Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips didn’t wait for a question from the media Friday. He knew what the center of attention would be.
"They asked me if I had seen a quarterback like (the Carolina Panthers’) Cam Newton. There isn’t one like him," Phillips volunteered.
"I haven’t seen one like him. None of us have. He’s a tremendous talent. He’s put it all together. I’m sure he’s going to be MVP of the league this year. It’s another big challenge for us.
"You go from (Pittsburgh quarterback Ben) Roethlisberger to (New England quarterback) Tom Brady, think it won’t get any tougher and now you’re going against Cam Newton. … He is a top-notch drop-back quarterback, but he can run with it better than the rest of them."
Phillips, who has been a head coach and a top coordinator in the NFL for decades, said the closest comparison he could make was when Michael Vick was an elite passer with the Atlanta Falcons. But that doesn’t account for Newton’s defensive end-like size.
Phillips wasn’t the only one singing Newton’s praises Friday. Broncos linebacker Von Miller, who was chosen second overall in the 2011 draft behind Newton, gushed over both Newton’s ability and personality.
"I don’t think there’s another quarterback that’s ever played the game the way he does, especially the way his personality is on the field," Miller said.
"I’m just a big fan of everything that he has going for him. He’s a huge role model. If he played defense, he probably would’ve gotten $220 million because he can probably rush the passer and drop back and do safety and all that stuff, too. I’m a big fan."
Indoor practice: While it was a nice day in Denver Friday, coach Gary Kubiak chose to hold practice inside the team’s bubble. That was because the wind was blowing hard and Kubiak finds a windy day tends to cut down on his team’s energy and chatter at practice.
Three Broncos didn’t practice Friday: Safeties Darian Stewart (knee) and T.J. Ward (ankle) and guard Louis Vasquez (knee). Kubiak said Vasquez likely would have practiced outdoors on grass, but the team thought it best not to subject Vasquez’s sore knee to artificial turf.
Eye on offense: Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison reiterated an on-going theme this week – that the Broncos must perform better offensively in the Super Bowl than they did in generating 20 points to beat the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
"I think you said it right, there’s always room for improvement. I think we just have so many plays we see that we miss.," Dennison said. "Hey, let’s go make them next time. We have to make those. Last week is just like a lot of different weeks. We had too many opportunities that we need to take advantage of."