Q: Alex Smith, what do you want to see more from him that maybe he didn't do against Oakland?
PEDERSON:"He came in and watched the film on Friday and learned from his mistakes and learned from the positive plays in the game. I think from his standpoint it's just a matter of executing the offense. Don't do any more than what the play asked for, not saying that he did a lot of that. But that's really the biggest thing for any player, particularly the quarterback, just run the offense; let the offense take care of itself. Alex will do that in practice and he's done that all season. You come off a short week and go play - there's going to be some mistakes made. But he's a professional. He'll correct them and be better this week."
Q: How do you put the Oakland game into the context of the season in general?
PEDERSON:"We've played St. Louis, New York, Seattle and Buffalo. There was a string of games where we were playing some fine defenses. Then you go on the road, you've got the time change and you're playing another good defense in the Oakland Raiders, that's a good defense, on a short week, just off an emotional, physical win against the Seahawks. I guess your concern as a coach is there going to be a letdown? Is there going to be a drop off? I've been in those situations as a player where you have to mentally more than physically get yourself ready to play. I thought our guys did a decent job as the game went on, but we just started a little too slow in that game."
Q: Did the conditions have anything to do with the game?
PEDERSON:"As the rain fell obviously the field, the surface, got muddier. Ultimately that can affect your uniform and all that. But it didn't affect any of the throws or anything like that, he kept his hands dry. You would prefer the dryer weather; obviously, you get a better grip on the ball. Rain can play a factor but it didn't hurt us in that game."
Q: You've worked with (Jason) Avant in the past, what can he provide you?
PEDERSON:"Number one, he comes in as a veteran guy, he comes in with a little bit of familiarity with our offense, with our terminology. He is a couple years removed however. We've changed some things offensively. He's a student of the game, he's going to come in and he's going to study the game plan. He's going to study his specific plays that he'll have in this game plan and he'll get himself ready to go."
Q: If (Donnie) Avery is back Sunday, you will have a wealth of riches at wide receiver where you've had a lot of injuries there.
PEDERSON:"Yeah it'll be great to get Donnie some work and get he and Alex back on the same page again and get some throws in there. It will look better, it's unfortunate obviously with some of the injuries that we've had. But we are where we are and I think we've improved ourselves."
Q: Are you trying to work (Jason) Avant and (Donnie) Avery early into the game plan? Are you trying to get passes to them early to get them up and moving?
PEDERSON:"Yeah, it's the same with Dwayne (Bowe), you want to get Dwayne started early. You want to get Jamaal Charles going early. With a guy like Jason I think you let the game sort of dictate to him how we get the ball in his hands. But there are certain guys, Travis Kelce and Dwayne, those are the guys that you want to get the ball into their hands earlier in the game. With a guy like Jason you just kind of let the game happen and the flow of the game will take care of itself."
Q: Do you feel like you were as efficient as you could have been the last time you played Denver? You dominated the time of possession.
PEDERSON:"Yeah, looking at that and dissecting that game, we felt like we were right in it. Third down conversions were higher. I think the one downside was the beginning of the third quarter we had that 21 or 22 play drive and got no points. Those are critical points in games of this magnitude obviously, going against a fine defense, a divisional opponent. There are a couple things that we have to correct but overall it felt good coming away, well you never feel good with a loss obviously, but knowing that you can kind of play with the likes of the Denvers, the Seattles, the Buffalos and some of the finer defensive teams in the NFL."
Q: Did you guys second guess yourselves at all for the play calling down there at the end once you got the first and goal?
PEDERSON:"You're always going to look at the film the next day and go, 'gosh, if I'd only done this or only done that'. But we prepare as coaches so well during the week that when you get into those situations that you call exactly what you are feeling, exactly what you expect and then you expect your players to go execute."
Q: Part of the factor down there was that you didn't want to leave too much time for the other guys. You ran the ball a couple times, was that part of the deal there?
