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11-24-2004, 06:29 PM

11-24-2004, 06:32 PM
Q&A with Dick Vermeil

Nov 24, 2004, 5:23:00 PM

DICK VERMEIL: “We got back to work today with a walk through tempo. We put in the initial phase of the game plan and went through it offensively and defensively in the same number of reps that we would normally do in a Wednesday practice, but in helmets and sweats and a jog-thru tempo. Having played Monday night I thought it would be a better approach to take on Wednesday. Their attitude was good and exactly what I thought it would be.”

Q: Summarize this season to date.

VERMEIL: “It was legal to be optimistic at the start of the season coming off a good year at 13-3. But we started out poorly and have never gotten untracked. We’ve beaten three good winning football teams but we have lost to some teams that do not have winning records. Monday night we played well enough to be competitive against the world champions but made enough mistakes to get beat. It’s disappointing. I don’t think the season’s over in terms of us playing better and I expect to play better on Sunday.”

Q: Dante Hall said today that you really stressed the positive today. Is that difficult to do in your situation?

VERMEIL: “That’s the only way I know how to do it. I’ve always done it that way. We did a lot of things real well (vs. New England). We broke some all time records, but we still have a number of bad plays we have to eliminate both on offense and defense and special teams. As we gradually work on eliminating those some more wins will come.

“It’s easy to dwell on the negative and we correct them and coach them and assume some of the responsibility ourselves. But I think you get better by keeping them in a better frame of mind to work.”

Q: Tony Gonzalez was saying today that one reason to continue to feel motivated and do well is because it’s fun. You should be having fun and if you’re not, you shouldn’t be there and won’t be for too long. Do you agree with that?

VERMEIL: “If you don’t enjoy playing football it’s hard to make enough money to make it worthwhile. If the only motivation to play is to make a living it usually shows. Tony Gonzalez is just the opposite. He’s a football player and he loves playing the game. Now, he also appreciates what it does for him financially and he earns every penny of it. There’s nobody playing tight end any better than he is right now, nobody.

“It depends on how you rate tight ends. I evaluate tight ends on everything they do within the offense and nobody’s playing any better than he is. I think the more you enjoy it the more consistently you play the game with a passion, the more you consistently prepare to play better next week, the more consistently you make a positive contribution to the entire football team in not only thinking about your pro bowl, your stats, your bonuses. You’re thinking about winning and your teammates. That’s Tony Gonzalez.”

Q: A major difference between the Chiefs and the Chargers.

VERMEIL: “Last year at this time we were plus 18 and now we’re minus five, so that’s a big difference. (San Diego) last year was minus 11 and right now its plus eight. It makes a big difference in tight football games. Very few teams are good enough to win in spite of themselves, especially with our record. We’ve played six winning teams already – good football teams and won three against winning teams. Now we’ve got a chance to play another good winning team.”

Q: How is the defense different this year?

VERMEIL: “We’re still giving up the big plays. We’re better against the run than we were last year, but we’re still giving up the big plays. That’s been our problem here since I’ve been here, so maybe it’s me.

“I wanted us to be more aggressive, to do a better job of stopping the run. I wanted the ability every once in a while to maybe shut down the good receiver rather than let some guy catch 10 balls on us and not get enough pressure on the quarterback and let a guy release free off the line of scrimmage. We’ve gotten part of it back.

“I didn’t expect miracles. I don’t believe in geniuses in this league. The real geniuses in this football league are either retired or buried.”

Q: How is the San Diego offense different this year?

VERMEIL: “I think it’s the same offense they’ve been running except that it’s so much more efficient now. The young quarterback is operating real well and Brian Schottenheimer has done a good job with him. Cam Cameron has done a good job with the offense. Gates makes a contribution and you’re not turning the ball over. (Drew Brees has) thrown the ball over 150 times without an interception. That stems from getting better pass protection. They’re a real good football team. That’s not a fluke. They’re of age. They’ve got 32 kids who have been there for three years and they’re in the Marty way of doing things. I’m not surprised they’re winning.”

Q: Explain Drew Brees play this year.

VERMEIL: “Confidence, receiver corps. I think the great thing they did was stay with him through adverse times, not jump ship on him too early. Most young quarterbacks fail when the coaching staff jumps ship on early and he takes all the blame for losing. They haven’t done that with this guy. They’ve stayed with him and he’s grown up. The game is starting to slow down for him. He’s doing the right things with the football and making the right decisions and not making the dumb ones. It makes a big difference, complemented with a fine running back and an improved offensive line. Normally you end up being more successful.

