(Opening Statement)

“I guess this is our first official Wednesday, but like I said yesterday we moved our schedule. Yesterday we did our Wednesday-type practice and today was our Thursday-type practice. We’ll do essentially two Friday-type practices tomorrow and Friday, mainly because that’s a lot of situational work. We’ve been working on a lot of things you’d normally work on when you only have a week to prepare for somebody prior to this week, actually. So, that’s where we are. I think we are pretty much set unless we get some surprises this week with the 53-man roster as well as our eight practice squad players. Marques Hagans cleared (waivers) and we resigned him and released the kid we had on for 24 hours (S Etric Pruitt). Initially he was going to be our practice squad defensive back, and then we ended up having J.R. Reed come available the same day we signed Pruitt. You realize it’s a business when something like that happens. I introduced myself as I told him we were signing somebody else. It was pretty bizarre.”

(On today’s practice)

“It was a good day. Tony Hargrove was back out there in a red jersey. He participated in the entire practice, but he didn’t take any contact. He should be able to take some contact tomorrow. Jamal Brooks has a staph infection in his leg, a little bit like Raonall Smith had. They cleaned it out and he was able to practice today. I think we’re pretty much set. We won’t decide until game day on who’s going to be active and who’s going to be down, but we have a couple of options when it comes to who’s going to have the greater impact for us on special teams. Our starting lineups are set and our starting specialists are set.”

(On S J.R. Reed’s performance in today’s practice)

“It went smooth. He cramped up during practice. I asked him if he banged it up, but he said it was just cramped. He got a lot of reps on scout team and came over when we finished our kickoff returns. He looked fine and very comfortable out there. He knows the return and had actually been running a very similar return scheme that we’re running, so that’s a good thing.”

(On getting used to working with a smaller number of players)

“Yesterday wasn’t good enough. The biggest change was that we didn’t have the numbers out there. So, it was a little easier to work your way through it with the tempo we were going yesterday. The first day we just had our final group out there and it was pretty tough. Tony (Hargrove) didn’t practice yesterday so Victor (Adeyanju) was working with the ones and had to turn around and be on the scout team. He ended up getting about 120 reps yesterday. We just learned to manage our players through it, but today was 100 times better.”

(On QB Marc Bulger’s understanding of the new offensive system)

“I think Marc’s ready. I think now, what you can do for a quarterback, especially in transition, is just focus on the gameplan and what we’re trying to get done, as opposed to, when we get to this situation in the game, here’s what we’re going to do. But basically you’re coaching four quarterbacks in the preseason and when you get to the regular season, you’re talking to the other two guys, but you’re talking to the starter. He gets enough quarterback coaching out there between myself, Doug (Nussmeier), and Greg (Olson). I think we lead the league in quarterback coaches. He’s doing a great job. He’s been really patient and hasn’t overreacted to things. We could’ve certainly played better at times in the preseason, but he understands what we’re trying to get done. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t play very well for us, especially early in the year.

(On possibly tweaking things with the offense to help speed up learning)

“No. That’s one thing you try not to do is over-coach, especially a guy that has a pretty good feel for it. You still coach him, but you try not to over-coach him. He has a lot of experts, so I try to step back a little bit, but I think he’s doing great.”

(On S Corey Chavous)

“First of all, we brought a heck of a safety here. You talk about all the intangible qualities he, La’Roi (Glover) and these guys possess, but the first thing he brings to the table is that he is a huge upgrade in our secondary at safety and has played very consistent, especially over the last four years. I saw three of his years, and two years ago he went to the Pro Bowl and played great for us. I think the additional things he brings are huge bonuses for us, because he’s a great leader who’s one of our team captains, voted by the team. That says a lot about a guy who wasn’t on this team before, to be a unanimous vote-getter for the captain’s award after only being here for five months or so.”

(On the first team offense not getting enough reps during the preseason)

“They’ve played together every snap of every practice. I’m not concerned at all.”

