OPENING REMARKS: “As you know the results of yesterday occurred and I’ve known Todd [Haley] a long time back when we were with the Jets together and he was kind of getting started and Todd does have a passion for this game and I think Todd did everything he could to try and help this team win and it just didn’t work out and so the organization decided to make the change. And in making that change, they asked if I would step in and take the job to finish out the season, and I agreed to do that because I know the coaches on the staff, I think there’s a good group of players in the locker room, my relationship with Scott [Pioli] and having worked for Mr. Hunt. I think all these people and these groups are good people and I think that hopefully we can get something done these next three games in a positive way and show the fans that we do work hard and we do try to get some things done to help and be competitive and play hard on the field. So as we go forward, that’s what I’m going to try and get done with these last three games. I know that sometimes it’s a short window that you are looking through but that’s the way this game is. Things happen, you have to adjust, you have to adapt and you have to move forward.”
Q: Do you want to be a head coach after these three games?
CRENNEL: “When I left Cleveland one of the things that I felt was that my competitive nature, my competitive energy that I have was, I’d like to be a head coach again and show I can get it done. We won 10 in Cleveland in one year and probably we had a chance to make the playoffs and didn’t make it and then the following year things kind of fell apart a little it and they made a change. So I would like to be a head coach again to show that I can do it, I know how to get it done and I think the experience from the first time will make me better the next time around. Otherwise I don’t know if I would have taken the position to try and finish out this season if I didn’t want to be a head coach again.”
Q: If you don’t get this head coaching job permanently, could you see a scenario where you would return to the Chiefs as the defensive coordinator?
CRENNEL: “I think every situation is different and you have to evaluate every situation. If I’m not the head coach then I do have a year left on my contract with the Chiefs so then what I’d have to do is I’d have to sit down and talk with the guy who is going to be the head coach and decide if he wants me or not and I think that that’s what the organization has to do if they bring in somebody else, they have to let that individual hire his coaches to give him the best chance to be successful. Not that I wouldn’t give him the best chance but in his mind he might not know me, might not want me, he might have somebody else in mind that he would rather have and would rather work with and if they do that and name somebody else you have to give him that opportunity.”
Q: Is it a condition of yours to take the last three games, or how did that discussion go with Pioli?
CRENNEL: “No, there were no conditions to this. I’ve been here, this is my second year here and the reason I came was because there was several guys on the staff that I worked with before and that I know. I know Scott [Pioli] and in this situation I wanted to try to be helpful in this situation and I know that one of the ways that I could be helpful was to be the interim head coach because I’ve had head coaching experience. My relationship with Scott is a good relationship and so I felt I should do it for the organization as well as for myself. People will look at it and say the circumstances are not great and all those good things, but in football, circumstances are not great and you have to line up and you have to play every week. So this is a three game season that I have and so I’m going to do the very best that I can for these three games and we’ll see how it turns out.”
Q: What can you do in the final three games to show some progress and that the team is pulling out of a funk?
CRENNEL: “The biggest thing that we can do offensively is if we’re able to put some points on the board, I think that will help. We move the ball some and we’ve gotten down into the red zone but we haven’t been able to score touchdowns. Trying to put an emphasis on getting touchdowns will be a plus and if we can get that done that will be helpful and that will be a sign of progress. The other thing is to get the defense to be consistent. Sometimes the defense, we play good, and real good. And then other times we play hard but not as good. So defensively we need to be consistent all the way through and those are some of the things I’m going to be looking for and trying to get accomplished these next three weeks.”
Q: Who is going to play quarterback for you?
CRENNEL: “Hey that’s a great question right there [laughter]. You know what, I’ve got a couple of guys on the team and what we’re going to do is this, what I’m going to do is I’m going to look at everything that’s available, every option that I have, then I’m going to make a decision about who it’s going to be. Green Bay right now, they don’t know much about me or what my choice might be offensively so I’m not going to try and give them an advantage at the moment. So I’m going to take the next couple of days and look at the guys that we have and how they do in practice and then make a decision about who the guy is going to be and then we are going to go forward with that guy.”
Q: Are you willing to play the rookie?
CRENNEL: “I’m willing to play whoever I think is the best guy that will give us the best chance to move the ball efficiently on offense and try to get some points on the board.”
Q: Can you describe
CRENNEL: “Ricky has had flashes. He’s had some good flashes and then he’s had some rookie flashes as well. And that’s the thing about a rookie, and not only at the quarterback position but at every position in football. A rookie is a rookie and he has to go through that learning process, there is a learning curve that the rookie had to experience and that’s the thing about Ricky, he hasn’t had the experience and if we decide to go with Ricky against the Green Bay Packers you know, so be it. I think he’ll be excited and what he’ll do is he’ll give it his best, just as Tyler [Palko] will give it his best. So I’m going to look at them and decide which guy I’m going to go with and then we’re going to go with it.”
Q: Did you ever feel like you were caught in the middle between Haley and Pioli?
CRENNEL: “No, never did because I work for the Chiefs, and my job and my objective was to try and make the Chiefs the best we can be. I’ve never been a guy who picks a side. I’ve always been a team guy and I’ll continue to be a team guy. I was working for the Chiefs, I wasn’t working for Pioli, wasn’t working for Haley, I’m working for the Chiefs.”
Q: Did you ever hear from Haley that he was having problems with the job or thinking about resigning?
CRENNEL: “No, he never mentioned any possibility of resigning to me. Todd is a competitor, he tries to compete and he worked hard at the job and it just didn’t work out. I was in a situation in Cleveland where I worked hard at the job and it didn’t work out and that happens in the NFL. And so when it happens you have to move on and I think that’s what the Chiefs have to do, the Chiefs have to move on.”
