Head coach Dick Vermeil
(on impressions of Texans) "We only saw them in the preseason and I'd say they're definitely different (from last year). You start with a football team that went down and beat Miami in the opener. That's the first team to be able to do that in ten years. So that's really impressive. Then go to New Orleans and play on the road and play them very tough until they turned the ball over a couple times in the second half. A team that was 9-7 last year and probably a very solid playoff team until they lost to four losing teams in the regular season. So I'm very impressed. I'm impressed with how well they are coached fundamentally and how hard they play. I'm also impressed with the skill people, the receivers and their capabilities when they touch the ball, and their two fine corners."
(on J.J. Moses) "I had him both years and I really cared about the guy. He's the kind of guy that can add a tremendous depth to the chemistry of your football team. Everybody loves him. He's such a competitor and he did so well that I helped him get a job after he left us the year and helped him a little bit last year after we brought him back to give him another opportunity. Knowing that he probably wasn't going to make our team but we wanted him back so he could make a positive contribution to our work ethic and what we really respect in a football player. Then hopefully help him get a job some place else and I'm very, very pleased. We just couldn't keep he and Dante Hall. If I hadn't of had Dante Hall he would be my guy."
(on returning to coaching with Rams) "I did it when I had no choice because if I had gone past 1997 or being 60 years old no one was going to ask me to do it. I didn't apply for the job. Someone came to me and asked me if I would do it. I probably wouldn't have done it for anybody else but the Rams had asked me if I was willing or interested in coaching every time that job had been open. I just always said no. I was concerned about my ability to go in there and do it and finally I just sort of sucked it up and said 'nothing ventured, nothing gained, lets go give it a try'."
(on offensive coordinator Al Saunders) "First off I brought him in here to coordinate the offense. He was with m my last year in '99 when the offense was coordinated by Mike Martz. They run the offense. I oversee it. I make suggestions. I almost never say no don't do that. My job is to provide them with an environment in which they can coach efficiently and successfully and then support them by giving them attitudes and players in the frame of mind to be coached. Then back them in every possible way I can so they can be as good as I think they are. No one gave Mike Martz a chance to be coordinator either. You look for certain traits in coaches and Al knew our scheme at the Rams probably as well as Mike Martz did because he had coached in it with Don Coryell. In Al Saunders I have got a fine leader. He interviewed for the Houston Texans coaching job and was a candidate for it. I recommended him for it. A guy that could take over this job here in 20 minutes and do it as well as I've tried to do it. I think he is a complete package."
(on their improved defense) "I'm very pleased. Starting with the down four we added players to it. Of coarse Ryan Sims was here but he missed training camp and then was injured and missed the year. Now he's playing well inside and then we added Vonnie Holliday who fit the profile of the kind of player we bring here. Not only is he talented, he is a hard worker, he's a team guy, and I think he enjoys what we're doing here and how we do it. He's been a tremendous addition. Then we bring Shawn Barber here. We needed a weak side backer with some experience and intelligence and he filled that role. We move (Mike) Maslowski inside. We get our free safety back in Jerome Woods who was a first round pick. You expect him to play well but he can't play well with a broken leg, he missed the entire season. Then we had our other players playing better because they had been in a year in the scheme and we improved our scheme. We improved some of the things that were continual breakdowns and we're coaching it better. I think they're much more confident but it really starts on the line of scrimmage."
(on Marshall Faulk and Priest Holmes in his offensive system) "Number one: people make systems work. Coaches coach systems and discipline and teach the fundamentals within the system. Priest Holmes was Priest Holmes. What he needed was an opportunity to touch the ball 25-30 times a ballgame for 16 games. He needed to know that the day he ran for 45 yards he wasn't going to be held responsible for not getting 105 or 110 and that we believe he could be a 1,500 yard rusher. Marshall Faulk was the same way. Marshall Faulk really needed a better supporting cast. Both of these guys are outstanding guys. Both are similar in size, different in attributes. Both equally as talented but both had outstanding support in front of them in the offensive line and tight end in front of them. The Rams we had a fine offensive line led by Orlando Pace and a tight end by Ernie Conwell as a great blocker. Here we have and offensive line led by two annual all pros: at left tackle Willie Roaf, at right guard Will Shields, Tony Gonzalez, and a fine blocking tight end inn Jason Dunn. So they have quality players in front of them that allow them to take advantage of their attributes and then a system that utilizes it."
