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Coordinators Press Conferences 10/02

Offensive Coordinator Doug Pederson, Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton and Special Teams Coach Dave Toub address the media as the Chiefs prepare to face the 49ers in week five


Q: Donnie Avery out Sunday, does that mean A.J. Jenkins is the next guy up?

PEDERSON:"Yeah, that's accurate to say and as you've seen in the last couple of ball games we play a multitude of guys, but A.J. will get his opportunity."

Q: What do you see in A.J. Jenkins that you think he can do to contribute?

PEDERSON:"Well he is a guy who came to us last year and I'll tell you what now, he's a speed guy. He's a guy that's really kind of taken this challenge to heart for him. Hard worker, he's excited about playing, he's one of our play makers. He's going to have a great opportunity this weekend to show what he can do."

Q: Do you design plays for A.J. Jenkins to get him involved early?

PEDERSON:"Not really, it is something that as we game plan offensively we continue to put packages and personnel groupings together for each week and he's a part of that mix but we don't design specific route concepts just for one guy."

Q: Frankie Hammond Jr. got 95% of snaps the first week, what happened between game 1 and now when Jenkins was able to overtake it?

PEDERSON:"The biggest thing is that Frankie backs up Dwayne (Bowe) and those are two different positions. Frankie is alive in this situation and he'll get his snaps too."

Q: How different does their defense look without Aldon Smith?

PEDERSON:"He's a tremendous player. If you go back and watch some early preseason games this year and of course games last year, he definitely makes a difference on that football field. He and 55 (Ahmad Brooks) can wreak havoc on that defense, and then you throw in Justin Smith. But they've got some nice young players over there that are taking his spot right now that have stepped up and did well against Philadelphia. They got after Nick (Foles) so again, this is another good defensive front and we have to take care of that front seven."

Q: That's kind of interesting, so for older receivers it doesn't matter as much they could easily play both but younger guys it makes sense to keep them to one side?

PEDERSON:"Yeah a younger receiver, younger quarterback, younger offensive line, younger tight end – whatever position it is you kind of want to keep them focused on one spot."

Q: What is it you like about Donnie Avery more than A.J. Jenkins?

PEDERSON:"The thing with Donnie is that he's got that game experience and you saw this past week he had some nice explosive gains and he caught the ball well. Really he and A.J. are very similar in style, they are both speed guys and we are going to utilize them in situations where we can maximize their speed on the football field. They're two similar receivers, but the biggest factor, I think, is the experience Donnie has over A.J."

Q: You used Knile Davis and Jamaal Charles a lot together last game, is that the game plan moving forward?

PEDERSON:"Jamaal was coming off some injuries and you have to be careful in that situation. Knile was coming off a big game the week before and you want to keep him hot also. Really the bottom line is you want to keep all your guys fresh going into the second half of the game, particularly the fourth quarter. When we can we are going to continue to substitute and roll players in offensively and keep our guys fresh for the second half of the game."

Q: So it's not something where you are going to make an effort to utilize both of those guys?

PEDERSON:"Not really, it's more about keeping them fresh and healthy and the longevity of the season is a factor. Of course at the end of the game our best 11 will be on the field."

Q: You know Alex (Smith) pretty well, how prepared is this guy? Do you see any difference in him in the QB room this week?

PEDERSON:"No, no difference. He came in on Tuesday and got his film work in and he's been good all week. He studies and prepares like I've never seen a quarterback prepare before, he does a nice job there. He's treating it like the next game on our schedule."

Q: I imagine the big difference really is he knows guys a little better over there.

PEDERSON:"That's the thing with Alex (Smith), he's familiar with all those guys over there. So he kind of knows what's going on and he's got a head start on that. It's a benefit to him to kind of understand how they play defensively."

Q: It seems like your line is getting better and better each week.

PEDERSON:"I think they are, I think they've really gelled over the course of the last four ball games. Again, I've said this each week, Rodney (Hudson) is the commander in chief up there and he keeps those guys intact. Mike McGlynn has improved each week. It is a group that's coming together, and it's good to see. They will continue to grow and get better as the year goes on."

Q: That being said, how quick do you want to get Donald Stephenson back in there?

