Englewood, Colorado – Denver Broncos’ Cornerback Chris Harris, Jr and Wide Receiver Emmanuel Sanders addressed the press today.
Right out of the gate Harris dropped an excitement bomb that has every fan grinning from ear to ear.
“We’re doing a lot of things that we have done in the past, but we’re kind of adding more wrinkles and taking it to another level. With [former Defensive Coordinator] Wade [Phillips] we were on Level 2 on a lot of things, but now we are on Level 3 on some coverages.”
If that wasn’t enough to get the heart racing he then added this:
“Hopefully I am blitzing more. Hopefully I get to get some more sacks like I did my first your years. I was very active in the run, getting sacks and playing the ball, so hopefully I’ll be able to do it all this year. I want to be active. I want to be able to show everything that I can do. I can blitz. I can cover. I can play zone and play man. I can do it all. I want to add everything to my game.”
Don’t know about y’all, but the press conference could’ve ended right there and I’d be in need of a cold shower. The defense is going to step up even more, he wants to get more physical and they’re going to expand what they do. Seriously, can it get any better?
“We’re able to handle that. I don’t think you ever have a secondary be able to play together—I think this our fourth year, third or fourth year together. To be able to have that chemistry right there, we can learn very fast together. That is a big plus.”
He thinks the addition of Defensive Backs Coach Marcus Robertson and Assistant Johnnie Lynch were a great additions to have because he’s seen them play so much as a former Raider coaches. Theyve already studied their film to show that team moving to Las Vegas how to do it right. The beauty of a secondary that has played together for a few years together is that their mental mistakes are less and they can keep learning new stuff. He pointed out that other teams can’t.
He wants the team and himself to improve and believes, “I think we cut 10 yards off [passing per game] of what we did Super Bowl year. If we can cut to 175 [yards], that would be amazing. I think it’s possible though. I’m not going to say that we can’t do that. I think our run defense is going to be so much better now. They’re going to have to throw the ball now. They’re going to have to throw to us, so I think that we’ll have more chances to get more picks too.”
He believes when it came to stopping the run, “We just didn’t have enough beef. We weren’t big enough. I think just adding those guys and adding that size. [NT Domata] Peko, he’s been a dog in this league for a while. To be able to add him and [DE] Zach [Kerr], I definitely believe—a lot of things that we’re doing with our fronts, how we’re changing it up a little bit, I think we’ll be able to stop the run a lot better.”
When asked about who he’s like in the draft, his answer, to me, was telling. I only know one running back in the top rounds who can run, catch and return. “I like play-makers. I want a play-maker on defense or offense, a guy that’s going to put up some points or a guy that’s going to change the game. We definitely need a guy that can play running back, receiver and returner. Any guy that can do that, I would definitely love him.”
He had some glowing things to say about Doss when asked about adding a CB, “I don’t know. I think [CB Lorenzo] Doss is ready. I think Doss is ready to take that next step. He’s been under us and learning. He came in and played solid when he got a chance last year. He got his hands on a couple balls and he’s a ball-rat. He is always around the football, even in training camp and things like that. I think Doss can definitely step up and be that fourth corner this year.”
On how he would gameplan against the Broncos’ offense
“Try to take away ‘D.T.’ (WR Demaryius Thomas) and ‘E fast’ (WR Emmanuel Sanders). Those are our top explosive receivers. I’d try to make our tight ends beat us and our running backs.”
On what makes him believe that the team can win with a quarterback competition ongoing
“We thought Trevor had a great year last year. He definitely had some ups and downs, but the dude played injured a lot. He took a lot of hits. For him to get back up and do [what he did], we see a lot of promise in him.
Paxton, it’s going to be a huge year for him to go from Year 1 to Year 2 and have two offensive coordinators. I think Mike McCoy’s offense will help him a lot more. Through his play style, I think it will help him a lot more. Paxton was in a spread offense and he comes right here and he there is no prototype offense like Kubiak’s. A lot of offenses in the league don’t even run Coach Kubiak’s offenses. He came in with a tough offense to learn, so I think Mike McCoy’s will be a lot more like he ran in college.”
Harris was upbeat on replacing the loss of DeMarcus Ware leadership because he said, “Our defense, we have tons of leaders. D-Ware is just the old guy. He was just the oldest one there (laughing). That is all it was. We have plenty of leaders. We’re still the same defense. We’re going to hold everyone to a high level, talk mess to the offense and talk mess to the receivers. The same mentality.”
I’m laughing, DWare is a BIG dude, hope he’s in Texas because he could squash Chris like a bug, haha. He believed that he had no choice but to retire because the injuries moutted and he picked the right time to leave when you can’t play 100%. In closing, he had some lofty goals and they’re sure to send shivers of delight.