PEDERSON:"Yeah, and with time in the red zone that far down and we had some success in that game running the ball and scoring. So you give yourself an opportunity that way, you come off the ball and who knows, Knile (Davis) or Jamaal, in that case Knile, would have a chance to crease the defense and score. Then you also have to keep in mind the time. Time and time outs are critical in those situations."
Q: C.J. Anderson. How important is it going to be to stop him defensively?
SUTTON:"Very. They've gone through a lot of (running) backs here and he's come in and really added some stability. He's played really well when he's been in there. He's doing a really good job in all phases. He's not just a runner, he's a good protection guy, he's a stout guy so his protection is pretty good and he's done a really good job. All of their backs, there hasn't been any drop off no matter who's played back and the receiving aspect of it in their offense. I think he's done a really, really good job. It's important for us to do and obviously they're a team that can go either way as they proved when they threw the ball in St. Louis and came out and ran 12 straight runs against Miami. You've got to deal with all of it."
Q: Because of those extremes, it seems odd to say because Peyton Manning's the quarterback, but teams have been able to take the run away from him the way St. Louis had success against them.
SUTTON:"Well, yeah and I think that may have driven the train here this past week and why we're going to run the ball. Sometimes I'm sure they might look back and say 'hey we could've ran the ball more times. Now the score gets out of whack sometimes. You've got to go forward. We have to prepare for both. There's no way, you're never going to be able to load up to stop the run against a guy like Manning. You're just going to have to play really good defense and be able to play run and pass because if you go too far the other way, it's not going to be pretty."
Q: Looking back at the first week in Denver, after the first play of the game did you feel like you guys were about as effective as you could've been against the quality of the opponent?
SUTTON:"Yeah, I mean we had a lot of things happening in that game that went really well. Our offense kept the ball. Did a great job. That effected the way I thought we settled down after the one big play and they played us a little different with their personnel grouping. (Wes) Welker was out. That effected, I think, how they were playing. I imagine there's parts of that game that they look at and take advantage of and we're trying to do the same. I thought we played solid. I think we could've played better, but Peyton was very effective throwing the ball as far as completion percentage and that, which it historically is going to be. The key thing with him is you get him to third down and you've got to win enough to get off the field at a high enough rate that you can stop him because he's going to complete passes. That's just his M.O. He's been doing it a long time. He's still up in the high 60's completion percentage. For all the things you know about him, he's smart. He knows the coverages. He knows what's going to happen. We get him in those third downs. We've got to win them. That's big in this thing."
Q: You've mentioned a Broncos team who seems to have found balance with C.J. Anderson, but these past two games you have struggled against the run. How much of a chance is it that you will rotate Joe Mays in there to help against the run?
SUTTON:"Any of those options are on the thing. We've been trying to work Joe back into the lineup the last three weeks. He's been playing on (special) teams and I think he's kind of feeling more comfortable. We're just going to kind of let that play out. It's a possibility like I said. If all we had to do is stop the run this week, we'd feel like 'hey that's an easier task not to stop them, but we could focus on it. What Peyton does he doesn't allow you to focus on just one phase of their game and that's one of his great strengths I think. He's very patient. He's drop the ball off, drop the ball off, run, drop the ball off. Some quarterbacks aren't that patient. That's where I think he's really made himself a really great player these last few years."
Q: What makes Emmanuel Sanders such a threat?
SUTTON: "Well, he's got great speed. That's a problem and I think he's really playing well in their system. You feel watching video, Peyton has a lot of trust in him. He's running really good routes and most of those quarterbacks that are like Peyton, the thing they always want is they want to be feeling like you're a dependable guy. You want to be where you're supposed to be. From our take and he appears that he's running great routes, knows how to get open and of course he has the great speed that knocked the top off the defense. That creates space underneath sometimes too."
Q: It almost seems that they've looked better. They lost Eric Decker, but it seems that the offense is even greater.
