Q&A with Romeo Crennel 12/19

Posted Dec 19, 2011

OPENING REMARKS: “How’s everyone today? I tell you what, you guy are a hard group, nobody’s ever doing any good in this group. We should all feel pretty good today, we should, I do. But no, we feel good about the win, that was good, we feel good about winning the game. Feel good about the way the team played. They executed the game plan in all phases of the game, they did a really good job. The players embraced the plan and then they executed the plan. And when it works like that it makes you feel good, particularly when it comes out with a victory. Sometimes you can execute the plan and you end up losing the game and so you don’t feel as good. But with this game, the way we did, we did a very good job and all the credit really goes to the players.

“Special teams, overall did a nice job on special teams. The coverage unit, they held a good returner under control. [Randall] Cobb is a dangerous returner and really didn’t let him get started so that was good, both in the kickoff coverage and in the punt coverage so we did a good job there. [Ryan] Succop, four of four on the field goals, that was excellent. And then one of those field goals was a tough kick for him because it was a high snap and we got it down and he continued with the kick and we were able to get points on the board there. Sometimes kickers when they get a high snap or things get off a little bit they say I’m not kicking this one, but he went ahead and he kicked it and it went through so that was good that we were able to get those points on the board. The punter, he did a nice job too. Even though he didn’t have to punt very much, he punted twice and had a 49.5 yard average so that was good. Probably the thing that was a little disappointing about special teams was we had some special teams penalties. A couple of them that hurt us because in a game like we were playing yesterday, field position was really important and there was one, the defense stops them and now we rough the punter and now it gives them the ball right back. And when you are trying to keep Aaron Rodgers on the sideline you don’t want to do anything to put him back on the field and so that was one of the things we were a little disappointed about that. And then we got another holding call on a kickoff return and a holding call on I believe it was a punt return that hurt us as far as field position goes so we’ve got to improve those things.

“Offensively the guys, like I said, in executing the game plan they did a really good job. Won time of possession, they controlled the ball. I think we had it 36 minutes or something like that so all of the time we had it that means Rodgers didn’t have it and Rodgers is such a good quarterback keeping him on the sideline was important to us and so our ability to do that was really good. And part of that was we were able to run the ball, we were able to keep them off-balance with play action passes, screens and then we threw some quick passes in there at them from time-to-time. But our offensive line did a nice job with protection so that helped keep us on the field so we felt really good about that. The quarterback, he did a nice job, no way around that. He played well I thought. He has a good presence about him and I think that goes over to the offense because he is a leader on the field and when he has a good presence then those other guys on the field they have a presence about themselves, what 300 yards passing, 139 yards rushing but in passing he spread the ball around a little bit so it kept everybody involved so that keeps the energy level up on all of the players so all of that was positive. No sacks, the offensive line did a nice job and we had no sacks. Another thing is there were no turnovers. When you are trying to play that game where you are going to use the clock and you are going to stay on the field, when you don’t turn the ball over and give the ball back to them that’s a positive. So there were a lot of good things that happened on offense that we felt good about. Now we’ve got to improve some things. Red zone, we got down there and we were down there but we didn’t get touchdowns, we have to try to get touchdowns when we get to the red zone, that will become critical for us in the next couple of weeks here so we have to try to get that done. Our third-down efficiency on offense wasn’t what it needed to be so we have to work on that. Now some of it was third and short and you don’t make it so that counts against you. But we have to improve our third-down efficiency.

“Defensively the guys played really hard. They did I thought a nice job with the effort they gave trying to execute the game plan against, going into the game, the best quarterback in the NFL as far as ratings and stats go. And he’s proven that he’s a good quarterback and he can get a lot of things done. We tried to keep him off balance with different coverages, different personnel groups but our guys showed an ability to rush him and pressure him a little bit to get him off the spot and then our cover guys did a nice job of covering, particularly on the outside versus those wide receivers. [Brandon] Flowers and [Brandon] Carr, a lot of times they had those guys one-on-one by themselves and they did a nice job of competing and helping us win the game. Along with Tamba Hali who got three sacks. Sometimes I look at that guy and he’s like that energizer bunny he just keeps going and keeps going and keeps going. And he’s going against some big guys that he has to go against and all of the time they don’t call some of the things that happen on the field and eventually he wears them down. To come up with three sacks is pretty good. Derrick Johnson continues to play well. Derrick has been a staple in this defense really because he’s on the field all the time when the defense is out there and he’s got a good knack for the football and knowing where it’s going to go and then getting to the football. A lot of good things happened for this team, we were able to win and we feel good about getting the victory but we know that the season lies in the next game. We have to win this next one. It’s a short week and we are coming up on it and so we’re looking forward to that to try and keep this thing rolling. We are in the race and we’ve got a chance so we have to try and take advantage of it and do the best we can.”

Q: Was that really your first Gatorade shower, at least in the NFL?

CRENNEL: “That might have been the first in the NFL. When you don’t win you don’t get many showers and so that was a good shower, a little sticky but it was good.”

Q: Can you give the same effort and emotion from yesterday again on Saturday versus Oakland?

