Conference call: Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards


(On coming off the bye)

For us I thought it was good. You evaluate yourself as a football team, you evaluate your players, look at the things you're asking them to do, see if you can help them become better and I think the coaches did a good job of that. And now it's obviously playing the Titans. They're a very good football team. Jeff [Fisher] has done a great job with those guys down there and they've played good on both sides of the ball. I think what's impressive with them is their offensive line and their defensive line. It always starts with your linemen, I think they're big physical football team. They understand what they need to do both offensively, defensively and on special teams. They play with a lot of confidence, along with having some good football players, but I think their confidence and their physicalness is the thing that stands out the most on film.

(On if he looks at the Titans teams from a few years ago as a model for rebuilding)

No doubt, and that's kind of where we're at. We're kind of in that same mode that Jeff [Fisher] was in when they had to go through that salary cap situation and blow the team up. We've kind of done that this year and we're kind of sitting in that same situation they were a while back. He's done a really good job of defining the types of players that fit his system. They're playing well.

(On differences between their rebuilding efforts and the Titans' efforts a few years ago)

Well, I think it's according to the players you have at that time when you draft. I think we've drafted a lot of these kids in the last couple years, we had a big draft this year where actually five or six of them are starting. We have two rookie corners starting. The oldest player on defense is a four-year guy, Demorrio Williams. They're four and five year guys as far as the oldest players we have and then other than that it's three years or less on our defense. Offensively, we have a few more veterans in Brian Waters, Tony Gonzalez and Larry [Johnson] but then the rest of the guys are, for the most part, young guys. I think we've gone on both sides of the ball and tinkered with it some and that's kind of where it's at.

(On balancing trying to win, rebuilding and keeping the fan base)

Well, it's hard. It's hard, you're exactly right it's very difficult. It's very difficult to do that but that's part of the process when you rebuild. I think winning brings the fans back. I think if the fans understand what you're trying to do, the real loyal fans, they get it and they understand that. I think for the most part the people in Kansas City understand what we're trying to do. It's tough. We haven't done this here in a long, long, long time so it's something new. But it was needed from where we were at and I think it's headed in the right direction.

(On why the Chiefs felt rebuilding was necessary)

Well, where we were at. We were basically a team that didn't have a second tier of players. In other words, we didn't have the three and four-year players filling our roster. When we blew this thing up, prior to the last three drafts, there was only three players left on this football team. So the base of it is basically the rookies and the second and third-year players. There's not a lot of five or six-year players on this football team. We were an old team my first year here. We were probably one of the oldest teams in football and we held that team together for two years. We really didn't have a base of players, we had to draft them for the last two years. Then we had a big draft this year drafting 12 guys. That's kind of where we're at and we're going to continue to try and build this thing.

(On if there are lessons learned over what caused a need to rebuild)

It's like anything else. When you're winning and you're winning pretty consistently, you're winning nine or 10 games every other year, you feel like you're okay and you hold on to players and maybe you hold on to them too long. All of a sudden, your draft guys are critical and if you don't develop your drafted players, all of a sudden you have a void between the older players and the players you drafted. That's what kind of took place here.

(On how hard it is to move on with players who had been with the organization for some time)

It's very hard because you have to let some veteran guys go who could maybe help you, but the way you're going, you have to do it this way. We've tore it down to the bone pretty much with the guys we're playing when you think about it so that's kind of where we're at.

(On how much of Gunther Cunningham's defensive style is still with the Titans)

A few things. How he taught the linebackers. But I don't think it's as much. Our coverages are maybe a little bit different but I think our ability to be more consistent is the thing that we're struggling with right now defensively. We play in spurts and we play pretty good at times but I think our ability to stay consistent is what's hurt us a lot and that's what we're trying to improve on in the next 11 games.

(On the psychological differences on a defense with a long, multiple-play drive compared to a big-play touchdown)

You know, the big touchdown play is obviously one play. So as a coach, when they come to the sideline, you just try to say, "Okay, we can fix that, it's just one play." That's what you try to convince them of, is one play. The 12-play drive, all of the sudden, as a team, you feel like you're a little bit deflated because they took the ball and went 12 plays on us. Well, the only thing I've learned from that is basically, you look at the pictures and try to orchestrate what happened and what we have to do to try and get it stopped. But you have to try to convince them that, even though it's 12 plays, it's still only seven points. It's not 27 points, it's just seven points so I think if you can do that, you can get away with it. But the 12-play drives, they demoralize you because you're on the field, you can't get off the field, your offense is sitting over there helpless and they're wearing you down. You know if that continues what's going to happen to you. Midway through the third quarter and in the fourth quarter, you're going to wear down as a defense.

(On the mood of the team heading into this weekend)

Well, I don't know about the effort, we just didn't play real well. The effort was good, we just didn't play well. We didn't score, we turned the ball over, kind of what [Carolina] did the next week against Tampa. They turned it over and got themselves into what we got in, got down early and then it became a game that you don't want to play trying to pass the ball. I just think our team right now, they're young, they have a lot of energy. That's the thing about young guys, they forget real fast. That's probably the best thing about young players. They were excited about getting back in here and practicing and getting ready to play.

(On how Tony Gonzalez is handling not being traded)

Oh, he's fine. He's a pro and that's the great thing about having a guy like that. He's a professional, he addressed the team, told them exactly what he felt and where he stood and he's ready to play. That's good for us. He's a good football player and I'm glad he's back.

(On how Ingle Martin is playing)

He's doing good, he really is. We like him. He's still here even though he hasn't played. We like him, he has some talent. We're looking for young players and he was a young quarterback. Now we have three young ones and we're trying to develop a quarterback and see where we're heading. But we like him, he's got some ability.

(On the health of Brodie Croyle)

He's good. He's healthy, he's throwing, practicing and doing everything we ask him to do so he's excited about playing again.

(On what the impact would be for the Titans to play a game without Kyle Vanden Bosch or Tony Brown)

Well, the thing you learn about that is the guys that are behind them, I mean obviously are given an opportunity to play. A lot of times you'd be surprised that they take advantage of it. I think the way that they play defense, they've got a bunch of core guys around those guys that all they need to do is their job. I think the guys that they have that don't play a lot, the rotation guys, get a great opportunity if they get a chance to play. They're a very confident defense and I think those guys will go in there and do a good job if they get a chance to play.

(On if the Titans are scary being 5-0 but proclaiming they still haven't played their best game)

Well, yeah I mean if they're saying they haven't played their best game, yeah, they are scary. They're playing pretty good. I don't know what their best game is but every time I watch them, they're playing pretty good. They're playing real consistent and I think they know who they are. They don't get frazzled, they don't give up a lot of big plays, they take the ball away, they sack the quarterback, they do all the things you have to do to play good defense. And they have a good offense. The offense stays on the field, they can run the football, they can make plays in the passing game, they play very well together as a football team, offensively and defensively. And their special teams has always been good.

(On what has made the Titans offensive line successful)

Well, I think they play well together and they've got veteran guys. I know the center, Kevin Mawae, he played for me in New York, he's a good football player. They play together, they play together very well and they know what they need to do in the running game. They do a good job of protecting the quarterback, you don't get to the quarterback much. Mike [Heimerdinger] does a great job of calling plays, keeping you off balance. So they do a great job.

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