HEAD COACH ROMEO CRENNEL
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
NOV. 7, 2012
OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright, Steelers, Monday night and getting ready for those guys. On the injury list, [Glenn] Dorsey is out and he’s not going to be able to do anything. Also out is Brady Quinn. He has not been cleared for contact and been advised not to play Monday night, so he’s going to be out. [Steve] Maneri is limited as far as practice goes today. He’s still nursing his ankle, but he’s going to be out there doing something. Brady got back late last night and I talked to him this morning and talked about his situation and he kind of told me what the doctor had advised. We’re going to err on the side of caution and protect a football player, so that’s what it is. [Matt] Cassel is going to be the starting quarterback and [Ricky] Stanzi will be the backup. So, what we’re doing is we’re going to prepare for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They’re a good football team in all areas. We’re going to have to play really good to win the game. We’re going to prepare to get that one done and do that.”
RANDY COVITZ (KANSAS CITY STAR): Where did Brady come from? Did he go to see a specialist?
CRENNEL: “He went to see a doctor, yes.”
BOB GRETZ (BOBGRETZ.COM): So Maneri is the only other player on the injury list? Jamaal [Charles] and all the other guys with the heads and neck are okay?
CRENNEL: “Yes, the neck and all that, they’re sore but they’re going to practice. So, if they’re practicing, I’m not putting them on the injury list, per se.”
ADAM TEICHER (KANSAS CITY STAR): Were you ever close to playing Ricky Stanzi or starting him in a game?
CRENNEL: “Not yet. He’s still improving, we’re still working at him and he’s one play away, and I think he’s excited about that possibility and he’s preparing every week like he’s going to play. We’ll see how the games go, and if he has to go in, he’ll be ready to go and do it.”
JAY BINKLEY (610 SPORTS RADIO): What about the defensive game plan? How much influence are you going to have in that now that you’ve stepped away from defensive coordinator?
CRENNEL: “As the defensive coordinator, I said all along that one of the reasons that I felt like I could wear both hats was because of the people in that defensive room – Gary Gibbs, Emmitt Thomas, Anthony Pleasant, Otis Smith, Adam Zimmer. I have the utmost confidence in all those guys, and those guys were doing some of the leg work for me as the defensive coordinator when I was the defensive coordinator. They’re continuing to do some of the leg work, but just Gary is now taking it over and then he’s going to call the game. I think there’ll be a smooth transition, as I mentioned, and I know those people in that room. That’s why I wanted to be in that room because they are good people and I like them a lot.”
BINKLEY: What is your new role with the offense? Have you been doing more with that side of the ball?
CRENNEL: “Yes, I’ve been spending more time over there and that was one of the reasons that I stepped down from the defensive coordinator job so that I could spend more time with the team talking to special teams coaches, special teams players, offensive coaches, offensive players, so that I could have a presence throughout the team.”
TOM CHRISTIANSEN (41 ACTION NEWS): Are you learning anything over there?
CRENNEL: “You learn something new every day, so definitely I am and I’ll be more aware about what’s going on and maybe why things are happening. The biggest thing is to give encouragement to those young players over there to let them know that I’m for the whole team and not only for the defense.”
DAVE SKRETTA (ASSOCIATED PRESS): Due to you knowing Todd Haley so well, does that help you in any way?
CRENNEL: “It doesn’t change. You do your same game-planning. You look at the opponent and see what they do, try to find their weaknesses, try to figure out what your strengths are. Then you try to put your plan together and try to take away some things that you know they’re going to do, and then it’s up to your guys to go play. If your guys play well, you have a good chance.”
BOB GRETZ (BOBGRETZ.COM): You’ve seen the Steelers’ offense quite a bit through the years. How are they different this year with Todd Haley?
CRENNEL: “Well, I think Todd has probably brought a little bit different of a passing game to them from a philosophical standpoint. I think that they have said themselves that it’s a dink and dunk offense. Not that it’s dink and dunk, they go through the reasonable progressions and they take what’s available. Some of the stuff that’s been available has been the shorter passes, but they have really good ability and catch the ball short and run a long ways with it. They haven’t thrown the ball deep down the field as much as they have done in the past, but they still have those capabilities of doing that.”
GRETZ: Is there another quarterback that you can think of that matches up with Roethlisberger?
CRENNEL: “No, he’s just one of those big, strong, physical guys in the pocket who is hard to bring down. He has a good knack at moving to avoid the rush. He can pump people off their feet just with his pump, and if he has to, he can pull the ball down and run with it because he’s done it against me before and actually won games with his feet and not only with his arm.”
