OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright, good morning/afternoon, whichever it is. On the injury front,
ADAM TEICHER (KANSAS CITY STAR): Will
CRENNEL: “Yeah, he’ll be in practice today.”
TEICHER: Did he get injured in the game or is it just soreness?
CRENNEL: “He fell on his knee, got bruised, came up limping and so we took him out rather than leave him in there and expose him a little bit more. And then as it developed, the other players were doing decent so we didn’t feel the need to put him back in at that moment.”
KAREN KORNACKI (KMBC): You’ve been happy with how the players are practicing, but you’re not winning on Sunday. Do you just continue to grind or do you have to change up some stuff in practice?
CRENNEL: “Well, you can only change so much in practice the way it’s structured. And you have to get done the things you feel like you need to do in the different areas that you’re preparing for, for that day. So you kind of have to continue doing what you’ve been doing and emphasize the things that you feel like you need to emphasize. What I’ve found over the years is if you try to work on the things that are causing you problems and improve those things, then you have a chance to get better. That’s what we’re trying to focus on doing.”
RANDY COVITZ (KANSAS CITY STAR): How important is leadership from your players in times like this?
CRENNEL: “Well yeah, leadership is critical all the time, but particularly in rough times I think your leaders help pull the team together and help keep the team together. So having good leaders on the team is a positive thing.”
COVITZ: Does this team have good leaders? Who do you look to, to spark the whole team?
CRENNEL: “Well, the captains on the team, like Ryan Lilja,
COVITZ: Did you appoint the captains or were they selected by the team?
CRENNEL: “They were selected.”
COVITZ: Do you think this team has lost a little bit of leadership – guys like Thomas Jones and Casey Wiegmann, even Jon McGraw? Has there been a little bit of a void before the new leaders have stepped up?
CRENNEL: “Any time you lose veteran leadership then the other leadership has to come on and take its place. Like I said, I think the leaders that we have are good leaders, they’re not bad leaders by any stretch of the imagination. Now, an experienced guy is better than a rookie. You can’t get around that.”
DAVE SKRETTA (ASSOCIATED PRESS): There were almost 1,600 points scored the first two weeks of the season. Do you have any idea why offenses seem to be so much ahead of defenses right now?
CRENNEL: “As the game has changed and offenses are spreading the field and putting more ability on the field and being able to get out of ‘bad plays’ and get into ‘good plays,’ offenses are moving the chains and they’re able to change field position and end up scoring more as a result of it.”
SKRETTA: Is there something defenses can do to get the balance back to where it used to be?
CRENNEL: “I think that, generally, personnel is an issue in that. If an offense has all fast guys, then defensively, you try to put as many fast guys out there to counteract that speed. Basically, you try to double some guys, but you can’t double everybody, so some guys have to stand alone. When you stand alone, you have to make the play. If the quarterback is able to get to the guy who is standing alone, then if we make the play, it’s good. If they make the play, it’s not good.”
SKRETTA: Are there other things that are helping the offenses, such as rules?
CRENNEL: “Offensively, everybody wants to see the ball move up and down the field. I don’t know that people are enamored by a 10-7 game or a 7-3 game, unless you win. The nature of the game has been to try to get chunks of yards, and chunks of yards are easier than three yards and a cloud of dust. Defenses have gotten so that three yards and a cloud of dust philosophy is much harder to get because you can put the guys down in the box and make it really hard to get those three yards and a cloud of dust. So, offenses have said rather than beat our head against the wall, let’s spread it out where maybe I can get a matchup and there’s more space for one guy to work against another guy. Now, if I make a play, that three yards becomes 15, and it would have taken me four plays to get that and now I can get it in one.”
BOB GRETZ (BOBGRETZ.COM): It seemed like Buffalo went with passing formations and then ran the ball.
CRENNEL: “They did.”
GRETZ: You talked about chunks. You had two chunks in one drive that you gave up, 43 yards to the tight end and then the touchdown to Stevie Johnson. Were both of those blown coverages?
CRENNEL: “No, they were not blown coverages. They were not executed properly for us to make the play, and I think on both of those plays, the pass was a shorter pass; it was a catch-and-run play. On those catch-and-runs, you need more help than the one guy who is covering the guy at that moment, and we didn’t have enough guys in position to help out on those plays, so that’s why they ended up big chunk plays.”
GRETZ: But they weren’t out of position? You just didn’t have enough guys in the right position?
CRENNEL: “They were not blown coverages. Now, if a guy completes a ball on you, then you might be out of position. But, we were there on the ball on the tight end crossing route, we just didn’t make the play. Then, on that shallow catch-and-run, he started up, went shallow, caught the ball and then outran us.”
JAY BINKLEY (610 SPORTS RADIO): What about special teams? How big of a focus will that be after the two long returns?
CRENNEL: “It’s similar to this team – inconsistency in different areas. In our coverage area, we have to do a better job because we’ve given up two long returns, and last week the return for the touchdown. Some of it is guys overanalyzing what they think they see on the field and not going to the guy with the ball.”
TEICHER: Do you see any signs from
CRENNEL: “All of those guys are playing and producing, they’re practicing, so they are good enough to play. Whether they’ll ever be back to what they used to be, I don’t know if that’s going to be the case because you’ve had some reconstruction on your knee. Will it ever be like it was before the reconstruction? I don’t know if that will be the case, but that does not keep guys from playing this game.”
TEICHER: Specifically with Berry, what did you see from him before the injury that you may not have seen yet?
CRENNEL: “He seems to be doing as much as he can do. He seems to be doing OK. Tony is doing OK. Jamaal is doing OK, but I think that we, and when I say ‘we’ I’m talking about myself and my staff, we have to be cognoscente of the fact that those guys have had major injuries and are trying to recover from major injuries. So, it just doesn’t seem to be smart to just beat the guys’ knee up. When you see a guy is limping, it’s not smart to beat him up. If you lose him again, then you might not have him at all. I think there is a thin line that you kind of have to walk sometimes.”
DANNY CLINKSCALE (SPORTS RADIO 810): How would you assess the offensive line overall?
CRENNEL: “We were inconsistent, and it wasn’t one particular guy that you can put your finger on. One play, one guy breaks down, another play, a guy will break down, so that created negative plays for us. It’s hard to overcome negative plays sometimes.”
GRETZ: Did you end up playing
GRETZ: Did he leave the field at all?
CRENNEL: “I don’t think so.”
GRETZ: That was the plan going in?
CRENNEL: “He said he was ready to play and he wanted to play as much as he could, so we said we’d play him if he wanted to play.”
KAREN KORNACKI (KMBC): Do the Saints look different this season with their coaching changes?
CRENNEL: “Not really. The results are the only thing that you can look at and say there is a problem. But I think anytime you lose a leader – like we just mentioned – there is cause for concern. I think they’re trying to deal with that the best they can. The players on the field know how to play the game, and they still play the game. Defensively, they haven’t been stopping people like they used to. I think that has had a major impact on them.”
RANDY COVITZ (KC STAR): How tough is being an interim coach?
CRENNEL: “You haven’t been the guy, so now all of a sudden you’re the guy and you know there is an interim tag. I think you do the best you can. You’ve tried to prepare all your career for that opportunity, so now you’ve got your opportunity so you try to do the best with it.”
COVITZ: How tough is it to get their attention?
CRENNEL: “When you say, ‘substitute teacher’ or an interim, that means that somebody is standing over your shoulder and is going to be there the next day or next week or whatever. I don’t think you look at it like that. When you’re the guy, you’re the guy and you have to make decisions and you have to do what you think is best and then you go forward with it.”