Quote sheet: Mike Shanahan

November, 24, 2008
11/24/08
6:09
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Here is a sampling of Mike Shanahan's press conference Monday, as he talked about the team's embarrassing 31-10 home loss to Oakland. Among the highlights include an injury update on Champ Bailey, his thoughts on the AFC West as a whole and whether he thought the Raiders took cheap shots at Denver quarterback Jay Cutler:

Shanahan:

On any injuries suffered during Sunday's game against Oakland
"Everybody is getting treatment, and I think everybody should be able to play right now. We have some bumps and bruises, but I don't think that it should affect gameday."

On CB Champ Bailey's injury
"Obviously this week is better than last week because he wasn't able to go. We felt like if we put him out there, he might set himself back."

On starting Roderick Rogers at safety instead of Calvin Lowry
"He has a little bit more speed back there and we wanted to give him the opportunity to show us what he could do. He is a corner that had some great ball skills and we wanted to give him a chance."

On what he is looking for in a safety
"We are looking for a difference maker at the safety position. Someone who can run, support the run and also cover the pass. Those guys are hard to find, but we will keep on giving people opportunities until we find someone who steps up and takes advantage of it."

On the league being inconsistent
"I kind of anticipated that happening. If you take a look at the stats, you get teams that match up better against certain teams. You just really don't know what the team's strengths and weaknesses are. A lot of times, teams have different injuries from one game to the next so you have to expect the unexpected."

On if he would leave LB Spencer Larsen in when LBs D.J. Williams and Nate Webster return from injury
"We will evaluate them when they come back onto the scout team. If he is full speed, we have to get them back in football shape and find out where they are at. Both guys should be able to go this week, so I will see how they are and see how they practice. I will make a decision on gameday. Anything is possible."

On how he evaluates the team on winning games against difficult opponents
"I think it shows of what we are capable of doing on both sides of the ball. We capable of beating a good football team on the road and we are also capable of losing. If we don't make the plays that we normally make, sometimes we end up beating ourselves and sometimes they beat us. We knew we had to stop the run (against Oakland) and I thought we did a great job through three quarters. We just go to play better."

On San Diego's loss to the Colts that maintains Denver's two-game division lead
"We are playing for something. We got a chance to improve our football team and get a chance to get some players back at the same time. We still have a two-game lead, but we don't want to think about that we want to think about playing better."

On K Matt Prater's performance
"I think with most kickers, I think it's all mental. We have seen what he is able to do, but all of a sudden he missed one or two and then he started to think about it. All he needs to do is to relax. We know he's a good field goal kicker. It's one of those slumps that you hope that will not occur, but it has. Hopefully he is tough enough to fight through it mentally."

On whether an early fumble can hurt a youthful team
"I think it does sometimes when you have a young football team and all of a sudden you turn the football over. But when you have 21 first downs with nine minutes left in the third quarter, there are not too many teams that are capable of doing that. So they have to feel good about themselves at the same time knowing that they stopped themselves a couple times. You have to get through it and eliminate some of those mistakes."

On losing at home
"It's always disappointing when you don't win at home. You have the crowd noise on your side and that obviously helps you with the snap count and the pass rush. If you don't take advantage of that then you are disappointed. We have been pretty good through the years, and hopefully we can get back on track with our next home game.

"I think with the altitude it's helped us through the years for conditioning. That's one of the reasons why we have the best record, I think, over the last 35 years. I think it's a combination of both-the crowd noise and the altitude."

On whether he is surprised about the way the AFC West has played out
"We have been through this for a lot of years. We have been 13-3 and we've been the second seed. Sometimes things like this happen. You just have to keep on fighting and play your best football when you get to the playoffs. Hopefully, we can keep improving and get there."

On whether he believes division winners should earn a playoff spot over a team with a better record
"That's been discussed quite a few times, and I believe the reason why you discuss it is you don't want teams to let up at the end. I think some people have the argument that, for example Tennessee, do they rest at the end of the season or do they keep fighting for the best record? I always liked the division winners. I think it means something within the division. Some years it might not be the perfect scenario, but over the long run I think it is wise to keep on doing what we have been doing.

"Believe me, we don't have to make any excuses for the AFC West over the years, I can guarantee that. I have felt this way about other teams sometimes. It's not perfect, but I'm liking it more this year than in years past."

On QB Jay Cutler's performance over the whole season
"I think he's been very good overall. He's in his third year, he has a good feel for defenses, he knows when he plays well and he knows when he plays poorly. The decisions that he makes are an ongoing process for a quarterback. The thing that I love about him is he is a great competitor. He loves to compete, and if you have a competitor on your hands then you have a chance to do something special."

On whether the Raiders were "taking a run at Cutler" (three roughing the passer penalties)
"I think everybody is going to take shots a
t him, but I don't think it was intentional. If you hit the helmet to the quarterback it's going to be a 15-yarder and I don't think anybody wants a 15-yarder. They want to get to him and a lot of times it's that fine line between pulling off and trying to get a hit."

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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