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Q&A with Romeo Crennel 12/14

Posted Dec 14, 2011

OPENING REMARKS: “Good morning. Oh, it’s that good, huh? [laughter] Today is the first day in our preparation for our game Sunday with the Packers. In meeting with the players today, I think that they were attentive, they’re excited about getting started, they know that it’s a big challenge that was have to face and I think that they’ll be ready to face the challenge. The other thing that I think they have to do is try to get used to me, my personality, how I do things, how I go about things. They will learn that as we go along. I talked to them about the challenge, what we have to do, how I think we have to play the game, what needs to be done and kind of told them what I expected a little bit. They listened because they didn’t have any other choice. Also, I talked to them about change and distractions. When there’s change, there’s some uncertainty because you just really don’t know what to expect sometimes, how things are going to happen, but I told them we’re going to try to stay as much on schedule as we can. But then, I told them we’re changing some things. For instance, we moved the lifting from in the morning to after practice, so that we could have a little bit more time in the meeting room. Then, we’re going to watch the tape after practice and we hadn’t been doing that on Wednesdays. So, a couple of changes there, and I think that they were receptive to it. Anytime you do a new schedule and you do changes, things might not iron out the way that you want them to, but we told them, ‘Look, if things don’t work well or we’ve got issues, come talk to me and we’ll see if we can adjust them if we want to adjust them and we’ll go from there.’ That’s where we were with the team.

“Then also, I told them we’re making a change at quarterback, that we’re changing the quarterback and that Tyler [Palko] would not be the starter this week. [Kyle] Orton or [Ricky] Stanzi will be the starter. Which one? I’m not exactly sure yet because Orton has a finger that he has got to work through, and we’ll have to see during the week how his finger is and how he comes along and if he can handle it with that finger. Stanzi is a rookie and if Orton is able to go and can do it, then Orton is going to be the quarterback. If Orton cannot do it, then Stanzi will be the quarterback, and I told the team that today. And why do it today rather than wait until Friday or Saturday or whatever? We’re starting the week, I’ve been through a quarterback controversy at another job that I had and just waiting and their innuendos and the guessing and trying to figure things out, I just felt like it would be better for them to know that there will be a different quarterback. I think that everybody then can focus. They wouldn’t have to be worried about who the quarterback is going to be, what the coach is going to do and all those kind of things. So, they know that the coach has made a change and it’ll be one of those two other guys, and I told them what my choice was. We’ll go through practice and we’ll see how it goes and how Kyle does and that’s what it’s going to be. Then, we’ll move forward from that, so now they can focus on gameplan, they can focus on the plays, they can focus on what we need to do to try to beat Green Bay, and they’re not focusing on what the coach is going to do, who the quarterback is going to be, is the offense going to be different for this guy or the offense going to be different for that guy. The offense is going to be the offense, and we’re going to go play football. So, that’s why I did what I did, so that’s where we are. We’re going to go forward from there. So now, with that, I’ll open it up. Before I open it up to questions, I know one of the questions will be, ‘Have you informed [Scott] Pioli and when did you inform Pioli?’ After I talked to Tyler this morning, then I informed Pioli that I had spoken with Tyler and the change was going to be made, so it was my decision. I told Tyler it was my decision, and it is my decision, and I made it. Now, I’ll open it up.”

  Q: Will Orton practice today?

CRENNEL: “He’s been throwing a little bit with the trainers, and they said that for short passes, he’s been doing pretty good. Now, we’ll have to see how he does in practice. We might have to protect him a little bit from taking a snap, and we’ve got a plan in place to do that so that we can still operate the offense without him having to take a snap.”

Q: How do you plan to split the starter snaps between those two guys today?

CRENNEL: “What I told the offensive coaches was to get both of them ready because I don’t know which one is going to be the starter. I said, ‘Get those two guys ready.’ If they go 50-50, which they might, and here again, I think it’s going to depend on what Kyle can and cannot do. So, if Kyle can take half of them, he’ll talk half, Stanzi will take half. If Kyle can’t, then Stanzi will get the bulk of it.”

