Coach Whisenhunt's Monday Press Conference

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HEAD COACH KEN WHISENHUNT

(On Zach Brown's injury)

Coming out of the game, from an injury standpoint, we're in pretty good shape except for Zach (Brown). Zach's got a torn peck muscle, and we'll know more tomorrow. I can't answer much more than that right now. He was trying to tackle, and he got his hand caught in a shoulder pad, then his feet came out. That's when it happened.

(On Zaviar Gooden filling in for Zach Brown)

Zaviar Gooden did a good job. He went in there and filled in nicely. It's one of those situations where you don't know what to expect, but you've seen him grow through camp. It was nice to be able to see him perform on the field the way he did.**

(On obtaining more linebackers)

We'll see, we've got other solutions on our team that we'll look at.

(On the impact of losing Zach Brown)

I can only judge it based off of what I've seen since I've been with Zach (Brown). He was one of the guys that I really have enjoyed seeing making the progress that he did. He was really doing a nice job, so I'm disappointed for Zach. To me, it means a lot when you do what's being asked of you and you change the perception of you. I was hopeful that would continue from a standpoint of him having a good season. At this point, this juncture right now, it won't, so that's too bad. I talked to Zach about that, and I think the important thing is, no matter what the resolution of this is, he's got to stay engaged and understand that he had really changed the perspective of him, which is important.

(On injuries occurring more frequently in the first week versus later in the season)

I didn't go into the game with that perception. I would think not, from the standpoint of we've gotten a tremendous amount of reps and plays during training camp. I know game speed is a little bit different, but what happened to Zach (Brown) could have happened in practice, so I don't necessarily know if that's true or not.

(On the game plan making a difference for the defense)

It seems a little bit like the kicking competition. We weren't concerned, really, about the defense, either. It was more of the outside perception. We felt like we had a good plan and our guys would play well, and they did. It goes back to what I said. We didn't really game plan. We were about one-on-one matchups. Our guys played a good game yesterday, but it's one game. We've got to continue it. We've got a real challenge this week playing against Dallas. They have a lot of offensive weapons. They have a lot of ways that they can hurt you. Really, it doesn't mean anything if we don't make this a consistent thing.

(On rushing against the Chiefs)

I think it's certainly a credit to our defense, because (Jamaal) Charles is, in my opinion, one of the best backs in the league, and they do a nice job of running the football. For us to be able to go in there in an opening game and be effective against the run, that's one of the things that we hadn't done very well in preseason. Some of it was tackling. Some of it was the plan, but still, you have to be able to execute. That was good. As far as us running the football, I thought we were effective. Some of it was the way the game went. To be able to run the ball effectively at the end of the game, that's a big deal. I wish we hadn't had those penalties in the four-minute session, because that limited our ability to sustain drives, but to be able to do that and move the chains, running the football, that's a big deal. I just think one of the things I was most pleased about is that everybody was involved. All of our backs contributed and ran the ball well. That was a good thing.

(On Jake Locker getting hit during the game)

We just need more work. We had some mistakes. It seemed like it was one thing after another. It wasn't a specific group, whether it was a communication issue. We got beat one-on-one in the line one time. We had a back make a mistake another time. One of them was on Jake (Locker). He didn't do the progression the right way and get the ball out. Those kind of things, when you're playing against a team that's really good at rushing the passer, you try to limit those, and we didn't do a good enough job yesterday. I think that we've just got to continue to improve from a standpoint of us as a total protection unit.

(On dominating the time of possession)

Sure, you'd love to do it, but it's not always easy to do. I've been involved with teams that have had success doing that over the years, but that doesn't guarantee that. I think yesterday, going in there against that team on the road, that was something that was important. It kept our defense fresh and limited their opportunities. That was something that was good. Hopefully we'll be able to be consistent with that.

(On Ryan Succop's kickoffs)

It was big. There's no question, one of the things that we wanted to be better at this year were kickoffs, and we realized that yesterday. Once again, it's only one game. He was what we thought he would be as far as field goals. He was consistent, and that was important yesterday. That was the number one kickoff return unit in the league last year, so we knew that we were facing a challenge, because they had a lot of their guys back. Our goal going in there was to limit their returns, and Ryan (Succop) was a big piece of that.

