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That's What He Said: AFC Championship Friday

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Head Coach John Fox and several players addressed the media today at Dove Valley in advance of Sunday's AFC Championship Game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Here are some of the highlights from what they said.


On the offensive line"I think we had a key injury (T Ryan Clady) early on. [T] Chris Clark has done a tremendous job. We lost two centers in camp, so I think [C] Manny Ramirez has filled in. As a unit, I think they've been pretty consistent both in the run game and the pass game. We'll have a huge challenge this week."

On former Broncos WR Rod Smith being an honorary captain"It's great to have those two Super Bowl trophies sitting in front of our locker [room] as our guys come out to practice every day. To have guys that were a part of that in the community like Rod still live here in Denver, I think it's huge."

On whether he gives a speech before a big game like Sunday"We treat it like any other game, actually. It's still played on the same size field. It happens to be a home game this week instead of a road game. It's just the normal nuances. Then it's about who executes, and usually that's about who prepared the hardest."

On the week of preparation"Outstanding."


On opportunities on special teams"I feel like there is always some type of vulnerability within a unit. Somewhere, we might do something better than what they're capable of blocking or covering or whatever. We're going to take advantage of whatever little nuances they may have up, or what they've been flawed with all season. We're just going to go out there and have that attack mentality—go get it, go get it, play hard and balls to the wall."

On whether he has respect for Patriots WR Matthew Slater for his special teams play"Oh yeah, definitely. Respect his game, respect—he's been a Pro Bowl-caliber player the past few years. And at the same time, it's competition. I go out there versus all the special teams players out there and try to prove that I'm better than them or whatnot. It's that whole mindset of a competitor and that's just what we're going to take forth charging onto the field come Sunday."

On treating this as just another home game"It's not another home game. That's what it comes down to. It's the AFC Championship Game. It's the last game before you go to that [Champion]'ship. It's a dream game in two weeks. We're taking it as there is added pressure to this game. Everyone wants to go out and perform well, perform to the best of their abilities. We know that it's going to be a tough game, it's a very high-caliber opponent with multiple weapons offensively, defensively and special teams. It's just going to be our best versus their best and see whose best comes out on top."    


On Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount"That is a big, physical runner. He plays his game well. He knows his strengths and he knows his weaknesses, but he plays to his strengths a lot. We are going to try to keep him contained. They are going to come in here and try to run and do all that, but we are going to be prepared for whatever. It's game time. Our defense knows what time it is and our offense knows what time it is. We just have to be prepared for that."

On getting a lot of playing time this year"I really don't think about stuff like that. I'm just enjoying this game. It is just my character, coming from the background I come from and having guys there in my life and people in my life that just want me to play ball. It is a dream come true to be right here and I want to make the most of this opportunity. Playing with these guys—this might be the last time this group of guys is together. You never know. So, you want to go out there and play for these guys and play for what you dreamed of for so long."

On whether he's learned from that Week 12 game"Every game is a learning experience. But that one really taught us something. It is a different day, a different attitude and a different mindset. We're going to go out here and do what we have to do to get a win."


On the challenges the New England defensive line poses"They take advantage of any loose balls. They do a good job of creating turnovers. Their offense does a good job of keeping it to themselves. We've got to be on-point with our ball security, maintaining our drives and staying out of third-and-long."

On putting up a 280-yard rushing performance earlier this season against New England"We feel that that is their big emphasis—to stop our run game. So we've been grinding all week to maintain our run efficiency and that just helps out the passing game. Any time we can be balanced, our offense is clicking on all cylinders at that point."

On if they embrace a battle in the trenches"That's what we get paid to do. That's our mentality. We take it upon ourselves to win it up front. Any time we're winning it up front that usually means good things are happening in the backfield or out on the edge."


On the Patriots running for six touchdowns last week"It isn't always about passing, especially in the playoffs. Sometimes you have to get it done on the ground and that's pretty much what they did. They have a great quarterback though. I'm sure he can throw some touchdowns, we just plan on not letting him get it done this week."

On the difference between what the Patriots did in Week 12 and what they do now"I think the biggest thing is that their running backs are just motivated. They had some fumbles early in the year and they cleaned that stuff up. I think they're just motivated and they're on a roll—getting the ball downhill and the offensive line is blocking well."

On how you can see that someone is motivated"You can look at the yardage that they are putting up. It's just as much them coming together as a unit and getting the job done."

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