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dirk digler
01-05-2005, 10:45 AM
DICK VERMEIL FINAL 2005 PRESS CONFERENCE
Jan 05, 2005, 9:38:07 AM

Opening Monologue

DICK VERMEIL: “Welcome to our final press conference. Let me say that I’ve enjoyed dealing with all of you on a one-on-one and a group basis through the whole season. We really haven’t had too many problems or conflicts. I respect what you do and how you do it. Unfortunately, we didn’t give you enough real good things to write about in terms of win-loss records but, hopefully, you enjoyed the season and the relationship with the Kansas City Chiefs as well.

“Season captains were elected last Friday and were our captains for our final game. They were Trent Green, offensively, Eric Hicks, defensively, and Gary Stills, special teams. The squad elected them. The offense elected the offense, the defense the defense and everybody voted for the special teams (captain). What three fine leaders and three fine examples and three guys who had outstanding years. They obviously earned the respect of their teammates by their performance on and off the field.

“Sunday’s game in San Diego; we’re disappointed. We didn’t play well. We did not play well enough to play that kind of football team the final game of the season and win. We prepared to win but we did not play well enough. Trent did not have a good game and when you’re an offensive football team like we are and rely on the offense and things don’t click real well offensively at key positions then you normally don’t play very well. As we look at the game there are probably a lot of things we could have done to make it a little better. But we don’t want to make excuses; they beat us and they beat us without some of their starters. All respect goes to San Diego.

“There have been very few times even in defeat this year that I felt as bad as I did after that ball game. I felt we were in position to win it and physically capable of winning it and we didn’t. We have to accept it as it was - a bad football game. We don’t have to diminish everything Trent Green did in a record-setting year for one game because he wasn’t the only player who didn’t have an outstanding game.

Offensive production

“We’re very pleased for the most part with the continual growth of the offense. We continue to break records, not only franchise records but Chiefs records. That’s great, but as I told the squad yesterday in this very meeting room: the only record we’re really, really serious about is our win-loss record. It wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t what we anticipated and we have to live with it and do what we have to do in the off-season to make it better.

“But from an offensive standpoint, they did an outstanding job. Now, there were some games where if we had scored like the number one team in terms of total yardage we would have won. Those games where we scored more than 21 points we were one play away from winning. So, we can find areas to be critical if we want to and we can find areas to shoot for in improving.

“I say this in all respect to my coaches and our organization: we’ve gotten a lot of miles out of an offensive group. It would have been very easy for us to have three receivers with over 1,000 yards if Johnnie Morton hadn’t gotten hurt. He only needed 200 some yards and had four games to do it. Of course, Tony Gonzalez set records. Then we had three different running backs score rushing touchdowns and if Priest Holmes had not been injured he would have been very, very close to 2,000 yards running and set a rushing touchdown record. So, we have to be pleased.

Defining defensive problems

“Defensively we improved in areas versus the run but we didn’t improve our biggest weakness in giving up big plays. We played well enough to keep in 14 games even in the fourth quarter but not well enough to win more than seven games. We have to find a way to improve the improvement from defending the run to defending the pass and to stopping the big plays that we have surrendered. We’ve had that problem for a number of years. As it was last year, the problems are defined and this year they’re more defined.

“I think under Gunther’s leadership we can make some strides. Will they be dramatic? Will we all of a sudden jump? I thought we would jump higher than we did this past year and could be higher and into the top 15. At one time we were in the top 15 (defensively) prior to the Indianapolis game. But after that ball game we sort of sunk. We still won some football games in spite of it, but I’d like to believe with the proper moves on our part and the improvement in our own contribution, from personnel and from performance and coaching and growth of young players that we can grow enough to be a better defensive team than we were this past year.

