Coach's Corner - Mike Shanahan 12/3/06

Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan discusses Jay Cutler's first NFL start, the injury situation with Jason Elam and the possibility of fighting for a Wild Card spot for the playoffs. Check out the full post game transcript.

Mike Shanahan

General "As I told our football team, it's very hard to lose a game like that, where you play exceptionally on defense throughout the game. We were in poor field position at times, but you can't have five turnovers in a football game in the National Football League and expect to win. We battled, we fought, but we made too many mistakes."

On QB Jay Cutler
"I think he did pretty good for his first game. I'm a little disappointed in myself – I think we put maybe a little too much in the game plan. [Cutler's first interception] was a bad play. We had a quarterback keep an [defensive] end came right up field. Instead of keeping the ball and maybe taking a sack or throwing it away, he tried to make a play and it ended up a touchdown. You learn by that mistake – all quarterbacks go through that learning process. He battled in there. That's what's expected."

Did he second-guess his decision to start Cutler?
"No, I've told you all along that you make those decisions and you go on. You make them over a long period of time and it doesn't happen quickly. Even though at times, especially tonight, it may not appear to be the right decision, I believe it is."

On K Jason Elam's rush on the fake field goal
"The reason why we ran the field goal fake is because we thought it was a good time to run it. Going into the game, on the left hash, they really over-loaded that side. We thought, even if we didn't get the touchdown, we would get the first down, and still have a chance to get in."

On the running game
"We were pretty good in the running game. We averaged a lot of yards, but you go back to turnovers – that's the name of the game. If you run the ball like that every game, we'll be the top rushing team in the National Football League."

"I don't know what we had rushing, but it felt like it was pretty good. We just couldn't get any rhythm going. We had to be about 25-30% on third downs, and any time you're in that area, you can't sustain a lot of drives. I think it was the same thing with Seattle. They couldn't sustain a lot of drives."

On Elam's injury status
"He said he could kick. When he kicked that extra point [fourth quarter], it looked like he didn't have a lot of ‘umph.' Mentally, he was there, but I'm not sure if he was physically."

Will the team focus on securing a Wild Card position?
"You don't focus on those things. You just focus on winning each game. All you can do is control the next week, and whatever happens, happens. Obviously, common sense says that your chances for the division title aren't very good. Common sense says if you win the rest of the games, you could win it, but the chances are it [a playoff berth] will be a Wild Card."

On whether or not he scaled back the game plan
"No, not really. Thinking back, we may have put a little too much in. One of our simpler plays at the end of the game we ran and went for a 70-yard touchdown [fourth quarter 71-yard touchdown to WR Brandon Marshall]."

On facing San Diego
"They are a great football team. I had a chance to watch them today. They're very well balanced: offense, defense and special teams. It's going to take one great effort to win in their backyard."

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