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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
Courtesy of Denver's PR staff, here are samples of coach Mike Shanahan and Jay Cutler's news conferences today in preparation for Sunday's game against Jacksonville:
On varying between offensive game plans
"It all depends on what they are doing defensively. You have to make the right decisions. Professional football teams are very smart. There are a number of different things you can do to make an offense move methodically down the field if you have the patience. If you don't have the patience, they make mistakes. It's not a conservative game plan as much as it is 'What are they doing defensively?' The [quarterback] has to have the discipline to take advantage of what the defenses are giving him instead of forcing the ball downfield."
On playing well at home
We have always been good at home. We have a great crowd that helps us with crowd noise. It was very indicative versus Tampa Bay. That was a big plus with a couple of check-offs that they couldn't make. We got a couple of big plays with our crowd. Hopefully our crowd is into it just like they were against Tampa Bay, and we can take advantage of the home-field advantage."
"They have been pretty consistent over the last five years. They have been in the top five defensively, they are a very physical football team and they are a team that has been running the ball exceptionally. Last year, they were second in the NFL in rushing offense. Against Indy [Indianapolis] they had the ball for almost 42 minutes compared to 18 minutes for Indy. They controlled the tempo of the game. Last year against us, I think they had it for 38½ minutes. They know how to win. They have been very consistent, being 11-5 last year, beating Pittsburgh on the road [in the playoffs], playing New England very well at their place [playoffs] and they have the same football team basically back. Our hands are full and we are looking forward to the contest. They manhandled us last year."
On Jacksonville's running game
"I think they went against an excellent defense -- two of them. You take a look at Pittsburgh, you take a look at Tennessee, two great defensive football teams. Indy, obviously they [Jacksonville] had 240-something yards. We have given up a number of big plays with our rushing defense. It's a challenge to our team. I know they are going to come in here and run the football just like they did last year. It will be a great challenge to our defense to slow them down."
On how the veteran players have an influence on the younger players
"These players know that this is a week-by-week business. We have been through so many scenarios -- teams that started out 0-3, 0-4 or 4-0 -- all the scenarios that occur; sometimes with injuries, sometimes just the mental state of the football team. That's what we try to do. We don't get caught up in the record. We try to go out there each day and improve and we really don't care what people say about us because it's what we do the next week or the next day that really counts. I think our football team is mature enough to understand that you have a chance to be successful if you take care of business on a day-to-day basis."
On having teammates sit out this Sunday due to injury
"We will see what happens to those guys this week and see how they bounce back. We have D-Jack [Darrell Jackson], and we will see if he can go this week. We have Nate Jackson, Pitt [Michael Pittman] and Andre [Hall], so we still have some guys. We have the bye week coming up in the next couple of weeks and hopefully we can get them healthy and have them the rest of the year. We will be fine and we will get through this. It is part of the NFL. You are going to lose guys, and you prepare for it throughout the season and throughout training camp getting guys reps. We feel good about it. "
On putting up less points last week against Tampa Bay compared to the first four games of the season
"Defense played really well this past game. Offensively, we knew it was going to be a struggle and we knew we were going to have trouble moving the ball in big bunches. We knew we were going to have trouble putting points up and we wanted to get our field goals. When we had the opportunity for a touchdown, we wanted to make it count. In the fourth quarter we played really well."
On what he sees in Jacksonville's defense
"A lot of stuff. They are all over the map and they are zoning out, playing man and blitzing. They play every team a little bit different. They played Peyton [Manning] with a lot of Cover-1 and blitz, and that is hard to do because he usually beats you. They went over there and beat him. Against Pittsburgh, they played them tough. They have a good secondary and a good front four. We have our hands full again."
On if he should scramble more after colliding with Buccaneers CB Ronde Barber last week
"No. That is probably the last person I am going to hit like that all year, hopefully. They played some two-man [defense], which opens up the middle of the field. Sometimes the only way to take that away is for the quarterback to run and get them out of it. Some opportunities opened up and we got them out of it in the second half. They started zoning us up and it opened up some windows."
On Broncos K Matt Prater
"He is kicking the ball really well. He is in the zone. Hopefully we don't jinx him or anything because he is 50-yards and farther. He is kicking them really well and making the short stuff. In a game against a team like Tampa, it is going to be like that, it is going to be tough and you have to hit your threes whenever you can. You have to have a guy you can rely on and he has been that guy all year. I am happy for him."
On being tempted at times to break loose from a conservative game plan
"We had some stuff going down field, it just didn't look good. We had a few routes where we sent some people deep, but we missed Eddie [Royal] and we had some other stuff in the slot. They [Buccaneers] have a good defense. They are sound and they get to their drop zones and they keep everything in front of them. We knew we might have a few chances here and there and if it came open, then it came open. I wasn't going to force anything that game. We checked it down, got five or six yards and kept it moving."