NOVEMBER 18, 2012
“It was a good win as a football team. I thought we did good things in all three phases. We got off defensively, and we got our feet back under us a little bit after the first series. It was good to get righted, and we settled in and played and did a pretty good job the rest of the day. Offensively we did a nice job of taking care of the football. We were diligent, we kept after it, and I think again the main thing is taking care of the football. And that’s key. As a team, we have to keep looking at it. We have to get better with the penalties. We had too many penalties today and that hurt us a little bit. We just have to keep grinding.”
Offensively, was that the best balanced game you have played so far this year?
“You can’t worry about whether the game is balanced or not. We have to play on offense based on what looks we’re seeing defensively. It probably is statistically, but the thing you want to feel good about it is what you’re doing. If they’re going to sit and play certain things, then we need to be able to counter and do what we do best. Today it was a little bit of mix of things and we were able to grind in there pretty good.”
On the performance of TE Jermaine Gresham:
“He’s playing like we expect Jermaine to keep playing. He’s doing a great job. He’s really had a good season, and he’s getting better each and every week. He’s putting the team on his shoulders. He’s doing that in the running game, and he’s doing it as a receiver. This is why we got him. He’s doing a great job of it, and he keeps growing with it and he’s having fun with it. He likes to be the guy. He’s doing a good job of it.”
Was the goal this week to just take care of business?
“That was key. We knew this was going to be a grind. We can’t worry about things going on around us. We just have to take care of us. By taking care of the ball and playing sound on defense and the kicking game, that takes care of us. When we get chances at critical plays, we have to make them. We have to make the critical runs and catches down the field, the big run by Jermaine on third down and he takes it inside the half-yard line. Those are some big plays that you keep getting. Defensively, big stops, pulling the ball out again, those things keep counting. We got some good returns today. We have to keep after it and keep going.”
On winning two in a row after losing four in a row:
“It’s a long season, even though you (Cincinnati media member) beat the tar out of me, we were doing good things and we weren’t winning games. That’s all I can do is empower our guys to do more and better, that’s what my job is, until I get a new guy. And if I get a new guy, we’ll put a new guy in there. But these are the guys I have. We just have to keep going. We weren’t winning football games. We weren’t winning the game, and our guys understand that. They know their job is to win; that’s why we do this. We’ve won the last two and it’s not worth a darn unless we take care of business next week. We just have to keep going. We put ourselves in this situation and they just have to take it one step at a time.”
What are the challenges today facing a team that you know has a record like the Chiefs had?
“For us we wanted to start fast, wanted to come out and play our best early on. We got stopped on that first drive and then we had that fake punt that was huge. It gave us the momentum going in, and from there we got on a roll. It was overall a big team win for us. We knew it was going to be tough to come in here and get the win, but we did a good job today.”
What kind of weapons do you need to have when, even though you were struggling today on third down, you can come back on fourth and generate some of those 11- and 12-play scoring drives?
“We feel like we have talent all over the field. We have been going for it a lot on fourth down because I think we have a lot of trust in the guys. Putting drives like that together are huge, that’s what you have to do to win games and we did a good job of that today.”
The fake punt, was that the strategy you had coming in?
“I think so. I didn’t even know it was called. It was great it gave us the momentum coming in from that first drive. Like I said, we wanted to start fast and that was a great way of doing it.”
A play call like that, does it give a team confidence knowing that the coaching staff believes in you?
“I think so. We wanted to jump up on them early and being aggressive is what we had to do. It was a great play call and we got a huge gain out of it.”
When you get that huge gain off the fake punt do you feel like other gains are going to come?
“Yes, special teams is a little different than offense, obviously. But we had some good looks today for some big gains and we were able to hit them. We did a great job running the ball today and when we got a chance to throw it, guys made plays.”
This team was pretty down but now you’re back in the conversation with an even record. Do you feel different about this team than you did a few weeks ago?
“For sure. We felt like we gave a couple games away; we had a four-game losing streak. That’s not what we wanted to have happen. We felt like we should have played better during that stretch. Now we have momentum. We’ve had two great wins, team wins, where everyone is doing their part and we have to keep that going during these last games.”