(On his emotions going into the first regular season game)

“It’s different. They’re good emotions though. I’m excited. There are a lot of things involved with the first game every year. I can remember every opener since I started playing. It’s just a lot of anticipation for it. We can’t wait to see how guys respond and how we play together. This is a whole new team. We’ve rebuilt this team in a lot of ways; players, coaches, everything. It’s a really exciting time for everybody.”

(On scripting plays for Sunday’s game vs. the Broncos)

“We do the first 10 and then we script in our situations for third down and red zone. Probably the first 20 plays are going to be called in some type of order. If you end up third down and one the first third down you know you’re going to a certain call and if you end up third and seven on the second one, you know you’re going to another call. So you can’t really predict how a game goes. That’s kind of how it goes. I think the pretty much every player knows what will be called in every situation.”

(On nerves before the game)

“They’re always there. They usually go away. You don’t get to run up and hit each other like the players do, but once it’s kicked off they go away. It’s more of an excitement. You get that emotional high when you are competing. I’m looking forward to that again.”

(On the readiness of the first team offense)

“I think we have some really good players, first of all, that are going to play and not worry about their emotional level on gameday. They’ve been there and that helps. That’s not necessarily the case when you start getting into your second and third groups, but certainly with your first. In particular, we like the way we came out in our first preseason game, because that was fresh off training camp and we were pretty heavy into it. Maybe we didn’t finish off a drive or two, but the intensity level was there. They came out really without any preparation for a team and have five plays over 15 yards in the first quarter gave us a sense of optimism. What’s going on in practice has been good. I’ve been very happy with the way we’ve been practicing.”

(On the Denver Broncos)

“Great speed. Denver’s advantage is, they’ve got the same system, offensively, defensively, and special teams, a lot of the same personnel. They’ve been able to draft to their system. They’ve been able to go out in free agency and plug guys into their system. That’s the advantage they have over time, being on a team that basically has the same coaching staff together. So you see a lot of consistency in their defense. The addition of some of the players they’ve had in the last couple of years have changed them somewhat. John Lynch, you add him to the mix. You have a guy fresh out of the Super Bowl that gets everybody lined up and makes a big impact on the game. You see his leadership there. Champ Bailey’s arguably the best corner in the league. Al Wilson’s maybe the most underrated middle linebacker in the league. You can go on and on. Ian Gold, D.J. Williams, those linebackers can run. The D-Line doesn’t get a lot of credit because the do a lot of slanting and angle to cover those guys up, but they’re very active. I can go on and on about them. It’s still about us. We’ve got a pretty big task ahead of us offensively, to deal with these guys, because they will get after you.”

(On Denver having one of the fastest linebacking corps in the league)

“I would say that’s an accurate statement. Sideline to sideline, the three of them together, it would be hard to find three guys better than that as a group.”

(On QB Marc Bulger being through his transition phase with the new offense)

“It is hard to transition when you start changing terminology and terms because you’ve got to go ‘It was an orange and now it’s an apple’. It’s still an orange, but you’ve got to call it an apple. That takes a little bit of time and it takes a lot of reps. You’ve got to spend a lot of time with it. I think he’s done great with it to be honest with you. We’ve had some growing pains with it, but I think the thing we can do now is that now we’ve been through it. Now we can just gear down and focus on an opponent and say ‘This is what we’re going to do and these are your four, third and five calls and this is what we’re going to do in the red zone’. Those are all those things that as opposed to having the whole play book, he has his game plan book this week, which is a big load off a quarterback’s mind. Now he has a pretty good idea of what is going to get called or what we’re going to do. If something goes wrong, this is what we’ve got to do. Those kinds of things. I think that’s what you’re going to see as he’s growing into our system.”

(On preparing for the season opener at the beginning of the summer)

“I’m pretty sure everybody does that now. We spend a lot of time in the offseason studying our first opponent, doing studies on them. We probably put the most time into the opener and second-most into the second game. Usually the first three, and then after that you’ve got to look and see what everybody’s doing in those first three games and gauge it off of what their doing.”

