Broncos coach John Fox on Monday Night Football: This is ‘huge, pivotal game’

Posted on: 1:18 am, October 12, 2012, by

John Fox talks to reporters after the Broncos' 27-21 loss to Atlanta. Sep. 17, 2012

John Fox talks to reporters after the Broncos' 27-21 loss to Atlanta. Sep. 17, 2012

The Denver Broncos are getting ready for another appearance on Monday Night Football. They do not want to dig a bigger hole by falling to 2-4 if they don’t win in San Diego. Here’s their take on their status heading into Friday.

HEAD COACH JOHN FOX:

“I think we’re a game out of first place and I think San Diego is 2-0 in the division. We’re 1-0 in the division. This is a huge, pivotal game for both teams.”

“He’s [Peyton Manning] gotten a lot better. He’s gotten more comfortable. His teammates have gotten more comfortable with him and vice versa. Again, we’re adjusting the coaches and coaching staff and implementing things that hopefully put us in the best opportunity to be successful. I think they’ll just get better. It’s kind of where we are as a football team right now. We’re going to get better.”

“At [New England] the end of the day, the result wasn’t what we wanted. We went there with the intention of winning, just like we’re going to prepare the same way this week. The reality is we’ve made progress, just not enough yet. I tend to look at the glass half full and there are things we can work on in practice and get better at that will put us in better position so we’re not coming from way back. That’s kind of what it is. We’ve moved past that. We’ve watched all that. We’ve learned from all that. Now we’ll see what we can do this week.”

“Well, again, we’re trying to win football games. That’s what we get paid to do. That’s all of us.”

“It’s like first or second down. [third down] You’ve got to execute. It’s something we’re stressing. We’re playing good defense. We’re sixth in the league in per-play defense. That’s with not doing very well on third downs. Again, it’s a fixable problem and we’ll do the things necessary. We’ve got good rushers and once we can build some continuity with the guys out there, an understanding of what we’re doing, it’ll get better.”

NOSE TACKLE JUSTIN BANNAN:

“We need to play with more intensity. I think from a defensive perspective the other night [against New England], we got on our heels. It’s hard to build that intensity and that momentum. We just weren’t getting off the field on third down or finishing the way we wanted to finish. There’s no doubt about it. We’ve got to come out Monday night ready to play. We’ve got to focus on our job and what we’ve got to do.”

I’ve got great respect for Philip Rivers. The guy is a phenomenal quarterback. They always have a solid team every year. There’s no doubt about it. This is a huge game. It’s a huge challenge, and we’ve got to be ready to go.”

“Of course, you want to make it a statement game every game you play. This game’s no different. It seems like every game so far has been a huge game. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done when you have games like this. We need to buckle down and come out and do our job.”

[We want to] get a lead early and our defense gets off on third down.” 

LINEBACKER KEITH BROOKING:

“He’s [Phillip Rivers] extremely accurate. He does a good job of dispersing the ball and spreading it out. If you look at the catches from the wide receivers, he’s done a good job of getting everybody involved in the offense. It’s one of the most explosive offenses in this league. I played against [Chargers Head Coach] Norv Turner’s offenses a lot in the past. He does a really good job of establishing the run game, of running the football. I think [RB Ryan] Mathews is an exceptionally talented back and runs really strong. He runs through arm tackles, so we have to really focus and concentrate on not allowing them to get that run game going. It’s a vertical passing game when Phillip drops back, so you can’t allow it to get thrown over your head. You have to be sound in coverage and obviously pass rush comes into that as well. We have to pressure Phillip Rivers every chance you get.”

“We love our chances when we turn it into a one-dimensional game with our rush. That’s our focus. That’s our concentration is we can’t allow them to get that running game going. They do a good job. They have a lot of scheme runs and do a good job of mixing it up week-in, week-out. We have to be really sound in our run fits. All guys involved in the run game. Obviously, when we do turn it into that one-dimensional game, get in his face and affect him as a passer. Against the good quarterbacks in this league, you have to do that and he’s one of them. So that’s very important for us to do this week.”

