Mike Shanahan - Post Game Quotes

Transcript of Mike Shanahan's media session following the Broncos 41-28 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

General opening comments:
"I'll start off offensively. We started off the game fairly well and a credit to Atlanta, in that second quarter, we had three turnovers and we couldn't overcome those turnovers. We were moving the football, and that's something we have to eliminate. Back there in that third and fourth quarter, anytime you have 75 or 80 yards called back in penalties, with holding calls and some false starts and those type of things, you can't do that and win especially when you turn the football over. Defensively, it's a credit to Michael Vick. Obviously when they ran the football they ran it fairly well. We seemed to take that away, but Mike was determined that he was going to come up with some big plays. It's really a credit to a great athlete that kind of took the game under control, run the football, and obviously, throw the football well when he had to throw it."

On if he thought some of the holding calls unusual
"I can't say until I look at the film. I really can't say. I always say that till after reviewing the film. We had a bunch of them together, though, back in that third quarter. Anytime you have those type of penalties it's hard to overcome. We had 75 yards called back, and those turnovers obviously hurt us as well."

On if he had a sense the defense became discouraged when Michael Vick had big gains
"Yeah, I think anytime they move the ball like they did on a number of big third downs. On one Kelly Herndon had him early. It's just a great athlete making a play. He did that time after time. You kind of work on it during the week but until you actually go against him. He was determined to take the game under control. Obviously, we could've played better as a team but I want to take my hat off to him, because he was determined to play better than he did a week ago. He had no second thoughts about running the football and making plays on his own. It was a good running attack as it was, and then all of a sudden a quarterback with that type of athletic ability running the ball. You can't turn the football over and have the penalties we made. I still think offensively, if we didn't make those silly penalties and a couple turnovers, we still had a chance to win the football game. It would've been high scoring, but we still had a chance."

On if it was a total breakdown when a player like Rod Smith even got flagged for holding
"Like I said, I've got to take a look at it. Rod didn't feel like he held him and the officials said he grabbed his jersey and pulled him down. Until I see that, usually Rod is pretty good about that, but in the heat of battle sometimes they fib a little bit to you. So, before I say one way or another, I've got to take a look at it."

On if he thought the intensity dropped off after John Lynch left the game injured
"It's always tough to lose a good player, but I don't think that was it. I think it came down to not really executing well. When we did seem to stop him, we stopped ourselves on the first drive in the third quarter. I think it was a holding penalty on our corner. Obviously that hurts the momentum a little bit. (Vick) made some great plays. All of a sudden the guys are there, and he's got the athletic ability to break out of it. In the past he hadn't thrown the ball quite a bit and today he was determined to turn it up the field. I think it really helped his passing game as well. I don't know what his passing game was but, he was pretty consistent."

On what the status of John Lynch is
"I really don't know. No idea."

On the performance of Jake Plummer
"Well, you know, that's what we talked about. We can't have those interceptions, especially in that second quarter. A couple of those picks you'd like to have back and you've got to work your way through it. One thing we're trying not to do is beat ourselves. Jake will be the first one to tell you that you can't turn the football over in the National Football League and win. You lose the turnover battle, and you're going to consistently lose. Sometimes you're good enough to overcome it. We've been able to do that a few times. But we can't beat ourselves."

On if Michael Vick is the most dangerous player in the league and if he can be a one-man team
"Nobody can be a one-man team in the National Football League. I don't think there's another athlete like him that's ever played the game. I think that goes unsaid. Now can he keep on developing to be the best or one of the best? We'll know that over time, but he sure looked pretty good today."

On how much the absence of John Lynch hurt the defense
"It wasn't the safety position that caused our play. Eleven guys have to be coordinated and we've got to be coordinated very well. Because when you run a zone blocking scheme very similar to what we run, that if one guy is out of position, it can cause a touchdown. That's what happens. It could be an end, a linebacker or a safety, it could be all of the above. But all of a sudden if you keep paying attention to those quarterback keeps, and you don't have your gap responsibility, that could hurt you both in the running game and obviously the play action pass. When you've got him on the perimeter you can make things happen, especially if the blocks are coming."

On if he saw the impact of offensive line coach Alex Gibbs on their running game
"There's no question. It's a very similar style to what we do. Not very complicated but very well executed. With a quarterback like that to compliment that running game, it will make them very dangerous."

On how much the turnovers put pressure on his defense
"Anytime you turn the football over you put pressure on your whole team. You give them opportunities and especially good field position. Turnovers in the red zone on third down, you're always looking at it. We had kind of the game under control early. We had two turnovers and we had an onside kick that was hit and we were very fortunate they didn't get a field goal there. So, you can't do that with a team that uses ball control. What I mean by that, we usually win the possession time. They did a good job keeping the ball away from us with that running game. I think we only had the ball 25 times in the first half, and that's not done very often. It's really a credit to them."

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