HEAD COACH ROMEO CRENNEL
CONFERENCE CALL QUOTES
NOV. 5, 2012
OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright, we made a roster move today. We waived Stanford Routt. You know sometimes you have relationships and you try to make them work and hope that they’ll work and anticipate that they’re going to work, but this relationship wasn’t progressing as quickly as, or as fast as, I wanted it to, so we decided to make the change, so we released him today. Other guys on the team are going to have to step up and move forward with that. In his place, Shaun Smith, defensive lineman who has experience and some history in the system, we’ve added him to provide depth along the defensive line, so we’ve added him to the team. That’s where we are as far as the roster is concerned. Injury-wise, [Glenn] Dorsey will not do anything today, he’s out. [Brady] Quinn has made progress but he’s out. He’s not allowed to practice. He can have some light activity and he’ll probably be out there, but he’s not practicing today. Limited, [Javier] Arenas with his head, Jamaal [Charles] with his neck, [Jeff] Allen with his head, [Nate] Eachus with his head, and [Terrance] Copper with his calf – those guys will be limited and we’ll see what they can do or how much they can do – if anything. It may be that one of these head guys might not be able to do anything because tomorrow we’re getting evaluations on some of the head guys also, to find out where they are as we go forward. Also, as we have continually looked at things and evaluated things in trying to turn over every stone that we can to try to find a way to improve the team, I’ve decided that I’m going to spend more time with the whole team and less time with the defense and see if that can make any difference to our team. In the meantime, Gary Gibbs will take over the responsibility for being the defensive coordinator and he’ll run the defense. I’ll continue to be in meetings sometimes, I’ll meet with Gary on a regular basis, as I do with Brian [Daboll] and Tom [McMahon] to know what the game plan is, what’s going on there. I’m going to spend more time with the whole team and less time with the defense in trying to get this thing right and trying to get it turned. We have eight games to play, it’s an eight-game season for us, so we’re going to try to do everything we can to come out of these eight games on the winning ledger in these eight games and see if that can help us. With that, I know that you probably don’t have any questions, but just in case you do I’ll open it up.”
BOB FESCOE (610 SPORTS): What are you trying to gain by spending more time with the whole team as opposed to just the defense?
CRENNEL: “Well you know, as I looked at this thing and you try to figure out why things may be happening, why they might not be happening, we have a young team, and some guys, the perception may be that I’m a defensive coach, I’m a defensive coordinator and I don’t care about other parts of the team, which is not true, but their perception may be that. So by me being with them more, then I think that they will see that I’m concerned about the whole team, which I am concerned about the whole team, but my body presence and my physical presence in different meetings and with the coaching staff and things like that, hopefully that will help.”
FESOCE: Does that come from the coaches or does that come from the players?
CRENNEL: “When I said young, basically the players. We’ve got young players and sometimes a young player sees one thing and he sees you over there on the other side all the time and he never sees you over here on this side, then he can begin to assume that ‘hey, he doesn’t care about us over here,’ and that’s not the case, never has been the case. But if that’s the perception of one player, then I need to change that perception. So that’s what I’m going to do.”
FESCOE: Is this your decision?
CRENNEL: “Of course.”
JEFFREY FLANAGAN (FOX SPORTS KANSAS CITY): With Routt, is that a disciplinary issue or are you sending a message?
CRENNEL: “Nope, not sending any messages. Like I said, you have relationships, you bring people in and you hope that things work the way you want them to work. The transition was taking a little bit longer than I thought it was going to take, so we just felt like it was time to part ways, so that’s what we did.”
FLANGAN: Was he not accepting coaching? Was that part of the issue?
CRENNEL: “No, he was trying to do what we were talking to him about, but it was taking a little bit longer. I’ve said all along that he is trying to learn the system and trying to adapt, and he was making some progress at that, but I needed it to be faster. I thought it was going to be faster, and it wasn’t happening, so we made the move.”
FLANAGAN: Who steps in now?
CRENNEL: “Javier [Arenas] started the last game, so we’ll keep Javier there, and then Jalil [Brown] will have an opportunity to play as well.”
COVITZ: Was it because his background was press, man-for-man, and he couldn’t adjust? He went from playing every snap to injured, I suppose. He couldn’t be a backup or a special teams guy?
CRENNEL: “Like I said, sometimes in relationships, things don’t go exactly the way you want them to go or the way you expect them to go, so you decide to go a different way, so that’s what we decided.”
