Chiefs conference calls

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Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil

(on how his team is dealing with an 0-2 start) "I think they've handled it very well, I think as well as anyone could expect. This is a very high character football team. We have a lot of quality people and the leadership is very good. When we were building this culture within this framework here over the last three years we were pretty specific about the type of person we wanted in it and it pays off at times like this."

(on the Chiefs receivers) "We lost our number four receiver during the preseason in Marc Boerigter, but we've had our first three receivers that we normally played all last year so we have no excuses there. Right now Eddie Kennison has a strained muscle and he's doubtful. Hopefully he'll be alright but I think he's doubtful. So then Dante Hall will step up and be the starter at the "Z" position and Johnnie Morton will be the "X." We still have two good football players at those positions plus Tony Gonzalez inside.

(on Arrowhead Stadium) "No matter what stadium you play in, if you don't have a good football team you don't start winning streaks. We won 13 in a row here. We beat a lot of good football teams here, then we lost the playoff game here and we lost our opener here. Now we have to start a streak again. I think that's number one, you have to have a good football team. Then, number two, the fan support is outstanding. I think it's probably a little more deeply loyal fan than in many stadiums because these people have had these tickets for a long, long time. They probably started out sitting next to their grandfather, then next to their dad, now the kid is taking his kids to the game in those same seats. So it's a very, very loyal fan base and I think they generate a lot of enthusiasm and this of course is inspiring to your football team."

(on defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham and handling adversity) "He's done well. I think we've all done a good job of keeping things in proper perspective. As I told the squad starting with myself, I told the coaches in the first meeting. If we don't do good job of setting the example of how to handle adversity, then our football team will not. I think we've done a good job of doing that and I think eventually our football team will respond."

(on improving the defense) "Right now we have 18 or 19 plays for minus yardage in two games. Last year we had 40 in 16 games. So we're doing a lot of things more physically sound or tough on the line of scrimmage, but then we're still giving the breakup. When you're that way you can define the area of responsibility and the physical breakdown and you can keep working on those areas. We're good enough physically to be better and improve. The other thing we can do is be halfway as good as were at offense and don't leave them out there to dry. We've been the most prolific scoring offensive football team for two years in a row and right now we're not. We have to go back to be being a more efficient, consistent offensive football team to take some pressure off this defensive team."

(on backup running back Derrick Blaylock) "Blaylock came here as a wide receiver, running back combination. We drafted him I think in the fifth round and he has great speed. He has really matured. Really he's a good football player. He's not one of these guys that's spectacular at anything, he just does everything real well. He's tough as hell. He's either our number one or number two special teams player every week. He can return punts, he can return kickoffs, he can catch the ball as a receiver coming out of the backfield as anybody we have and he's a very fine runner. He's bulked himself up. Pound for pound he's the strongest man in the weight room, weighing in at about 208 pounds. What he can do with weights and discipline and work ethic in the off season, pound for pound he's the strongest guys. He's one of those guys that is very committed to his profession, committed to his teammates and is highly, highly respected player on our roster … I would say he's one of the four or five most highly respected players by his teammates on our squad."

(on the Houston Texans) "What scares me is they're a better football team than 0-2. I just told the football team, the reason they're 0-2 is more easily defined than the reason we're 0-2 and their problems are more easily correctable than ours are. They're minus four (turnovers) in the first game of the season against the Chargers. It is absolutely impossible to win a football game that game, absolutely impossible. They are minus two last week. I'll give you an example right now. Over the National Football League these last two weeks there have been 30 games played minus one or worse. You know how many games were won? Four. Twenty-six losses. When you're minus you're going to get beat more often than not, especially when you're a building team. We've won a few games over the years when we were minus but (we) always we had certain things and plays that we could overcome that. We also lost some games when we were plus because we didn't play well enough on defense. I think their problems are defined and Dom Capers and the coaching staff they have will get them resolved. They have some young, talented people and I have a lot of respect for them."

(on Domanick Davis' turnovers) "I don't know Domanick Davis. I do know this, we coach to take the ball away. We coach it everyday. My first part of the week in presentation to the team is take the ball away. Last week anytime a team took the ball away, they had 10 wins and one loss. Just a takeaway. You've got to take the ball away and we coach it. I don't know Domanick Davis. I know he's a good football player and players go through streaks of having problems, but those problems can be resolved."