(On setting a tone with the team)

It was important yesterday that we go into Kansas City and represent our team the way we did and play that kind of game. That was our expectation. We felt like we were going to go in there, and that was the way we were going to perform. I don't want to make too much of accomplishing what we set to do. That was our goal. I realize that it's not something that you're going to be able to do every week. There are going to be ups and downs, but we did what we thought we would do, and let's move on. We've got a tough opponent coming in here this week that presents a number of challenges, and we've got to get focused on that.

(On pre-game perception before the Chiefs game)

The beauty of this game, the reason it's so popular, is that everybody has an opinion, and they're entitled to their opinions. We had an opinion that was a little bit different than everybody else, and thankfully in this case, we were right. It would be hard to find anybody that gave us a chance of going in there and winning that game. The big thing is, we didn't go in there with the idea that it's us against the world, everybody button up, nobody's picking us to win. We went in there with the idea that if we played football the way we're supposed to, we can win the game. We knew it was going to be tough, and we did that, so that was a good thing.

(On the outside linebackers)

They did well. They played a good game. Shaun Phillips played in there a good amount of plays, too. He did a nice job. I think Quentin (Groves) was in there just a few snaps, but I think we know what he is. He played well, also. As far as pure outside linebacker snaps, I don't know what the exact number was there, but from a standpoint of grading out, they all graded out well. They all played well.

(On opportunities for Akeem Ayers to join the active roster)

I would think that if we have eight active, and who knows what's going to happen with Zach (Brown), he'll have an opportunity. We'll see.

(On Leon Washington rushing and receiving)

I never thought he was just a return guy. I've played against Leon (Washington) a number of times. He was in the division when I was coaching Arizona, and I felt like he was a versatile guy that could help us in a number of areas. When we first got here, that was part of the plan. Leon was going to be involved as a running back. It's a good thing. He had a pretty good day yesterday. He made a couple of big plays for us on third down that were critical.

(On penalties during the game)

It would take me forever to sit up here and discuss each one of the individual penalties. I think what I said is if you look at it situationally, their touchdown drive, Kansas City's only touchdown drive, we helped them by a number of penalties there. In the four-minute, five of our seven offensive penalties came. You're going to have some penalties. We had too many, I acknowledge that, but situationally, we can't do that. We've got to clean that up. The reason for those penalties, we'll discuss and talk about each one with the players. We've got to get those things worked out.

(On special teams playing well against Kansas City)

I think one of things that was important to us was going into Kansas City, a road game, special teams become even more important because of the field position battle. It was huge with the punt by Brett (Kern) down to the two-yard line. It was a big play for us. Another big play was when they jumped off sides on our punt team and nobody moved, so we got the five-yard penalty, which led to another field goal. Situationally, we did a number of good things, stopping the fake punt. I think it's really a mentality. Nate (Kaczor) does a great job with those guys. I think we've got a good group. One of the things that I'm really impressed with is a lot of our starters, our veterans, sit in this room, and they're involved with special teams, and that creates the right atmosphere.

(On Jake Locker throwing to several receivers)

If there's one guy that catches 15 balls and he had a bunch of yards and we win, I'll be happy with that. To me, when you're that versatile, it makes you much harder to defend, and that's one of the things that we like. I think if you look at our stat sheet and you see six catches here, five catches there, four catches, who's he going to with the ball? Then it becomes more about taking what they give you instead of trying to focus on one guy. If that's the case, that helps us be less predictable.

(On opponents' view of Jason McCourty's performance)

You'd have to ask them that. I don't know. I was happy after not having a lot of turnovers in preseason, to get a few. I really respect the way Jason (McCourty) goes about his business, the way he prepares, the way he works. You always want to see guys have success when they do that. He's a great pro. He's a good leader, and it was exciting to see him have a day like yesterday. He's a starter, had a pretty good contract for a reason, and he's certainly performing at that level.

(On matching up Jason McCourty against Chiefs WR Donnie Avery)

I don't necessarily think we matched him up against (Donnie) Avery. In some spots, it ended up that way. We don't necessarily feel like that's something that we have to do.

