On selecting Vanderbilt QB Jay Cutler in the first round of the NFL Draft
"Very seldom are you in a
position to get a quarterback of his quality. To get a guy like Jay, we were
very excited. We weren't really sure when he was going to go. We were hoping
that he would go a little bit later than earlier, and we feel very fortunate to
get him. We feel like he's a guy that can make all the throws, he's an excellent
athlete as well and he's done a great job throughout his collegiate career.
We're excited. It's always tough to get those quarterbacks, especially with that
type of ability. We're looking forward to him coming in."
On if the
Broncos spoke with Cutler leading up to the draft
"We don't talk to them
(prospects) because sometimes when you talk to them, you give it away. I had a
chance to talk to (Titans Head Coach) Jeff Fisher a number of times, and Jeff
was working out all three quarterbacks and spending a lot of time with all
three, and Jeff thought the world of him (Cutler). Obviously, I liked what I saw
on film. He can make all the throws, and I liked the way he handled himself and
I liked the way he played. Jeff had a chance to spend a lot with him right there
obviously in the same city and didn't feel like he had any flaws. Jeff and I
have been close through the years, and I didn't have to give something away, so
that's always nice."
On creating competition at the quarterback
position with the selection of Cutler
"All you like to do is have
competition. You try to create competition. We've been very fortunate the last
couple of years. Obviously Jake (Plummer) is in his 10th year and took us to the
AFC Championship Game and played quite well on a Pro Bowl level. He's (Plummer)
an athlete, he's playing at a very level and won a lot of games, and hopefully
we'll continue to do that with Jake at the helm. But when there's an opportunity
like that, you don't want to pass it up because you know you are one play away
from an injury. We've got a quarterback in that situation that can come in and
throw, and we'll get a chance to evaluate him and are just excited to have him."
On where he had Cutler ranked among the draft's top three
"Obviously we had him at the first pick."
Cutler's success at Vanderbilt
"Being in the SEC, being at Florida (as an assistant coach in the early
1980s) and understanding the quality of play in that conference, for him to be a
player of the year speaks for itself. Very few times can a quarterback at a
school be the MVP where they don't have the same type of athletes that some of
the schools have in the conference. He's done some spectacular things throughout
his collegiate career, but more importantly, I like the way he handles himself.
He's an athlete. He runs quite well, is very strong and has been healthy. I'm
just looking forward to him being with the Denver Broncos."
at quarterback on the Broncos' roster
"Jake understands that there is
competition. If we didn't draft (a quarterback), it could have easily been in
the second or third or in free agency. Regardless of where a guy is picked, the
guy has to come in here and compete. Jake understands the nature of this job.
Jake has a lot of confidence in himself."
"There is a lot of
competition, and everyone is playing for a job. Jake had the same situation in
Arizona. That's just the nature of the job. There's always going to be
competition. There's always going to be great players. If you back away from
competition, you shouldn't be the guy anyhow. That's just the nature of the
National Football League."
On trading on draft day
through scenarios like this all the time, but usually we are not in position or
we don't have enough draft choices to make the moves that we did today. Getting
a first-round draft choice this year from Washington (in a trade last season)
and trading that pick for No. 37 and No. 68 gave us some flexibility with the
15th pick. Normally, you don't have that opportunity to move up like that. We
talked to a number of teams about moving up and moving back. But we were happy
it worked out. It was a great opportunity for us, and I thought it worked out
On finding a team to trade with to move up in the draft to
"We talk all the time, but to be honest to you, that (St.
Louis) was the first team that would actually… The other teams, regardless of
the offer, were very happy where they were. They (the Rams) were the first team
that would actually talk about possible compensation."
On if the team
considered trading up to select USC QB Matt
"Why would you go for another guy when I already said he was
our first pick?"
On discussing trade scenarios to move up in the
draft with other teams
"We started early in the draft. I think we started
with San Francisco and worked our way up. You never know. Sometimes, a team will
have somebody targeted, sometimes they're willing to back up. We talked to
Detroit and Buffalo, and we thought there was a possibility there, but they were
very happy with their pick. We really didn't talk about compensation—They were
very happy with their pick. That's the nature of the business. We do that all
the time. When you pick in the latter part of the first round, very seldom do
you get a chance to make some of these trades. We were very fortunate to have
No. 15 and an extra second and an extra third to do some of the things we did
On acquiring Packers WR Javon
"Javon was in here yesterday (Friday), and I had a chance to
spend some time with him. We went out to lunch, and I brought him over to my
house and had a chance to sit down and talk with him. His rehab (right knee) is
going well. The target is to have him ready once we go to camp. He is still
recovering from his ACL, and I don't want to push him along too quick. He went
through all the physicals with our trainers and doctors, and he should be ready
to go full-speed by the time we start camp."
