OPENING REMARKS: “Good afternoon. Hope everyone is fine. You know that I’ve been working on this staff ever since I was named head coach. During that process, you have to do due diligence, talk to different people and run the due course of encountering obstacles along the way, but finally got the staff together, feel good about the guys we have. I think that it’s a good group; they’re good teachers. They’re going to be hard workers, good football people and there will be good staff cohesiveness and we’ll be able to translate that to the players in the locker room and on to the field. With that, I’ll open it up for you.”
Q: How similar do you see your offensive system to being what’s been done by the Chiefs in the last couple years?
CRENNEL: “I think some of it will be the same, but I think Brian [Daboll] will add his touch to it. He’s already said that he wants to attack a little bit more, so I think that probably in his game plan he’s going to devise ways to try to get the ball down the field maybe a little bit more often than we did last year.”
CRENNEL: “I think that there is going to be some change because Brian has some different terms than he used to have because he’s been in a couple different systems now, so they’re going to have to learn some new terminology. But, the plays are going to be the plays. I think everybody in the NFL kind of runs power. Everybody runs the zone play, inside zone, outside zone, the drop-back passing game, play-action passes. What you call them, that’s going to be the deal. The players are going to have to learn Brian’s terminology as it relates to that. I don’t think the transition will be a very long transition because we’re going to have an offseason that we can work on it and OTAs and mini-camp and then going into training camp. Any time you have to learn something new, there is a curve, but I don’t think it will be a big, major curve.”
Q: You talked about going downfield more in the passing game. How does that play into Matt Cassel’s strengths? Do you feel comfortable asking him to do that if that’s what it comes to?
CRENNEL: “It just depends on how far downfield you go. I think Matt has a good enough arm that he can throw the deep ball. Now, this is not saying that every ball is going to be a deep ball. You can go down the field and not be a 50-yard pass every time. If it’s a 25-yard pass, that’s not a bad gain offensively.”
Q: This offseason is different than last season. There’s no lockout. Has Matt been up there talking to Coach Daboll? Have they already starting working on some of those things?
CRENNEL: “Oh, no. We can’t do that. We have new rules that we have to play under this year. There’s no football until April 16. The guys, they can come by and they can say, ‘Hi, how are you doing?’ but we cannot talk football with these guys until April 16, and that’s by design of the new agreement, and we have to honor that.”
Q: As a coach, is that something that you don’t particularly care for?
CRENNEL: “As a coach, particularly when you have a new coordinator, you’d like to get things going as soon as possible. But, they want everybody to play under the same rules. We’re in this play pen, so we have to play under these rules.”
Q: Does that also mean that you’re not informed about your injured players?
CRENNEL: “No, now I didn’t say that. I said that we can’t talk football with these guys. They are rehabbing and they are coming back off of injuries, so we can talk to those guys about their injuries. They can come in and see the trainer, see our doctor, so that we can monitor their recovery, and they are recovering. I can tell you that the reports that I’ve gotten on these guys have been positive and they are making progress toward recovery. I think all of them will make a full recovery.”
Q: Nick Sirianni was the one promotion you had on staff. What has stuck out to you that he has done in the two years that you’ve been on staff with him?
CRENNEL: “Nick is a hard-working young man. He works extremely hard and he is smart. He’s a sharp guy and he kind of reminds me of some other young guys that I’ve worked with in the past who have been able to elevate themselves in this profession and do a good job, and I think Nick kind of falls into that category. For the two years I’ve worked with him, I’ve been impressed with what he brings to the table, what he has done in the press box on game day, and I think that he’ll do a good job with the receivers.”
Q: You made a change with the special teams. What are you looking to get from your special teams group that you weren’t getting before?
CRENNEL: “As we looked at it, there were some inconsistencies that occurred in all phases of the game and we would like to be more consistent all across the board. We would like more out of the return game, more out of the coverage unit and then more out of the kick unit that puts points on the board. If we can do a better job all the way around, I think that’s going to be helpful to us. We know that field position is a big part of this game. We have some talent on this team and we want to maximize that talent. I think Tom McMahon and his experience and the way he approaches the game will give us an opportunity to do that.”
Q: Have you personally had a chance to do much defensively?
CRENNEL: “I’ve met some with the defensive coaches, and that was one of the things about my defensive staff that I felt good about. That’s why I wanted to keep them intact because I’ve got Gary Gibbs and Emmitt Thomas. They are experienced coaches, veteran coaches, that when I’m not able to be there I know that things will go along in the right direction and in the right manner. So, I’ve been with them a little bit, not as much as I’ve wanted to because I’ve been interviewing coaches and doing draft meetings and things like that, but now that the staff is intact and some of that out of the way, I’ll have more opportunity to spend time with them.”
Q: Did Coach Daboll help you identify some of the new assistants on offense?
CRENNEL: “Scott [Pioli] and I, we kind of worked hand-in-hand in this process as we’ve gone through this. We work hand-in-hand for the Chiefs and what we do is we try to do what we felt like was best for the Chiefs. And this [Derius] Swinton kid, I interviewed him and he’s a sharp young man and I think that when you get a chance to meet him that you’ll be impressed. [Jim Bob] Cooter is a guy that as we were going through the interview process, his name kept coming up to us so we decided that we were going to investigate ourselves and found out that he was highly thought of and a smart guy. He worked with quarterbacks, played quarterback, so we felt like that would be a help to us that we could get a sharp young guy like that and develop him and bring him along. So, that’s the way we kind of worked it. I interviewed several offensive line coaches and Jack [Bicknell Jr.] came in and he impressed us. We liked the way that he interacted with us. We felt like we could work with him. He played the offensive line, he’s coached offensive line and most recently he was with the Giants, and I like what the Giants do on offense with the running game and how they have been able to protect Eli [Manning], and I know he hasn’t been in charge down there, but he’s been around it and some of it has got to rub off, so hopefully he’ll be able to come to us and do a real good job.”