Coaches Corner: Notes from Denver

Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan spoke on a number of items about the New England Patriots in his press conference this week. Some of the topics include the coaching style differences between himself and Belichick, the difference between the Patriots in week 6 vs. now, and where Tom Brady ranks among all-time great quarterbacks. Get inside for Tim Coughlin's summary of what Denver's coach said.

Mike Shanahan also held a press conference recently, and he shared some of his insights about Saturday's game and what to expect.

Shanahan on his coaching similarities and differences with Belichick

Shanahan stayed modest, saying, "I really don't know. I've never worked with Bill, but I've heard a lot of great things about him as a coach. He demands a lot as we have talked about with the football perspective and the X's and O's. He's demanding, expects perfection and usually gets perfection. How that compares with me I can't say that because obviously we haven't been in the same spot. "

He also talked about the challenge of coaching against someone who has such a successful postseason history, saying, "It's always a great challenge coaching against Bill. He is a great coach, and I was saying that before he got the job. I always felt he was the best at game planning obviously with what he has done and what he has accomplished has proven that. He's always tough to coach against. He keeps you off balance. He plays a three-man front, and we play a four man. We've seen it all through the years. If you do pick up a weakness, it's not there very long. You have to adjust throughout the whole game, and they are fundamentally sound. They play good solid football. His players always know what they are doing. I don't care if they are rookies or veterans - they are very well-coached and they play at a very high level. I know it's a great challenge for our football team, and I'm sure he is looking at it the same way. We know we have to play solid football, and you're not going to get very many big plays. Everything you get, you going to have to earn and that's the nature of our match-ups through the years. They have just been good old-fashioned hard-fought football games. You can't turn the football over. You have to be able to run the football. The team that limits their mistakes usually wins."

On the differences between INVESCO Field at Mile High and the Broncos' former home, Mile High Stadium.

"Two great stadiums. I'm not sure if there is a big difference, I think with all of the additions to (INVESCO Field at Mile High), it's a lot more comfortable for the fans," he said. "Mile High was a place with a lot of great tradition where I had a lot of great memories and great experiences, but now it's a parking lot."

On how New England has changed, for better or worse, since the two teams' meeting in October this season.

"Number one they are a lot healthier than they were then," he said. "If you take a look at what they've done in the month of December, they have averaged giving up 164 yards of total offense and under eight points a game. That's a pretty good December right there. Offensively, they've averaged about 390 yards (total offense) and 28 points a game. With their rush defense they've given up 2.9 yards per rushing attempt in the second half of the season and 3.5 will usually lead the NFL, so they're playing at a very high level and we have a great challenge in front of us. "

On how Patriots QB Tom Brady ranks among the all-time great quarterbacks

Shanahan showed his respect for Brady, saying, "He's got to be right up there at the top. Any time a guy has won three Super Bowls in four years and played at the level that he has played at in really tough crucial situations… It seems like the tougher it gets, the better he plays. They've had a bunch of injuries there and he kind of had a breakout year. For him to throw the ball the way he did against us I thought was amazing. He took some shots and never shied away from it. He's been doing that since he came into the NFL."

On the Patriots winning three of the last four Super Bowls

"Well, obviously there's a lot of confidence," he said. "Any time you win 10 straight playoff games, having done something that has never been done in the history of the game, you have to be pretty proud of that. They know as well as we do that you have to prepare for every game and what you've done in the past really doesn't matter; it's what you do this week, and I think both teams are taking that perspective."

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