TEICHER: Dexter McCluster has dropped or deflected some passes. What’s he doing wrong?
CRENNEL: “The thing about Dexter is he has this elbow that he’s kind of working with, and I think that’s part of the problem because he can’t get full extension. He hasn’t been able to get full extension on some of those balls that he’s trying to catch over the middle, so rather than catching them, we’ve been batting them up in the air. I think as his elbow gets better, I don’t think we’ll see the ball go up in the air off his hands as much.”
TEICHER: Why haven’t you guys been able to get more out of Dexter?
CRENNEL: “Dexter, he tries very hard, and he gives you everything he’s got. His skill-set involves a lot of quickness. Sometimes we’re not able to get him open as much as we want to. Sometimes we don’t have the time we need to get him the ball. Once he gets the ball in his hands he’s an exciting player. We need to get the ball in his hands, and we’re trying to. But it hasn’t always stayed in his hands.”
TEICHER: Is this the week Wylie gets into uniform?
CRENNEL: “That’s a possibility. We’ll see how the week goes.”
COVITZ: With Javier Arenas being your No. 1 corner, will he still return punts?
CRENNEL: “Well, sure.”
TEICHER: Dexter returned that punt against San Diego because Javier got hurt?
CRENNEL: “Yes. Every day he catches balls. He doesn’t let them hit the ground, so I was surprised that one did hit the ground.”
BRAD FANNING (KCTV-5): How much of an idea do you have of what Todd Haley is going to do?
CRENNEL: “I know Todd. I don’t know that it’s an advantage. Philosophically you look at the tape and you get from the tape what they’re going to try to do against your particular defense, how they play against other 3-4 teams, what they try to do in the passing game, what they try to do in the running game. But Pittsburgh still has a resemblance of the Steelers of the past. Todd has just added a wrinkle here and there. He hasn’t really changed the whole offense.”
FANNING: How do you counteract the fact that Todd Haley knows the personnel here and knows you and your tendencies as well?
CRENNEL: “Well you can’t because he knows what he knows and he’s just going to try to anticipate what I would do. But the difference is I’m not calling the defense and so now he’s got to try to figure out what Gary’s [Gibbs] going to do.”
KORNACKI: He knows weaknesses of players as well. Do you save a few wrinkles that you haven’t shown yet as well to maybe try and maybe surprise some people?
CRENNEL: “You know what, if we had a different situation you might say you’d save a wrinkle or two. But in our situation, we really can’t afford to save any wrinkles. We’ve got to do everything we can to try to win a game.”
BOB GRETZ (BOBGRETZ.COM): You’ve coached against the Steelers many times. What do you think is the key to the Steelers’ continued success?
CRENNEL: “Generally, when you look at good organizations they’ve got good people from top to bottom and same thing with players, they’ve got good players from top to bottom. And if you can maintain that continuity, getting the same kind of guys that fit your system, then you’ve got a chance to be pretty decent.”
GRETZ: When you talk about continuity and you talk about a guy like Dick LeBeau and the kind of defense he plays, they are looking for players that other players don’t even pay attention to, like their linebackers right?
CRENNEL: “Exactly, yes. Play linebacker, play defensive line. If you watch those guys play up front, they are not glorified, so to speak. But they are tough, physical guys who play their technique, they are going to be where they are supposed to be, they are going to take care of their responsibility. Then the other guys around them they kind of make the big plays. But when you try to run on those guys you don’t get much.”
TOM CHRISTIANSEN (KSHB): With the head injuries the quarterbacks are having, do the doctors give you any detail or are you left trying to figure out who it’s going to be from week-to-week-to-week?
CRENNEL: “They’re not cleared until they’re cleared. So you have to wait, there’s not anything you can do because the doctors themselves, they don’t really know when the guy will be clear of concussion symptoms. So they test him and when he’s clear and has no residual effects or shows no residual effects, then they can say ‘Ok, you’re clear’ And sometimes you’re clear to do light activity and then it gets to the point where you’re cleared for contact.”
COVITZ: So Brady’s got to be cleared for non-contact because he was active in practice on Monday?
CRENNEL: “He’s cleared for light activity.”
TEICHER: So he can do some individual stuff?
NOV. 7, 2012
S ERIC BERRY
Q: This is the second consecutive primetime game for you guys. Sitting at 1-7, do you feel an obligation to show the rest of the league that you’re not the team you’ve shown so far this year?
