QB Jake Plummer and Head Coach Mike Shanahan took time out from preperations for Monday Night's game against the Ravens to talk about the game and that vaunted Ravens' Defense.
Here are some of Jake Plummer's thoughts --
*--Plummer described the Ravens Defense as fast, they have alot of speed. The D-Linemen are great athletes, D-Line bodies but can drop and play linebacker, cover TE's, play in space. Up front they will give a lot of "funky" looks, and when they do you have to rely on your scheme and protection. Both defenses are playing well right now, with alot of confidence.
*--Javon Walker is showing you why we brought him here. He is making big plays, and I feel confident that if I throw the ball up where he can get it he will
*--Though the Broncos will watch some tape of last year's meeting, to see if there are any schemes they were able to move the ball against, Jake isn't sure how much help it will be, with Ray Lewis back and Trevor Pryce in the line-up now. The focus is on this year, and how well the Ravens are playing
*--Success in the running game will be key. Keeping the Broncos "on schedule", 2nd and 5, 3rd and 3 or 4, etc. It might not be pretty, but eeking out some 1st downs and controlling the line of scrimmage will be key
*--When asked about Pryce, Plummer joked that he hoped he wouldn't talk to him much during the game, but said he would try to meet up with him after. The good thing is our guys have practiced against him quite a bit and that will hopefully help us against him
*--Jake was also asked about running more and he stated that if he sees a crease, then that's what he's got to do, get to the edge, be smart with the ball and make the most of an opportunity.
*--When asked about calling his own plays, Jake laughed and said that he'll leave it Mike Shanahan and Mike Heimerdinger, they have a much clearer head between plays and get a better view of the defense and what plays would work. He could see a game plan that has a package that included him calling some plays.
Head Coach Mike Shanahan was there a bit longer, and sppoke about several topics, including Trevor Pryce, Mike Anderson, Steve McNair, and a QB that calls his own plays...
*--Shanahan was asked about the odd schedule, with a Monday Night game following the BYE week, and stated simply that you have to play with the hand you are dealt. Whether it is Christmas, or New Year's, or Thanknsgiving, if the coaches don't make it a big deal, the players tend to follow suit.
*--Looking at the Ravens, they are playing a good team concept, with McNair winning two games in the last minute, while the Ravens' D is statistically better through 4 games than the 2000 version that won the Super Bowl.
*--When asked further about McNair, Shanahan quipped that he knew he doesn't like to play him. He's one of the great ones, and anytime you are a 2-time MVP it shows the respect of your peers and there is no bigger compliment than that.
*--About the Ravens run D, Shanahan said he feels the Broncos can run on anybody but rarely do you see a defense that is allowing only 2.6 YPC on the road. It is going to be a tremendous challenge for our football team.
*--When asked where the Bootleg has gone, Shanny explained that the Boot is either there or it isn't. There have been times in the past when we were scoring alot of points that we didn't run the boot for 3 or 4 games and no one noticed. It's not necessarily what you run, it's about being productive.
*--Shanny mentioned that all offenses, not just the Broncos offense, struggle against the Ravens D. They have a lot of team speed, have great players up front, at linebacker and in the secondary, and it's important not to turn the ball over and make the plays that become available.
*--When asked how the Ravens keep doing it, even with new players, Shanny replied that players always change, but with the Ravens, other than Trevor and their 1st round pick(Haloti Ngata) they are the same. Even with all the injuries, this D still ranked 5th overall last season, so their success is not a surprise. Offensively, they are taking care of the ball, with only 4 turnovers in 4 games, similar to us last year when we led the league with 16 in 16 games.
*--When asked specifically about Trevor Pryce, Shanahan had nothing but praise for the longtime Bronco. Trevor has played extrememly well, and with Baltimore being a defense that keeps you off balance with alot of schemes and zone-blitzes, etc, and Trevor being such a smart and bright guy, he has fit into the scheme very well.
*--It's tough to depart with any player, especially guys like Trevor and Mike Anderson, guys you have went to war with, and won a lot of games with, and have been productive with you. It's a by-product of the salary cap, and you wish they could play their entire career with you, you hate to see them go.
*--Like Jake, Shanahan was asked about whether he would ever let a QB call his own plays....It is tough for a QB to do it, with everything a defense can do now, all the substitutions and packages and what's involved. You would need a QB that is a student of the game, a coach on the field. A guy like Peyton Manning who lives and breathes football 365 days a year and really enjoys studying defenses. It is unusual for guys to want the extra pressure on them, and a coach has to be careful not to put too much on a player. You have to make sure the QB looks at the game the same way you do and is an extension of you on the field.