OPENING STATEMENT: “After looking at the game yesterday, we are disappointed with the outcome, but I thought the team got better as a team in how we have to play the game, a complementary game of field position. That kept the game competitive. That kept us in the game. That gave us a chance to win the game. I think that’s what we want in this business is a chance to win. Earlier in the season, we really didn’t have as much of a chance to win as we had yesterday because the game wasn’t as close. If you can keep the game close and give yourself a chance to win, that’s what you need to do. I think we got better even though we did not win the game. Now, it’s not perfect. You know that, the fans know that, the players know that, the coaches know that. We’re going to try to work on the things that we need to improve on. There were a couple of things yesterday that stood out, penalties being one of them. When you’re playing field position football and you get penalties that hurt your field position, that’s not a good thing. That’s what we need to clean up with those. Many of those were on special teams. Then, the other thing was the turnovers. I don’t care how you say it, color it, look at it, but if you turn the ball over in the NFL, you hurt your chances of winning. We did both of those yesterday. We had penalties and we had turnovers, so we have to continue to focus and concentrate on that and then eliminate the penalties and play like we played yesterday with energy, effort and focus which we had for the whole game. If we can do that, I think we might be able to win a game. We’re going to try to win a game and see if that can impact our confidence and our attitude as we go down the road. The other major thing is Matt [Cassel] and his condition. It’s deemed that he has a concussion, and he’s being evaluated on that concussion. They are going to run several tests to see where he is and all of those things. Generally, concussions are not good, but we’re concerned about the safety and the health of the player. We’re going to give him an opportunity to get well. In the meantime, Brady Quinn needs to get ready to play. Ricky Stanzi needs to get ready to play, and that’s one of the good things about having three quarterbacks on the roster. If you lose one, at least now you have two guys and you don’t have to go try and pick somebody off the street or if you have one on your practice squad, then you have to bring one up from your practice squad. By having three quarterbacks on the roster, we’ve got guys that have been in the system, experienced all the training camp, and it’s not a teaching thing that we have to go through with the new quarterback. We will evaluate that as it goes along and keep you informed when I get information on the health of Matt. That’s where we are. Like I said, I thought the team got better yesterday.”
ADAM TEICHER (KANSAS CITY STAR): Are you ruling Cassel out of Sunday’s game?
CRENNEL: “No, not totally. Just from what I’ve seen about concussions, they can be difficult. A lot of times, the individual is the thing. Some individuals recover faster than others. With the emphasis on concussions in the league, they’re making sure that we do due diligence on the player’s health in making sure he’s not rushed back. We’ll evaluate it and see.”
TEICHER: Do you think the doctors may not clear him like they did with Kevin Boss?
CRENNEL: “I think it’s too early to tell that. Yes, it’s too early to tell that.”
RANDY COVITZ (KANSAS CITY STAR): Considering the bye week, he will have two weeks to recover. Is that a factor?
CRENNEL: “No, that doesn’t factor into it at all because the NFL, here in the league, the players safety issues – particularly as it relates to concussions – strong points have been made for taking care of players.”
COVITZ: That’s my point. He will only miss one game in two weeks.
CRENNEL: “Yes, he’d only miss one game, but that doesn’t impact the evaluation of him. The evaluation of him is still going to be the same whether you have two weeks or three weeks or four weeks because they’re going to evaluate him and then we’ll do whatever the doctors tell us to do as far as that goes.”
SAM MELLINGER (KAN SAS CITY STAR): How long would you have to wait?
CRENNEL: “It will depend on what the doctors tell me as far as what his baseline is and what they think he is capable of, and then what you see. If they don’t allow him to do anything, it’s going to be hard for him to be ready for the game. I think that’s a position that needs as many reps as you can get, so we’ll just have to reevaluate it.”
BOB FESCOE (610 SPORTS RADIO): Will Brady Quinn be your starting quarterback?
CRENNEL: “That is still a little too early, but he’s had a concussion. When the doctors give me some information from the tests that they are running, then I’ll be better able to answer that question. Quinn, as well as Stanzi, he has to get ready. I’m going to have to wait until later in the week to see.”
FESCOE: What did you think of Eric Winston’s comments?
CRENNEL: “I didn’t hear all of his comments. I was informed that he made some comments. If you would tell me what you heard, then I can talk about…”
FESCOE: Did you personally hear fans cheer when Matt was hurt?
CRENNEL: “When one of my players gets hurt, I kind of focus on the player. I don’t know if there was cheering or not. I’m just looking at the player. I’m trying to get the second quarterback ready to go just so that he can get snaps. I’m trying to get the attention of [Ryan] Lilja so that he can come over. Then when Matt came off the field, I went over and told him, ‘Hang tough.’ I didn’t realize what the fans were doing, so now Eric Winston made a comment about the fans cheering or whatever. I don’t know. I wasn’t tuned in to what the fans were doing at that time. So, now tell me exactly what you heard.”
FESCOE: That there were 70,000 fans cheering when Matt Cassel got hurt.
CRENNEL: “I don’t think that he meant 70,000. If there were boos or cheering that Cassel got hurt, I know that 70,000 did not do it, even though I’m not tuned into it. I know 70,000 didn’t cheer for him being hurt. There might have been some cheering for him being hurt. This season has been a disappointing season with the way it’s gone. I doubt very seriously that 70,000 cheered. My experience is that the fans here in Kansas City are good fans. Are they frustrated? Yes, they are. I’m frustrated with the way it’s gone. But my players, any one of them that gets hurt, I’m concerned about that player being hurt and his well-being. Eric has been in this league a little while, he’s seen some things and he has some pride. He has some strong feelings for his teammates, whether it’s Matt Cassel or [Anthony] Toribio. If they are hurt, he doesn’t want anybody to do anything negative as a result of that injury. I think he’ll stand up for any teammate on this as it relates to that. He’s seen a lot, so like I said, I didn’t hear what he said, but I think he’ll stand by his statement.”
