LB DERRICK JOHNSON
Q: Are you surprised at the national attention that has been going on about this stuff that
JOHNSON: “I’ve been in the league for eight years, so I’m never surprised with what the media does or shows on TV, but it is what it is. Eric Winston is my teammate, I stand by and we all stand by what he said and it is what it is. I’ve been here for eight years, I know we’ve got great fans – everybody wasn’t involved in it. We have to get ready for Tampa Bay. It’s one of those things where you don’t want this to become a distraction. We need to get a win before this bye week comes up.”
Q: Do you think adversity like this can help bring a team together?
JOHNSON: “Oh yeah, definitely. We have a high-character team, we’re a strong, tough-minded team, so this is not a distraction. I know the media is blowing it up, but this is not a distraction for us. We have our minds focused on the next game and that’s it. Tampa Bay’s not thinking about anything else so we’re not thinking about anything else either.”
Q: When you look at Josh Freeman and their offense, what do you see?
JOHNSON: “Well they’re a powerhouse-type offense. They like to run the ball. Josh Freeman has a big arm. I even remember giving him an award (Simone Award for best high school football player in the Kansas City area) when he was in high school and I was in my first year here. He’s a young guy but he’s grown into a pretty dang good football player. He’s going to be hyped up and ready to go that day. They need to win just like we need to win so it’s going to be a big game for both of us.”
QB BRADY QUINN
Q: Last week you said it wasn’t any different for you. How is it different now that you’re taking the first team snaps this week?
QUINN: “It’s the same thing, I’m still just preparing and staying ready. Nothing official has been made. At this point I’m just still doing my job.”
Q: It’s got to be a little different as the only quarterback who is taking first team reps?
QUINN: “Yeah, you’re getting more physical reps. Like I said last week, one of the biggest things for me is, you get to practice a little bit more instead of taking more mental reps, and that’s obviously an advantage. At the same time, nothing official has been made, I’m just trying to prepare myself for the opportunity if it comes.”
Q: Is the uncertainty difficult for you in any way or do you just kind of plow ahead?
QUINN: “No, look, in this league if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s you’ve got to take things one day at a time. That’s how I’ve continued to prepare myself each day and each week really.”
Q: In the bigger picture are you looking forward to your shot this week?
QUINN: “There is no bigger picture. Tampa is a good team. We’ve got a big challenge ahead of us, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They’re tough up front, really the front seven. And I know some of those DBs – I played with and was drafted with Eric Wright and Brendon McDonald and they’re both very athletic. Aqib Talib is a very good player. Everybody knows Ronde Barber has been around forever. The Barrett kid has a ton of talent, so we’ve got a tough challenge ahead of us and there is no need for me or anyone else to be looking any further than this week or even tomorrow’s preparation.”
Q: Do you think a team can come together through the adversity that you guys have had to go through, especially on a national level this week?
QUINN: “I think a team comes together through all sorts of adversity, regardless of what it is. I think for us right now, we’re just working on trying to get better, trying to eliminate penalties, turnovers and things like that and trying to win a football game.”
Q: But you’ve got ESPN here today, you were on the Today Show yesterday? But this story has kind of taken on a life of its own nationally.
QUINN: “Is ESPN not always here? Gosh. It’s good to have them here. As far as that goes we just try to keep our heads down and keep working. There is a bunch of stuff going on outside of us that we can’t control so at this point, again it’s back to business as usual and that’s how we’re handling things.”
Q: It couldn’t have been easy not playing since 2009. How do you stay patient, it couldn’t be easy?
QUINN: “No it’s not. To be honest with you, my faith has really allowed me to remain confident and to realize that God has a plan for me, He’s continued to watch out for me, continued to give me opportunities and that’s really what’s remained for me and how I’ve gotten to this point.”
Q: What have you talked to Matt about what happened with the fans when he left the game and you went in?
QUINN: “Honestly we haven’t talked about it that much. I’ve more talked to him about his welfare personally, how he’s feeling, that kind of thing. For me, when that happens, I’m warming up with the center, trying to warm the arm up, I was really just focused in on trying to find a football and trying to get the center over to take some snaps and then throw to someone. Again I was all kind of focused in on being in that moment.”
Q: What has he said about how he’s felt emotionally?
QUINN: “We haven’t talked about that topic in particular. So I don’t know. You’d have to ask him.”
Q: is it true to say that we’ve only seen a glimpse of what you’re capable of?
