Today's Quotes - 9/21/05

Denver Broncos Head Coach Mike Shanahan and Quarterback Jake Plummer discuss this Monday night's game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Check out the full transcripts.


On the improvement of the Kansas City Chiefs' defense
"The first two games give a good indication that they are much better. They have a lot more speed at the linebacker position. They have a new corner that is a proven player and a safety in Sammy Knight, that's a proven player. Then there are a couple additions up front that are very much improved. That is why they have given up an average of 12 points in the last two games. They have a very good rush defense, which is why they have only given up about three yards per carry and if you can keep that up throughout the year, you can beat the best. "

On the advantage of facing tight ends (San Diego TE) Antonio Gates and (Kansas City TE) Tony Gonzalez in back-to-back weeks
"We face a lot of great players throughout the season and those are two great players, two people that are dominate in there positions. They both can catch the ball and they are very big and very explosive. They have mismatches against the linebackers and the safety, so you have to pay attention to them, because they can beat you single-handedly."

On Chiefs Defensive Coordinator Gunther Cunningham
"I have Gunther for a long time and he is a great coach. He really works at what he does and takes pride in what he does. I have the utmost respect for him."

On eliminating mistakes during a game
"You can't just hope. You work on the things that you did poorly and if you do that, then hopefully you get a little bit better. I think we have proven that we can move the football, but we have to do it consistently. We can't make mistakes the way we have been making mistakes. We have to eliminate some of those penalties and turnovers, and then you put points up on the scoreboard. If we continue to do that, then we will continue to struggle."

On quarterback Jake Plummer talking about having good practices
"I think what Jake (Plummer) was trying to say was that to give yourself a chance to have success on the weekend, you have to have good practices throughout the week. It is not necessarily guaranteed that you will have a great game, but if you don't have some good practice during the week, then you really don't have a chance."

On running back Quentin Griffin rejoining the team
"It is nice to have ‘Q' back. Any time you have a guy like (running back) Mike Anderson, who's got sore ribs, with the rib cartilage damaged and you have (running back) Tatum Bell, who has the sprained ankle, which leaves us with one running back. That made the decision to bring him back very easy. We brought him back not only because of the situation but because we have a lot of confidence in Quentin. He is an excellent running back and he has had some good games with us, and it is good to have him back on the team."

On why they brought running back Quentin Griffin back
"Well, it's tough when you have a 53-man squad and somebody has to come in and learn all of the terminology and learn the system, it takes time. When you have your second, third or fourth back that knows the system, you can throw him in there any day. That is why it is tough to pick a guy up during the season, because you actually want that guy to be able to contribute to the team."

On the importance of the Kansas City game
"We've been talking about this all year. When you have 16 games during the season, every game is big. Obviously, the games are even bigger in the AFC West. We could have this conversation each week – ‘What a big game.' Yeah, it is a big game. It's not like baseball. It's not like basketball. You've got 16 games and you have to use that to your advantage. You want to take advantage and win those games at home, especially in your division. We understand how big it is. We talked about it last week. It's no different this week."

On how the home team has traditionally won this game in the season series
"I think it's a good point. For some reason, it's worked out that way. Both teams have won some and lost some very close games. We've lost some close ones on the road. Obviously, they've lost some close ones here as well. It's really hard to explain. I don't worry about what's been done in the past. I really don't. I don't even concentrate on what's done… whether we have a one-game winning streak, two-game losing streak. We just have to focus on getting the job done. I'm hoping that we can put it together, and get a win in the division."

On his expectations for WR Ashley Lelie
"Well, when you lead the National Football League with over 20 yards per catch and you handle over 1,000 yards, that's pretty impressive. That's a pretty impressive resume. He said he didn't play very well last week. He has some high expectations, and so do we. Now, he's not too bad right now, but we want to get him to the next level. He's got the opportunity to take the game over. That's what we'd like to see."

On his frustrations with the penalty call in the San Diego game that negated a punt returned for a touchdown
"That has stayed within the organization. We talk about a lot of things. Every coach sends in a list of anywhere from five plays to 15 plays. I play them, and I ask them their opinion. It helps me because then I get a little bit more in tune with all of the rules – just the interpretation of whether you are right or wrong."

More on reviewing the plays in the San Diego game
"They give you an idea of whether you are right or wrong in everything. Those things stay within the organization."

On whether he gets more ‘pumped up' for a rival
"I'll be honest with you. I get up for every game. Each game is important. There is not one game that is more important than another. When you start, from a player's perspective or a coach's perspective, getting up for one game more than another, players feel it. You know that every game there is a difference between the playoffs, home field advantage. There are so many factors that are involved. You do everything you can to prepare for the game. With Monday night, we have an extra day to prepare. Obviously, both teams do. Then you have the short week the next week. There are a lot of factors that go into a schedule like this that is a little different. Your preparation is a little bit different once you get to the weekend."

