Crennel focuses on limiting distractions

Posted Dec 16, 2011

With undefeated Green Bay coming to town, Romeo Crennel has tried to limit distractions surrounding Kansas City's in-season coaching change

When the undefeated defending world champion Green Bay Packers roll into town this Sunday, they’ll be met by a Chiefs team with a new starting quarterback and a new head coach.

In a time of transition, new Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel knows that the last thing his team needs is more distraction - especially with the 13-0 Packers showing no signs of slowing and still needing a win to clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

“I’ve talked about change and distractions,” Crennel said of his message this week. “When there’s change, there’s some uncertainty because you just really don’t know what to expect sometimes, how things are going to happen, but I told them we’re going to try to stay as much on schedule as we can.”

Aside from making minor changes to the team’s workout schedule, Crennel has opted to wait on making wholesale changes. If hired as head coach on a permanent basis, Crennel will put his own distinct spin on the team and its coaching staff at that time.

Until then, Crennel believes that additional change creates unnecessary, counterproductive distraction.

“We try to stay out of as much of the front office stuff as we can and not let those things distract us,” CB Brandon Flowers said. “I think it’s been going pretty smooth for us so far.”

Crennel has provided an experienced and steady hand during an unsteady time. He’s kept coaching responsibilities the same and doesn’t plan to make any drastic alterations to the Chiefs playbook.

It’s an approach that has his players feeling comfortable following a significant in-season coaching shift.

 “When he goes in front of the team, it’s nothing new to us, at least as a defense” said CB Javier Arenas. “I know what type of approach he takes. I’m used to it and I like it.”

Part of Crennel’s leadership style includes an open-door relationship with players. He’s been encouraging feedback throughout his first week since taking over for dismissed head coach Todd Haley.

“We told them, ‘Look, if things don’t work well or we’ve got issues, come talk to me and we’ll see if we can adjust them if we want to adjust them and we’ll go from there.’ That’s where we are with the team,” Crennel said.

“It’s been positive around here,” Arenas added. “It’s got to be positive. You can’t just sit around and mope because someone who has been here these last three years isn’t here anymore. We’re not going to forfeit, so we feel like we can go in and win them all with Coach RAC leading us. We’re all-in.”

Coaching change or not, Kansas City has its hands full with Green Bay. A snapshot of the Packers scoring success shows the drastic differences between the two teams.

Kansas City has scored 173 total points this season, while Green Bay has lit the scoreboard for 248 points in the first-half of games. Overall, the Packers have scored 466 total points.

Since the start of November, Kansas City has scored 45 points overall. Green Bay hung 46 points on the Raiders last Sunday.

Green Bay has more return scores (7) than Kansas City has rushing touchdowns (3) and former Kansas State WR Jordy Nelson has as many touchdown receptions (12) as Kansas City’s entire roster combined.

You get the point.

It’s not just the Chiefs. Green Bay beat the world last year and have been world-beaters ever since.

“It’s going to be a team effort, all three phases,” LB Derrick Johnson said. “You’ve got to play good in all three phases. I don’t want to say be perfect because football’s not perfect, the Packers aren’t perfect, close to it but they’re a really good team and doing a lot of good things.

“The main thing they’ve got going for them is their confidence level that they are playing with. When you have the confidence level that they are playing with you can do a lot of great things so we need to match that Sunday.”

Crennel was chosen to lead the Chiefs for the final three games of 2011 not only because of his previous experience as a head coach and current candidacy for the Chiefs head coaching job, but also because of his ability to generate positive locker room response.

His first course of action has been to limit distraction following a sudden change.

“You never want a challenge like this as far as going through a big coaching change, but it is what it is and it’s happened,” Arenas said. “We’re about to take this thing head-on with RAC and we’ve got to love it. That’s how we feel right now as an entire team.”

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