Denver coach Josh McDaniels spoke at the NFL owners meetings Tuesday.
Among the most interesting topics he addressed: restricted free agent Brandon Marshall, and his quarterback situation with Kyle Orton and new backup by Brady Quinn. Here is some of what McDaniels had to say.
On WR Brandon Marshall
“I think you take all of your players that you feel like are part of your team — and I do feel like he’s a big part of our team — and we’re going to plan that way. I think we’re not naïve to the fact that something could change and if that happens we have to make decisions and we have plans for those. Some of those things we can’t control and if we spend too much time right now focusing on what might happen and what might not happen then I think our focus is kind of distracted from where it needs to be, which is trying to have a great offseason program. That’s been our focus now since a week ago, on Monday, and (we) are really trying to improve our team any way we can over in the weight room — with our conditioning program, our lifting program — and let that be the focus right now. Ultimately when football kind of picks up a little bit in May in terms of our players being there and scheme and all that stuff then we have to worry about how we have to adjust. To me it’s no different than having a player and then all of a sudden he has an injury. You have to deal with that. There is nothing you can do about that. You can’t predict those, you can’t control them. All you can do is adapt to what you do have and try to play to the strengths of your players that are there.”
On if he has spoken with Marshall
“I reached out to Brandon at the Pro Bowl and exchanged a message with him there. I’m not in a hurry to do that.”
On if he talked to QB Kyle Orton about acquiring QB Brady Quinn
“I talked to him right then and I told him this is a competitive thing as far as adding competition to any spot on our football team that we could. This had nothing negative to do with Kyle Orton. We are just trying to improve the competition at every spot. To me, our conversation was quick, and to me, he embraced the concept of competing with another player. I don’t think any player would shy away from that. Certainly, I think that our quarterback room is young and competitive and I think that is a good thing for our football team.”
On what he told QB Brady Quinn about his role
“I told him the same thing we tell every player which is ‘You’ve got to create your own role. What you do on the field, what you do with your opportunities — that’s what’s going to tell us what we need to know and then your role will be created from there.’ That’s the same thing we tell every player. No different.”
On QB Brady Quinn’s familiarity with the Broncos’ offensive system after playing for Charlie Weis at Notre Dame
“I think that’s something that will benefit him now that he’s here. I haven’t had any conversations with (Kansas City Offensive Coordinator) Charlie (Weis) about Brady. I didn’t four years ago and I didn’t again this year. It’s not something that we have kind of been pursuing or anything like that. I think obviously the connection there is that anytime you get a player that knows — I don’t know what percentage, but let’s just say 80 percent of your terminology — that obviously is going to give him a little bit of an edge in terms of catching up. Last year was a lot of teaching. Hopefully he can have an opportunity to do a little less (learning) because he knows the terms and those kinds of things. I think he can get in there and try to compete and make our whole football team better. That’s a good thing for him. We talked to a lot of people at the (Scouting) Combine, obviously, and I saw (Notre Dame QB) Jimmy Clausen and I threw out a term to him and he had a big smile on his face... It’s the same language, so it’s just something that hopefully he will feel comfortable with. I‘ve already talked to him about a lot of things like that and I think he does. I think he’s excited to be able to try to do that without learning a whole new playbook all over again and try to go in there and do the things that he needs to do to compete.”
On if it was easier to evaluate Brady Quinn because of his familiarity with the system
There are also some things that he was doing in Cleveland — since (Cleveland Offensive Coordinator) Brian (Daboll) was there — that we do as well. There are plenty of things that they do in Cleveland that we don't do and vice versa. I don't know if it is easier to evaluate. I think you evaluate the player based on the opportunities he has to succeed and say ‘Alright was this his fault or was it someone else’s fault? Was it a scheme thing? What was the difference he could have made on the play?’ Anytime you are looking at a player, I think you have to try and isolate him and see what he could have done better and see what he could have done to affect the play in a positive or negative fashion. Like I said, I think it is our job as coaches to take a player and put them into our system and then make them better players. What he has done before statistically and all that stuff, I don't really care about that. I am focused on what he can do and try and make him do those things more consistently and that is our focus and that is our attitude with every one of our players. What did (DL) Jamal Williams do well? Well we are going to try and do that as well as we can and as much as we can and try to get him to improve as well. It is the same thing with all of our players; I think the familiarity with terms is just going to be a comfort thing for a quarterback, so that will help him. But I think that is the focus for the entire team, is to try and improve the competition and hopefully he can do that.”
On how similar the Broncos’ offense is to QB Brady Quinn’s at Notre Dame
“In talking to him a few times, he certainly knows the base of our offense. The terminology is, I would say, very close. Not exactly the same. Our offense has evolved since (former Notre Dame head coach) Charlie (Weis) left in 2004. Charlie’s offense, I’m sure, evolved in a different way. We weren’t together. Not that it veered off path significantly, but I think the basis of the terminology, he probably knows 85 percent of the terms and the words we use and the routes and all those different kinds of things. He was coached by the guy that really taught me. I think that’s something that’s going to be a positive for Brady. I don’t think it’s going to feel like a fish out of water, certainly, in terms of knowing that system. Again, I think that’s why it’s a good fit for us, because I think that gives him an opportunity to really go in there and compete and see what he can do. I think that will make our entire quarterback room better.”