(On his feelings on Coach Jim Haslett and the progress the defense has made)

“Jim’s experienced. He brings great leadership to the group because he did it as a player and a coach and as a head coach. You can’t just walk in and have that kind of credibility in the room, you’ve got to earn that, and Jim has earned that. I’m very happy with where we’re at. I really like the continuity we have defensively with our coaching staff because they work together. That’s a big advantage. Probably a bigger advantage than we have offensively because those guys have worked together, where we, on offensive, really have not. There’s time we’ve got to spend together to come together. I think that’s a great advantage, which was part of the design of hiring the staff that we did defensively. I’ve been very happy with it. I think we’re coming and growing and the players are buying into it and I’m very happy with where we are.”

(On RB Stephen Davis’ progress)

“He’s getting there. He took some reps with the scout team today. Actually when we did run period and a lot of plays in there give the defense a look and work himself into shape and work himself into shape and test his ball security and work himself a run. It’s going to take a little while for him to get 100 percent comfortable and also in football shape. We’ll be patient with that but we’ve got to accelerate as fast as we can.”

(On the chances of RB Stephen Davis receiving a Pro Bowl nod this year)

“Making a Pro Bowl is a pretty big accomplishment. I think you’ve got to be the lead dog. I see Stephen being very productive. I think the most convincing thing to me was the fact that he had 550 yards and 12 touchdowns last year, really with not a healthy knee. He had surgery in the offseason, came back from it real good, looked good in his workout. I think he’s still got some miles left in the old car there.”

(On the offensive line’s progress)

“We’ve got some talented players there. Last year when I was at Miami we had a real young offensive line and they took a lot of criticism the year before. We basically went back in and changed some things philosophically and we did some things to help them. I think it did help them that we protected the quarterback and had the quarterback get the ball out quicker so they didn’t have so much pressure on them. I think our offensive line is much more experienced when you start with Orlando and Andy and Adam . Richie’s a rookie, and we’ve got Alex who looked like a rookie at times last year and still does look like a young player at times. I think we’ve got some pretty talented players there and I think they’re all very willing, and I think they’re going to look to have a really good year. I think being able to move forward as apposed to backwards every down is going to help them gain confidence as a group and play together.”

(On the effects of new defensive coaches)

“If it affects the chemistry in any way it’s going to be in a positive way because of the leader we brought. If I go back to my statement about Corey , we brought some pretty darn good players too. They’re going to be, in my opinion, a much improved defense. I think the leadership will be much greater and only time will tell how much better we are. I would be real surprised if we don’t make a real marked improvement as a defense.”

(On the team being where he wants it to be going into the season opener)

“I wouldn’t say we’re ahead or behind. I’d say we’re on track. We’ll find out Sunday certainly. We’ve been working with a lot of things we want to start with in the opener, little things. Hopefully they’re an advantage for us. I think you’ve got to utilize…the only advantage we have is the unknown. I think Denver’s got every other advantage, but we have that advantage of the unknown, which, if you don’t use it, we have no advantages. Going into the game we’re certainly…I’d be surprised if we’re not pretty good underdogs going into this game. You’ve got to utilize the opportunity to do some things that are a little bit different that hopefully they maybe they haven’t been able to prepare for.”

(On how often he evaluates the team)

“Day by day. I think we kind of sit back and evaluate it as we go through it. I don’t stop after four games and go ‘Okay lets do the quarterly report’ or anything. Daily. We try to get better every day. If we do that, in some area, some days in some areas maybe we don’t which they show up obvious, but if we improved at some part of our game. That’s what you’ve really got to do at this point. You’ve got to make a big deal about that because as long as we’re getting better on a daily basis at the end of the day, end of the week, end of the season, we’ll be okay.”