(on if he sees weakness in the Texans special teams) "Well I know this, their punter does a great job of getting the ball up there. We got a punt return for a touchdown last year but the ball hit in front and bounced and Dante (Hall) picked the ball up and took off and we had probably the first or second most outstanding individual play we made last year as a punt return team ... Kickoff wise everybody's having a little bit of a problem covering kicks because of the NFL kicking ball. It's so hard and you're not getting it to the end zone. The only person who gets it to the end zone consistently is the kicker in Denver. He kicked six out of seven into the end zone. You couldn't return them. You're going to get opportunities to return kicks. It's an exposure and a problem the NFL wants all teams to have."

(on quarterback Trent Green's lack of touchdown passes) "I think, personally, that we are doing so much that we have spread some of our execution time over too many things and therefore we're not executing as many things as well as we have in the past. I think it will be easy to resolve. Hopefully we already have. Plus, we run the ball in the red zone. That's why Priest Holmes set an all-time NFL record for scoring touchdowns last year."

(on his plans if running back Priest Holmes can't play) "If Priest Holmes can't go, Derrick Blaylock will start and Larry Johnson will play. Larry Johnson played against you guys in the preseason a year ago. In fact he returned a kick off for a touchdown in the game. I think he's a very talented guy, he just needs an opportunity. I'm hopeful Priest can go because there's only one Priest Holmes in the league as far as I'm concerned. He's our spark plug and he's a fine player and he's averaging well over five yards a carry. We'd like to have him, but he's questionable right now."

(on who is the best running back in the league) "I don't get into that. I don't get in to saying who's the best. When you talk about the best running backs in the National Football League, you've got to start the conversation with LaDainian Tomlinson. You've got to consider Priest Holmes in that conversation. There are a few other guys you have to throw into that conversation. A lot of it depends on utilization. A lot of it depends on the quality of the offensive line and the durability of the player and the overall scheme in the running. But when you start the conversation you have to include LaDainian, believe me."

(on current Texans offensive lineman and former Chief Marcus Spears) "Marcus is a big man athlete. His strength is his mobility and the ability to move and run around and that kind of stuff. I saw they started him last week and played him 11 snaps or so in the ball game. He can make a contribution. It was time for Marcus to go somewhere and try to be a starter because it was affecting him as to the kind of football player he could be, being a perennial backup. It sort of drained his enthusiasm, though he tried hard. He needed an opportunity to go have a fresh start and have a better opportunity to be a starter. He wasn't going to be a starter here and we had some young linemen so we decided to let him go. He made an outstanding contribution over the years here. My first year he started I think 16 games for us, both at left guard and right tackle. He could do some things very well and given the opportunity to start based on the need at that position I'm sure he could play well because I've seen him do a good job."

(on starting 0-2)"First off we played two playoff teams. One was in the Super Bowl, lost the world championship by I think four points. That does make a difference. Secondly I think we've been doing a little bit too much all through training camp and everything else and there's a negative spin off effect for a while in doing that. We've got to reduce our package and better define it a little bit and quit thinking about being the number one scoring team in the National Football League for two years in a row and all of those kind of things and get back to the basics a little bit more."

(on improving the defense) "I think what I'd like to improve is our ability to stop the run, to try to get into a situation where we can force the opponent to be a little more one dimensional and dictate then how we play defense on the longer yard situations rather than the offense having a balanced down and distance situation through a ball game. Gunther is trying to bring a more aggressive, a down hill approach to the front seven of the defense. Whether it works or not, right now we've done a lot of good things, but we've still given up the big run. Greg Robinson did a great job for us. The trouble is with the National Football League today someone always takes the blame. We won 13 games giving up 101 yards a game and 14.1 points per game at home. Where we had our trouble was against a great offensive team, like Indianapolis here in the playoffs, like Minnesota in Minnesota, like Denver in Denver. Those were three bad games on defense. We had to go in a different direction. There was too much doubt whether one specific person could do it and too much blame pointed at one specific person. We made a change for that reason. I respect Greg Robinson tremendously."

