OPENING STATEMENT: “After looking at the film, nothing much has changed. We didn’t start off the season the way we would have liked to have started the season. We would have liked to get a victory here at home. As we played the first half, it looked like we might be able to get that done, but in the second half, we didn’t play good enough to win the game. Consequently, we ended up losing the game. Even though we don’t like losing, particularly losing at home we don’t like – you don’t like losing anytime really – but with that being said, there were some positive things that occurred during the game. What we have to do is build on the positive things, eliminate the negative things. We have a short amount of time to try to get that done because you play again on Sunday, and we have to travel to play on Sunday. That’s what we’re focusing on. I think there is some talent on this team, and when they play the way we want them to play, they are effective and they get some good things done. Offensively, I was pleased with the way the offense moved the ball the first half, although, I’m disappointed in what happened in the second half. Defensively, we couldn’t stop anybody on defense, and that’s a problem. When you’re not able to stop them on defense – there were some closer down plays where we were close on the plays, but we didn’t make them – it’s not good enough when you don’t make them. We had a couple special teams errors that hurt us during the course of the game. All of those things put together, you end up losing the game. We have to try to get that fixed, get it ironed out, and do it in a short amount of time. With the injuries in the game, there were no major injuries. Every game, there are bumps and bruises. Everybody was here working today, trying to get themselves loose, trying to work the soreness out and beginning to get ready for next week. With that, I guess the other thing that will be major is Tamba’s return. We have a day – they give us a day – to make this move with Tamba, so we’re not making the move today. We’ll make the move probably tomorrow, and we’ll bring Tamba back. That will give us an opportunity to look at the team and decide who we’re going to make the move with because when we bring Tamba back, we have to get rid of somebody. We’re going to do that tomorrow.”
BOB GRETZ (BOBGRETZ.COM): Was Tamba here today?
GRETZ: So you’re just talking about the active roster?
BOB FESCOE (610 SPORTS RADIO): Did Matt do everything you wanted him to do in the first half?
CRENNEL: “No. We had three turnovers in the second half. When you turn the ball over, it’s hard to win in this league when you turn the ball over, particularly when you don’t get anything in return either. Three turnovers, they hurt.”
FESCOE: Is there anything he could have done turnover wise?
CRENNEL: “There was one side he could have taken, and I think he could have thrown the ball away rather than try to make a play with it. But for the most part, Matt did a good job of looking at the fronts, making the calls that we had, getting us into plays. That showed up in the first half. In the second half, particularly when it became a two-score game, I think that we lost our focus a little bit. When I say ‘we’, I’m not saying Matt lost focus. We as a team lost our focus, and some individual breakdowns started to occur in the second half that didn’t occur in the first half on both sides of the ball. That’s one of the things that if you’re going to be successful in the NFL, you have to be strong-willed and be able to work through those situations when you’re behind. You have to work through them and play your technique and do your job and all of those things that were preached to them on a daily basis. That has to occur in the game. Players, they have their egos and they attempt to try to help their team, so sometimes in trying to help their team, they decide they want to try to make a play. In an attempt to make the play, sometimes it goes the wrong way and goes the other way. Some of that occurred during the course of the second half.”
FESCOE: What was really different between the two halves offensively?
CRENNEL: “Well, one was they played better defensively. They looked at what we were doing in the first half and made some adjustments. We were trying to continue that successful path that we had in the first half, and then we drive the ball 10 plays on the opening kickoff and come up with no points. I think that began to let some of the air out of the balloon. Then as soon as we come up with no points, they take it and put up points and then we’re behind two scores. The time on the clock was also moving, and I think we started to press a little bit and not do what we were doing in the first half.”
ADAM TEICHER (KC STAR): Does anyone that didn’t play this week have a chance next week?
CRENNEL: “The situation is the same as far as we have to wait to see what they can do as far as practice goes. They were all here today. I think (Anthony) Toribio is limited and will be very limited. (Allen) Bailey is limited. (Kendrick) Lewis, he’s limited. Those are the three guys who are the most limited. Everybody else should be able to practice, and we’ll see what they can do.”
DANNY CLINKSCALE (SPORTS RADIO 810): Do you think the defense is struggling with confidence after the last three games?
CRENNEL: “Two of them didn’t count. This one counted. That wasn’t a good sign, but as you look at the game, there were some good things that did occur during the game. In the fourth quarter, you make a third down stop in the fourth quarter. The score had gotten up there already. A lot of teams don’t have enough to pull it together to make that kind of play. There were some good plays that were made by the defense, even though we didn’t play well enough in the passing game, there were some good plays. The fact that we were able to stop them when they ran the ball, I think that was a positive. We were able to get some pressure on the quarterback, but the ball was coming out quick. You have to give those guys a pat on the back for getting the ball out quick. Houston was in the quarterback’s face along with the sack that he got. He had some push on the pocket, but they were able to make the plays. But like I said, we were close on some. But we didn’t make them. It’s encouraging when you see that you can be close on the play. What we need to do is, we need to do a little more so that we can make the play.”
ADAM TEICHER (KANSAS CITY STAR): There were a lot of similarities between this game and the opener last year against Buffalo. Is there a reason for the slow start defensively?
