Every week during the regular season we get an opportunity to talk with the opposing head coach via conference call. This week it was Denver head coach Vic Fangio. I also scanned the Denver media websites and the Broncos website to see what else Broncos players and coaches are saying about this Sunday's matchup with the Lions in Denver.
Here's what they had to say:
1. Fangio spent four seasons as the Chicago Bears defensive coordinator before becoming the Broncos head coach this season. That makes him pretty familiar with the Detroit Lions. Asked about Detroit's offense under new coordinator Darrell Bevell, Fangio said it's a completely different offense on tape, and there's little to no carryover from the previous systems under Jim Caldwell and Jim Bob Cooter, other than some of the players.
2. Denver cornerback Chris Harris Jr. is a four-time Pro Bowler and has consistently been one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL over the last six seasons. He typically travels with the opponent's best receiver, and if that holds true Sunday, he'll likely find himself up against Kenny Golladay quite a bit Sunday.
"Golladay, he's a big receiver kind of like (Denver WR) Courtland (Sutton)," Harris told denverbroncos.com. "Just big, great size, about 6'4" receiver."
3. The Broncos will be without starting strong safety Kareem Jackson Sunday after he was suspended the final two games of the season for a driving under the influence arrest back in September.
"There are high standards for the personal conduct of all members of our organization, and we have expressed our extreme disappointment to Kareem for his poor judgment," the Broncos said in a released statement.
It's a big loss for Denver's defense. Jackson has 71 tackles, 10 pass breakups, two interceptions and a fumble returned for a touchdown in 13 games. Will Parks or Trey Marshall could fill in for Jackson Sunday.
4. Fangio has been a little bit spoiled over the years in terms of some of the personnel he's had on defense. He was in Chicago when the team traded for Khalil Mack. Now he's inherited Von Miller. That's 166.0 sacks combined. Those are two of the premier pass rushers in this league.
The Lions will have to deal with Miller and his 7.0 sacks on the year Sunday in Denver.
5. Rookie quarterback Drew Lock lost 10 weeks of practice time this season while on IR, which is an eternity for any young player, especially a young quarterback. Fangio likes the way Lock's played in two of his three games back.
"Overall he's done well," Fangio said. "We like his progress."
Fangio hopes Lock can develop into their franchise quarterback and solidify that spot. He's played in three games and has two left. Fangio thinks that's a good sample size going into the offseason, but stressed they need to get him more "honed up."
6. Fangio said whenever he goes up against a Matt Patricia-coached defense, he always has to worry about multiple fronts and coverages.