, which we ended up getting a few of them. We’ll see, we’ll see how each game presents itself, every team usually sticks to their philosophy in how they approach things, but teams usually try to take away what you’re really, really good at and forcing you to do something else so, it’s just going to go back and forth.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, do you have to tell Zach, he’s got 39 pass attempts in the last two weeks, just you know kind of be ready for that moment, and that it’s not always going to be like this?
I think he’s ready. I think that’s why he’s having a really good start to his year. He missed obviously training camp and the first quarter of the season, and he’s done it several ways, and if, you know we said it like it’s a team game, and yes, the quarterback is a big part of it and he’s probably the biggest piece when you look at the global aspect of it, but if the quarterback doesn’t need to play quarterback and you can win a football game, then you prefer that the quarterback doesn’t have to play quarterback, but he’s proven that, I’ll go back to that Pittsburgh game that if we need him to play quarterback, he can play quarterback, so we’re not worried about Zach (Wilson).
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: With regards to Russell Wilson how do you handle, do you go into the game expecting that he’s going to play this week? Obviously, he’s iffy so far, how is the preparation?
Yeah, we’ll know about both quarterbacks. Obviously, with Russell (Wilson) and the so many games we’ve had against him and trying to learn their backups. We know Josh Johnson is there, we’re expecting him if Russell is not able to go expecting him to be called up and we know him and his talent, so their scheme is built, it’s what they have, I think they’re doing a really nice job schematically and whether people want to hear it or not, they’re really close to clicking. So, we’ll be ready for all of them.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Robert, on the Berrios (Braxton) touchdown, Duane Brown’s running ahead of the field and he delivers that block, what did that show you and is that something you show on film? He’s basically the oldest guy on the team playing like this.
I think he’s already earned a lot of the respect in that locker room. Everyone knows how hard he plays, even the week before he had, pulling him out. He’s such an athlete especially for his size, so I think it pumps up those o-linemen, they love running, getting those DB’s out on skates, they love that stuff, especially with the new rules where you can’t cut them, so it’s like they’re just 330-pound men just running which is, I don’t see how that’s safe, but he’s earned the locker room’s respect, but yeah, that’ll eventually show up on the tape somewhere.