Q & A with Mike Shanahan

Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan spoke to the media regarding Sunday's loss in San Diego, the current injury report and rookie Darius Watts.<br><br> Check out the full transcript of Monday's Press Conference. <br><br>

Monday Injury update
"From the injury front, (WR) Nate Jackson fractured his ankle, so he'll be out the rest of the season. Other then that, we've got some bumps and bruises, but I don't think anything that can keep anybody out."

On if rookie wide receiver Triandos Luke will have to step up now that Jackson is out
"Yes, he'll get an opportunity to play some more. He's done a good job for us. We watched him play a little bit in preseason. He's got a chance to return some punts. He's got some speed and he's got some confidence. I think he'll do a good job."

On if Nate Jackson has been put on the injured reserve list
"Not yet, but it won't be long though."

On if Romar Crenshaw will be activated from the practice squad
"That's a possibility. We haven't decided. We haven't really talked about it yet, but, we won't do anything for a day or two."

On how rookie wide receiver Darius Watts reacted to not getting out of bounds in time on the last play against San Diego
"Well that was a tough situation to put him in. You want a young guy to concentrate on the ball. A lot of times, you get too caught up out there wanting to play perfect ball when all of a sudden you get a couple drops and they lose some confidence. He had a couple drops there in that game and I know he's disappointed in it. The only thing you can do is go back and work on it and concentrate. When you're in the next situation or scenario, you've got to really concentrate on the ball and focus on the ball and not get caught up in anything else."

On if Watts would have made the first down and gotten out of bounds before time expired
"Probably not."

On if he thinks that if Watts caught the ball on third down, would there have been enough time to spike the ball and attempt a field goal
"That's what you usually do. Right in that area of 12 to 16 seconds, you can actually throw the ball down field 20 or 25 yards. If you're touched right away, you can kill it (the clock). That would've given us a shot right there. We've got a call for that and people understand that if you don't get out of bounds, you've got to get over there quick and obviously stop the clock. I'd say we would've probably had two or three seconds left."

On his assessment of Tatum Bell getting playing time against San Diego
"He did some good things. It was nice to get him in the game. You can see his speed and quickness. It was nice getting him some playing experience. He had a nice run there on the touchdown and a good cutback. He looked pretty good."

On if Bell will get more playing time as the season goes on
"Well, what we'll get a chance to do is take a little pressure off of Reuben (Droughns). We still want him to get that 20-25 carries or somewhere in that area, and if you can a guy that can go in and carry the ball anywhere from 5-10 times, you feel pretty good. I think they compliment each other because Tatum is a guy that's got great speed and he hits the hole pretty quick too. Reuben is more of a north and south runner and can run over people, so I think it's a good combination."

On if Bell is playing more because he is picking up the offense better
"Well he's been out and that's the reason why he hasn't played. It took him awhile to get over his finger injury, then he had the hamstring. So he's got some practice time and feels pretty good. He's doing a good job."

On how he would assess the team's chances of making the playoffs right now
"I'm going to give you the standard line because I believe it. You don't know what's going to happen down the line with any team. All you've got to do is get ready for Miami and win that football game and that's what we've got to do. We can't beat ourselves. Anytime you've got seven turnovers in two games and you're still in the game at the end that's amazing in itself. I think our football team knows that we've got to keep control of that football. We can't give it away. Anytime you give the opposition as many opportunities as we did inside the 50-yard line, it's hard to win. We had our chances to win both football games with a lot of mistakes and that says a lot about our guys. But, for us to play the type of football we're capable of playing, in the fourth quarter of the season we're going to have to limit those mistakes."

On if he thinks San Diego limited Jake Plummer's ability to roll out of the pocket and that hurt the offense "I don't think so. I think we had some big plays during the game. We've got to be more consistent with catching the football. We had a number of drops. Unfortunately, we had a number of tipped passes that turned into interceptions, but anytime you have those turnovers, like we just talked about, it's hard to win."

On if he thinks Kelly Herndon tipped the ball up before it hit the ground on the challenged play that annulled a touchdown
"You know, I didn't see the TV copy. Kelly just said, ‘Coach I don't care what they say. I had my hand underneath of it. It hit on my hand and popped straight up.' But I did not see the TV copy I just saw the end zone copy and you can't tell from the end zone copy."

On if he has talked to the team about the playoffs
"I don't think I've ever talked to the team about the playoffs. Unless you're in a scenario that you know you're in the playoffs. I think a lot of times when you talk about it is when you're in your last game, or sometimes you talk about it when you're in your 12 or 13 game if you've locked up the division and home field advantage and you kind of go through the scenario. But, for any team now, unless you have 11 wins and you win your division, it's just a little bit premature."

On how the last two Broncos' losses will affect the team
"It's tough. You put in your time, and if you don't win those football games, it's tough on everybody. We put a lot of work in the offseason, and all of a sudden we see those opportunities disappear. It's tough. Now you find out what type of character you have when there is a little adversity. You have to have guys step up. It's always easy when everything is going smooth. When it's not going smooth, you find out what you are made of."

On the performance of WR Ashley Lelie
"He's been playing pretty consistent. He made a couple great catches, and he's playing at (a high) level every week. I think you can see, like everybody else, the consistency this year. The first three games of last year, and the last three or four, he played really good. Notably, he had a number of dropped passes and he was a little inconsistent. This year, he has been consistent all the way through. Once you get that confidence as a wide receiver, you seem to make those plays more routinely than you normally would. I think he is playing with a lot of confidence right now, and he feels like he can beat anybody one-on-one."

On if dropped passes will hurt rookie WR Darius Watts' confidence
"Yeah, all receivers go through it. Jerry Rice went through it as a rookie. (Rice) dropped a lot of balls. You have to work through it. Rod Smith had a couple games in there, where all of a sudden he had a number of drops. You just have to wipe everything out and focus on your job. It's tough sometimes, because you want to play so good and be flawless in you execution. Then all of a sudden you lose your concentration and all of a sudden those drops seem to come in bunches. I know (Darius) is a little disappointed, but I believe in him and he's just going to have to keep on working."

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