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Monday, September 29, 2008
Quote sheet: Mike Shanahan

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Here is a sampling of Mike Shanahan's press conference today in the wake of Denver's 33-19 loss at Kansas City on Sunday, courtesy of the Denver PR staff:

On what he meant by saying the team needs to get back to the drawing board

"I don't remember saying that, but I probably said it. When you take a look at a game like that, people will point to the defense and that is so far from the truth. When you turn the football over four times and go 1-for-4 in the red zone, you do not win football games. We've talked about having a positive turnover ratio at Arrowhead and just with a plus-one, I think they have won 18 in a row and that gives you an idea there. When you go against a guy like (Larry) Johnson and you give up a couple big plays and then all the sudden you take a look at those stats, but those are not always indicative of how we played. People forget that after the first drive in which we held them to three points, we had nine possessions in a row in which the longest drive was 38 yards and I think there were two in the 20's but the rest were less than that. The game was still 16-13 and we had the ball first-and-10 on the 50-yard line and we still had a chance to win the football game. Even after the turnover, they made a third-and-10 and the rest were turnovers inside the 50-yard line. There is a lot that goes into a football game and everybody wants to throw it at the defense. Any offense that does that gives your defense no chance."

On the defense

"We have to play better, but we still don't want to give up those kind of plays in the fourth quarter. We can work on that. Most of them were missed tackles or assignments. Larry Johnson seems to do that to people every once in a while. We have work to do, but it was not quite as bad as it looked in those final stats."

On if QB Jay Cutler was trying too hard to get the ball to WR Brandon Marshall

"I will leave that to you guys. I don't get into how guys play. You know me better than that. I can tell you that when you turn the ball over, two interceptions and two fumbles, you are not going to win many football games. We still had a chance, but we were 1-for-4 in the red zone and you can't overcome all those things."

On DTs Dewayne Robertson and Josh Shaw's injuries

"Right now, I can't tell you. I think he will be able to practice on Wednesday, but I am not sure. I don't know about Josh Shaw yet. We can only guess at this time. Obviously, you want all of your players out there. Any time you lose a guy its not good but he will be back."

On Denver's offense

"We are moving the ball well and a lot of times when you are used to running the football as much as we have in the past, you do start throwing. There is always that question of what is the best run-pass ratio. The one thing I like to do is score points and obviously if we don't throw the ball better than we did, we are going to be running a lot more."

On using the shotgun formation

"We've got a lot of runs out of the shotgun. Yesterday, we had a couple more big runs out of the shotgun formation. If you are in the shotgun, you have to be able to do things with your running game and it keeps the defense on us. We have the ability to do that like most teams do."

On seeing Buccaneers QB and former Broncos QB Brian Griese

"I've always enjoyed Brian, and I have had a chance to speak with him a number of times in the offseason and he is as smart as they come."

On his biggest concern

"I just want to work on the things we did poorly. We talked about red zone being 1-for-4 and turnovers being 4-to-1. We talked about missed tackles and gap responsibilities and we still have to improve on our third downs. All the things we did poorly in the game, you try and work on and eliminate those mistakes."

On keeping his players even-keeled

"We don't care if it's a win or a loss. You just have to go over the mistakes and try to get better every day. We are going to do that all year round. Are we ready to hang it up for the season and quit because we are 3-1? No, we will keep on working. The first quarter (of the season) is over with and now we get a chance to start the second quarter with Tampa Bay in our backyard."

On whether he is unsure of how his young players will react to adversity

"No, I know how they are going to react. You just have to keep working on the little things and make sure you don't have the type of game that we had against Kansas City."

On how the defense played against Kansas City

"I thought our defense did a good job of keeping us in the game with the field position that they had."

On P Brett Kern's 26-yard punt against Kansas City

"He has a very strong leg. That was not one of his better punts, but he came back later in the game and punted a couple pretty well. Hopefully he can do the good ones, eliminate the bad ones and we will all be happy.

"You take a look at how productive he is. Sometimes young guys will try to over-kick. I was pleased with (K) Matt (Prater) that he came back after missing that chip shot (28-yard attempt). He made some field goals. You are going to have some ups and downs being a punter or a field goal kicker. You see if you have the mindset to come back and both guys did."

On whether he hesitated to let K Matt Prater attempt a 56-yard field goal

"I didn't just because of how much time was on the clock and the timeouts. There were a lot of things to consider, but it was against the wind. That's what concerned me more. I had a mindset that I was going to go to 60 yards with him, but he has kicked 70, 75-yarders here before. He has the same swing (for short attempts and long ones). He has the leg swing, and I was just hoping he could come back after missing that short one, and he did."

On the group of safeties being completely different from last year's group

"They are learning the defense right now so there is a learning curve, but I am pleased with who we have back there.

"It takes a little time (to adjust). One of the great things about veterans is they have been in a lot of systems and they get used to terminology and a lot of teams' plays and coverages. They
have the basics down, but it still takes a while."

On whether QB Jay Cutler has to eliminate mistakes to take a step to being an elite quarterback

"It is for anybody. Obviously you have to protect the ball. But... I've been in Kansas City where we have thrown five interceptions. Sometimes you have those days, but you have to be able to wipe it out and come back and do the little things the right way during the week. He still made some big plays there in that game. We just have to be able to do a little bit better when we are in the red zone."