(on he plans to finish his career) "Well, first off I planned to coach this year and one more. My contract was up last year, I agreed to comeback for three. I coached those three. Before we went to the playoffs I decided I was going to stay and coach two more. I don't believe I will go beyond two years. I will be 70 years old at that time. I have some other obligations that are also worthwhile causes in my life at 70-years-old that I have to make sure I tend to … I'd like to think that I was respected, I was fair, I cared about the players, I got the most out of them, I put an equal effort into coaching that I expected a player to get back, the same with the assistant coaches, that my coaches were treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve. I'm not looking for any kind of legacy. The only way you're evaluated in the National Football League is if you win. That's the only thing. There has been some great coaches that ended their careers not winning, one of them was in your state, might be the finniest coach I've ever coached against in Tom Landry. Especially in today's league, today's world, everything is based on winning. That's why I left when we won the world championship. I came back because I missed the players. I missed the challenge. I missed the leadership role and the relationships with the people involved with the game. So here I am. Right now we're struggling. I've struggled before. It's all part of this business and if you think you're immune to it, you're in for a real education."

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Chiefs WR Dante Hall


(on the Chiefs' 0-2 start) "It's rough. Anytime you have high expectations and you start off like we've started off, you're going to get a lot of people jumping off the bandwagon, a lot of doubters, a lot of people pointing a finger at this and that. So, as a professional you have to understand that's what comes with losing. We have to fix our problem. We know what's going on and we have to work to get it fixed."

(on the injuries at wide receiver and compensating for them) "There is not a lot you can do. The guys that are behind them have to step up their games and step up and fill in the void as best as possible. I mean, we're not the only team going through it. A lot of teams are losing key individuals. As a team, that's why you have 53 guys on the roster, you have to have the backups step up and make plays. We try around here to give the backups as many possible for situations like this. The backups are going to have to step up until we get everyone back healthy."

(on having the ball more than any other time in his career the past two games) "Actually, it's not."

(on pressing to get the ball more because of the injuries at wide receiver) "Actually, the first two games I haven't had the ball a lot."

(on why he hasn't had the ball the first two games) "Because of some of the things going on offensively. We've been getting a lot more penalties and we've been behind by a lot more than we usually are. It changes and dictates the play calling when you get behind. We've gone into games with the hopes of getting me the ball a lot more, but you fall behind and have tendencies, instead of third and five, you have third and 20, it kind of negates some of the plays you have in."

(on if he is excited about facing a team that gave up a kickoff for a touchdown last week, a team he also returned a kick against for a TD last year) "Not really (excited). Anytime a team, first of all, had a guy return one against them, the red light goes way up. They (the Texans) had one returned against them last week, so you know they're going to be focused. It's that much harder on the special teams. I look for these guys to come out and be even more aggressive on the coverage teams just because they had troubles with it last week. It will be more tough to get one this week with the fact that Drummond was able to take one to the house last week."

(on if he can help the team more as a receiver or a return guy) "I think both. I mean, each time I have the ball in my hands I can try to make things happen. As a return man, I feel like I haven't been helping the offense as far as field position. The couple of times that I've returned kicks, we've ended up inside the 20 every time. That's kind of part of the success that we had last year. I was able to get to the 30, the 40 and sometimes the 50. I think it goes hand-in-hand, return game as well as the offense. Once we do get the ball on offense, I feel like we can eliminate some of the penalties and Al can call the offense like he wants to, as opposed to facing second-and-20s and third-and-longs, I think everything will pick up from there. I can definitely help on my end, as far as the return game. It'll come on the offensive end once we stop killing ourselves."

(on RB Derrick Blaylock's style of play) "He has great vision. Derrick fits this offense perfectly. Get the ball in his hands, give him a lane to run in, but then let him cut back and find the holes himself. I think what Derrick does well, is he has great vision. Of course, no one can replace Priest, I don't think it will be that big of a drop-off because Derrick does have great vision, like Priest does."

(on the difference of Houston's team from last year to this year) "They're a much better team. I think that if they don't have the number of turnovers that they have through two games, they're definitely a 2-0 team. I think they feel like we feel, they're not an 0-2 team. They have great skilled players, a great defense, I think they're in the top 10 in defense and number 11 on offense. They're not a bad team. They have to stop killing themselves, as we do."

(on the strategies the Chiefs have seen on film to attack Houston's defense) "I can't reveal that. I can't reveal that, but we've been watching film, I'll put it that way."

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