INDIANAPOLIS – While the Colts took Monday off from the practice field following their Wild Card win, the Broncos went to work on the field.
Denver had taken the weekend off after securing a first-round bye and began preparations for the Colts late on Sunday night.
On Monday, several players and head coach John Fox shared their thoughts on facing the Colts:
HEAD COACH JOHN FOXOn if Indianapolis has changed over the course of the season
"Yeah. I think when you look at that big of a gap, their offensive line has changed; our offensive line has changed. It was a tough opener. They are a very, very good football team. I believe [they have] been to the playoffs three years in a row. [QB Andrew Luck] is as good a young quarterback as there is in the league. Much of that has not changed. Statistically over the stretch they are if not No. 1 then I think top three in the league. They're very capable. When you get to the elite eight, you usually are."On if he can take much from the Week 1 game
"Just a little bit. You look at matchups. But like I said, their team's changed quite a bit and so has ours."
On the Colts' defense
"They grow. I think our defense has grown. I think their defense has grown. I think here of late they've gelled [with] a guy we had here in [S] Mike Adams, who I think leads the league in takeaways. They're playing faster and better. They're a very good football team, and we'll have to play very well to beat them."On if playing against mobile quarterbacks in the regular season helps preparation for Luck
"I think what's unique about Andrew is he's not just mobile. He can make the throws. You saw the throw he made yesterday stepping up in the pocket. He's big. He's strong. He's physical. He's not just a little scatback type. He's got the playing strength to go along with the mobility, so I think he's unique that way. What he's accomplished may be better than any quarterback has ever accomplished early in a career to-date. I think he was pretty highly touted that way and I think he's been as advertised."
On Luck's touchdown pass to WR Donte Moncreif against the Bengals
"It was a good example of what he can do stepping up into the pocket. Guys like that, [Steelers QB] Ben Roethlisberger, they're guys that can make the throws and they have the size and the strength to do that and break through the rush to buy the extra time to throw the ball."On the Colts' rushing game
"They're committed to it. I think Pep Hamilton, their offensive coordinator, does a terrific job. They use big people, big linemen, multiple tight ends, what we call 13 personnel. They've got some misdirection, trap-type plays. You've got a mobile quarterback. You've got the read option. There is so much they are capable of. Their running back situation has been a little bit like ours. They've rolodexed it through there. [RB Daniel] Herron, No. 36, has become their bell cow guy and has done a terrific job. [He] had a big game both in the passing game as well as the running game."On the Colts' ability to come from behind
"I go back to when they eliminated Kansas City last year in the playoffs. [That was] probably one of, if not the, biggest [comebacks] in playoff history. With the weapons they have on offense starting at the quarterback position, they're capable of doing that. We knew it then, and we know it now."
CORNERBACK CHRIS HARRIS JR.On facing a quarterback like Andrew Luck who can extend plays
"Andrew Luck's a great quarterback. He's very mobile; he has the arm strength to throw deep. He can make all the throws and also he can make all the throws on the run. So that sets him apart from a lot of quarterbacks and we know we're going to have to cover a little bit longer. But our D-Line, they did a great job of getting after him the first time, so I don't expect anything different from the D-Line. I really expect even more pressure."
On how different the Colts are from Week 1
"The only thing different to me is they throw the ball even more. That is the only thing I've been seeing. It's like 7-on-7, so that is something we're going to have to be ready for. He [(Luck) has been throwing the checkdowns to 36 (RB Daniel Herron) a lot, so we've got to do a good job of wrapping him up. He's been making a lot of guys miss. We've got to be able to get to him by linebackers once we have him covered."
DEFENSIVE TACKLE TERRANCE KNIGHTONOn facing the Colts
"It's just about who wants in more. Obviously guys will be watching the same film—the game we played earlier in the season. They'll probably find things from the game that worked and allowed them to make the comeback where they did to make it interesting, so we'll just have to come out and start fast like we did against them in Week 1."On what to take away from the Week 1 game against Indianapolis
"A few plays here and there. They're a good team—you can't give them a few plays here and there. They have an elite quarterback. They have an elite wide receiver group, so we're going to have to do our best up front to stop them from running the ball and not making our safeties feel like they have to play up because they're a team that takes a lot of shots deep with No. 13 (WR T.Y. Hilton). First and foremost, we've got to stop the run and make them one-dimensional and then get after the quarterback and make him uncomfortable."On how he's seen Colts QB Andrew Luck grow in the last couple years
"You hope all quarterbacks grow and he's one of the elite quarterbacks in the league: a Pro Bowler, a perennial Pro Bowler and probably will be for the rest of his career. Quarterbacks are average when you get a lot of pressure on them and you hit them and make them uncomfortable in the pocket. That's what we're going to try to do."On their second half against the Colts in Week 1
"It's something we've developed throughout the season—having that killer instinct to put teams away and not giving them any hope. If we're up in the game, that's something we'll reiterate. And if we're down in the game, it'll also be something that we talk about as far as keep fighting and have that mentality to never stop playing. Regardless of what the scoreboard is, we'll continue to play hard for four quarters."
