Broncos linebacker Joe Mays out for season

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Joe Mays

Joe Mays

DENVER — The Denver Broncos put together one of their most solid performances in years when they beat the New Orleans Saints Sunday night 34-14.

The bad new is that middle linebacker Joe Mays is out for the season after he broke his left leg during a punt return in the fourth quarter.

He has a fractured tibula near the ankle. He was blocking when he was blindsided with what looked an inadvertent leg whip by a Saints player.

Coach John Fox and players had a lot to say Monday about Joe Mays as well as the win over the Saints.

HEAD COACH JOHN FOX:

“Really nothing changed injury-wise from last night other than we’ve got a little bit better diagnosis of [MLB] Joe Mays. He did have a fracture in his fibula of the left ankle. We’ll evaluate and move from there depending on what we decide to do with the roster spot.”

“He’s out for extended time, yes. It’s more week to week. We’ll let you know what we decide to do as far as him and that roster spot.”

“It’ll be something we look at [Manning thumb injury] and get the TV copy. We haven’t done all that yet. I’m not really able to comment on what we turn in to the league or what we don’t but that’s one we’ll look at closely.”

“It’s fine.”

“We talk about all the time, there’s unlikely heroes, whether it’s [CB] Chris Harris two weeks ago, two games ago… Plays are going to come to you somewhere. You can’t make them come to you but when you’re in position that they do come to you, make your plays. [Woodyard’s] done that pretty consistently. I think it’s gotten better each week. It’s something we strive to do. No doubt, he had a very good game.”

“He was primarily a special-teams guy when we got here. I think he started some games defensively with the earlier staff but he’s got good straight line speed. He does have good instincts. I think he’s developed in last years’ system and now he’s developing in this years’ defensive system.”

“I have to overcome a lot to do that. You’re never as good as they say you are. You’re never as bad as they say you are. The key to this thing is just getting better each and every day and each and every week. That won’t change. That message won’t change with our group.”

“That’s all part of being a team. It’s something you sell. You’re looking for more ‘selfless’ than ‘selfish,’ doing it for your teammates, doing it for the guy next to you. I think it’s all part of building a team and creating teamwork. We haven’t gotten it all figured out by any stretch but we’re in that process. I’ve always been more of the thought of ‘understate’ than the other version of that. We’re just going to try to get better every day, get better every week, and we’ll see where that brings us.”

“Anytime you turn a ball over, it concerns us. We’ve had our share. Every phase has contributed. That’s something, ideally, you’d like to never turn it over but the reality is the other team gets paid and practices, too. We’ll continue to work on those things and emphasize that.”

“It was good. I’ve said all along, Ronnie’s [Hillman} a guy we thought very highly of and that’s why we drafted him. Unfortunately for him and us, he was injured in part of training camp, missed some preseason games so he’s catching up and he’s worked very hard at it. Eric Studesville, our running backs coach, has worked very hard with him as far as the extra time whether it be in the meeting room or on the field. Again, it was trying to bring him along and get him better each and every day and each and every week.”

“I’ve seen improvement. [Ryan Clady} That’s what we look for from everybody. I think the area I think he’s improved in is his run blocking. Something that we’ve seen is something he could improve at and he has. [Offensive Line Coach] Dave Magazu’s done a great job with him. This game’s a technical game and Ryan’s not afraid to work on it.”

“Again, he [Virgil Green] and [TE] Julius [Thomas] both were guys we drafted two years ago and Julius was lighting it up pretty good in camp and got hurt the second game in the season a year ago so he’s coming back off of that. Virgil missed some time due to a suspension. That’s a whole month and that’s an eternity in the NFL and he’s feeling his way back. He was a threat. He’s got good speed, good athleticism. He is big and physical, which those are great combinations for a tight end. He’ll develop and he’ll get used to it a little bit like Ronnie Hillman getting back in the flow of things.”

“It’s all part of selecting personnel. You look for that height, weight, speed, athleticism. Probably one of the hardest adjustments to our league out of college, especially for tight ends, is the blocking. You’ve got a lot of 4-3 defenses. That’s guy’s going to have to block a defensive end in many cases. From a technical standpoint, there’s a lot to learn when a rookie tight end comes in this league.”

“I think he’s handled it great. [Tracy Porter] No. 1, from the Denver Broncos’ perspective, it’s about player safety and that’s not your typical football injury so it’s not something you fool around with. I think our medical people have done an outstanding job. I think Tracy’s been very courageous through all this. I think our fans and supporters out there have been giving him great encouragement. It’s something you medicate, being on the right medication, to make sure it doesn’t affect his health. I think they’re all things I’m not an expert at and I’m listening to the experts. We’ll evaluate that, literally, day to day.”

“I don’t have to worry about that until Wednesday so I haven’t even asked that question myself so I don’t have the answer.”

“That’s a great problem to have. You let them compete and see who does the best, like we do everywhere.”

“I think we’re developing that. In this league, the personality of a team changes every year. There’s new players, there’s new coaches. Very few teams stay 100 percent [the same] so there’s some growing pains everywhere every year. I think we’re further along now than we were six weeks ago.”

“Everybody’s got a role. You keep 53 men, you shoot 46 of them up on game day. It’s a young man’s game so you have to develop young talent in this league in those roles. Danny’s [Trevathan] another guy that was a highly productive player out of Kentucky in a very competitive league in college football and he’s getting more and more comfortable with what that role is on our team. I’ve been impressed with his development.”

