|09-06-2005, 04:08 PM|
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Clinton, MO
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DV Press Conference (long)
DICK VERMEIL: “Good morning. Welcome to our first regular season press conference. I’ll try to make it brief and concise and get to the questions.
“I think where we are as a football team will best be defined in how we play against a playoff caliber team this weekend. The Jets have been in the playoffs three out of the last four years, winning a playoff game last year then losing to Pittsburgh in overtime. They think they’re a better football team than they were last year; they’ve changed offensive coordinators and are running a different scheme.
“We think we’re a better a football team than we were last year, but nothing really else matters other than how you play on Sunday. I’d like to believe that which team has improved the team will win the football game this Sunday.
“Obviously, the Jets started out ahead of us because they were a playoff team last year and we were not. So, we have a little more catching up to do. Nothing I can say or do makes much difference right now. It’s just what we do in preparation and how we execute this coming Sunday.
“All I know for sure is to beat the former playoff team you’ve got to play like one. That’s how you win playoff games and how you beat playoff teams – play just like one. It just so happens it comes in the game opener.
“We believe our defense is better. I’m sure they think their offense is better, so it’ll be a nice match-up.
“Every other phase of our game, I think, has to be redefined this coming Sunday. Is our kicking better? Is our kick return better? Is our kick coverage better? Is our offense as good or better? That will be defined Sunday. It doesn’t matter what we did last year, where we ranked, how many yards we made or how many touchdowns we scored. It only matters what we do this coming Sunday. I think the coaching staff has approached it that way all off-season. It’ll be tough and maybe tougher than it’s been – certainly against the New York Jets defense. They don’t give very much up.
“I’m proud of what Herman (Edwards) has brought to the New York Jets. He’s won 35 games there in the last four years. Near the same number we have won here in the last four years (34). But their games were more productive because their 35 wins put them in the playoffs three times, ours only one time. I’m proud of Herman because we’re very, very close friends and have shared some wonderful experiences together, Carl (Peterson) and I and Herman.
“But they’re coming to Arrowhead and we’ve always believed Arrowhead is an advantage. In the National Football League last year it was a 21% advantage playing at home and at Arrowhead it might be better than that.
“We have 12 new Chiefs that can suit up for the game this Sunday – 10 of them are on defense. The (league-mandated) 46-man roster will dictate how many will suit up.
“I like this team. I felt all along that it had a good future. How we handle the intangibles I think will determine how successful we are Sunday and how successful we are the remaining 16 games. If we win it, then it means we’re 1-0 and if we lose it means we’re 0-1. It doesn’t predict or dictate anything toward the end of the season. We’re all starting undefeated. It would be great to take advantage of our home field and get it done.
“We as coaches and players have control of our focus, our work ethic, our relationships with each other, our camaraderie, our concentration when we leave here, how we take advantage of rest because that’s also a form of preparation. How much time do we invest in our offensive and defensive and special team game plans when we get home? Are we sitting on a couch or a bar stool? All these different things you have total control of as a player. Those are intangibles you have control of. The rest of the things the league controls: the size of the roster, where you open, who you play, what time you play, the opponent. If we do a good job of controlling these intangibles – and this is exactly what I talked to the team about yesterday – you’ve got to win those battles. We have to do a better job in some of those areas.
“I have my concerns like any head coach does at this time or anyone in a leadership position. I think I’m pretty realistic about it. If we handle the intangibles properly and mature as we should it should end being a good football team. How good Sunday? We’ll have to play the game.
Q: Where do you feel you are in relation to where you were two years ago?
VERMEIL: “In relation to two years ago we have a much tougher schedule. Two years ago we played 10 teams with losing records and beat all 10 of them. This year we start out the season with a different kind of schedule just like we did last year. So, schedule is important. It’s very important for us to, I think, start fast. We know how tough it is to come from behind. We won four of the last five last year but it didn’t put us in the playoffs. It would behoove us from a confidence level standpoint, a growth standpoint, to play this first quarter in a positive way or at least break even. It’ll be tough. But I think the biggest difference between then and now is the strength of opponents.”
Q: Where is your team though in comparison to then?
VERMEIL: “Defensively, I feel, we’re better. We have more talent over there. The personnel department did a great job of bringing in some players. You’d have to agree that Patrick Surtain is a very, very positive addition. What you can appreciate about Patrick is what he brings to the practice field: the professionalism, the work ethic every day. You walk out on a special teams practice and he’s servicing the special teams on kickoff coverage. He’s that kind of guy.
“You bring Sammy Knight here who is the NFL’s leading takeaway artist from the time he came into the league. You bring that kind of work ethic, that kind of leader, that kind of understanding to the defense you’d like to think you’re better. You bring Kendrell Bell in. You’d like to think he’s going to make a positive contribution. Carlos Hall, I think, is going to make a nice contribution.
“But maybe more so, it’s the maturity of the young kids that have been here. It takes time to make a good defensive football player. There’s no question that Kawika Mitchell is a better football player than he’s ever been since he’s been here. Our defensive coaches have been very, very demanding. Very demanding. I think it’s paid off. I think we’re tougher on that side of the ball.
