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Talib: With signal-callers out and no headsets, Broncos defense improvised on late interception

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 10:00pm
Editor's note: Catch Tuesdays with Talib each Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in The Locker Room with Nate Kreckman live from Govnr’s Park Tavern through the football season. Tune in on 1023 and 1055 ESPN or listen online at
By Johnny Hart
Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib (circled in red at begining) picks off Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers during the fourth quarter of Sunday's matchup in San Diego.
Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib (circled in red at begining) picks off Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers during the fourth quarter of Sunday's matchup in San Diego.
What most already knew: Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib’s fourth quarter interception, in which he cut underneath receiver Malcolm Floyd to pick off Philip Rivers, basically shut the door on the San Diego Chargers Sunday.
It would be a major play in the club’s 22-10 win on the road to earn a fourth straight AFC West title.
It also helped Talib earn AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors Wednesday.
What most people probably didn’t know: With signal-callers Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan out for much of the fourth quarter due to injury, the Broncos defense had no headsets to receive instructions from the sidelines.
And with the Chargers on the opposite side of the ball for the second game this season, signals get tossed out the window.
“… Divisional opponents like that because they know all our signals. So we might as well just tell them what we’re in if we signal,” Talib told our Nate Kreckman in The Locker Room Wednesday for a special edition of Coors Light’s Tuesdays with Talib.
So, Talib and the secondary improvised.
“We had a little game plan. We had about three coverages. We just rolled though them, and we all had to stay on the same page with those coverages,” Talib said. “So we went one, two, three –– Cover 1, Cover 2, Cover 3. And we kind of rolled through it.”
Talib said in order to make sure all the coverages looked the same, he lined up off the line of scrimmage, which could have potentially led to Rivers’ interception.
“It was more of a Philip (Rivers)-doesn’t-know-what-we-were-in pick. A disguise pick. We’ll just call it that,” Talib said.
According to the first-year Bronco, Rivers probably looked at the Denver defense, thought he was seeing a certain coverage and actually “probably didn’t know” what the Broncos were in.
And then, feeling Floyd wouldn’t be “running anything deep” because “he wasn’t running full speed,” Talib jumped in front of the post route (as seen in the image above).
“I just saw him run an underneath route. I just tried to jump it,” Talib said.
Talib said stuff like missing players who control the headsets “comes up” on occasion and is “part of the game,” but the seven-year pro said he’d never been in a game where “nobody on the field has a headset.”
But the defense, he said, handled the adversity well, which is a credit to the chemistry of the unit as a whole.
“I’ve definitely been involved with a couple of secondaries where that may have been a little more trouble than it was for us,” Talib said. “Definitely.”
The Broncos will need to weather a little more adversity through the next few weeks, as they’ll be thin at the linebacker position.
The club placed Trevathan on injured reserve Tuesday with a dislocated kneecap, while Marshall could be out until the playoffs with a sprained foot.
Denver will now turn to Steven Johnson, Lerentee McCray and recently claimed Todd Davis, along with rookies Lamin Barrow and Corey Nelson, to step up into those roles.



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