BERRY: “Really, I think it’s not more about showing the rest of the league, it’s about showing each other. We’re not concerned about what’s going on around the league; we have to fix what we have in our locker room. We’re focused on us. We’re not worried about anybody else’s perspective or how they view us, we’ve just got to turn our thoughts about moving forward.”
Q: When you have a new starting cornerback, how does that affect your job as a safety?
BERRY: “It’s just all of our jobs to make sure that we get that chemistry down pact. It’s not just on [Javier Arenas], it’s not just on me, it’s not just on Kendrick [Lewis], it’s not just on [Brandon Flowers], we’ve got to make sure we’ve got to be as one unit, just moving as one, just making sure everybody is comfortable and knowing where we’re supposed to be.”
Q: Is Ben Roethlisberger a hard quarterback to read?
BERRY: “He just makes plays. He gets the ball in the hands of the playmakers and that’s what he does. If it comes down to it, he knows how to scramble and he’s a big guy, so it’s hard to bring him down. He’s going to keep fighting and try to get that ball off and try to get his team in the position to win.”
WR DEXTER MCCLUSTER
Q: How much of a problem is catching the ball for you with your elbow injury from earlier this year?
MCCLUSTER: “It’s not a problem at all. I’m glad to be out of the brace now. I can’t truly get my running form with it on, but right now it’s go time with it.”
Q: You have full extension with your elbow now?
MCCLUSTER: “This is it over here, yes sir. Full extension. It’s all good.”
Q: When did you get rid of the brace? You played with it on Thursday night in San Diego?
MCCLUSTER: “This week. Yes, I played with it during Thursday night’s game. Right now it’s go time. Everything’s back to normal and I’m ready to get out there and play without it for a change.”
Q: Are you guys still doing a lot of drills to work on catching the football?
MCCLUSTER: “We’re doing everything we can to catch the balls – going out early, catching balls on the JUGS [machine], catching balls from the quarterbacks, from the coach, just emphasizing that you know what, catch the ball or knock it down.”
LB DERRICK JOHNSON
Q: What does the addition of Shaun Smith to the team add to this defense?
JOHNSON: “He knows the 3-4 defense, he’s a swing guy that can play the nose and the defensive end spot and we’re kind of hurt at that spot injury-wise and he can come in and add depth. He’s great, he’s a big guy right in front of me, so I love him.”
Q: With Gary Gibbs being the defensive coordinator now, does that mean any noticeable changes that you’ve seen in practice?
JOHNSON: “The calls are a little different, but it’s the same defense. Gary Gibbs is an experienced guy, he knows his stuff, personally he’s my [position] coach – I’ve been here four years with him. I’m looking for a great game plan and he knows what to do to get us in the right positions to have success.”
Q: Is Ben Roethlisberger still as dangerous as ever?
JOHNSON: “Definitely. He’s a playmaker. You draw the play up and it doesn’t always go like it’s supposed to because he extends the plays. He’s a big guy, somehow you have to get the ball out of his hands. Tamba Hali and Justin Houston are going to be tired during the game because we’re definitely going to try to get after him a lot and we need them to do good and play at a high level because Big Ben is a force to be reckoned with.”
QB BRADY QUINN
Q: It doesn’t sound like you’re real surprised that they didn’t clear you.
QUINN: “I don’t know. It’s tough. I’m not a doctor so I don’t know. This is my second one this year, and I think there’s obviously a concern for those sorts of things because if you go back too soon, you risk getting a third one real quick, then who knows what happens after that. I don’t know if surprised is necessarily the word, just disappointing and frustrating.”
Q: You waited a long time for another opportunity. What is the frustration level like right now?
QUINN: “It’s really high. I think that was maybe one of the reasons when I first got hit and noticed it in the game, I tried to stay in because it was the first opportunity for me in a while, so the frustration obviously is extremely high. I’ve really got to credit some of the doctors here and even the doctors in Pittsburgh because I think they’ve put together a good plan, and I’ll be back better than before.”
Q: What play did you get it? Was it the Rolando McClain sack?
QUINN: “It was actually the play before then we think, the first scramble, I got kneed in the back of the head. I tried to get up and someone helped me up, and at that point, I kind of noticed a loss of vision, started to get tunnel vision, and I just tried to keep playing, thinking it would kind of go away and it didn’t. On the McClain sack, I didn’t feel it coming and it actually got worse after that it. I think it was a combination of the first one and McClain’s hit.”