PEDERSON:"Yeah, you bring him back and you bring him back slowly. Again, he's another player that will have some opportunities as we go. It just gives you depth whether he's in there or Ryan (Harris) is in there, it gives you depth at the offensive line position, which is something that you need."

Q: Does he look a step slow after missing a month?

PEDERSON:"Anytime you miss four weeks of football you're going to be a little bit slower and a little bit sore as the practices work on. Again, he's another one you work into the mix and get him involved. Get him a handful of plays."

Q: Zach Fulton and Eric Fisher, any coach wants to see their young guys drop the mistakes or the mental-physical game. Are you getting that from those two?

PEDERSON:"Yeah, you really are. And what's happening is they are understanding the game so they get more confidence and just allowing their talent to show."

Q: Fisher it seems like his athleticism is really showing through this year. Do you think he'll get a little nastier as he gets more confidence?

PEDERSON:"I think it comes with the territory there, and I think it comes with experience and playing. Coach (Andy) Heck and Coach (Eugene) Chung do a great job at the offensive line and their individual work. That's where it all starts for these guys, being able to take that individual work at practice and carry it over into team drills. You practice it and it carries over into the game. Trusting your technique, your feet, your athleticism and trusting what you know. It gives you all the confidence in the world to go play and play at a high level."


Q: How are the guys feeling after having to step up for the injured players?

SUTTON:"I think all of the guys that have come in have done a really, really good job of stepping up and one of the things we talk to them from the very beginning is you never know who is going to play. That's why when you're training and when you're practicing, you have to approach it like 'hey I'm going to be up' and it's the truth in the NFL. During the season, if you're a guy in the second group, you don't know if you get a lot of reps, but you've got to prepare yourself like you do because in one play you can be up for the remainder of the game. I think they've done a really good job of that and I think the coaches have done a really good job of bringing guys along. It takes a lot of work, a lot of extra work you've got to know who your players are, understand them and how you can reach them there. I think it's been a combination of position coaches have done a great job of getting them prepped and the individual players have done. We are disappointed for the guys who got hurt, but the team that goes on the field is the team and you've got to perform, function like that."

Q: How important has Ron Parker been for you guys especially in preventing those big plays?

SUTTON:"Well, I think Ron, like we talked about a week ago, has done a really good job. He's a safety background wise, but has been playing corner in the league, started working him there four or five weeks ago and then Coop (Marcus Cooper) got nicked up and we had to push him back to corner. I think he's done a really good job and the things that he needs to get better are things that he just needs to keep seeing and I think he's done a really good job at that. He's trying to get in and get the extra study and make it. He's a guy that loves to play. He enjoys the challenge of it and he likes to go out there and play football. As he becomes more familiar, more comfortable, I think that's going to even create a quicker, faster player."

Q: What do you have to do against San Francisco besides stop the run?

SUTTON:"Well, you've got to do a lot of things. This is a really good football team. It's certainly built and noted for its ability to run the football. They pride themselves in that. They've got backs that run and run hard and we're going to have to do a great job tackling, but you've got a dynamic player at quarterback that can make any throw happen that can be made in the NFL from almost any body position, got great speed and ability to extend a play. I think you've got a tight end that, from a vertical standpoint, is dangerous as any tight end in our league and then Anquan Boldin is a highly competitive guy that knows how to get open, trustworthy, dependable, very tough and very physical. You've got to do a great job. This is going to be hard, a hard game defensively because you've got to go to work every day and they've got the zone-read options, they've got about every kind of play in football. They make you work at it. Bottom line is that you're going to have to play great technique up front.  You're going to have to be very physical and you're going to have to tackle. You have to tackle these guys because the backs, Boldin and these guys, they don't go down. We're going to have to do a great job at that."

Q: Have you gotten everything you've expected out of Josh Mauga?

SUTTON:"Yeah, I think Josh has done a really good job and, again as we've mentioned, a guy that has been out all last year basically with an injury and I think he's just starting to get back to where he was and when I had him in New York. I think he's starting to come along very well and done a good job and understands the defense and can get everyone lined up. That's a real bonus for a guy that walks in and has to take over that role. We've been really pleased with what he's done."

Q: You have a lot of confidence in him. Whether it was five, six, seven defensive backs, he was there.