(on Holmes' physical condition) "We are more aware of it as he goes along. There's no way he can have the depth of stamina at this time this year that he had last year because he spent the offseason rehabbing. Now that doesn't mean he wasn't working. He was working, he's a workaholic this guy is but it's a different kind of work. So we are more aware of it and we let him tell us. He doesn't like to come out of a ballgame and if you study his career he gets better in the fourth quarter. One reason why he gets better in the fourth quarter is that our offensive line is powerful and they can wear people down."
(on the Chiefs' special teams) "First you recognize personnel that can make contributions to those kind of teams and then you give them the opportunity to play and then you give them a coach that can coach it. I had the finest special teams coach in the history of the National Football League at the Rams, Frank Gansz, Sr. I have his son here coaching my special teams. He learned from his dad. The other thing is that I was the special teams coach ever hired in the National Football League in 1969. So I appreciate the value of team. The head coach has to provide the environment and time for special teams to be coached within their system. Hopefully we do that right."
(on how much longer he will coach) "I think about things like that a little bit from time to time because I know I'm going to have a decision to make. Carl had indicated that I can stay here as long as I want to and that's nice. That's not really 100% true in any NFL franchise but we're close friends. To me the future is now. I'll be 67 this coming month; the future is now. My decision is not going to be an impulsive decision like it was when I left the Rams. I made a mistake and should have never left. If I had known I was going to come back I would have never left. But at the time that I left I felt I was doing the right thing for my family and me. After a year out I found out that I didn't do it. I'm here and I'm happy here. It could go on for another three years, it may not, but I know this, it's not going to be an impulsive decision."
(on a big return being a backbreaker) "I think anytime you can get an emotional swing whether it be an interception return, a fumble return, a big pass like you guys got. It inspires everybody else. It heightens their concentration and focus. It stimulates their motivation to play. Whenever people feel like they have a chance to win the play better. That's all there is to it. We were fortunate to come up with two big plays in the ballgame last week. We have people that can make big plays. That's called good coaching."
(on Dante Hall) "Number one is that he was a fine running back at Texas A&M. I remember seeing him play when I was in broadcasting. He's a fine running back. He has great innate instincts. He has great vision. He's very tough, very secure with the football. He has a tremendous work ethic. He just had to mature. When I got here people were down on him and they didn't know he could be a wide receiver. What I tried to do is make another Az Hakim. He is built similar, a little stronger than Az Hakim. He had never been a receiver. We sent him to the NFLEL to play receiver for a year and be a kick returner there. We brought him back and then we were patient with him. We were very, very patient. We didn't put him in a position where he was going to fail. We had him doing the things he could do well then. Now we ask him to do more because he can do more and he has confidence that he can do more."
Running back Priest Holmes
(on Ravens' RB Jamal Lewis and his record-breaking game) "One of the things that (Jamal) is really good at is once he goes north and south and starts picking up those knees it's real difficult (to stop him). He weighs as much as any linebacker in the league so it is pretty much an advantage. For him to keep his feet and keep moving, he had to make some plays. I really liked the second play from scrimmage. As a running back, whenever you get a huge gain like that for a touchdown it pretty much lets you know how the game is going to go."
(on playing high school rivals Corey Sears and Eric Brown) "I've actually got a couple of old-time players from San Antonio that I'll be going up against. They have pretty much seen me for a long time. They went to a powerful school there: Judson in Converse. But it's time to go to work. We've got some goals in place and we're just trying to make sure that we attain everything that we're trying to go after."
(on Chiefs' offensive coordinator Al Saunders and his role) "Coach Saunders' part to this offense is major. He is up in the (coaches) box making sure that those plays are called and the timing is done perfectly. Once we get a string of plays going, we can cover over 60 or 70 yards that quick. With Saunders, he is always paying attention to detail of his players. A coach has to know his athletes and I think he knows us pretty well. He knows that I'm the type of runner that the more you give me the ball, the more successful I'll be. Tony Gonzalez, you can just throw it up high and he is pretty much going to get a rebound. (Saunders) knows his offensive players and he is always trying to put us in the right position."