CRENNEL: “Well that’s one of the hard things in the NFL, is to get guys to continue to do that every week, week in and week out. With the distractions and the pressures that build up. If you could do it every week I would be talking about fighting a good battle but losing because that Green Bay team, they’re a pretty good team and they’ve been doing it every week but it’s hard to do every week. Hopefully this team, we’ve shown some inconsistencies, we lost some games then we got on a little winning streak and we thought we were half-way decent then we turned around and started losing games again so we’ve won one game, that’s what we’ve won and now we are going to try to win another one to see if we can make it two games. And I think that’s the important thing, is to try to win the next one and how to get that energy level and keep it the same with the Raiders coming to town and not having all the hoopla that went with Green Bay and being an undefeated team and a great quarterback and a pressure defense and all of that, trying to get our guys to understand that you cannot get the big head, we really haven’t done anything yet, we won one game. Let’s see if we can win two and to win two we’re going to have to have the same focus, energy, effort, if not more on Saturday on a short week.”

Q: So that was your message to them today?

CRENNEL: “I haven’t talked to them today, I’m going to talk to them in a minute but that’s going to be part of it, exactly, that will be part of it.”

Q: Do you plan to make a big deal out of ‘Raider week’ with your players?

CRENNEL: “Well yes, it is a big week, and it’s a big deal because it’s a division game. And generally all division games are good rivalries because you definitely want to win them. And we definitely want to win this game so that we can stay in the hunt and stay in the race. And so it is a big week. We went out there and we played them good out there but what I’m going to remind them of is last year this Raider team came in here and they whipped us pretty good and so I feel like they will feel like they can come in here and do the same thing again. So that’s what I’ve got to get them prepared for and I’ve got to remind them of that hey, you beat the Green Bay Packers, that was great. But now, if you don’t prepare, if you don’t get ready to go then we will lose to the Raiders and then everything we gained yesterday will be kind of down the drain.”

Q: You gave Rodgers a bunch of different looks, but the players say it was a lot of different things but it was very simple, how do you do that?

CRENNEL: “Well you take a linebacker and put him where a defensive lineman was, and then you can call the same coverage but to the offense it’s different because they look at lineman, they count those guys one way, they count linebackers another way, then they count defensive backs a different way. So now you look out and you see four lineman and you say okay that’s old hat then all of a sudden, oh it’s only three lineman and an extra linebacker and then there’s only two lineman and more DB’s so now they have to try to figure out who’s going to be rushing and who’s going to be covering and how they are going to protect it.”

Q: Did it surprise you how much Orton was able to do, and were you able to do more than you thought because of how he responded?

CRENNEL: “Well last week I talked about him, his finger and how he was going to react when he took the snaps from under center but during the course of the week he was able to handle it and do it so I felt good about the game itself, that he would be able to take them from under center so I didn’t go into the game overly concerned about him not being able to take snaps from under center.”

Q: You would expect that he would get the full starters amount of snaps in practice this week?

CRENNEL: “Yes, I sure would.”

Q: How much of the changes that we saw was the result of here’s how I would do it if I were the head coach versus here’s what I’ve seen of this team and how we need to approach different?

CRENNEL: “Like I say, anytime there’s change things don’t remain the same and there’s always some differences. The thing that we did is we rearranged the schedule and we did the same things we’ve always been doing. We just moved the lifting from before practice to after practice which game us more time in the film room before practice so they could study their opponents and get to game plan a little bit more than before. But we still lifted after practice, so we rearranged the schedule and that was change in itself but no real major change, it’s just like the defensive personnel groups we were talking about. The players saying hey its simple, it’s the same. Well it’s the same but it’s just rearranged.”

Q: Did you do things differently on the field that were completely different than Todd would have done?

CRENNEL: “No, not to my knowledge. We are all, the guys that are upstairs, these coaches are all football coaches and there is a lot of experience up there so I let them coach. Particularly offensively, I thought Bill Muir did a really good job of calling the offense and we talked about how we felt like we needed to play this team, what we needed to do to give ourselves the best chance to win and he put in a good game plan and he called it very nicely and the players executed it and so when it works it’s really good so nothing different than any other coaching staff is doing week in and week out.”

Q: So as the head coach, you didn’t call any offensive plays?

CRENNEL: “No I did not call any offensive plays, like I told you last night all I did was stand on the sideline.”

Q: It goes from Bill Muir to Jim Zorn who then relays the play in?

CRENNEL: “To the quarterback, correct.”

Q: Did you ever give any input whether you wanted a running play or a pass play?

CRENNEL: “No, what I told Bill [Muir] was, I said ‘Bill, as this thing goes along, if there is something that I think I want to see I’ll just tell you, what about this, what about that.’ And he says okay, but things were going good so I didn’t need to mess it up.”

Q: Did you have the same method as to how you called defenses or did that change with your other responsibilities?

CRENNEL: “No, well, I just kept calling defenses. And here again, I’ve got some good coaches up there, I’ve got Emmitt Thomas and Gary Gibbs and they have a lot of experience and they are well versed so during the week I can put things on them that normally I would do myself but I said okay guys, you handle this for me so they did a nice job during the week and then they presented this is what we think, boom, I sat in with on, Tuesday is game plan day so I was in with them on Tuesday where we were game planning and we were talking about how we wanted to play and what we needed to do and then after that boom I let them get the scripts together for practice and all of those kind of things and we were able to function very nicely and then I tried to call the game the way I normally call the game.”

Q: As you went through last week and on Sunday did it all become familiar and easy?

CRENNEL: “Well I’m not going to say easy because a lot of times this head coaching job, I don’t know if it is ever easy because there’s always things involved, obligations here, obligations there that take away from football. The biggest change was I wasn’t able to do as much football as I wanted to do or that I had been doing. But hey when you win in football things are fun and so we were able to win so it’s fun so now we’ve got to get ready to see if we can do it again.”

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