View Full Version : PFW: A conversation with Kansas City's Trent Green provides perspective on the game

05-05-2005, 10:58 AM
Hot off the press from PFW....

A conversation with Kansas City's Trent Green provides perspective on the game

By Trent Modglin (tmodglin@pfwmedia.com)
May 5, 2005

Here's the link - it's kinda long:


05-05-2005, 11:44 AM
Thanks for the link. Good article, though I can't stand the guy's writing style. He inserts way, way too much of himself. It's like a beginning journalist.

"So, I asked him about X" He said, "Y."

When asked about Z, he said, "T."

Very amateurish, clunky style.

Hopefully you're not the author, Patswin.;)

05-05-2005, 11:45 AM
I enjoyed the read,thanks.

05-05-2005, 11:54 AM
Patwin2002 you should be shot and gutted: PASTE THE FREAKING ARTICLE NEXT TIME! :banghead:

Every once in a while, when you’re in this business, it’s a good idea to sit down and chat with a seasoned vet about nothing but football. It doesn’t hurt if it’s a starting quarterback.

It’s one aspect of this job that is hardly taken for granted by yours truly. Other things, sure. But not talking shop with quarterbacks. Probing the mind of a guy who constantly resides in the hot seat, one who has to make more important decisions in 10 seconds than most of us do in 10 hours, can really put you in a unique spot.

One of the more astute passers I’ve come across in my time covering the NFL is also one of the most underrated. If I asked you to provide the names of your top five, probably even top seven or 10, quarterbacks the league has to offer, I’d be willing to bet Kansas City’s Trent Green’s name doesn’t slide past your lips. And why, exactly, I don’t know. Haven’t figured that one out yet.

He doesn’t have Daunte Culpepper’s rocket arm or Michael Vick’s swift feet, but he just gets it done. Last year he became the fifth passer in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards in consecutive seasons, joining Hall of Famers Dan Marino and Dan Fouts and future Hall of Famers Brett Favre and Peyton Manning in that department. Not a bad group of arms. He has started every game the last four years and thrown for 77 touchdowns the past three seasons at the helm of the league’s best, and most diverse, offense — outside of Indianapolis, of course.

In interviewing Green recently for our summer preview magazine, I asked him about the toughest aspect of playing quarterback in the NFL. He really didn’t hesitate, lost in thought. It came to him rather quickly.

“Knowing you’re going to get hit and still being able to make the throw,” he said. “You’re never really looking right at the pass rusher, but you know he’s coming and you’ve just got to stand in there and make the throw even though you know you’re going to get blown up. You’ve just got to deal with it. And if you don’t deal with it, then you won’t be a quarterback for long.”

And that just happens to be one of the first things Norv Turner told him during their time together in Washington, when Green was unable to catch a break early in his career. He was an eighth-round pick of the Chargers in a league that doesn’t have eighth-round picks anymore. He bounced around from third-string NFL quarterback to Canada and then to the end of Washington’s depth chart. But then-Redskins coach Turner gave him some advice that stuck. And helped.

“He’s like, ‘Hey, either get used to it or find something else to do.’ There’s a lot of people that can throw the football, but it’s a little different throwing the football with a guy about to blow you up.”

Green’s with me in thinking quarterbacks get too much of the credit when things go right and too much of the blame when they don’t. He says it comes with the territory and has a lot to do with media accessibility. Quarterbacks speak on behalf of the offense, good or bad. His face is usually the one in lights and in front of microphones. And being that the quarterback is automatically a leader because of his role in the huddle, getting everyone on the same page, also earns the burden of success and failure.

I next had to check in with him about the defense, that woeful group there in Kansas City. Is there tension between one of the league’s perennially elite offenses and one of its most porous defenses? Are there issues about how the guys asked to stop the other team aren’t close to holding up their end of the bargain?

Nada. Green said he can understand how the casual observer would expect there to be a lot of tension between the offense and defense in the locker room, but the relationship is hardly a rocky one.