“This game is a game that needs to be played with passion, emotion and enthusiasm. If you don’t bring that to the table in this game, then you’re in for a long day. We played some really good football teams. It seems like we’ve gotten off to some slow starts. Not necessarily saying that we’re not bringing that passion, emotion and enthusiasm, but it’s extremely vital. It’s important to get off to a quick start. We’ve talked about that as a team. We know how important it is. That’s going to be our focus and concentration this week is really starting fast. Obviously when you start fast, it sets a tone for the ball game and you have to be consistent with that intensity throughout the game for 60 minutes and finish strong as well. It’s something we’ve talked about and we plan on doing it.”

“They’re all ‘must’ games; they’re all must-wins. It’s against a division opponent. They’re leading our division right now. We can put ourselves in a position where we’re tied with them with a lot of football to be played. I’m not a big-picture guy. I know that we’re 2-3, I do know that. And I know that I don’t like this taste in my mouth. I want the taste of victory, I want that feeling. I want our mojo back. We just need to get our third win of the season, bottom line. That’s the only way you can look at it.”

WIDE RECEIVER ERIC DECKER:

“[They have a] very active front seven. We saw through film that they like to bring guys in and out. They have some fresh bodies, a lot of guys that play. On the back end, they’re very solid in what they do. They get their hands on the ball, sound coverage, so it’s going to be a technique game for us outside.”

When you get in the fourth quarter, you don’t see a different defense or them slouched back anymore. We’re just making plays and we’re not putting ourselves in third-and-long situations. We’re executing the first couple plays to move the chains for us. I think that’s the biggest thing you have to get back to, just making sure we take care of what we do and make the plays when they present themselves.”

“Well, right now they have a 2-0 swing in the division. We’re 1-0 and this is a big game for us to put ourselves back in the race and go into the bye week with a positive outlook. Our focus this week is to get better one day at a time and make sure whatever our game plan is, schematically, we’re going to do that and do it to the best of our ability.”

 “It’s a long time at home, or wherever you’re going to be with a loss. Where we’re at right now, we’re real close. It’s just a matter of putting together a good game overall, all three phases. Going into the bye week with a win would definitely make it a little bit easier.”

“You see guys that are hungry because there are winners in this locker room, and they’re used to being on top. The fact is that everybody is willing to put in the work and willing to go out and take care of their business, and make sure that they’re accountable for their actions and they’re keeping their teammates accountable. That’s something we’re focusing on this week—one play at a time, executing what’s called, and moving forward like that.”

DEFENSIVE END ELVIS DUMERVIL:

“First things first, we have to establish stopping the run. And we’ll have our opportunities.”

“They have good players, a well-coached team [and] I think they’re still talented. They have [WR] Eddie [Royal] in there, [and WR Malcolm] Floyd. The backs are talented, [TE] Antonio Gates is still there. It’s a matter of time before they start clicking; we just have to make sure it’s not on us.”

“He’s [Philip Rivers] definitely a great quarterback. I’m not into judging quarterbacks, but he’s definitely a great quarterback.”

“We j[defense] ust have to get lined up. We can’t get caught off balance. We have to be ready, when the ball is hiked, we’re full, 100 percent ready to go.” 

“We feel like that in every game. But this game is a divisional, Monday night. We got embarrassed last week so we have to come out and do what we do best.”

“Early on in my years they were beating us a lot. I’m still bitter from that. So we just have to have a good week of practice. I think today, we came out; the intensity and the urgency were there, as [Head] Coach [John] Fox alluded [to]. So we just have to continue that, and come Monday, we have to be on our A-Game.”

“It was bad, it was brutal. [Former Chargers running back] LaDainian [Tomlinson] setting records and all that stuff. I still remember those days. I think we’re more equipped now and we just have to take advantage and do our job.”

“He’s [Ryan Mathews] an explosive running back. He can do some things. We just have to wrap-pack him, swarm to the ball. We just have to get more energy and be more up on defense. That’s what we’re working on this week to get that done.”

“Defense, we play with energy. We have to make sure our energy level is there. We just have to have that swagger. I thought today we came out what we want to play like. And we just have to continue to do so and do it on Monday night.”

“We’re looking forward to it; we just have to put the work in. And we’ll see what happens Monday night.”