(On not having a track record with the Rams)

“We added a new defense. We’ve got a new offense. Our special team is probably the only thing that’s a little bit the same. You really try as hard as you can, whether it’s an advantage or not, you try to keep a lot of things that you’re going to do somewhat under wraps.”

(On getting pointers from the success of Denver’s running game)

“I’ve stolen every play that I’ve ever called. Denver’s unique. They start, initially, they’re basically running a true form of the West Coast offense and they kind of went into that mode where they started running those slash-zones I call them, where they basically run the inside outside zone. They basically run two type runs, and they’ll throw a power in there every once in a while. I think the biggest lesson you can learn from Denver is that you don’t have to be multiple to be good or uninvolved. You just go at them and have a simple scheme and believe in it. I don’t know if there’s anyone doing any better. I think that’s probably the thing we’ve taken from teams like Denver. Hopefully we try to mold that kind of a philosophy into a running game.”

(On the reason Denver’s running game is so successful)

“I think they execute and they just believe in it. It’s a little bit different, a little bit unconventional. I noticed another team complaining about that style of running recently. It’s a little intimidating to play because of the style. They get up in their legs and I don’t think people like that. I know you’ve got an advantage if that becomes the issue of how they’re blocking you and all that, then I think they’ve probably won before the game even starts. I think that has a lot to do with it. Plus they don’t do it with the monsters. Their offensive line isn’t…they don’t’ come out and intimidate you coming out of the locker room with their size. They just do it with how they play and how they finish.”

(On talking to old co-workers)

“I talked to people when I saw them. I saw the whole Miami staff last week. They wished me well as they got ready to kick my butt. That was great. But all that stuff kind of happens during the offseason but I lean pretty heavily on the guys that are here.”

(On being able to develop a new identity as a team)

“I hope so. Every team’s a new team. That was a whole different dynamic down there. Really no experience offensively. Defensively that was where most of the experience was. We overcame some things early in the year, but it took us a while to get it. It took us 10 games really just to develop an identity. I think hopefully it won’t take us as long offensively to develop an identity because I think we’ve got more experienced and proven players there.”

(On our matchups)

“I don’t ever get caught up in the matchups of who we’re going after, who we aren’t. We’ve certainly got to know when we are attacking that side of the field that we’ve got to be on our game because the guy changed the game. I watched the playoff game when he made that play against the Patriots that totally turned the game there. What you try to do is not let guys like Champ Bailey wreck the game for you, which they certainly can do, and have proven they can do.”

(On taking things from working under previous head coaches)

“I think a lot. I think I’ve learned form everybody I’ve worked with. I try to go back to it and use those things, but I’m my own person. You try to take all those things and you gain experience from them. I learned a lot last year organizationally. I wasn’t with him long enough to take everything in but I try to be a sponge with all the guys I’ve worked with. Not just worked for, guys I’ve worked with, along side and offensive staff as well.”

DT Jimmy Kennedy

September 6, 2006

(On the defensive line strategy vs. the Broncos)

“We have to be disciplined. Everybody knows those guys run the stretch and they get guys turning sideways and they’ll gash you for 100-plus yards a game. So we just have to be disciplined in our roles and go out there and execute.”

(On the preseason being over)

“That’s always a plus. It’s always good to go out there and play a couple of preseason games, especially for the young guys to get the jitters out and make the mistakes early and learn from those. Right now, (it’s good) as far as sacks and everything counting, plus we get paid.

(On the “stretch” plays that Denver runs)

“When the guys turn sideways and look like elephants on a parade and they just run to the sideline and the running back picks one side, make one cut and take it downhill.”

(On the Broncos offensive line)

“Everyone’s over 290 pounds. They all have decent height. Their center is about 6-3, 298. What makes those guys great is playing together. Three-year starters, at-least, across the front and those guys are doing great. We’re going to have our hands full this week.”

LB Will Witherspoon

September 6, 2006

(On dealing with the Broncos blocking schemes)

“It just makes it one of those things you have to adjust to. You have to be able to play downhill, but at the same time you have to expect it. You have to say ‘who’s the guy that’s going to be coming at me?’ and be ready for every situation and take it all in.”