On Walker's ability as a
"I just think he brings a lot to the table. He's got great
speed, great size and is very physical. He can turn a short gain into a big
play. He's very good blocker in the running game. He's one of the guys I look at
and call a complete receiver."
On signing Walker to a new
"We've got the parameters in agreement. It's basically going to
be in that six-year time frame. Obviously, there's no contract being signed, but
we've talked and are fairly close."
On Walker's recovery of a right
ACL injury suffered in the 2005 season opener
"I felt very good. We had
Javon go through our doctors and trainers, and they felt very good taking a look
at the X-rays. They felt like he was in great position to be ready to go once we
start the season. We don't want to start him too quick. We're not going to put
him in mini camp. We're going to get him ready to go and he'll be there for
meetings and those types of things, but to actually start practicing we don't
want to put him out there too quick."
On where Walker is currently
"He was in Tallahassee just finishing up a couple classes. He
has been in Arizona going through a workout program. He's been doing quite well,
but he will come in here."
On how the acquisition of Walker affects
the status of Broncos WR Ashley
"Ashley is still on our football team. I've got a lot of
confidence in Ashley. He's made some big-time plays for us. He's got some more
competition—That's what it means. He's got to come in here and compete, and
hopefully he wants to do that."
On the status of Ashley
"I think it gives him the best chance to compete. Ashley is in the
last year of his contract. If you want compete with the guys that we have on our
football team and you want to get better, it's hard to do that when you are
away. But Ashley has done a lot of great things for this organization, and he's
made a lot of great plays for us. I'd still like him on this football team. I'd
like for him to come in here and compete. If he doesn't, I can't do anything
about it except with mini camp, but I can't see how that would help him for his
future contracts unless he comes in here and really performs at a high level
On if Lelie will play for the Broncos in 2006
say the chances are very good that he will be a part of our organization. I
can't say 100 percent, I can't foresee the future, but I will be very surprised
if he is not a part of our organization."
On Lelie wanted to be a No.
"You want to bring a guy in here and give him the chance to
compete. Ashley has been obviously one of our starters. He wants to be the No. 1
receiver, and the best chance of being No. 1 is to come in here and compete with
the other guys. That's the only way I know to be No. 1 is to come in here and
get better. But Ashley is a class guy. Sometimes, people do things which they
think is the best benefit for him, but we signed him to a five-year contract,
and I'm still looking forward to him making plays for us. Hopefully, he will."
On other NFL teams looking to trade for Lelie
"I can't go in
that direction, and I won't go in that direction. But Ashley has had some
interest, and I'll leave it at that."
On the Broncos' communication
with Packers General Manager Ted Thompson
"I think there was good
communication going back and forth. Obviously, he would like a ‘One'
(first-round pick). I think that the 37th pick and what they did with it, they
got some good value with a player (Walker) that didn't seem like was going to
come back. I think it was the right time to make a trade for Green Bay, and I
think it was the right time for us. I think it was a win-win for both sides."
On if this is the happiest he has been after the draft's first
"I think we've got some big-time impact players. The only time you
get some big-time, impact players, usually you lose about 12, 13 games, and
that's not a lot of fun as a head football coach. To be able to have the type of
season we had and still be able to get some quality guys that I think can help
our football team is real encouraging."
On Western Michigan TE Tony
Scheffler, whom the club selected in the second round (61st overall)
"He's a guy at 6-foot-5 and a half, 255 pounds and ran a 4.5 40 (yard
dash), had the best time in the 10 and the shuttle (among tight ends at the
combine) and has unbelievable hands. It's nice to have a guy that will take a
little heat off the wide receiver when a team is playing two-deep. We just
thought he had a big upside. He's a former wide receiver in high school, started
out as a wide receiver at Western Michigan. He moved over to tight end and just
has a great feel for making the big-time catches. I think his development will
be more with blocking, very similar to Shannon Sharpe, Desmond
Chamberlain, Billy Miller, different wide receivers that we've had. The only
advantage he has is that he's been playing that type of position for a couple of
On Walker and Scheffler helping the Broncos'
"That's why we got him (Walker). That's why we got Ashley, too,
for three wides. A guy like Tony can come in and help us in a base and two
tight-end set along with the tight ends we've got. Any time you get an extra
wide receiver that has been to the Pro Bowl and is very physical, he is going to
bring something to the table. He's a guy that's a great competitor and a guy
that's made plays very consistently. Knock on wood that the ACL comes around and
he does the things that he needs to do to be ready to go. That's always a
gamble, but I think it's a very good gamble. Then you've got a guy like
Scheffler that comes in at 6-foot-5 and a half that can run very well and is
more like a wide receiver out there making those types of plays. But he's
(Walker) probably the fastest guy that we've had for a long time, so hopefully
he can make the transition. Then you've got a quarterback (Cutler) who has
big-time potential. Very few times do you get a chance to take a guy like that
unless the season is really going poorly, so I feel like we had a good day."