CRENNEL: “Other than the fact that we couldn’t stop the pass, no, I can’t say. I don’t even remember what the rushing yardage was last year.”
TEICHER: Not necessarily the yardage, but the results and the point?
CRENNEL: “Well, the fact that we were able to stop the run yesterday is encouraging for me. The points are the points and we lost and there’s no getting around that. Sometimes in this business when you lose, no matter what else you do it doesn’t make any difference. And we lost.”
TEICHER: You finished the year last year strong. I’m sure you were pleased. Most of the players are back, all the coaches are back. What changed from the end of last season until now?
CRENNEL: “Every year is a new year in the NFL because nothing, like you said the coaches are back, but the team doesn’t stay the same. You’ve got new people who’ve added to the team and they’re playing in the games so it takes awhile to develop that chemistry. You try as hard as you can in training camp to develop that, but until you start playing the games and the guys have pressure on them and have to make plays in pressure situations, that’s when that chemistry begins to mold together and the unit begins to become more of a unit.”
TEICHER: Is there anything you can do to speed that process up or do you just have to let it take its course?
CRENNEL: “Well, I think you have to let it take its course, which you do, and you go from there. Like last year, the first two games, defensively, weren’t very good at all. But you keep working with them, keep working with them, and then toward the end turned out to be halfway decent.”
TEICHER: Not saying his absence was reason that you won or lost the game, but how much does Tamba mean to this team?
CRENNEL: “We all know that Tamba brings a lot to the table as far as his ability to rush the passer. When you have that kind of pressure that you can apply to an opposing offense, that’s good for us and bad for them. They have to be concerned about it. We’ll get him back and hopefully he’ll be at a level that he can impact the opponent and then be able to help us win some games.”
TEICHER: When you were drawing up the defensive gameplan last week, how much did you feel handcuffed by the fact that he wasn’t there?
CRENNEL: “Well, you know that we were limited a little bit. But we also felt like the guys we had behind him would have to step up and do the best they could to try to help the team win, and that’s what you do every week. Because in the NFL, you don’t have all your players healthy for every game. So you’re going to miss some guys sometimes and then their backups have to step up to try to help you.”
CRENNEL: “Well, Studebaker graded out pretty decent, he’s a good solid player for us. Elam is a good solid player and so they tried the best they could to help the team.”
BOB FESCOE (610 SPORTS RADIO): You didn’t mention Flowers with your injury notes?
CRENNEL: “Collectively, I said that those guys would have to go out there and see what they could do and Flowers fell into that collective group with Brown, Flowers, Derrick played so we don’t have to worry about him.”
BOB GRETZ (BOBGRETZ.COM): You talked about how things were going into the toilet, you’ve got to be strong-willed and stick to your plan. Does your team have enough mental toughness?
CRENNEL: “Well not in the second half. I think that the team has good ability and they have good mental ability and we will continue to work with it and develop it as we go along.”
FESCOE: It seems like they let the missed field goal affect them the rest of the game?
CRENNEL: “Well, that’s what happens. When you’re working hard to get something done and you come up with nothing to show for it, well that’s a little depressing sometimes. That’s when you have to have that strong will and strong sense of purpose to overcome the negative plays and then go ahead and let’s play the next play.”
FESOCE: Is it disappointing to you that they weren’t able to overcome that?
CRENNEL: “Well in my mind it wasn’t so much the missed field goal by itself, it was the combination of the missed field goal and the immediate touchdown to follow it which made it a two-score game. Sometimes when you have hope, hope can do a lot of good things for you. As long as it was a one-score game I think there was good hope on the team. Then once it became a two-score game, then some of that will weakened just a little bit. Now even though that will might have weakened a little bit, they didn’t not play the game – they didn’t quit playing or anything like that because the offense continued to move the ball, the defense was able to get that third-down stop in the fourth quarter and they were still hustling to the football and doing some positive things. But at that point, the score was such that it was going to be hard to overcome.”
GRETZ: If you need more mental toughness, how do you get it?
CRENNEL: “Well, you know how we used to do that back in the day, back in the olden times – as my kids tell me when I talk to them about olden times, they said ‘Dad, those were olden days’ – well in the olden days we’d have contact, padded practice for however long it took. But this is a different day and age so we have to work within the rules that are set forth. So you talk to them, you show them tape, try to get them to understand that every play is a play that must be played in the NFL and that the game is not over until it’s over and there are always chances and opportunities for you to make a play to give your team some momentum and then before you know it, you’re winning the game.”
DANNY CLINKSCALE (SPORTS RADIO 810 WHB): How would you assess the running game yesterday? There was one big play, but there were quite a few negative plays as well?
CRENNEL: “The Chiefs running game, right? Well I think we gained like 152 yards or something rushing the ball. So I thought it was pretty good. Now those negative plays, most of them came in the second half I believe, and came back-to-back as a matter of fact. But like on one of the negative plays, he runs it into the pile and then he tries to bounce it out and we lose five. Now some guys bounce it out and run for a touchdown, but we lost five so now we have to deal with that second and 15 play instead of a second and seven play, which it would have been if he had stayed in the pile. When guys try to make plays things like that happen.”