You mentioned good calls, your bootleg on fourth and goal was a pretty good call:
“Yes, it’s something that we have practiced and it was a perfect look. We got exactly what we wanted.”
Specifically for this game?
“Yes. We felt like we could have that advantage at that point [in the game] and it worked out exactly how we wanted it to.”
On WR A.J. Green’s touchdown:
“They tried to double him on that one, have another guy run out there and A.J. made a great play. You feel like you have to give him the chance and he’ll make the play on it, not only catching the ball but getting two feet in. It was a great play. At this point you kind of expect that from him.”
Did they dare you to run the ball the way they were playing?
“Yes. We got a lot of good looks to run it. It was great for us to come out and have the game that we did: Benny [BenJarvus Green-Ellis] getting over 100 yards, that was our goal going in, to get 100 yards rushing, and we came out and executed.”
Is that usually your goal, or was it emphasized this week?
“I think this week we really emphasized it. We wanted to get the running game going and we did. We challenged everybody up front, as well as the backs, and we did a great job.”
Was A.J. Green surprised you threw the touchdown?
“Yes. They showed that they were going to have one guy on him and then tried to run another guy out there and...touchdown. It was a great play by him, good catch.”
“Seven touchdowns in the red zone ... does it feel like things are clicking again?
“Yes, we stress getting down there and once you’re down there not kicking field goals. We have had some great play calls for what we’re seeing and it’s huge. We have to keep that going.”
What did you see on the scramble on 4th-and-seven?
“It was a man look; I went through my first progression and saw a lane. It was a big first down for us to pick up, especially on that drive. I saw it pretty quickly, everybody else was clearing out and I knew we had to make a play at that point and it opened up nicely.”
Did you assume you were going to go for it on 4th-and-inches?
“Yes, I figured we would. Getting down there I figured we knew which play we were going to call. It worked out perfectly.”
Were things chipper that usual out there?
“There’s guys always talking, but you can’t have that hurt. We can’t have stupid penalties affect us.” TE Jermaine Gresham seemed pretty fired up: “Yes, he did. A great effort by him on the almost-touchdown. He was dragging a couple guys with him; he was fired up today. It was good to see him like that.”
Was the touchdown on the bootleg a little tribute to LT [LaDainian Tomlinson]?
“Yes, I was talking about it before the game. I figured I would give LT [Ladainian Tomlinson] some love, Horned Frog love.”
The fear in a game like this is you play down to the level of competition. Was going for it on the close plays a way to allay that fear?
“I feel like he [Coach Lewis] has confidence in us. You don’t want to get lolled and to have that aggressive start kind of set the tone for the day.”
Comments on the touchdown catch:
“It was a good ball by Andy (Dalton). I got one hand on it and both feet in. It was a great play.”
How does it feel to get your record back at 5-5?
“It is a good feeling to get it back to even. We still have a long way to go. We’ll take one game at a time, and we will see where this thing takes us.”
Comments on the number of carriers he received throughout the game:
“The only thing I was focused on was playing football and coming out with a ‘W.’ Over the season there have been a lot of games – a four game stretch – where I was not even playing in the fourth quarter. We were trying to come back and were not running the ball. It feels good to go out there and get some of those things under wraps.”
Were you committed to running the football today?
“Whatever plays coach calls when we are out there, it is our job as players to go out and execute them to the best of our abilities. We were able to do that. There were some times when we stalled. We can still get better. Overall, we came away with a ‘W,’ so it was a good game for us.”
Did the Chiefs dare you to run the ball based on their defensive game plan?
“In the second half they were playing some cover-three, where they were dropping the safety down on the weak side of the box, and we were still able to get some yards. Hats off to our entire line, the receivers and the backs making plays. Everyone did a good job of playing good football.”
What was it like going against Chiefs LB Tamba Hali?
“It was a lot of fun. I consider him to be one of the best and get to play a guy like him and play like I did, I am excited about it. Next week is a new challenge.”
Was it a complete team win in all phases?
“Yeah, it was. That is really what we are preaching right now – to go out and make plays in every aspect of the game. I think that is what I am most excited about. Getting the opportunity to play team games.”