“The defense is playing better so they’re not always playing catch-up. They’re playing the way they would like to play. Things are going his way. Now obviously they used a first round pick very early thinking there was real doubt there, but he’s proved that he’s the real deal and what they thought they got when they drafted him in the second round a few years ago. I think that’s the case with most quarterbacks that are drafted that high. If you’re patient with them and can survive losing and everybody doesn’t get fired, normally you’ve got a chance to develop a pretty good quarterback, or at least the next coach does.”

Q: When they draft a new quarterback does that light a fire under a guy’s butt?

VERMEIL: “Normally it’s an indication that they’re not sure they have a quarterback, especially when they draft that early. But I think Drew Brees has been an extremely highly motivated person throughout his career and I don’t think that kind of thing can make that much difference in him. I think the opportunity is better, the offensive line is better and the skill people are better. It’s made a big difference. It’s a Marty Schottenheimer football team after three years.”

Q: What does Gates mean to the Chargers?

VERMEIL: “The same thing that Tony Gonzalez means to ours. He’s a dimension that you have to contend with and when you over-emphasize him something else happens. He’s very impressive, a big play guy, unbelievable in the offense in regard to the Red Zone. He’s a dominating factor.”

Q: Why have the Chargers had so much trouble winning in Arrowhead?

VERMEIL: “It’s a tough place to play for any opponent, rather it be San Diego or anybody. Normally when someone gets a streak like that going that football team that has lost seven in a row wasn’t a real competitive team anywhere, let alone just in Arrowhead. They were probably experiencing some losing within their division and on the road at other places as well, not just isolated at Arrowhead.”

Q: What will be a key to this game this weekend?

VERMEIL: “The big guys are the guys that make a difference in a ball game. The big guys are the people who allow the guys that touch the ball to make plays or prevent them from making plays. So, I think that it will come to defensive and offensive line play.”

Q: It looks like Chris Bober will start for you for the first time this weekend. How’s he been playing?

VERMEIL: “He played pretty well in the ball game the other day. We’ve been playing him all along but this knee thing with John Welbourn, well, we might have run out of miles on him right now. I think it needs a good break and we’re doing some thorough examinations and MRI work.”

Q: The knee’s more of a problem than the hip is?

VERMEIL: “I think so, over the long haul.”

Q: Does Chris allow you to do the same things you do with John?

VERMEIL: “We didn’t limit ourselves with John in there at all. Chris Bober doesn’t have a knee problem, so he runs a little better.”

11-24-2004, 06:35 PM
Q&A TE Tony Gonzalez

Nov 24, 2004, 6:16:36 PM


Q: What changes do you have to make to get back on the winning track?

GONZALEZ: “I don’t think we need to change too much stuff. I think we need to play a little smarter football, stop turning the ball over in the Red Zone, penalties have been killing us this year. Overall, I don’t know what it is. It’s not really one phase. A lot of people are looking to point fingers at our defense, I don’t think you can do that. Last year the same defense was out there. They’re doing pretty much the same things they did last year. I don’t know. Pretty much, we just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing and try to go out there and not turn the ball over and score some points once we get into the Red Zone.”

Q: Have you been able to take a look at Chargers TE Antonio Gates?

GONZALEZ: “I had an opportunity to look at him a lot. He’s impressive. He’s a great football player and I couldn’t be happier for him.”

Q: Does he remind you of yourself in a lot of ways?

GONZALEZ: “Remind me of me? I think everybody in this league has different styles. He definitely brings his own presence to the game and its something I watch. I like to watch all the tight ends. I’ve been watching (San Francisco TE) Eric Johnson this year, Jason Whitten down in Dallas and I’d be fool not to watch Gates. I’m looking forward to watching him play in person this week because he’s been doing some pretty good things this year and he could help me out in my game.”

Q: Talk about the frustration of this season?

GONZALEZ: “Yeah it’s frustrating but at the same time you have to realize it’s a team effort. When we take the field we take it as a team not the Kansas City offense or the Kansas City defense, Kansas City special teams. It’s a total team effort. I wish they (the defense) were out there making a few more plays but that’s the reality of the situation. I feel like as an offense we should be able to go out there and put points on the board. The object is for us to score every time they put the ball in our hands. If we don’t do that we feel like we didn’t play the best that we could because our offense is a pretty potent offense. I’m looking forward to the challenge this weekend against the Chargers defense. A lot of people are giving their offense credit and they’re playing well right now, but their defense from what I’ve seen on film, they’re playing a lot better than last year. It’s going to definitely be a good challenge for us.”

Q: How has RB Derrick Blaylock done in the place of Priest Holmes?

GONZALEZ: “He’s done really well. I don’t know if you guys know about the game he had a couple weeks ago, 186 yards (at New Orleans). He was out there playing really good football. You have to credit the offensive line credit too. If we put – not anybody – you put a good running back in our system, he’s going to be able to gain yards because of the offensive linemen that we have. Obviously, you’re right, he’s not Priest Holmes. Priest Holmes will be missed, but Derrick’s been filling in mightily. He runs the ball really hard, on the screen pass he’s good at making moves, making people miss in the open field. It’s the next best thing to Priest Holmes with Priest Holmes being out.”

