Head Coach Mike Shanahan
On what running back Ron Dayne needs to do in Saturday's game against San Francisco to move up on the depth chart
"It's not just Ron Dayne. It's anybody. You want to go out there and have great practices, and you want to perform well in the games."
On players improving their status with a strong performance during a game
"There's a chance anybody could move up. What you do in practice everyday, what you do in the game determines if you do move up and if you do make our football team. A lot of people have mentioned a lot of different positions, but it's the same every day. We evaluate it. We go back and take a look at the film. We spend about two-and-a-half hours studying it. You take it play by play, and the people that step up every day usually move up the depth chart."
On running back Maurice Clarett returning to practice Thursday after missing time with a right groin injury
"He looked pretty good today. It didn't look like there were any problems. We've all got to practice."
On running back Maurice Clarett's relationships with his teammates
"No, I'm not going to comment on that. That's all speculation. I just know how he treats me. You'll have to talk to other people if someone has a problem with him."
On whether running back Maurice Clarett is easy to coach
"I haven't had a chance to coach him very much. I was hoping to have a chance in the next couple weeks to coach him. Any time you're out of practice for as long as he has, it's almost like starting over. You've got to get your legs back… back in football shape. He missed a lot of reps, knowing what to do from an offensive standpoint. It takes some time. Hopefully, he can stay healthy and we'll get a chance to evaluate him."
On if cornerback Champ Bailey has been ruled out to play in Saturday's game due to his left hamstring injury
"No, we haven't ruled anybody out. I'd say if it's still nagging tomorrow, chances are we would hold him out for obvious reasons, which is good for these young guys. Champ has had a lot of different practices and put through a lot of different situations. If he can't go, it sure gives those younger guys to go out there and compete."
On how much time the starters will play on Saturday night against San Francisco
"Well, I'll say this one again. I've been doing this for about 10 years, 11 years. The first game we go in the area of 10 to 12 plays and the second game in the area of 20 plays. Sometimes it's a few more, sometimes it's a few less. In the third game, it's usually about 35 or in the middle of the third quarter. In the fourth preseason game, usually the established starters do not play and we try to evaluate the second, third and fourth players – guys fighting for a position."
On whether quarterback Danny Kanell will play Saturday
"Well, we haven't talked about all of the scenarios. A lot depends on how the game goes, so I'd hate to commit who is going to play and not play. It all depends on situations."
On running back Maurice Clarett returning to practice
"I wasn't trying to send him any message. He knows when he is healthy and can play. He's been getting treatment for the last seven or eight days. He practiced today, and he looked fine. It didn't look like there were any setbacks. The only way he can get better is to compete. Hopefully, he's well so he can compete with the rest of the backs."
Quarterback Jake Plummer
On the end of training camp
"Yeah, it's another one under the belt. Thankfully it's over. Now we can do a regular routine. No more two-a-days. One thing we'll miss is the naps in the afternoon. You know we got a long break there. We'll miss the hour-and-a-half naps we get, but I'll find some time to get those naps."
On his reaction to running back Maurice Clarett being back in practice
"I didn't really think about it. He's been out for a while. He's not with the ones. It's good to see that he's healthy. I don't want a kid to come in here and be hurt. It's football. You can't make the club in the tub. It's an old saying. Joe Greene used to say it all the time."
On being old enough to know about Joe Greene, a Hall of Fame defensive tackle who was the Cardinals' defensive line coach from 1996-2003
"Yeah man. Coach (Greene) used to coach in Arizona for five years that I was there. He's a great guy, but that's what his saying was – ‘You can't make the club in the tub."
On whether any individual surprised him during training camp
"You know, everyone is playing hard on defense. We've got guys that play so hard together and play for each other. It's a lot like offense. We've got 11 guys who are doing it for each other. You've got your (linebacker) Al Wilson, (cornerback) Champ Bailey, (safety) John Lynch. Those guys are always going to play well. (Safety) Nick Ferguson… I was not surprised to see him come in and fill the role. He'll make some great plays for us this year. (Cornerback) Lenny (Walls) looks really good. (Cornerback) Darrent Williams is someone who surprised me a little bit… just his toughness. I mean he's going to get beat. He's going to get a penalty on P.I. (pass interference), but he's going to come back and keep fighting. That's what you want to see. All those guys look good over there. Our defense is going to be strong this year."
