ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- On Monday afternoon, Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway made an appearance on The Dave Logan show on partner station 850 KOA.
He discussed a wide-ranging set of topics from free agency to the draft, the loss of Elvis Dumervil and the addition of Wes Welker. Below is a transcript of Logan and Dave Krieger's interview with Elway.
On whether the team has moved on to draft preparation or if there are still options in free agency:
"We're still looking around, but we'll start delving into the draft. We'll start our draft meetings on Wednesday and start getting ready for the draft. It's an exciting time of year, especially on the personnel side. We'll start digging in on Wednesday and then hopefully come the end of the month I'm sure we'll find some good football players."
On free agent defensive ends Dwight Freeney and John Abraham:
"We're still looking into that. We haven't made any decisions on what we're going to do. As I've said, those guys out there are options, but the bottom line is we also feel very comfortable with Robert Ayers. He's going to be at the right (defensive) end -- as of right now he's our starter at right end. We're not pressed into doing anything. We feel like we can go to bat with the guys that we've got if that's where it ends up, or if other things shake out we'll go that direction."
On whether he believed Elvis Dumervil could end up back in Denver before he signed with Baltimore:
"I thought there was a chance, there's no question. When we looked at it, once the Cinderella slipper came off and we had to release Elvis (Dumervil), it was free game and he was a free agent. He was out on the market. We thought we could be competitive there, and obviously Elvis made the decision that he thought was best for Elvis. We wish him luck there and we'll move on, too."
On the deadline expiring before Dumervil could finalize a renegotiated contract:
"The thing that I'm going to tell you is we had a deadline at 1:00, and I'm not going to take it any further. We needed a decision at 1:00. We got that decision that was a no and they were not going to accept it, so therefore we started to move on. From that point on, we knew that there was always going to be a difficult time to get everything and all the pieces together to be able to get the contract in. That's why there was a 1:00 deadline put on that. What happened after that, whatever it was, who knows. The bottom line is there was not enough time to be able to get it done."
On why it came down to the final hours until the deadline:
"Because anytime you go through it, nothing comes down unless there's a deadline. Especially in this situation. We had a deadline. That's why it took the whole week. ... Until the deadline, a lot of times you can't get that decision. The sad thing is it took a while to get that decision and by the time we got it, it was too late."
On signing wide receiver Wes Welker:
"When you look at Wes Welker, you look at the competitiveness that he has. He's had over 100 catches for the last five or six years. He's just a great competitor in the slot. He just gives us so much more inside. (Eric) Decker played inside last year, so now we'll be able to leave him outside with DT (Demaryius Thomas) outside and have Wes on the inside. When you have three receivers like that, it puts so much pressure on the defensive side when you've got a guy and they decide they'll play two-man and try to man up Welker -- no one can really cover him one-on-one because of the quickness that he has. Then if they start doubling him we've got great options outside with DT and Decker and also with the tight ends, (Joel) Dreessen and (Jacob) Tamme. We just feel like we have so many different weapons and options. He brings that option. Plus he brings a great competitiveness with him and a work ethic and desire to win that I think is going to transcend throughout our team."
On Welker finding the right situation when he first went to New England:
"I think the bottom line with a guy like Wes is to get him in the right situation. When he went up to New England, they did a tremendous job of taking advantage of what he does best, and that's putting him inside and allowing him to get open and use his quickness and his competitiveness to get open. There's a lot of kids in situations that don't get put in the right situation for them that would allow them to be the best. I think Wes is a prime example of a guy in the right situation at the right time. Also the coaching staff saw what he was about and the type of guy he was, that they could do different things to be able to put him in situations to be successful. That's the same thing when we look at the draft -- we do the best we can with height, weight, speed, what we see on film and all those types of things. But the bottom line is you don't draft All-Pros, you've got to coach them and you've got to get them in the right situations. That's why we go through it. It's an intense month when we go through the draft, but it's important to get guys that fit in our system that we believe are going to have a long career, that are athletic enough and also we've got to do a good job coaching them."
On whether the team is looking to add players at a specific position:
"Everything is so fluid, especially this time of the year. Now once we get into the draft and start looking to see what's available, at all positions and starting to put priorities on where we think the best football players are. The good thing is where we are right now we feel like we're a pretty solid football team and we're going to be able to go into the draft without a lot of needs, or at least great needs, to where we can try to grab the best football players that we believe are going to have the best opportunity to be successful in this league. As we go through it and the closer we get to the draft, we'll try prioritizing, where do we want to go first, where's the best football player first. We're going to use that method this year in the draft as we have the past two, and that's to get the best available."
On whether the team is happy with the linebacker position:
"We are. The bottom line is we're also going to be in a situation where we have 64 guys under contract, we have six draft choices, which gets us to 70, and we can take 90 to camp. Once we get through the draft process and see where everything unfolds there, and we get closer to camp, we'll start looking at maybe some of those older veterans. At the linebacker position with Von (Miller) and the year that Wesley Woodyard had, and obviously we'll have a good competition with Nate (Irvin) and (Steven) Johnson, as well as (Stewart) Bradley, who is also a Mike 'backer, we'll have a good competition inside with two young guys and Bradley. He's been in the league a little bit and got some experience. We feel good about that spot and the fact that we're going to come out with a darn good football player, whoever wins that job."
On guard Louis Vasquez:
"He's a big, physical guy at 335 pounds and plays inside. He's stout, really does a good job of keeping the pocket to where he doesn't give up much ground. Also when you look at where we are right now with (Chris) Kuper, (J.D.) Walton, both those guys are hurt and won't be ready until training camp, as well as (Ryan) Clady won't be ready until training camp. Then (Orlando) Franklin had some offseason surgery. When we opened free agency, we had four of our five linemen that were hurt at the time. So we just really felt it was important for us to get some healthy bodies inside there and see where everything else falls. We think Louis (Vasquez) is going to be a big help for us because he's a big, massive guy that can really move and is athletic."
On having to say goodbye to wide receiver Brandon Stokley:
"Having been in this league for 16 years, I had so many good friends go out the door year after year after year. You kind of realize it's part of the business. But I will tell you Brandon (Stokley) came in for the year when he was under contract and really battled back with the injuries that he'd had two or three years prior to that. He really hadn't been able to play a whole lot or get on the field. But he came in and was a tremendous help for us. Great guy. Great leader. It's always hard to have a quality guy like that leave you."