Former Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan got on the phone with Dmac and Alfred Williams on The Drive on 104.3 The Fan in Denver. They discussed a wide range of topics, most of them quite interesting - especially when Shanny delves into how he would attack this Broncos defense.
On the Broncos trying to implement the zone blocking scheme
"I think anytime you implement a new system there is going to be some growing pains. And with Gary's experience, as well as, Rick Dennison and you got a guy like Peyton, they're going to figure it out. You're talking about the smartest guys in the business and that by going to the pistol formation they had a few calls in the game plan in the running and the passing game where not only could they go either direction with the run, but they had options in the passing game as well. If you can put Peyton under the zone running scheme where he doesn't have to be under center all of the time, I think it was the perfect formula for what they were did during the Bye week to study themselves and put themselves in the best situation to have a great game plan versus Green Bay."
On if he spent any time talking to Gary Kubiak during the offseason
"You know Peyton and I had a chance to go out for beer before the season started. We talked about his thoughts and you know, when you look at it, all those guys know what they want to do. They just got to get a feel for each other. And Peyton's got to feel comfortable, Gary's got to feel comfortable, but one thing you've got to know is that once you've got a good running game going it makes that defense even tougher too.
"I was just so impressed on how this defense could be the number one rushing[passing] defense in the National Football League and number four in the pass[rush]. That doesn't happen very often. That's one of the best defense in the game and hopefully they can keep playing at that same level. I thought Wade Phillips did a great job knowing what to do against a team like Green Bay, where you challenge those wide receivers and put a lot of pressure on them to where those wide receivers would have to beat their defensive backs and by doing so they had a chance to put big rush on them. It was a long day for Aaron Rodgers."
On how this offense is built and how Vernon Davis can help
"One thing about Vernon Davis is that the Broncos got to see him when they were practicing against him [during the preseason]. I think it's always hard to know when somebody is away for a year or two, but when you actually practice against a guy and you can see what type of athletic ability he has. I think we all know what he has done in the past, but the Broncos go to see him head-to-head before the start of the regular season. And so when you do make a move like that, they're saying hey a guy like this can help us and we can put him in a few positions where he could be the difference in winning the game.
"When you got a guy like Peyton who can see the difference when its five underneath two deep, man, zone, where all of sudden he is mismatched on a linebacker or safety and he has the speed to separate, all of a sudden those five yard gains are 40 or 50 yard gains. Peyton has the ability to put him in those positions. It's still going to be a bit of a learning experience for Vernon, since he's been in one place for about ten years, but if he works at it he could be a big plus for them."
On how he would game plan against this Broncos defense
"Well number one if a team like Denver plays a team like Green Bay and they are playing man free and you have the best wide receivers and give your quarterback a little time, then I don't care how good you are as a defensive back they are going to make some big plays.
"That's one thing I think Wade Phillips has the flexibility to do, he's just not going to play man free if you got maybe three great wide receivers. He's going to make you earn it, because with that pass rush you can get to the quarterback with just four guys and five guys, a lot of times especially if you bring some of those zone blitzes, so he's got the package to keep you off balance. So regardless of how you attack their defense, I think they've got a way to offset it by playing pass and still getting to the quarterback. And they play the running game so well, so you're not going to consistently move the ball well because they've got so much speed up front.
"Their three defensive linemen or four depending on how you consider your outside linebacker, but they can all run, so even if somebody misses a gap their safety is right there or a linebacker. They are going to be the team to beat in my opinion."
On if he would attend the Super Bowl if the Broncos make it this year
"I think it all depends on if you're invited. I don't think you go anywhere as a head coach unless you feel like your part of the system. Anyway, I think I like what I said before, that I'll always be a Denver Broncos - 21 years here, best memories and lucky enough to be in a situation which gives me a chance to be around so many great players and gave me a chance to be successful. And you appreciate that as you get older, because you know that's the only way you're going to win a Super Bowl - when you've got everything. You've got the owner, you've got the GM, you've got the quarterback and supporting cast with a lot of people going the same way. So if that situation arises and I hope it does, I'd like to be there."
On if he actually was considering a head coaching job with the Oakland Raiders
"[laughter] I would have to say the chances of that happening were very slim."
On where he thinks he could be a head football coach again
"I'll be honest with you, I don't think I will be a head coach again. I kind of enjoy where I'm at right now. If the perfect scenario happened. I would like to consider a perfect scenario to be like what you have with the Denver Broncos. You've got a great owner that let's the GM do it.
"I think John [Elway] has such a great feel for personnel, he understands football players and he's going to do whatever he can for the head coach to put him in the best situation to be successful. And he's got one going to win the Super Bowl.
"When you have somebody at the top that's thinking that way, then you have a chance as a coaching staff to put in a game plan where everybody's going in the same direction. And that's what you hope for in this league, if you can get to an organization where I was lucky enough to be with Denver or San Francisco, then you've got everybody thinking the same way - that's kind of unusual in the NFL. Because it takes a lot of people to all be on the same page and to find a network of people who are all on the same page is hard to do, but you can see that's where Denver is right now and I think everyone knows what their goal is."