FESCOE: Did he have a bad attitude and become a cancer in the locker room?
CRENNEL: “Not to my knowledge.”
NICK JACOBS (METRO SPORTS): What does Shaun Smith provide for you in terms of potential leadership on defense since he knows the system?
CRENNEL: “The experience that I mentioned to you because he’s played in the system before, the depth along the defensive front, particularly with [Glenn] Dorsey’s situation there, I think that helps us. He’s a big body, a big, strong, physical guy. He’s seen a lot, he understands our system, what I want, what I’m looking for and I think that he might be able to help us.”
TOM CHRISTIANSON (41 ACTION NEWS): Will the defensive look changed since you’re not going to be there or is it going to be the same and you’re just spending more time everywhere?
CRENNEL: “It will be the same.”
SAM MELLINGER (KANSAS CITY STAR): Are there things that Brian [Daboll] is or isn’t doing that is part of this decision?
CRENNEL: “No, the decision has to do with what my perception is about the team and me spending more time with the team because it is a young team, and if there is one guy who perceives me as a defensive coach, then that’s probably not the best thing for the team. So, I’m spending more time with the whole team – with special teams, with offense, with defense and doing that.”
MELLINGER: You don’t expect any major changes in how the offense plays then?
CRENNEL: “I think by my being involved a little bit more, I might be able to say, ‘I want this play or I want that play.’ Right now, because I’m spending more time with the defense, I rely on Brian, and I’m not afraid to rely on Brian. Brian is a good offensive mind and has done a good job in other places he’s been, so that’s not it. This is just me looking, trying to find a way to make this team better and to help this team, so that was one way that I figured I could do that.”
FESCOE: Will you have final say over what plays are being called?
CRENNEL: “I have it now.”
DAVE SKRETTA (ASSOCIATED PRESS): Did you find it more difficult or more overwhelming to juggle both jobs than you expected it to be?
CRENNEL: “No, not overwhelming or more difficult. It’s just the time because as the defensive coordinator, you’ve got to spend more time with the defense, and you can’t spend as much time with the offense, you can’t spend as much time with the special teams, so I’m going to spend more time with those guys.”
FESCOE: What are you hoping to bring to the offense and to the special teams? How does seeing you in there help the players feel better?
CRENNEL: “One, that they see me in there, and then they say, ‘Okay, this guy cares,’ and he will know what they know because I will be in the meetings and I’m there. Then, I do have a perspective about special teams because I coached special teams, and then as a defensive coach, you do have a perspective about offense and what the offense might be able to do against a particular defense. Those perspectives might be able to come out earlier rather than later.”
FESCOE: So you think players are going to play harder now because they see you in there?
CRENNEL: “No, I didn’t say that; I just said I was going to be there. I think the guys play hard as it is. We don’t always play smart, but we play hard. Now, I’m just going to be there so that some of those young guys who may perceive me as being a defensive coach says, ‘He cares about the offense,’ and he’s in here with us and he knows what I know, and now then we’ll see where it takes us.”
SKRETTA: How would you grade your performance?
CRENNEL: “I grade my performance by the record. The record is not very good, so I’d have to say it wasn’t very good.”
TJ CARPENTER (SPORTS RADIO 810): How long had you been thinking about making this move?
CRENNEL: “We evaluate everything all the time, so I’ve been thinking about, ‘what can I do to try and help the team?’ So, we had a little bit longer time after the Thursday night game, and I said maybe if I can do this, then it might help the team. So, that’s what I’m going to try.”
TEICHER: How did Arenas play vs. San Diego?
CRENNEL: “He was trying, giving effort. He was off a little bit too far at times, and they completed a couple balls in front of him, but he made tackles. He came up on the run support and made tackles on the run support, so I think he represented himself pretty decently.”
TEICHER: Until that game, you had been more comfortable with him as your slot coverage guy?
CRENNEL: “Well, he still plays slot on third down.”
TEICHER: Has something changed to make you believe he can handle more roles?
CRENNEL: “He’s a very competitive player. He’s conscientious about what he does and about his effort. He will come up and did a good job of tackling when he had that opportunity.”
TEICHER: Do you still think Brady Quinn can play on Monday?
CRENNEL: “He’s being evaluated tomorrow, and then they’ll let me know something at that time. Then, I’ll go from there.”