On the impact DE Courtney Brown makes on defense
"I thought he played extremely well the first game. He's a very physical player like we've talked about. He had a sack in there and a fumble recovery. The problems that he has had, at least that I have seen throughout his career, has not been playing and staying healthy. He has played, and he's played extremely well. If he stays healthy, I think he'll play extremely well."


On the improvement of the Kansas City defense
"They are doing similar stuff… same kind of defense. They just have a little better personnel. They brought in some good players to fill some areas. They didn't go change their whole defensive scheme. They're just playing a little more efficiently. We have to go attack them like we always do. Hopefully we can get some big plays."

On the excitement of Monday Night Football
"If I was a rookie, I'd be excited."

More on Monday Night Football
"It's another football game. It's exciting for the people getting to watch it on Monday night, but we'll be playing. It's a long week. You get an extra day in there. It's not going to make me do anything different than I do for a Sunday game. We'll be ready to play regardless."

On getting excited to play Kansas City and playing for first place in the AFC West
"We want to win regardless. It doesn't matter right now where we stand. Obviously, we want to win games in our conference. It's another chance to win at home in a conference game. We can go 2-0 in our conference and have a leg up on San Diego and Kansas City."

On the offensive struggles through the first two weeks of the regular season
"We're working. It's one of those things where you want to start out fast, but I think we want to be playing our best ball at the end of the near, not right now and go the other way. There are areas we can improve on. The reason we practice is to get better in those areas. That's what we're trying to do. We're not going to do anything different but go out… today with no pads but the same routine. Obviously, we have to be a little more on top of what we're doing. What we do during the week and carry it over into the game. We seem to miss a few things once in a while carrying it over into the game. We have to carry over our assignments in the game and do the little things right. If we do that, then I think we'll solve our problems."

On the boos heard during the team's home opener last week
"I just think when the fans boo, it's just a little disheartening for a team. But obviously, there's nothing we can do. We can't go, ‘Hey, knock it off. You guys stop booing.' But we can go out there and win a ball game. They weren't booing when Jason kicked the field goal. The only thing I would say is to plead with them to stick with us. We might not be perfect every single play and snap and series and quarter, but hang with us. Hang tough with us. If you feel that you want to boo, then boo. But we need the cheers. We could use them. We're going to be a tough team that's going to fight through anything. We could have given up and not finished that game off the way we did, but we didn't. We finished strong, and we got the W. The fans have a right to do what they're going to do. We'd love to have them cheer all the time. Obviously, we have enough direct reflection upon us that if we're doing well, then they're going to cheer. But hang with us; we're going to keep fighting."

On whether he feels the boos are directed at him
"Of course. I'm the guy that's throwing the ball. If I throw an incompletion or it's third-and-20 and I chuck it down to Rod (Smith) because there's nothing down field, then the fans usually boo not realizing they'd be booing harder if I tried to force it down there and threw an interception. It's just one of those things. It's happened at times in my career. It's not the first time that I've been booed. It really has no effect on me, but you'd really like to have your fans hang with us. We'll appreciate them down the road further much, much more if they hang with us during the tough times."

On having running back Quentin Griffin back, who already knows the offense
"It's great having Q back. It was really hard when he got cut. He's one of my favorite players – a guy in the locker room that works hard and goes out there and you know what he's going to bring to the table. It's nice to have him back. Hopefully, if he gets a chance to go out there, he'll make sure there are no more thoughts of letting him go again because that's the kind of kid he is. He's ready to come back, and he's excited to be here."

On the front office using free agent money to concentrate on the defense
"I think we have a lot of talent on offense. There were areas on defense that they wanted to go after, and they did. Just because of what the front office does doesn't mean we're not going to score as many points. I think we have a very talented offense from top to bottom. With the defense, you can win championships. So, it's a smart move by them to go get some good players over there. I think offensively, we're plenty good enough to get the job done. With the defense out there playing the second half like they did against San Diego, then we should win some games."

On whether this is the best defense he has seen during his career with the Broncos
"Yeah, across the board, especially after going against them in camp. I've said it many times that they are quality. They definitely turn it up a notch. You see what they could be, hopefully consistently. It's fun to watch those guys when they dominated the second half. They set a tone for hopefully what they will do the rest of the season."

On whether the defense is good enough to bail out the offense if there is a bad drive
"That's why it's a team. If we don't do so well like last weekend, they kept us in the ball game until we got a chance to go win it. If the defense isn't doing well, then we have to hold up our end of the bargain. We have to go score points. That's why we're a team."

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