SAFETY RAHIM MOOREOn how different the Colts are since Week 1
"We were watching film on them versus the Bengals. I don't know what his (QB Andrew Luck's) completion percentage was but he pretty much completed every ball. If nothing's there, he's checking it down. He's taking shots. He's making all the throws. He played a perfect game and it's kind of scary. You hope he doesn't play a perfect game against us but you're definitely going to get his best because he's that great of a quarterback. I believe that he's going to be a future Hall of Famer, first ballot. That's just my opinion."On Luck extending plays
"He's like [Steelers QB] Ben Roethlisberger. Those great quarterbacks extend downs. You think that, 'Oh man, [LB] Von [Miller] got him down.' But then he slips out of a tackle and throws a deep shot. Now it's a game-changer. We definitely have got to be ready for just anything because he's that great."
CORNERBACK AQIB TALIBOn the mindset facing the Colts and their weapons on offense
"I don't think the mindset really changes. We're going to do what we do. We're going to prepare for them, do what we do and go out there and try to get a 'W.'"On potentially defending players longer because QB Andrew Luck can extend plays
"We've played a lot of quarterbacks like that this year. We just put more emphasis on staying with your guy—plastering, as we call it. Just plastering your receivers, putting more emphasis on it and throughout the week and carry over to the game."On knowing the Colts from the Week 1 game
"It doesn't really help. They've seen us just like we've seen them. It doesn't really help. It's another game. It's a playoff game, a big game. We're going to prepare as if we didn't play them earlier this year. We're going to prepare as if we've never seen this team before and we're going to go over the game plan, get the game plan down and execute it."On Luck's ability to make all the throws
"He is one of the top-tier quarterbacks in the league. We know that. We're going to have to do a good job of bringing him to the ground when we get our hands on him, and we're going to have to do a good job of staying with our receivers as he extends plays."
TIGHT END JULIUS THOMASOn if he's excited about facing the Colts after his big Week 1 game
"I'm just excited about playing in the playoffs. It's a great opportunity. It's something that you can't take for granted. To go out there and play and give your team a chance to possibly get back to the Super Bowl is great. I was able to have a lot of success against them in that first game. I would imagine they will do some things a little bit differently. So you can't say, 'I had a great game against them the first time. I'll have three touchdowns on them again.' You just never really know. Like we say all year, we're going to go to the guy that's open. Hopefully it's me, but if not, I know my teammates will make big plays and they're capable of it."On what led to his success in Week 1
"I was able to get some man coverage at times. It's something that I enjoy. Playing against man is probably one of the more fun parts of the game. I don't know what they're going to do. If you find out, just leave me a little note. But it's going to be exciting. Regardless of what they do, we'll have a good plan. And it's up to us to execute it."On lessons from the second half of the opening game against the Colts
"You know you're going to be in a fight. You know that no matter what you do in that first half. No matter what kind of leads you think you have, you can't relax. You're playing against a team that has one of the top offenses in the league. You know that they're going to be able to put up points and we've got to continue to keep playing throughout the game. It's going to take 60 minutes of football to win in the playoffs and we know that. So that's what we're going to have in our minds going into the game and 59.5 [minutes] is not going to be enough."On how different they are since Week 1
"I think it's about four months. In a football season, that's a lot of time. A lot of things are happening throughout the season, adjustments being made. I think both teams are in a groove right now. They've kind of found places where they know, 'Hey, this is what we can do to be successful,' and that's what they continue to do. So every team is going to change a little bit week to week. So we're hoping we're just the team that has the better adjustments and we're able to pull out a victory this weekend."
SAFETY T.J. WARDOn QB Andrew Luck in college compared to now
"He was young when I played him in college, so he's a completely different player. But for the most part he does the same things. He can scramble, he has a strong arm and a lot of times, he makes something out of nothing."