(AJC Staff Michael Cunningham attended the coordinators’ press conference for us on Wednesday and gathered the quotes for this blog. It was my 20th wedding anniversary and well, I thought I’d better take the Queen out and celebrate. –dol)
FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter will be in a battle of wits with his former boss Jack Del Rio on Monday.
Del Rio, the former head coach in Jacksonville, is currently in his first season as Denver’s defensive coordinator.
“I will always have part of me that holds — Jack gave me my first opportunity in the NFL— so I will always be indebted to him for that,” Koetter said. “But this is a players’ game and we are both in new situations. We are both trying to earn our way with new teams. It’s nothing more than that.”
In this preview of Denver, the Falcons coordinators – Koetter, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong — break down the Broncos’ offense, defense and special teams. We don’t get into Peyton Manning too much here because the great Steve Hummer is working on a big Sunday story on that subject.
LDE Derek Wolfe, Malik Jackson
LDT Keith Vickerson, Sealver Siliga
RDT Justin Bannan, Mitch Unrein
RDE Elvis Dumervil, Robert Ayers
WLB Wesley Woodyard, Keith Brooking, Danny Trevathan
MLB Joe Mays, Steven Johnson
SLB Von Miller, Nate Irving
CB Champ Bailey, Tony Carter
SS Mike Adams, Quinton Carter, David Bruton
FS Rahim Moore, Jim Leonhard
CB Tracy Porter, Chris Harris, Omar Bolden
KOETTER ON STOPPING VON MILLER: Denver actually has two really good speed rushers in [Elvis] Dumervil on one side and Von Miller on the other. Every team would love to have two pass rushers like that. I think [they had] a little over 20 sacks between the two of them. That’s going to be one of our issues. Every week in the NFL there is a new set of issues and that’s one of our big issues for this week. You’ve got to rise up to whatever challenge is out there and that’s definitely a big one.
ON FACING TWO SEASON CORNERS IN CHAMP BAILEY AND TRACY PORTER: Champ Bailey’s career speaks for itself. That guy is the ultimate pro. Our coaches and players have a ton of respect for him and we will be trying to beat him on Monday night. Porter is a guy our guys are familiar with from his time with the Saints. He had a big play last week against Pittsburgh. He’s got a knack for making big plays. We have definitely got to neutralize that. I know our guys will be eager for the challenge.
WR Demaryius Thomas, Matt Willis
TE Joel Dreessen, Jacob Tamme, Julius Thomas
LT Ryan Clady, Chris Clark
LG Zane Beadles, Philip Blake
C J.D. Walton, Dan Koppen
RG Chris Kuper, Manny Ramirez
RT Orlando Franklin, Chris Clark
WR Eric Decker, Brandon Stokley, Andre Caldwell
QB Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler, Caleb Hanie
FB Chris Gronkowski
RB Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno, Lance Ball, Ronnie Hillman
NOLAN ON HOW WR DEMARYIUS THOMAS HAS DEVELOPED: Well, last year that catch he made against Pittsburgh and then this year he did it again. I think that last year that play really sparked him, though. Because last year during the season they didn’t really have much of a passing attack because Tim [Tebow] was running the ball a lot. But that game, I think kind of inspired him to bigger things because the other night in the game [against Pittsburgh] he played extremely well. He’s a very good player. I think early on in his career he didn’t play as much or wasn’t noticed as much. But he is a talented guy that I think under Peyton [Manning] is really coming on. And obviously Peyton is feeding him the ball and that’s the real key. I know this much about Peyton, if you don’t do the right thing he’s not going to throw you the ball. The fact that he’s gotten the ball let’s you know he is doing his homework.
NOLAN ON HOW THEY ARE USING FULLBACK CHRIS GRONKOWSKI: Thus far he’s been a lead blocker. He didn’t get a lot of snaps the other day. I don’t know if that’s their base approach is to have a fullback in the game but they do it, they go to him and they use him. So it’s part of their attack.
NOLAN ON HOW MANNING IS USING HIS TIGHT ENDS: [Joel] Dreessen is in there quite a bit, as is [Jacob] Tamme. They are in there a lot. They are actually more of a 12 personnel [1 back, 2 tight ends] team than an 11 personnel [1 back, 1 tight end] team but they make the 12 look like 11 because Tamme is a very athletic guy that has got really good hands. I would imagine the quarterback has a lot of trust and confidence in him. I think he was at Indy with him before. So they have some history. The tight ends are used quite a bit.
PK Matt Prater
P Britton Colquitt
H Britton Colquitt
PR Jim Leonhard, Eric Decker
KR Omar Bolden ,Andre Caldwell
LS Aaron Brewer
ARMSTRONG ON DRIVE STARTS VS. MANNING: You are talking about drive starts in particular, drive starts you don’t want the ball outside that 25-yard line which is our goal is to make as many plays as we can inside the 25. Most people will bring it out. You still have to cover so it will be a major factor, both that and punt cover. They’ve got some good players, obviously, guys that can run and hit. We need to be at the top of our game in particular with the coverage because that does start the series the correct way.
ON IN KICKOFF RETURNER OMAR BOLDEN IS DANGEROUS: He sure is. He does a nice job. He had the 103-yard return for a touchdown against Arizona on a “break it” so to speak, bounce play to the [open] field. He’s very fast. They are getting a lot of mileage out of him because he’s playing well at gunner, as well.
ON THEIR COVERAGE UNITS: The [David] Bruton kid is playing well as both a [personal protector] for them, the kid from Notre Dame. He can really run for them. He’s been a fast five for them on kickoff coverage. Those two are both penetrators, 30 and 31, people we need to be aware of and take them out of the game.
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