Coach's Corner - Mike Shanahan 11/20/06

Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan discusses the current injury situation, Darrent Williams' altercation with an official and the pressure of winning this week in Kansas City. Check out the full transcript.

Mike Shanahan

On team injuries
"We have (S) Nick Ferguson, he is having an MRI on his knee and we will find out later on in the day how that is. He is a little bit sore but he finished the game. We have some bumps and bruises, but everybody should be ready."

On if he has any idea on what S Ferguson's injury is
"No he is having an MRI because we don't know what it is but he finished the game so that is a good sign."

On if he has talked to CB Darrent Williams and S Nick Ferguson about the incident with the officials on Sunday night
"I didn't have a chance, to be honest with you. Obviously we are getting ready for Kansas City and I will get a chance to talk with those guys tomorrow."

On if there are exceptions to the rule that ‘defense wins championships'
"Well I think that the defense has been very consistent and as we have talked about many times over the last 15 or 20 years. You got to rank them in the top five in points given up. Offensively, obviously the better they are the better chance they have at winning the Super Bowl but there have been teams in the middle of the pack, Baltimore is one. I can name a few more but there are only two or three in the middle of the pack, but it is possible."

On comparing Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson with Kansas City RB Larry Johnson
"They are just two great running backs, obviously two Pro Bowl players, two class kids that handle themselves quite well and have a lot of ability. I am very impressed with both of them, being around them, and you can see why they are so successful."

On QB Jake Plummer's performance in the past two games
"We are just going to keep on working to get better. That's what you practice for. We have had some good games, we have had some average games, and we have had some poor games on offense. We are going to keep on working and hopefully we will get on the positive side."

On what exactly Plummer is struggling with
"I am not going to go into those details. You can ask Jake or you come up with your theories but the bottom line is that it is a group of people working together, as we talk about each week. The quarterback usually gets the glory or a lot of the criticism but it has got to work together. A lot of people, a lot of components that make it work and hopefully we can improve a little bit in that area because we are off a little bit especially in our drop-back passing."

On the defense's performance in the second half
"Well they (San Diego's offense) executed, they executed better than we did. Any time that you have four touchdown drives after getting an interception there are areas to improve and we need to improve. We gave up four touchdowns in a row and obviously you are not happy with it, but you have to credit the Chargers for finding a way to win two weeks in a row. We had them down and we really had the game under control and we let it slip away."

On the players' mindset with a short week for the Thursday game at Kansas City
"Most of these guys have been through this before. It's your profession and we have a lot of pros on our football team that understand the work load and at the same time they get a couple days off after Thanksgiving. There is a little bit, I think, of our team looking forward to even though a short week they have a few days off. I don't want to say it's a buy week, they don't get much more than two days off anyhow but I think they will look forward to the weekend and hopefully we can go in to Kansas City and do what we are capable of doing."

On whether he agrees with former QB John Elway's comment that the Denver offense is more conservative than it has been in the past
"I will leave it to you guys, the experts, to come up with your decisions. I understand what you just said."

On if he feels that their performance on the road this season gives them the confidence to achieve their goals in January
"This game has a lot of setbacks. We have had setbacks before and what you have to do is keep on fighting. We let a game slip away that we had in our hands and it's going to happen sometimes. It is the nature of the game. We did some good things and our offense, you run the football like that you expect to win. We just didn't make some plays there in the second half that we are capable of making. You got to make those plays. We had to settle for a field goal instead of a touchdown, and that is the difference of the game right there so a lot of that factor is involved."

On if he would like to play on Thanksgiving every year
"I would entertain the thought. Hopefully without a Sunday night game or a road game."

On addressing special teams issues
"I think any time you lose a guy like Darrent Williams, you lose a guy like Nick Ferguson, all of a sudden you're piecemealing guys back and forth. A couple other guys went out for a couple plays. When I look at the special teams, it just takes one or two guys here and there. You kind of forgot about the injuries during the game, but we've still got to be better than we were."

On why Arrowhead Stadium is a tough place to play
"I think it's one of the reasons Mile High is a tough place to play – the crowd noise. That's a big advantage there, very loud. Fans are really into the game. (On the) snap count, big advantage."

On whether the league or teams initiate talk of playing on Thanksgiving
"They ask us. We don't ask them."

On the kickoff return team
"We've got to do a better job, I think, in all areas. We've got to a better job coaching. We've got to do a better job playing. We've got to do a better job of demanding more. It starts with me, and we're just going to keep on working at it."

On Chiefs QBs Trent Green and Damon Huard
"Obviously, Huard did a great job. You don't know how a guy's going to do until he gets his opportunity. He's been in the league a long time, and I take my hat off to him. He's played exceptionally well. We know what Green has done. Obviously (he's) a Pro Bowl player that's got a lot of confidence. (They're) two excellent quarterbacks."

On whether playing on Thanksgiving last year helps prepare for the same schedule this year
"I think so, a little bit. It helps from a coaching standpoint when you've got the routine down a little bit. You had success the year before, and it's very similar – the practice schedule, travel schedule. It helps."

On whether they'll install more each day of practice during a short week
"Yeah, what you do basically tomorrow is you put in your game plan except for short yardage, goal line and red zone. Then you put that in the next day, and you get about an hour of practice on Wednesday before you take off to fine tune that. So it's a little bit different, kind of a combination. In about a day and a half, you're trying to get three days worth of work in. Both teams have the same schedule, so we're even."

On whether game planning in a short week is easier against a familiar opponent
"Yeah, I think it's easier on both staffs that they know each other. We know them. They know us."

On whether there is any discouragement over the loss to San Diego
"I think there's always disappointment. If it doesn't just kill you you've got the wrong guys, from the staff as well as players, when you let an opportunity like that slip by. If it doesn't eat them up, then you've got the wrong guys. Yeah, I think it is tough, but you've got to bounce back. Obviously, you've got to fight back and not let this opportunity this weekend slip by."

On how the team gets past the disappointment
"What you do is you just try to go out there and practice well. You don't have the same time to heal as you normally do, coming back a little over a day earlier. Your mindset has to be performing in practice so you can get ready for the game."

On how rookie WR Brandon Marshall is progressing
"Brandon's been doing a pretty good job. The thing that set him back was that injury that he had to his knee. Anytime you're away from the game for about three weeks like he was, you've got to get back in football shape and that took him about a month. He's got a little ankle sprain now. Hopefully it's not too serious. If it's not, he'll help us before the season is over with. Obviously, he had a big catch last night."

On whether he has a timetable for RB Tatum Bell's return
"Practice by practice. We evaluate these guys every day. One of the reasons why we went in a different direction this weekend was how these backs practiced. Both Mike (Bell) and Damien (Nash) practiced extremely well and looked quick and played better."

On how he will use Tatum Bell this week
"Like I said, we're going to evaluate it. If Tatum's ready to go full speed, he's going to go. But if he's hesitant to make the cuts that he's capable of making, we'll go in a different direction."

On what he's looking for from rookie TE Tony Scheffler
"Just more consistency in practice. We throw a lot of different things at them, these young guys, in their game plans. It's not easy sometimes, especially at that position, but he's got a lot of potential. I still believe in him. He's going to be a great player here. He's just going to have to keep on working at it."



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