Q: I know you like them because you brought them in here, but have you been surprised by what kind of impact your two rookie safeties have had for you?
CRENNEL: “With rookies, there is always some good and some bad with rookies and that’s been the case but both of these guys have developed and have grown as this season has gone on and I think that we see that they’re beginning to operate better in the system, make plays and I think they’re going to be good players for us for awhile.”
Q: When you look at those guys, do you see rookies now, are they playing like rookies?
CRENNEL: “No, they’re playing better thankfully. They understand the system better, they know where they need to fit better, they help each other, help other players more as the game goes on. So I think they’ve learned as the season has gone on so that’s a good thing for us.”
Q: Not just the two rookie safeties but the whole group of rookies seems to be really close and have bonded with each other. That’s unusual for a big group of rookies to get along so well?
CRENNEL: “Well usually you have somebody that’s not crazy about somebody else, but generally because all the rookies are in the same boat when they first get in, they’re new, they don’t know anybody, they have to deal with the veterans so they begin to bond and they rally around each other. And I think that’s the case here. We’re fortunate that we have a good group that like each other and that bond is becoming stronger and that will help us going down the road.”
Q: How much do you think that this defensive line represents the identity of this team – they’re not superstars by any means, but they get the work done and they open things up for others on the team. How do you think they represent this team as a whole?
CRENNEL: “That’s what I talk to those guys about a lot about getting their job done and even though they don’t get the accolades, the guys around them, particularly the linebackers are the guys who end up making the plays and they know that the linebackers appreciate what they do. They know the staff appreciates what they do and I think that they take a lot of gratification in the fact that the team is division champion – that’s something that they haven’t been for awhile and don’t know about so that’s something they appreciate. As long as they keep getting the job done then we’re going to have a chance.”
Q: In this 3-4 defense, how important is it to have sort of blue collar guys like this that get the job done?
CRENNEL: “In our system it’s really important. They’ve got to be team guys and they have to understand the system, understand how it operates and not really search for the limelight.”