On the Broncos focusing on upgrading their offense in the first day
of the 2006 NFL Draft
"I think we talked about it last year. We've added
some depth at the defensive line over the last couple of years. We continued to
do that this year. You take a look at our secondary with three defensive backs,
taken in the second and third rounds last year, that we felt were big-time
contributors to our football team. Then the depth at the linebacker
position—We've got three guys I consider Pro Bowl players with great speed and
great ability. I felt more depth was needed on the offense. We'll address our
needs tomorrow. We've still got three No. 4's, a five and a six. There's still a
lot of great players out there, and hopefully we will be able to snatch up a
On the value of acquiring Walker
"It's hard to really
pass up a Pro Bowl player, a very physical player. A guy that has 4.3 speed
coming out, a guy that is a very competitive blocker in the running game, a guy
that has been able to take the short pass and go the distance and been able to
come up with the big-time plays… You don't find those guys very often. When you
take the 37th pick, and there was a couple guys we felt very good about, but
it's hard to beat a guy that's already done it."
On NFL players in
general recovering from ACL injuries and Walker's specific recovery
think it all depends on when it happens. It happened in the first game of the
season (2005). That's been a long time ago. That's why I think he'll be ready.
As long as you don't push him too quick. All I can do is go by the X-rays, the
MRIs and those types of things. Our doctors felt very good looking at his knee.
He's right on pace to recovery, and he should be ready to go. We've had a number
of scenarios (knee injuries) that were much worse than Javon's, and they were
ready to play."
On last season's trade with Washington to acquire the
team's 2006 first-round draft choice
"When you have a few more picks,
sometimes it works out. We did do it (trade) last year with Washington thinking
that this might help us out. It doesn't always work that way. If Washington only
won four or five games (increasing the value of the 2006 first-round draft
choice Denver acquired), it would have been easy. Regardless, we knew Washington
was a good football team. We thought they'd be very close to where they were
maybe even a little bit better, somewhere in that area. We thought we'd still
have some great value at that pick (Washington's 2006 first-rounder). Regardless
if they were No. 20 or No. 29 or No. 32, we still felt we could do something
with that draft choice."
On trading Denver's second first-round draft
choice, No. 22, to San Francisco in the weeks leading up to the draft
had the 15th pick, and getting No. 37 and No. 68, we felt we could get two
quality players. Even though it might not be that one player that you might
covet at No. 22, we felt we could get two quality players at 37 and 68. We
thought it would also give us some more flexibility in trading in case we wanted
to move up or possibly go back. So having that extra pick sometimes will help."
On USC running back/Denver native LenDale White being taken in the
"I was kind of surprised, but any time that you don't run
the 40 and you have problems with a hamstring, sometimes organizations are a
little bit unsure exactly of the commitment of somebody. Tennessee got some
great value out of him. I'm sure he's excited to play, excited to prove
everybody wrong, that he should have been a top-15 pick. That's the nature of
this business. Whatever has happened is over with. Now, you've got to go out
there and perform. As I tell our players, ‘It doesn't matter if you a
first-round draft choice or it doesn't matter if you are a free agent, now
you've got to perform on the field.' The only thing a first-round status gives
you is a year, possibly two, because of the money commitment. As we all know
from previous experiences, you've got to perform. I think that's what our
players like. They know regardless of where a guy is drafted, if a guy doesn't
perform, he'll be released. Free agents believe they have an opportunity to come
in and compete with those guys because we only play the best players, regardless
of where we drafted them."
On the Broncos' running back
"I think we've been pretty successful with our running backs
over the years. One of the reasons why we did (release) Mike (Anderson) is we
felt very good about our running-back situation. Take a guy like Ron
Dayne, we've got a lot of confidence in him. We know what Tatum
Bell has done. Cedric
Cobbs has brought a lot to the table. We liked what we saw with the practice
squad for a year. Take a look at Cecil
Sapp. Cecil was very successful at the tailback in college. Cecil could come
in and play extremely well. We have a number of candidates, I believe, that can
get the job done for us."
Mike Shanahan tackles the questions
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