Head Coach Bill O'Brien
Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel
OLB Jadeveon Clowney
WR Will Fuller V
WR DeAndre Hopkins
NT Vince Wilfork
HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
What have you seen from Chiefs NT Dontari Poe and his development as a nose tackle?
“Very good player. Plays very low to the ground. Very smart player. Understands blocking schemes. Really good in the passing game. Those guys have given us a problem just as much as the outside guys. It’s a big challenge for our offensive line.”
Do you think OLB Jadeveon Clowney was able to develop his knowledge of the game while he was injured?
“He was in the meetings a lot while he was out. I think there’s no substitute for actually being out there and doing it. And that’s kind of what I meant the other day when I said the fact that he’s been out there every day, we’re able to apply his knowledge of football by doing different things with him because he’s out there every day. He was in the meetings. Mike (Vrabel) tests those guys hard in those meetings and I’m sure he did a good job there, but I think it’s more about being out there.”
Can you talk about the chemistry going between CB Kevin Johnson and CB Charles James at the gunner position?
“It’s Charles James, A.J. Bouye, and Kevin Johnson. To me, as a coach, that to me is a premier position in the NFL. I know that sounds crazy, but to be a good gunner in our league is a very, very important part of how teams attack other teams as far as punt coverage. We’re really glad that we have those guys in those roles because they’re really good at it.”
Does Special Teams Coordinator Larry Izzo push for everyone to be involved in special teams?
“Larry pushes for everything. Larry wants everybody involved in special teams and that’s really a good thing.”
What makes TE Travis Kelce such a difficult matchup?
“He’s a strong player. He’s got good height, good range, good catch radius. He’s very instinctive. He understands coverage. He’s a competitor and he’s got really good hands. What else can I say? This guy is one of the better tight ends in the league.”
Why did you think it was important to warn RB Lamar Miller that he was going to get a lot of carries this season?
“I don’t really like to beat around the bush with any player. I try the best I can to be as direct as I can with each player as to what their role might be. Sometimes the roles are developed over time, but I knew that when he got here that he was going to probably have a chance to carry the ball a lot and he did a lot in the first game. I don’t know if he’ll carry it like that in every game. But we felt like the first game, the way the game went that, the amount of carries that he had, that’s what the game required. But he was up to the task.”
Did you feel like you had to RB Lamar Miller that he was going to carry the ball a lot this season so he could prepare his body?
“No doubt about it. I think when you play that position in our offense in Houston where you have to train your body to get ready for the heat and training camp and the way that we practice and things like that, I definitely think that’s part of the message.”
Can you talk about WR Braxton Miller mentioning that he has to make adjustments at the slot position based on what other teams have seen on film?
“I think he needs to just worry about trying to get ready for the Chiefs. I think every team is going to play us different. I’m not sure that they’re watching him too much until he actually goes out there and has a big game. I think they’re watching (DeAndre) Hopkins.”
How important are each of your position coaches to the success of the team?
“We have a very strong coaching staff. I have a lot of trust in these guys. They work extremely hard. These guys are in the building early. They stay late. They’re trying to do whatever it takes to help their players go out there and play well. They’re team guys. They’re guys that I think we’re lucky to have. From the coordinators, Romeo (Crennel), George (Godsey), Larry (Izzo), through all the position coaches. Every single one. We had position coaches last night looking at different things, doing different projects for George and I, for RAC, for Larry, that are very, very helpful on gameday. I think this is a very strong staff.”
Every game goes differently, but last game you had about 35 carries and about 35 passes, so is that the general blueprint of what you are looking for going forward?
“You go into a game, you’re trying to figure out what’s best to beat that team. Obviously I’ve been in situations where you threw the ball 60 times and you were in empty (formation) 55 of those times because you felt like that was the best matchup and then other games where it was balanced like it was the last weekend or other games where you ran the ball maybe 40 times and only threw the ball, let’s just say 35 times. It just kind of depends on the game. I don’t think any time we go into a game we’re saying ‘Hey look George (Godsey), we better come out of this game 50/50 run to pass. I think it’s more about what’s the best thing for us to go out and try to win this game?”
Is there any concern that G Jeff Allen will not play this weekend?