SUTTON:"Right and he's played for us in the past, again, with the Jets. He's played at the mike, the dime, the will; he's played all the positions. He's a real smart football player and he understands schematically what the whole defense is doing. That allows us to take advantage of that and he's a pretty good athlete for a big guy."

Q: Coverage wise, are you playing as much man to man or more zone this year?

SUTTON:"Well, one I wouldn't tell you if it was or wasn't. You guys have access to all the same video. We can't provide you all the information, but we really haven't changed schematically a lot. I don't know honestly. I can't tell you what the statistics are, but I would say pretty close."

Q: You guys haven't given up very many plays over 20 yards on the passing game. Is there more of an emphasis this year to stay on that deep ball?

SUTTON:"Yeah and we would say this last year, this year, next year. We're not foolish. We know that to play good coverage, you're down playing press man, whatever you're doing, you have to control the top end of a route. That's the deal in this whole thing. The other part of it that you're always trying to do is contest throws; you're trying to make a throw be a hard throw. Some of these quarterbacks, that doesn't bother them. They can get it in there no matter what, but you're trying to do that. To answer your question, you're always trying to stay on top of the deep cuts and then the ability to stay with all those other routes is really determines how good a corner you really are."

Q: Is the first thing you know you need to do is stop the run game against the 49ers?

SUTTON: "Yeah, you better buckle both chins straps for this game. They're really, to me, they're a really good football team that knows who they are and they've done this pretty consistently since Jim's been there. He did it at Stanford the same way. He knows who they are, how they're built and what they want to establish and then you add that other dynamic with a guy like (Colin) Kaepernick in there and it's a hard deal. You've got the zone reads when he carries the ball and without question, he's just a dangerous guy when he goes back to pass because he's got, we're talking a big time arm and he's got big time legs. When he decides he doesn't like what's out there in coverage, he can either extend the play which makes you cover forever or he can just take off and go. And that's when I think he is really, really, dangerous."

Q: Even though he was a quarterback is this offensive line more in the mold of Harbaugh in the way they play the game?

SUTTON:"Yeah, Jim grew up in Michigan, Bo Schembechler. He was the quarterback there, running the ball. He understands the running game. He played for Mike Ditka, he understands the running game so his background is such. His dad was a coach and I was a grad assistant for his dad, so I know him well. It's about being tough, it's about being physical. I don't care what position you play, he's expecting that out of you. A guy like (Anquan) Boldin, to me, is his kind of receiver. He can come in and block anybody that's around and does a good job. But I think the answer is yes, it's in the mold of Jim Harbaugh's personality. "

Q: So, if he's going to have a team like that, he's always going to have an offensive line like that?

SUTTON:"I can't speak for him but I wouldn't be surprised if they kept looking like that everywhere he's been."

Q: Are there a lot of teams that aren't committed to running the ball the way San Francisco does in the league now a days?

SUTTON:"I think their style; there are a lot of zone teams. But this is hard nose, tough, we are going to run downhill football. They do a great job with schemes. I think they do an excellent job at using their personnel, moving players around so they can create things. I think Greg Roman has done a great job at that. We see them on film all the time. They are a very good offensive team. They've got their own identity; they know who they want to be and how they want to do things. I think they do what they do, as well as anybody in our league."

Q: How important is it to keep (Colin) Kaepernick contained in the pocket?

SUTTON:"I think it's real critical because when he gets out, one, obviously he can run very fast and very far. Two, the other part is he puts great stress on the coverage. The other day he rolled out to his left and I don't know how he did it but he reached all the way back across and hit Gore over there. And nobody was on Gore, well they were initially. You're in a little bit of a dilemma on defense because when this guy starts, takes off you're going to need a lot of people to get him. So obviously we would love to keep him in there, I think all other 31 teams are thinking the same thing. He has his own thought process and he's a hard guy to get down. He's strong, he has great escape ability and he can throw it at any moment."



Q:** Do you anticipate having De'Anthony Thomas back there for you as a returner for the first time?

TOUB:"Yeah, of course we want to get him back there. He's looking good in practice and we've just got to get him his first game really."

Q: Will you use him as a kick returner too?

TOUB:"There's a chance we could use him back there but we really like Knile (Davis) back there and the opportunities we can get. But you never know, he could do it. I feel confident with him doing that too but really if we use him it's going to be as a punt returner."