“Getting John Browning back in the lineup will help us. How many snaps he can play without having played much at all and practiced much at all I don’t know. But he feels good right now and when he gives you a thumbs up – and that’s a long conversation for John – he’s feeling good. He is a contributor and we really respect him and miss him when he’s not in here.
“We expect Jared Allen to be better than he was last year in the total package of the game. Doesn’t mean he has to get 15 sacks to be better. Eric Hicks right now looks like he’s better than he was. Then you add the number one pick (Derrick Johnson). Overall, I think defensively we’re a better football team but only time will prove whether I’m right or wrong and it may take longer than one game.”
Q: Was there a time when you had Herman Edwards when he was young that you thought here was someone special who might be a head coach?
VERMEIL: “It doesn’t take long to recognize when you’re coaching Herman Edwards that he is somebody special. Hard to predict what he’s going to be in the future. I don’t know if he was originally thinking about being a football coach but he was very, very passionate about his craft. He was a guy who took great pride in his contribution to the defense and his own fundamental approach to the game. I don’t know if I’ve ever worked with a corner since that worked so hard on his skills to keep them honed and at a level that he could compete. He didn’t have great speed, probably below average speed. But he had outstanding technique, body and movement skill as an athlete. He worked and honed and disciplined himself more than any corner I’ve worked with has ever done. I believe these attributes carry over to his leadership skills and to his football team.”
Q: So you’re not surprised?
VERMEIL: “I’m not surprised but the man who gave him his first opportunity coaching was Carl Peterson. He was also the one who signed him as a player.”
Q: You said Kawika is a better football player. What about Ryan Sims?
VERMEIL: “No question. In fact, I’ve had opponent offensive line coaches tell me that already in pre-season games – that he’s a better player. He’s really in his third year and it’s your third year that you start to blossom.
“I think what Ryan has done is he’s become better defined in his own mind what he wants to be and for all the right reasons. He’s demonstrated that on the practice field and has never worked like he’s worked now – at any time in his college career or here. His consistency, his ability to dominate from time to time, his ability to play within the discipline of the scheme has been demonstrated on a consistent basis.”
Q: Has Kris Griffin been a surprise to you?
VERMEIL: “Any time you have a college free agent make your roster at the strongest position on your roster in terms of depth it has to be a little bit of a surprise. Now, we’d like to say it was all scouting and great drafting but if we’d had known that he was that good we would have drafted him early. We didn’t draft him at all. We hit it and it’s a great tribute to our scout who located him. You go from there. You’d have to call him a surprise.”
Q: Did he remind you at all of Derrick Johnson?
VERMEIL: “Physically sometimes as they stand, yes. They appear the same body structure and size. He doesn’t have the top-end speed that a Derrick Johnson has but he has some other things that are close.”
Q: Have you watched much tape on Chad Pennington?
VERMEIL: “Yes. I don’t think he shows any negative effects of the shoulder problems of the past. I think he’s in a new offensive scheme; I think he’s in a new offensive scheme through the pre-season that they’re disguising a little bit, just like we do with our offense. It’s sometimes very difficult for a quarterback in that environment to be productive. But he’s a very fine player and fine play-action passer and a good leader. You can see it and in any highlight tapes you can see him working the sideline, talking to the players. He transmits energy and you can see how he can take a team to the playoffs.”
Q: Do you have to concentrate more on him or Curtis Martin?
VERMEIL: “We always start out a game plan trying to stop the run, trying to make them one dimensional. They’ve got a guy who ran for 1,600 yards at 31 years old. We’d like to believe we can slow him down and contain him and not give up the big play. They’ve got a good offensive line, too. Maybe we can collapse the pocket a little bit on Pennington. Just watching his style of throwing it would be good if we could do it from the inside. The big thing is Curtis Martin and if you could slow him down.”
Q: How has it been with Gunther Cunningham on the sideline and not in the booth?
VERMEIL: “I think after the first weekend it worked out pretty good. First weekend was a little rough, but he’s mellowed. Great communicator who translates energy and passion. That’s Gunther. He can’t turn it off.”
Q: How’s Will Shields?
VERMEIL: “Looked awfully good on the field yesterday. We’ve used all the clichés to define Will Shields. I don’t know anymore to use. Will Shields is Will Shields. Just watch him play, watch him work, watch him prepare. Nobody I’ve ever coached at that position does it better.”
Q: No concerns about Trent Green?
VERMEIL: “I have no concerns about Trent. The only concerns I have about Trent is pass protection and not for any other reason than for any quarterback to be good it starts with those guys up front. The Jets have a very good defensive front and can be tough and dominating. Their package is multiple and they don’t gamble. My concern for Trent is getting him time to be Trent. We all know he’s not a scrambler and not what we want him doing. We’ve been spoiled by the execution of a fine offensive line. But you can’t take it for granted.”
|09-06-2005, 04:36 PM||#2|
Join Date: Jul 2001
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