OPENING REMARKS: “Good afternoon. As much as I tried to enjoy yesterday, which was Christmas, and then come in today and review the tape and see if what I talked about after the game was the way it was, and unfortunately, that’s the way it was. Every phase contributed in our loss. There were good because we did some good things. The fact that we were able to come back and tie the game up and have a chance to win it at the end, all of that showed some character. All of that was good, but the fact that we didn’t win it, that was bad. As you look at it, when you open the game with a 91-yard kick return, that’s not a good sign. Offensively, when you’re in the red zone and only can get something done once, that’s not a good sign. Defensively, when you let them throw the ball over your head two times that led to 10 points, that wasn’t a good sign. All of that is hard to overcome when you’re in the game like we were in on Saturday. It was a tight game and you could see that it was going back and forth a little bit – not a lot of points were being scored – so any score applies a little bit more pressure to your thinking and guys feeling like they have to make plays sometimes, which gets them out of position and out of character. As much as I wanted to see something different, I didn’t see anything different. We ended up losing a game that really cost us dearly because with Buffalo beating Denver, we would have been playing for a division championship this week if we had been able to win. But we didn’t, and so what we have to do is we have to go on. We’re getting ready to play Denver, as a matter of fact. It’s a division game, and all year we’ve put emphasis and focus on division opponents. So, I think that we need to go play really good and try to win that Denver game so that we can leave here with a good taste in our mouth, not that the taste will ever be good enough knowing what just occurred, but it would be a better taste than the alternative, so that’s what we’re going to try to do as we go into this week.
“Now, I know that there are some questions about my status and how this game might impact my status. I’ve said all along that at the end of the year a decision is going to be made and I was going to do the best I could for the three games that I had an opportunity to do that. So, the first game was a really good game, this game wasn’t as good and now I’ve got one more game. Still, the decision-makers, they’ll make their decision after the season. I try to win every game, every game is important to me and so what’ll happen, will happen. I don’t believe what I say, what I think is going to make any difference. It’s what I do, the work that I put out there, that’s the thing that will have an impact. If it’s to be, it will be. If not, it will not be. That’s the way it is in the NFL. They want to know, ‘Did you win?’ and last Saturday we did not win. Like I said, we’re disappointed, it’s unfortunate, but we’ve got to move forward and we will go forward. With that, I’ll open it up.”
Q: Any chance some younger guys will get some playing time Sunday or are you going to go the way you’ve been?
CRENNEL: “Probably, I’m going to go the way it has been because we feel like the guys that we have been playing with basically have given us the best chance to win. I don’t know that making a change now will change that. I think the guys that we’ve been going with still give us the best chance. Now, with that being said, I can tell you that [Jalil] Brown had a really good special teams game. He made a tremendous effort on that kickoff return to save the touchdown. He had a plus-two downing, I believe it was, downing the ball at the 2-yard line. He was blocking on kickoff return and he did a really good job. If an opportunity arose, then he might be able to get some playing time, but going into this game, knowing what we have to face offensively, our defense has to face a running quarterback in [Tim] Tebow and the option and all those things, so I don’t know that Brown’s abilities, how much they will impact what we need to do defensively. The other young guys, they’re still young and probably they might not get the opportunity if everybody stays healthy.”
Q: As a defensive coach, what are your thoughts on getting another shot at Tim Tebow and the Broncos offense?
CRENNEL: “They beat us the last time, so I think that going in, we have a little bit more on paper of how he’s going to play and what he’s going to do because we’ve seen him more, had an opportunity to see him more. We’re going to study those games and see how other teams have played him, see what he’s done against other teams and see how we might best defend him. We know that he’s going to run it, they’re going to hand it off, he’s going to run the option and we’re going to have to do a good job against the option, and then we’re going to have to do a better job against the pass than we did the last time.”
Q: Have you seen much of their video from the Buffalo game yet?
CRENNEL: “No, I haven’t see much yet. I saw some highlights, and it looked like he threw it more than I know he did against us, but we’ll have to take a look at that and see what we think.”
Q: He’d been doing such a good job protecting the ball and turned it over four times against Buffalo, so I’m just wondering what happened there.
CRENNEL: “No, I haven’t seen it yet, so I’m not able to say.”
Q: There’s been three quarterbacks this year and not much scoring with any of them. Does that tell you the Chiefs need a new quarterback or do you have to start taking a look at the playbook and doing some revamping?