What was the emphasis when you fell behind 3-0?
“I don’t think we were worried about that at all. You have to score to win football games. Three to nothing didn’t bother us. We wanted to go out there and do the things we needed to do and shore things up. We won a team game, and now it is time to go back to the drawing board and win again.”
What do you think about how your defense performed today?
“We have been working really hard throughout the week, and it’s been paying off on Sundays. That’s what we want to see. Being very aggressive, attacking and getting pressure on the QBs, that’s what our plan was. We did a great job at that. We tried to control (Jamaal) Charles because he is a hell of a back. We were able to do that for the most part. We have to keep this thing going. That’s two in a row now, and we have to keep it going one game at a time.” Did the quarterback change make a difference? “We tried to attack him (Brady Quinn) the same way we did with (Matt) Cassel – put pressure in his face and force him to win the game for them. We did a great job of getting pressure today, getting some sacks, controlling (Jamaal) Charles, and we were able to get the ‘W.’”
Comments on the success of the interior defensive line:
“That was a big part of our game plan, to win up front. If we can dominate up front you know we are going to win some games. We put it on our shoulders this week to try to stop Jamaal Charles because he is an explosive guy. We did that for the most part and we were able to get after the QB’s today, too.”
What has clicked with this defense?
“Guys understand what they have going on. I have to do a better job. I am the new guy on the block but feel like I am doing good. It feels good.”
Comments on shutting down the Chiefs offense?
“That’s how it’s been the past two weeks. The secondary has been standing up. We feel, up front, if the quarterback is patting the ball, we should be in his face. As long as we are on the same page on defense we should be good.”
“It was a disappointing game from my standpoint. I expected us to do better than we did, particularly coming off the Monday night effort, and we ended up giving up yardage, giving up points, couldn't move the ball offensively. So, I changed the quarterback and tried to generate some offense that way. It really wasn't enough, so that's why the score is what it is. I'm not feeling very good at this point.”
On WR Dwayne Bowe's status and other injuries:
“Bowe has a neck, and they're evaluating his neck to see exactly what it is. Branden Albert had a back, fell on his back, so we're evaluating that. [Tony] Moeaki came out but then he went back in. I think he's going to be okay. And then we missed [Ryan] Lilja today because of his knee. So, we had to put other people in the game and we did.”
If QB Brady Quinn was healthy enough to suit up, why not start him over Matt Cassel?
“Because I wanted to start Cassel, so I started Cassel. When I felt like I needed to make a change, I made the change to Quinn. So, Quinn got into the game in the second half, and then after this I will evaluate it and I will let you know what I am going to do next week.”
On the shuffling of the offensive line and how it impacted the game:
“I did not know how much I would be mixing and matching until I got here today. I'm not making excuses about the offensive line, but when you have guys that don't practice together on a consistent basis, it's hard for everybody to be on the same page. But this is pro football and you have to perform.”
On OL Donald Stephenson switching sides:
“He played those spots [both right and left tackle]. We'll evaluate the tape and find out how he did.”
On the Bengals fourth-down conversions:
“Well, they beat us on the fake punt. We weren't alert enough to make the play, and that gave them some juice and that hurt our team.”
On the bootleg play. Was that something you hadn't seen?
“That was 4th-and-one on the goal line. A lot of times you think they're going to run for the one and forget to remember that he could keep it.”
How much practice time did Quinn get this week?
“He got the normal backup practice time. Minimal.”
Did you see any signs today that these guys were trying to eliminate bad football?
“Not as much as I need to see.”
What did you think of the crowd today?
“I focused on the game and didn't get into the crowd. I thought that the guys [fans] were trying to help us on third down. I heard crowd noise on third down, so every time I can get that I appreciate it.”
Were you satisfied with the number of touches RB Jamaal Charles got?
Do you have more things to do (similar to removing yourself from the defensive coordinator spot) to shake things up?
“We will evaluate it and we will determine if there's anything else we can do.”
Why haven't all the changes you've made worked so far, specifically in term of wins?
“That's the key – to get wins. We haven't gotten wins, and so until we get some wins whatever we do doesn't make any difference.”
