Facing the No. 1 Pass Defense
Head Coach Sean Payton: "When you watch the tape—and we watch it all—you have a chance to look at every game in the cut-ups. They're tremendous with their pass rush, their get off. I think they're very difficult because they play man-to-man, and they force you to hold the ball, take longer maybe than you'd like vs. tight ends or backs to create separation. Those guys do a great job of applying pressure to the quarterbacks. That's the first thing. When you look at the film, you just recognize the challenge they present. They can stay in the base front even when you're in nickel personnel, so you've got to be selective in regards to what you want to do with your sub people on the field. Obviously, when you're watching the tape, you see the confidence they're playing with lately. [Broncos Defensive Coordinator] Wade [Phillips'] done a great job wherever he's been. Those guys clearly play with that confidence."
The Broncos moved inside to begin preparation for the trip to New Orleans to face the Saints. (photos by Gabriel Christus)
Quarterback Drew Brees: "Man, there's really not a weak link — from their front four or five pass rushers, to their linebacker corps that flies around and makes a bunch of plays, to their secondary, which I think is elite. I think there's a reason why they're the number one defense against the pass. The pressure they're able to get with those edge rushers and inside is pretty remarkable. Von Miller, you turn on the tape — the guy's unbelievable, probably the best pass rusher in the league — Shane Ray and DeMarcus Ware, I know, is healthy again. So you combine all those guys, as well as their interior guys, and that's probably the best pass rush in the league. We've got our work cut out for us. I think obviously execution is at a premium for me just understanding when the ball needs to come out, but you've got tight man coverages so we've got to win those matchups and be effective with our run game. It's just one of those games where you have to be ultra-efficient.
"I think obviously the style of defense they play and with that pass rush, it's obviously a very heavy man scheme. A lot of bump and run. The linebackers can cover, the safeties can cover. Everybody can cover. They've got different personnel groups. They're matching different guys. I think they've got a good scheme that really matches up with their pass rush. It all works together. It's complementary."
Eyes on a secondary without Aqib Talib
Brees: "[Aqib's] an elite player — one of the best corners in the league — and [has] the complement of him in Chris Harris. Man, that's a really great tandem. Listen, Roby's done very well. I know that there's a lot of guys that you see in the lineup the last two weeks with Talib being out and I think they've all been pretty effective. Again, we still have to find a way to get open and execute the plan."
On Siemian's effectiveness as a starter
Payton: "Well, I saw some early games — the Thursday night opener and then game tape. He looks like, obviously, he's got that poise, the things that you look for at the quarterback position. I think he locates the ball well. He's quick with his decisions. It's pretty impressive when you consider he's a first-year starter coming in and coming in with those expectations on a team that just finished winning a world championship."