Coaches Corner 10/4/05

Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan discusses the teams' injury situation, dealing with rookie cornerbacks and the resurgence of Dwayne Carswell.

Mike Shanahan

On playing Jacksonville after appearing on Monday Night Football
"Any time you have a short week and you're a little bit banged up, you know how important a game is to make the other games worthwhile. After games against San Diego and Kansas City, we had to go win a game on the road. Our guys had to be ready to step up and play."

On his confidence in the rookie cornerbacks
"Well, very early with Darrent Williams and Domonique Foxworth with Champ Bailey going down in preseason. We got a chance to seem them play an awful lot. Darrent Williams started every preseason game. By doing that, Foxworth got the first shot at nickel and then played the remainder of the games. We had a chance to evaluate them very early, and we could see that they were both players and played with a lot of confidence."
On the performances of second-team players
"Well, like a guy you mentioned, (running back) Cecil Sapp has come in and played exceptionally well on special teams. When he has come in at the fullback role, he has played very well. That's what you try to do. Guys understand their role. They may not like being second team, but when they do get an opportunity to play, they take advantage of that opportunity. That's what Cecil has done. We have a lot of players like that. Give them an opportunity, they play well at their position and they contribute on special teams. That's what you're looking for."

On his feelings about the depth at key positions
"As I stated earlier, I feel very good about our depth at a number of positions, especially on the defensive line and in the secondary. We also have a lot of depth on the offensive line. We have some depth at the wide receiver position and the running back position. Overall, we have a lot of depth."

On the versatility of some players who play multiple positions
"Any time you're dealing with 45 guys dressing out, it's always a big decision with guys that can play several positions. For example, Dwayne Carswell can play the guard position, the tackle position and the tight end position. We have him listed as an offensive lineman in case somebody goes down. He can play a number of positions up front, which is very valuable, especially at the goal line."

On Dwayne Carswell's attitude toward playing multiple positions
"He's been a guy that I've really enjoyed since I've been here because he just works. In the offseason, he always shows up about 15 to 20 pounds overweight, but he always finds a way to get back in shape. He always plays extremely hard. It's very important to him regardless of his role even if he's not playing every down and just at the goal line. He has to be ready in case somebody goes down. If that happens, he'll play well."

On whether he's used to having the cornerback position banged up
"I think the cornerback position gets banged up quite a bit. That's why we like to have depth at that position. Over the past 15 to 20 years, that position probably gets banged up more than any other position because of the size of the players and the players they are going against. That's not unusual so you'd like as much depth as you can get. The offensive teams can dictate what you play on defense if you don't have a lot of depth. When you see three, four and five wide receiver sets… if you don't have that depth for the offensive game plan, they're going to take advantage of you."

On the status of cornerback Champ Bailey
"I have no clue. With the hamstring, I don't think he has a clue. He's working out. Hopefully, when it's practice time, he's feeling better. Right now he's just getting treatment."

On whether he would be comfortable starting two rookie cornerbacks
"Domonique (Foxworth) was our defensive player of the game. He played extremely well. I'm not going to go over the starting roles with who is going to start, but I feel like we have some depth there."

On the status of cornerback Darrent Williams
"Well, an ankle is not like a hamstring. Usually with an ankle, you get a good feel by Wednesday or Thursday. He wasn't too bad Friday. He wasn't full speed. I would guess… I'm just guessing that he'll be able to go Wednesday."

On the unpredictability of NFL games this season
"I don't really get caught up in all of that. I just try to focus on your game. Once you start looking down the road… well one team I though we played extremely well against probably would be San Diego. We were pretty banged up and San Diego was fairly healthy. Games like that will sneak up on the public, but you know how tough and good they are. Games like that don't really surprise you."

On whether certain defenses work to take the big play away from wide receiver Ashley Lelie
"Sometimes they do. They roll off to his side. What you have to do is be patient. You just have to compete and fight. The bottom line is you always want to be hungry to get to the ball and find a way to win. Sometimes it's more important to get the guy a ball, and then the big plays will come."

On the play of rookie cornerback Karl Paymah
"Well you never know what a guy is going to do when they get into a live situation. For some young guys, the game is just too big. They get a little excited and lose their focus and concentration. What we saw throughout the game was he was playing the way he's always played."

On the pass-rush presence of defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban
"Well, it all starts up front. If you're going to get turnovers, if you're going to do the things that great defenses do, you have to be able to get pressure up front. I think we had a good rotation. I think the guys that we activated for that game – we had seven instead of eight because Patrick Chukwurah couldn't go – I thought they did a great job."

On whether he likes to go with the running back with a ‘hot hand' during the game
"Not really. They kind of have two different styles. Mike Anderson is a guy that kind of pounds you. Ron Dayne is a little bit of the same way. He gets that tough yardage. Our game plan with Tatum (Bell) is to try and get him a few carries, as well, because every time he touches the ball, he has a chance to go the distance because of his speed and his explosiveness. You'll probably see that quite a bit through the season. I can't tell you the numbers because sometimes there is a guy with a hot hand, but it's a little bit different from what we've had in the past."

On RB Mike Anderson's first 100-yard rushing game since 2001
"I'm happy for Mike, but we saw what Mike did during the preseason. You know what Mike Anderson is. It doesn't take a regular season game to tell you that Mike has been playing pretty good. Being two or three yards short last week doesn't take away from Mike Anderson. I'm pleased with the way he's come back and rebounded after a serious injury. I like the way he handles himself."

On whether Anderson is still playing through a rib injury
"I don't think he'd ever tell you for sure on if he's 100 percent, probably not. Most guys aren't 100 percent at this time of year at four games into the season. Most of them have too much pride to tell you that they're hurting."

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