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28 September 2016

Transcript: Denver Broncos Conference Calls with Tampa Bay Media (9/28/16)

HEAD COACH GARY KUBIAK
 
(On Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian having early success)
“He’s handled himself really well. He’s obviously very young and this will be his fourth time out as a pro. That’s not many games in this league. I think the good thing is he knows he’s on a good football team and tries to stay within himself and do his job. I think he’s learning week-to-week. He’s made some mistakes with the ball, he’s come back and corrected those things. We’ve got a long way to go, but he continues to work at his trade each and every day and [is] trying to get better each and every day.”
 
(On the Broncos run defense)
“We’ve struggled with the run. The good news is we were able to get it stopped last week in the second half – it was the difference in the game. We’ve given up some big plays in the run game, which is unusual for us, compared to last year. It’s something we’ve got to continue to work on. One thing about this league – it’s always something. Everything is not perfect and there’s always things that you’ve got to go correct and give yourself a chance to get better. That’s one that we need to definitely concentrate on.”
 
(On building a winning culture)
“This is a tough league. You’ve got 32 organizations. Everybody puts in the work and grinds at this thing. It’s a very, very difficult league. I think what you’re always looking for is consistency – consistency in your preparation, consistency in your approach from the top down. I think that’s what you’re looking for as an organization because it is just such a fine line in this league. I think Coach Koetter is doing an excellent job over there with the football team. I’m sitting there watching this very talented football team. I’m very impressed with the job that he’s doing. Coach [Mike] Smith, tremendous respect [from] us. I think we all understand how hard it is to be successful in this league and we’re all trying to get there.”
 
(On Buccaneers linebacker Daryl Smith, who Kubiak worked with in Baltimore)
“I tell you what, he’s the man. Tell him I say hello. I have so much respect for him. Obviously, he ran the show for us in Baltimore. I only got to be around ‘T-Buck’ one year and I’ve got such respect for him. He’s a big, physical player. Brilliant, smart, diagnosing things and knowing what’s going on. He’s been doing it a long, long time. I’ve got a ton of respect for him. Tell him I said hello.”
 
(On playing at sea level after practicing at an altitude)
“I don’t know. I don’t get into that too much. We’ve got to play somewhere every week. We know it’s going to be warm, we’ve had a couple of warm games here the last two weeks. One of the things that we do here is we really try to stay focused on our preparation. We stay focused on ourselves. We don’t get too tied up in weather or who we’re playing or where we’re playing. We just try to stay focused on doing our job and playing well. That’s where I try to keep it focused.”
 
(On if he is ever intimidated by the legacy of Broncos Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager John Elway)
“It’s not intimidating. You’ve got to remember, I was his roommate [laughter]. He’s a buddy of mine. It’s about respect. Obviously for me as a coach, to walk in and talk football with him or talk about our team with him, I need to listen, because nobody knows the game better, nobody knows people better than him. His success speaks for itself. John is a very good friend of mine, but when it comes to business, we go to work and try to do the best thing that we can for the Denver Broncos.”
 
(On Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and the Buccaneers defense)
“He’s playing really well. He’s capable of wrecking a football game inside. He’s very difficult to handle. The thing that I’ve been impressed with [is that] a lot of their sacks are coming from a lot of places. I think they’ve got five different people with sacks this year. They get after you. You’ve got some very smart players, the linebackers can really run, very talented on the back end, plus the first round pick this year. You’ve got your hands full. If you don’t’ handle the front, you’re not going to be able to do many things. Obviously he leads the way there.”
 
(On Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib)
“I’ve only been around Aqib now for a little over a year, but his preparation – Aqib’s a bright player. He understands routes, he understands splits, he understands concepts, he’s very bright in what he does. When you’re that bright, it allows you to jump some plays, to cheat, to do some things that maybe all ‘DBs’ [defensive backs] don’t do. He works really hard at his trade. Very proud of him and how he goes about his business. He holds everybody accountable – and himself. That’s all you can ask as a coach.”
 
(On if giving a quarterback time allows them to throw it where they’d like)
“First off, you’ve got to throw it where the defense tells you to throw it. You’ve got to attack the defense. You just can’t throw it where you want to, it doesn’t work that way. It’s about attacking defenses – you know, schemes and doing your job. If you don’t get protected, you’re not going to get a chance to do your job. It’s about the team, in my opinion. It’s not about one player.”
 
(On if the Broncos have been able to open up the playbook for Siemian after his early success)
“One of his strengths is handling a lot of information. We’re still really young as a group. We’re young up front. We’ve got some young guys, some new guys up front. We’ve got a young fullback and tight end situation. We’ve got some things going on with our team where Trevor’s not the only new guy or young guy with the group, so we’ve got to do what’s best for our group, bring him along the right way. But he’s handling himself well and he’s been able to handle the unit well. Just day-to-day, trying to get better day-to-day.”
 
