Q. In the general course of doing business over an in-season week, how many times do you address the team as a whole?**
A. Probably five. The schedule is very regimented.
Q. What is the general subject matter of each?
A. There is usually a game review session, where we review our last performance. There's usually an introductory session to the next opponent – who and what they are, what I believe to be the critical matchups to the game, whether it be the physical matchups or schematic matchups, the things we feel are going to be pivotal in that regard. It's a general foundation of how we're going to attack them in all phases of the game. The next day is a focus on the special teams matchup, the significant elements of it, our personality going into it, things we anticipate, how special teams can be a positive contributor to our efforts. The next one is about situational football in all three phases, the things we need to do on third downs, short yardage, goal line, red zone, sudden-change. How all phases of our team work together in elements of ball like that. The last time is the night before the game when I wrap a bow around the week in some form or fashion. Sometimes that one is light-hearted, and sometimes it's not. Really I try to not have any preconceived notions about how that meeting needs to unfold, and I just let it come to me and fall in my lap by watching how we've grown over the course of the week in preparation.
Q. With the exception of the night before the game, are all of those other sessions held at the start of their day?
A. Generally for me, it does start the day, but it doesn't necessarily mean it's the players' first business function of the day. They have weight training, and taking care of their bodies, and special teams meetings. It's not the first thing that occurs for them when they come into the building. They have a lot of personal and individual things to ready their minds and bodies for the day's work that they go through. I give a lot of latitude positionally to meet as they see fit as well. I know our defensive backs are an early morning group, and they like to have an extra meeting in the morning to get a jump on the day. So they'll meet with Carnell Lake, their position coach, and they'll get a preview of what's going on that day. Then when they get introduced to things with everybody else, it's like the second time they've heard it. They like that. That works for them. Some other groups meet after practice to search for the winning edge. There are a lot of things that go on around here, and I'm not necessarily the first person they always see in a professional capacity on a business day.
Q. Would any of these sessions when you address the entire team be considered "pep talks?"**
A. I try to be what the team needs me to be. Any of them and all of them are capable of being that, if I think that's what they need.
Q. Where is this team in that respect? Is it a confident group? One that needs to be petted a little bit, kicked in the butt, what?
A. They understand where we are. I don't talk a lot about where we are and what needs to transpire because I sense they understand it. And their work reflects that. So we just spend a lot of time talking about the formal things we need to talk about that are going to help us beat Denver. Every group is different. Every group evolves differently. Watching this group evolve, I think less is more at this juncture. I think we have good veteran leadership, and I think those leaders do a great job of getting out in front of things that maybe somebody in my position would feel he needs to address. I watch veteran guys address it and own it and get in front of it. That's good to see.
Q. Are there topics you feel are better addressed by you, as opposed to a position coach or a coordinator or a teammate?
A. I believe there are things I need to address, but that doesn't preclude anybody else from addressing it. I wouldn't tell somebody not to address something because I intend to address that same thing. I think some of those things are best dealt with by hearing from multiple places and multiple sources. That's my mentality. I'm always one to address the elephant in the room, but I never tell others not to. And that's OK with me. It's great to hear the same message being delivered from different areas, if it's significant enough to be delivered.
Q. What does it say about this team that you have a nine-game winning streak in December?**
A. That we're capable of recognizing the urgency of moments. That these guys are competitors and they embrace what defines competitors. I like the fact we have a group that doesn't shrink when the kitchen gets hot, a group that's going to fight, a group that's not going to live in its fears. I think all of those things get an opportunity to reveal themselves in December.
Q. How has the Broncos defense attained a level where it now is ranked No. 1 in the NFL in seven different categories?
A. By a dominant rush, and combining it with a dominant coverage group. When you get both components you have an opportunity to do some special things. We've experienced that ourselves here in the past, and they're doing it right now so you tip your cap to them.