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Pagano: Big challenge for us this week

Posted Nov 15, 2012

John Pagano talks to the media after practice

Defensive Coordinator John Pagano:

On the lack of pressure and quarterback sacks against Chargers’ opponents:

“It is always a disappointment because the opportunities are there. We call them ‘mops’, basically missed opportunities. We’ve had pressure on the quarterback and not had the ability to get them down when we’ve had the opportunities to get them down. There are several plays that go through my head each day where we had a chance to get guys down and he scrambled out of there. We have to do a better job of it, we understand.  Creating pressure helps any defense. That is something that we keep working at each week. It is something that we have to do a better job of when we have the opportunity to get them down.”

On the ‘mop’ where Peyton Manning faked out Donald Butler in the previous Chargers-Broncos matchup:

“It was such an athletic move by Peyton, where one guy is coming in, he fell down, he jumped over the other guy. We had the opportunity to contain it but that is a missed opportunity to make a sack in a game changing play. [Peyton} is still very athletic in the way he moves. He works at it. That’s what he does and it shows out there on the field.”

On an assessment of his four-man rush of late:

“The four-man rush is something where the ball is coming out quick. Last week they [the Buccaneers] did a great job of chipping and working their way out with the tight end and the running back. We have to get better in that area. It is something we have been working on improving and not having to create those different types of rushes to get pressure on the quarterback. Like I said from day one, anytime you have a four man rush working, the opportunities that we have in those situations, we have to go after them. We have to keep working. It gives us the ability to do more things.”

On the defensive backs factoring in when you play a quarterback that gets the ball out quickly:

“Just tighter coverage, really looking at it and studying how they do things offensively. The different windows of the game, being first-and-10s to the second down to the third down, all different types of windows. Truly studying what route combinations come out of certain looks. That is something our guys really take pride in. You have to know the situations when the ball comes out quick. You have to know the situations when they are going to max protect. There are times, but trust me, there is one guy in there that is going to have that one-on-one match up that he needs to go win. That is something we’ve been stressing and it hasn’t changed. It is about making them earn it and going to win those one-on-one matches. That has been what we’re focusing on.”

On why the defense has had great health thus far in the season:

“I don’t know. Maybe just taking care of themselves a lot better. It is something through playing with the right techniques and fundamentals. I’ve seen more guys throughout my years in the league where a false step or the wrong leverage gets them in a position that their body can’t handle. Having proper techniques is going to keep you healthy. The good thing about our defense, which is something you see a lot, is that they play on their feet. You don’t see a lot of guys on the ground. If he is on the ground they get up quick. It is something that we stress. It is based upon their effort. That is one thing that these 11 guys do, they play with effort when they are out there.”

On the health of the defense also being contributed to a luck element:

“There is always that luck element. Everyone out there is banged up or hurt right now. There is not a single guy playing that doesn’t have something that is not aching. These guys that play into their eighth, ninth and 10th years. Even the guys at four and five years, they are just learning how to play those 16 games. That is the most important thing. That is how those guys become even better players. The more you play the better you’re going to be. It is one of things where the guys that are on the roller coaster that are in and out, never get the consistency in their play.”

On anything that is different with Denver’s pass play:

“Peyton Manning executes it so well. Their receivers and both tight ends, Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen, are guys that can get open. The receivers do a great job in their vertical game. Eric Decker runs unbelievable routes. The quarterback does such a great job of putting the ball where they need to catch it. He has always done that. It is nothing new that we are not seeing on tape. It is something that they do such a great job of getting open. It is going to be a big challenge for us this week.”

On Antonio Garay being able to contribute the same as Aubrayo Franklin:

“Yes, that is why they are both nose guards. The situation is that they are two different types of players. One is more of a guy that truly likes to see things, feel it out and understand it. The other plays with a true power game and creates a different push. They are very similar players in a sense but they are also different basically because of body type.”

On which of the two is a power player:

“They are both power players but Aubrayo takes it to the next level, really reading that game. Garay reads things but he is more of the physical presence. They are both physical players but I see them a little different. Cam [Thomas] is different than the two of them because of his physical nature and stature. All three have been doing an excellent job for us. That is where our depth really comes into play now to really help us this week.”

On whether safety Eric Weddle was asked to come in and help on the first down run against the Buccaneers:

“It is based upon calls of playing the defense, understanding and trying to get a good feel for the game of how things are happening. If you’re feeling the run you’re going to play a run front. If you’re thinking it is a pass or a situation like that you can play that back.  He does a good job also, not only in passing situations to where he gets his good key and reads. Both safeties, him and (Atari) Bigby, do a great job of reading that. We get that support. Like I tell them, don’t always count on the safeties. If the front seven controls things to where we can leave those guys back, that is more important.”

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