Today's Quotes - 8/9 morning session

Mike Shanahan and Rod Smith addressed the media following this morning's practice session at Dove Valley. The team left this afternoon, and will practice the remainder of the week in Houston, as they prepare for their preseason opener this Saturday night against the Texans.

Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On defensive tackle Gerard Warren's hamstring injury
"I think he will be able to go tomorrow. He said that he could have played a game today. We just kept him out for the obvious reasons, but he should be able to practice tomorrow against Houston, which will be a big plus for us."

On practicing against the Houston Texans
"Any time you go through a couple of weeks of two-a-days, it's always nice to practice against somebody else because you get to know you're players inside and out. It's a little different atmosphere. You get a chance to compete against not only different players but different schemes, different systems… Kind of get out of here for a little bit. I think it's a big plus for them a s well (Houston)."

On most of the players knowing what to expect in Houston
"A third of you're team changes every year, so there are a number of players that have not been done there. Playing Miami the first game and Jacksonville the fourth game, it'll be nice to practice in that type of heat and that type of humidity."

On whether the intensity will pick up against Houston
"It's very natural once you go against somebody else for the intensity to pick up. You have to be smart in the way you handle yourself and the way the players practice….. You want to protect each other but you still want to be productive."

On running back Maurice Clarett's health
"His groin is sore. We had an MRI today and we haven't got the results from the MRI. We'll find out how serious it is. Hopefully it's not too serious, but if it is, we'll take the proper procedures of healing. His hamstring is a little tight. He came out here yesterday and felt pretty good, but it tightened up so we kept him out today. Hopefully he'll practice against Houston tomorrow."

WR Rod Smith

On facing the Houston Texans this week
"You know what? We've been going really hard since I can't remember. We've been going at it with each other. This is the first step, this test to see if all the work you've put in is going to pay off because you're going to get someone that hits hard everyday. I think everybody is excited. We're going out there to have fun, work hard, but at the same time, be safe and make sure we don't hurt any of their players and none of our players get hurt and learn and see what kind of football team we're going to have."

On knowing what to expect in Houston
"This is football. People get hit. People get pushed. People get kicked and tripped and all that. It's just about who has a level head and understands this is part of the business. If there's a cheap shot or something like that, I expect a guy to retaliate. If I did it to one of them, I'd expect him to do something. It's just the nature of the beast. We don't play dirty football, and I'm sure they don't. You're going to have some tempers because it's part of the deal, but at the same time, you have to keep a level head and make sure you don't do anything to hurt your team. If it was a game, you get fined or get penalties. Those things hurt your team. Our group is really… It's something we stress each and every day. We don't expect there to be any kind of deals going on. We want to go out there and get a lot of good work in, a lot of physical work, a lot of hard work. At the same time, we want to get in a lot of safe work. That's what we're looking forward to."

On the hot temperatures in Houston
"That's the way it's going to be when we play in Miami. So it's a good test for us when we play Miami because that's what everything is building toward… that first regular season game. It's going to be hot, and it's going to be humid. Guys are going to be tired. You are going to see some guys with IVs. It's a great deal for us. It's one of those times you test the guys, test your endurance, test your workouts and the things you've done this offseason."

On the Broncos' young receivers
"You expect a lot out of the guys that get a lot of reps. I think we might play a quarter and then you see them for three quarters. The whole time I'm sitting there in their ear making sure that they understand their technique and use those techniques that we've worked on since March. You just want to see someone compete because you're not going to win them all. We're going against one of the best defenses in the league. You're not going to win each and every time, but you have to win a majority of them. That's how you stay in this business. That's how you keep your job. Not only are there jobs on the line, but it's still a game. You've got to learn it's a game – a game we've played all our lives as kids. You've got to go out there with that mentality. I'm going out here with a bunch of my friends to play a game and have fun. As long as you're having fun, you tend to make plays along the way. That's what I want to see – see guys sticking their nose in there on the run and helping our backs get out and just pushing downfield and doing the things they got to do. You want to see them smiling during the game because that way you know they are enjoying themselves. You don't want it to be an intense where my job is on the line type situation because you can't play in those uptight moments."

On the progress of quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt
"He's working hard. At times, he's a little confused. There are a lot of words to describe him, but at the same time, he's a competitor. That's what I like. He's one of those guys… We call him scrappy. He's going to do whatever he can to try and make plays and make things happen. At that position, that's what you have to have. At the same time, you've got to be calm and be poised. He's going to be put under the fire real early. That's good because the games count, but they don't count. They count from the standpoint of the leaders of this football team seeing who's going to go to war with us, who's going to fight with us and how they play in a situation when it's tough for them – when it's 100 degrees, when we're down by three, and we need to make plays –especially the quarterback because he touches the ball a lot on offense. This is a time to test a lot of guys, you know we test ourselves as veterans; we make sure that we push ourselves and get better."



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