Coach's Corner 10/8/07

Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan reflects on Sunday's loss to the Chargers and the growing number of injuries to key personel in the Broncos lineup. Check out the full transcripts.

On the injuries
"Champ has a quad injury. He should be fine for Pittsburgh. (C) Tom Nalen is out for the season; he has a torn bicep. (TE) Nate Jackson tore his groin and it's a bad tear. He'll be out for the season. Obviously we lose two guys in the game, and everyone else just has minor injuries and should be back."

On filling in the position at center
"Tom, I believe, is the best center to ever play the game. That's what I really believe. He played the whole game with a torn bicep, and not many guys will do that. We couldn't run inside running plays, just outside running plays, because he didn't have any strength in there. That kind of gives you an idea of what kind of player he is."

On the injury to C Tom Nalen being career-ending
"No, he should be fully recovered in four months. It's not a career-ending injury, and should be fine and ready to go next season."

On TE Nate Jackson
"Nate has done a great job. For him to be out of that game, I knew it had to be serious because he would play hurt. Anytime you tear a groin, that's pretty serious. It's a bad tear too so it will take some time."

On TE Tony Scheffler
"Tony is healed up from his broken foot. He's gotten some practice time and playing time over the last couple of weeks, so he should be ready to go."

On being comfortable with whoever may fill at center
"I have confidence in a number of our players. You've got to prepare for that, even though you don't like to. We have a couple guys who could fill that void."

On being concerned going into the bye week
"Offensively, we get the ball five times inside the 35-yard line and come way with three points; you're disappointed. Defensively, you make a couple of mistakes and give up 150 yards on two runs to a guy like (Chargers RB Michael) Turner or (Chargers RB) LaDainian Tomlinson, they're going to make some big plays. We had three turnovers and all of a sudden that snowball started rolling."

On WR Javon Walker's return
"We'll find out. To say that right now is premature. Obviously in a couple of weeks, with this bye week, he'll be ready to go."

On the job the coaches are doing
"It starts with me. I need to get them better prepared. We'll go back to practicing the little things and hopefully get better. It's very similar to what teams have done in the past; starting out slow and finishing strong."

On what ‘missing the little things' mean
"Not missing assignments. You have responsibility. No missed coverage. Obviously there are a lot of things and your job as coach, you have to put them into all of the situations as many times as you can, so they don't have to think. They can react. If they don't, then it comes down to the coaching. It's my job to make sure they feel comfortable week in and week out. When you get beat like that, you didn't do a good job."

On watching the game again
"Anytime you get beat like we did you don't ever feel good. You go and look at the positives and the negatives. There were some positives, but I'm encouraged about this football team, and the chances that we have even with our injuries."

On injuries at the offensive line harder to deal with than others
"I think so. I think the offensive line takes a little bit more time than most positions."

On problems with the run defense
"It's a combination of everything. It's 11 guys working together and we're a little off right now, but we will get it corrected."

On losing C Tom Nalen to a season-ending injury
"Anytime you lose a great player, it hurts you. That's part of the National Football League; guys have to step in and fill the void. Losing a guy like Tom Nalen is a big blow to our football team. He was a captain and a great leader. He just said it was a little sore, but he knew he tore it early. That gives you a little idea about his mental toughness and what he brings to the table."

On QB Jay Cutler spending extra time with the new center
"We'll spend a little bit more time to make sure the quarterback is comfortable with the snaps. It's mainly when the guy reaches on the outside running plays. The guys have been taking snaps for a long time, so it's usually on certain types of running plays."

On WR Rod Smith
"I'll get a better feel at the midpoint of the season. Right now he's not ready to go. He's making strides and jogging, but he's not in football shape yet."



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