Special teams

“Special teams, what can you say? People started writing off Dante Hall as not having a good year and what’s he do? He returns kicks for touchdowns. What did he do the other day? They’re trying to squib one and he returns it anyway. He’s a great, great football player. We sort of diminished his role as a receiver which is more our fault than his. We’ve got to really evaluate that and make sure we do the right things for him. But from a special teams standpoint, we can still improve our coverage phases. Our punter, Nic Murphy helped us the last couple of games. He really helped our coverage. Our net was over 40 yards and it hadn’t been that way for a while.

“Lawrence Tynes was inconsistent in his kickoffs but I think there’s growth there. I think there’s potential there. I think we have a chance to see a young man grow at that position. I like his demeanor. He doesn’t run and hide when he makes a mistake. He’ll look you right in the eye and say, ‘I made a mistake,’ and go sit on the bench and get ready to make the next one.

“We played well enough, as I said, we were tied or ahead in 14 of 16 games in the fourth quarter. What we have to do is eliminate the bad plays or find a way to make the good plays that make a difference this coming season.

Ascending players

“Our young players continue to grow through the season. Jared Allen had an outstanding rookie year. Now, we’ve got to make sure we don’t enshrine him and put him in the Pro Bowl before he deserves it so he that he gets his sense of values out of proportion. Samie Parker ascended toward the end of the year. We’re pleased with his progress and he has some potential along with great speed. He showed great poise.

“We had some other young players step up: Kevin Sampson went in and played half the ballgame Sunday as a right tackle. It was his first real play and he played well. It didn’t surprise me. He’s practiced well and I like his demeanor. He’s a seventh round draft choice and I feel good about his progress.

“I also have to pay our respects to Lional Dalton who was a player on the street that we had tried to sign twice and didn’t get. We brought him in here and he ascended and played as well as any of our defensive linemen and as consistently as any of our defensive linemen. There were times he made dominating football plays.

Thanking the fans

“I want to thank the Chiefs fans. The only way I really get a read on how the fans are is my radio show on Monday nights. I don’t read the newspaper and I don’t listen to anything but NPR (National Public Radio). I want to keep my frame of mind in proper perspective.

“These fans are unbelievable. I told Carl (Peterson) this morning that I can remember being on a two hour radio show in Philadelphia for two reasons: number one, I wanted to be able to talk to the fans and, number two, I needed the money because I wasn’t making any as a head coach and had three kids in college. My salary couldn’t cover all the expenses at that time. I had the same radio show in St. Louis and sometimes I’d turn the show off and say, ‘I don’t why I put myself through this aggravation.’ But at least it gave me an opportunity to answer questions honestly.

“We do not screen a single question. I like the controversial questions because it gives me a chance to find out what somebody is thinking. I don’t try to embarrass them. I believe in telling the truth. Sometimes they have a hard time living with the truth because they don’t want to believe you. But it’s a good experience, how warm the people are, how loyal they are, not to Dick Vermeil but to the Kansas City Chiefs and the organization.

We had calls last night from New Mexico, Mexico, and they get on the Internet and they listen to the radio show. It’s just amazing how much they care about the franchise.

“So, in some ways I’ve got to feel as the head football coach that we’ve let these fans down. We didn’t give them the same kind of season that they got last year. But I can say to them there’s only four teams in the NFL that have won more games than this franchise has the last two years. That’s not covering up for the failure of this year; but it’s a fact. We’ve got to get back to playing more consistent football so we can win more because our fans deserve it. I think the critical media would just as soon write something good as bad, or a critical radio guy would just as soon speak on something good as bad. We’ve just got to give you more.

“But I say this: We played a tough schedule — the fourth toughest in the National Football League. If you look at the teams in the playoffs right now, then look at their schedules and the win-loss records of their opponents. You’ll find out that the teams that played more losing teams, like we did last year, had a better opportunity to win. Where we broke down critically this year was in losing to some other losing teams. We’ve got to answer that question for ourselves as coaches and players.”

Q: Are you 100% coming back next year?

VERMEIL: “I’m planning on it.”

Q: You’re planning on it? But is there any way that you’ll change your mind?

VERMEIL: “I don’t know. I’m going to go home on Thursday and sit down on my back porch.”

