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Broncos Head Coach Mike Shanahan Press Conference

Phone ConferenceBroncos Head Coach Mike Shanahan speaks to the press.

Q: Mike Anderson is a pretty interesting kid. How do you come up with these people? What is it that you have the ability to get sixth round draft choices that can run for 100 yards at the drop of a hat?

M: First of all you have to be a little bit lucky. I think our coaching staff has done a great job. Our running back coach scouts the top 25 running backs, we will look at it as an offensive staff and we will look at it as a team and we try to come up with three or four guys that we feel might be able to help our team either in a running back category or on special teams. He fits the mold of what we look for. I think a lot of people past on him because he is a 27 year old rookie so a lot of people won't draft somebody that old and we felt like we were a little bit fortunate because of his age.

Q: You weren't there then, but Floyd was a 27-year-old rookie when Denver had him.

B: Is that right?

Q: It can't be a coincidence that all three of these guys have had such great success the system has got to be a huge part of the success and the fact that you have an offensive line that consistently plays at a high level?

M: Yes we have been able to keep most of the line in tact, I think that has been an advantage for us. I think I have been able to keep the coaching staff together that has been a big plus so the mentality and the thought processes remain the same and we have been fortunate to get some wide receivers and fullbacks and tight ends that take a lot in getting the job done for the running back. They feel that when a back gets 150-200 yards that they are as much involved as the running back.

Q: One of the things that Bill Belichick was talking about this morning is the way that Denver has utilized people that were available to other teams (Dwayne) Carsell, this young man and even Terrell Davis and (Ed) McCaffrey, what is it that your staff is able to do in coaching these players to become NFL if not impact NFL players?

M: I think that sometimes it is easier on the offensive side of the football than the defensive side of the football. We don't have a first or second round draft choice on our offense and I think we have guys that have a lot of character and take a lot of pride in what they do, but there have been free agents and once they come in here we will look at anybody relative to draft choices, people that produce and get the job done. These guys have stepped up and they have a lot of character and they have a lot of fight and that's what we look for.

Q: After Super Bowls you never really had a downfall, you seemed to bounce right back, how did you do that?

M: It is really tough with the salary cap the way it is you have to do a good job with your draft. You have to get some players that come out of the draft and not get the players just through free agency because it catches up with you very quickly. The players that we have lost, we have lost to some high salaries that we couldn't keep we had no choice. We have been fortunate enough to fill those voids with a good draft.

Q: You look at the Patriots and they are 0-4 and they are a team that you have played quite often the last couple of years it was always thought that Drew Bledsoe and the offense were quick striking offense that could score quickly that is not happening what do you see?

M: Well this is the best Patriots team that I have seen. I know they are 0-4, but they are not an 0-4 football team. They have lost four games that they could have won all four and the combined record of those teams is 13-2. Every game went into the last drive. How they lost a couple of games, the Jets game with the ball going right through his hands and there was two great catches and they had a chance to put them away on the 30 yard line at the end of the game. It was the same thing with Miami, fumbling on the two-yard line and not putting it in the end zone. When you are going against good football teams like that and you are playing great defense like they are I think New England is a lot like us we haven't scored as much as we would like in the red zone and I think New England is the same way, but I know they are working it just like we are working on it and once that offense clicks with the strength of that defense that they have good things are going to happen. I am just hoping it is not going to breakout this week.

Q: You have seen some pretty good Patriot teams over the year even though you have beaten them every time. So your view is that you are not taking that 0-4…

M: I guarantee, you will find that out at the end of the season that there is a lot of play in that football team. They play extremely hard and this will be a very successful football team before it is over.

Q: Is (Brian) Griese going to play?

M: Well right now we are going to practice him today. We'll find out if there is any setback on the shoulder, but he is going to practice and if there isn't a setback and we feel like he is full go then he will play. If he is not, if we think that the shoulder is not where it should be than we will hold him out.

Q: Do you have to change your offense in anyway of Gus (Ferrotte) is your quarterback?

M: No we don't. Gus is a veteran player he has been here through out the off-season and I have a lot of confidence in him.

Q: Your defense historically has always done a terrific job against the running game, the Patriots have had some trouble running the ball, is it safe to say you are back to where you were you have always been with that defense?

M: Yes we are not playing as good as we would like to and we have given up some drives, but we are working on that and hopefully we will get better with that as the season goes on.

Q: Getting back to your draft, do you guys set up board so that you want to have guys that you like available, not so much with high marks, but do you see guys that can specifically help you?

M: What we do is we will take a look at the top 25 running backs at least graded by our scouts and we sit down as a coaching staff and we will go through it, we will go through every player. We spend a lot of time going through every player. We spend a couple of months just as a coaching staff evaluating free agency and the college draft. It is very time consuming, but we think in the long run it will help us out.

Q: You guys have the best home record in the AFC, is that really your twelfth man?

M: Yes I think it is a big advantage. I think a home crowd is always an advantage. I think the altitude does help us out. I think there is a conditioning factor there that has helped Denver over the years. I think a combination of those things.

Q: Back to the draft again, when talk about top 25 guys at each position, how much of what they do as far as performance and then how much is it a gut feeling?

M: The intangibles I think are probably the number one factor that we look at. What type of guy are we dealing with, what type of work habits does he have, how important is football to him, how does he handles himself, is he a class guy, is he humble guy but is he a worker? So often as a running back you have to be so unselfish and at the same time you have to be productive. We have been very lucky with the three running backs that we have had with Terrell, Olandis and now Mike, they all get along extremely well, they are pulling for each other, they are leaders and they just handle themselves the right way. They put the team first and I think that gives you a chance to do something special when you have guys that are putting the team in front of their own individual accomplishments.

Q: Speaking about leaders, talking about intangibles Mike Anderson is 27 years old, a product of the Marine Corp, is that one of the intangibles that made him enticing?

M: The first thing we look at is ability, do we think that a guy can play at this level. Does he have the physical qualities, running and blocking, to help our football team, then the intangibles that you just mentioned we take in after we feel that a guy can play. Now when you sit down with this guy you fall in love with him. He is everything that you look at. Relative to the Marines, and junior college, how he has handled himself with his family, how he was raised and you would say, 'Hey if my son turned out to be that way I would be awful proud.'

Q: Last year you went through a very similar start with what the Patriots are experiencing this year, what are some of the toughest challenges you face as a coach at that point?

M: I just think that you can't overreact. You know that you have lost some close games against some great football teams and these other guys get paid too and sometimes it just takes a mistake here or a mistake there to be the difference, not to lose perspective of what your football team is all about, what your organization is all about. To me what's bad is when you get embarrassed, when you get beat badly and there is not much you can say when that happens, but when you are in the hunt and you are playing hard and all of your players are getting after you just keep after it and usually good things happen. That is what I have always thought.

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