SUTTON: "Yeah, I think it is. He's got outstanding speed and (Demaryius) Thomas the wide out's got really good speed. They've got two guys that make it tough on the outside. They're a really talented team. Their tight ends, there's nobody that isn't good on that team. (Jacob ) Tamme's a great tight end to come in for the other (Julius) Thomas. It's one of those deals that you're going to have to play good defense and you've got to make some plays in this game. That's what it really comes down to. You've got to make some plays whether it's third down getting off the field, takeaway if you get an opportunity, whichever it is, you've got to be able to do it."
Q: Is Ron Parker better playing when he sees the ball in front of them rather than having to run backwards and try and find it?
SUTTON:"I think Ron has done a really good job at both positions. Of course he gives us a lot of flexibility. I think so far he's proven to be equally good at both positions for us. I think he's done just an incredible job to be honest, to be able to go back there and play corner to start out and then get a heavy dose of safety and then have to go back to corner and has done a really good job. His technique has stayed pretty much in tune which is one of your big concerns when you're not doing those things on a daily basis. He has done a really good job. I'm not sure what his best deal is."
Q: Do we sometimes see a skewed view on a player just because he has been the most targeted player in your secondary the last few games?
SUTTON:"Yeah, sometimes it's the way the coverage is tilted. Sometimes he is on the really good receiver so just how that works out. Targeting is a hard one to figure sometimes because you don't know what's driving the train. Sometimes it's the coverage, it'll take the quarterback there."
Q: What do you have to do from a pass rush perspective based on how fast Peyton Manning gets the ball out?
SUTTON:"Well, I think one of the terms we use a lot here for anybody, but I think particularly true for a guy like Peyton is you try to affect the quarterback. The stats say you're going to have a really difficult time sacking him. He's been sacked 12 times in 440-some passes. Their line does a really good job of not letting free runners. He has that great knowledge of, 'hey, this could be a problem over here, I'm getting the ball out.' Whether it's completed or completed for a short gain, he just does a great job of not accepting the sack. That's just something you deal with. There's nothing you can do but rush hard and like we say, you just want to keep working him, working him, working him and if coverage affects him, you get him to hold for a second, you've got a better chance. But he's a master of what he does and we just have to accept some of that, that it's going to come out - there's nothing we can do. We can bring all of them but if he wants to throw the ball out there fast, you just can't touch him."
Q: Do you think you will run the front this week you had against Seattle with the five up front and the defensive ends in a three-technique in order to collapse the pocket?
SUTTON:"Yeah, there's really nothing you can do every play against him because he's too knowledgeable, he's too good. So like most of these games, in particular a guy like him, you've got to try to mix it up a little bit and not give him the exact same thing every time. Like I say, there's nothing that Peyton Manning hasn't seen with all of the snaps he's taken at quarterback so I don't think you go into the game thinking you're going to trick him. You try and make him as undecided as long as you can and see if you can get him that way a little bit and play. In the end, you've got cover – whether you are in man or zone, however you are playing it – and then you've got to be able to move the pocket a little bit if you can. Like I said, he controls some of that because of how fast he gets rid of the ball."
Q: What is your reaction to the Eric Berry news and how do you think his teammates reacted?
SUTTON:"First of all, it's one of those things you never even think about or cross your mind. Here is a young guy, 25 years old, great condition. We're worried about: is he coming back from his injury? You're watching him progress from that and thinking okay, he's getting back and unbeknown to anybody, he's dealing with a whole different thing that is a lot bigger than what we do out here on the field. You feel for the guy, you feel for the guy for one, this is a threatening position for him. You feel for you know how bad he loves to play, loves to compete and loves his job. But you know that this issue is bigger than the game. And he said it beautifully: 'hey, I've got a new opponent and that's who I've got to deal with.' And the guys, he's been a core guy here and I think obviously some players are closer to him than others. But I think everybody was taken back at first with it. But I think one of the best things he did was be here Monday and let everybody see him. That meant I think a lot to the players because if you just disappear, you're wondering what happened to him. But he assured the players of his attitude and what he was going to do and how he was going to attack it. And I think that made us coaches, players all feel really good. Like hey, he's got the right mindset to go after this thing. So as much as we miss him, as much as we wish he could be here, our main deal is we're going to try to all – players, coaches, Chiefs organization – support him. We know that this is a long, hard fight. It's not just today or tomorrow. This goes on for a while and that's when he needs the support down the road."