“I think he’ll be ready to go. I think he’ll be ready to go. He’s been involved in the jog-throughs and things like that. I think he’ll be listed as maybe limited. I don’t know the new listings, but I think it would be limited. He would fall under the category of limited and be probably ready to go on Sunday. I don’t think he’s going to miss this game.”
What’s the most difficult part of preparing for an Andy Reid offense?
“Very, very difficult coach to prepare for. Beginning of the game, does a great job of calling plays. End of the half, does a great job of calling plays. End of the game, Coach Reid has been doing it for a long time. A lot longer than me. Very, very good coach and it’s a big challenge. Our coaching staff has to be up to that challenge. We know that they’re well-coached and he does a good job of calling plays. No doubt about it.”
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR ROMEO CRENNEL
What is about OLB Jadeveon Clowney, both physically and mentally, that allowed you to play him exclusively at defensive end for the first time?
“One, he can handle it mentally and we think he can handle it physically. So, we felt like him being out there in that package would help us, particularly in that game. So we decided to go ahead and throw him in there.”
How do you think OLB Jadeveon Clowney did?
“He didn’t do bad. It wasn’t perfect but I think he held his own.”
He played all through college with his hand on the ground. Was that more natural for him to do that?
“Well, probably so because when you play with your hand on the ground all the time you just feel more comfortable with your hand on the ground and then, probably, it’s a little unnatural for him to try to stand him up when we first got him in here. But he’s adapted well and I think he can handle both spots and do things from both spots, so we’ll use him as we need to as we go forward.”
Is the advantage of having OLB Jadeveon Clowney on the line that you get all three linebackers on the field all the time?
“Well, as you look at the ability, he has tremendous ability and he makes some impact plays at times. So, having him on the field with the other guys who are making impact plays, I think that improves us.”
Do you not worry about the physical part of having OLB Jadeveon Clowney in tight along the line?
“No, not really, because like you said, he’s had his hand on the ground and played with his hand on the ground all of his college career. He knows how to maneuver and handle himself in there a little bit. And he showed that he can do it, so we might try it again.”
Do you smile when you think about all the pieces you have on defense?
“It makes me smile when we win. That’s what happens. I was smiling last week. We’ll see what happens this week. It’s good to have those kind of options, that kind of ability. It definitely is good.”
Can you talk a little bit about the improvements that CB Kevin Johnson has made?
“He’s made a lot of advances as a player. We saw it last year that he was able to go in and play and did a very good job when he was in there. He’s held back a little bit this offseason by his injury and he’s beginning to regain the full capabilities that he has. He’s beginning to break on the ball a lot better and he’s running to the ball. He’s getting back to where we need him to be.”
Can you talk about OLB John Simon’s progress and how much better he can get?
“I think that all of the guys who have been in the system since I got here have gotten better in the system because they understand it better and they know what their job is and they know what the guy next to them has to do and when we can get guys who will do their job first and then help out, then that makes the unit so much better. John is one of those kind of guys. He just kind of goes along and does his job. Even when it doesn’t show up as making big plays, he’s very consistent in the unit on doing what he’s supposed to do. Then when he’s able to make big plays, everybody appreciates it.”
What is the most important thing when it comes to making a game plan for Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid’s offense?
“He has a lot of weapons on that offense. He’s pretty balanced. He’ll run the ball. He’ll throw the ball. He throws it quick, he throws it deep. They got a quarterback that can run. They got running backs that can run. Big tight end. Wide receivers that can catch. When you try to defend all of those weapons, it makes it difficult.”
Do you have to pick and choose what part of their offense to focus on the most?
“You have to do it all because he’s going to do it all. The chess match that you play, you hope that your move is one move ahead of his. If not, then you’re always behind it.”
What sets Chiefs QB Alex Smith apart besides his mobility?
“Well, he doesn’t turn the ball over, for one. He’s very protective of the football, doesn’t throw interceptions. He’ll take the check downs and he’ll throw it away if he has to. I think that’s good for his offense.”
How important is it for you to learn your players’ strengths and put them in the right spot?
“Well I think every coach has to do that. He has to look at the guys who are playing for him and find out what their strengths are and then try to put them in positions that they can maximize their strengths because if a guy has a weakness, you really don’t want to put him in a position where he’s going to get exposed.”
What makes Chiefs TE Travis Kelce such a challenge to cover?