Despite the lack of wins, do you see the team improving?
“Well, it just depends whether you want wins or not. If wins are the thing, then we don't have any wins, so we aren't improving enough.”
It was one of those days, huh:
“Yep. It was definitely a tough day. Obviously, as a team we didn’t perform the way we wanted to. It was a tough day, I’m guessing for me as well, is what you’re going to ask next. I wasn’t anticipating it. We came in at half time and Coach Crennel said he wanted to create a spark, so he was going to make a change at the quarterback position.”
You said you weren’t anticipating it [the quarterback change]?
“No, I wasn’t anticipating that at half time, coming in after we went down and put three points on the board. But, Coach Crennel made the decision and that’s how it went.”
Did [Coach Crennel] say why?
“He said he wanted to create a spark for the team.”
Did you have a direct conversation with Romeo about why he pulled you?
“He did. He pulled myself and Brady over and said that he felt like the team needed a spark and was going to make a change at the quarterback position.”
How does that work?
Can you argue your case at all or was that it? “That was it, and we were moving forward.”
Is this the thing going forward? Is Brady the starter?
“I’m guessing so.”
You guys practice hard. What is not translating out there?
“You know, it’s hard to say. We just have to do a better job. I can’t pinpoint one thing right now. Every week it’s something different. Obviously, we haven’t played well this season. We need to continue to get better and try to figure this thing out.”
The offensive line was kind of pieced together with glue and Band-Aids, guys moving all over the place. How difficult does that make it for an offense?
“I think those guys were asked to step in and step up on short notice. We didn’t know that everyone was going to be shuffled around like that. I thought those guys, for the most part, did a good job stepping in and fulfilling that role – especially on such short notice.”
What does it take to develop chemistry with your center?
“I was comfortable with Russ [Hochstein]. He was my center when I was back in New England. He did a great job today. He got the calls going on, and he got those guys going the right direction.”
Does this feel like Groundhog days for you guys?
“It’s frustrating. We’re all frustrated. I’m sure the fans are frustrated. Everybody in this building is frustrated. We don’t want to go out and perform like that. We don’t want to lose like that. We want to be competitive and win games. We not only want to do it for ourselves, we want to do it for the fans. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to do that this season.”
Do you feel like this is it for you in Kansas City? Is this the feeling you have?
“I’m not going to go into that right now. Again, it was a quarterback change for the second half. I don’t know what my future holds, but I’m going to continue to be the same guy like I’ve told you guys all along. I’m going to continue to work hard and do whatever I can to help this team win.”
Do you feel as this team looks for answers, guys are giving up?
“I don’t think that. I don’t think we’re giving up one bit. You know, it’s a testament to the guys’ character in here. Everybody works hard. We go out to practice each and every day and try to get better. That’s the character of these guys, but at the same time, we’ve got to start getting wins around here.”
What can you say about the Chiefs defensive performance today?
“We have to start faster. In this league, you go out there flat, they get the edge. They capitalized off our mistakes today.”
Why did you start off flat?
“Who knows? There are no excuses for how we played today. We just have to play better. That starts with myself.”
Can you talk more about the game today?
“I felt like we had a good game plan. I felt like everybody was up, energetic and ready to go. For whatever reason, we didn’t put the pieces together. They didn’t do much gameplan-wise different from what we practiced all week. They just played a lot better than us today.”
Do you feel like everybody is giving 100 percent effort?
“Yeah. We haven’t watched film yet, but I don’t think the effort part is the issue. As a team, we’re not playing together. That’s been the M.O. for the year. We’re just not being consistent enough playing all four quarters.”
How does a quarterback change in the middle of the game affect the offense?
“When you have a quarterback switch, it really doesn’t affect you. We get work with both of those guys. You still have to stick to the same game plan, go out there and continue playing.”
When did you find out Brady Quinn would start the second half?
“I actually found out when we were supposed to take the field, so it was kind of short notice, but it’s the game of football. You have to be ready for change.”
How does the amount of changes on the offensive line affect you?
