Coaches Corner - Mike Shanahan 11/1/06

Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan discusses the health of Ben Roethlisberger, recovering from last years AFC Championship loss and if they have any advantage playing them now. Check out the full transcripts in today's Coaches Corner.

Mike Shanahan

On what he thinks the difference is in Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger from last season compared to this season
"Well, when you look at them as a team you take a look at a defense that statistically is very close to what they were last year, maybe a little bit better. Offensively, they are moving the ball better. All they have done is turn the football over a little more than they did in the past. I don't care who you are—if you turn the football over then you don't win. When you take a look at the team statistically, they are much better than a 2-5 football team, which we all understand, but you can't win games when you turn it over and that is what they have done."

On if he expects the Steelers to play like a desperate team on Sunday
"Well, when you take a look at their offense and you take a look at their last three games, they averaged 430 yards and 31 points a game, so there is a respect level there from our football team very quickly. Then their defense is leading the AFC in yards per play, second in the NFL, so that speaks for itself. We understand that this is a very physical team and a team that plays with a lot of pride and plays very hard and we are playing at their place, which makes it even tougher. So our football team understands that for us to win this game we are going to have to play extremely well and we are going to have to play extremely physical."

On if there is an advantage from playing against Pittsburgh last season
"I think it always is from both teams' perspectives. Any time that you play a team a previous year, you are going to look at the game and you are going to look at the plus and minuses and sometimes get some formation or defensive tendencies. I'm sure that they get some formation tendencies. You look at it like you do with other games."

On if he has specifically been looking forward to playing against the Steelers after last season's AFC Championship Game
"It is every team that you play that you get ready for. Obviously they are good football team and a great organization that just won the Super Bowl. So obviously you get ready for them and we missed an opportunity last year but that is over with and now you are trying to go in a new direction and hopefully take advantage of an opportunity this year. You look forward to it but Pittsburgh is done and we are playing the Super Bowl champs."

On how long it took him to get over the AFC Championship loss to the Steelers last season
"Well you go back to the game, and like I said I probably looked at it 30 times, 35 times and the reason why I can remember is because I watched it so many times. You look at the things you did poorly and you try to rectify those mistakes to present them to the same situation but once it is over, it's over- like last week and it is tough. It is always tough to lose a close game, but what you do is you have to regroup. It is a 16-game season and you can't do anything about it. After you have studied it you have to go on and that is what our football team has done even though it is tough but once you have been in this profession long enough you understand that once it is over, it's over. Hopefully we put it together this weekend and we have to play well."

On if the Steelers' blitz has changed since last postseason
"No, it is still pretty much unstoppable and that is why they are at the top of the charts on defense right now. They probably have the same sack total as last year and they are even better against the run and their total defense is a little better. They really only had one tough game and that was (Atlanta QB) Michael Vick scrambling and making plays on his own, which will slow any pass rush. Other than that their defense has been pretty impressive. Like I shared with you offensively, it came down to a couple of games with turnovers, and it is hard to win games with turnovers."

On if he at any point reminded his players to be safe after Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger's motorcycle accident
"No I really don't go in that direction. We maybe talk about it one time a year at the start of camp and let everybody know that they are responsible for taking care of themselves. Since I drive a motorcycle, I don't think that it would be very good to preach to the players about not getting on a motorcycle."

On how much the AFC Championship game last year played a part in revamping the Broncos' defense for this season
"Nothing really. We were just disappointed in ourselves for not adjusting a little bit quicker in the game, but that is football. You go back after a game and go through scenarios and you don't get that opportunity to get it there on the spot- you either get it done or you don't. You are hoping that you learn from it and I think that is what coaching is. You go back every game and look at the things you did poorly, and presented with the same situation you hope that you improve. We know that this is a good football team and the two-and-five record is not indicative to what type of team we are playing and our football team is smart enough to understand that."



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