(On RB Stephen Davis)

“He looks like his old self. He’s out there running the rock and doing the same old thing.”

S Corey Chavous

September 6, 2006

(On the Broncos receiving threats)

“I’ve had a lot of experience playing against Javon Walker in the NFC North. He’s a great receiver in terms of being able to get down the field, he’s got great ball skills, he can run after the catch, and he’s tall. But you can’t forget about Rod Smith, certainly the consummate veteran and a guy who’s able to work the middle of the field, the outside, work the slot, block, and run reverses. He’s a heck of a football player. They’ve got other targets as well. They’ve had a guy named David Kircus that stepped up and really had more catches than anybody in the preseason and also their rookie out of Western Michigan, Tony Scheffler; he’s also had a good preseason.”

(On Broncos QB Jake Plummer)

“He’s very dangerous. He can throw either to his left or right. So, basically you have to be prepared for him to be able to throw on the run in either direction. I think he’s a guy who’s improved over the years, in terms of being patient and taking what the defense gives and he’s a playmaker. He’s a guy who, no matter what the score is can bring his team back from behind. I’ve been on plenty games with him when we were down by 20 or 25 points and he brought us all the way back for victory. He’s a heck of a quarterback.”

G Adam Timmerman

September 6, 2006

(On this offense being explosive)

“I think so. It’s going to be nice to get into the regular season so we can start playing with a little more emotion and get into some situations and hopefully the team comes together. Like I said, play with a little more energy and a little more enthusiasm and get things rolling. You never know what can happen. The talent’s there. I think as far as the coaching staff, we have some key components there to get us going in the right direction. It’s all there; I think we just have to put it to good use.”

(On the Rams’ team identity)

“Everybody’s still trying to figure out who we are. But I think coming this week against Denver we’re going to have to make a statement and figure out who this team is very quickly.”

(On not knowing what type of plays Coach Linehan will call)

“It’s so watered down in the preseason as far as calling the plays. We don’t gameplan, we don’t scout a lot, and he’s not going to give a lot of things away as far as new formations and motions. I think as far as that, we probably don’t have a feel for what’s coming. I think as far as the emphasis in practice and meetings we kind of know which direction he’s heading. We just have to come out this week and really start to come together because the opener is very important because of the two away games following it.”

(On the running game being emphasized on Sunday)

“I would say that would continue. I don’t see why it wouldn’t. I think it just depends. There will be a lot of situations and gameplan-type play calling as far as we know what they’ve been doing. They have more of a track record because their coaching staff has been there longer so we’ll have some good preparation tape and stuff like that. We’ll have a good feel for them.”

QB Marc Bulger

September 6, 2006

(On the team’s attitude going into Sunday’s game)

“We’re all biased in here. We all feel like we can get it done. Obviously we haven’t played together as a team. We’ll see Sunday. We’ve worked hard this offseason, but it doesn’t matter until Sunday.”

(On the team’s progress)

“We’re along pretty well, but we’re not where we want to be. It might be good to bring our reigns in a little bit. Maybe we were over-extended a little before and we’ll get back to base football. From an offensive standpoint it gets you the protection you need.”

(On WRs Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce missing some of the preseason)

“As long as they feel fine I’m fine with them. I’ve played enough years with them. As long as Isaac’s hamstring feels good and Torry’s sternum’s fine I’m not worried. They looked good out there the last couple of days and I’m sure Sunday they’ll be excited too.”

(On getting into a rhythm in the first game of the season)

“It’s different than most games. During the season you have bumps and bruises and throughout the season you get into a rhythm and get into a game and pick up where you left off. Everyone gets a little extra excited for the opener there may be a more butterflies the first couple of series, especially with the new system. We’re going to see how everyone fits in. If we can come out early, get a couple of good drives, and put some points on the board it should get rid of all that, but the longer we wait the more time it will take.”

