Gary Kubiak, Connor Barwin Talk After Today's Practice

A preview of coming attractions Saturday night?

Apologies for the relative quiet today. I'm working on something that should hopefully post tomorrow. In the meantime, let's go to the team's official site for some quotes in the wake of today's practice. Kubes speaks truth to power:

(on today’s workout and plans for the weekend’s game) "Today we kind of implemented a couple more phases of the game. We call it four-minute situations where we’re trying to kill the clock, end the game, close the game out. Got a little sloppy there offensively, handled it pretty good defensively. You know, just continuing to work on ourselves right now. We’ll go one more morning on ourselves. We’ll start to concentrate on Carolina a little bit starting tomorrow afternoon."

(on if he’s decided how he’ll use his kickers on Saturday) "I haven’t. We’ll do that on Thursday night. I haven’t even decided how many reps we’ll go or what we’ll do or who will sit or who won’t play. I’m meeting with the coaches Thursday and do that."

(on if he’s concerned with kickoffs as much as he’s concerned with field goals) "Oh, no doubt. Yeah, that’s obviously a big part of it. Randy (Bullock) did not kick today. He’s had a little growing soreness last couple days so we held him, and Shayne (Graham) took it. We’ll do everything we can to make it right down the middle. It’s hard, you can’t give them games because one may get more kicks than others so we’ll probably just rotate back and forth. But yes, kicking off will be a big part of it."

(on how G Antoine Caldwell and T Rashad Butler are working in) "Well, I think they’re doing a good job, I think they’re being pushed really, really hard. (G Brandon) Brooks and (G) Shelley Smith are pushing Caldwell, in my opinion, and (T Derek) Newton’s pushing the heck out of (T Rashad) Butler. It’s going to be a tough call. I couldn’t make that call today, I’ll tell you that. But I think they’re all holding their own, and we’ll see how they handle the bright lights when we start playing and how we do. But hopefully they’re all healthy. It’s a very, very tough decision if it is, and it’s good for our team."

(on any other health updates) "No, I think we’re okay today. Had some heat issues yesterday, but we held up today."

Connor Barwin:

(on how the defense will do this year after having a full year under Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips) "Well, the plan is to do better than we did last year, but obviously I think the OTAs helped this year. I think for us with losing DeMeco (Ryans) and Mario (Williams), I think the OTAs were important just from a leadership standpoint. It allowed us to go out there and play and see what it’s like without those guys before game time. So I think that’s the biggest advantage that we took from OTAs, just kind of seeing who is going to step up as the leaders of the defense."

(on having a better grasp of the defense this year) "We had a pretty good grasp of the defense last year, but I think it helps the younger guys get to know it quicker. We didn’t kind of catch our groove till Week 6 or Week 7 of last year. With knowing the defense better now, hopefully we can start off a little quicker, a little better."

(on OLB Whitney Mercilus having an impact like OLB Brooks Reed had last year) "Yeah, no doubt, he can definitely. He’s going to contribute from Week 1 in the pass rush, that’s for sure. He’s going to give us depth that we didn’t have last year right away, which should help me, should help Brooks and obviously is going to put him in a good situation."

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