Q: What do you see in those two guys that you don’t see in Tyler?

CRENNEL: “The thing is that, I think Tyler is a good teammate. Tyler has done a good job. Ever since I’ve been here, he’s been a good teammate, he’s been prepared, he’s been helpful and he’s done everything that has ever been asked of him. But, the thing that he hasn’t done is he hasn’t been able to put points on the board. As I talked to you yesterday about one of the things that we kind of need to do is try to get more points on the board. One of these two guys, hopefully they’ll give us a chance to put more points on the board. Now, sometimes in football – because this is a production business – if you produce, you get to stay. If you don’t produce, then somebody else comes in and they get to see if they can produce. Sometimes when you make the choice, you don’t know exactly that the person that you’re making the change with is going to be able to do everything you want them to do, but you know that you need to make the change. So, we made the change and we’ll see how it plays out and how it works out. If it works out with more points on the board, with us being able to win games, then it’ll be a good change.”

Q: If you don’t see points on the board fairly quickly, could all three of these guys end up being in the game this weekend?

CRENNEL: “Possibly. I never say never because you just never know in the NFL. Hey, what if Kyle hurts his finger on the first play and then Stanzi gets hurt? Then, I can’t play quarterback, so I’ve got to have Tyler, he’s got to be ready as well. It is what it is. You go forward and you make the best of us.”

Q: If there was a game today, could Orton play?

CRENNEL: “No, probably couldn’t because I don’t know that. That’s why I’ve got until Sunday to make that decision, so that’s what we have to look at and see.”

Q: Do you plan on any other changes in the starting lineup?

CRENNEL: “Nope.”

  Q: When you’re looking at the Packers offense the last couple days, are they as close to unstoppable as you’ve seen?

CRENNEL: “Yeah, they’re pretty good. Their quarterback is an excellent quarterback. He does a good job of controlling the offense, checking out of plays and getting them into good plays. He does a good job of throwing the ball down the field, and on top of throwing it down the field and getting it close to the receivers, the receivers that he has, they go get the ball. The receivers gain a confidence in the quarterback in knowing that he will get them the ball, and then they want to go get it for him so that he’ll get it to them again. He spreads it around and all of them are very good.”

Q: Is that a lot like what you were associated with a few years ago?

CRENNEL: “Yes, it is. I think so. When I look at the operation it’s very similar. Right now Aaron [Rodgers] I think he’s the top rated quarterback in the NFL, touchdown passes, quarterback rating and all of those kinds of things, he’s at the top of the list. So they’re doing a good job of operating. And not a lot is said about the running game but their running backs can run the ball, they just choose not to run it as much because they do so well throwing it. They are a well-rounded team when you look at them overall and they are productive and they can move the football and they can score points. And then their defense is not bad either. They’ve got some guys over there who take the ball away, make plays against offenses so we’ve got our work cut out for us. And not to forget special teams, they’ve got this [Randall] Cobb guy who can return the ball pretty good and he’s not shy about running it out of the end zone eight, nine yards deep. It’s a challenge. But our guys, when I look at this team, the guys in the locker room, they have responded to challenges, the good teams that they have to go against. They seem to rise up and rise up a little bit and play hard and play better. So I’m anticipating that we are going to play hard, we’re going to play good and hopefully we’ll play well enough that we can win the game.”

Q: How much do you want to see Ricky Stanzi in game action?

CRENNEL: “Well it just depends on what else I have. Like I told you, [Kyle] Orton is going to play if Orton can play. If Orton cannot play then I want to see [Ricky] Stanzi to see what he can do. And if he’s able to handle it, and I know it’s a tough duty for him, it’ll be a tough duty for him going against the Packers but at some point he will have to go into the game and he will have to try to run the team. And if he can go in against the Packers and operate the team and run the team, that probably bodes well for him and probably bodes well for us as well.”