“I want to keep getting All-Pro, keep stacking them. I know that if I am playing at an All-Pro level, our defense is playing [well]. That is really what it comes down to. If I’m playing bad, then I know we’re not winning a lot of games and we’re definitely not No. 1 in the pass defense. It definitely counts on me to play well with [CB] Aqib [Talib] and everybody else. The main thing is just stacking the All-Pros, that’s for sure.”
Emmanuel Sanders believes that McCoy’s offense will help him because in 2014 he had 1,400 yards, which was under Adam Gase and a similar style. He believes the offense can add juice by being on the same page, playing with a ‘swag’ and a confidence that nobody can shatter.
Sanders believes like most of us, he’d rather the quarterback ‘competition’ would come earlier than later, but trusts Elway and the staff will make the right decisions. He thinks it’ll be cool to see who the competition brings the best out in. He’s just worried about doing his job and being ready. As far as what he said about quarterback questions every year, we feel ya pain, E, we feel ya.
“I think both of them have what you look for. They both have the confidence, they both have a presence and they both can throw the ball. They can make every single throw: deep ball, short, out, all across the field. I think we’re sitting here right now in a good position with two guys that are hungry, that want to be starters and that want to be franchise quarterbacks that believe in themselves. With that said, all I can do is go out and handle my business. [We’ll] see how it all pans out. It’s crazy because it feels like every year it’s a question about the quarterback, the quarterback, the quarterback. Every year it’s the same answer. The best guy is going to show. Obviously we want a guy that can take us all the way to the Super Bowl and get us into the playoffs since we missed that last year. We’re going to see who that guy is.”
He stated that he, too has goals and let’s cheer he reaches them, “Obviously in a pass-happy offense I want to go 1,000 yards, Pro Bowl, All-Pro. Just the sky is the limit offensively. Last year I set it at 1,200 [yards], another pass-heavy offense. Hopefully I can get up there in the 1,400-1,500 range like I did in 2014. I’ll try and mimic that.”
On organizing a pass camp with the quarterbacks and receivers this offseason
“Paxton actually texted me and we’re going to try and get it done. Actually, we are going to get it done. It’s just about location. Obviously, I want to host all of the guys at my house in Houston. I know Demaryius is on board and everybody is on board. It’s just about booking the flights and getting it done. It would be both quarterbacks. We’re not going to divide it like that”
I’m going on record as saying having both quarterbacks defeats why quarterbacks have them. Why the leader of the pack, Peyton Manning, held them. He did it to tune everyone up, build timing and chemistry and have the guys with hands be in sync with one quarterback – him. I have no idea the purpose of doing it with two. That’s the problem with a ‘competition”, too many split reps and not enough time getting timing down. When Sanders broached this idea earlier, I thought the only person this helps, is E.
On how receiving a long-term contract last year affected him
“It helped a lot. One thing it gave me was financially stability and it cleared my mind. I wanted to be here. I was just ecstatic that I’m going to be a Bronco at least the next two or three years. Hopefully we can extend that longer than that. It definitely gave me a lot of clarity. It gave me a home. You have a home and you know where your home is, it helps a lot. That’s what it did for me.”
On what position he’d like the team to add in the NFL Draft
“I feel like we need help all around the board in terms of the offensive line—we can draft a tackle or someone. But as far as my position, I like a lot of receivers. I like [Oklahoma WR Dede] Westbrook and [Washington WR] John Ross. The tight end class is just so deep. Look at those guys. A lot of explosive guys. I think this a good draft. I know that Elway and those guys are going to make the right decisions.”
Sanders reiterated what many have thought, he doesn’t like playing slot and we need to draft one, or a TE, RB who can catch like one. “In 2014, I feel like I caught a majority of my passes in the slot. Hopefully I can get back off of there and catch some over routes and cover shallows, but still remain on the outside as we stretch the field vertically as well.”
The former Steeler gave his thoughts on the passing of Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney;
“That was sad to see. I was on the plane when I heard it. I read it on ESPN. It just made me think back to just how incredible he was. I remember when I was there, he was still moving around, even when everyone was telling him to sit still. He was still moving around and trying to fly his plane around. I remember [Steelers LB] James Harrison telling stories about how he was up in a plane with him one time. He was flying and James was like, ‘What is going on? How can he fly this plane?’ Just an amazing man. He always treated you with the utmost respect. He treated you not like I was No. 88, but like I was Emmanuel Sanders, like I was a human being. He will definitely forever be remembered.”