OPENING STATEMENT: “I don’t know what I can tell you about yesterday other than the fact that we were disappointed in it. We needed to go down and play a better game than we played and we were in the game at halftime and the second half, we were unable to get much done in the second half and the score got out of hand as a result of it. We’re a 1-5 football team and that means you’re not very good. We’re working to try to get better, we will continue to work to get better as we focus on this bye week and see how we can improve things. But as you look at the game, me personally, I was disappointed with the first quarter and the penalties we had in the first quarter because I expect more from our guys as far as the decisions they make as it relates to penalties and field position, because field position is critical and it’s important and I’ve been talking to them about it. I thought that they understood the importance of field position. It was not a lack of effort or they didn’t do it maliciously, they were trying to play football, but they made some bad choices as it related to penalties, so that hurt. The other thing that hurt us in the course of the day is that we were in position to make plays on the ball and we were not able to make plays on the ball. It’s not like guys were wide open and we weren’t covering them, we were in position and I expected us to make plays and felt we should have intercepted a couple of those balls, but they made the play and we didn’t and as a result of it, it ended up in chunks of yards that they were able to gain and there was a touchdown on one and a couple chunks of yards on the others. That hurt us as far as field position, momentum and all those things were concerns. We still have to continue to work to get better and be able to make those plays because at least we were in position to make them and now if we make them then that will help our momentum, help our field position and help our chances to win. The quarterback, Brady [Quinn], I thought that he was a little rusty but he managed the game, managed the team. I think if he’d had more time, I think the rust would have been knocked off, but he didn’t have much time so he did the best he could with the time that he had to prepare for this game. In the running game, we weren’t able to run the ball as effectively as we had been running the ball. You have to give their defense credit because their defense was pretty active and did some things along the line of scrimmage that impacted our running game. But the bottom line is the bottom line, we lost the game and this business is ‘did you win or did you lose’ and we did not win. So we’re going to go forward and try to improve it and try to get better and try to win. That’s what we’re going to do. With that, I’ll open it up.”
DANNY PARKINS (610 SPORTS RADIO): You’ve said after two games now that you’re not sure why the team played as bad as they did. Why should fans believe that you’ll be able to fix why the team is playing so poorly?
CRENNEL: “You know, I was referring to that first quarter where it’s important in the game to get off to a good start, particularly when you’re on the road and we had like five penalties, I believe, in that first quarter and that was disappointing to me because I expect better, I expect more from the players. For them to make those choices that hurt us in field position, I just didn’t like it. And what I know about this business is you have to keep working with your guys, keep harping with your guys, keep trying to knock it into their head what you want them to do and eventually they get it. They don’t always get it right away, but eventually they get it and I’m hoping that we will get it soon.”
PARKINS: So is the answer then more of the same?
CRENNEL: “No, see I didn’t say that.”
PARKINS: Well you said you keep working at it and eventually you’ll get it?
CRENNEL: “That’s what you have to do, you have to keep working at it. If I don’t keep working at it then I might as well pack up my bags and go home. But I’m going to keep working at it, I’m going to try to get these guys better and then the team will be better as a result.”
DANNY CLINKSCALE (SPORTS RADIO 810 WHB): Were you disappointed in the effort level in those last couple of drives?
CRENNEL: “Yeah, I was disappointed in the effort there. We were not as disciplined as we needed to be defensively to be able to stop those guys from scoring those couple of touchdowns that they scored then. And I was disappointed in that. Some of it is guys were trying to make plays – not that they didn’t give effort – but they were trying to make a play and they got out of position. Sometimes it might be, we run up the field or the linebacker might try to run through to make a play and get picked off by a tackle, so some of those things occurred that allowed them to score.”
DOUG TUCKER (ASSOCIATED PRESS): If
CRENNEL: “That’s a hypothetical and Matt has not been cleared to practice yet. When Matt is cleared to practice football, then we’ll evaluate it and then we’ll make the decision at that time.”
TUCKER: Have people been encouraging you to play Matt Cassel?
CRENNEL: “Encouragement, no.”
TUCKER: Is there pressure to stick with Matt Cassel?
CRENNEL: “No. I have not. I decide who plays. I decide who’s active. I decide who’s inactive. I will evaluate the situation and I will make the choice.”
PARKINS: What allowed you to have a more balanced game plan with
CRENNEL: “You know I’ve always said it depends on what’s going on in the game and when we couldn’t run the ball as effectively, then you’ve got to try to mix some other things in and if you can mix some play-actions and some throws down the field in a little bit, that might open up the running game. But it didn’t open up the running game, so the game plan ended up being more balanced because of what occurred.”
CLINKSCALE: Was Jamaal fully 100 percent healthy yesterday? He seemed to come out of the game quite a bit?
CRENNEL: “Well I don’t know if any players are totally 100 percent. He’s banged up a little bit, but he’s able to play and when he needs to come out or we take him out, he comes out, he catches a breather, gets some water and then he’s back in there.”
BOB FESCOE (610 SPORTS RADIO): You said yesterday basically that if the talent does what we tell them to do, we’ll be ok. Are the guys not doing what you’re trying to get them to do?
