Q: You get the Broncos and Peyton Manning. How much did last year's experiences with him help build this year's gameplan?
SUTTON: "Well I think anytime you are dealing with the Peyton Manning's of the world, those elite guys, they're a great challenge because they have physical skills obviously to get balls in tight quarters which is challenging in itself. The second part of it is a guy like Peyton is renowned for how much he knows and how well he studies and all that, so that makes it challenging too. So a lot of the gameplan is trying to drill down on our techniques and understanding like we've talked about with our players. You can have these guys pretty tightly covered. A lot of quarterbacks that means he's going someplace else, whereas with a guy like Peyton that just means he's going to locate the ball in slightly wider, tighter whatever it is. So you have to play through a whole play no matter how tightly you think you have him covered. And then obviously you have to do a good job of realizing that like we always say, 'don't be the 'tell,' don't be the guy that's telling him what the coverage is.' Because he's done a great job over his career recognizing that so you work hard at that as well. You can't give Peyton just one thing all the time. It's hard for any quarterback in our league to do that but he definitely falls in that category."
Q: Do the goals of what you want to accomplish as a defense change when you face a guy like Peyton Manning?
SUTTON:"Yeah, I think you always go into a game recognizing the mode of operation of the opponent. Peyton* *is a guy that both through his understanding and also the way that he delivers the ball, he is going to get rid of the ball pretty quick and that's not all bad either. You just look and you know – we say the thing we're trying to do mostly for any quarterback, we're trying to affect the quarterback. Sometimes having him deliver the ball quickly can work in our favor. We can't control if he is going to get it out in one (second) of really taking him to the ground. But if we can get him where he can't hold the ball and these are the kinds of passes he has to throw to be able to do that. The other part of that is he does such a great job of understanding what an opponent's doing so you have to work really hard to create those situations to start with. He understands how to step up in the pocket and that protects his edges just on outside rushes. So there's a lot of things you've got to go into here and work on that are technique and fundamentally driven – and kind of answering your question – understanding who you're dealing with here. This is what he is going to do so hopefully that produces some of the results you are looking for."
Q: How important does cornerback play become?
SUTTON: "Well, obviously corner is a big part. He has a talented group of receivers. Obviously you can't focus in on one because there is really several there that he's done. And one thing Peyton, you appreciate studying him – and this sounds simple – but Peyton throws to the guys that are open. The coverage, matchups, whatever it is and he understands that part of the game and he doesn't get zeroed in on – he's had some great receivers at Indy and great receivers here, but it's not a one-man show. He's going to do what that game allows him to do or what that defense or that play allows him to do. He's taking the highest percentage throw and that's why you do what he's done over his career."
Q: How concerned are you with Denver's inside running game without Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito?
SUTTON: "Well, we always start with the idea of, 'Hey, it's a lot easier on our defense if we stop the run, if we control the run.' That's going to probably be true for all of football. Sometimes here in a game like this, you take some body blows because you're playing more coverage and that and you understand that. But I think in the end for all of us, we'd rather get it down to where we knew exactly what was going to happen. It's still going to be a big challenge with this guy, but it allows us to do more things, be it a little different play calling and all that type of thing. So we've got to do a good job of that, there's no question."
Q: Can you describe what you lost by losing Derrick Johnson and the challenge of rallying the guys after the injury?
SUTTON:"Well anytime you lose a football player the caliber of DJ, there's a certain void that exists. And I think when you have a guy like him – one of the things that happens on defense that I think goes unnoticed and there's not a stat for it, but a lot of times when you have a guy like DJ that has really exceptional speed for his position, it isn't just the plays you make, it's the plays you prevent. And sometimes those are runs that went for five or passes that went for ten, but BAM, he's there and that stops the play from going and that's the one advantage of speed in relationship to your position. And he obviously has had that his whole career when he came out, that's the kind of player he was. You miss that, you miss his experience. All those things are things, but I also think that every time there's that void, it gives somebody else an opportunity to step into that void. And it may not just be just the player that's playing that position, it may be another position that he rallies up and he elevates himself up into that position of leadership and the guy that can settle people down, and all those things. It's the way the NFL is, it's the way football is, you have to deal with it. We're comfortable with the people that have to go in there and that's not saying we won't miss the guy. We're obviously going to miss the guy."
Q: Where are James-Michael Johnson and Josh Mauga at in defending the running game?
SUTTON:"I think good, I think good. They are both tough guys, they both understand how to play. Obviously both played a lot last week. I've had Josh in New York so I know him. That's not a big concern."
Q: Did you decide who you are going to green dot (on the helmet) yet?
SUTTON:"We'll probably do Mauga. That's who ended up doing it in the game the other day."
