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Player Press Conferences

Posted Sep 4, 2014

Players talk with the media before practice

Derrick Johnson

Q: What relationship do you have with the players from the past such as Bobby Bell and Willie Lanier?

JOHNSON: “Well, being on this rich tradition of this Chiefs organization, you have guys like Willie Lanier and Bobby Bell and Neil Smith and all of these guys who were wonderful here, great players here, hall of fame players and to actually bring that spunk back of the 90s feel I would say on defense with Derrick Thomas and those guys that were here, It’s a great feeling. We have that 12th man, which is the crowd and it’s one of the best in the league.”

Q: I’m sure you want to be in that Ring of Honor someday. Does their legacy make you want to live up to it? How does that translate to better performance?

JOHNSON: “You reflect on it after that fact, at night time or after the game, but during the game it’s a sense of pride of yourself at that moment, conquering that moment, being great at the moment, but knowing it’s a high standard here, being on this Chiefs defense and bringing it up to standard of what they’ve had in the past. I’m proud to be a part of this team now, this defense with the potential we have with the players. We’ve got a lot of great defensive guys on this team.”

Q: The most tackles in Chiefs history will probably get you in the ring of honor, don’t you think?

JOHNSON: “Oh, man. I hope so, I hope so. With that Ring of Honor deal, that’s a special deal. It’s a small circle of great players and hopefully one day I’ll be fortunate enough to get that. But it’s one of those things you reflect after the fact. Right now it’s all about beating the Titans and winning the Super Bowl this year. After the season, I can reflect back and say, ‘Hey, I broke that record and hopefully I can do a lot more.’”

Q: What have you said to Dee Ford about going out there on Sunday with the crowd?

JOHNSON: “Well you can tell him. He knows, we’ve been telling him. Justin Houston and Tamba Hali have been telling him what to expect but he’s not going to know until that first game when I make a check here and there, he’s not going to be able to hear me make that check. There’s going to be a lot of hand signals out there but it’s a great atmosphere. He’s going to love it. He’s one of the players that’s going to get after the quarterback a little bit so it’ll be great for him.”

Tamba Hali

Q: How’s the knee?

HALI: “Knee is doing well.”

Q: What happened?

HALI: “Old age. I told them to put on the scouting report, ‘old.’ Just old, just aches.”

Q: How anxious are you to get to Sunday?

HALI: “I’m anxious to get there, but we want to take it a day at a time. When it comes, we want to be at our peak. It’s exciting to get back on the field and continue to do what we started last year. The bar has been set. We have to play at a high level. These teams we are playing in the first five weeks will really determine how good this team is. We’re really determined to see how good this team is. We’re excited to get on the field on Sunday.”

Q: The schedule gets very difficult after Tennessee. How important is opening day at home when you play a non-playoff team?

HALI: “You don’t want to look far ahead, but you want to know what’s coming. The first game is going to set the tone on what we want to get done throughout the regular season. This is the most important game on the schedule right now. But like you said, the first five weeks. We did something last year that people didn’t expect. Now the schedule is in a position where we want to be able to do what we did last year and prove to the world that this is the team coaches put together, and we’re ready to go further than people can imagine.”

Q: What do you think of the enforcement of all the new rules on defense?

HALI: “I think based on all the lawsuits that the NFL is receiving, they want to make our game a lot more safer and more competitive. I think on defense we’re a little pull-back because we can’t play aggressive. But we have to just play within the rules and try to do our best while we do it.”

Mike DeVito

Q: A lot more emphasis is being put on defensive holding there in the preseason, what does that mean for you?

DEVITO: “Obviously, you’ve seen the way the game is changing. I think it all goes back to what Bob (Sutton) was saying in that we have to get up there in front so it’s going to be on us. Four man rush, three man rush, things like that to put pressure on the quarterback and help out the guys in the back end, so they don’t have to worry about it.”

Q: How long does it take for it all to sink in that those calls will be made?

DEVITO: “I think we’ve done well this training camp. Putting a point of emphasis on the things that they are putting an emphasis on. We’ve been working on it the past month, month and a half now. That’s really all you can do. Try to adjust your games, so that you’re following by the rules and all the things that are going to get flags so we don’t have to deal with that on Sundays.”

Q: How much can you judge a team from preseason?

DEVITO: “You can tell a lot about how things are clicking. I know the one thing we keep saying about this team is how it’s a family and you can see it in the locker room before the game, halftime no matter if the ones were in, the twos were in, the threes were in. Everyone was supporting each other and getting behind each other. I think that’s one of the biggest things you can see is how well things are gelling, and I think this training camp was really good.”

Q: Do you think they ever introduce rules that would help the defense out?

DEVITO: “No I don’t. I mean, I think the rules they put on there for the cut blocks and changing the cut blocks. Cut blocks coming from the side, the tackle has to be more in front of you instead of diving at your knees is going to help us out, but whatever it is, you just have to play.”

Rodney Hudson

Q: What is the biggest takeaway from this preseason as an o-line?

HUDSON: “We just need to keep learning. Learn from our mistakes and build on the things that we’re doing well and continue to grow as a group together.”

Q: How much stronger have you individually gotten since this last season?

HUDSON: “My weight has not changed a whole lot, but you always want to work on your game to try and get better in all areas and I definitely was putting in work this offseason.”

Q: How is Jeff Allen doing over there at right tackle?

HUDSON: “He’s doing a good job. That’s another thing with this group. We’ve had some guys we have had to move around and learn different spots. I think we’re going to continue to learn and get better. I think Jeff’s doing a good job and continuing to try and get better at a new spot from him playing guard last year. ”   

Q: Why do you feel you guys will be okay this year?

