Each Wednesday during the season the Coach and the Quarterback take time to answer questions fromt he media. You can be sure that the MHR will have you covered all season long when it comes to these Press Conferences. Here are some quotes from today's Q and A --
Head Coach Mike Shanahan --
On playing at Buffalo early in the season --
"I can't say I look forward to playing Buffalo when it's 20 degrees below zero, which I've done a number of times, but they've got a great home crowd. It's a great football atmosphere. It's always a battle. I enjoy playing them. It's a game you've really got to prepare for and you know what type of environment you're getting in to."
On feeling different going into the season --
"No. It's the same thing every year. You've got your butterflies--Everybody looks forward to that first game before you get started. All your preparation during the offseason obviously through the four preseason games leads up to this weekend to get started on, hopefully, on the right note. You've got two teams wanting to start out with a win. You've got to play exceptionally well to play in someone else's back yard, especially Buffalo. Even though they only won seven games last year, I think everyone knows how many they lost by one-two-three points so even that record is not indicative of what type of team they are. (The Bills have) big-play potential on offense, [WR Lee] Evans has made a lot of big plays. Obviously the quarterback [QB J.P. Losman] can not only scramble but he's come up with a number of big plays, especially in the second half of the season. Defensively, they don't make many big mistakes ."
On preparing differently after consecutive losses in regular season openers --
"I'm not sure of any (different) preparation, but hopefully the result is a little different. But no, we don't do anything different."
On Denver's offense --
"I feel good. I feel good where we're at. You always hopefully bring it together on gameday, eliminate the mistakes, eliminate the turnovers... (Those) are different things you strive for. The difference between wining and losing is indicated by not turning the ball over as we preach all the time. You're hoping that you're worked on it enough that it carries over to gameday."
On QB Jay Cutler being prepared --
"I think obviously last year helped him a lot. This is a learning experience. As we go on game-by-game, year-by-year, you're going to get better as time goes on. You try to eliminate mistakes and play as hard as you can. The key for him is preparation. He's got to go into it with total confidence. He knows the gameplan inside and out. He knows everything they do on defense in all situations. You don't really have time to be nervous if you prepare well and you work during the week, and I believe he'll do that. "
On DE Simeon Rice's chances of playing against Buffalo --
"I really don't know. I know he's a guy who really stays in great shape. I'll get a chance to really evaluate him this week. My first thought is that he would dress this week, but I can't tell you that for sure."
On if preparing for the opener is different because of lack of regular season film --
"Not really. I know [Head Coach] Dick [Jauron] well and know what he's been doing defensively just like they know what we've been doing offensively and goes back and takes a look at Miami and what they've done through the years with [Assistant Head Coach/Defense] Jim [Bates]. You've got the coordinators and even though there is a coaching change, I don't think it's very hard to figure out what somebody's philosophy is and what they've done through their past."
On WR Lee Evans as one of the league's top receivers --
"Football coaches know that, people who watch it, I think there are a number of media people who know what type of speed he has and potential, but you're right, you don't hear his name mentioned as often as you probably should but he definitely is a big-play receiver. You just look at his stats and what he did last year, I think he was second to T.O. in play plus gains (2nd in 20+yard touchdowns since 2004 with 15), so that's pretty impressive."
On any uncertainty going into Sunday's game --
"Yeah, you never know for sure. A lot of these guys haven't played as a Bronco and some guys haven't started as a Bronco, so you're just hoping all the preparation that you've done works out well, but there is that question mark when you have a number of changes of how cohesive are you going to be? I believe we will be and we'll find out on Sunday."
On getting better as the season goes on --
"I think with most teams, you're hoping you get better as the season goes on regardless of what your situation is. Hopefully we'll be a lot better offensively than we were a year ago. That was one of the poorest years we've had in a long time, point production, running offense, passing offense, so we can make some big improvements on offense. Defensively putting the scheme together, you've got to get good at your base to be a great defense. Hopefully we just keep on getting better. "
On being better earlier in the season --
"There are some that's good, some that's bad. The bottom line is to get it done. The two Super Bowl years when we were sitting in this room together, we probably didn't even deserve to be in the Super Bowl because we lost games 14 and 15 and gave up 500-600 yards. Once you get there, it's what you do. In the 13-3 year and going to the AFC Championship game, we played pretty good down the stretch and obviously we still didn't get it done. The bottom line is, you've got to find a way to get it done in the playoffs and obviously we've made some changes this season and hopefully it pays dividends. We'll find out as the season goes on."
QB Jay Cutler --
"We've done a lot of work in the offseason, the camps and OTAs, so the guys are excited. You get through preseason and now it really counts, so we'll work hard this week and see what happens."
On feelings going from preseason to regular season this weekend at Buffalo --
"I feel more confident in what I'm doing and have a better command of the offense and understand what we're trying to get done offensively on the field."
On feeling the expectation of leading the team --
"I've had a lot of time to get into the offense and figure stuff out. People are going to expect a lot more out of me. Last year it was just, `He's a rookie and will make mistakes.' This year, they are going to expect me to go out there and execute."
On what to expect from the offense --
"We're going to do some different stuff, and we have some new stuff too. We have Travis (Henry), so we're going to run the ball, and we're going to play Bronco football. Coach Shanahan has done a great job, as well as the other coaches, of getting us ready to play and we're going to do our best."
On playing against a young defensive secondary in the Bills --
"They were seventh in the NFL last year in pass defense, so those guys play well. They are great against the run and make you pass the ball. They'll get turnovers and pass deflections, so we will have our hands full. We're going to run the ball first, that's what we've done in the past. We're going to try to get Travis going on the line and if it opens up, it opens up."
On the atmosphere of playing on the road --
"Yeah, it's fun. I mean we have all the guys in the locker room and we're all together and the coaches, so it's about us against them and their fans. Hopefully we can get off to an early lead and kind of quiet them down. We went to Oakland last year and watched that scene. That's what the home team likes and is what we'll have to deal with."
On the Bills --
"We have watched a lot of film from last year and worked some stuff in the offseason with the running backs and receivers. Buffalo really doesn't give up a lot of receiving yards, and they make you work for your yards."
On what Buffalo's offensive plan is --
"No, we have no idea what their offense is doing. I can't really pay attention to who they've got. I have to worry about their defense and what they are going to do to us."
On handling the nerves this time of year --
"I just have to stay calm. You're always going to have those butterflies in your stomach, closer to kickoff, the more nervous you get, but once we get out there and get going, I'll calm down."
On being able to put up more points this year --
"We have a lot of athletes on the offense, a lot of playmakers, and we did a great job of bringing some guys in. We'll see what happens. We might score nine points, or we might score 30 points. I don't know, but whatever it takes to win."
On feeling excited to start the season --
"I am. We just got off from walk-though, so my mind is on different things, but we are working on some stuff."