Q: Ty Law was always a thorn in Peyton Manning's side during his career. You coached him. What did he know that everyone else didn't know about Manning?
SUTTON:"Well, Ty, one, was a very good football player. I would say Ty played the tendencies and Ty took some chances. And that's why he got his hands on the ball a lot. And that was Ty Law and his history in the league. He had a tremendous amount of interceptions. We had him for a short run in there in New York in the end. But he still had that unique ability for anticipation, looking at a formation and say, 'Hey, I'm going to go get this route now.' Sometimes he did it with other things in jeopardy but he was right more than he was wrong, so you've got to give him credit."
Q: So that's like one of those plays that is, 'Oh, no! No! No! Yes! Good interception!'?
SUTTON:"Something very similar to that, yeah."
Q: How did Marcus Cooper look in practice yesterday?
SUTTON:"He's coming along well. I'm not going to get into his injury and that but he practiced and went the whole way and didn't sit out at all, so good I think."
Q: Do you think Kevin Vickerson will get some work?
SUTTON:"We'll see where he's at. Obviously that's a huge step to walk in here on Tuesday and do it. But I'll say this too, he's an experienced football player; he's played in the league, so that's not going to be a concern. So it's really just a matter of what he can absorb from our situation and go forward and how comfortable he is in playing, but he's certainly got a lot of the skillsets that you like. And at this time of the year, to be able to get an individual like that, that's great for us, a great opportunity."
Q: What did you learn from your defense last week?
SUTTON:"Well, I think like a lot of things, one of the things we have to do, we have to – we were in a good situation there. The thing that probably we were most disappointed in was the second half start because we fought back, we got in position. It was still a close game. We gave up the one big play right there and then we had another opportunity to stop him and didn't. So you do that, and like I tell the players all the time – sometimes, within a game, when the game is over and just see the final, you lose track of what happens. We had another chance there when it was third and nine and we cut the lead, I think it was 23-10, and we could've had a three-and-out right there and we had the penalty and the completion at the same time. That'd been a huge play. You don't know how it's going to turn out but that's how games changed around. You look at Indy and Denver, that game was 24-0, 24-7 and all of a sudden it's a game, and that's the one thing about the National Football League. If you just keep playing and you press on, it's an amazing game because there's enough skill out there on both sides of the ball no matter who's playing each week that this game, it can change pretty fast. And it's really critical that you understand that. And sometimes you're on the other side and it's coming downhill at you fast and just from our standpoint you just need one stop, make the stop. Or the other side, we've got to get the ball back one time here and give our O a chance. So I think you learn that and we obviously had some challenges there with the guys that we lost, but I thought the guys that went in did a really good job."
Q: Jamaal Charles had only 11 touches, did you question how that happened?
PEDERSON:"Every game Jamaal has to touch the football, bottom line. We've got to figure out ways to get him the ball. Sometimes the game itself kind of dictates the direction in which you go. But with that said, Jamaal needs to touch the football. He's one of our most explosive guys on offense, and we've got to keep giving him the ball."
Q: Alex threw three interceptions in one game, he only had seven all last year. Coach Reid said the coaches put him in a bad situation. But he has some accountability on those throws doesn't he?
PEDERSON:"As a quarterback you do, you have accountability. You're the one out there playing the game. But at the same time, as coaches and as a coordinator we can possibly put him in a better situation. We got behind in that football game, so there's a little bit of press that goes on with players. Especially at the quarterback position because bottom line is you want to make a play somehow, some way and spark your football team. He'll learn from it, we'll learn from it and put him in a better position next time. We'll eliminate those turnovers."
Q: How does Dwayne Bowe's presence change what you can call and give you more versatility?
PEDERSON:"I think the biggest thing with Dwayne being back is he and Alex's rapport, that continuity. Alex has that trust in Dwayne being out there, plus just having that veteran leadership on the field with a lot of young receivers that we have. He's a guy that the young guys look up to. Dwayne's going to get his just like Jamaal is going to get his. Look forward to some big things from Dwayne; however he's been out a couple weeks now, so we've got to work him back slowly."
Q: In general was Alex given as many safety valves or short easy stuff as normal, or did you try to push it more last week?
PEDERSON:"In the game last week we didn't have anything more or less scripted or in the game plan than we would in a normal week."
Q: Generally when the passing game struggles it's either because the quarterback or the receivers aren't creating separation. What would you attribute some of those indecisions to?
PEDERSON:"The run game has a big part of that because as we know if you have the ability to run the football it opens up your passing game. The score, the way it got a little out of hand there in the second half dictates what you do offensively a little bit. So there are a few factors that go into how you operate offensively, we just have to do a better job in the first half of the game."