HUDSON: “We’re taking it a day at a time. We’re working, we’re listening, we have some guys in there that are working to get better. We just have to continue to work harder and grow as a group.”

Anthony Sherman

Q: Where is your comfort level at in the offense with it being your second year?

SHERMAN: “Everyone is just so much further along this year than last year just with the gameplans and understanding what the coaches want out of us and understanding schemes and defensive fronts. It also helps when you know certain defensive coordinators and know what they’re going to try to do against you in this scheme, which is going to help.”

Q: The offensive line is young with a bunch of new positions. Do you feel like you have a bigger role now blocking?

SHERMAN: “I don’t think I have any more role than I did last year. I think Coach (Reid) puts everyone in positions to succeed and we’ve got the five best linemen that we have in front of us. Jamaal and I know that we’re going to be fine up front and we don’t really need to worry about that. We’ll just do our job and everyone clicks on all cylinders and we’ll be just fine.”

Q: Why do you know you are going to be fine up front?

SHERMAN: “Well because Coach Heck does a great job with those guys and so does Coach Chung. All those guys are such hard workers, they’ve been here all offseason and they’re just ready to do great things for this team and all those guys take that role to the highest level.”

Q: Are you concerned that the first team offense didn’t reach the end zone in the preseason?

SHERMAN: “No, not at all. We’ll be fine. Offense will click when it needs to click. The coaching staff does a great job of game plans and putting us in situations, so we’ll be fine.”

Dontari Poe

Q: After how the season ended last year, how important is it for this defense to come out and make a statement against Tennessee?

POE: “Really important. I feel like we have to start fast and finish faster this year. The better we can play, the better the defense will have momentum moving on.”

Q: What kind of strides do you think you have made as a pass rusher since the end of last season?

POE: “A lot. A lot of pass rushing is knowing the offensive line pass protection. I feel like I gained a lot in that department just recognizing stuff faster. The faster I recognize, the faster I can react.”

Q:  What are you seeing out of Josh Mauga?

POE: “Really good player, very good instincts. He knows how to fill the gaps really well. Whenever I see players who can run up and fill up the hole, I’m pretty much happy. He can do that and we can run around and make plays together.”

Eric Fisher

Q: How would you evaluate your preseason? Do you feel you’ve made strides each week?

FISHER: “Yeah. That was my goal coming off both surgeries. I just wanted to continue to get my body right and improve my technique every week, and that’s what I think I did. I’m looking forward to the season and everything coming up.”

Q: Do you feel you have a lot to prove? Obviously being a number one pick puts some extra pressure there.

FISHER: “Yeah, I’ve blocked all that out. I’m just out there to play football and have fun doing it. I think last year I put that pressure on myself, and it doesn’t help at all. I just want to do what I can do and help this team anyway I can. Block everything else out and just go play football.”

Q: When you say put that pressure on yourself, what do you mean by that?

FISHER: “You get the expectations with being the number one pick and that can distract you. It can put a lot of different thoughts in your mind. And this year I took the mentality of I’m just going to go out there and concentrate on just football and block everything else out. That’s what I’m trying to do. “

Q: Is it another rookie year for you since your switching to the left side? Different position than you went through last year.

FISHER: “No, not at all. I learned the offense and everything last year. That’s the biggest thing, when you know what you’re doing you can play fast. Knowing the offense is such a help this year, not saying I didn’t know the offense last year, but every year you’re going to get more in-depth and know more and more.”

Eric Berry

Q: How tough was it for you to sit and watch four weeks?

BERRY: “It’s always difficult sitting out, watching. Especially when you know you worked so hard in the offseason. You build that bond with your team and that accountability, so it’s always hard to watch a team out there without you. But I tried to play my part as far as being on the sideline and being at practice.”

Q: When you were on the sideline, what did you do to help?

BERRY: “We had a lot of young guys out there, so it was their first time being in an NFL game situation. I would try to talk them through a lot of things that were going on and how they were going to try to attack us. Basically telling them to keep calm, and I think the biggest thing being a rookie coming into the league is you forget that it’s still football. That’s the main thing. I was trying to tell the young guys, for the most part just keeping everybody together and on the same page.”

Q: Are you good to go without those preseason games?

BERRY: “Yeah, I should be and we are going to see. In every way I could, without being on the field, I was still working. Still watching film, still doing the little mental reps I could do and at this point a lot of it is mental. Just not getting discouraged about being out there and just making sure I stay focused on the big picture. That was a big part, and I just tried to handle it that way.”

Q: What’s your favorite thing about week one?

BERRY: “Week one is always exciting. This particular week, this opening game of the season is at home, so I know our fans are going to be very excited. It’s going to be a great atmosphere, I think everybody in America should experience this, Arrowhead is just something special. And the fact that we get to start the first game of the season here, I think we need to take advantage of that and get a lot of momentum going into the season.”

Q: You mentioned the importance of this week, have you been able to just focus on this game and not look ahead? Have you been able to compartmentalize everything and not look ahead?

BERRY: “I think Coach (Reid) did a great job early on in OTAs and throughout that period, just telling us we know what kind of schedule we have. He told us that the only way we can attack it is one game at a time. So right now we are going to deal with Tennessee, and that’s the only thing we can do something about. So we focus on Tennessee and they have a really good team, a lot of athletes and a lot of play makers. So we have to make sure all of our energy is focused on that team for Sunday.”

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