Q: How does becoming the head coach limit you role and ability to focus on just the defense? How does becoming the head coach limit you in what you are able to do as far as scheming defensively?
CRENNEL: “The biggest change is the time requirement and the other things that you have to spread yourself into. Like this morning I started off with the defensive coaches talking about Green Bay and what we needed to do to stop them, but then part of the way into the meeting I had to leave and go to another meeting followed by another meeting followed by a phone press conference so that takes away from your time and you’re not able to devote all your time to defense. One of the things that I do have on my staff, I’ve got some good coaches in Gary Gibbs and Emmitt Thomas. They both have good experience, they are very knowledgeable, and they have good ideas. So I feel comfortable leaving the meeting and letting those guys proceed and then getting back with them later in the day to find out what we need to do and what we’ve come up with as a plan and then I can put my stamp of approval on that plan for when we get ready to go on Sunday.”
Q: Are you going to continue to coordinate and call plays for the defense?
CRENNEL: “I think the best way for us to have a chance to be the most successful at the moment is not to create too many distractions and me being named the head coach, that’s a distraction. So I don’t want to have a distraction on offense, a distraction on defense, and a distraction of the whole team so I’m going to continue to call the plays on defense and have input into the offense and run the game on Sunday. I think that probably is the best way to proceed from this point on. I know that going forward, if I had the job going forward, I might do something different. But right now in this short season I’m going to continue to call the defense.”
Q: Will Bill Muir continue to call plays on the offense or will there be any kind of change on that side of the ball?
CRENNEL: “No, there’s not going to be any change on that side of the ball. Bill also is an experienced football coach, very knowledgeable, he and Jim Zorn work very well together and I think the two of those guys will be able to put a good plan together that will enable us to move the football. Now I will tell them what I think and what I feel is important and how we need to operate and then they will use that as a framework to develop a plan that will give us a chance. Then as I look at it, if I don’t think, if some plays are not good, I will say let’s not run this play, have you thought about this as a possibility so that we can have a plan that will be effective and our players will be able to operate and work and I think that it will give us a chance. I think the thing you have to do is you have to look at your players and what you have and figure out what their strengths and what their weaknesses are and then try to play to their strengths.”
Q: How far away are the Chiefs right now from being able to compete for a division title, conference title, Super Bowl?
CRENNEL: “As you may remember, we did win the division title last year. So we are right there. This year has been a different year guys, and not only for us but for everybody else in the NFL. And probably the team it has affected the least is the Green Bay Packers, because they are undefeated. But as you look through the league and you look at every other team, there have been up’s and down’s and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact there was no offseason, the training camp was kind of cut up a little bit, there are new rules that you have to operate under and going forward I think next year will be a more solid year because we are going to have the offseason, we are going to have OTA’s, and we are going to have our training camp that we know what to expect and with the young guys that we have on this team because we do have a young team, offseason and OTA’s and training camp would have benefited those guys a great deal. But we didn’t have as much of it as we needed so as a result I think that’s why we are up and down a little bit. We’ll be better as we go forward and anytime you lose your starting quarterback that affects you also.”
Q: Isn’t it really tempting to change a lot, if this thing is broken don’t you want to change a bunch of stuff?
CRENNEL: “If this were February one then I might change a lot of things okay, when having an offseason and all of that to get ready, but I’ve got four days to get ready to play the Green Bay Packers who are undefeated. So you want me to throw out all the offense and to throw out the defense and to bring totally new people in, I don’t think that that’s the way to go. And like I mentioned to you, the less change that you can have for this short period of time, I think that’s the thing that gives you the best chance.”
Q: Are there any specific ways that you would be different as a head coach your second time around?
CRENNEL: “Well the first time around you never know what to expect when you sit in a head coaches seat, and there’s always something every day that you don’t expect, even when you plan, something will occur that you didn’t plan for and you have to deal with and you have to handle. And that big picture view that you have to take when you sit in that head coaching seat, and having experienced it I think that that gives me a chance or anybody a chance to be a better had coach their second time around.”
Q: Anything specific?
CRENNEL: “No not anything specific, other than the big picture that you have to take and you have to look at because as a head coach, not only do you have to do football, you have to deal with the trainers, you have to deal with the video guys, you have to deal with the equipment guys and you have to deal with the organization and the administration and a lot of times when you are just a coach, you’re not worried about administration and you’re not worried about equipment or trainers and those kind of things but as a head coach you have to deal with it all, you have to work with it all, you have to deal with the players’ issues that you have to deal with as well and that takes time and energy but like you say, when you’ve experienced it once you have a chance to do a better job the next time around.”
Q: I think a lot of people when you were let go in Cleveland thought you got a raw deal. In the moments yesterday when you found out that Todd Haley was let go, did you think it was fair to a guy that you had grown close with?
CRENNEL: “You don’t think about fair in the NFL. You just think about the business of the NFL, and part of the business of the NFL is coaches being hired and coaches being fired, for whatever the reason. Yesterday, Todd was released, and that’s where we are. That’s what we have to deal with. What I thought about it or what I think about it really doesn’t make any difference. The thing that makes a difference is now I’m sitting in that seat, and I’ve got three games to try to get something done.”
Q: With everything that went on yesterday, have you had a chance to address the team yet?
CRENNEL: “Yes, I spoke with the team yesterday, as a matter of fact. And basically, talked to those guys about having a three-game season, what we needed to try to get done, what I expected from those guys and that the Green Bay Packers are coming into town. We’re playing at our place, in front of our fans and we need to make a good showing.”