Q: When people talk about the issues on the offensive line they talk about them being inexperienced. Is that a solvable problem in the short term, just a lack of inexperience in the front?
PEDERSON:"It comes with time, it comes with reps, the more reps they get in practice the better off they're going to be. (Mike) McGlynn has only been here a couple weeks, and he's getting better each and every day and he'll get better as the season goes on at the guard position, same with Zach Fulton and all of those guys. It's just going to become a cohesive group as we go, we saw it last year from the beginning of the season to the end of the season, kind of in that same situation right now. The more time they spend together, even with Ryan Harris now having to play a little bit, he's another one with more reps they will get better and they will gel. And communications is a big part of what they'll do.
Q: In your experience, how long does that typically take?
PEDERSON:"You'd like to say last week, but it doesn't happen that way. Not in the National Football League, especially with five individuals trying to work collectively as a group up front. It takes time, it's hard to put a week, a day, a month, it's hard to put that on them. I just know through experience that the more time they spend together, they are going to see things and recognize things faster. And ultimately it shows in their play."
Q: Do you expect the screen game to be more effective this week?
PEDERSON:"I think the screen game is effective every week. I think there is a time and a place for the screen game. I think we have great backs that we can screen to, we've got an athletic line, athletic offensive line, that can get out on the perimeter and block. I would say that the screen is a big part of what we do each week."
Q: It seems like the offensive line made some positive strides over the past three weeks, are you happy with the progress you've seen there?
PEDERSON:"Yeah, any offensive line coach or offensive line would say that you've got to protect your A and B guy, you've got to protect inside-out. And I think we've done a good job there. Guys are going to get beat from time to time. We also put a lot on the quarterback to get the ball out of his hands, aggressions, reads, drops, so a lot of times you don't see what happens in the secondary as you do up front. There's a lot involved when it comes to protection, not just the actual physical blocking of the d-line."
Q: How does Travis Kelce get more snaps? How does he get on the field more?
PEDERSON:"He's a guy that's learning, and he's a guy that mentally we are going to put in certain situations and build a package around. And give him 'X' amount of plays a game and it's just through his growth and his maturity that the more he can handle the more obviously he'll step on the field. He's definitely a weapon for us offensively, he can run and he catches the ball well, so we are going to continue working it."
Q: From a play calling perspective how important is it to get into that third-and-three and third-and-five range?
PEDERSON:"Its big, that's a great area to be in. Ultimately to get there you have to do well on first and second down, you can't keep going backwards. You get in those short yarder situations, threes and fours, it kind of opens your play book up a little bit more to some things you can do in that situation. Because it's manageable down and distance for you."
Q: What jumps out at you on tape when you look at Denver?
PEDERSON:"They went out and got some notch free agents, now you've got Von Miller and Marcus Ware coming off the edge. That's a dominant pass rush right there, plus the guys in the middle. In the secondary that's a fast group, that's a physical group. They don't do a lot schematically but what they do, they do well and they play fast. "
Q: What went right, what when wrong on that fake punt?
TOUB: "Well first thing is it didn't work. That's what went wrong. We felt the situation was right. It was 20-3, it was fourth and five midfield and we don't just run a fake if we don't have a look. We had the look that we wanted in there and we went with it. We just didn't execute the play for whatever reason. That's the way it is."
Q: How much juggling did you have to do with all the injuries as far as field goal blocks and moving things around?
TOUB: "It happens. I mean, you never know where it's going to happen. As soon as a guy goes down, it's a domino effect. One guy goes down and bam, bam, bam. Later on you never know it could be field goal block, whatever happened to us there or field goal. You have a different guy in there. That's why in practice you work a lot of guys in and you get ready for different scenarios. You try to think ahead of time if this guy went down, what would you do? You have to practice those guys."
Q: Reid mentioned yesterday that Jerry Franklin got called up because he is good on special teams. What do you think of him? What is his background with special teams?
TOUB: "Jerry, we picked up the last year that I was at the (Chicago) Bears. I really didn't get a chance to see him play when I was there, but I did watch him the whole training camp and all during training camp and he's a good special teams player. He's a good cover guy, a good blocker, he's got a lot of speed, plays with great effort, smart guy and we feel like he can help us right now at this point."
Q: Where is Santos' confidence right now?
TOUB: "In that game, he might've been a little nervous in the mental aspect of it but really physically what happened was he was looking. Really, he couldn't see the kick. His eyeballs were coming up every time he hit the ball. That's something that can easily be corrected and that's something we worked on yesterday and we're going to work on it again today. I think that'll help him. The thing about him is if I felt like his confidence or mental aspect wasn't good, he wouldn't be here right now. I really feel strong about him going forward."
Q: That's nothing you've seen from him before right?