Coaches Corner 10/11/05

Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan discusses Sunday's win over the Redskins, the injury situation and the challenge of playing the New England Patriots. Check out the full transcripts.

Mike Shanahan

On winning against Washington without a lot of offensive production
"Those are the games you want to try to find a way to win. Sometimes they're not pretty, but you make some plays when you have to make them. That's what we did."

More on the game against Washington
"I think we had some penalties. We had them stopped a couple times and all of a sudden we had some penalties. We gave them some first downs, and they kept on fighting. I think that was the key. A lot of times you have some adversity – guys lose focus, and they don't play quite as hard. I thought our guys played hard. We made some mistakes, but we were able to overcome them."

On the best way to play against a team that ‘max protects' like Washington
"Like we did. Sometimes you're going to get some yards, but you have to get the ball in the end zone. That's the key. We've done that before – 560 yards, 600 yards against the run. It really doesn't matter if you turn the football over. You have to find a way to win. You can get those yards, but you have to push and score in the red zone. Obviously, that was the deciding factor (Sunday)."

On the three-game streak without a turnover
"No, you don't have to talk about it. You don't have to put the whammy on us."

On the lack of offensive production versus Washington
"You want to find a way to win. Sometimes, you're going to score some points. Other times, you are going to get some yards. The bottom line is you try to put a game plan together that gives you the best chance to win. Points will come, yards will come. I think we've proven over history that we can move the football. Maybe some day, we'll get some yards and some more points."

On the performance of P Todd Sauerbrun
"Well, he had a great game. With him and (running back) Tatum Bell, they were the difference in the game. We had big plays by Tatum. We had big punts by Todd. Field position – that was the game. People forget about the hidden yardage. There was a lot of hidden yardage yesterday."

On RB Tatum Bell
"I think Tatum just has to stay healthy. He's played well when he's played. There have been some setbacks. As long as he stays healthy, he'll keep on getting better. He's always been pretty good at the blitz pickup. He's very physical – not afraid to put his face in there. He has pretty good hands. He's worked on that. He keeps getting better and better. He's not afraid to block linebackers and defensive lineman. He has toughness. It's really just getting him the opportunity and staying healthy."

On using a running back by committee approach
"We keep talking about that. The reason we use a running back by committee is because people go down. Mike Anderson went down. Tatum (Bell) went down. Ron Dayne got a little opportunity. The perfect scenario would be to have two guys who can really run the ball downhill. Mike Anderson and Ron Dayne – two guys that are very physical and can get you the tough yardage. We have a guy like Tatum – when he touches the ball, he can go the distance. When you have a guy like that, you don't want to overwork him because he's playing special teams as well."

On the injury situation
"We've got some bumps and bruises. We'll know more on Wednesday."

On CB Champ Bailey's hamstring injury
"You never know with that hamstring until they go out there and actually practice. He took a lot of reps this week and didn't play. Hopefully it gets a little bit better. We'll see this week."

On whether he wants to play the New England Patriots or just see them in the playoffs
"It's always nice to go up against a team that has been very good. Obviously the last time we played them, it was a very close game. I think our football team is looking forward to playing them. It's a great challenge – they're the defending Super Bowl champs. They always find a way to win, get the job done. That's something we're looking forward to."

On the improvement of LB Ian Gold
"I'm not sure he's improved. He's always been a great player. As soon as he started, he took advantage of the opportunity to play. He was a great special teams player the first couple of years. He was a great starter his next two years. We were really disappointed in losing him for that year, but he's come back and he makes plays. He has great speed. We can always look to him on game day to make plays like he did yesterday."

On whether he ever expected to be playing all three rookie cornerbacks at the same time
"No, I didn't, to be honest with you. You never know for sure how a rookie is going to react. These guys have really stepped up and played well. Hopefully, they can keep it going."

On what he said to CB Karl Paymah after his penalties against Washington
"I just asked him what he did. I didn't know what he did. I didn't see the shot. You can't lower your head. He barely hit the guy, but you still can't lead with your helmet. If you lead with your helmet, that's a spear. It's just a young guy really not knowing the rules. You think he knows the rules, but you can't lead with that part of the helmet."

On the reversal of QB Jake Plummer's fumble being called an incomplete pass
"Well, if you know the tuck rule, you can see right away. I looked at a replay, and that's why I challenged it. I knew right when I saw it – it was a classic tuck rule. You can debate the tuck rule, but you can't debate that that's what it was."

More on the tuck rule
"My opinion would be that it would be a fumble. It's so hard for an official to take a look and decide. That's why they have the tuck rule in there. If you ever go to these meeting where there are about a 100 different shots, you think ‘Oh my God, this is easy.' Well, it's not easy for the referees. That's why they came up with this rule. After looking at a 150 different shots, you can see why they do have the tuck rule. My first impression when I saw it happen against the Raiders, I said, ‘God, that's a bad rule.' But that's the rule, and you deal with the rules."

On being able to prevent a slow finish to the season after a fast start
"Well, you have to go back to some of those good years. It's not just the bad ones. We stayed a little bit healthier. We went to the two Super Bowls that we had. I think we have a little bit more depth now than we did over the past couple years. We just need to stay healthy, play at a higher level, and win some of those close games."

On getting the win against Washington despite the lack of a passing game
"Well, you run the ball, and when you average what we do running the ball, a lot of times you do win. Especially when you have three big plays and two are for touchdowns. I guess you'd have to be on the field under those conditions to really appreciate how tough it is to throw the ball. Some guys can do it better than others. (Mark) Brunell was unbelievable. I've been with some quarterbacks that when it's raining like that, they don't want to throw it. It's just tough to throw. You have to deal with those elements and get it done under those conditions. We took a couple shots up field to keep the safeties honest, which opened up the running game."

On losing two coordinators like New England Head Coach Bill Belichick did before the 2005 season
"I think it's always tough to lose great players and great coaches. But that's the nature of our profession. Guys get opportunities. The thing that is good about it is that Bill is an expert on both sides of the football. He still has a lot of his assistant coaches to help out. They probably won't skip a beat."

On where he ranks Patriots QB Tom Brady
"I'm not sure if anyone's playing better. Obviously, Peyton Manning is a name that comes out at you. Brady has been playing great."

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