Q: Are you thinking about it?

VERMEIL: “No. I’m planning on coming back.”

Q: Will there be any changes on your staff?

VERMEIL: “Not that I know of. Somebody might get hired off our staff. I told my coaching staff that this is my last year and that if anyone had an opportunity that could give them security beyond what we could give them that I would not hold them. I don’t think it’s fair to do that to people. I wouldn’t do it to them. I kind of believe most of them want to stay. I think there might be somebody who gets an opportunity to get a nice advancement. People want people off our offensive coaching staff. Who wouldn’t? Nobody in the NFL has done what we’ve done over the last three years offensively -nobody. As bad a football team as we are nobody in the National Football League has done what we have done with the football.”

Q: Defensively you regressed in every category from a year ago and you fired your defensive coordinator and you didn’t make any personnel changes. Are you regretting that now?

VERMEIL: “I don’t regret and I don’t hold grudges. If you regret things you keep regurgitating problems and it just creates a bad frame of mind to work in. I am not the least bit sorry that I re-signed Eric Hicks. He was just elected captain of the football team. He had a good year. Played well. John Browning had a good year. Played well. They did a good job utilizing John Browning.

“We re-signed our two safeties. Both of them experienced injury problems through the year. Greg Wesley finished the season playing strong the last three games after starting out not playing well. But he missed both work and games. Our other safety (Jerome Woods) didn’t play.

“Bartee did not have a great year. He still experienced giving up the big play. No coach can ask a player to do any more than he does on the practice field. He works his butt off and practices really well and evaluates really well. But he gives up the big play from time to time. But we had that problem at the right corner the whole year because more pressure was put on our right corner than the left corner. They’re going to pick on the people that they think they have the best percentage of working on. So, it magnifies the problem of a guy growing at the position.

“You can abolish (these guys), cut ‘em and waive ‘em and say they’re lousy corners but two weeks ago (McCleon) intercepts two balls. But we still have problems on defense giving up big plays. We spent three and a half hours as a defensive staff this morning in a very intense, emotional meeting. I got my a-$% chewed out pretty good. I listened; I learned some things and it was good. We’ve got some problems to solve on defense and some of it is guys having to play better. Some coaches have to coach better.

“The common problem in all defenses is Dick Vermeil. Maybe I’ve got to do some things different. I don’t know what it is yet, but whatever it is I’m going to do it. I was here when Greg Robinson took all the crap. Now this year our defense gave up 103 more points and Greg Robinson’s gone. I am the common denominator, so I’ve got to look at what I’m doing, how I do things is a factor. We’re doing the same things if not better than we did them when we won the world championship with a defensive team that was the sixth rated one in the National Football League.

“One of the biggest problems I think we’re having as a defensive team is we’re not transferring our work ethic and execution and practice to game day. All of a sudden, some phase of it doesn’t go as well. True, it’s different tempo game day, it’s different people game day, but normally you get a better transfer percentage-wise and ratio-wise to how we practice to how we play. We’re not getting a transfer. We’ve got to resolve those problems. If we don’t we’re not going to be a good defense again.”

Q: You say the common denominator is you but the common denominator is your talent. You have the same guys you had last year.

VERMEIL: “We didn’t have anyone better.”

Q: So how can you say it’s just you? You re-signed seven of your free agents on defense and when are the players going to start to take responsibility?

VERMEIL: “Some of it is talent that didn’t play as well. Some of it was talent that got hurt. There’s other things that factor into that, too. Last year we played 10 or 11 losing teams. We played a more challenging schedule this year and we had some distorted offensive performances. But overall, we’re not good enough and have to solve the problems and I have to start looking at myself first and work on down through the ranks.

“Do I second-guess the signing of those players? No. I really don’t. I told the squad that yesterday. Did we not try to go out and evaluate the personnel available and talk to guys and bring some guys in? Yes we did. We even had guys call us on the phone and tell us they wanted to come here. We talked to them and they ended up going to other places. Money talks. You do what you have the wherewithal to do within the environment and who’s available. There aren’t always 11 all-pros out there available that are going to come in and change a defensive scheme over night.

