DC Steve Wilks (10.31.19)

Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks:

Opening statement:

“Good morning. I hope everyone is doing well. Last week was very disappointing. I think we did some good things on the defensive side of the ball. It just was not good enough, particularly in the red zone. We have to find ways to limit our opponents to three points, and when given the opportunity to get a takeaway, we have to take advantage of that. Third down, I thought we did some good things as far as getting off the field and stopping the run, but right now, we have to find ways to get more takeaways to get the ball back to the offense.”


On how to create more opportunities for turnovers:
“Definitely a point of emphasis. We emphasize it, we talk about it and we work on it in practice. I think you have to put yourself in the situation in the game. I think that predicates sometimes based off your call and then also you just have to execute. That is the thing. We have to finish.”


On challenges facing a QB in his first NFL start with limited film like Broncos QB Brandon Allen:
“It is a challenge. I think you have to go back and really look at the preseason tape, which we have. I coached against him in Jacksonville in 2017. I think he does some great things, Allen does. Very smart. You can tell he does a good job at protecting the ball. He does not hold onto the ball. He gets rid of the ball. Very athletic out in space. He can buy time with his feet and very accurate with the ball, as well. I still think their approach is going to be – because they have two dynamic running backs – they are going to try to run the football and create the play action off of it, which I think they do a great job of.”


On if he last faced Allen in the preseason:

“Yes, it was.”


On the amount of playing time Allen saw in that preseason game:
“Really, probably a quarter or a quarter and a half. Just went back and really just tried to look at some of his movement and really some of the things that he does well and how they are going to fit him in. I think he gets out of the pocket well. He moves around a little bit. That is part of their game, as well – just the play action and the boot.”


On if the Broncos offensive system is similar to the 49ers:

“I would say so. We all know the (Broncos) OC (Rich Scangarello) came from the 49ers who was a quarterback there so I could see some of the similarities in what they are doing, definitely in the run game. I know that is going to be a film that they are going to watch, and they have probably already had some conversations amongst one another. We definitely have to be prepared for some of the things that hurt us in that particular game.”


On if he has ever compared DE Myles Garrett to Broncos OLB Von Miller:

“No, not at all. Have not really even thought about that. I think both are dynamic in what they do as far as getting to the quarterback, but I definitely like our guy.”


On if he could feel the presence of CBs Greedy Williams and Denzel Ward returning:
“I think they came back and jumped right back into the fold. They had an outstanding game, both of them. I know Greedy had the first one on the sideline. He was in great position, and you just have to turn and play the ball. They covered well. They tackled well. That particular game, we pretty much played man the whole game. I thought they did a great job in coverage.”


On being gashed by screen-pass plays this season:
“I would not use the word gash. They got a big play on us. In Tennessee’s game, we have to make sure we keep leverage. That was more of the execution part. With the Patriots, they got us on the call. We were in man coverage, they scanned the back, they did a good job of getting the lineman out and I think (S Juston) Burris did an outstanding job for us giving us an opportunity to line up and play again. It happens at times. They had a perfect call based on what I had so I take full responsibility for that.”


On the Broncos RB tandem of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman:

“Lindsay, when you look at him, h is 5-7, 190, but he runs like he is 6-0, 215. Very explosive. Can run in between the tackles. Can take it to the outside. Freeman is not as explosive but just as powerful, and he is more of the passing back. I think both of those guys are dynamic in what they do. Up front, they do a tremendous job of coming off the ball, pushing the double team and getting to the second level. I said it all week to the defense and to the team as a whole that we really have to control the line of scrimmage up front. Our defensive line has to play well.”


On if he saw the Browns improve in run defense at New England:
“I did. I did, and it started again up front. I thought we did a great job coming off the ball, striking and  shedding, and the linebackers did tremendous job for us just playing downhill.”


On if he would agree that DE Olivier Vernon has improved over the past few games:
“I do agree. I just think it is the progression of the year. Things are really clicking for him right now. He has had two outstanding games from the standpoint of pressuring the QB, but again most importantly of really stopping the run.”


On messages to the team that the Broncos offense and team are better than their record shows:
“Same thing with us, I think you have to throw the record out of the window. These are two teams that are desperately trying hard to get on the right track and have good players on both sides of the ball in all three phases to be honest. We are trying to find a win just like they are. I think we have to focus on us with our execution and the fundamentals, techniques and things we have to do. I am not really putting a lot into it. Just in the mere fact of Brandon Allen, he is an NFL quarterback. Regardless of his first-year start, this guy is very efficient in what he can do.”


On DE Genard Avery’s performance against New England prior to his trade to the Eagles:
“I will say this and not in a disrespectful way, I am going to talk about the players that are here. In regards to any trades and things like that, you would have to address that with the coach and the GM.”


On if he knew going into the Patriots game that it would be Avery’s last with the team:

“No, I did not.”


On confidence in S Eric Murray to play nickel:
“He has the skillset from the standpoint of playing a little bit of corner before and moving to safety. That really entails that position when you talk about being able to stop the run as a safety, the coverage skills of a corner and being able to blitz. He encompasses all of that. I thought his physicality is something I was very intrigued with, which you have to have to play that position.”


On if Garrett has grown from last year to now:
“I think I have seen his growth since the beginning of the season and the things that he is doing. I feel like he is only going to get better. Just being able to stop the run, I think we focus so much on his ability to get to the passer and the quarterback, but he is doing a great job really in stopping the run, as well so that is a major plus for us.”


On if he has shown tape of Miller to Browns players as an example:

“No, not at all. I think in the same token, we have the same guy on our side of the ball in Myles Garrett. I really try to keep the focus on us and the things that we have to do and that is where we keep it. I think Von is great player, but no, I do not shown any film on him.”


On if he sees any changes in the Denver offense after trading WR Emmanuel Sanders to the 49ers:

“No, I think they are going to get the ball to (Broncos WR Courtland) Sutton. They have other quality receivers, but I think he is a big, physical receiver. He sort of reminds of me of (Seahawks WR DK) Metcalf out in Seattle. Very strong. Very deceptive speed. He can get behind you, but what they do offensively from the standpoint of running the ball and setting up the play action is tremendous.”


On the Broncos having a similar offensive style to the Seahawks:

“I think it is more along the line of the 49ers, but yeah, the zone-scheme run game as you see a little bit of gap but then off that is the play action.”


On if altitude plays a factor into the defensive rotation:

“To be quite honest and maybe it is because I coached in that division and the coaches and I have talked about it before, I did not really think it was a problem. We are not going to allow that to be an excuse. We are going out there early so that should be fine, but it is not really going to really affect our rotation. We try to rotate those guys all of the time and keep them fresh.”


On Vernon playing every defensive snap against New England:

“It just happens. You get into the flow of the game and how things are going so we wanted to leave him in there and he wanted to stay in there, too. I think each game is a case-by-case situation.”


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