Demaryius Thomas caught a pair of touchdown passes from Peyton Manning as the Broncos put up their highest-ever point total and rolled past the Eagles 52-20 on Sept. 30, 2013. (Photos: AP)
Eagles stay the course for Osweiler
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson: "We have to prepare like we’ve been doing for whoever is back there. Obviously in the week, it does give you a chance to go back and just watch some tape and give you a feel for him. Listen, we’re concerned about our own game plan and just getting ready for a good football team to come in here."
*Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox: *"We know we're going against a really good, competitive quarterback. We know that he'll be competitive and fired up and ready to go. So we just have to prepare as if Trevor [Siemian] was playing. We know they'll stick with their game plan.
[On if it's difficult preparing for Osweiler because there is almost no film on him in this offense from this season]
*FC: *"It will. We know that. This won't be his first-ever game in the NFL, so as a defensive line we'll go back and study some old stuff on him and see some things that he does and some things that he's good at. I think he'll come out … excited for a chance to go out and show the NFL why he can be a starting quarterback. But at the same time, we have to make this game about us, because they're going to do what they do and we need to just stay focused on what we're doing. That's going out and competing every down."
Denver's defense draws admiration
*DP: *"This is one of the top defenses — the top defense — in the league right now. For me, the familiarity with having been in Kansas City for three years and playing these guys just from a personnel standpoint, there really are no weaknesses on defense, whether it be the front seven or the back four. These guys are relentless finishers. We all know about [Broncos OLB] Von Miller and getting [OLB] Shane Ray back is obviously a big boost to that defense. A lot of man coverage in the back end — that’s what you see on tape. They’re doing a great job in mixing things up, giving you multiple fronts and giving you some multiple coverages. Our work is definitely cut out from us from an offensive standpoint and from a preparation standpoint. But, this is the No. 1 or No. 2 rush-defense in the league right now. It’s a pretty stout front to run the ball against.
"… You’re also seeing a lot of quarterbacks on the ground. You’re seeing a lot of quarterback’s scramble and throwing the ball away. They’re very disruptive that way. If you can protect, there are some opportunities there to make plays. But again, it all boils down to your offensive line and your backs and protection to give Carson a chance to find those guys down the field.
"… I think they’re right around 72 yards per game. It’s a stout group. It’s hard. These guys fill the gaps. The linebackers are downhill. They create edges. Then it’s an attack style. It is difficult. The teams that have won games are a little more patient in the run game and just keep chiseling away. Definitely a staple. Again, if you’re going to throw the ball, they have two great corners, Chris Harris [Jr.] and [Aqib] Talib that can shut you down. It just makes it that much harder to execute on offense."
Wentz growing in second NFL season
[On what Eagles QB Carson Wentz has done that has most impressed him]
FC: "Just his ability to control everything and stay poised. I think Carson also does a great job when it comes to being a leader. We look at him as the leader of the team because he's in his second year. We've got a bunch of leaders, but if you look at the teams that are really good, their quarterback is the leader of the team. You've got guys like that and we've just got to stand behind him in everything he does and support him, even through the bad times."
[On how he helps Wentz recover from mistakes]
*DP: *"We just focus on the next play, you know? Things like that are going to happen in this game. Nobody is perfect, obviously, so we just move on to the next play. We try to execute and learn from them. We try to coach him up either in the game or the next day. It’s just a matter of how well you can move on past the negative and make a positive play after that.
"… I can help them a little bit with the play call and play calling, and that type of thing. Get back to the run game and back to fundamentals to settle him down just a little bit. Maybe get the ball out a little bit faster. Maybe some quick throws, just to try to get him back into rhythm, if something were to happen that way. Then, as the game begins to flow from there, that’s when you can open it back up again. But, the thing is, quarterbacks in this league have to have short-term memory and move on from anything negative that happens."
The Broncos' preparation for the Eagles is underway. (Photos by Gabriel Christus unless noted)
Pederson unsure of recently acquired Ajayi's role on Sunday
*DP: *"It just depends on a few things, how much he can learn in a short period of time. I don’t want to do him a disservice by putting him out there or affecting the roster because you’re going to have to put somebody down that might have a little bit more of an impact role this week. So, we’ll see. We’ll see how the week goes. We’ll see how much he can learn and understand and we’ll make a decision later on."
Cox enjoying Eagles' attacking front
FC: "We're just playing together. I think that even — and [DT] Timmy [Jernigan] and [DE] Vinny [Curry] and everybody — with me, [DE] Brandon [Graham] and Vinny being here last year, with the addition of Timmy, I think has made a big impact on what we do, because he gets to go out and show what he can do. He came from a different style of defense but once he figured out the way [and] that the style that we play defense — attack, attack, attack the line of scrimmage, create the line of scrimmage — I think that he's just having so much fun doing it. And especially with bringing [DE] Chris [Long] and [DE] Derek [Barnett] and everybody in that room, we feed off of each other, and that's what's driving us on every down.
[On whether the defensive line's success helped the secondary come together early in the season]
"Yeah, I think it played a big part. We like to get after the quarterback, so in order to do that, what do we got to do? We have to stop the run. And stopping the run, we know [Eagles defensive coordinator] Jim [Schwartz] is going to let the big guys rush and the back end cover. We always tell those guys, 'Man, hey, just give us a little time and we'll get there and be disruptive.' And those guys, they trust us. We trust them, and we just play off one another.