“We know the areas of performance that are not good or consistent enough. We attack that problem that way. But it’s harder today to overhaul a total roster from a defensive or offensive standpoint. We did a hell of a job doing it offensively. I don’t think any team in the National Football League has done as good a job as we have of overhauling an offense with the personnel moves that we made. We tried to draft defensively and some of those choices didn’t work out.

Q: You overhauled your offense with one major free agent acquisition in Priest Holmes, one trade for Trent Green….

VERMEIL: ”…Willie Roaf, take advantage of Brian Waters, bring in Eddie Kennison, bring in Johnnie Morton, a lot more than just two guys. When you put an offense that leads the National Football League it’s more than one or two guys. You have to have the key guy: the quarterback, the running back and the left tackle. Those are the three keys.”

Q: You said on your radio show last night that signing unrestricted free agents is largely over-rated…

VERMEIL: “It is.”

Q: …and sometimes unproductive.

VERMEIL: “That’s the truth.”

Q: But are you to the point where you’d consider a major trade to give up something on the offensive side to gain something on defense?

VERMEIL: “No. Haven’t talked about it; Carl (Peterson) hasn’t talked about it. We just had our first personnel meeting this morning with the defensive coaches. The league gives us at the owners meeting each year a detailed study on unrestricted free agency dollar, the movement and the production. It’s scary. I go back to say that what this organization has done with an offensive football team from that standpoint has been glaringly better than the percentages in the National Football League. Glaringly better.”

Q: Would you consider a trade, though?

VERMEIL: “Not offensively; I don’t think so. Who would you trade? Priest Holmes? No. Would you trade Trent Green? No. At 34-years old? No. Willie Roaf at 35 years old.”?

Q: Larry Johnson.

VERMEIL: “I don’t think so. Larry Johnson at one time was offered in a trade.”

Q: Before he had a chance to really establish himself as the player he turned out to be. Would you agree that his trade value has increased?

VERMEIL: “I would, but you’d have to ask Carl (Peterson) when he gets up here. Ask him if he wants to trade him. I didn’t want to trade him then.”

Q: What are your priorities this off-season?

VERMEIL: “From a defensive standpoint it starts from the back-end forward - the secondary forward. Evaluating everything they do physically, evaluating who we think can get better and who can’t get any better, evaluating what we do and ask them to do within the scheme. Then if they are our guys – whoever they end up being – then we’ve got to ask them to do what they can get done on Sunday - whatever it is.

“So the evaluation process starts there. I’m pleased with the progress our defensive line has made. But I think they can get better and I think they will get better. Ryan Sims is still inconsistent. Eric Hicks is Eric Hicks; you know what you’re going to get from Eric Hicks. He played his butt off Sunday; he was a major factor in that ball game. We know what we’re going to get from John Browning. We know how much room Jared Allen has to grow. We know Jimmy Wilkerson is our youngest end.

“We know our young linebackers have to keep growing because they’re very inconsistent. There is talent there but they have to keep growing. We have to get Shawn Barber back and (Mike) Maslowski will be back in the hunt again.

“But our secondary we have to evaluate how much growth can each one of those guys make between now and next year. If they can’t get better then someone else has to come in and play that position. In the final analysis, if we say they can’t play any better or can’t play well enough then we have to do something about it.”

Q: How many guys might be in that category, coach?

VERMEIL: “In a couple of weeks I’ll give you a better answer to that.”

CARL PETERSON: “We haven’t had any chance to discuss this with any depth.”

VERMEIL: “We spent three and a half hours this morning; we just got started.”

PETERSON: “And that was just with the coaches. We haven’t talked with personnel.”

Q: Ryan Sims only had 15 tackles this year and two sacks. Is he shaping up to be a guy you missed on in the draft?