CRENNEL: “Not all the time. Yeah, not all the time. And sometimes it’s because they anticipate things. We give them the game plan during the week and we say, ‘on this formation, this is what these guys have been doing, on this formation this is what these guys have been doing.’ So they begin to anticipate, ‘here’s the formation that he said that this is what they’re going to do.’ So now he plays the play but it’s not that play so now he’s out of position and that creates a seam in the defense or a hole in the offense as well. So sometimes that occurs. What the guys have to be is, they have to be disciplined enough to do their job first before they help out and that was happening in the fourth quarter – we weren’t disciplined enough to do our job first and then try to help. We tried to help out without doing our job which creates seams.”
CRENNEL: “Steve is a backup wide receiver right now. And the number of reps he gets, I don’t know how many he’s going to get or when he’s going to be called on and when he’s going to be needed. And we’ve talked about it and I said you just have to be ready when you’re called on and do the best you can when you get called. And that’s the way every backup on the team has to do it. There are a lot of backups on the team that don’t get reps, but if they get called on they have to go in and play.”
TJ CARPENTER (SPORTS RADIO 810 WHB): How do you plan on instilling that discipline in your team for the rest of the season?
CRENNEL: “If they will play hard and do their job first – and when I’m talking about not being totally undisciplined, it’s making some choices that normally you wouldn’t make – do your job first and then help out. So if they do their job first, no matter what the circumstance is and then help out, then we’ll be better. But if they try to help out first before doing their job then there’s going to be a seam somewhere, there is going to be a hole. A lot of times the good teams find those holes.”
CARPENTER: How do you get them to do what you’re asking them to do?
CRENNEL: “Practice and practice and practice. Repetition and repetition.”
PARKINS: You’ve talked about trying to find an identity for this team. Are you any closer to that?
CRENNEL: “Well I think that depends on what you mean by identity, because some teams have an identity of running the football. Some teams have the identity of passing the football. Some teams have the identity that they’re a quarterback offense, so I think your team is what it is. What I have always said is I want tough, physical, smart football players. That’s still what I want. I think we have some on this team and I think that, like I said, if they will do their job first and then help out, then we’ll be able to make plays.’
FESCOE: When you’re sitting at 1-5 and you’re struggling, do you call anybody in the industry like a mentor that you can go to for thoughts or ideas?
CRENNEL: “There are a couple guys that I can call and talk to, yeah.”
FESCOE: Care to share those names?
DOUG TUCKER (ASSOCIATED PRESS): I know you’ve changed quarterbacks but are you making any changes during the bye week?
CRENNEL: “I think by adjusting to offensive approach and becoming a more balanced offense like it was just mentioned. I think that will help us be able to be more effective on the offensive side of the ball because when you do one thing, like when you run the ball and if you’re not able to run the ball, then you’re pigeon holed and they know exactly what you can do. I think that we have to be able to mix it up more offensively to make defenses defend more things, and then by them having to defend more things by spreading the ball around more, then maybe we can make some of those plays that this other team made against us.”
JOHNNY KANE (KMBC): Do you feel a sense of urgency to win?
CRENNEL: “I think we must win, so that we can win and generate some confidence for this team and for our fans if nothing else. That was one of the reasons I was disappointed about the penalties in the first quarter, because we’re going against a team on the road and you don’t want to give away anything on the road. We were giving up field position. I was disappointed in that. I think you focus on the next game and you do everything you can to win the next game then you go from there.”
TUCKER: The fan base is very angry, are you going to talk to the players about trying to ignore it? Do you talk to the team on this or do you put on the blinders and forge ahead?
CRENNEL: “Well, I think you put on the blinders and try to forge ahead because there is nothing that we can do about what’s said other than win a ballgame. If we win a ballgame, then some of those comments kind of get tempered a little bit. If we can win another one, then they get tempered a little more. That’s the best thing that we can do is to win a ballgame. Yesterday those one, two, three plays where defensively we were in position, if we make any one of those or two of those – we should make all three of them because we’re in position, but we don’t make them – if we make any one of those, probably, it’s a different game and we might be able to win the game because it’s 7-3 at the half. Their seven came off a long touchdown pass. That was one of those three that I was just talking about, so if we’re in position to make them and we just didn’t make them. That still doesn’t make it any easier. That still doesn’t change the record. I understand that, but I can take from that, that the guys are in position, that they’re trying to do their job. I’ve got to take the next step with them and get them able to make the play rather than give up the play.”
CARPENTER: Are you working with the wide receivers in practice to fix the tipped balls that are intercepted?
CRENNEL: “Hand placement, for one, not tipping the ball up in the air. Sometimes when you go to catch and you put your hands under the ball, now it has a chance to get tipped up in the air. But now, boom, if you put those thumbs together and catch it like such. If I don’t catch it, it’s going to go down into the ground, so we’ve been working on those things. Hopefully that will help us.”
PARKINS: What do you have to say about the reports on a contract extension for Scott Pioli?
CRENNEL: “Contracts, the only contract that I’m concerned about is mine, and Scott has to deal with his contract situation whatever it may be. I don’t know what it is, so he will address it if he needs to. But I think there might be a team policy that contracts cannot be discussed, but I’m not sure.”
KANE: Can you compare this season to any time in Cleveland that you experienced?
CRENNEL: “There were times in Cleveland that it wasn’t this close, so it’s been a little bit worse. The thing about this team and about these players is that we were somewhat successful last year, and we’ve added some players to the team and that impacts the chemistry and everything that’s going on. I think because we’re in position to make plays, those plays will start getting made. Just like