Q: Do you see any similarities between Stanzi and TJ Yates?

CRENNEL: “Only that they were both fifth round picks. You never know, Tom Brady was a sixth-round pick and Tom Brady might never have gotten on the field if [Drew] Bledsoe hadn’t gotten hurt. So Bledsoe gets hurt so Brady gets on the field and then you can’t get him off otherwise he would have been on the sideline so you just never know. So you put him out there and you see what happens.”

Q: How has this coaching change affected you? Is there tons of extra stuff?

CRENNEL: “Yes, there are tons, I’ve got more stuff I have to worry about and more people come to my door and say what do you want to do about this and what do you want to do about that and what about this schedule and what about that schedule and we’ve got this media obligation and that media obligation and all of those things. So I get taken away from football a little bit where before I was just focusing on the opponent offense and our plan and our scheme. But the good part about is I’ve got very competent guy son the defensive side of the ball, I’ve got good experience on the offensive side of the ball so I don’t have to be everywhere all the time. So I can let those guys do their jobs which hopefully will make it easier for me to do this job.”

Q: Kyle Orton started against Green Bay back in October. Does the fact that he’s seen them once play into the decision at all?

CRENNEL: “No, his experience. The fact that he has played in the NFL. And I don’t know if you remember or not but the first time we played Denver last year, we got lit up pretty good by some guy named Orton so that has something to do with it. But I think the experience at that position is important so if Kyle can do it, he’ll do it. If not, Stanzi has shown good improvement during the course of this year because I get to see him every day on the show team, see him operate every day on the show team and work against our defense and I think he’s improved during the course of this year and so if he’s the guy in there then I think he’ll od a representative job.”

Q: So is your plan to take three on your 46?

CRENNEL: “That hasn’t been decided yet because you always have to look at who can help, who can’t help and then to be honest with you, the medical condition of Kyle [Orton] will play an impact on that.”

Q: Is there going to be any change in your running back split?

CRENNEL: “No I think that’s going to be the same. We might try to run the ball a little bit more. So if that’s the case Jackie [Battle] and Thomas [Jones] might get a few more carries but we’ll spread it around.”

Q: When did you decide on the quarterback?

CRENNEL: I thought about it last night and kind of made the decision last night. I felt like I needed to do it so rather than waiting during the week, because it’s not fair to the quarterbacks. Like I said, I’ve had this situation before and so we say we are going to give them both reps and the team doesn’t know who the guy is going to be and ‘blah, blah, blah’ so at least they know part of the equation right now and then they can focus and we can go forward. And then always there are innuendos, the rumors, about okay it’s going to be this guy, it’s going to be that guy and so I didn’t want that. I’ve been through it before and it wasn’t good then and I didn’t think it would be good now, so I’d rather go ahead and do it now. I’ve thought about Green Bay not knowing but then I said hey Green Bay, they don’t care who the quarterback is. When they look at the quarterbacks on our roster they don’t care who plays. Because they’ve played some good quarterbacks already so I said look, boom, we are going to name a guy, we are going to let them know part of the equation boom, Tyler’s not going to be the guy so now these other two guys are the possibilities and we’ll see where that takes us.”

Q: Could Orton have played last week?

CRENNEL: “No.”

Q: Speaking as a defensive coordinator, when you are preparing to play a team that has some indecision at quarterback, is it difficult to prepare for that team in that circumstance or do you prepare like any other week?

CRENNEL: “Well I think you have to proceed like any other week, but then you have to look at the possibilities and try to find out what the strengths and weaknesses of the guys that you potentially could play against. And then like I say, when you look at our guys, they look at Tyler and what he’s done the last couple of weeks, they look at [Kyle] Orton and know that he’s got a finger, they look at a rookie, so I don’t think that they are shaking in their boots about those choices.”

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