TEICHER: Will he be your guy against the Steelers?
CRENNEL: “I will answer that question tomorrow after I find out what the doctors say.”
COVITZ: What’s your take on Jon Baldwin now?
CRENNEL: “I think Jon, he has not produced as much as we want him to produce or what I anticipated he would produce, particularly after the OTAs because he did a very nice job there. But we had a piece missing during the OTAs that came back, and I think that impacted a lot of the passing game. The thing that we have to do is, we have to get Jon more involved than we’ve had him involved and give him an opportunity to be a play-maker for us. That’s one of the things we’re going to try to work on.”
COVITZ: But maybe that would open things up for him because that piece gets a lot of attention?
CRENNEL: “That piece does get a lot of attention and catches a lot of balls too.”
NICK JACOBS (METRO SPORTS): What’s your opinion of the Steelers thus far?
CRENNEL: “They are a pretty good team. They are physical, strong. They’re a good football team.”
BOB GRETZ (BOBGRETZ.COM): Did Thursday, Routt not playing, have any effect on what happened to him?
FESCOE: Do you have the advantage going into this game? Or does Todd Haley?
CRENNEL: “Well, if my players play well, I have the advantage because I can’t play, so I need my guys to try to play well.”
GRETZ: Back to Baldwin, is he always where he’s supposed to be?
CRENNEL: “Sometimes as a receiver you’re not exactly where the quarterback thinks you’re supposed to be. You’re where you think you’re supposed to be, but you’re not always where the quarterback thinks you’re supposed to be.”
COVITZ: Matt and him had a little miscommunication last game.
CRENNEL: “Yes. One time I believe.”
COVITZ: When Bowe wasn’t here, Baldwin was getting more stuff. So, with Bowe back, that lessens the amount on Baldwin?
CRENNEL: “Well, it has because the ball has been going to Bowe.”
GRETZ: Dwayne Bowe has taken some shots the last few weeks, and he keeps going.
CRENNEL: “That’s right. He does, and he’s been productive ever since he’s got back. I think that he’ll continue to be productive. He does play hard. He’s productive. This doesn’t mean that the other guys don’t play hard, but they’re just not as productive. I know that we evaluate things by production just like we evaluate the team by the win-loss record, but the guys play hard. Dwayne is a perfect example.”
GRETZ: He gets that production with a lot of attention from the other team.
NOV. 5, 2012
CB JAVIER ARENAS
Q: Do you think these moves that Coach Crennel is making, do you think they’ll have a big impact on the team the rest of the season?
ARENAS: “That’s not my job to look at and evaluate. If it was, I wouldn’t be playing the position I’m playing. They called me to go out there and start and start at corner. I’m excited about it, I’m ready to fulfill that opportunity. And that’s the only thing I can worry about.”
Q: What kind of guy was Stanford Routt in the locker room?
ARENAS: “Great guy. Great teammate from my perspective. I talked to him, we were cool. We talked about adjustments, things like that. I liked him, I liked him a lot. Cool guy. I personally think he’s a good football player. What’s happened has happened and again, I have no type of control over that. I can just control what I do.”
Q: Coach said this is an opportunity that you haven’t been given in three years yet. How excited are you?
ARENAS: “It’s a very, very good opportunity. I’m very excited about it. I’m going to go out there, like I told the guys before, I’m going to go out there and just compete, I’m going to do what I’m asked, I’m not going to go out of my way to try to do anything fancy, that’s not the type of player I am. I’m a get-it-done type player. Whatever you ask me, I’m going to play that technique, I’m going to do that job and I’m going to have fun doing it.”
T ERIC WINSTON
Q: Were the changes of Stanford Routt being waived or Romeo Crennel turning over the defensive coordinator duties surprising to you?
WINSTON: “Sure. Routt’s been here since the very beginning of camp – actually offseason OTAs – and Romeo’s always been the DC [defensive coordinator] as well. So for me, both of them were surprising, but like I said, when things aren’t going well, every team’s going to look at themselves hard and make some changes and Coach Crennel thought both of these moves were for the best of the team and hope that they pay dividends on Monday.”
Q: Romeo said that he got the feeling that younger players specifically thought that he was focused too much on the defense and that’s part of the reason he made the change. Was that a problem?
