Q & A with Mike Shanahan

Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan answers the media's questions concerning the teams loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars

Injury report
"Willie Middlebrooks has a sore shoulder. He should be all right. Darius Watts had a little bruise on his (buttocks). He should be (fine). Trevor Pryce still has an enflamed nerve in his lower back right now. We'll have an MRI today and we'll know more Wednesday. Tatum Bell should be getting the pin removed from his finger so he should be in pretty good shape. Champ Bailey should be OK with a little calf strain. Reuben Droughns has a little ankle sprain. He should be all right. Garrison Hearst's ankle is getting better. We'll find out Wednesday if he can go, but he's much improved. Lenny Walls is still working on his shoulder. I'm not sure if he'll be ready this week but maybe by next week."

On his analysis of the fumble by Quentin Griffin in the fourth quarter against Jacksonville
"Anytime there's a fumble, it's the quarterback and the running back. I just think he got a little excited because the hole was so big. You usually don't get holes that big. The bottom line is that it was a fumble. We had our opportunities. Anytime you move the ball like we did and score six points, it's always disappointing. You know, it's a little bit of everybody. You don't control the ball like we did and move the ball like we did and score six points without being a number of factors."

On his reasoning behind running the ball on third down instead of kicking a field goal one down early
"I didn't really think it was a debate. When you go through a scenario like that, it's 2nd-and-10 and the ball is on the 24 yard line with 24 seconds left, we run a running play. Of course, they called a timeout with 37 seconds left on the clock. The reason why they called the timeout was because they wanted the ball back. If we ran the play, we didn't have any time outs and obviously we would've kicked the field goal. The reason why we ran the running play is to let it go down to zero and throw our field goal team out there. But they were smart enough to call a timeout because they didn't want to give us a chance to kick a field goal at that time, obviously, with no chance to get the ball back. So what they did was call the time out right away with 37 seconds left, which meant we had a chance to kick the field goal then. But if we did, they still would've had 32 seconds left on the clock plus a timeout. Of course, my thoughts would be that we could still get a couple more yards but more importantly, they would have to use their timeout. So now they've got it with 32 seconds and no timeout. If you get a good kickoff return, even with a squib kick, if you get one play down the middle, I think they have a chance to win the football game. I thought it was heads up on their part to give themselves a chance to at least get the ball back and call a timeout like they did. You know, that's just football. Now if we get the handoff and things workout well, he walks into the end zone and we're not talking about this. But that's the nature of the game. You've got to get it done. It shouldn't have even come down to that play. I was proud with the way we did go drive down the field. We had to make a play and had to get a drive, and we did some good things. Unfortunately, we just turned the ball over at that point."

On how he thinks the young Quentin Griffin will react next week
"He'll be fine. He made some good runs in that game. That's the nature of being in the National Football League. He's so conscientious and such a good kid. He's the type of guy that puts on the blame on his shoulders. That's what you've got to understand is that wasn't that play that did it. We had a number of opportunities to get the job done. But when you got a guy that's got a lot of pride, he puts all the blame on his shoulders and he obviously shouldn't do that."

On when he thinks he'll start being concerned about Griffin fumbling the ball consistently
"I think if you look to the one on the goal line, I think he knew that he was going to score. He was just waltzing into the end zone. I think there's an experience there that he just went through saying, ‘Hey, I've got to hold on to that ball until I get all the way into the end zone.' He was so nonchalant at the goal line, he just thought he was going to waltz in. So, that's experience right there. Now if he was running the football, and people were taking that ball away from him, I'd be concerned. But I'm not concerned at all. That hole was so big on that third down play, heck, I would've got excited getting through there. But, the bottom line is that you learn from your mistakes and you go on."

On comparing RB Quentin Griffin fumble with former RB Clinton Portis' fumbles
"(Clinton's) fumbles were a lot different than (Quentin's); (Clinton's) fumbles were with getting hit. You have to tell people, but you don't want to over do it, because if you do that people start holding with two hands on the ball and they can't cut. There is a fine line there. I am very pleased with the way (Quentin) has been running the ball, and obviously disappointed that we turned the football over. This was a quarterback/running back exchange, so that is different than if somebody stripped the ball. That is a big difference."

On injury to Jaguars DE Paul Spicer
"It was just a running play. What happened is Matt Lepsis is supposed to block the defensive end, he stepped outside and came back inside, and of course Reuben (Droughns) is responsible for the linebacker. What happened is that (Lepsis) whipped around to go block his guy and there was a collision with Reuben Droughns on the defensive end. So (Lepsis) went back to block (Spicer) and unfortunately it was a freak accident. Nothing like that is designed. On a running play those things do happen, it is just unfortunate it had to happen then."

On accusations of malice in injury to Jaguars DE Paul Spicer
"First of all that is totally untrue, and a lot of people get caught up in the emotion of the game not knowing what had happened. Anybody that watches film can understand that it was completely unintentional."

On teams performance in third-down situations
"We did a pretty good job on third-downs, overall. Where we made our mistakes, we had three 3rd-and-1 situations that we normally convert and one 3rd-and-2 that we missed. If you take just two of those four, three 3rd-and-1's and one 3rd-and-2, you get half of those, which we should be about 85 percent, then we are at 50 percent and that will lead the National Football League every year. Against a team like Jacksonville, when you get a chance to keep the ball on third-down and short, it is something we usually do. So it is a credit to them and obviously disappointing to us."

On treatment for injured DE Trevor Pryce
"That's what the MRI is for, to find out exactly how serious it is. We need to get some doctors and specialists to look at the MRI and find out what they recommend for treatment.He practiced on Thursday (last week). He took a few reps on Thursday and got a few reps in on Friday, the whole practice. He just said that he doesn't have the leg strength he normally has. When Trevor says something like that, there is something wrong. He hasn't missed any games and he's been to every practice through all the summer camps. We'll just have to wait and see what the MRI gets back, exactly what is wrong. Hopefully it is nothing serious and he will be back shortly."

On performance of DE Reggie Hayward
"He played good. Anytime you can hold a team to eight first downs and 175-yards that is good. With a couple guys out of our starting line-up he played well.He played a little bit better than Raylee (Johnson) did the week before so we gave (Reggie) the starting job, which he should, he is a lot younger and we brought Raylee in for more of a substitute role. We don't want to overwork (Raylee) but Reggie played well and so did Raylee."

On offensive performance inside the Red Zone
"We only had the ball one time inside the Red Zone and obviously we got a field goal. What we would like to do is get down there more. If we get down there more we can score some points. Like I said, when we move the ball like that—we had two penalties that brought back 75-80 yards, Rod Smith's play and Quentin Griffin's screen—on top of all that we stopped ourselves a couple times. We just have to get together. When you move the ball like that, 20 first downs in 37 minutes, you should be able to score a few more points than we did."

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