“Don’t think for a second that [CB] Champ Bailey hasn’t helped some of those young secondary people. Same thing with [LB] Keith Brooking. Having those guys to show you the way as a young player is great. Even [QB] Peyton [Manning] with [QB] Brock [Osweiler]. I think when you get to see that kind of guy that has done it at a high level, how he goes about his business day to day and the preparation part of this game, I don’t know that there’s a better teaching tool.”

LINEBACKER KEITH BROOKING:

“We all know that injuries are a big part of this game. You hate to lose a warrior, [Joe Mays] a guy that we all were counting on. He’s been a very big part of this football team. I spoke to him last night after the game and told him to keep his head up. My third year in the NFL, I had a lisfranc injury. I was put on IR and missed 11 games. It was a very tough time for me. The first serious injury I’d ever had, really the first time I’ve missed significant time playing football, period, and I haven’t missed a game since. The main things are for him just to keep his head up, keep fighting, believing and don’t allow us to get him down. More than anything, it’s just motivation for him to come back even better than he was before.”

“I don’t think about those things. I mean that with all my heart. I take one day at a time. This game, you can never take it for granted. It’s a very precious game, and you just have to lay it on the line every minute of every day, and get the most out of that day. The rest will take care of itself. Looking around my shoulder and wondering what’s going to take place from week to week, that’s not something I deal with.”

“Danny’s a very explosive guy. You see that when you turn on the film and you watch him. He’s quick. He’s fast. There’s a learning curve for all rookies. He makes mistakes out there, but when he makes them, he’s making them going full speed. You see his playmaking ability when he gets the opportunity, so you’ve just got to keep moving forward, getting better. Keep studying the game, doing the little things that it takes to be a good pro, and he’s going to be a really good football player.”

“I thought it was a good performance. That’s kind of the way we’re looking at it. You’re never there in this league. We know what’s in front of us, and we have a long way to go to get to where we want to go, so I think you saw the tip of the iceberg of what this defense can accomplish, what we can do. We’ve just got to be consistent in that. One good game against a good offense, in the full scheme of things, doesn’t really mean a whole lot if you don’t start stacking those games back-to-back-to-back and becoming consistent week in and week out. That’s something we’re going to focus and concentrate on, and what we talked about in today’s meeting. A key ingredient in this league in my time here has been consistency. That’s individually, as a player, being consistent, taking care of your responsibility on every play. Obviously, that just carries over. If every guy is doing that on your football team, you have a really good chance of being successful. That’s what we want to accomplish on defense.”

“But it’s a new scheme, what [Defensive Coordinator] Jack Del Rio brought in here, so it’s guys just becoming more familiar with the scheme and their responsibilities and playing fast. I think as the season progresses, you’re going to see everyone, all 11 guys out on the field, depending on the personnel [and] what defense is out there, just being more comfortable in their position, what they’re doing, and just their ability to play fast, so it’s a progression there and we’re getting better every week.”

RUNNING BACK RONNIE HILLMAN:
“It went [well]. Got in there, offensive line did a great job blocking, receivers did a great job blocking and it was a great team effort.”

“When you have a guy like that [Willis McGahee] that has been in the league for 10 years, you can’t do anything but learn from him. He’s been a great mentor and helps me out here and there, letting me know what I’m doing wrong or right.”
“That’s what we want to do. We want to play 60 minutes of football, not just a half. That was a big emphasis. We can get better. We can get a lot better. We plan on getting better every week.”

LINEBACKER WESLEY WOODYARD:

“Once you get it down pat, you kind of know what we have, what system we’re in, what style of defense we’re going to be running each week. A lot of players are comfortable rolling in, making plays and having fun.”

“That’s tough. ‘Next man up.’ We’re going to miss Joe, things definitely won’t be the same without having him out there, his presence, his leadership and his ability to go out there and make plays.”

“He’s a tough guy mentally. He didn’t get down on himself. He continued to pick his teammates up and that’s one thing that you look for as a good teammate. Throughout the tough times, are you going to be the same person or are you going to be a different person? He was sad, but he continued to work hard every day and came out here and pushed everybody else and that’s the big thing we were proud about.”

“That’s something that we always have to do. We work on the things that we’re not good at or that we have trouble with. And that’s something that me and Joe, we stayed out there extra to get some work in. He’s one of the guys that we’re definitely going to miss and he was ready to get back on the football field.”

“We have everybody. Everybody plays their own part. [LB] Von [Miller] plays his part, [LB] Keith [Brooking] plays his part, myself, [LB] Nate [Irving]. Everybody steps up and everybody holds their own weight.”

“It was an overall team win. Our offense came out and had two long drives, I want to say 93 and 98 [yards]. Whenever those guys handle their job over there, it gives us a sense of urgency and a boost of confidence. I’m sure they say the same thing about us. Everything went well; we got a few great returns in the punt return game, so everything just worked out well for us.”

 “He just has to rehab. The biggest thing is drink a lot of milk and hopefully it heals up fast. He’s definitely going to be a player that we miss. He’s going to be there making sure he’s watching film for us to give us coaching points and what we can do better. We’re going to miss him on the field, but he’s going to always be around in the locker room talking to us.”

“It’s always good to have a guy that can roll in. D.J., with his experience, it allows us to be able to play a lot of different things and do a lot of different things with him.”

“I focus on the little things that I did wrong. I feel like I left some plays out there. I have to continue to get better. But I had a lot of positive plays. I just have to go out there and continue to play hard