Like Coach Fox says, urgency. And just mentally, we have to get more prepared. We have to take it upon ourselves and do whatever extra studying, and we just have to be ready. That’s what we’re working on this week, and from this point on for the rest of the season.”

QUARTERBACK PEYTON MANNING:

“I don’t spend a ton of time watching other teams’ offenses. We make sideline adjustments and we’re trying to worry about our offense.”

“I think we can do just fine with kind of what we do here. Certainly a lot of things we need to improve on—execution-wise, protecting the ball, those things. I don’t think we need to necessarily copy anyone else at this point. I think we have everything here that we need to do to be successful, just kind of do it a little bit better.”

“They play a lot of guys. That speaks to their depth, which is impressive. They’re flying around, they play fast, they’ve got a mix of some veteran guys along with some new young guys they brought in through the draft and some free agency. They’re playing well on defense. They really should have won the game last week. I know they’ll be ready for this division game.”

“He’s [Philip Rivers] an active guy. He’s versatile. He’s an excellent pass-rusher but he’s not limited to just rushing the passer. He drops in coverage and moves around. They do a good job moving him around which speaks to his versatility. Tall, lanky guy, can bat balls. A good player.”

“I think everybody’s always excited to play in that environment, [Monday Night Football] but I don’t think we need that to get motivated and to get as prepared as we possibly can for this game because it is a division game, we are coming off a loss, it’s a road game, you’ve got a bye week after that, so we’d like to be able to change a little of the momentum and try to put together a road win, which we haven’t gotten yet. We’d love to find a way to get a couple consecutive wins in a row if we can. I think there are plenty of reasons to be motivated and ready for this game and the fact that it’s a division rival and you’re playing for a potential shot at first place in the division which is certainly one of our goals.”

“Just need to protect the ball better. That’s the simple and short of it. We focused on ball security today. It’s a point of emphasis for us. It needs to start in practice and then carry over to the game as well. Certainly, any time you’re turning the ball over—it’s not good and any time you turn it over—obviously in scoring position, it stings a little more. It’s something we’re addressing. I believe we will fix it. I believe guys will respond to [Offensive Coordinator] Mike McCoy’s challenge and that’ll play a pivotal role on the road this week in the division.”

“I think we’ve proven that we can come back out of a hole. We haven’t come back to win yet. I guess Pittsburgh we came back. We weren’t quite as deep in that hole. The nice thing would be not to get in to that hole as deep. But I do think that guys have been sort of calm and collected in those situations and have had no panic. Guys have done their jobs, just need to play with kind of that type of execution and precision for the entire 60 minutes. That’s kind of what we’re shooting for is that 60-minute game, not good fourth quarters or good second quarters. We still need to find that consistency. This’d sure be a good week to do it.”

“I think making plays [and] believing you can do it, which I think we have both of those things. We have guys that have seen first at how fast we can score, we’ve scored a couple times in a minute and a half, whatever it may be, we can do it. So I really think you can draw back and refer to that. Obviously we’ve been behind by pretty good chunks and the odds have been stacked against us although we’ve given ourselves a chance in every single game but once again, fourth-quarter comebacks are great but it usually means you’ve screwed up in the first three quarters. The nice thing would be, let’s eliminate some of the misses early in the game and lets kind of keep the game on the field if you will, keep it in a one-score game and have a lead. It’d be nice to have a lead in the fourth quarter and work on holding that so that’s what we’re trying to do.”

WIDE RECEIVER BRANDON STOKLEY:

“It’s just about taking from what we’ve done from practice and carrying it over to a game. That’s what we’re trying to do, we’re working hard on it and hopefully we’ll start a little bit quicker this week.”

“You are what you are, and we are 2-3. That’s what you’re judged by, is your wins and losses. To me, that’s where we are. Let’s moved forward and try to get a win this week.”

“They’re good. [San Diego defense] They’re solid all the way around the board. They gave the Saints a lot of problems early and got some turnovers. We’ll have to be on top of our game again this week. Every week it seems like it’s another tough matchup, but that’s life in the NFL.”

“We really don’t like them [Chargers] and they really don’t like us. That’s kind of understood.”