Q: De'Anthony looked like he was running full speed before the game Monday night. Did he look good to you?

TOUB:"Yeah, last week he looked good in practice but you've just got to give it time. You've got to make sure with a hamstring. You don't want that thing to keep on lingering on."

Q: He did everything yesterday.

TOUB:"Yeah, he looked good."

Q: Do you worry about putting too much stock in De'Anthony Thomas doing his thing since he hasn't played yet this season?

TOUB:"We did a lot during preseason. We got him back there enough where he had to make some tough catches, he made some people miss, he got hit one time and came out of it, spun out and got a touchdown. So he's got a little bit on tape so people know about him, that's for sure. The thing that we don't know is that this is the first game, this is his first real game so there's going to be a little bit of growing pains probably, that's to be expected but he brings so much to the table as far as what he can do, the big-play factor."

Q: Even with Jamaal Charles back, Knile Davis has had a bigger role in this offense. Will that decrease what he does on special teams?

TOUB:"No, we'll play him just like we did last week. He was our number one kick returner and that's the way we look at it going into this week as long as Jamaal stays healthy."

Q: How have the fill-in guys done on special teams after injuries pushed key special teams players into starters?

TOUB:"Guys are doing a good job. We still ask JMJ (James-Michael Johnson) to be a couple-phase starter for us even though he's a starter on defense. Some of the other guys that have come in have really done a good job – guys like McCray, he's really taken all of (Husain) Abdullah's spots and he's really shown that he can be a really good special teams player and we're happy with him."

Q: Can you talk about Phillip Gaines' performance from Monday night?

TOUB:"Phillip Gaines, he's a three-phase starter for us and he's our number one gunner right now and he's been making a lot of plays out there. They've been singling him up. I told him, 'Get ready, they're going to probably start doubling you now.' But the last two weeks he made some big plays covering those bomb kicks that (Dustin) Colquitt's been giving us. So it's been a team effort out there and both of those guys have done a good job."

Q: How tough is it to time something like that for Phillip Gaines when making a hit on special teams as the gunner?

TOUB:"Yeah, he timed it up perfectly the last two games and then he also had a shot last time. He kind of guessed that it was going to be a right return and he missed the tackle. But that's the skill of it, that's the thing that he's learned and he's getting better and better at it and we're really happy with his progress."

Q: Is it more of a reps-thing with Gaines just trying to gain experience on special teams?

TOUB:"Yeah, early on it was the physical-ness of it. It's really a step up from college and he wasn't the guy as a gunner, he was the star corner. Now he's really accepted where he's at as far as what we're asking him to do. He's doing a nice job."

Q: He's shown a lot of progress on special teams. Can he do that on defense at all?

TOUB:"Yeah, there is no question. We're like the proven ground for guys – we get them going and build confidence and they make plays for us and then it carries over. You see a guy like (Ron) Parker, for instance, last year he was our gunner, now he's a starter. That's just the way it evolves for players."

Q: Have you noticed Cairo Santos feeling more comfortable out there on the field?

TOUB:"Yeah, it's not his first time now. He's got a few games under his belt; he had a bunch of kicks last game, two field goals, five or six extra points, whatever he had. His kickoffs were good, we had five touchbacks. Those are all things that are great signs to see going forward."

Q: Was it just a confidence thing for Santos?

TOUB:"I think so. I think it's just a matter of doing something the first time, big stage. I think all of those things are second nature to him now. He'll be that much better going forward."

Q: Does Dee Ford not fit in to the special teams equation?

TOUB:"He's still a work in progress on special teams. He'll be the first one to tell you. We use him a little bit on punt return periodically, but special teams for him, that's a totally new avenue for him. It's a long season so we'll get him in there a little bit and then we'll get him a little bit more as long as he's successful. That's the way it works."

Q: With that wingspan off the snap he has, he would seem to be a great potential blocker.

TOUB:"Right, that's why we use him on punt return and we put him on the edge. He got a rep last week and he got cut. So he's got to understand that these little guys are not going to take him on like an offensive tackle. They are going to get into his legs and those are things that he's got to learn."

Q: So it's not a matter of him not wanting to play special teams? TOUB:"Oh, no. He wants to do it but it's just a matter of getting the best players on the field."

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