(on his goals and thoughts for this season) "My goal is always excellence. My thought as far as going into this season is to outdo any performance that I have ever done. Actually, with us going into our third year (with coach Vermeil), there are going to be a number of other guys contributing on the offensive side of the ball. Our defense is playing even better, putting us out on the field more. So it's really going to give me the opportunity to pick and choose how many types of long runs I like to get. I'm going to be out there long enough in order to get that opportunity."
(on Texans DT Seth Payne being out and facing rookie free agent DT Terrance Martin) "Once you get a guy that comes in as a free agent or comes in as a young player in the league, they are still hungry. They are still trying to make a name for themselves. I think whenever you have an opportunity to stop an offense like we have, it is definitely going to help anyone. But right now it's not going to make a difference for us. We are going to game plan as if we were playing those Pro Bowl players like a Gary Walker and just go to work."
(on how confident he was that he would get a chance to be a starter in the NFL) "Very confident because of the fact that I knew exactly what my game plan was—to definitely last for four years because I came in the league as a free agent. Coming in as a free agent, you are pretty much tied to a team for four years. My goal was to get through my first four years and then get an opportunity to hit free agency and then get a chance to pick a team to go to. I had that opportunity to choose a team and coach Vermeil called me personally. So I knew that the opportunity would be here. Have I arrived? I definitely haven't arrived. I'm still playing just as hard as I would be if I were a free agent. But things have changed because I get to run plays that were designed for me instead of being fit into a offense where you have to run the plays that the coach is calling."
(on how he feels this week physically) "I am feeling pretty good. Getting hit by all 11 players, you are going to come out of the game a little bruised up. But as far as I'm concerned, the toughness that I have, the awareness, the way that I work, I'm always bouncing back every Sunday giving my team 100 percent."
(on the reaction from his teammates after UT's loss to Arkansas) "I have taken a lot (of grief). The Longhorns actually play in Houston this weekend. I believe they are playing Rice and it's going to be actually in the same stadium (where) we'll be playing Sunday. So it will give (UT) a chance to get back on their feet. I'm disappointed because I'm an ex-Longhorn, but at the same time I still have to look these guys in their face and I can always talk about Auburn."
(on how UT football has changed since his days there) "The UT offense definitely has changed. It's definitely more of a finesse team. More of their big playmakers are coming out of the wide receiver position. Therefore, there will be a lot more downfield catches. At the same time, I believe that UT has what it takes. It's just a matter of beating OU. That's their focus. They just need to get back to winning."
(on if he will attend Saturday's game at Reliant Stadium) "I'm going to be preparing to make a statement myself on Sunday. I'll be resting up."
(on how he feels about opposing defenses focusing on stopping him) "It's good on one hand. Like our coach says, 'It's a hard way to make a living, but a very good way to make a living in the NFL.' As a running back knowing that every defensive coordinator is trying to not necessarily put me out of the game, but make sure I don't get up off of the ground, it's not going to happen. I'm going to keep getting up and I'm going to keep going back at those defenses. For me, it's always been a lifetime dream to be able to be in a position where I am getting these types of carries."
(on his friends and family attending Sunday's game) "I got people actually all over Texas. There is going to be a small section high, high, high up in the stadium because you know whenever you go to the visiting team they put you up in the nosebleed (section). But they'll be up there and they'll be yelling. They'll have some signs out. I'm pretty sure there will be over 20 (people there)."
(on how he has maintained his confidence after his hip injury) "My confidence came from my belief system that has been instilled in me throughout my life. Overcoming two other injuries has allowed me the ability to be confident in going through an injury. Because I know what it takes. I've been there. I know the pain. I know the suffering. I know the disappointment. I know that you have to be patient. So I've learned all those particular attributes and gained them. Now whenever an injury comes my way it's just a matter of being patient and going to the next step."
(on how he became such a success story) "I think greatness is instilled in a person at an early age. It's a matter of individuals and being in a situation where you are able to thrive off of other players for that greatness to come out. For me, it's just a matter of a coach believing in me and asking what type of plays I like to run."