Coach's Corner - Mike Shanahan 11/15/06

Mike Shanahan mt with the media today to discuss topics ranging from the current injury situation to facing the league's best running back LaDanian Tomlinson. Check out the full transcripts.

Mike Shanahan

On comparing the Chargers' offense with the Colts' offense
"Well obviously they are two offenses that are very productive. You take a look at a rushing offense in the top five, a rushing average in the top five, a passing average in the top five, and points number one they are very productive."

On San Diego RB LaDainian Tomlinson
"Well, he really doesn't struggle very often. He is on a roll right now and their offense is doing extremely well as well as their defense. They have been very consistent all year round, and if you take a look at stats in the first nine games they are probably as good as they have been in a long time and they have everybody's respect."

On San Diego QB Philip Rivers
"For him to play at the level he is playing and as consistent as he is playing, they are making very few mistakes and his passing efficiency is over a 100 and is quite impressive."

On if the San Diego game feels like a playoff game
"Well I think we will be talking about that all year. Usually at the half-way point everybody talks about each game being the most important game, which it is. Any time that you deal with a division game, an AFC West game, I think that everybody understands how important it is to win division games. Obviously the tiebreakers at the end of the year decides all the possible bye-weeks and that doesn't need to be talked about but it is there. It is a very big game in our backyard so hopefully we take advantage of it."

On if there are any updates with the injury report for this week's game
"I really don't know yet. We will get a chance here over the next couple of days to see how guys practice. I'm not sure exactly who will practice and they will go out there and stretch today and I will give you an idea after practice of where we are at."

On how volatile the tailback situation is right now
"Well I don't think that it is very volatile. Tatum (Bell) right now we are going to get a chance to see how he looks this week. I think both toes are bothering him more than he let on last week and we will try to get him well and evaluate him during the week as well as the rest of our backs. We have a bunch of guys that are nicked up, Damien (Nash) has been nicked up, Cedric (Cobbs) has been nicked up, Mike Bell has looked good… The only game that he didn't play well that I was hoping he would play in was the Pittsburgh game, but that doesn't mean that he is in the doghouse or anything. We will evaluate that throughout the week and try to come up with the best combination on Sunday night."

On how he thinks the flexible scheduling change will affect the fans
"Well for the fans I think it is an advantage for us. They get an extra four hours to kind of get fired up, and it is always loud anyhow. I think it is great to have a Sunday night game. You just hope it doesn't inconvenience a lot of our fans but I think it is a compliment to both teams and both organizations. The TV networks want them on Sunday night so a four-hour difference, that is not a big change. When they were talking about possibly changing it from a Sunday to a Monday that was almost impossible, I don't know how you could do that logistically. To have something like this, I think that it is fairly easy and like I said I think it is a compliment to both organizations."

On if it is a catch-22 deciding when a player can fight through pain or when he needs to be benched due to the injury
"I think it is and that is what you have to figure out as a coach. That is my job. Like I said Monday I was a little disappointed in myself because I didn't see it coming but I was very impressed with him (RB Tatum Bell). He played through the pain and you like to see a guy with that kind of toughness but I got to be able to see through that before it happens."

On if this is the best San Diego offense that he has seen
"Yeah I think that any time you are number one in points that is pretty impressive. Like I shared with you the rushing average, passing average- those are the kinds of things I look at and any time you are in the top five in both areas and turnovers. They are at the top of the National Football League. They are number one in turnovers from an offensive standpoint. In the red-zone I think they are second, third downs I think they are third. Yeah, they are an impressive group."

On if the Chargers' defense has a different look without LB Shawne Merriman
"No, he wasn't going to play anyhow. He wasn't going to play regardless. See at the Pro Bowl he missed a practice and instead of suspending him for the Pro Bowl I said he couldn't play this game. I said hey I have to suspend you for the game and he was quite disappointed so I said not the Pro Bowl but our first game in Denver."

On how different San Diego's defense is without LB Merriman
"You want me to answer the question? I don't do that very often. Any time you lose a great player, it is always tough. Every team goes through those scenarios and you lose great players and you are hoping that you can stay healthy but it doesn't happen very often. Usually the teams that do stay healthy have the best chance to win in the playoffs. Any time you lose a great player like (Shawne) Merriman it is always tough but that is part of the game."

On San Diego Head Coach Mary Schottenheimer
"Marty (Schottenheimer) knows how to win. He does a great job at looking at his talent and finding a way to win. I have watched Marty back in the days at Cleveland and they were wide open so what Marty does is he takes his personnel and continuously gets in done. He has got things going right now."



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