WINSTON: “I really can’t say. Honestly I focus on me and the offensive line and doing the best job we can do. Brian Daboll’s always been the OC [offensive coordinator], he’s always been the guy leading the meetings on the offensive side and that’s what I’m used to, I come from a place where there’s an offensive head coach. He didn’t spend a lot of time with the defense. That’s something that doesn’t surprise me. Young guys probably need to worry about playing a lot more than worrying about what the head coach is doing or something like that.”
Q: How would you classify his involvement in the offense to this point?
WINSTON: “I thought he was around. Like I said, I think he knew what was going on, he knows our calls, he knows what we’re supposed to be doing, so it’s not like we do something on offense and he’s asking questions ‘why’d you do this?’ He knows whether it was right or wrong. So I always thought he knew what was going on on offense, how we’re supposed to be doing it. If he’s going to be in meetings more, great. I think the all-hands-on-deck kind of mentality is good. The more eyes sometimes the more answers you can find. I think it’s great that he’ll be spending more time with us.”
Q: You guys have another chance to play a primetime game this week. Does that mean a little extra?
WINSTON: “I think any time you play at night, play in front of your peers, it’s important. It’s important to play well, it’s important to go out and find a way more importantly to win. I think every game is important, every game is a chance to win, every game is a chance to prove yourself out there. But obviously when you’re on national television, the only game of the night, people are going to be watching, your peers are going to be watching. You want to make sure you’re playing well and against a good defense we’re going to have to be up to the task.”
DL SHAUN SMITH
Q: Were you surprised when you got the call?
SMITH: “Yeah, a little bit. I was surprised, but I was also happy. At the end of the day I’m off the couch now. I get to play some football. I don’t have to watch anymore on Sunday. It feels good to come back to a place that everybody wanted me to come back to. It should be good. I knocked a little rust off today at practice. A few more days, I’ll knock a little more off and should be ready to play on Monday.”
Q: Do you have any idea how much you’ll play?
SMITH: “There isn’t much easing to have to do. It’s an assignment. I’ll do my job, help out. I can be a leader. I think I’m the oldest guy on the team now, so I’m like the grandfather right now. I’ll try to provide some leadership to some of these young guys and try to turn around these last eight games.”
Q: Have you paid attention to what’s gone on here this season?
SMITH: “I definitely have. I wanted to come back here. I was talking to Romeo. I talked to Romeo about once a week or once every other week. I encouraged him. He’ll tell you, I’m ready to play when it’s the right time, and it’s the right time.”
Q: Is there anything that you’ve seen that you want to change after your first day?
SMITH: “It’s not just the defense. You can’t pinpoint just the defense. The team as a whole has to continue to play four quarters and not three quarters or a half. You look at the game from Thursday night. I watched it. It was a close game until, what, 12:13 left in the fourth quarter. In this game, you can’t turn the ball over. You turn the ball over and you can’t win. I don’t care who your quarterback is, who your running back is, who your offensive linemen are. It doesn’t matter, so at the end of the day, you have to compete and finish strong. Everybody is fighting for another day. Nothing is guaranteed around here.”
Q: Knowing Romeo the way you do, how difficult do you think it was for him to give up the defensive coordinator title the way he did?
SMITH: “I think it was difficult. He wanted to focus on being the head coach. Sometimes being the head coach and being a coordinator is also a conflict at times because if you focus too much on the defense you forget what’s going on on the offense and special teams. He gave it to Coach Gibbs, and I think it’s going to help out. He can help out in other areas and now overall be a head coach and not just a defensive coordinator. I thought he was a great defensive coordinator when I played under him when I was here and when I was in Cleveland. Those were some of my best years, playing under him. Him being a coordinator, I don’t think is a problem. He knows the game, the ins and outs. It’s the plan. The guys have to go out and execute the plan, no matter what situation, no matter what call they give us. We have to go out there and execute it.”
LB DERRICK JOHNSON
Q: Romeo was under the impression that some guys thought that he was giving more attention to the defense. Did you have that thought?
JOHNSON: “Not really. Coach Romeo has to do what he has to do to save the team. Is that the spark for us? We don’t know. We’ll know on Monday Night Football. We’re excited to get another opportunity to show what we are. We’re a pretty good team. We just have to show it. We haven’t done a good job of showing our talents.”
Q: Were you surprised by the movement with Stanford Routt?
JOHNSON: “You’re never surprised in this league. It just didn’t work out here. Routt is a good guy. It’s a tough deal, but getting cut is always hard. This is a business league, and things will go on as planned.”