(On the defense's contribution to interceptions)

I think there was a number of guys that contributed, when you talk about bringing pressure. Coty (Sensabaugh) had a nice sack in our sub-group, and that really wasn't part of the 3-4, that was our nickel defense. I think it's a mentality with those guys. It was nice to see Karl Klug get a sack after what he did in the preseason. I go back to what I said, it's a team game for us, and we're excited for all of our guys to have success. That's why offensively I was so excited, because so many guys contributed. Defensively, I think it was the same thing. You look at these guys and how they've worked. Karl worked his tail off in training camp to earn a spot on this team, and a lot of it was because he was disruptive and had production and gets a sack yesterday. To me, that's how you build a team, guys that get excited for each other. If they play our scheme the way that they played it yesterday, we can continue to build off of that. We're going to have those kind of opportunities. If we can do that, we can be a good defense.

(On the horse collar call against Bernard Pollard)

I guess that's a matter of opinion. Just looking at it, it looked like he had him by the hair, but I can certainly see why the official would call that. You know what? To be honest with you, Bernard (Pollard's) reputation probably precedes him a little bit. I think that's one of the things you have to understand in this game. It's unfortunate, but I'm sure it's also human nature.

(On calls made by the officials)

Every crew's going to look at it differently, but it's a tough situation. I'm sure we'll discuss it, but as with most matters, the officials have a tough job, and I think they do a good job with it. Dean Blandino, I think, has done a great job with communicating with us. He's open to listening, and I'm sure that there's open discussion, and hopefully those kind of things we can talk about, and it will make a difference.

(On Ray Rice's contract termination)

I support the league and the Ravens on their position with that. It's not a great situation. It's tough, but I certainly support them on it.

(On Dexter McCluster's role in his return to Kansas City)

It's great that it worked out that way, and I wish I could say that was planned, but it really wasn't. That was part of the package that we felt like was a good start for us. It just worked out that way.

(On Coty Sensabaugh at cornerback)

I think I wanted to point out the fact that he had that sack. He played well and did some good things for us. It's tough when you have two young players that you think can both play. You have to say somebody's going to be in there. We're going to count on both of those guys, and it was nice to see both of them play well. The only thing I can tell you is he's going to play. At some point, he'll play corner. He'll be outside, however that works out. At some point, it will. It's the way it's going to go. It's a long season.

(On preparing ahead for Dallas)

One of the things that's hardest for me is trying to do too many guys, because they you can get confused and lose your focus on what you're doing. We tried to keep our preparation for Kansas City almost within a normal week. We had an extra day, but it wasn't like we were doing anything on them in OTAs. The only thing we worked on Kansas City-wise in training camp was noise, just trying to prepare for that. It really wasn't so much for Kansas City as it was for being on the road in general. Some of our guys have put the work in in prep of Dallas, just like you normally do in a week, but we'll spend a lot of time today and tomorrow doing that.

(On expectations for the Cowboys)

I think it's a lot better team than some people think, at least some of the perception that I've heard. Just from what I've seen, I know they have a number of weapons offensively. That quarterback is dangerous. The running back's good, the receivers, the tight end's probably one of the best that's ever played. They've got a good line. I know defensively, coach (Rod) Marinelli's a good football coach. I've gone against him a number of times and have a lot of respect for the way he prepares the defense, so I think that it will be a tough challenge for us.

(On the importance of winning at home)

It's exciting to go in there 1-0, that's for sure. I'm excited about being there. Yesterday, all I could think about was that crowd at Arrowhead, how supportive they were of that football team. That's the kind of atmosphere we want to get at LP Field. That's what I've seen there. I'm excited to come home and play. I'm excited after the game we played last week and the way we feel about our team, to be able to come home and do that. I know our players are, we're really excited about this week.

(On holding the Chiefs to 1-12 on third downs)

I'd say we had a good plan, and our guys executed it well. One of out 12, you can't expect to have that happen every week, but we'll certainly take it this first week.

(On receiving the game ball)

It was special. I appreciated the words. We've got a good group of men, so I was very pleased to get that. It's great, it's over, let's move on to Dallas. It seemed genuine. There was some thought put into it, and I really appreciate that.

(On getting the game ball as a coach)

I've gotten a few over the years. I think sometimes when you win and when you get a team a big win like that, you get a game ball. Our coaches will get game balls this week, too, just because it's our first win together. That's something that's pretty special.

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