* *"After looking back on everything, we did good things in the running game yesterday, but we've got to continue with that, and some of the details of it can still be better, and really push hard at that.
"In the passing game, Andy (Dalton) did a good job a couple times avoiding pressure. We want to eliminate those pressures, and make sure at all times we don't put the ball at risk, being more exact on the perimeter and everybody understanding and being on the same page about how the route should develop, how it should apply to that coverage and the adjustments that need to be made within it. And allow Andy the opportunity to read it out and go through his progressions without having somebody in his face. We've got to shore those things up. He did a good job of avoiding it most times, but there's going to be an occasional pressure we know will happen, and things are not going to develop downfield the right way, but we want to make sure we don't put the ball at risk.
"Defensively, continue to harp hard and work hard at tackling, and really 11 guys fitting together. When 11 guys fit together, you have an opportunity to minimize gains.
"Special teams-wise, we didn't get many opportunities in the return game, but I thought (kick returner) Brandon Tate did a good job. He kind of muffed the last one there, but I thought he did a good job of fielding a couple short punts. He did a good job on the one return. We need to keep make sure the punt return continues to be an offensive play for us. When we force the opponent to punt, that we can continue to turn that to be an offensive play. In all kickoff coverage yesterday I thought we did a good job. Our guys played hard. They continue to do well at that, continue to get better at that. We've got to keep that up."
You mentioned the pressures. How much is the right tackle spot still a work in progress, trying to find the right fit?
* *"It's a little bit of everything. We want to continue to work at that. I thought Clint (Boling) stepped in and helped us the last two weeks, and we've got to continue to move forward."
How has Eric Winston looked since he has come in?
* *"Eric has really hit the ground running, and I've been impressed with how he's been able to fit in, and work to kind of fill in the blanks and get up to speed with some things pretty quickly."
Was that about as physical as your bigs up front have been?
* *"We did a good job. We made some adjustments on the move. All in all we were pleased with how they played and got on to people. You find something that's good, and you've got to continue to expand upon it and be good at it."
Is that kind of the identity you guys have had in the mind with the way this offense should look in December and January?
* *"It's part of it. It's half of it. We want to be just as efficient throwing it, too. The better you can run it, you ought to be able to be more efficient in the pass game."
How have you seen Jeremy Hill grow over the past few weeks?
* *"He did okay. He's got to hold onto the football though, or he'll find himself standing by me more often than he wants. We can't have the ball on the ground. That's important for anyone who's carrying the ball for us. Like we said with the quarterback, we don't want to put the ball at risk. Our offensive runners and receivers can't put the ball at risk."
Giovani Bernard came up with 100 scrimmage yards yesterday. Is he starting to get back to the form he was at before he got nicked up?
* *"Yeah, Gio did a good job yesterday. We'll continue to utilize both players."
Kevin Zeitler seemed to be doing a good job of pushing people around. Was that one of his best games yesterday?
* *"Kevin had a good football game yesterday. We've got the ability now on both sides to be able to move and run. We've been useful doing that. Kevin missed some time (due to injury) earlier in the season, but he's come back now."
Does it seem like he's now fully healthy and getting in a rhythm again?
* *"Yeah, and it's getting to be his kind of weather, too (Laughs)."
If the defense had any mental errors they were hard to find...
"We had some things that we needed to play better. The good thing is, the guys recognized right away within the series when there was an error that occurred, and they were able to come to the sideline and understand that if the same thing presented again, we needed to play it this way, and they all communicate and be on the same page. We've just got to keep taking steps forward that way. That's important. And obviously going forward this week, whether or not the Broncos are huddling or not huddling, we've got to play it that way."
You talked about how it was quiet before the game but guys were ready to play. The timing of the adrenaline rush was perfect...
"We had a workman's type attitude, and that's a good thing to have. It was led by the guys upfront. Both the offensive line and the defensive line led the way. And we need that to continue."
Where did that attitude come from?