“Well I think it’s all of those things. He’s a big, tall tight end. He’s got good hands, he runs good routes, he catches the ball. I think he’s a physical guy. So when you put all that together, you got a piece of the puzzle that’s pretty good.”
What did you see from DE J.J. Watt in the game against Chicago that makes you think he is coming around?
“It was just one game. He hasn’t been practicing. He played most of the game. I think that as you play and you begin to practice, those things, those reactions that have to happen on the field, they become second nature. Probably in the Chicago game, they weren’t all second nature. As he gets more time on the field, then those reactions will come second nature and he will be more comfortable with what he’s able to do.”
OLB JADEVEON CLOWNEY
Can you verbalize how fun it is to slide down to defensive end?
“Oh man, it’s great. Moving up front, we can line up anywhere. Pick any of the guys up front, line them up anywhere and go. That’s the best part about it.”
Do you think it intimidates offenses?
“I don’t know what it does. It makes them game plan a lot harder. It’s helping us out. We won our first game doing it. We’re going into Week 2, we’re going to keep playing and hope we get away with a second victory.”
Does it make it difficult for the opponent to know what’s coming?
“I mean, yeah. We have a lot of guys up front who can get to the quarterback. You can’t just double one of us. If you double one, the other guys is winning. Everybody was winning. We have to hope we keep that going and offenses have a hard time game planning against us and keep winning games.”
How nice will it be to have DE J.J. Watt back to his old self to help you out?
“That would be great. We expect him to come out there and perform at a high level. He got a lot of pressures, so that counts. Pressures equal big plays, too. We got a lot of turnovers, third-down pressures, help get us off the field. We aren’t going to say he didn’t do much. Those guys just have to keep playing week-by-week.”
How difficult does it make it when you have so many guys who can get to the quarterback?
“It’s very difficult, man. Guys are improving. Whitney’s (Mercilus) picking his game up, I’m getting better, J.J.’s (Watt) getting better. Like I said, it makes the other offensive linemen game plan a lot harder than what they’ve been doing. They have to game plan for all of us up front and we just have to keep rushing, keep coming, trying to get to the quarterback.”
What are the challenges of going against a quarterback like Chiefs QB Alex Smith?
“We have to contain him, keep him in the pocket. We know that’s what he’s going to do – make plays with his feet. We have to keep him in the pocket and try to make him force the ball, throw the ball up so our DBs can make some interceptions and try to get the ball to our offense.”
Is there anything specific you’re working on that you didn’t do last week?
“No. I’m just trying to keep playing the same way I’ve been playing – aggressive, hard – and just hope for the best.”
Is last year’s playoff game against the Chiefs still on your mind?
“It’s behind us. It’s a new season. The guys are looking forward to playing them like every other game on our schedule. Looking forward to playing all the guys. It’s a big game. Every game is going to be big. Just going to come out there and try and get the win.”
What impressed you about the Chiefs comeback win last week?
“They started making plays. Alex Smith really brought them back, making plays with his legs. Running around, making plays, throwing the ball down the field, running for first downs. We have to really control him and (Travis) Kelce and all the other guys. All their big playmakers and try to take them away from the game. Make him throw to someone else and try to make plays.”
How different is the Chiefs offense without RB Jamaal Charles?
“They still got a lot of threats. They’re still a difficult offense. We still got to go prepare because the other (Spencer) Ware guy can run the ball just as well. We got to prepare. Come out with a game plan and try to go out there and execute.”
Is it motivating for you knowing you can play against the Chiefs this year after not being able to play in the playoff game against them last season?
“I get motivated playing, period. I just want to go out there and perform at a high level and go out here and play hard for my team.”
Was the learning curve from defensive end to outside linebacker easier because of how you lined up in college?
“I never played down there really so it was just all new to me. I’m just going out there and trying to be disruptive. I do what they ask me to do.”
How has the learning curve from defensive end to outside linebacker come along for you?
“It’s a lot easier than being an outside linebacker. You just listen to the call, move to the left or the right couple steps and get off the ball, stay in your gap. It’s a lot easier than linebacker.”
Is it more of a comfort putting your hand in the dirt?
“I don’t know. It is what it is. I have to do what they ask me to do. Got to go out there and perform. I’m looking forward to playing against the Chiefs.”
When you woke up Monday could you tell you played on the inside?