CRENNEL: “It’s never one guy in this business. It’s always part of the team effort, and we were able to get down into the red zone four times, we just weren’t able to produce. Now, we had an opportunity because we ended up dropping a ball in the end zone that would have made a difference, and then we followed that up with an interception, which was uncharacteristic. I think we might have tried to force that one a little bit. If we were able to get that touchdown, just a score sometimes changes the mentality on your team for that particular game. Instead of guys saying, ‘OK, here we go again,’ they say, ‘OK, now we’ve made it happen,’ but we didn’t make it happen. But, we were there, and so being down there is encouraging, the fact that we can get down there. So, now what we have to do is we have to refine some things so that we can get points on the board rather than coming away with nothing.”
Q: It this one of those guys where every guy has to look in the mirror and take their own ownership and make the most of Sunday?
CRENNEL: “Sure, that’s the way it is every Sunday. Every game that you play, a guy has to look in the mirror and know that he’s giving his better effort to try to win the game, and I think that that will occur Sunday against Denver also, everybody on the team, coaches included. Like I said, it’s never one guy, but it’s not always players. Coaches have got to do some things better to put guys maybe in better position, to work on better technique, all of those things have to come into play for us to win the game Sunday.”
Q: What’s the most difficult thing about preparing for an option team – the fact that you only prepare for it once in a blue moon or is there more to it than that?
CRENNEL: “No, I think that that’s it. In college, they see option all the time and they have option defense and they know how to play the option. On this level, we don’t see the option. We see the drop-back passing game. Now, having to face the option, you have to make determinations of how you’re going to play it, who has responsibility for the quarterback, who has responsibility for the pitch, who has responsibility for the dive, and you have to be consistent with it. You just can say, ‘OK, this is the way we’re going to play it,’ you have to be able to show them one or two fronts and how you’re going to approach it. You only work on it a week and then you put it away. We saw it for the first time when we played them about a month ago or whatever. We saw it then, now we get a chance to see it again, but you only practice it for these three days before the game.”
Q: If you have a full offseason and you’re in the AFC West, do you dedicate a few days of those offseason programs to handling the option?
CRENNEL: “Yes, I think so because it looks like that Tebow is going to be around. I don’t know how many other teams will run an option because you know that in the NFL that adage has been, ‘You’ve got to have a quarterback.’ To run the option, you expose your quarterback. Teams have to make determinations about how much they want to expose the quarterback and take the chance on losing the quarterback.”
Q: Teams in the NFL are copycats, especially offensive coaches. If something works, they’re going to figure out a way to use it.
CRENNEL: “Sure, they will figure out a way, but still, there’s a risk-reward. So if you’re paying your quarterback big bucks and now you’re running the option with him and you lose him and you don’t have another quarterback, you have to make a determination if that’s what you want to do.”
Q: You talked about the team showing character, fighting back, staying in the game, but with the big plays allowed you were pretty much describing the entire season. That’s the way the whole season has gone – this team has fought hard but there’s been five or six plays a game where the plays didn’t get made.
CRENNEL: “Yeah, exactly, and that’s where coaching has to rectify some of that – making guys understand the discipline needed at their position, not to run from the back side to the front side and let the guy get out the back door on the kickoff return, being able to take the right steps on my block so that the guy doesn’t get across my face and affect the run that we have going on, not to force the ball in when they’ve got the guy covered, not to let them throw the ball over our head in the situation where I’m supposed to be a deep-field defender. Those things, as coaches, we have to do a better job of.”
Q: When teams face the situation you do this week, some teams will lay down and get blown out, some teams will knock another team out of the playoffs when they don’t have playoffs to play for themselves. Can you put a finger on why some teams are able to knock off these teams that have a lot to play for in Week 17?
CRENNEL: “A lot of times it’s the leadership you have on your team. It’s the emphasis that the coaches put on it. It’s generally more things than one, but like I told you, all these players, they want to win. They want to try to win. I don’t think any player goes into the game to lose the game. Every player wants to win. Now, sometimes as the game goes along or as it unfolds, the mental attitude or the human nature of a particular player might get affected, so maybe he is not as sharp as he needs to be or he doesn’t give as much effort as he needs to give, things like that, which then impact the score and impact the outcome of the game.”