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Broncos coach John Fox determined to ‘clean up’ the early-game turnovers

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Broncos fumble a kickoff against San Diego. Image courtesy: ESPN. Oct. 15, 2012

Broncos fumble a kickoff against San Diego. Image courtesy: ESPN. Oct. 15, 2012

Denver Broncos head coach John Fox had a few hours to assess  his team’s performance in its dramatic 35-24 victory in San Diego Monday night.

He met with reporters Tuesday and here’s what he had to say about his team:

HEAD COACH JOHN FOX:

“I think [the bye] comes at a good time. Coming off a Monday night [game], we get a little shortened up in our bye week, but we’re not getting ready for a real game. That’s the upside. They have a little time for it to sink in and adapt to it and get rested. Most everybody is working on about three or four hours of sleep. We didn’t get in until 3 a.m., so we’ve been cleaning up this game all morning, and we’ve been busy.”

“We found a new way to self-destruct as far as the kicking game, but the result was about the same. I think our guys just hung in there. They’ve done it before. We talked about it in the locker room, and we cleaned some things up and just played much better in the second half.”

“If it was just one habit, it would be easy to break, but we’ve kind of spread those habits around. There’s no doubt, and I’m not being flippant about it, we’ve got to get that cleaned up. That gave them 10 points, or actually 17 points were on turnovers in that first half.”

“I think maybe the word is not so much ‘better,’ but ‘more comfortable.’ Everybody’s adjusting, and they’re doing a good job, and they’re working hard to get there in a hurry. I thought there were some things we improved at, I think there’s some things that—you know, our first half run production wasn’t very good. I thought we kept Peyton pretty clean most of the night in pass protection. There’s always something you can improve on. You never think you’ve arrived, so we still have a lot of work to do.”

“I wish it would’ve happened about four weeks before that, but it’s better late than never, as they say. We did get within a play or two of being pretty close in some of those other games. [We] just came up a little short, so it’s hard to have a lot of confidence and belief when nothing good happens. It takes something good happening, like last night, to build off of. You have to have faith and patience in what you’re doing. It doesn’t happen overnight, and usually nothing good does. They just kept battling. I’ve told you guys all along, I like this team. I like the makeup of this team, it’s just hopefully you’re waiting for something good to happen, and it did.”

“This game is about making plays. We didn’t do quite that well in the first half and then the second half, there’s a long list of plays we made and that’s one of them. I think as a coaching staff, it was a good adjustment to what they were doing in that particular thing and I’m not going to go into a whole lot of detail just because we play them again. It was good recognition by the players on the field; it was good execution by everybody involved. You mentioned the names. That was one of many plays we made in the second half.”

“The one to [WR Brandon] Stokley wasn’t too shabby, either. The one to D.T. (WR Demaryius Thomas) was pretty good. He’s had some good ones this season and he had some good ones last night.”

“Part of coaching, and I’ve said this many times, is putting your players in position [where] they can be successful. That’s your quarterback, that’s receivers, that’s O-Line, that’s who your running backs are, and that’s just offense. I think being who our quarterback is, we’re probably a little bit more inclined to be pass-happy. He’s had a lot of success in the National Football League throwing the ball. All in all, we’re going to do what they give us, we’re not going to be afraid to run it and we’re not going to be afraid to pass it. How that works out on that given day, it’s hard to predict because you are playing an opponent and they get to put in their game plan.”

“You always make adjustments. We struggled with their tight end (Antonio Gates) a little bit in some singled up situations so we kind of made some adjustments. Like I said, I can’t go in to real finite detail but that was problematic and our staff did a good job of adjusting to that. We did mix in some pressures but with different types of coverages and we got good pressure.”

“It’s kind of one of the things we’ve been harping on is you can’t wait for one guy to do it, or you can’t wait for this star player to do it. Don’t wait. You can be the guy to make the play. Don’t wait around for somebody else to do it. I think [CB] Tony Carter and [CB] Chris Harris are guys that stepped in and did a pretty phenomenal job. So you just never know who’s going to make that big play and sometimes it’s unlikely heroes, but you don’t wait around for some proven vet [or] star-quality-type guy to always be the guy.”

“In defense of Joe [Mays] , he did sit out a week. I didn’t know the effect that would have. Let me put it this way; I didn’t think it would be a setback. We have not given up on Joe Mays by any stretch; he’s still a very good football player. We’re in the business of doing what it takes to win, and that was what we thought at that time. Like all positions, we’ll evaluate him moving forward.”

“It’s hard to measure heart. We have all kind of physical measurements we use. Tony’s a guy that’s, in stature, not the largest human being there is. But he’s worked very hard; I think being in a room with [CB] Champ Bailey does help a lot. I think he’s been outstanding with those young guys, [CB] Chris Harris included. We do have a lot of youth in our secondary. [S] Mike Adams with the safety group and Champ of course with the corner group has been helpful in that development. My hat is off to him and how hard he’s worked and taken advantage of his opportunities.”

“He [Chris Kuper] didn’t start the first week that we practiced him. I think that was a good thing for us and him. It takes a while; your fight is run in front of you as an O-Lineman. There’s some timing and technical things that have to be worked in, but all in all, I thought he did a very good job.”

“He’s [Jim Leonhard] got excellent football savvy. My hat’s off to our personnel department. You look back, [signing C] Dan Koppen ended up being pretty wise. When we brought in Jimmy Leonhard and Keith Brooking, everybody is looking at us sideways. They weren’t healthy. Guys like that, that have been there before and done that, it’s good to have those guys out there. I thought Jim stepped up big.”

“I thought just the ability to get the ball first in the second half and go right down and score, at least we got on the board. With that big goose egg, it’s not looking too promising. I thought that was kind of the start. ‘Old Mo’ (momentum) was starting to shift a little bit, and it kept shifting to high gear after that.”
“In defense of him, [Trindon Holliday] we could have done a better job of vicing the gunner in that situation. Their guy pushed our guy into him a little bit. That’s why it wasn’t a foul. It wasn’t all his fault.”

“He’s been an impressive guy. [Ronnie Hillman] That’s why we drafted him in the third round. He’s a guy that we do like. Unfortunately he missed some time in training camp so that kind of thwarts his development a little bit. Each week, we see a growth. I thought in this last game, he was in there in passing situations and that’s usually one of the hardest things for young backs to learn is pass protection, especially at this level. But he’s gotten better and better and more comfortable doing it and our coaches have become more comfortable with him in there.”

“’Kup’ (G Chris Kuper) has been around. He’s kind of the leader of that room. He does have a lot of leadership abilities and he’s a good communicator. Up front, there are a lot of things going on. There is a lot made of Peyton, as it should be, but [the offensive line] has to get all that information in a noisy, high-pressure environment. So it helps when there is a good comfort level there. ‘Kup’ helps that. I thought [G] Manny [Ramirez] did a great job for us. I know everybody in this building feels he’s good enough to be a starter and I’m sure some other buildings think he is, too. It was a good opportunity for him and he’s been great as far as ‘Kup’ coming back and slipping back into that starting role.”

                   INJURIES:

No new injuries to report from the game.