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Mike Shanahan Conf Call Transcript

Shanahan: All my years at Denver, we only had two quarterbacks except for one. I never have been in a situation where you lost two quarterbacks in a game



**Q: Could you talk a little bit about Danny Kanell, in terms of the adjustment that he's had to make?

MS:** Well anytime you come in off the street, there is always adjustments. You get back in football shape and get reunited with the offense. But I think he's done a great job.

**Q: He said he had contacted 15 teams when he was out of football, and you all are the ones that invited him to camp. What prompted you to do that? You looked pretty solid at quarterback at the time.

MS:** Well to be honest with you, Marvin Denhoff had called me and said, 'Hey I got a guy that I think is a special guy. Would you at least take a look at him in your mini-camp?' I really did it as a favor to Marvin more than anything else. When he came in, he was very impressive to everybody here.

**Q: What caused you to cut him in training camp and just go with two quarterbacks?

MS:** When I was here with Denver as an assistant coach, we had [John] Elway and [Gary] Kubiak. All my years at Denver, we only had two quarterbacks except for one. So I was kind of use to going with two quarterbacks. I never have been in a situation where you lost two quarterbacks in a game, so I thought if we did lose somebody that we would be able to go back and get either Danny [Kanell] or Jarious Jackson or Nick Rolovich, one of the three guys we had in training camp.

**Q: Now you've got Danny and Jarious Jackson?

MS:** We've got them both back now.

**Q: Coaches always tend to laud the opposing team and the opposing coach before all these games, but [Patriots Head Coach Bill] Belichick seems unusually sincere when he talks about you and how difficult it is to face a team that is coached by you. Do you see any similarities between your coaching style and his?

MS:** Yeah, I see us being very similar. We've been knocking heads for a lot of years. It's close to 20 years. It is 20 years. We've had a chance to really study each other. We know how each coach really has a game plan for each opponent. It's really been some great battles through the years. It's a strong respect level from my standpoint because I know how hard it is to beat a Bill Belichick team and how hard they play and the type of schemes you have to get ready for. You really don't know what you are going to get until game day and you have to make adjustments on game day. So it's a great challenge. I can't say it's fun, because so much work is involved, but there is much respect.

**Q: He says the same thing about you, that whatever you see the Broncos do against Kansas City, if you think they are going to do the same thing against Oakland or against you, forget about it. So it sounds like you guys are mirror images?

MS:** Yeah, I think we both change things up quite a bit. We are both very similar, but obviously on different sides of the football where our expertise are.

**Q: Back to the quarterback thing for a minute. Have you ever had to go into a situation like this, where you have lost two quarterbacks and you are basically trying to get through part of a season with a guy, in your words, 'off the street'?

MS:** We had lost Bubby Brister and Brian Griese a few years back and we had Chris Miller as our third team quarterback, but that was different because Chris was part of our team throughout the year. It was not someone that was not with us.

**Q: Is this one of the more challenging things you have had to do in football?

MS:** Obviously it's challenging. Anytime you are two deep in any position, I don't care if it's quarterback or any position, it is challenging. But I have a lot of confidence in Danny [Kanell]. I have a lot of confidence in Jarious [Jackson]. Jarious has been in our organization for a number of years. Danny's got some playing experience in the NFL and has started in a number of games, so you are not talking about two guys that have not been in the fire before. You are talking about a second team guy that has been with our team for a number of years and sees our system. So, it's not as bad as it seems.

**Q: You had a Hall of Fame quarterback when you had [John] Elway. A lot of teams without having a great quarterback, even though everyone thinks that is the most important position on the field. Is having a really good quarterback overrated? And can it be overrated in a team's success?

MS:** I think so. I think you need a complete football team. I think that is how you win championships. John Elway would be the first one to tell you that he won his first Super Bowl with probably the most balanced team that he has ever had. He just had to do his job and do it well. In his younger years, he could make plays that most human beings couldn't make but we weren't as good collectively as a football team. We could never win a Super Bowl. We could get there based on his athletic ability, but we could never put anyone away. So you have to have a balanced team and you have to be a little bit lucky as well.

**Q: How close, in your mind, were you to getting Rodney Harrison in the off season? And did it surprise you when New England swooped in and got him?

MS:** Yeah. To be honest with you, they did a great selling point. His agent and Rodney, I talked to both of them and they guaranteed us that he would visit. So, I tip my hat off to the Patriots that once they got him in to Foxborough that they signed him.

**Q: So you never had him into visit, right? He was suppose to, but he never did?

MS:** Yeah, he was going to visit us after the Patriots. Obviously the rest is history.

**Q: Looking at him on tape this year, what have you seen that he has brought to the Patriots?

MS:** I've watched Rodney for so many years being in the AFC West and having the chance to go against him and watch him all the way back at Western Illinois. He's one of the most fierce competitors that you'll ever find. He's a great football player. He's always been a team player. He plays hard. He's a very consistent guy that generates electricity with the rest of the football team.

**Q: Rodney had a torn groin muscle last year. When a player reaches a certain age, he's 30 now, and they had a year where they played with an injury and didn't run very well, is there a tendency for other teams to back off and say, 'Maybe this guy is done,' when really it was the injury that was preventing him from playing at the same level?

MS:** I think so. I think a number of people back off, but a guy like Bill [Belichick] doesn't have to back off. Because a Bill has had success and he knows what he likes on film and he is willing to take a chance. Our organization is willing to do the same thing.

**Q: Last time you all played in Denver, the Patriots, it was Brady's first year as a starter. He came in there having thrown, I think it was 162 passes in a row without an interception and you picked him off four times in the second half. Looking back, going into that game, were you amazed that he could start off a career and not make any mistakes through his first four starts?

MS:** Yeah, it is quite unusual for a guy to play that consistent. Sooner or later, it all catches up with you and I was just happy it happened in our game because he did play very well for a number of games.

**Q: Would you say that's been one of his strong points? This year he's two games where he's thrown multiple picks, but I think the other six games have all been clean. Is that one of his strengths that he doesn't hurt himself?

MS:** I think it is. I think he's really a headsy player. He understands that when you are playing with a great defense, you don't have to do things that give you a chance to turn the football over. And if you do that, usually you lose. I think he's smart enough to understand that the only thing that is important is finding a way to win, regardless of what the score is. I think this year gives you at least a good idea of how smart he is.

**Q: How is Jimmy Spencer working out as a player/coach?

MS:** It really has worked out good. He's really an unusual guy. He really knows how to get along with people. He's got great work ethic. He would love to get into coaching after he's through, so it really has been a positive.

**Q: The whole secondary here has been revamped and Tyrone Poole seems to be a guy who has really helped them a lot. What have you seen from him? What did you get from him when you had him? And what have you seen from him this year?

MS:** Tyrone Poole is a great player. He's everything that you look for in a football player. He plays hard. He makes plays. The game's not too big for him. He's playing exceptionally well.

**Q: Was there anything with him when he retired there? He had some things here this summer where he was talking about retiring and then he stayed. Was it ever a problem getting him to focus?

MS:** No, it really wasn't. When he came back after his first year, he had some problems the first year we had him, and then when he did come back, he had an exceptional year for us. His family is very important to him. He's got some strong values. He's a great man and very smart. So what you see is what you get. He's not a BS-er. When he tells you something, it is usually based on family and faith. He's a guy that I really respect.

**Q: He's been pretty physical here. Were you surprised when you first got him that a guy that is 5'9'' could muscle up with receivers like that?

MS:** Yeah, I was really surprised, to be quite honest with you, how physical and what a complete football player he was, or I should say he is

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