JOHNNY KANE (KMBC-9): Does this speak to the family bond that you guys have?
CRENNEL: “We’re always trying to build team chemistry. That’s part of this deal, that’s part of this business – to build team chemistry. But, we’re also in a business where you’re going to get criticized. I don’t think the players… They don’t complain about being criticized, but if a guy is hurt, they don’t want to see people cheering that he is hurt.”
TEICHER: If Brady is your quarterback, do you build your game plan differently?
CRENNEL: “If we determine that Brady is the quarterback, we have to look at the strengths of every player that we’re going to play in the game. The things that Brady does well, we have to tilt the game plan towards those things. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be very good coaches.”
DANNY CLINKSCALE (SPORTS RADIO 810): Is it difficult running the ball 75-80 percent of the time?
CRENNEL: “Not if you’re able to gain yards running the ball. If you can gain yards running, you can win running the ball. If you can’t gain yards running and you continue running the ball, then that might not be the best formula.”
CLINKSCALE: But you ran the ball very effectively yesterday and you didn’t get any points.
CRENNEL: “We were in the game. We got three less points than the Ravens got, which means we lose, I understand that. Let me ask you, would you rather see a competitive game or would you rather see a 40-10 score.”
CLINKSCALE: Competitive, clearly.
COVITZ: Can Jamaal Charles take that load?
CRENNEL: “We have a pretty good stable of running backs. Peyton [Hillis] happens to be injured at the moment, but going in we kind of felt that a combination of Charles and Hillis would be a good combination and then with these young guys behind them. We felt pretty good about that position and where we were. When we get Peyton back, I think we’ll still feel good about it.”
COVITZ: Why did you get Cyrus Gray involved so much yesterday?
CRENNEL: “[Shaun] Draughn, he was playing special teams and doing a lot of that, so Cyrus was a nice changeup. Getting him in there a little bit, we felt like it would be helpful.”
BOB GRETZ (BOBGRETZ.COM): When do you think you’ll get Hillis back?
CRENNEL: “High ankles are always tough. He’s making progress. We’re going to push him a little bit more this week to see how much he can do. Then, after we push him, we’ll be able to tell if he can come back this week or not.”
GRETZ: How about Glenn Dorsey?
CRENNEL: “Dorsey is the same situation.”
KANE: Do you feel like Brady Quinn can provide a spark for this team?
CRENNEL: “Only time will tell that. Every guy you have on your team, you hope that he’s a good player and that he can function when he goes into the game. When Brady goes into the game, I want him to function and be able to function just like Cyrus Gray. When he goes into the game, he needs to function. I think that’s how you try to build your team. That’s why you have enough guys, so when a guy gets banged up, you can put another guy in who can step up to the plate and get something done.”
GRETZ: It sounded like after the game it was Cyrus Gray who made that turnover and not Cassel?
CRENNEL: “I think he could have looked that one in better.”
GRETZ: How about the fumble on the goal line? When you looked at tape, what did you see?
CRENNEL: “I think that usually you have two guys involved in that and both of them have the responsibility.”
GRETZ: Were both interceptions due to tips?
CRENNEL: “The first one, I thought… Well, it’s just me, but I thought there might have been some contact on the first one and the defensive back got his hand in when the ball got there. That was that play. The next one, we kind of tipped that one up in the air, and we probably should have made that play.”
CLINKSCALE: Did you look at the penalty on Dexter McCluster?
CRENNEL: “Yes. No comment.”
COVITZ: What did you like about your defense?
CRENNEL: “They did not allow a touchdown against a pretty good offense.”
COVITZ: What do you attribute the turnaround to?
CRENNEL: “We’ve been getting better. We’ve been concentrating on trying to get better and it came together yesterday against a pretty good football team. In this business, in this game… I don’t know if you remember back to last year when we started off slow a little bit and then we went out to San Diego and San Diego was a pretty good team out there on the road, they played pretty good but came up short. As a result of it, we gained some confidence in the team, so that kind of reminded me of yesterday a little bit. We came up short. We played a pretty good team, and I feel like we got better and hopefully we gained some confidence. Now, the test is to see if we can take it forward. This week will be critical for us to be consistent, to have the kind of focus we had last week and then be able to play the way we played without the penalties, without the turnovers.”
TEICHER: Are you as confident in Brady as you were last year in Kyle Orton?
CRENNEL: “I think Kyle was a more experienced guy, so this is a different scenario and a different situation. I know that Brady will be ready to play, and Brady is going to do everything he can to help this team win.”
TEICHER: Any other injuries that will be a problem for you moving forward?
CRENNEL: “No one has told me about any other major injuries or anything like that. Cassel is the main one.”
GRETZ: Kendrick Lewis and Jalil Brown?
CRENNEL: “I was told there is a chance that Jalil might be ready, but we have to see because he is coming off that hamstring and they’re tender a lot of times. Kendrick, hopefully we’ll find out more about what he can do. I just need to see Kendrick in pads and see him have some contact.”
GRETZ: Would he have been in pads if he didn’t have a baby last week?
CRENNEL: “Yes, we would have put him out there and taken a look at him.”