“Yeah, I could tell I played on the inside. My whole body was hurting. I was beat. I was beat. I was like I’m back down in these trenches now. It was rough but that’s what the two days did for me. Help me get me body back under me. Get ready to prepare for the Chiefs.”
WR WILL FULLER V
What do you need to do to build off your first NFL game?
“Just continue to work hard in practice and try to get better at the little things.”
Was it a confidence booster for you to score a touchdown?
“I always play with confidence, so I wouldn’t say it’s a confidence booster but it was definitely good for me.”
Has WR DeAndre Hopkins been helping you?
“All the receivers are helping me. We all communicate about our opponent each week. There are definitely little things that I ask him about route running and things to watch for in my opponent. He’s always helping me out with those things, so yes.”
What do you see from Chiefs CB Marcus Peters on tape?
“He’s a great player, really physical.”
How is it knowing the Chiefs have to prepare for you after that first game?
“I guess that just means I’m doing my job. I’m going to continue to do my job. The more recognition I get, the more I’m helping the team.”
What does it mean to you to see the recognition you are getting after your first game?
“Just continue to play fast, that’s something I did since college so I’m going to continue to do that. Like I said, whatever I’m doing to help the team, I’m going to continue to do it.”
Have fans reached out to you this week?
“Oh yeah, definitely on social media, Instagram and Twitter. The fans do a really good job of communicating through there.”
Do you feel like you will help WR DeAndre Hopkins get more open looks?
“Hopefully. I know that’s probably one of the reasons why they brought me here. I’m going to continue to do my job and if it goes that route, I’ll be happy.”
Do you always have a low-key demeanor?
“Yeah, this is just me.”
Are there things from the first game you hope to improve upon?
“A lot to get better at. Definitely a lot to get better at. Not only in the passing game, but the running game too. Coaches always do a good job of keeping you from being complacent and keeping you moving forward.”
Did you find yourself getting more comfortable as the game went along?
“Yeah, the first series I was a little out of whack. It was a good feeling but as the game went on, I got a lot more comfortable.”
Do you expect to be even more comfortable in your second NFL game this weekend?
What keeps you humble, is it your family?
“I would probably say my family, just the way I was brought up. I’ve always been the same guy.”
Were you shocked by what you were able to do in your first NFL game?
“I wasn’t expecting anything. I was just expecting to go out there and do my job. I’ve been playing football my whole life, so I was just going out there doing my job.”
WR DEANDRE HOPKINS
What are your thoughts on Chiefs CB Marcus Peters?
“Very athletic corner. Not the typical corner. He makes great plays on the ball. I want to say he led the NFL in interceptions last year. You can tell he’s very instinctive.”
How much do you look forward to challenges like that?
“Just guys that are my caliber – size, match up against me well. I love going up against bigger corners. They challenge me.”
What have you seen from Chiefs S Eric Berry?
“He’s a vet. He’s made the Pro Bowl every year besides one year since he’s been in the league, so his play speaks for itself.”
Can you verbalize your motivation for the Chiefs?
“Always in the back of your mind. Especially if you play this sport and are a competitor like I am, you don’t want the same thing to happen to you three times.”
Now that you guys have played a few games together, where do you think your timing is with QB Brock Osweiler?
“We’re good now. It’s a work in progress. Our focus is winning football games, so however we have to do that, however he has to do that, however I have to do that – if it’s blocking, if it’s, you know – whatever I have to do.”
How did you like the Sports Illustrated cover picture?
“Man, I love the picture. That’s an awesome picture. Being on the cover of Sports Illustrated is an honor. Many greats have been on that cover. Hopefully I can get on the main issue.”
The higher profile you become nationally, the more of a target you become for opposing defensive backs. But that’s what playing your position is all about, right?
“Yeah. You’re a target for DBs when you go out there and make plays day in and day out every Sunday. That’s a good thing, especially for me because I have help on the other side of me.”
What are your thoughts on Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney’s comments?
“I really don’t have any more thoughts on that. I love Dabo. He’s one of the best college coaches, one of the best people I’ve ever had a chance to encounter.”
What did you think you guys did well as an offense?
“Third downs. Third-down completions were big for us last week and we just want to continue that. We know where we were in third downs but we know we can improve also.”
You were on the opposite side of the field when WR Will Fuller V scored his touchdown and then you were the first to congratulate him. Did you see it coming?
