Coach's Corner - Mike Shanahan

Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan met with the media today to discuss Drew Brees, Reggie Bush and this week's match up against the New Orleans Saints. Check out the full transcripts.

Mike Shanahan
On the Saints' offense compared to what the Broncos have seen this year
"They are a little different form the Raiders. The Raiders were more of a four-man front—four down linemen; mostly an eight-man front. You take a look at the Chargers, a 3-4 team with a variation of coverages. This is a four-man front that uses all of the different coverages that you would see in a season. Thy mix it up pretty well, a lot of two-deep, quarters, man-free, zone blitzes. They keep you pretty much off balance."

On developing young wide receivers
"I guess if you're looking for track records, I'm not very good with wide receivers. We won't get into that, but fortunately the last couple have been pretty good. Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal, obviously, we are doing very well with. With the addition of a guy like (WR Brandon) Stokley—he has really helped us."

On QB Jay Cutler's evolution from last year to this year
"Normally, you have to have a quarterback that really wants to get better, that enjoys football, that studies the game, that wants to work out in the offseason, that wants to look at film in the offseason, that wants to study film of different quarterbacks on different teams, trying to get better, trying to get to the next level. If you do that, you have a chance in the National Football League. Obviously there are a lot of variables. You have to have a good supporting cast as well. But I think that's what Jay has done. He has given himself a chance to improve, get better. (He has) a lot of confidence, which goes hand-in-hand with a lot of work."

On studying other teams' offenses during the offseason
"It's constant, not just the offseason. You are studying different players but also working with your players as well. Studying the offense, knowing your offense inside-out where you don't have to think, you react. You know where all of the players are. We do a lot of different things with formations and different routes and schemes. You have to know very quickly-where everybody is. You can't think, you have to react. It just takes a lot of hard work."

On where the offense has a chance of ranking among the greatest offenses he has coached
"We have a chance to be as good as anybody. We have a chance to be the best in the league."

On Saints RB Reggie Bush
"Since he was in high school and college, everybody can see that when he has the ball in his hands he has a chance to go the distance. He has exceptional balance, he has the ability to make the big play and just like (Chargers RB Darren) Sproles last week: you give him one step and he's a little bit faster and a little bit quicker than the defenders. All of a sudden what looks like a 10-yard play is a touchdown."

On Saints QB Drew Brees
"Drew Brees, to me, is kind of one of my heroes to be honest with you. I just watched him grow from a good quarterback to a great quarterback. He's a guy that really works at it. He is very sharp, very intelligent, he handles himself with the utmost class, but you can just see that he understands the game. If you make too many mistakes or make a mistake here or there he is going to take advantage of it. I've seen him since his days in San Diego, going back to Purdue, and just watching him mature. He is playing at a very high level."

On getting pressure on Brees
"Everybody worries about not getting pressure on this kid. Usually when you get pressure, he can get rid of the football. He has been doing it very consistently and he is probably one of the most productive guys over the last couple of years in New Orleans in what he has been able to do—completions, touchdowns, percentages—all the things you evaluate a quarterback on. He's good."

On being able to exploit the Saints' pass defense
"They had three turnovers, they had a punt return for a touchdown and they were still leading in the fourth quarter (against Washington). They still could have won the game very easily, and they had four of their defensive starters out of the game. So we are not going to get that luxury. All of those defensive starters are going to be back. They feel like it's a much better team than the teams they have had. I think everybody knew what they did in 2006 in the playoffs and how well they played. They played in the NFC Championship Game. We know what type of team they are capable of being. When you do lose four starters it's hard to play at a certain level, especially when you have three turnovers and a punt return for a touchdown. We won't get lulled to sleep by that."

On Denver's homefield advantage
"I think talk is cheap sometimes. What you have to do is you have to try to get better today. How do you get better today to make sure you have a chance to be successful on Sunday? I think after a game that you play and you win—especially a tight game when you meet a team like San Diego—the players get a chance to enjoy it for a day. You come back to work and you understand how tough of a business this is. I could go through al lot of the stats with 2-0 teams—Since 2000, how many teams have been in the playoffs, how many teams haven't. This is a week-by-week business and if you get too carried away with yourselves you can go back very quickly as we proved last year. We have a lot of work to do and I think our guys are mature enough to understand it. We just have to keep getting better as a football team."

On WR Eddie Royal
"We obviously knew he had a lot of ability. He proved that he was an excellent punt returner, he was an excellent kickoff returner in college and you could see that he had the ability to beat bump coverage—he was by far the best in the draft, just great quickness and ability to make people miss. He only had 34 catches (in his senior season at Virginia Tech), so the big question mark was at the next level could he stay healthy? How quickly could he mature? Could he beat the pro players with bump coverage consistently? You really never know those things until a guy gets in. But he's extremely bright, he's extremely strong, as you can see he is very grounded and he acts like he is a 5-to-10-year vet. We were very fortunate to get a guy like that who so early in his career handles himself that way. A lot of people have that type of ability but they don't have that maturity level, it takes time."

On signing LB D.J. Williams to an extension
"I'm very excited. D.J. is a heck of a football player; He has everything that you look for. I think that will be his natural position, the low (weakside) linebacker, even though he can play all of them. I'm very happy to have him signed.

"I love the way he plays, he plays hard. We went through a tough time last year and sometimes when you go through a tough year you find out how important football is to somebody. You have guys who play hard throughout the year even when you have some adversity and guys that kind of give it up when you are out of the playoff race. D.J. was a guy that played extremely hard throughout the season and he was rewarded for it."



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