Coaches Corner 10/5/05

Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan discusses the Clinton Portis trade, the new omproved defense and the hands of Dwayne Carswell. Check out the full transcripts from today's press conference.

Mike Shanahan

On whether Washington or Denver fared better in the Champ Bailey-for-Clinton Portis trade
"I think they feel very good about Clinton, and we feel very good about Champ. If you feel good about a trade, then it is a win-win situation. Champ has played very well for us. Obviously, Clinton played very well for us when he was here. Not only did we get Champ, but we got Tatum Bell as well. We feel good about it, and I'm sure they do as well."

On whether Washington RB Clinton Portis has grasped the Redskins' offense
"Their offense is a lot more productive this year than it was a year ago. Last year, I think they were ranked 30th. This year, they are 14th. They're moving the ball on the ground, doing a very good job on third downs – right at the 50th percentile, which is quite unusual. They're making some plays. I think their team is a lot more comfortable with their system, and they're a lot more successful. Most teams are in their second year into it."

On the improvement of the defensive line from last year
"It's where we thought we had them when we got them (the players acquired in the offseason from Cleveland). There are a few different opinions on the players from Cleveland, obviously. We felt very good about it. We studied them, and we liked what we saw. They've been playing very well for us. Hopefully, they can keep it up."

On the advantage of facing former Broncos RB Clinton Portis
"You almost know everybody in this league. You study them enough, you watch them on film. We've watched film from the year before. We've watched this year. Regardless of whether you've had a player on your team or if he's on the opposing team, what you do is study him. Obviously, you know his personality. That's probably the thing that changes – you know people quite personally, get a chance to know them and you have some relationships going. That's the only difference."

On the status of CB Champ Bailey, who is recovering from a hamstring injury
"I don't know yet. Like I said, we haven't had practice yet. You never know with those hamstrings. We had a walk-through the past half hour or 45 minutes. We took all the reps there so we'll wait and see."

On the status of CB Darrent Williams, who is recovering from an ankle injury
"Darrent will be able to go. We've got him listed as probable."

On using G Dwayne Carswell at the tight end position
"What a lot of teams will do is take their offensive guard or offensive tackle and use him in goal-line situations. When we first worked Dwayne at the tackle position, he was playing the tight end position as well. Then we had an injury, and we moved him over there for good. It's the same thing this year even though he's been playing the guard position. We played him through the preseason at the goal-line situation. A lot of times, a guy that is around 300 pounds can do a better job blocking in those goal-line situations than a normal tight end. So we'll use him there, and hopefully he can keep on catching touchdown passes. The other guys are a little jealous right now. Dwayne's pretty quiet though. He doesn't brag about it at all."

On Carswell's hands
"He's got soft hands. He has very good hands. He's an excellent athlete."

On moving CB Domonique Foxworth to the starting position if CB Champ Bailey is unable to play Sunday
"We don't talk about personnel. We'll talk about it after the game if that does occur and Champ's not going – who will start at that position."

On Washington Head Coach Joe Gibbs
"I'm quite impressed. I forgot he was that young when he retired the first time and went into NASCAR. Anybody that won three Super Bowls like he did and had the success that he's had, you admire him. I just like the way he handles himself. He's a class guy, and he's been that way since he's been in the National Football League."

On whether this is the type of game that is a potential letdown game
"I'd say that the only type of game that you really worry about are the games where people think that team isn't very good. The thing about our schedule this year is that no one thinks that we have a ‘gimme' game. That usually comes from outside, not inside. A lot of times, people start talking about a team – ‘Oh, they're not very good.' That doesn't occur in the National Football League. If you're not ready to play and you're team's not ready to play, you get beat. I don't think there is any question about this team – about the type of football team that we're going against. They are a team that played exceptionally well on defense last year. It's almost unbelievable what they accomplished with their offense not being very productive. With your offense being a lot more productive this year is the reason they are 3-0 even though they are minus four in the turnover ratio, which is quite unusual for a team to win three games like that and not win the turnover battle. So we know what we've got cut out, and we have a lot of respect for how they play. They play extremely hard and extremely sound. They don't make many mistakes."

On whether there is more strategy involved with Denver owning Washington's 2006 first-round draft pick
"It really doesn't. Sometimes you don't necessarily want a top pick. You'd like a first-rounder, but you have to pay a little too much money. There are advantages and disadvantages to everything."

On whether he is surprised at the level of play among the rookies
"Well, you always expect them to play at that level because you draft them. It doesn't necessarily pan out that way. Darrent Williams got a chance early to show what he could do with the injury to Champ (Bailey). Domonique Foxworth got a chance to fill in at the nickel position. You get a chance to evaluate them through the preseason. A lot of guys step up. Other guys don't. We're really fortunate that these guys have turned into good football players. Hopefully, they can keep that up."

On Redskins QB Mark Brunell
"I think the first time you go through the first year of any offense, a new coaching staff, new personnel, people try to get a feel for each other. It takes some time if you're the quarterback. He looks very polished. He's throwing the ball extremely well. If you go down to third down, experienced quarterbacks will make plays. That's what they get paid for. He's come up with more big plays on third down than any quarterback I've seen this year. I attribute that to his experience and how he's handling the system."

On Brunell benefiting from other players on the Redskins' roster
"Well it's a team. One thing about a quarterback is you're only as good as your supporting cast. The more comfortable you feel with your supporting cast, the better you are. I can tell you examples of quarterbacks who are pretty average unless they have a good supporting cast around them. That quarterback has to feel very good about his play in the system as well. He looks very good."

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