Quote sheet: Mike Shanahan
Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
Here is a sampling of Mike Shanahan's press conference in Denver on Monday. Among the highlights include the team's injury status and his team's three game lead in the AFC West.
On if CB Champ Bailey will return this week
"We will see how he practices. He seems to be getting a little bit better. He practiced a little last week. We will get a chance to evaluate him over the next few days."
On returning injured players having setbacks in practice
"I think you get a better feel of what they can and can't do and whether they are in football shape. Whether they can play half of the game or a full game I don't think you know until they actually practice. Most of them have been working out for the past week or so. Hopefully, that is a good sign and there is no setback."
On what FB Peyton Hillis injured during the game
"I think he was hurt all over. Hips, shoulders, I think he was just sore. I don't think it is anything that is real serious but he is quite sore today."
On DT Josh Shaw's injury
"We haven't gotten the MRI back but it is a dislocation in his elbow. Right now, it doesn't look good but we are going to wait to get the MRI back and I will tell you something more definitive on Wednesday."
On having a three-game lead over the Chargers
"The season is far from over with. We have seen teams bounce back very quickly. The thing that we are going to do is hopefully concentrate on the job at hand. We have Kansas City in our backyard and we have to worry about our business. We know what San Diego is capable of doing. We have seen them play some excellent games. To assume it is over is a big mistake for our football team and the rest of the NFL."
On the team's first outing against the Chiefs in Kansas City
"Anytime you get beat you are obviously disappointed. I think Kansas City has shown what they can do, they beat the Raiders and they beat us handily when we played them at home. We know what Kansas City is all about and we know we are going to get their best shot. They played an excellent football game and found a way to win. We know what is at stake for us and hopefully we take care of business."
On having a team that has been good on the road but struggling at home
"We will see how we do at home for the remainder of our games. Hopefully we play to the level that we have been in the past and do the things we are capable of doing."
On why home losses are becoming more common across the NFL
"I really can't. I told you before that I thought the big advantage of home field was the snap count, it makes it hard for the other team to audible. It seems that way throughout the league. There have been some pretty big upsets so you really don't know week to week. That is why we have to take care of business. We have had our stretches where we have had excellent home field advantage through the years and hopefully we can get back to it."
On how the team neutralized Jets DT Kris Jenkins
"Passes, runs and screens. We just had to change it up a bit. I am not sure if it neutralized him. I thought (C) Casey (Wiegmann) did a great job as well as our guards, holding him in check. We just tried to limit his plays and we were able to do that. It just shows you that Casey is a great competitor who has played the game for a long time. It was a great challenge for him and he played exceptionally well."
On the offensive line's pass protection
"I felt pretty good all through preseason. I think we have a very young offensive line but a very talented offensive line. If you would have told me back then that we would be leading the NFL in sacks allowed at this time of the year, it would surprise me. I am very pleased with the progress that we have made and how competitive they are."
On QB Jay Cutler not being affected by the rainy conditions in the Meadowlands
"It all depends on your players. Sometimes you do have to scale it back. You have some quarterbacks that really do not want to throw in the rain, they can't throw in the rain and be effective. Jay feels very confident throwing in the rain as well as he does in wind. Really the conditions don't bother him. It all depends on the quarterback with what you can and can't do. We knew going into that game, if it was raining, that Jay felt comfortable in throwing a wet football. I used the example of Steve Young after the game. It was a rainstorm coming down in buckets. He got on the headset and said, "Why aren't we throwing the ball?" I said, 'You can throw in this rain?" He said, "Yeah," and then went 9-for-9 on the next drive. Some guys can do it and others can't. Jay has been a guy, if he feels it, who can throw the ball regardless of how wet it is and he proved that yesterday."
On S Vernon Fox
"I thought he played well. He took advantage of an opportunity and in both the run and the pass he made some plays. He played like a veteran should play. The game wasn't too big for him and he made some plays against a team that had a good rushing attack and a good passing attack .He will get a chance to start (again) this week.
More on S Vernon Fox
"He has played free safety and strong safety. He supports the run well and he has played deep in the nickel package. When you play as many games as he has played you get a chance to do a little bit of everything. Our safeties are interchangeable and he fit in quite well."
On what S Josh Barrett brings to the defense
"Speed. He will get experience as time goes on and he will feel more comfortable with the different schemes. The one thing that he does have is he has great size and great speed where he can make some plays. He did that a couple times on defense as well as special teams.
On S Josh Barrett's progress
"There is a learning curve. Some guys pick it up a little quicker than others. Josh has been working extremely hard. He finally got an opportunity to show us what he could do and maybe we should have been playing him a little bit earlier. He made some plays in pass defense, he made some plays in special teams and he has something that you can't coach-and that's size and speed-and he took advantage of that opportunity."
On whether he has simplified the defense with the injuries to veterans and young players in the lineup
"No, we really haven't. If anything we have kept on growing. I think the thing that we've done that we have talked about before is after we gave up too many yards rushing we went right back to the basics, we put our pads back on Wednesday and Thursday and we made sure that everybody knew what they were going to do. You can see it when you have pads on. Obviously, the downside to that is you can get more people hurt. I thought we had lost so many players at that time that it didn't matter. We had to get better. I think that has helped us and it has carried over to game day."
On the loss of DT Josh Shaw to injury
"Anytime you lose a player it's
always tough. Shaw has been doing a great job, he has been doing better and better every game and it's a loss for sure. I think (DT) Nic (Clemons) will come in and do a great job. He has played well for us and he will get a chance to step up and show us what he can do."
On LB Jamie Winborn
"When (LB) Boss (Bailey) went down in Houston in the preseason, Jamie got a chance to see some playing time early. In the Raiders (Week 1) game he was one of the three MVP candidates on defense. He is a natural leader, he is very intelligent, he plays with a lot of enthusiasm and the game is not too big for him. He enjoys game day and he makes plays."
On how LB Wesley Woodyard went undrafted
"I can't answer that question. We had him projected in the fourth or fifth round. When you take a look at your different needs on your team sometimes people don't need linebackers-they need fullbacks, tailbacks-and all of a sudden you might be loaded at one position in the draft and here comes a guy you might have projected so you try to get him as a free agent. All of a sudden he becomes a starter and a good player. Why did (former Broncos WR) Rod Smith go undrafted? Why did (former Broncos RB) Terrell Davis go in the sixth round? Why was (former Broncos TE) Shannon Sharpe in the seventh round? (Former Broncos LB) Karl Mecklenburg-you can go on and on. You don't know for sure the size of the guy's heart, but I'm sure glad we got him."
On whether younger players will be relegated to lesser roles when veterans return from injury
"Those are problems you want to have. You want guys that are backing up that have had playing time and proved themselves. Sometimes when guys do come back they are not able to play a full game so you might have to split time. So there are a lot of different intangibles that go into it. You really don't know until the end of the week which direction you are going to go."