Shanahan's Postgame Quotes

Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan speaks to the media following the teams 20-17 win over the Carolina Panthers

The following is a transcript from head coach Mike Shanahan's Press Conference immediately after today's 20-17 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

General opening comments:
"I'm really proud of our football team. We had a chance early; the first couple drives to get things going. We had a couple dropped balls when guys were open. All of a sudden we couldn't get the momentum going. I believe it was four series we went three-and-out. In the second half, to make mistakes like we did, and to overcome it, there is a lot of character on our football team to overcome some of those mistakes that we made. I though defensively, we stepped up and played pretty consistent the whole game. (Carolina) is a very talented team in both sides of the football, and it's always nice to have a game like that and find a way to win. Obviously, Reuben Droughns, there is not enough accolades to talk about him. He played a great game; he seemed to get stronger as the game went on. He broke a number f tackles in there, and it's nice to see a guy like that step up when given the opportunity."

On whether offensive line of Reuben Droughns is due credit for the success of the running game
"The only way you run the ball in the National Football League is with a lot of guys working together. We have not been as successful as we like in the running game, except for the first game of the season. We knew we had to step it up against a defense that is an excellent defensive team. People say they are (ranked) 28th against the rush, that's because they average 13th. People feel like they have to run against them because they can't pass against them. It's really a credit to their defensive team and their defensive structure. It's a combination of a lot of things. I thought Reuben ran extremely well. I'm really proud of our offensive line, tight ends and wide receivers, because to have that many yards in the National Football League there has to be a lot of people working together."

On if Reuben Droughns will be the starting running back next week
"You guys will have to follow us through the week, and we'll see who gets (the position) next week.

"It's really nice to have a guy step up like that and get the job done. We have talked about this before. When you give a guy an opportunity you're hoping he takes advantage of it. That has happened with a lot of guys on our football team, and we have had a lot of success through the years. Reuben obviously took advantage of it today."

On Rod Smith's chase down hustle play
"It's really a credit to Rod Smith to give that type of effort when it looks like there is no chance for anybody to catch (Julius Peppers). (The officials) made the right call, but regardless of what the call was, for a guy to (make the tackle) just shows you the character of Rod Smith. It also shows you the character of our football team. To make as many mistakes as we did in the third quarter and all of a sudden overcome that with some tough field position speaks volumes. Hopefully we can just keep on working and getting better, start eliminating those mistakes. If we do that, we can put some points on the board early and avoid those heart-stoppers at the end of the game."

On fourth-and-goal play
"I usually go for it, and sometimes it doesn't work out. I'm a gambler, sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't."

On performance of TE's
"They did a great job. When you are running down on players, and anytime you get as many (running backs) down as we had, we had to do something in a different package to utilize our tight ends a little bit. I though Dwayne (Carswell), Patrick (Hape), and Jeb (Putzier) really did a good job of coming in and filling up the fullback position. When we did go to two backs, I though Kyle (Johnson) did a great job of stepping up and playing as we hoped he would do, with never really having the opportunity to play in the National Football League. A number of guys stepped up that really have not been given the opportunity in the past, and found a way to win the game."

On injury to Panthers RB DeShaun Foster
"They only had three back coming into the game, so I can't imagine it could have helped them. Anytime you have two tailbacks and one fullback, and your tailback goes down, it limits the things you can do. He is an excellent back. We have done that a few times this year; we've gone in with three backs, so you have to improvise."

On decision to deactivate RB Quentin Griffin
"I thought he would have a good chance to at least dress-out today. He worked out before the game and he said he was ready to go. I said, ‘How do you feel when you cut?' He said that he feels 95 percent. So when you don't get any reps during the week and just a few reps on Friday, 95 percent is not good enough. We will let him (Quentin) heal up a little bit and get ready for the Raiders, but we were going in the other direction. It's really hard to play guys that don't get reps during the week, and it's nice for those guys that do get to practice to step up and get the job done."

On Carolina unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the 4th quarter
"To be honest with you I didn't know what it was. That's something in the National Football League that you preach to your players. You have to keep your poise when the going gets tough. A lot of times guys will get a cheap shot and all of a sudden they will retaliate and (the officials) will catch the second guy. You have to put your team first, and sometimes it's tough, and sometimes people lose their emotions. I know I have in the past and I know our players have. It's a learning experience that you go over with your team, and you hope it doesn't happen too many times."

On touchdown pass to WR Ashley Lelie
"We had ‘go' routes, and that is your first route, but sometimes you may get too deep for a coverage. (Ashley) was our primary receiver. We got a three-deep look, and that's why we had the chance to go deep."

On possible fourth down situation if Lelie touchdown was incomplete
"I was contemplating it right there. I wasn't sure if I wanted to back (the Panthers) up. There was plenty of time to back them up; I'm not sure what my decision would have been."

On expectations of running game
"I can't say going into the game that anybody would carry the ball 30-times, especially when Tatum (Bell) carried the ball a few times. You're never really sure how many carries you are going to get. (Reuben Droughns) was a little winded, rightfully so. I thought Tatum got some experience today, he didn't get as many carries, but he got the chance to play a little bit, which is always nice for a young guy."

On injury to CB Willie Middlebrooks
"I'm not sure how serious it is. I think it was a hamstring, I'm not sure. (Head trainer Steve Antonopulos) tells me the guy is out, and I don't worry about the injury until after the game. He was out enough so that he couldn't come back in, so hopefully it's not too bad."

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