In terms of your career, what do these next five games represent to you?
“It’s just a great opportunity to go out and get a start this week, and not think anything besides this week right now. That’s everybody’s mindset. We have a good plan together so far. I’m looking forward to getting out on the practice field, putting the plan to work and ironing things out through the week. We’re just looking forward to this week, and doing everything we can to get a win this week.”
Out of high school, you were drafted by the Boston Red Sox. Have you ever wished you picked baseball instead of football throughout your NFL journey?
“No. I’ve gotten that question multiple times, but my answer is always, ‘I’m a football player’. It’s who I am, it’s in my DNA. I love football, and I love playing the quarterback position. There’s nothing like it. So no, I’ve never had any times where I’ve looked back and wanted it to go the other way.”
In college, you said that maybe you would revisit the baseball route after your football career was over. Would that still be the case?
“No. I don’t think that is going to happen. I plan on being around a long time.”
What did you learn about yourself from your experiences while at the University of Florida? What did you learn about football?
“I learned a lot. Going into college, I didn’t know much about ball. I was just kind of out there running around. I think with every experience, good or bad, you learn and take things away from each experience. I really enjoyed my time there. I definitely took away a lot of positive things.”
Is it helpful knowing you will be the starter for the rest of the season, as opposed to a week-to-week thing?
“Yeah. Like I mentioned earlier, we’re just worried about this week right now. If you start to let your mind wander into the distance, you can’t narrow your focus on this week, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m just worrying about what to get done this week, and we’ll let everything play out how it does.”
Coach Lazor mentioned on Monday that the quarterbacks submit their favorite plays for each week. He said you and Andy Dalton are pretty similar in the ones you submit. Do you find that the two of you look at things the same way?
“Yeah, I think so. In the quarterback room, we’re always talking and bouncing things off each other. Just the way it works out, we see things similarly, and some of that is based off how things work on the practice field and how things look. I just feel like we’re on the same page of what we’re trying to do offensively. I think the offense’s philosophy shapes our mentality in what we’re trying to get done.”
What are your strengths as a quarterback?
“Just a guy who can operate within the offense, move the football and score points. That’s what we’re out there to do, whether that’s long drives or big plays — however those come. Our job is to score points on offense, and that’s what we expect to do.”
Andy has said he’s willing to run with the ball, but that it’s not his favorite thing to do. Do you see that differently? Do you enjoy running?
“That’s a fair assessment of what Andy said. As a quarterback, you’re back there to throw the football. Sometimes things break down and you have to make a play, and you kind of let your athletic ability take over. I’m not back there looking to run first, but it’s definitely a tool I have and something that generates big plays.”
Have you ever been in a situation like this, coming in because the starter was injured?
“Nope. This is the first time. This is the first time.”
You’ve never been in that situation at any level?
“No. Last week was the first time I’ve come into a game off the bench for an extended period of time. This is the first time I’ve really been a backup and got a chance to get in there and take over.”
You were a member of the San Francisco 49ers in 2016. Are you surprised Colin Kaepernick doesn’t have a job right now?
“I was just there for training camp, so I wasn’t there for too long. I’m not really sure. I’m not out there for the workouts, I’m not doing interviews, so I’m not really sure what’s going on there. It’s hard to tell, because I’m not really thinking about that. I have enough on my plate to worry about to really think about other guys and how other guys are being evaluated around the league.”
What are the challenges with Denver’s defense?
“They have playmakers, and it starts up front. They have a bunch of sacks with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. They’re going to line up and play their defense. They have good players, but I think we have players that match up well. We’re looking to attack them in different ways. Like I’ve been saying, keep the ball rolling on offense and score points. I think we have a plan to do so.”
How comfortable do you feel with the receivers?
“I feel comfortable. It goes back to OTAs, when we were out there throwing routes versus air. It’s carried over. Those things sometimes get looked over, but they’re very important. Those are some of the only reps I’ve had with some of the guys to this point. But we’ll get some good live reps this week during practice, and we’ll be on the same page come Sunday.”
Have these last few months been the craziest of your life, from a having a baby daughter, to winning the backup job and now starting?
“That’s the life we choose to live in the NFL. It’s a crazy business, and you know that going into it. It’s been fun along the way, and I wouldn’t change this experience for anything. I’ve really enjoyed my time this year, and especially this season.”
Are you familiar at all with the Brett Favre story?
“What story (laughs)” There are a lot of Brett Favre stories.”
He got the starting QB job in Green Bay in 1992 against the Bengals because their normal starter got hurt mid-game, and the rest is history…
“The NFL is all about taking advantage of your opportunities, and he did that. I just plan on going out there, taking advantage of this opportunity and continuing to show that I belong on this stage and that I’m a capable NFL quarterback.”
So you knew how Favre got his job?
“No, I didn’t know that.”
How comfortable are you with center C Billy Price? Are you guys taking extra reps together?
“We had some discussions early in the week, just to iron out some communication things and some blitz things on how we’re going to pick things up. We’re going to get more reps this week than we have all season. We’re on the same page and have open communication, and we’re ready to get to work together.”
How many reps have you got with the first team offense this season?
“None, really. In the NFL, you have to get the guys ready that are going to play. I’ve gotten mental reps and stayed ready, but I haven’t gotten the reps on the practice field. This will be the first time.”