Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
Here is a transcript from Denver coach Mike Shanahan's press conference Monday. Much of the session was dominated by the news that rookie tailback Peyton Hillis was lost for the season with a hamstring injury:
On FB Peyton Hillis
"Peyton Hillis has a torn hamstring. He tore the muscle about two or three inches, so he will be on injured reserve. It is about an eight-week recovery. We are looking at a specialist to see if he should have surgery. Right now, we don't think they would go in that direction but we haven't ruled it out for sure. We should find out in the next 24 hours if they decide to go in that direction."
On losing Hillis
"We lost a lot. Any time you lose a guy that can catch the football, it's not good. He has proven that he is a tough runner. He was averaging over seven yards per carry on first down before he got hurt. He brings a lot of energy to the table and it is always tough to lose a guy like that. He will be good for the future. We know that we have a proven player that has played in game situations and has performed at a certain level. He has proved that he can play tailback in the National Football League. The one catch he had was probably about as good of a catch that you can ask for in a tough situation. Unfortunately, he tore his hamstring making that catch."
On if he is considering dressing more tailbacks
"We took a chance last game going with only a couple tailbacks. Obviously (FB/LB) Spencer Larsen could have been put in that situation. We will take a look at how our backs are doing and make a decision based on our gameplan. We will evaluate personnel during the week and come up with a gameplan that we think gives us the best chance to win."
On RB Tatum Bell
"When he has gotten his opportunity to play, he has played well. He made a guy miss on the sweep that we called (28-yard run on game-winning dive in fourth quarter vs. K.C.) and did a nice job getting big yards on that play. I have been pleased with him. Any time someone is on the street for a while, they get humbled. Whether you are a coach that has been fired or a player that has been cut, it is the same thing. You look forward to opportunities and you try to take advantage of them. Tatum has come in and worked extremely hard and taken advantage of his opportunity.
"Tatum is an experienced veteran who has picked up the system very quickly. There have been a few changes in our offense from when he was with us in the past but he has always picked things up very quickly. He is getting in better football shape as you could see yesterday. Hopefully he just keeps getting better and takes advantage of his opportunity to play."
On RB Cory Boyd
"He is a guy that we liked out of South Carolina. We talked to him early in the seventh round and we were hoping that he would not get drafted because we liked a lot of the things he did. When he was released by Tampa Bay and we had some injuries, we brought him back as quickly as we could. He looks good. Any time a guy comes in, it takes a while to get back in football shape and learn the system. He has been around a few weeks so he has a good feel. He can catch the ball and he can run the ball. Now we will get a chance to see if he can pick up the offense in a few days time."
On losing six players at tailback to injury
"To be honest, our personnel department has done an unbelievable job bringing these guys in, researching and coming up with the best players. For us to feel good about our tailbacks and where we are at with six backs being down and this being our seventh guy, really says a lot about what we have been doing in the personnel department. It is a compliment to those guys."
On if the inconsistent play has to do with the youth on the team
"The first thing you want to do is play hard and we have played extremely hard. That is something we are very proud of, but then you have to find a way to win. You have to try and make plays when it counts and we were able to do that Sunday in a very competitive game. I am very proud of the way they played and hopefully we can keep that going."
On S Josh Barrett
"He played very well. A few of Tony's (Gonzalez) plays that he got, we were in zone coverage. When he didn't make a catch, Barrett was all over him. I was very pleased with his first game (seeing significant playing time on defense) and how he handled himself.
"You have to get a feel for NFL offenses and you have to get a feel for our defensive schemes and what to do responsibility-wise. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer. Sometimes it takes a couple years but we felt like he was ready. With a guy like Gonzalez, we felt like that was a matchup we were willing to try in a game situation. It worked out quite well.
"You don't want to go out there and make mistakes and you want to feel confident in your ability and what you can do. He was fired up and he made some big plays."
On whether it will be hard to get LB Wesley Woodyard off the field when LB D.J. Williams returns from injury
"Yes, he's a playmaker. We will try to keep him out there as much as we can. He is fun to watch."
On injuries at the running back position
"We have just had some freak injuries. It doesn't happen very often at one position, but it has happened at the tailback position. You just keep on going. I think our personnel department has done an unbelievable job in bringing some really quality players in. You get a guy like (FB) Peyton Hillis who steps in and does a great job. It's really disappointing that you lose him at this time of year because he was a load. He's one of the few guys that I've ever watched run over safeties.
"Any time that you have guys on the second team that come in and play well and you have a lot of confidence in your starters it helps you as a football team. When those guys are ready to play you have some depth where if somebody goes down you feel good about putting them in. Competition helps everybody, and guys that perform when they get their opportunity-that's what you are looking for.
"I know I've never been through six (running) backs before, going on the seventh back. It is a little unique but we have some football players that we have a lot of confidence in."
On how Running Backs Coach Bobby Turner has dealt with the injury situation at running back
"He gets them ready to play. Bobby is a pro and he has been doing this for a long time. We came in together (in 1995) -- I brought him in -- and he is a heck of a running backs coach. When those guys play they are prepared to play.
On the offensive line's contribution to the running game
"You don't run the ball like we do and have the success (we have had) if you don't have an offensive line, a tight end and wide receivers blocking downfield. Your offensive line has to be playing well for those guys to have success. There is not a team in the NFL that has a good running game, or at least a productive running game, without a good offensive line. It just doesn't work that way."
On the offensive line's pass protection
"Obviously they are at the top (of the teams he has coached). You just take a look at the sacks (allowed) and the production. But talk is cheap. We will wait until the end of the season, see where we finish up and hopefully we can keep it going. Obviously they are very talented and they are playing very hard."
On whether he has talked to the team about the playoffs
"I just talk about playing our best football in December. If you want to do something once you get to the playoffs you have to be playing your best football in December so you can do something about it. You can't just be happy to get to the playoffs. You want to do something once you get there. Hopefully, we can keep getting better."