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Monday, October 6, 2008
Quote sheeet: Mike Shanahan

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Denver coach Mike Shanahan spoke to spoke to the media Monday to review the team's 16-13 win over Tampa Bay.

He didn't shed much light on injuries to receiver Eddie Royal (ankle) and tight end Tony Scheffler (groin). He said he will give updates Wednesday.

Royal said Sunday that he has a low ankle sprain and he hopes to play Sunday against Jacksonville. He left the stadium on crutches. Scheffler told reporters today he will be fine in the long term but he is not sure if he will be able to play against Jacksonville.

Here is sampling of other topics Shanahan addressed today:

On the Broncos' defense

They played well. We did a lot of good things on defense. Any time you have six series with three plays and out, it is a good start. I was pleased with their effort throughout the game. We are starting to build and starting to make some strides forward. Hopefully, we can keep it going.

On the defenses having more enthusiasm against Tampa Bay compared to previous weeks

I wouldn't go through that. I think people have a short memory sometimes. We played three quarters against the Raiders that we allowed 128 yards in total offense, 27 zip. They are a pretty good rushing football team. We did some good things against San Diego. We have had some opportunities where we have played a good three quarters or a good quarter, but in this game we played a good four quarters.

On how WR Brandon Marshall is handling being double covered

That is football in the National Football League. You have to understand what it takes to win and the quarterback, I thought, managed the game very well. In that situation, most people don't look at the fact that we had three third-and-2's, two third-and-3's and a third-and-4 that we missed. We were 6-of-14. The ones we missed were ones that keep drives going. Instead of having 16 points, you end up having 30 points. We have been much better in our third down area. When you miss three those and you are still 6-of-14 against an excellent defense, you are doing some good things. We just have to work on that third down area to keep the ball and get some more plays. We completed 68 percent of our passes for 227 yards and that is good. You can't turn the football over and you can't get second and long and third and long, and for the most part we didn't. That is what you have to do to win the football game. Especially some of the young guys, they want to contribute but they don't understand what it takes to win sometimes. You have to make those third downs.


On the contributions of DT Dewayne Robertson

He is doing what we ask him to do. It is always a change going from a 3-4 to a four-man front. You have to be pretty unselfish in the four-man front because a lot of times the linebackers are going to get the tackles. I think it was obvious after you saw the stats following the game that the defensive line did a good job occupying the offensive lineman and giving the linebackers an opportunity to make some plays.

On the idea to go with the 3-4 defense

You can't get real into theory, but we have some principles in the 3-4. I can't really get into the responsibilities, but it is not quite as extreme as you would think. It is just different personnel groupings that keep the offense off balance. Using a three-man front or a four man front you use some of the same principles as a four man and it just keeps the offense off balance. It does us so obviously we are using it on different teams.

On RB Michael Pittman

He played very well. He is a tough, hard-nose runner who made some big plays. He ran over some safeties and ran over some corners. Obviously the better you play, the more time you are going to get.

On the fullback position

There is a reason why he (Peyton Hillis) didn't dress (versus Tampa Bay Sunday) -- We gave it to (Spencer) Larsen. Someone had asked me if it was because of the death (in his family) that he didn't dress and I said no, we were going to go with Larsen. We want to give him the opportunity to show us what he can do. Anybody that hits like that on special teams can hit those linebackers. He did a good job. That doesn't mean Peyton is not going to be up next week but we have some competition at that position.

On Spencer Larsen at the fullback position

You never know. You just get that gut feeling. You watch a guy on film and you see how he likes to hit. Even before we drafted him, I called him up and I wanted to see if he was willing to play fullback, if he would look at the fullback position. He is a very smart guy and a guy with that type of intelligence usually can play two positions if he has the right mindset. He was physical enough on defense where you could see that he wasn't afraid to hit anybody. He is sharp and he has adjusted very quickly. He just keeps getting better and better.

On QB Jay Cutler's performance against Tampa Bay

When you are 68 percent (passing) and there are a few drops in there, I wouldn't be too harsh on Cutler going against a great defense. What Jay did was he managed the game the way you have to manage a game. You can't get in the second-and-longs, you have to be patient and you have to be able to dump the ball off. Jay will spoil you after a while, but quarterbacks have to know how to manage the game.

The thing I was disappointed in from our offense was we missed three third-and-twos, two third-and-threes and a third-and-four. That's a difference between 16 points and maybe 30 points. He did a good job on first and second downs taking what the defense gave him. Against New Orleans and Chicago, they (Tampa Bay) played a lot more man coverage press which gave both teams an opportunity to come up with big plays. They didn't give us those opportunities. They played a very stingy defense and you had to earn everything you got. We still feel like we should have scored some more points, but with the penalties and some of those third downs we won the game with field position.

"If you don't learn then you're not a starter for very long in the National Football League. You have to play the game with a sense of urgency, but at the same time you have to be smart.

On signing WR Glenn Martinez last week (9/30)

Glenn stayed in very good shape (after being waived on 8/30). You're always hoping when a guy goes down somebody that has been in your system you can pick up and he can fit right in. He's very sharp, he knows all thre
e wide receiver positions and it was really good for us to have him out there to be able to call at the last second. He had a nice catch and he did a nice job on the punt returns.

On whether the number of three-man defensive fronts being used limits the playing time of DE Jarvis Moss

I think Jarvis has the ability to play both as a linebacker and a defensive end. He's in the 240 range and he still has the speed, so you may see him some as a defensive end and some as an outside linebacker. We have the ability to do some things with Jarvis that we haven't done in the past.

On DE Tim Crowder

I think he is growing. He is a guy who works extremely hard. Right now we have some competition. We have a few different game plans with four-man fronts and three-man fronts, so sometimes that alters who is up and who is down. I'm pleased with his effort thus far.

On how close RB Ryan Torain (elbow) is to returning from injury

There is a chance that he could start practicing next week, according to doctors. I would say that the earliest he would be available would be after the bye week. That's my guess.