Today's Quotes - 8/16 (am session)

Complete transcripts from Tuesday's media session following the teams morning practice session at Dove Valley.

Head Coach Mike Shanhan

On how quarterback Bradlee Van_Pelt's athleticism affects Denver's run game
"We have had that in there. We have had it in there all the time. We don't always use it, but we have had it in. You only have so many quarterbacks, and you have got to keep them healthy."

On the special teams performance in Tuesday morning's practice and against the Houston Texans
"We didn't play very good in special teams, and you play the way you practice. So we have to pick it up a notch on our special teams. There is a big emphasis there. The only way you get better is to emphasize something, so hopefully we will get a little bit better. Definitely a carry over from Saturday night – you have a certain standard, and you have got to practice right and play well on game day. When you practice at that level, it's hard to play very good and we were very average on special teams and we will improve. You have got to have a unit playing together. You cannot have eight or nine guys doing a lot of good things and you got two guys that are a little off – that is very poor. We have got to have 11 guys working together just like offense and defense. If we do that, then we will improve. If not, then we will play like we did last Saturday."

On wide receiver Todd Devoe's chances of making the team
"We are evaluating things every day, and if you have a good practice and you keep on having them, then you have got a better chance to stay. That is part of the evaluation system for everybody on that field. We can only have 85 guys at camp. We used to bring 140 guys to camp, so we can only bring 85 and a handful of those guys are not working. You have a chance to make the football team if you are out there, and if you have good practices it obviously increases your chances."

On safety John Lynch being taken out of practice after delivering a hit in the morning session
"He had a hit on goal-line (drills), and I think it tweaked a little nerve in his neck. It's just a precautionary measure. He should be all right."

On wide receiver Darius Watts' performance in practice this week
"He has had two pretty good days of practice. For him to get back up in that same lineup (second-team), he is going to have to practice consistently and play consistently."

Safety John Lynch

On what the defense wants to focus on in the preseason
"Well, I think it's real simple. I think, as I said after the game, tackling on this team is going to be sharp, and we have to come out and show it. I think we did some good things. I think we weren't pleased or satisfied with the way we tackled. I think we need to come out and be crisp and tackle well. If we do that, we're going to be there. We're a talented unit, and if we put the little details together, then we'll be a done deal."

On the goal-line stand in the first quarter at Houston
"It's huge. I think it's been a long time since they've done that around here. I think often times if you just do it one time, you get an attitude that every time down there, that's what you should do. Now I think we'll have that confidence. That can win you games, and it's devastating to a point when you shut them down, down there."

On his injury suffered during Tuesday morning's practice
"We had just done a goal-line drill, and I put a hit on Mike Anderson. I didn't want to take him in the groin, so I let him go and the rest of the pile came and got me. I'm fine. It was just precautionary to take my pads off. I got hit in the head and my neck stiffened up a little. I'm all right. It's not similar to my past injury. I'm all right. It's just one of those things that happens. If it was a game, I wouldn't have missed a snap."

Wide Receiver Jerry Rice

On if he saw any similarities to a young Steve Young in Broncos quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt
"Steve was unbelievable. You know, Bradlee is… the only thing we worry about is when we get into the open field. I don't know because he looks for contact. Normally, he would be avoiding contact. As a receiver, we're taught that. We try to avoid contact. But Bradlee on the other hand, he looks for that. He's a big guy, but he has to be smart on that field knowing that you've got guys coming to take your head off. I think he loves the game; he enjoys the game."

On practicing as the No. 3 receiver
"I think the thing for me is that I have to prove that I can carry that load. That's the way I look at it. My focus is going completely toward that. With San Francisco, there was no animosity. They were going in a different direction, and they wanted to go with the younger guys. So here I am in Denver, and I'm just looking forward to my opportunities in the preseason."