(On what jumps out to him about Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston)
“I think confidence is what jumps to me. As many times as they’re throwing the ball, that’s confidence in his decision-making and his ability to make plays. When things break down, he’s obviously very dangerous [at] extending plays and those type of things. For a young player who’s going into year two, obviously the progress he’s made and the numbers he’s able to put up on Sunday is something that we’ve got to deal with this weekend, so we respect that.”
 
CORNERBACK AQIB TALIB
 
(On if he thought about being a potential Hall of Fame player when he started his career)
“When I started my career, I always kind of set smaller goals for myself. First I wanted to be a starter in the league, then I want to make a Pro Bowl, then All-Pro and win a Super Bowl, things like that. As you complete some of those goals, then you start to think about Hall of Fame and stuff. Later in my career, I started to think about it.”
 
(On if he knew that he was among elite company after he returned his ninth career interception for a touchdown against Indianapolis in Week 2)
“Definitely. It’s hard not to be aware of stuff like that. You pay attention to what you do in the league, what you are considered in the league. I’m definitely aware of the numbers that I’ve put up.”
 
(On if Sunday’s game will be his first time returning to Tampa since being traded by the Buccaneers in 2012)
“This will be my first time back in Tampa since selling my house – since really leaving. I got traded – of course I came back the year that I got traded, I was back and forth. But this will definitely be my first time back in Tampa since leaving.”
 
(On how much his life has changed since he left Tampa)
“The biggest thing that’s changed is that I’m 30 years old now. I’m a lot older, a lot more mature, a lot more professional, I would say. It’s simply football with me and now I’m married. So I’d say that’s the biggest thing. The biggest difference is I’m a lot older.”
 
(On the significance of having his career turn out the way it has)
“It means a lot, just to be accomplishing goals in football, to be a Super Bowl champ, to tie [Hall of Fame cornerback] Deion Sanders in interceptions [returned] for touchdowns – it’s a blessing to be successful in the game that I love.”
 
(On becoming a Super Bowl champion and playing for successful organizations in New England and Denver)
“I think it starts at the top of the organization. From the top, just treating your organization like it’s first-class, from the way we travel, to the food we eat, to the massage, the ART people that we have – in-house chiropractors and in-house massage therapists and things like that. I think it starts like that and then it trickles down to the players. It’s having the right veteran group of guys who are going to coach on the field – like player-coaches. Having the right group of player-coaches. I think the Broncos and the Patriots definitely did a good job of having the veteran leadership in their building.”
 
(On Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans)
“He’s a talented guy. Big, fast, he goes in that ‘Calvin Johnson category, that Julio Jones’ category. The big, fast guys [with] the big catch radius. His quarterback definitely trusts him. His quarterback gives him opportunities to make plays.”
 
(On Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston’s rookie season)
“I thought he had a great year. He slowed down last year, but I think he had a great year last year. For a rookie, he came out and showed great confidence. I think that’s the thing that jumps off of the tape when you talk about Jameis, is his confidence. You watch his interviews, the guy is confident. You can tell [from] the throws he makes in the game that the guy is confident in his players and he’s confident in his own arm.”
 
(On if he is surprised that Broncos first-year quarterback Trevor Siemian has had so much success early in his career)
“I am. I won’t lie to you – I am surprised because I know how hard this league can be. If you see the way that Trevor goes about his day, he’s just always calm, cool and collected. He’s the same way in the game. You see he’s just getting better and better every game. I am surprised. I know how quarterbacks – young quarterbacks at that – can struggle in this league. I think he’s taking steps forward instead of taking steps back.”
 
(On what makes Mike Evans a special player)
“With receivers, there are some guys where you either have this huge catch radius or you don’t. There’s nothing you can learn in the NFL. If you go watch Evans’ tape from seventh or eighth grade, I bet he’s doing the same thing, catching jump balls, running past people, catching deep balls. It’s just that catch radius that makes him special.”
 
(On if he gets more excited to play against big, physical receivers like Evans)
“I’m going to get amped up for any game. The offseason and things that I’ve been through, if I can get a chance to line up on the field, in front of 70,000 [fans in the stadium] – who knows how many millions watching at home – it doesn’t matter what receiver is across from me. I’m going to be pretty amped up for that because I’m getting the chance to play the game that I love.”
 
(On how scary his off-field injury was this offseason)
“It was scary, definitely scary. The unknown time when I didn’t know what was going to happen, if I was going to walk. That definitely was a scary situation. The whole time I was praying and praying and praying. God blessed me.”
 
(On if he feels 100 percent recovered from his injury)
“I definitely feel 100 percent now. I was getting better and better every week. Last week I definitely felt an extra bounce in my step. Late in that fourth quarter I still felt like I had great legs. That was a good sign of me getting my legs back up under me.”
 
(On what advice he would give his younger self)
“I would tell my younger self to start early. Don’t wait until year four or year five to start watching the film and start really being a professional football player. Start early and who knows where I could be today if would have started early?”
 
(On if he pays attention to the NFL record for most interceptions returned for a touchdown)
“I’m just out here trying to make plays, trying to get the interception. Of course if I get an interception, I’m trying to score. Not necessarily focused on the record, but just focused on making plays to help our team get a win.”
                                                                                                                       
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