QB MATT CASSEL
Q: What makes the Pittsburgh defense so solid?
CASSEL: “I think they’re a big, veteran group that’s played together for a long period of time. They obviously have a legendary coach [Dick LeBeau] and for us it’s one of those things that we have to be able to both run the ball and throw the ball. It’s going to be a challenge there on Monday night but we can get it done.”
Q: Last time you played a game, Romeo Crennel said that had Brady Quinn been healthy he would have been the starter. Has he said anything to you? Do you feel like the starter or do you feel like you’re starting because Brady’s hurt?
CASSEL: “You know, I feel like I’m the starter until told otherwise. Coach Crennel said I’m starting this week so that’s my job this week and I’ll embrace that, I’m excited about it, I’m excited about playing on Monday Night Football and having another opportunity. When Brady comes back and he’s healthy, we’ll see what happens.”
Q: With the Steelers defense, you never know from week-to-week what you might see when Dick LeBeau walks his Steelers defense up to the line, so you?
CASSEL: “Right, they’re pretty consistent in their scheme in terms of what they do and they give you multiple looks, multiple fronts, they’ve got [line]backers coming, they’ve got safeties coming, they play a mix of coverages. So you always have to be on your toes. But I do think the one thing that’s really dynamic about them is they can do so much and they have so much diversity in the fronts with those linebackers, especially those outside linebackers because they can move them all around.”
Q: Did you talk to Ben Roethlisberger at all during the offseason?
CASSEL: “No, I didn’t.”
Q: So you didn’t get a phone call from him asking what Todd Haley was like?
CASSEL: “No, I didn’t get a chance to talk to him.”
Q: When we talked to Ben today, he said there hadn’t been much yelling from Coach Haley. That was kind of a surprise to us. Does that come as a surprise to you?
CASSEL: “You know I’m not really going to get into that whole situation. I’m not going to touch it. Coach Haley has gone in there and he’s done a good job, their offense is playing well. But for us offensively, we’ve got to get ready for a great defense and that’s what we’re concentrating on.”
Q: The team is struggling and this is the second week in a row that you’ll be on a national stage. It didn’t go well last Thursday, but don’t you want to go out and prove to the NFL that you aren’t the team that has been showing up on Sundays so far this season?
CASSEL: “There’s no doubt, and it’s a great opportunity for us. We’ve got a whole other half of football to play and I think that every one of us to a man in here is excited about the opportunity to go out and start the second half of the football season off right. And it’s a great stage to do so on Monday Night Football and national television.”
Q: Have you seen more of Coach Crennel in your meetings now that he’s given the defensive coordinator duties to Gary Gibbs?
CASSEL: “We have. He’s been in our meetings a lot more this week, I’ve seen him around and that’s been a little bit different from the first half of the season so far.”
Q: Does he ask questions, does he have input? What is his presence there like?
CASSEL: “Really he’s just been there, I think he’s been observing how the meetings have been going and then I’m sure that himself and [Brian] Daboll talk afterwards and have suggestions and go from there.”
Q: How do you play with a sense of urgency in not turning the ball over without losing a sense not playing timid?
CASSEL: “That’s the happy medium you always have to play with. My number one concern is always taking care of the football and I never want to do anything to jeopardize that because we know that turnovers hurt us in the National Football League. But the minute you start thinking about that and playing timid, then you don’t make that throw or you don’t play the way you need to play in order to be competitive and go through your reads. There’s a happy medium there, but at the same time, it’s very pivotal for our team – all of us – to take care of the football.”
Q: When a former head coach goes to another team, what kind of advantage is that because he knows the personnel and strengths/weaknesses of players on both sides of the ball? Is it almost like he has inside information on this playbook because of his position here?
CASSEL: “I don’t think so, because I’ve been around a lot of different coaches that have gone a lot of different places and every team is different and every coaching staff is different. Obviously he’s probably more familiar with our personnel than some other coaches are, but at the same time, when you get out there on Monday night, it all comes down to execution and going out and trying to win the ballgame.”
Q: So you don’t think he’s whispering into their defenses’ ear some stuff about the Chiefs offense?
CASSEL: “I don’t believe so. Again, this is a completely different playbook from what we did last year and so maybe he could be, but that’s probably a better question for him.”
Q: How dangerous is it for people to oversimplify it and say it’s Todd Haley versus his former team?
CASSEL: “It couldn’t be more far from the truth because obviously this is the Kansas City Chiefs against the Steelers – it has nothing to do with Todd Haley against the Kansas City Chiefs.”