QUINN: “I’m not here to make predictions or anything like that. I hope to go out there and play a good clean game and give us an opportunity to win.”
Q: How comfortable are you with this offense?
QUINN: “Yeah, I feel comfortable with it. I was with Coach [Brian] Daboll in 2009. There have been some changes since then. That part and just getting adjusted to the personnel too, there are obviously different guys here. That’s one of the advantages you have that we talked about earlier, when you’re taking reps with some of the ones now you’re getting to throw and you’re getting timing down with those guys, whereas before it’s more just mental reps. It’s just preparation for if that opportunity arises.”
Q: If you make your first start in three years do you anticipate that it’s going to be emotional?
QUINN: “I don’t know. I know last week was emotional just getting the opportunity to get back on the field again, so I don’t know. Again I’m not really looking ahead. If that does happen, then I’m sure there will be emotions involved if that’s the case. At this point I’m just trying to prepare myself for the situation.”
Q: Does a different part of the playbook get used when you’re in there?
QUINN: “No, I think if that’s the case then you’re limiting your offense and you’re limiting your potential. We need to make sure we try to utilize everything we have in our playbook. We don’t want to cut anything out.”
Q: As you prepare for this potential start and the team is going through so much, what have guys said around the locker room to help move forward?
QUINN: “We haven’t really talked about it. We’re focused on Tampa Bay. That’s where all of our focus is. For me personally, I’m just preparing. There has been nothing official made. I’m trying to do all I can to prepare myself physically and mentally for that opportunity.”
Q: Have you heard from any fans and if so what have they said to you?
QUINN: “I haven’t heard from any. Playing against Kansas City and playing for Kansas City, we have great fans. It’s a loud environment when you’re here as an opposing team and it’s a loud environment when you’re here as the home team. I just know they’re great fans.”
QB RICKY STANZI
Q: How was the preseason for you since that’s when you saw the most game-speed action so far?
STANZI: “The preseason is a great chance to learn, obviously, and I think that is what we did as a team and we’re still trying to build off of that. Every week we’re trying to learn from our mistakes and build on those, go to the next week and try to get better. I know it’s cliché, but that’s really all you can do in any type of situation you get in –whether you’re winning or losing – you have to take it one game at a time, one practice at a time and just try to get better.”
Q: Looking back on your performance in the preseason, are there things you could have done better or you wish you had done differently?
STANZI: “Maybe, but honestly I haven’t really looked back on it. We’ve kind of had the mentality of always moving forward with what we’re doing and trying to progress each day. That’s kind of been the mentality of all of us, and that includes me.”
Q: Has your preparation this week been any different from any other week?
STANZI: “The only difference is really more scout team reps. Brady’s taking all the ones so I’ll be taking all the twos and I take those reps very seriously and just try to get the mental part of it down in case I go in there. If you go in there you just have to pick up where the first guy left off and keep the chains moving.”
C RYAN LILJA
Q: What do you think about what Eric Winston said?
LILJA: “I support what he said. Obviously it wasn’t everybody in the crowd, but there were people cheering a guy getting a head injury. It’s been talked about every which way possible, and I’m not going to give you anything else other than I support what Eric said. I hope Matt gets healthy. We love and respect our true Chiefs fans.”
Q: What have fans said to you?
LILJA: “I’ve had overwhelming support for what he’s said from people at the game and from people that were watching the game. Like I said, Eric made his comment, and I’m not going to talk anymore about it.”
Q: Now you have to get used to a new quarterback and you’ve only been at center for a few games.
LILJA: “It’s the NFL. Adjust.”
Q: What’s different about that?
LILJA: “Everything. You’ve got to communicate, obviously, with the new person who hasn’t been in there, who is still relatively new to here. But it’s football and Brady has done a good job. He’s been ready for this opportunity. That’s one thing you can say about him, is that he’s been ready for this opportunity. We have a ton of confidence that he’s going to get the job done. We have confidence that we’re going to go down there and get a win before our bye week. We need it. Last week coming close like that at home, it stings. We’re dying for this win, and we’re busting our asses for it.”
Q: Have you been pleasantly surprised about your transition over to center?
LILJA: “There are a lot of things that I have to figure out and figure them out quick. They’re mostly operation stuff or technique stuff. The old saying about teaching an old dog new tricks, I was set in my ways with my position with my stance, with my steps. It’s a different position, but like I said, it’s still football. It’s angles; it’s leverage. It’s trying to out-quick, out-athletic the guy.”