“They want to do well just as bad as we want them to do well,” he said. “It’s not a situation where we feel like they’re not giving the effort or not putting in the time to try to get it right. It just hasn’t worked out. It would be different if we thought they weren’t putting the effort in that was necessary to get it done. Win or lose, we’re all in this together. It’s just a great atmosphere that Coach (Dick) Vermeil has been able to build here. Guys get frustrated on both sides of the ball, but we understand the only way we’re going to win is if everybody’s in it together.”

I wanted to ask about how the team’s key defensive additions this offseason that could put them back in Super Bowl contention, but the thought of Vermeil, eyes watery at the podium, got in the way. I’ve written a feature on Vermeil before and formulated my own opinion, but I wanted to get Green’s take on the emotional coach.

“I think, as players, we appreciate it because he’s sincere with it,” Green said of Vermeil. “He tends to cry a little bit more when he’s tired or as the season drags on or when there’s difficult decisions to be made in terms of personnel. And he’s open when he talks about that. He says that all the time. But as players, and people in general, you appreciate his sincerity and you know that he genuinely cares about you. It doesn’t matter if you’re the first guy on the roster or the last guy on the roster, he genuinely does care about you.

“Sometimes it has been great for him, and there have been other times where players have taken advantage of that. He wants to see the good in people so bad, and he knows it’s there somewhere, that sometimes it does work against him. And he admits it. He wants so badly to help guys and put them in situations where they can have success or help them in life after football, and sometimes guys just don’t want to be helped. And that’s hard for him to accept. It’s very emotionally draining on him.

“I was with him in St. Louis, and it’s amazing how many guys that are no longer in the league that continually either call him or stop by to say hi because they know the type of impact that he’s had on them. And that’s hard in this business.”

Do you ever notice how when a quarterback suffers a late hit, his linemen take exception and quickly come to his defense? I hear all the time about passers taking their blockers out for steaks or buying them watches or fishing with them in the offseason. The best friends of the glamorous quarterbacks are usually the grizzly bears who protect them in the trenches. So is this bond real or imagined?

“I’m real close with my guys,” he said. “It’s very natural. Some guys are closer than others and have personalities that allow for that relationship to happen. I’ve always been that way, whether it’s high school, college or pros. I’m just kind of in a comfort zone there in terms of relationships and friendships and that sort of thing. I’ve always felt it’s very important for the quarterback to have that with his linemen, but I don’t think it should be a forced thing. I think if it’s forced, then everyone will know it, and it’ll come across as being phony.”

I tell him that I assume it’s probably easier to be friends with them when they’re blocking well. He laughs, because, well, it was borderline funny. And maybe even a little bit true. But then he informs me that back in 1998, when he was in Washington and the Redskins were fielding a different O-line every week because of a rash of injuries, his group was tight, and he remains close to several players to this day.

Don’t know if you recall, but Trent Green was ripping defenses to shreds in the preseason for the Rams back in 1999 before a torn ACL opened the door for Kurt Warner’s rags-to-riches story to be written.

So, I wonder out loud, as he was in rehab, standing on the sideline in crutches, watching Warner win MVP and a Super Bowl title, could he ever picture himself in a happy place, looking down the road and seeing himself at the controls of one of the best offenses in the league?

“You know, it was kind of what kept me going day to day, to try and get to that point,” he said. “I felt like I was in a great situation in St. Louis with an incredible amount of talent. As a quarterback, you hope to get in a situation like that, with an unbelievable cast around you, and then you get to run an offense like Mike Martz allows you to run. I felt really blessed to be in that situation. And then when the injury happened, that was really my motivating thing to get back there and give myself the best opportunity if anything like that ever came up again to be ready for it.”

Nice. OK, now let’s say there’s a minute and a half left on the clock, 70 yards to travel, down six points. How many things are going through his head?

“It’s really a very calming thing for me,” he said, and I could almost relate, thinking of how I orchestrated my rec-league flag football team last fall. “I don’t know if it’s age or experience or the fact I’ve been in the system for a long time or the fact I enjoy calling a two-minute offense.”