On what defines a playmaker
"I think being a playmaker is being the type of guy that… you can't be mechanical. The way they draw it up on paper – It doesn't work like that at times. You have to go out there and find a way to get open. The feel – you can't be standoffish, and I've been very smart over the years. I'm very good at reading people. I know what they're doing to me, and I know what area is going to be open. That's basically what I'm trying to get into Jake (Plummer). What I'm saying is that you have to be creative because those guys on the opposite side – they are just as good. With me, I'm always working a guy. If the ball is not coming my way, I might double-move and set the guy up. I think also what defines a playmaker is when everything is going bad, being able to step up. To say, ‘all right, I'm going to make that play."

Safety Nick Ferguson

On safety Chris Young's injury
"I feel really bad for Chris because at first he was going to get a scope now and get the surgery later. But I told him, ‘you might as well get the surgery now so you don't have to go under the knife twice.' We're going to miss him, but this league is one of those things where if a man goes down, there is that opportunity to lose your role. There are so many corners in this league. Depth in the secondary is something you definitely need."

On whether he takes it personally when Coach Shanahan points him or the special-teams unit out during practice
"I'll tell you what… If you have a job to do and your boss yells at you, how would you feel? Obviously it's a disappointment when coach has to yell at you like that because he shouldn't. We should already know what we need to come out and do. Sometimes, some guys need to have a fire lit under them. If there is any person to light their fire, it's him. He demands the best out of the offense, out of the defense. So special teams isn't going to be any different."

On the play of Denver's special teams at Houston in its preseason opener
"When you have the talented players like we have… When you go out there and play a game and don't show the same tenacity, then special teams is going to be worse. He (Coach Shanahan) knows this team. He knows the character of each individual person. For a guy to go out and not do what he knows that guy can do, it's huge. We're just trying to get everyone to optimize their potential."

On wide receiver Todd Devoe's emergence during training camp and the first preseason game
"It's great to see him come out and actually do well. We even had discussions before the game, and I told him he needed to do something spectacular during the game. We didn't know what, whether it was going to be on offense or special teams. But he went out there and showed he could catch the ball. I think what he did in the game is giving him more reps. That's what this game is about; no matter how many plays you get, you have to do something with it."

On the expectations placed upon players who regularly make big plays
"I mean, this is a pressure business. I'd rather be one of the guys making big plays and having that pressure than the coaches not noticing me at all. This is a pressure business. You are either in or you're out. If you talk to Todd (Devoe), he'd probably rather have that pressure on him than people not know who he is at all."

Wide Receiver Ashley Lelie

On his performance so far in the preseason
"A lot of the work I did with (Strength and Conditioning Coach Rich) Tuten in the offseason is working on bad balls and stuff like that, trying to get my eyes and hands coordinated for the deep balls. My confidence level is always high. When I mess up, it's really not about confidence. It is more about not knowing what to do or not studying or practicing like I am supposed to."

On how he characterizes his play during training camp
"It's all right. I wouldn't say that it's terrific. I would say it is pretty good, but it could be a lot better. Once it's perfect, then it could be terrific."

Quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt

On shotgun formations
"I am kind of indifferent to it. Of course I want to be a traditional quarterback. I want to throw and I want to get a lot more practice out there, but I understand what we are doing. In an empty package, you spread them out and a lot of defenses expect us to throw. If we have the capability of having a scrambling quarterback that can get some quality yards, that puts the defense in a bind and actually makes them get out of the certain defense that they are in. There are some days where they want you to throw your reads and try to make a pass, but then on the flip side they can come back and tell you, ‘Oh, you should have probably ran that play.' It's just more of experience. The more I am out there, the better I feel the holes, and I will get used to scrambling when I have to. But my first objective out there is to go through my reads and hit the open receiver if there is one."

On what he wants to improve from the first preseason game
"I haven't really thought of my goals, but I think that the idea is to just get better, to limit some of the mistakes I have made and make sure I hit deep balls. I came close last game, but I made too many mistakes and that is something that I said last week that is going to stay with me until this upcoming game."

On the quarterback draw
"I think you have to have caution because if (QB) Jake (Plummer) goes out of a game and I come in there and shotgun, their defense is going to think something is up. I don't know how they are going to use it – I just have the capability of doing it, which makes the defense have to prepare for it and will also make defenses that can protect the pass quite well do the same."



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