On the defense improving against the first-team offense during training camp
"I think they're just swarming to the ball more. It's a weird thing. The ball bounces straight down to the ground. You go through a season and you throw a few picks and they bounce down. You go through a season and throw a few picks, and the ones that bounce up, you throw a few more. It's the way the ball bounces. Right now, they are just swarming to the ball. If you don't put it on target and it bounces up, there are going to be guys all around there. The team speed on defense has definitely improved. We like to see that. We're going to get some turnovers this year and hopefully create some short fields. Hopefully with the athletes we got over there, they'll take it for a touchdown. That's the offense's best friend – a defense that can score touchdowns."
On the starting running back competition between Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell
"They've both been battling and running hard… all those guys. Mike Anderson, to me, is a guy that I can count on. Tatum showed last year that he can play and play well. We've been watching both those guys run. I know that last week they didn't perform as well as they wanted to. We'll see how they do this week. It's Mike's position to lose, and Tatum is charging and pushing him hard. We like to see that. It raises the competition level and makes them both play better."
On grasping the offense in his third year with the Broncos
"I feel real comfortable. I feel like I know what's going on with the offense. I know what to expect during the season. All of this that we've worked on here can change rapidly. We'll still keep a lot of it in the game plan, but our game plan changes from week to week. I just know what to expect from week to week and what I'm looking for. I think I have the confidence in my guys around me. Whether it's my third year or not, I'm going to go out there and play ball."
On his reaction to movement within the depth chart regarding wide receiver Darius Watts
"They don't call us in to inform us of who has been demoted and who has moved up. I don't know what the depth chart is. I just know guys are out there working hard. Darius (Watts) has to continue to work. He makes some great plays, and he misses some that he should make. He'll tell you that. What I don't like to see is to reflect back to what he did last year. Last year is over. Let's let this kid keep building. For me, I'm going to keep pumping him up. He's going to be a key part of this offense. He's going to make me a lot better. Whether he got demoted or not, he's got to keep working and he knows that. He's not the kind of kid that's going to quit. I'll tell him to keep his head up and keep working."
On his impression of wide receiver Jerry Rice
"I've finally gotten a chance now that he's moved up to throw him some balls. The guy is amazing… getting to the ball and getting open. He's Jerry Rice. What do I have to tell you guys? He's a great player. It's fun to play with the guy. He still has it, and it's fun to be on the other throwing the ball to him."
Wide Receiver Rod Smith
On John Elway attending Thursday morning's practice
"I always get excited when I see him. He's definitely helped my career in many ways; I can't even start naming the ways. He's the best of all time, and it's always good to see him come out."
On training camp being held at the team's training facility in Englewood, Colo., compared to camps previously held in Greeley, Colo.
"That's the thing. When you get to sleep in your own bed every night, it's a little bit of a different feeling then sleeping in those twin beds at camp. Guys are getting a lot of work done, and I think for the veteran guys it doesn't feel as much like camp, it just feels like you are going to practice."
On whether the offense has progressed the way it had hoped
"Overall, I think you can tell that just based off of some numbers from our one preseason game, we were better in the red zone and we didn't turn the football over. I think overall in the stats that we were definitely zooming in on and focusing on, we were a little bit better."
On running back Maurice Clarett returning to practice Thursday
"You can't make the club in the tub, that's what everybody says. We have a lot of competition. We have guys up and down the roster. The young guys are doing a great job for us in all areas – offense, defense and special teams. Guys have a focus of knowing this is a place I can contribute but this is a place where I can earn a job (special teams). It is a lot of pressure, but there is pressure on all of us, and the thing is you have to do whatever you have to do to get yourself back on the field. Sometimes, they don't have time to go and get treatment or they don't have time to do the little extra things to try and get their bodies where it needs to be (young guys), I say that's your fault. The trainers can only treat you if you are there, and if you don't let them know things are happening, you will be the one suffering in the end."
On the difference between being hurt and being injury
"It's a grind. That's the thing that separates who is going to be on the team and who's not, who can come up and still make those plays when they are a little bit hurt. There is a difference between being hurt and injured. When you're injured that's another thing. (Defensive end) Courtney Brown is injured. That's a totally different scenario. But if you have a tweak here and there, which has been the case for me all camp, you have to find a way to get going each and every morning to come out and practice. Some of those guys (teammates) are going to have to grow up quick with that because in this business they are not going to wait on you. We still have to move forward whether you are here or not. You just hope they have a speedy recovery and they are out there showing their teammates what they can do, and when guys are not dressed out it's hard to see."
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