Q: It was easy to think you would look to pass more with Priest out, but it looks like the offense is the same in his absence?

GONZALEZ: “It is. It is pretty much the same offense and I thought that too after he got hurt, ‘Well maybe he’ll start passing the ball a little bit more.’ Then we went and we played and I think Derrick ran the ball (33) times. If anything he ran the ball even more. It’s whatever the defense is giving us. Al Saunders is one of the best coordinators in the league, so whatever the defense gives us, he’ll go out there and take advantage of it. We try to stay as balanced as we can to keep the defense guessing and I think that’s not going to change.”

Q: WR Eddie Kennison has played well of late.

GONZALEZ: “He’s doing really well. He’s been coming up big for us the past couple weeks. You talk about a guy who used to be one of the fastest guys in the NFL. He’ll probably still tell you he’s one of the fastest guys. Last Monday night I think he showed that; he outran the defense a couple of times. I couldn’t be happier. Our receivers are playing much better football right now. We’re all on the same page right now, but we’re making these silly mistakes. We’re fumbling the ball in the Red Zone; we’re turning the ball over in the Red Zone. And that’s all of us. It’s not just Trent (Green) or the guys fumbling. We all have to take responsibility, look in the mirror and try not to make excuses except saying we’ve got to go out there and play better, put some points on the board.”

Q: What do you see in the San Diego defense?

GONZALEZ: “It seems like they don’t do that much special. They remind me of the Jacksonville defense, which is one of the best defenses in the league in my opinion. They try to wait for you to make mistakes.

They’re going to hustle; they’re going to fly around and try to make plays. Obviously I played with (LB) Donnie Edwards awhile back here. He’s one of my good friends, so I like watching the way the play on defense, especially the way he plays. The way he runs around and fills gaps, I think that’s kind of infectious to the rest of his teammates. Up front the D-line is playing a lot better too.”

Q: What can you say about new Chargers TE Billy Baber from his time in Kansas City?

GONZALEZ: “First of all, you’re getting a great tight end. He’s a pretty good combination tight end, more of a receiving tight end but he’s going to get down there and block you if you ask him to do that. He’s got great hands. He’s a pretty fast guy too; he says he runs a 4.5, 4.6 and I don’t know if he’s that fast but he is fast. One of the best things about him and that we love him for out here – since he wasn’t playing, he was hurt at the start of the season – the way his attitude is in the locker room. He’s one of those guys that’s great to be around. He’s got a lot of great stories. He’s a total country boy. He gets along with everybody it doesn’t matter who it is. He’ll talk to the quarterback, the D-linemen… whoever’s there, he’s going to talk to them, talk a lot of trash and have some fun. That’s why we like him here in Kansas City.”

Q: Was there a time when you thought this team is better than it’s record?

GONZALEZ: “Every week. Any team we’ve played this year, you can ask them after the games – even the New England Patriots – and you tell them this is a 3-7 team and they probably wouldn’t believe you. We’re a lot better than that. We’re a playoff football team in my mind, but the reality of the situation is that we are 3-7. The games that we have won this year, we won convincingly. We went up to Baltimore on Monday night and beat them pretty handily. Obviously beat the Atlanta Falcons pretty handily. It’s one of those things that’s so frustrating. The attitude around the locker room is disbelief because we can’t believe we’re sitting here at 3-7. We know we’re a much better football team than that.”

Q: Is there a reason why former basketball players make great NFL tight ends?

GONZALEZ: “I think because of the agility. You’re going to find a guy who’s the power forward type around 6-4, 6-5 athletic type. We’re not tall enough for the NBA; we’re kind of ‘tweeners for the NBA so the best thing – I wouldn’t say the next best thing – is just to go out there and play football. You got Gates, myself, I think (Cleveland Browns TE) Kellen Winslow, Jr. would make a good power forward, we’re just not tall enough. For some reason or another we can’t make it in the NBA so we’re going to go out there and play football. It’s the evolution of the position too. Some people say why do you think all tight ends are leading the league (in catches)? They talk about the five-yard chuck rule, which really means nothing – you saw that on Monday night. It’s because of the evolution of the tight end and guys are coming in that can make plays at it.”

11-24-2004, 06:43 PM
Sit Welbourn, there's nothing to gain by playing him at all. We're going to lose a draft pick, plus I'm sure we'd all actually rather see him healthy for next year....

11-24-2004, 07:26 PM
The real geniuses in this football league are either retired or buried.

Wrong! The real geniouses(CP spelling) are right here on the internet!