How do you think it went these last two days? It looked like you had some nice throws today in the red zone drill.
“Yeah, it’s been great. Any time you can have joint practices with an organization like the Broncos, a great team like the Broncos, it’s mutually beneficial for both teams. We got a lot of great work in, a lot of long practices, a lot of good work for our offense against a great defense. There’s been nothing but positives that come from it.”
You mentioned getting work against a great team. Are there benefits to that in terms of you guys being kind of a young team, things that you can learn from--?
“Yeah. It helps the young guys elevate the level of play. It helps everybody kind of rise to the occasion. They’re the reigning Super Bowl champs. So, you want to come out here and compete against the best and I think we did that pretty well the last two days.”
Did you feel pretty good about that red zone period?
“Yeah, we were clicking. I think we missed maybe one throw, but for the most part, the guys were running hard, the offensive line did a tremendous job blocking that front seven and just delivered the ball on time. The guys made some plays.”
You mentioned young guys. Are you seeing progress from some of those young wide receivers? I’m talking about the rookies and the first-year guys. Anybody kind of stepping up?
“Yeah. The guy that’s really stood out the last couple of days with [WR] Bruce [Ellington] being out is [WR] DeAndrew White. He’s had to take a lot of reps. Him and [WR] Bryce [Treggs], especially in the slot. They’ve been running their tails off. It’s been tough work for them. But, for guys like that, it’s the experience going against the ones, the twos, it’s invaluable. The more reps they get, the more comfortable the get in this system, it’s just going to help them in the long run. They’re doing a tremendous job.”
I know it’s not up to you, but would you like to get more reps on Saturday night than you did last week?
“I think the more reps you get in a game, the more comfortable you’re going to get. You’re going to get into a rhythm. I think we only played six or seven minutes and that’s pretty typical for the first game. There’s some ups and downs, but we scored a touchdown. That’s what we wanted to get out of it. We’ll see how this week goes. I don’t know what the playing time is going to be like. [Head coach Chip Kelly] Coach will decide that here later this week. But, it’s a game. Whenever we’re out there, we’re playing our tails off until he tells us to come out.”
Are you encouraged about where the running game is right now?
“Yeah. It’s pretty good. Yeah. I think we had 160 yards in the first half last week. Had some big runs today. It’s really tough in practice to see kind of how the runs hit because safeties aren’t forced to make tackles, linebackers kind of just say they tackled a back but in a game, those are arm tackles. But, our running game, the offensive line, the running backs, are doing a great job of opening up holes.”
Does it help to have a complement of different types of backs?
“Yeah, all our backs are running hard. [RB] Carlos [Hyde], [RB] Mike [Davis], [RB] Kelvin [Taylor], [RB] Shaun Draughn, [RB] Kendall Gaskins, these guys get downhill and they’re not slight backs. They pack a punch when they get hit. Anytime you can break a tackle or two and get five extra yards, that’s the difference between a couple first downs a game.”
Going to the Denver perspective and you opened up talking about playing against the Super Bowl champs. This defense is hopefully picking up for Denver fans right where they left off. Did it look like that’s where they are?
“They’re a quality team. Just the type of players that they have. The way they play the game. They play their scheme extremely well. They complement each other and like I said, it was a great challenge for us to come out here and get some work in versus those guys because they are a good group. We saw that last year and I think we stacked up pretty well against them.”
What’s your history with QB Christian Ponder and your thoughts on him joining with the group?
“It’s great to have him in the quarterback room. We’ve been friends for a while. We trained together coming out in the draft in 2011. So, he’s a good bud. It’s good to have him in the room. Familiar face and it’s going to be fun working with him.”
Obviously, he’s taken a serious crash course here in this offense. Have you been able to help him along?
“Yeah, it’s a crash course for sure. He got here and then the next day, he’s practicing versus the Broncos. But, it’s fun. You’re learning on the fly. It’s kind of trial by fire. He’s been doing a great job picking up, trying to just simplify it for him, letting him study a couple plays here and there and just kind of get the basics down.”
Have you been able to stay in touch with him through the years a little bit?
“Yeah, back and forth, especially early on in our careers and just kind of time goes by and you lose contact. But, we’ve always been buds and like I said, it’s great to have him here in the quarterback room.”
I’m sure you guys are through the install at this point. Just how do you think everybody’s kind of grasped the offense at this point?
“They’re doing a great job. The install’s really never over, but it’s a week-to-week thing. We’re always kind of doctoring plays, installing new plays based on certain looks we get throughout the year. So, every week, you’re going to have a few plays that are installed specifically for that defensive scheme. So, with that being said, you’ve still got to be solid on all the previous installs. You can never forget the basic plays because when you’re installing new plays, you just can’t forget the ones you installed first. So, it’s kind of that constant staying on top of the old plays and diagnosing and getting ready for the new ones.”