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Transcript: Mike Smith Tuesday News Conference

Posted Sep 18, 2012

Head coach Mike Smith discussed Michael Turner's arrest, the defense's disguised formations and the evolution of the offensive line during his Tuesday news conference

Opening Statement:
“Like I said last night, I really liked the way our team played in all three phases. We got off to very fast start, especially defensively with the four turnovers in the first 15 minutes. When you create those types of turnovers, you’re going to enhance your chances of winning. It was a hard fought football game, which I think were two good football teams that were going at one another. We were very fortunate to stay strong and resilient the entire 60 minutes and get the win.”
 
On RB Michael Turner’s arrest:
“First and foremost, anytime a player sheds negatively on our football team and organization, we are very disappointed. This is a legal matter that it’s very well defined how we have to proceed with it through the League, and we’ll let the process run its course. I’ve spoken with Michael. We’ve had a conversation and like all conversations with my player’s I would like to keep those internal. He knows that we’re disappointed in the decisions that he made after the ballgame last night.”
 
On Turner’s performance last night in the game:
“We were able to run the ball at the end of the game, and that’s something that we’ve been working on. Our running statistics are not where we would like them to be, whether we’re going to be a running team or a passing team. The thing that you have to do is be able to run the football when you have to run it. The thing that I was most pleased with, is there at the end in our four minute drive when we had to run it we were able to run it. Each team takes on a different dynamic every year, in terms of whether we’re going to be a running team or a passing team, but I believe that the core of what we believe in as coaches is you have to be able to control the line of scrimmage. That’s both in the run and the pass and you have to be able to run the ball at the point in the game when you have to do that.”
 
On not being one of Turner’s best games:
“We’re not just talking about RB Michael Turner. We’re talking about our running game. We’re not running the ball as efficiently as we’d like to. We did make strides in the game last night when we were in our four minute drill when we had to run the football.”
 
On the strides the defense made:
“I think we had a very good game plan. Coach Nolan and his staff did an outstanding job in preparing our guys during the week. We wanted to try and disguise our coverages and our fronts. It’s something that we’ve been working on all through the offseason. We did a very good job and when the opportunity arose to make plays on the ball in the air. We created three interceptions and the one fumble recovery. Our third down efficiency improved, and that was something that we were not very efficient at in the first ball game as well. I think we made some strides, but again, when we get an opportunity to really study and watch this tape we’re going to see that we left a lot of plays out there. On the defensive side of the ball, we’re giving up too many rushing yards right now for our liking. We’ve got to be able to line up and stop the run when people are going to try and run the football. They were effective running the football in the game last night. That was their answer to the disguise in the looks we were showing them.”
 
On the offensive line:
“I think our o-line is pass-protecting extremely well. I think T Sam Baker is as healthy as he’s ever been. T Tyson Clabo was very good in pass protection last night. Both of those guys, they had a tough draw. Those two guys that they bring off the edge are outstanding pass rushers. For the most part, we felt like we neutralized them. It is a group effort when you pass protect. You’ve got to be on the same page. I think that both [QB] Matt [Ryan] and mud duck [C Todd McClure] are doing a nice job in terms of their communication in identifying the fronts and identifying where we have to turn our protection based on the looks we were seeing.”
 
On CB Robert McClain:
“Robert McClain is a guy that’s very feisty. I think you saw that in the preseason. Every time he’s gone out on the field, he’s made something happen. He did that again last night. He got in for a couple snaps and had the nice interception and nice return. He’s a guy that has played a little bit in this League, but doesn’t have a whole lot of experience. His role is probably going to change some this week because of his play and because of other circumstances with our defensive group.”
 
On what it says about losing a player like CB Brent Grimes and people stepping up behind him:
“I think it says we’ve done a great job in our preparation as individuals and as a team. We talk about it all the time. We have defined roles on our football team when we start the season, but everybody must understand those roles can change just like that. When the backup player has to go in the ball game everybody on that sideline is expecting that guy to go and perform like the guy he replaced. Everybody in the stands is expecting that as well, and I think our guys have a very good understanding of that. I think it stems from the way the guys are coached, I think it stems from the camaraderie that they have and there’s competition in they’re all fighting for the same job here when we have 85 guys. They know that if they get their opportunity, they want to go out and do their best.”
 
On McClain’s role changing:
“When I say his role is going to change, he’s coming onto the 46-man roster. Last week, he came onto it. He wasn’t on it and came onto the 46 man roster and had some play time. Now, he’s going to definitely be a guy that’s in the mix in our different personnel packages that we will be putting in this week. Dominique [Franks] went in and played the nickel. I thought he did a nice job inside there. As you guys saw, we showed a lot of different personnel groupings defensively in the first two ball games. Different guys in different locations and Robert’s role is going to change simply because there is one less DB that is going to be out there.”
 