VERMEIL: “I’d like him to have 30 tackles and 14 sacks. The other thing you’ve got to ask, though, is where does he play? Where’s he play?

Q: Defensive line.

VERMEIL: “No, where does he play? (He plays) three-technique. Hard for three-techniques to be big play makers. They ruin a lot of plays but they may not make as many plays. They’re lined up on the center-guard. We even have a number of times he’s been doubled recorded.

“But he’s not consistent. His effort is 100% consistent. He works his butt off and he plays as hard as he can play. His fundamentals have to continue to improve. They have to continue to improve and we have to find a way to help him because his effort is there, his motor is there and the power is there. He has a couple of bad habits and they’re hard to correct in battle. He made three plays in the game the other day that were outstanding football plays. Outstanding. But there were some other plays where he didn’t win the battle. When he breaks down he breaks down fundamentally.

“Any guy who has great effort and a good motor like he does has got a real good chance to end up being a real good football player. Will he be a pro bowl player? Maybe not, but he’ll be a good football player.”

Q: But ultimately you expect more of him than 15 tackles.

VERMEIL: “I’d like him to get more than 15 tackles but you also have to realize how many snaps a game he plays. If you want to get more than 15 than you have to give him 65 snaps. There are some teams that play their guys 10-65 snaps a game. We do not. He shares a position and if you left him at that position you’d like to believe he’d make the same plays that the guy backing him up makes. So, all those numbers are easy for you to evaluate but for coaches there’s much more to the evaluation process. There’s how many opportunities does he get to make.

“When you divide that position up you do it 50-50. Would you feel better if I said he made 30 tackles?

Q: No.

VERMEIL: “Well I’ve got my defensive stats here. Hicks played 763 snaps; Sims played 586 snaps. Hicks made 22 (solo) tackles, 63 total. Sims made 30 total tackles. He had seven quarterback hits, nine quarterback pressures and two sacks. He did some good things. Browning played 615 snaps and had 55 total tackles.

“We, as coaches, have to remember who they are playing against? Who did they beat for a sack? If it’s an all-pro you feel pretty good about it. If you beat a young rookie starting his first game, well….. All these things are taken into the evaluation process as you evaluate any position, but especially offensive and defensive linemen. You can play pretty well three weeks in a row playing against a below average player and then, all of a sudden, you line up and here’s a man. There have been a number of guys who come into Kansas City with great sack records and they leave with no sacks. Same guy but they’re playing on Willie Roaf. That’s how we have to look at things and evaluate things in terms of production.”

Q: You said last night that you’ve heard suggestions that Will Shields might be contemplating retirement. How concerned about this are you?

VERMEIL: “Right now not real concerned because I haven’t talked to Will about it. But I think you get to Will’s age this time of year you think about retirement. I would be surprised if he retired and I wouldn’t be surprised if he retired. He’s had a tremendous career. I’m sure he’s disappointed he hasn’t gone to the Super Bowl yet.”

Q: You’ve led the league in scoring and total offense. How big a missed opportunity has this been?

VERMEIL: “Like I said last year: it’s schedule, schedule, schedule, schedule. Any time you want to sit down and have me prove it to you, I will prove it to you. We won it all (in St. Louis) in ‘99 and played 11 losing teams. Now they weren’t losing teams at the start of the year, no one had lost a game and some of them came out of playoff games the year before, just like Tampa Bay. Nothing guarantees the next year.

“Since I’ve been here we haven’t played a schedule yet that you could say, ‘wow.’ Coming into last season it looked like it was going to be tough but at the end of the season we played 10 losing teams. We didn’t play 10 losing teams this year.”

Q: Considering the schedule, is the window still open for this team?

VERMEIL: “I can’t tell you. It depends on Trent Green, Willie Roaf, Will Shields and the advancement of our young players, injury factor. Trent has played more games at quarterback consecutively than anybody in history here. Good fortune, good offensive line, hopefully, good coaching with not too many crazy things with protection and also a good running game.