“We had some guys go down, but like I said before, this is the game of football. You have to be ready for change and be able to handle it. Honestly, being a wide out, it really doesn’t affect us as much. It’s those guys (the offensive linemen) getting the calls and working with each other. Again, we practice it all week. We practice different scenarios, so we’re ready for each situation.”
Did you notice the empty seats in the stands?
“I’m different from a lot of guys. Being a 10-year veteran, I see a lot out there. I look at everything. It [the smaller crowd] is not a big deal because a true fan is going to stick by you regardless. That’s just the nature of the game. You can’t win them all, but as long as guys are continuing to fight, I have no problem with it because you aren’t going to win every game. As long as the rest of my teammates keep coming out, coming to work and fighting, we should be all right.”
Did the fans making a statement with the black shirts bother you?
“As a fan, things happen. You look at it, every year you go into the offseason saying this is our year. But truthfully, out of 32 teams, how many teams are going to be playing for the Super Bowl? Two teams at the end of the year. So it’s a goal that everybody tries to set, but when you’re not winning, you can’t reach that goal. We can’t worry about what the fans say or do. We can’t worry about any of that. We have to continue to play and execute the game plan.”
The 40-yarder that setup the touchdown, do you think he pushed off?
“Receivers push off. DBs will try to grab. They don’t call it. You can’t say, ‘They pushed off or this or that.’ We’re out there competing. He’s going to try to do what he needs to do to get open, and I’ve got to prevent him from getting open.”
Does this feel like Groundhog days for you guys?
“Just get tired of losing – especially at home. We’ve just got to find a way to win. It’s as simple as that.”
Can a team forget how to win?
“No. You can never forget how to win. We’ve just got to go out there and make it happen and stop feeling sorry for ourselves. We’ve got to put this loss behind us and do what we’ve got to do to get a win.”
You won just three of your last 15 games here at Arrowhead. First of all, is that surprising? Second, why?
“It’s definitely surprising. Being here the playoff year, we only lost one game at Arrowhead. If you don’t go out there and execute, that’s going to happen. We just can’t come out here saying, ‘We play in Arrowhead so we’re going to get a victory.’ At the end of the day, we’ve got to win. It’s as simple as that.”
Derrick [Johnson] said earlier that you guys aren’t playing together all of the time. Is that true?
“To be honest, I don’t know what it is. It’s hard to pinpoint one thing. We just have to win.”
You didn’t expect to play both today did you?
“You never know. That’s the way it goes in this league sometimes. I’ve spotted in before at left guard for a couple of plays once in my career. I’ve done a lot. That’s what happens when injuries mount, and we’re deep in the season. You’ve got to be willing to go in there and scrap it out.”
You knew it was going to be a patchwork offensive line going in and then Branden goes down. So, you’ve got to re-patch the patch. How did that impact what you guys wanted to do on offense today?
“Well, it’s tough. I don’t know how much it changed the play calling or anything. You’ve got to ask the coaches about that. But, you go out there and try to execute. You try to do what you can with what you’ve got. I think we’ve got some good rookies. I think Donald and Jeff. Jeff’s been playing for a while. I think they’ve got a lot of ability, but once the proverbial bullets start flying and you get in there, you’ve got to show up. Now they’re up and it’s their turn. I don’t know what the injury situation is with anyone else. But, when it’s your turn – that’s how I got into this league – you’ve got to show up.”
Cassel said earlier that he got benched because coach wanted to add a spark with Brady Quinn. Did you sense a spark at all?
“I felt we moved the ball OK early on. We couldn’t get much going. I think we couldn’t get much going the whole game. I don’t know if it was the quarterbacks or the lines – probably all of us to be honest with you. I look at me first. They can make the decisions about quarterback.”
In a losing season like this, is it hard for players to lose focus and maybe not execute to their fullest potential?
“I would hope not. Is it possible? Sure, anything is possible. But, I would hope not. At the end of the day, we’re pros whether we’re 9-1 or 1-9. You’ve have to come to work every day, and you have to execute.”
Does this feel like Groundhog days for you guys?
“It’s been a tough season. I can’t say that turnovers killed us. Obviously, we had the one turnover that caused some points. But, we’ve got to do our job. We’ve got to move the ball. We’ve got to run the ball. We’ve got to protect.”