The Chiefs, like every NFL team, put together a package of plays and talk about what to expect against certain coverages in certain situations when time is short and empty field in front of you is long. The Chiefs’ coaches have been gracious in providing Green the freedom to call his own plays in no-huddle situations, and he enjoys the frenzy. Because of their experience in the two-minute drill as an offense, there is almost a sense of tranquility in the huddle and a confidence that the job is going to get done.

“It’s no different that growing up in the backyard,” Green tells me. “You get caught up in trying to make big plays down the field, but you have to try to get that initial first down and move the chains a couple times and get that momentum going. It’s about completions and getting the chains moving, and really the time on the clock dictates a lot of that and how risky you can be. It really is a fun time, at least for me.”

The Chiefs, seeing their window of opportunity at a Super Bowl run beginning to close, will have a handful of young players who will be asked to man sizable roles for a roster filled with veterans. How tough is it to be a young player in this league with those responsibilities on your shoulders?

“The hardest thing will be being able to sustain a high level of play for an entire training camp, a 16-game season and hopefully the playoffs,” Green said. “There are some guys that taste a little bit of success and don’t necessarily know how to handle it, but hopefully these guys are getting prepared. I’ve seen most of them around and the type of work they’re putting in, but from a physical and a mental standpoint, it’s a long season, and you’re going to deal with good and bad, soreness and injury, and streaks both winning and losing. Then you have all the off-field distractions, which as young guys, it’s easy to get caught up in. … I think the fact that we’re a veteran offense, and younger guys, when they’re in there, there’s a level of pressure and responsibility they’ll feel because they know what the other guys’ commitment is — and that they have to hold up their end of the bargain."

I know most of Green’s film watching is dedicated toward opposing defenses and what the Chiefs did right or wrong as an offense, but I wanted to know how much he gets to see what the other quarterbacks around the league are doing on Sundays.

“The only time you really see it is when you’re watching a defense and you sneak a peak at what other quarterback is doing,” Green said. “You watch so much film during the week that sometimes you’ll see a play and you’ll be like, ‘Man, I’ve got rewind that. I can’t believe he just did that.’ Good or bad. That’s really when you get your best opportunity to see what other guys around the league are doing. And of course you try and catch the highlight shows and see what’s going on around the league.”

So what has he picked up on? Who out there has caught his eye among his peers?

Not surprisingly, he described what Peyton Manning has been able to do when every soul in the stadium knows he’s going to throw as nothing short of unbelievable.

“He was in town receiving an award,” Green said, “and we got together and I told him, ‘You know what’s amazing, in the second half of our game you guys didn’t run the ball one time. And everybody knew it. We’re yelling it from the sideline.” But sure enough, he and Edgerrin do such a good job with their play fakes that you’ve got to honor it. Just his ability to still find a way to get it done. Touchdowns aren’t easy, and for him to have as many as he did, especially down inside the 10-yard line where there aren’t many windows and they aren’t very big, is something.”

He continues, and I feel like letting him.

“Donovan (McNabb)’s ability from a leadership standpoint and to make plays moving in the pocket. Everybody thinks of him as a real mobile running guy, but he uses his ability to buy time to get the ball downfield.”

“Let’s see, Tom Brady, what can you say. He finds a way to get it done, and he really understands that team well. It’s kind of cliché because people keep telling you the Patriots are a team, team, team. But other than Corey Dillon, there’s no one that just kinda grabs you and is overwhelming. It’s just they play so well together as a group — the offense, defense and special teams all understand that they have each other’s backs. It’s not any individual or any one phase, they just all play great together.”

Like I said before, every once in a while, when you’re in this business, it’s a good idea to sit down and chat with a seasoned vet about nothing but football. It doesn’t hurt if it’s a starting quarterback.

dirk digler
05-05-2005, 12:17 PM
Great article. Trent is the kind of QB every team should have.