"Well, I think we just know the urgency of where we are. That's the mature group of guys, and they're able to understand it, they're able to put their heads down, and go to work and everybody else get in sync with them."
Was there anything different about last week?
"No, not really. There's no reason to talk about it and jump around about it now. It is what it is."
How important was Ryan Hewitt yesterday?
"Ryan has been invaluable all season with his role. He continues to excel in everything he's given. Obviously yesterday he played the fullback, move guy and tight end at the line of scrimmage. And that's big for your offensive football team to be able to have a guy who can handle all three spots, to be interchangeable, whether it was with an offensive lineman, whether it was with Kevin Brock. Kevin was able to go to whatever position, based on who the other configuration was, and go execute his job, and know what to do, and do it without an error and do it pretty well."
The play-action was effective, Hewitt had a touchdown right there but the ball was just underthrown ...
"We've just got to get the ball up and down. That's important. That was again, another big play we left out there. We left some plays out there yesterday. You don't want to leave those things. That's what I mean, the detail and continue to work hard at making those plays. We're at the point of the year where those plays are so valuable to make, and they're such an important part of the game, and they sway momentum, and they sway field position and so we've got to make those plays."
You guys did a great job setting it up...
"When it's called and it's there, you don't want to have a foul ball, you know what I mean? That was an error. It wasn't a foul ball. When you have those kind of things -- we've run the play before, and you want to make sure you have the opportunity. For us, the way the defense unfolded it couldn't have worked out better for that particular play, and then we came up short on it."
Was there any chance Jermaine Gresham could have played yesterday?
"Well we put him through his paces before the game, and he just felt he was in too much pain to be able to stand it, and play out the whole football game or at least the major portion of it. He doesn't have anything debilitating, he just was in some pain. It just cropped up too late in the week to get it calmed down enough, so hopefully he'll be ready to go."
Is it too early to talk about Peyton Manning?
"I haven't watched much Peyton yet. I've spent more time watching the defense this morning."
Do you have to watch much? He is what he is, right?
"He is what he is. He's very, very good."
How big of a shift is it…..
(Laughs) "I knew this was coming."
…to go from the greenest of green quarterbacks to a Peyton Manning?
"It's going to be a big shift, safe to say. It's a challenge. He gets everyone's attention in this building right away. The player he is, how he carries himself, how he runs things on the field, it's going to be a great challenge for us. It's what it's supposed to be in December, just like this."
You mentioned watching the defense. What are some of the things they do against the run to be ranked No. 2?
"They're going to get eight guys up there and put pressure on the outside guys to make plays. They're going to do a good job there. With (Terrance) Knighton and some of the guys they have up front. Obviously with Von (Miller) and DeMarcus (Ware), they've got good outside pressure guys. But they're disruptive in the run game as well.
"People look at these guys as pass rushers, but they're also very disruptive in the run game with their athleticism and ability. Their inside linebackers, I will tell you they're all athletic, they play blocks well, they get on and off blocks very well. They're all kind of cut from the same mold. They've been that way with the way they've put the defense together there with John (Fox) and Jack (Del Rio), so it's impressive that way. They're going to make you earn things."
Is this one of those weeks where you can learn what your team can be in January, when you have an opponent like this on a stage like this with so much on the line?
"First we've got to get through this game before we have any opportunities in January. We've got to go have a great week of preparation, and go out and play great football come Monday night."
It's really a January game isn't it?
"We've got a couple of them. Three of them. Four of them. Add them. We're 1-1 now, so we've got to go."
It has been a playoff mentality, though, this entire month….
"It has been for the last seven weeks, or six weeks or however long it's been since Halloween, in our minds. We just have to keep it up. But again, preparation and how you go about it, and the confidence of knowing what to do and how to do it allows you to play fast. That's the most important thing, for us to play fast, play physical, play smart, do the things we've been talking about from the very onset of the season. That's what it's about."
Think you'll do anything different with a primetime game coming up as far as preparation goes?
"No, sir. Just plan on winning the game."