Q: How about the kicker. He's kicked on the coldest day of his life, the wettest day of his life, the streak is going. What is he showing you now in these last few weeks in these elements?
TOUB: "You're right. The fact that he has kicked in some cold weather, some wind, some rain, he has had that practice. He continues to look good in practice he makes his field goals. We're counting on him right now. He's been doing a good job consistently."
Q:With him on kickoffs in the last four games he's had 17 I think, only five have reached the end zone. Is that weather or something you are trying differently with him to get more height?
TOUB:"Some of those are designed and some of them aren't. The player has a lot to do with that. The weather, they could cut down five to eight yards on your kickoff alone just being freezing. Those are all factors. Another thing is, he's a young guy and he's a light build guy. He's going to get better and he's going to get stronger. He needs to put on about 10 pounds or 15 pounds on his lower body. Those kickoffs will come with the strength he'll get better and better as he gets older."
Q:Is that also kind of the wear and tear of the season?
TOUB:"Sure. This is the longest her has ever played. He's done usually now in college. So this is all new ground for him, and the wear and tear of this season has kind of worn a little bit leg-strength wise, but I think he will get better obviously when he gets older."
Q:Obviously after the (Percy) Harvin tackle you potentially started some movement as far as the touchbacks and kickoffs go.
TOUB:"Yeah definitely. We didn't want to kick the ball directly to him. He's a dangerous guy we didn't want him to be the guy that beats us. So we used a variety of different kicks in that situation."
Q:Coach you had mentioned a couple weeks ago you wanted De'Anthony Thomas to remain aggressive, than against Oakland he had that 12 yard loss. How do you temper that enthusiasm?
TOUB:"That's a good question. We wanted him to field that ball the way he did but what he has to learn is that you can't run around NFL players. The NFL players are really, really fast and sometimes you just have to catch the ball and get the ball in your hands and then get five yards or save us the ball from bouncing and we will play on from there. So that is part of his learning experience that he will get better and better at."
Q:Was the move to Frankie Hammond (Jr.) there just to calm him down or is this something more permanent?
TOUB:"Exactly, that's what it was. De'Anthony is still our number one punt returner; we are fortunate, very fortunate to be able to have two guys. There are five or six teams in the league right now that would love to have at least Frankie."
Q:Punt specialty or not, he catches them when maybe he should let them bounce inside the 10 and then he lets them bounce when maybe he should catch them and maybe save you the 20 yards.
TOUB:"Yeah it's a learning curve with punt returners. I went through the same thing with Devin Hester. He's got to learn to go get the ball, the short ones, the catches. He's got to learn that a fair catch is a weapon. Use the fair catch to get up there and to get everyone out of your way. And that's what he's not doing. We've talked about it and he's going to continue to get better at it."
Q: Is that one of the things that you stress with him is to catch the ball? He let too many balls hit the ground.* *
TOUB: "Right. He wants to return everything which is a great trait to have but sometimes you just have to say the coverage is there, the punt is there, I've got to use the fair catch. That's where we are at right now with him."
Q:Sherman, on special teams, kind of paint a picture for me what he does for your special teams.
TOUB:"Sherman, first of all he is our leader. He's our leader in the rooms and the leader on the field. He is so consistent. I have said this before, I think he is the best full back/ special teams player in the league by far. He is so productive he is our leading tackle on kick off, and a great protector on the punt. He is a leader on the backend on the kickoff return so he makes everything work for us."
Q:And does that rub off on other guys?
TOUB: "It's huge. The fact that he is a starter on offense he still regards special teams so high is so important."