On defensive line rotation:
“We had to limit that a little bit because of the way they run their no huddle. We didn’t want to get caught. QB Peyton Manning is a guy that if he sees your substituting, he’ll get up to the line real quick and try and catch you with 12 or 13 guys on the field, so there were only certain times we could rotate in a no huddle drive. Basically, when we put a guy out there, we put him out there for that drive. We didn’t have the capabilities to be running guys in and out like we normally do when the team is huddling. There wasn’t a whole lot of changes when they were in the no huddle mode because if we would’ve tried to run a guy out there, Peyton would’ve run up to the line of scrimmage and catch us with 12 men on the field. It’s something he’s done for years.”
 
On being more concerned with what happened with Turner this morning or that he hasn’t been producing like he normally does:
“You can’t speculate on that at all. Again, we’re very disappointed anytime a player sheds a negative light on our football team and organization. I can’t say any more than that.”
 
On whether Turner will be playing next week:
“Again, there are certain parameters that are set in place by the collective bargaining agreement which is between the NFL and the NFLPA. Those guidelines will be followed in terms of what we can and cannot do. If there is going to be any internal discipline, than that it will stay internal. That will be the conversation that we have with Michael and the conversations that we’ve already had this morning.”
 
On what the internal penalties are:
“I don’t want to discuss the options that we have. Again, it’s collectively bargained between the NFL and the NFLPA. It’s a legal matter. It’s got to run its course and it will. I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to talk anymore about it.”
 
On the keys to getting ready for San Diego during this short week:
“We have to get guys healthy. That was a very physical football game. We got a lot of guys that are banged up. I know you’re all are wondering about the injury report. I’ll give you a little tidbit from last night’s game. CB Chris Owens is in the concussion protocol. He’s starts that protocol today. On a short week, that limits the time frame in terms of getting him back. Can’t rule him completely out, but he is in the concussion protocol. We have a number of guys that we will be limiting in practice this week. Not necessarily because of a major injury. They’ll be able to play, but we want to make sure we get as much rest as we can. This is a very short week. We’ll be changing our practice schedule, not necessarily the time, what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. We will not be in a padded practice tomorrow and we want to get these guys recovered and fresh as possible. That was a very physical football game last night that was way too long and ended way too early in the morning. We got out of there way too early in the morning.”
 
On the keys to success on trips out West:
“We’ve been very fortunate since we’ve been here to go out to the West Coast and come back with the outcome that we were shooting for. I think a lot of it has to do with how we lay it out to the players what our schedule is going to be and how we’re going to approach it. We have a certain approach when we travel to the West Coast where we will change up our practices during the week a little bit. We’ll leave on Friday and actually have a walk through out on the west coast. We try and keep our body on an East Coast time the whole time we’re out there. It’s worked for us. It’s something that I learned from Brian Billick. We had good results then and we’ve had good results thus far when we make that West Coast trip.”
 
On QB Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers:
“San Diego is playing very good football. I think Philip Rivers is number 5 in terms of passer rating right now. He’s throwing the ball extremely well and not throwing a whole lot of interceptions. I think he’s only thrown one. Their defense is outstanding. I think they’ve only given up 83 or 85 yards rushing in two games. They do a nice job. They do a nice job with third down efficiency. It’s going ot be a big challenge for our team. They’re playing with a lot of confidence and they had a real efficient game last week. They started very, very fast and before you knew it the game was in catch up mode for Tennessee Titans. I’ve been very impressed with the film that I watched yesterday morning as I waited for the kickoff at 8:30 last night.”
 
On the correlation of playing nickel and the Broncos being successful running the ball:
“When you’re playing a team that’s going to change at the line of scrimmage he’s definitely looking for a numbers advantage or a scheme advantage. When you do play nickel you’re playing with five defensive backs and you’re often playing with pass rushers more than run defenders up front. That has something to do with it, but we haven’t defended the run as well as we need to. We’ve got to continue to work at. I really like the things that we’re doing defensively. We like the way the guys have bought in with how we’re trying to work our disguises. It’s something that we have to get better at and that’s stopping the run. At some point in time this year, even though this is a passing league and it’s moreso you see it each and every week with the numbers that people are putting up, you’re going to have to stop the run. When people are going to run the football on you’ve got to be able to stop it and that’s something we’ve got to address.”