“No. He kind of cut back to my side. I made a big block for him to get in there. He’s talented. Give him the ball and he’ll make plays.”
Did you give WR Will Fuller V any advice after his successful debut?
“No. He comes from a great college program like Notre Dame where he’s playing high caliber talent week in and week out. The NFL is different but he’s used to being up and staying where he is.”
You’ve seen him run a lot in practice but were you even a little impressed with how fast he is in on the field?
“I am. He has game speed and just regular speed in general. Some people have game speed but run a slow 40. He has it all.”
How is it having him to help you out?
“That helps the team out. That doesn’t just help me out. Putting a win on the board is all that matters. It just makes our offense versatile.”
NT VINCE WILFORK
What bad memories do you have from the Chiefs game last season?
“None. None. Every year is a new year so that’s what we’re focused on. Moving forward.”
How did you think the defense played last week?
“I mean, we did pretty good. But we can be a lot better. We understand that. But it being the first game of the season, the goal was to win. That’s what we did. We have to keep building from that. That’s the goal for the rest of the year. Keep building each week. I think this week, we’ve attacked it the right away so we made the corrections from last week’s game. Every week is different, but you have to be able to get better in this league. If you don’t, you’ll get exposed. I think guys focused really hard this week coming back off a win, just focusing and getting back to the drawing board of getting better.”
Do you think you guys got stronger as the game went along?
“Yes. In a football game, there are different things that happen. Sometimes you don’t prepare for it. I think sideline adjustments and then coming into halftime and seeing how they are attacking us, we did a pretty good job of that. We have to continue to do that. Each week is going to be like that. Teams are not going to just line up and run the same stuff over and over. It’s like a chess match. We have to understand that. That’s the most important thing for us. Once we come to the sidelines with the coaches and everything, getting everybody on the same page with how they’re trying to attack us and go from there.”
Do you think about facing a team for the third time and whether they will give you similar looks?
“You never know what you’re going to get. You can look at film from years, from last year and you can look at them from preseason games. You just never know. You just focus on core stuff and anticipate somebody showing you something different that you haven’t seen. That’s what happens every year, especially early on in the year. Teams might be different from the year before. The first couple games of the season are always critical. We have to be on our P’s and Q’s and prepare for everything basically.”
How nice was it to have DE J.J. Watt back after he missed the whole preseason?
“Anytime you can have a defensive player back on your squad, that’s a plus. We’re very excited to have him here. He’s happy to be back. He’s that dynamic. We know with him in the lineup, it’s a plus for us. We just have to keep him on the field, keep him healthy and everything, and good things will happen for this team. We’re glad to have him back.”
Can the pass rush continue to get better?
“That’s one of our strengths of this team, our pass rush. We have multiple guys that can rush the passer. When you see guys from one side all the way to the other side and you know they can rush, it causes problems. That’s a good thing for us to have. It’s not so good for our opponents.”
What are some of the challenges of facing the Chiefs offense?
“They switch things up. They’re aggressive. They play physical. Their skill position players and their quarterback doesn’t turn the ball over. They’re just a good football team all around. They’ve built offense, defense and special teams. They have core guys everywhere. That’s the sign of a good football team. It’s the reason that they’ve won a lot of games. Looking at last week with them coming back, it just shows the type of heart they have. We’re going to have to match that intensity. Andy Reid has done a great job with that organization and that team. The backs are good. The tight end is awesome. The receivers do what they have to do. The quarterback protects the ball. The offensive line, no matter who they plug in, they seem to get the job done. It’s a good football team we’re playing this week, we understand that. We have to play our A game to be able to beat them.”
You have to be a pretty athletic guy to make the pass breakup play you made last week vs. the Bears.
“I am. I’ve always been athletic. That’s just growing up with different people and always wanting to play a sport. No matter what was playing, I always was out there playing no matter what it was. I still have a little juice.”
How difficult is it to get to Chiefs QB Alex Smith?
“It’s difficult because he can hurt you on the ground and he can hurt you in the air. He makes smart decisions with the ball. We know how important it is for us to be able to get into the middle of the pocket and make sure we tackle him when we get a chance. They’re tough. He is one of those quarterbacks where you have to always know where he’s at. Every play is always live for them, run or pass. We have to do a really good job of that this week and hopefully we’ll be successful against him.”