Mike Shanahan Live at the Training Camp Media BBQ

The Broncos held their annual Pre-Camp Media BBQ at the Broncos HQ and while I would have loved to make it I had flies on the wall to take in all the action, which includes the coach taking some time to talk about reduced roster sizes, Brandon Marshall's status on and off the field as well as questions facing the team heading into camp.

Here is a look at the short Q&A session from this afternoon --

On whether he has made changes to this season’s training camp practices

“You know, we have. It’s been quite different to go from 90 players to 80 players, and one of the adjustments that we’ve made in our afternoon practice is (that) normally we would have a normal practice, maybe an hour-and-a-half to an hour-and-40 minutes. It’s going to be more of what we call a ‘jog through.’ We’ll get a chance to get a lot of repetitions of different things that we didn’t see in the morning practice both offensively and defensively, and special teams. But we will be at less than half speed. So we will get some reps, but at the same time we will hopefully prevent injuries. If you run two practices a day and have 80 players, it could very quickly get down to 65 if you have a rash of injuries and just set your program back.One of those practices in the afternoon every other day with be special teams, and they will be run pretty much they same way—more of a ‘jog through.’”

 

On whether T Ryan Clady has been signed

“We are talking. If you look at our history over the last 20 years, I think we’ve had one person hold out, so the chances are he will be signed and ready to play tomorrow.”

 

On WR Brandon Marshall’s meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

“You are always concerned any time the commissioner calls you in to have a meeting. It’s obviously not a good sign. We have a commissioner who is very strong on conduct policy. They had a chance to talk at length and we’ll wait for his ruling. I can’t tell you exactly where he’s at—I have no idea, I haven’t talked to him. But I would anticipate a decision would come out within a week.”

 

On WR Brandon Marshall’s recovery from injury

“He’s fine. He’s 100 percent; he’s ready to go. According to [Strength & Conditioning Coach] Rich Tuten, there have been no setbacks, and hopefully he can keep it up.”    

 

On questions about the Broncos leading up to training camp

“I don’t know if there is a big question. Any time you take a look at your football team, you go by position. If you look at the offensive line, you take a look at a guy like Ryan Clady coming in. How is he going to do as a rookie? Obviously he has a lot of ability, but he has to go out there and do it. I’m very impressed with the way he’s been handling himself in the OTA days. You take a look at the left guard position. You take a look at [G/C Ben] Hamilton… He obviously had the concussion last year. Hopefully he has no setbacks. He has looked very good throughout the offseason, our OTAs and hopefully he can continue to get better. You take a look at our center position with [C] Tom Nalen and [C] Casey Wiegmann, both have a lot of experience, both have some age, but they handle themselves like young players should handle themselves; They are pros. At the right guard position, we have [G] Montrae Holland. At the right tackle position, we are kind of open. [G] Chris Kuper, [T] Ryan Harris, [T] Erik Pears, [T Tyler] Polumbus. If you take a look at some of the young guys backing up those guard positions. you have a chance with [Kory] Lichtensteiger and [G Mitch] Erickson coming in. That gives you a little depth there. You have [G Dylan] Gandy and [G] P.J. Alexander who can back up at the guard and center positions, so I think we have as much depth there as we’ve had in a while. At the wide receiver position, we’ve talked about Brandon [Marshall] already, but you bring in some guys that do have experience with [WR Keary] Colbert and [WR Darrell] Jackson. I think [WR Brandon] Stokley is the best third wide receiver in the game, [but] I don’t want to overwork him. And [WR] Eddie Royal—everybody talks about his return ability, but he was very impressive [at wide receiver] in our OTA days and he’ll get some experience and help us out this year at the wide receiver position. He’s a very big talent. And then you have some other guys that have a lot of talent. You take a look at [WR] Marquay McDaniel; he’s a very talented, young wide receiver. You take a look at [WR Clifford] Russell, you take a look at [WR Lorne Sam], you take a look at [WR Samie] Parker. We have some guys that can compete, so I feel very good about our depth at the wide receiver position. There are still guys where you don’t know until gameday what they are going to do. That’s why you’re always happy to evaluate these guys as part of the preseason process.”

 

On whether WR Keary Colbert or WR Darrell Jackson will start at wide receiver

“It really doesn’t matter who starts. It’s an ongoing process. They are both very close coming out of OTA days, but the depth chart right now is just a starting point, especially for players like Jackson and Colbert. We will get a chance to give you a little bit more in-depth detail as time goes on.”

 

On whether he is confident in K Matt Prater after waiving K Garrett Hartley

“We had better be confident in him because he’s the only [kicker] we’ve got. We want to give him all of the reps. We want to see what he can do. We want him to know that he’s our guy, that we have a lot of confidence in him and hopefully he takes advantage of an opportunity. He has worked extremely hard, he’s done a great job in practice thus far and hopefully he can carry it over into preseason and obviously the regular season.”