“But Priest Holmes got hurt this year. He played seven and a half games. How many games would Priest have made a difference in? I don’t know. I’ve heard Lamar Hunt say Priest Holmes is the greatest player to have ever played in Kansas City. They do make a difference. But when they get hurt they can’t make a difference.”

Q: Not to make too big a deal about this, but when you were asked if the window was still open you said it all depends on a bunch of offensive players. You mentioned nothing about the defense. Is that part of the mind change?

VERMEIL: “Well, you have to remain as you are in certain areas while you pinpoint your weaknesses and improve those. The question was asked about my offense. So, I like to believe we can keep the offense growing. I have my thoughts. We didn’t do a real good job on offense the other day (vs. San Diego). I think we can keep it improving. Can we continue to be number one in total yards? I don’t know. But we’re not going to drop out of sight and that window, I think, will be there beyond a playoff caliber offense.

“If you took our numbers offensively and compared them with the last five Super Bowl winners it goes all the way back to ‘99 to an offensive team that was as good. So, the window’s still open, but the window was open last year and we didn’t get it done. If the offense remains the same and we can improve our defense the window’s still open. But if the offense dropped out of site and you’re trying to build your defense up you don’t have a chance.”

Q: The question I was trying to ask was you said there were things you may have to change individually in how you approach things. Do you have to pay more attention to defense as a head coach than you might have in the past?

VERMEIL: “Listen, I pay a lot of attention to it. But I don’t go in and tell them how to coach it. I make suggestions and Gun is a good listener, one of the best coordinators I’ve ever worked with in terms of listening. I’ve just got to make sure I don’t give him poor advice.”

Q: Considering the age of the core players on this offensive team, is it reasonable to think that there may only be one more year left?

VERMEIL: “Could, but I’ll tell you this: we had two new young offensive linemen play and one start and play well. Never gave up a sack.”

Q: But Priest may have, I don’t know, probably one year left, since he’s talked about retirement.

VERMEIL: “He’s never indicated it to me. You guys go on rumors and hearsay. It doesn’t have to be true. When I say it I’m held responsible for it. He’s never said that to me.”

Q: OK, but all I’m saying is that a lot of the key guys on offense are reaching older age…

VERMEIL: “No question, Casey Wiegmann’s getting up there, too. That’s why their good.”

Q: Right, but you would maintain there might be one more year for your offense to maintain that level?

VERMEIL: “Who’s to say we might not sign some unrestricted free agent that a year from now will replace some guy. That’s the advantage you have today that we didn’t have in the old days. Willie Roaf wasn’t here when we got here. He wasn’t here. We went out and we brought him here and he goes to the Pro Bowl. You couldn’t do those things in the old days.

“It’s hard to predict. I can’t say any more than I’ve said. I tell you exactly what’s going on, how I feel, what we think the problems are and how we hope to solve them. But it’s not magic. It really isn’t.

“I could say Carl and I are going to go out and sign four free agents and they’re going to come in here….we could go out and recruit our butts off and they may not come here. They may not like to play in the cold weather; they may want to go to San Diego and play. They may want to go someplace else like Chicago and New York or a big market where they can get exposure. You can’t control everything.

“The only thing I can say is this organization will do everything it can. You won’t agree with it. That’s all right. That’s the business you’re in. But I don’t think I’ve given you one reason not to trust what I say. If you find something, bring it up to me. We will try to do everything we can. But there aren’t any guarantees.

“This is a high performance business. Everyone’s up and trying. All you can is attack your problems the best way you possibly can.”

nascher
01-05-2005, 01:09 PM
Anywhere Audio/Video llink ?

There is nothing on KCchiefs.com

dirk digler
01-05-2005, 01:12 PM
Anywhere Audio/Video llink ?

There is nothing on KCchiefs.com


here you go:
http://www.kcchiefs.com/news/2005/01/05/dick_vermeil_final_2005_press_conference/

They usually have at least Real Audio but nothing this time. This is the text version.