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Mike Shanahan Pre-Game Press Conference

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Q: You seem to have had some problems with penalties in the last couple of weeks. Has your team been that sloppy in the last couple years?

MS: Well it was really Seattle. I mean that was the game that I thought we really played poorly. You know, just not the type of effort that we're used to seeing and I can't say that we've ever had a game like that that I can remember since I've been here. You know we've lost games but it hasn't been that kind of effort or people played harder than us. So I was really disappointed in that game.

Q: What on the offensive line disappointed you the most this past weekend?

MS: We played well on the offensive line this weekend.

Q: It was the weekend before then?

MS: Yeah, Seattle.

Q: It seems that people are wondering if Griese is as effective as he was. What is your take on his performance so far this year?

MS: Well I think when things aren't going well a quarterback, as you are well aware, will get most of the blame. That's just typical of any organization, yours or ours, but that has nothing to do with the decision making process. He's our quarterback and will stay as our quarterback.

Q: Is he playing well?

MS: Yeah, he's not playing too bad. I mean anytime you are losing, you feel like you can play better, but what you've got to do is you've got to go back. You've got to take a look at not just the quarterback but at every position. We are not playing as well as we have. It's not just the quarterback it is everybody and for us to get to the level we want to or we have been pretty consistently over the years, we are going to have to play better as a group. I wish it was just one player. That would be easy, then I could make a change.

Q: You'll be playing a guy this week who is also from Michigan. Do you see similarities in these two guys and what are your impressions of Brady?

MS: I've really been impressed with him. He really handles himself well. He can make all the throws. He's got a lot of poise and looks like a guy that has been playing for a number of years. He's very impressive. They've got a good scheme and he handles it well.

Q: What do you get out of guys from bigger programs? Do you notice anything that you get out of players from bigger programs?

MS: Well I just think if you mention Michigan, if they are playing for New England or if they are playing here for Denver, once they see a stadium that's 60,000-70,000 people they think of it as half full. They get used to playing for 100,000 each week. They are not awed by the fans, and obviously the game in itself relative to the supporting cast. So they've been playing top competition year in and year out and to win that position in a school that can go out there and recruit anybody, it really says a lot and to get somebody like New England did in the sixth round and Brian in the third round, that comes in and proves himself, that's what is so good about it.

Q: What are you seeing from the Patriots now as opposed to the tape that you looked at prior to the game the two teams played last year?

MS: Well they've won the last three out of four. In those three wins they are averaging 37 points a game. So they are playing with a lot of confidence. Both [Troy] Brown and [David] Patten have been making some obviously very big plays. And like you mentioned, Brady is playing extremely well with a lot of confidence. So any time you win three out of four and you score that many points there's a level of confidence that exists and I think Bill has always been known for his defense. You've got to earn everything you get and they're not going to give up very many big plays. So they are playing at a very high level and that's one of the reasons why they've been so successful.

Q: They Patriots threw in some wrinkles last week. Do you look at those plays and think you need to be prepared for them, how does that affect your plans?

MS: Well what happens is those big plays come in every once in a while because you set those big plays up with a strong running game or they run a lot of quick screens before. So all of the sudden they run a compliment off of it. That's part of football and Charlie [Weis] did a good job of using them at the right time, against the right defense and took advantage of some of their tendencies and that's what you have to do.

Q: What about your running game this week? Terrell Davis is down as questionable?

MS: Yeah, we'll find out during the week. I really don't know. He's going to practice today and I'll get a chance to evaluate him obviously as the week goes on.

Q: Can you talk about the Patriots' defense? It seems they do a lot of different things, how hard is it to prepare for them?

MS: Well you always know that they are going to be well coached and they are going to play very hard. They are a little bit different because they play the 3-4 scheme, but they also have the flexibility to go to eight-man fronts. So they are always very well coached, Bill's always done a great job everywhere he's been. You know we've gone against each other for a number of years and I've got the utmost respect for how hard his players play and what he does and it is always a war going in.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about Rod Smith, how his role has changed since the loss of Ed McCaffrey and what type of player he is?

MS: Well really he is the same guy. We move him around a little bit to get him ball, but when Ed was there it was pretty well split with Rod and Ed because we had two proven guys. He's a complete player. To me, he's just like New England's wide receivers. What I mean by that is that they take a lot of pride in blocking just like catching the ball.

Q: How is Griese's shoulder?

MS: He's fine. There's always rumors and speculation that the reason why we haven't been effective offensively like we have been that something is wrong with him, but if something was wrong with him he wouldn't be playing. If he couldn't make all the throws that he is capable of making, he wouldn't be in there. But hopefully we will be more effective than we have been.

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