 

On the punting battle

“That’s the reason why we’ve got both guys on our 80-man squad—it’s very close right now. We’ll evaluate that like the other positions, obviously, but with[P Brett] Kern and [P] Sam [Paulescu], may the best man win. We have two guys that we think can help our football team.”

 

On competing with the Chargers in the AFC West

“We feel good about our football team. Obviously we’ve got to go out there and do it .San Diego has taken it to us the last couple of years, so we had better be improved to challenge a team that has a high number of Pro Bowl players. I think we’ve helped ourselves in the offseason and the draft, [but] talk is cheap; we get a chance to play them the second game and we’ll see how we fare.”

 

On whether Rod Smith will remain with the team as a coach

“I would like him to. I would like him to be involved in some capacity. Rod Smith is too smart to coach. He understands that there is a big time commitment in coaching. I think someday he would like to be involved. Right now I think it’s a little bit too soon for him, but we would always have a spot if he wants to come back in some capacity, and I hope he does.”

 

On what he likes about his team

“I like the feel. I like the offseason program. Any time you go through an offseason program where you have 99 percent participation, you know you have a special group of guys. I’m not sure if that’s every happened—it’s never happened here and we’ve got one of the best offseason programs in the National Football League. When you have 99 percent participation, it just shows each other that the players are committed. Now it’s day-by-day, you have to get better. We did everything we could do in the offseason to get better by people working extremely hard. Now we have to take it day-by-day through this training camp and get better each day.”

 

On whether Rod Smith will mentor WR Brandon Marshall

“He will be. Rod Smith, regardless of whether he is active with the organization, he’s always going to tutor a guy like Brandon. He knows the potential Brandon has an the type of guy he is. Rod will be a great tutor for Brandon, and Rod has hade a big influence on him over the last few months. If you ever wanted a guy to be a tutor for a player, it’s Rod Smith.”

 

On why he allowed S John Lynch to work out during the offseason away from the training facility

“Every once-in-a-while a veteran who is a proven player, very similar to [former TE] Shannon Sharpe, where if I know a guy that without a question is going to do everything he can in the offseason to keep himself in shape, and they give me a reason why they should be there [then I will let them]. With John, obviously with his family and with his kids, I thought it was John’s best interest to spend some time with his family. I’m not concerned about John Lynch staying in great football shape just like I wasn’t concerned about Shannon Sharpe working out.”

 

On the running back position

“We are in excellent shape at the running back position. I feel very good about who we have and where we’re at. There is going to be some great competition. A lot of guys have certain strengths and I’ll be interested to see how they do when it’s their turn.

 

“Everybody uses ‘by committee,’ but the thing that you want to have is a successful running game. I really don’t care if it’s by committee or if one guy takes the opportunity to be the guy. The main thing I’d like to do is average over five yards per carry. We’ve had some backs here who have averaged over five yards per carry and if we can do that by committee, great. And if one guy takes the opportunity and he wants to get it done and stay healthy then that’s great as well. The thing we want to do is be productive, and I think we will.”

 

On whether S John Lynch will start

“I sat down and talked to John at the end of our OTAs and I think John knows that as you get older there are no promises. All you will do is talk to a player and share with them that you will give them an opportunity to start, an opportunity to do what he’s done in the past, but there are no guarantees in this league, especially as you get older. John doesn’t want any free lunches; he wants to go out there and compete. One thing you do know is that you have a winner; you have a guy that has been very success full. He’s a guy that will have success after football is over, but I would never take anything away from John Lynch, he’s such a fierce competitor that I wouldn’t be surprised if he plays every down.”

 

On QB Jay Cutler

“I think everybody knows that with a quarterback it takes some time for them to feel comfortable with the system, feel comfortable with the terminology and with what the defenses are throwing at you on a day-to-day basis. All the reps that you are able to get over a two, three-year time frame is something that you need.”

 

On the Broncos’ defense

“It will be a completely different approach that what we did last year. You cannot win if you do not stop the run. If you finish 30th in the National Football League in rush defense and average 31st in yards given up or somewhere in that area, you’re going to have a long year both offensively and defensively because people control the tempo of the game. We’ve been doing that for years ton other people. When threy do that to you it does take to time [to adjust].”

 

On who will start at middle linebacker

“We’ll have to wait. We’ve got some great competition there with. [LB] Niko Koutouvides and [LB] Nate Webster are two guys that have exceptional ability. Niko did a great job with Seattle last year. When we saw him play we really liked what we saw at the middle linebacker position. Nate is in the best shape I have ever seen Nate Webster in. He made a great commitment in the offseason with 100 percent participation. He’s 100 percent healthy and he’s a team leader, so that’s what you want.”
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