(On the preseason results being a pre-cursor to the regular season)

“I don’t think it’s real indicative of how the season’s going to be. I’m sure Pittsburgh is not going to go 0-16. We didn’t do much, but if we would have done great, the same time we’d be saying that it doesn’t matter, we have to start off Sunday and get going. I’m sure if we struggle a little bit to get going in this game people will wonder about it. I really think the regular season and preseason are pretty different. I know there’s been quarters in regular season games where we haven’t done anything, but all this team needs is a quarter. We have the playmakers. Steven (Jackson), Torry (Holt), Isaac (Bruce) and those guys can have one huge quarter and make a difference. That’s a good thing. It’s not like we have three or four new receivers and running backs that haven’t done anything. Those guys have done it. My job is to get them the ball early and get some touchdowns.”

Broncos Head Coach Mike Shanahan

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

(On how it feels to get the regular season underway)

“Good. I think everybody’s ready to start the season. You go through those four preseason games, and obviously a long camp. I think everybody’s looking forward to it.”

(On expecting to see Coach Linehan use things from last year with Miami)

“I think you always study the head coaches and what they’ve done especially when they’ve been to different places. You always look back to see what type of offense they run or what type of defense they run and special teams as well. I think that’s part of any makeup of any coach in the NFL is to go back and look at what people have done in the past. There’s going to be a different game plan, but obviously there’s going to be some similarities.”

(On remembering the last season opener against the Rams in 2000)

“Yeah, it was a shoot out. Nobody could stop anybody. It was an offensive show and the team that had the ball last won. It was quite entertaining I’m sure for the Monday night crowd. I was a little disappointed we were on the short end of the stick.”

(On how the Rams offense looks without RB Marshall Faulk)

“Obviously they’re very talented. Marshall’s a good player, but they’ve got a number of running backs that are very talented. Offensively the Rams have been very good for a long time and you can see that they have basically the same team that they had a year ago, except for at fullback and tight end.”

(On choosing QB Jay Cutler and if he works well with QB Jake Plummer)

“We were in the draft room and we had Jay as a top-rated quarterback and we had the 15th pick. Obviously we switched with the Rams to move up to that position. Very seldom are you able to get a guy that you think is a top guy in the draft at the 11th position, so when he was there, we were fortunate enough, from our position, to make the move and we got a guy that we think is a very good quarterback.”

Denver QB Jake Plummer

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

(On knowing the running back situation)

“I’ll know when you guys know.”

(On if that creates any problems for him)

“No. That’s the thing with running backs. I’m going to get work with all of them. They’re all going to play as hard as they can and protect well and do the best they can so it makes no difference to me who’s out there as long as it’s what Mike thinks is the right guys to be. They’re going to work hard. I know that.”

(On what he expects to see from Coach Jim Haslett this weekend)

“I know his defenses play very hard, very intense, rallying with the ball. The defense that’s there, he inherited it very fast, so it’s going to be a very big challenge for us to run the ball, to throw the ball. We’re going to see what they do and kind of rely on what we’ve seen him do in his past jobs and then what they’ve done in the preseason. That’s all we have to go on and the game’s always about making adjustments and we’ll probably have to make some.”

(On what La’Roi Glover brings to the Rams’ defensive line)

“I’ve played against him quite a few times, and he’s a very intense, fast, strong guy in the middle who’s hard to move against the run and hard to stop when he’s rushing the passer, so he’s going to be a problem for our linemen. They’re going to have to deal with him. I’m not really going to be focused on him, and I shouldn’t be, as long as those guys are doing their job which I’m hoping they do.”

(On finding out they drafted QB Jay Cutler)

“I was definitely relaxing up in Idaho and my brother, who is a sports writer, was coming down and he ended up telling me. When I got back in town there was really nothing Coach Shanahan had to say to me. I didn’t feel threatened in any way. I felt is was the best decision they thought they had to make so all I can do is try to get better and lead his team.”