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Old 11-04-2004   #17
Vinny
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Default Broncos conference calls

www.HoustonTexans.com

Broncos Head Coach Mike Shanahan

(on if playing fullback helped Reuben Droughns be a better tailback) “I don’t think it hurt him at all. When he was at Detroit he really didn’t get a chance to play the tailback position as much as he would have liked and when he came in here we had established running backs and we wanted to get him on the field so we thought the best way to get him on the field was to move him to the fullback position. He really adjusted well and he was a great special teams players. So all of a sudden a few guys go down, he gets his opportunity, and he takes advantage of it.”

(on Droughns’ strengths and making the transition) “I think he could have played tailback if he was with the right system and maybe got his opportunity early. I’m not sure why it didn’t work out for him at the previous spot but when he did come in here with the type of depth we had we felt like the only chance that he would get any playing time was at the fullback position. Now you can’t always take fullbacks and move them over to tailbacks and have success. He was a fast guy coming out. He’s like a 4.45 guy so he’s got great speed. He’s a powerful guy. He’s about 220 pounds. So at times we did use him at the tailback position in our one back set. It’s not like it’s a big surprise but you never know for sure until the guy really carries the ball 25 or 30 times a game. Can he hold on to the ball? Can he stay healthy? Those type of things.”

(on if he is surprised by the Texans) “No, not at all. We had a chance to practice against them the year before a couple of days. I know Coach (Dom) Capers very well and how good a football coach he is. I knew it was just matter of time with him and Charley (Casserly) and putting a team together. It doesn’t surprise me at all.”

(on cornerback Champ Bailey) “I think until you actually work with someone you really don’t know how they handle themselves, how hard they work and what type of talent they do have. You see things on film and until you actually work with somebody and you see them practice on a day-to-day basis do you really earn the respect of another player. He’s just such a hard worker and he covers so well in practice, day in day out and competes and loves to hit. He’s a credit to the profession and a great leader on our football team.”

(on if Bailey is a ‘shut down’ corner) “A lot of people think anytime a guy completes a pass on somebody, it doesn’t matter if it’s zone coverage or two-deep, they think the complete it on Champ. So you’re highly scrutinized. Regardless if he’s anywhere near the ball people always think it’s man-to-man coverage. That’s just a process of being a corner and getting a lot of money and the scrutiny that goes with it.”

(on the Broncos defense) “Anytime you don’t perform you’re going to put pressure on yourselves and say ‘hey, you’ve got to do the little things better’ and you kind of approach it day by day. Everybody’s just got to tighten it up a little bit. We’ve done some good things the first half of the season, some things we’re proud of other things we’re not, but it’s a long season and it’s how you react to adversity that counts and I think we’ve got the character to regroup and hopefully play better.”

(on depth at running back and the system the Broncos employee) “I think we’re pretty lucky to have a guy like Reuben when you lose three of your backs. After we lost Quentin (Griffin) and Mike Anderson and of course Tatum Bell went out and Garrison (Hearst) was hurt we had no choice. We only had two guys left and we were fortunate that Reuben had the ability to help us at that position. A lot of times when you get to your fullbacks, that’s what they are, fullbacks. They don’t have the ability to do both. With Mike Anderson being able to play both and Reuben being able to play both we felt like we had some depth. Unfortunately that’s not here anymore. I think we believe in what we do and when you believe in something I think the players tend to say ‘hey, we’re going to be one of the best at league at doing it.’ Regardless of the situation or regardless of how good the team is we believe we can move the football on them. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t.”

(on being frustrated at having to abandon the run in last week’s comeback effort) “That’s part of football. Other teams get paid too and if they get a big day, you get behind and you got to score. I was disappointed that we moved the ball pretty good, we had some opportunities to catch up, we just didn’t get it done.”

Broncos Quarterback Jake Plummer

(on Denver’s success running the football) “It’s just part of the system here we believe in. We have a lot of faith in those guys up front. It starts with (Tom) Nalen in the middle getting those guys in the right spot. Guys believe in the system and (are) going out on Sundays and giving it their all. We plug in some different backs, different styles. Obviously Reuben (Droughns) is a down hill kind of punishing runner and he fits this scheme well because there are gaps, there are holes, and you want a guy that’s going to be hitting it and he’s usually doing that. It’s very good. We’ve had some struggles early but we’re back to running the ball pretty well right now.”
(on how Droughns fits the system) “He fits it great. Even Quentin (Griffin) fit it well. We’ve got a lot of guys, that if you know how to run and read some blocks and find a hole and hit it, then you’re going to love playing in this system.”

(on having to pass more in a comeback effort against the Falcons) “Falling behind is never fun because it takes away part of your game plan usually. You can’t hang to the run, but we were able to move the ball in the air. But it’s one of those things. We have to try to eliminate putting ourselves in a deficit as far as the score and try to keep balance in our game plan because we know we can run the ball well pretty much against anybody.”

(on the passing game) “At times we moved the ball well throwing it, those situations … they’re not fun to be in but we continued to fight. We moved the ball well, but we’re better when we’re a balanced attack.”

(on how the team is feeling) “We’re not worried about it. Obviously we’re concerned because you don’t want to lose two games in a row and you especially don’t want to lose at home. But we know we have a hot team coming in. Houston is playing well. The guys have a lot of confidence in what they do right now. We’ve got this game we must win. We’re going into the bye week after it. We must win this one and go in with a good feeling. But our confidence is fine. We’re going to continue to work and continue to play hard. If we were playing absolutely terrible in all phases I’d be more concerned but we’re moving the ball. We’re doing some good stuff offensively, defensively and special teams we just have to eliminate a few errors here and there and we should get this thing going in the right direction again.”

(on Houston’s defense) “They’re good, they’re physical, and they’re fast. The 3-4, they’re able to do a lot of things. They bring some blitzes from some different areas. Their scheme right now is working very well. They haven’t given up many big plays lately. They’ve been holding opponents out of the end zone and creating turnovers. That’s what you want your defense to do. It’s a big challenge for us. Offensively we’re going to have to study them real hard get some good things and when we have a chance to make a big play take advantage of it.”

(on plugging in different backs into the running game) “The scheme that we run here, if the running back comes in and he’s a little different, he’s got to adjust because he’s just one guy and you’re talking about five guys, six guys up front that are used to doing something … The running back really has to know the system, know the blocks and come in there and be ready to go.”

(on receivers Rod Smith and Ashley Lelie) “Rod’s awesome. He’s unbelievable for as many years as he’s played. His leadership, his effort and the way he just conducts himself around here, he’s fun to play with. He had a great game last week its just too bad we didn’t get the win. But he’s playing at a great level right now and Ashley’s coming along and making big plays for us. Those guys are working hard and that’s what you want.”
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