Behind Enemy Lines: Chiefs Q&As

Behind Enemy Lines: Chiefs Q&As

Read what Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel and OLB Tamba Hali had to say about the Ravens to the Baltimore media on Wednesday.

Head Coach Romeo Crennel

On T Branden Albert and his growth: "Branden is a competitive young man, and manning the spot that he has to play is a tough position, but he handles the pressure of that job well and does a good job."

On if he can envision the Chiefs' offensive line without Albert, this being his contract year: "In football, you don't want to envision your team without any player, but we know that things happen in this game. Whatever happens, you have to be able to adjust to and adapt to, and that's what we will do."

On how he thinks Albert has prepared for the Ravens this Sunday: "I think that he is getting ready to play a good football game. That's what we talk about every week – getting ready to play a good game, preparing ourselves to play a good game. So, that will be the focus this week."

On if has told QB Matt Cassel that he needs to be more careful with the ball this week: "I tell all my players that we need to play better. That's why we are in the situation we are in is [because] we, as a team, have not played well enough. We, as a team, have to play better, and if we play better, then I think that we can improve our record, which we will do."

On if the plan is for Cassel to be the starting quarterback this Sunday and if he has a short leash: "I'll tell you what, we are going to go into the game, and we are going to do what we think is best for our team to give ourselves the best chance to win. I am not going to discuss a short leash or anything like that. I am just going to try to give my team the best chance to win."

On if QB Brady Quinn will get some snaps with the first-team offense in practice: "I anticipate that Brady will get the same snaps that he gets in practice every week."

On what he thinks Cassel needs to improve: "We all need to improve on playing better as a unit, playing more cohesive, playing smarter, not turning the ball over and not giving up as many points as we give up."

On what makes the Ravens' downfield passing attack so dangerous: "They have great speed, for one. You have an accurate quarterback, and he puts the ball where it needs to be put. You have good protection. You have good runners. It's a very good offense."

On if he has encouraged the fans to be even louder to disrupt the Ravens' no-huddle offense: "I tell the players that the fans are on their side, because they are Chiefs fans and they want to see the Chiefs do well. If the Chiefs go out and play good football, then the fans will be loud. So, that's what we have to do. We have to play good football, and then the fans will be loud."

On what it is like for his offensive line to block Ravens DT Haloti Ngata: "You know that he is a tremendous player, has tremendous strength, size and mobility for a man his size. You might have to put two on him. Some people will try putting three on him. There are times that you are going to have to block one-on-one as well. That's where your fundamentals and techniques have to be right-on to slow him down."

On what makes Ngata a tough assignment: "He's strong, for one. He has movement skills for a big man. I think he has determination, and that's the way he has been most of his career."

On what he has seen from OLB Tamba Hali and if he is getting into the form he has been the last few years: "I hope so. We need for him to be productive, but Tamba tries hard every play. If you watch Tamba rush and he is giving it all and he is getting close, a lot of times he is not able to get the sack, but he does impact the quarterback. We expect that to continue."

On if he is surprised the Ravens have given up as many yards as they have: "No, because the Ravens have great position as far as the division is concerned. You play tough football, and sometimes you can give up yards and still win the games, and that's the bottom line – winning the games. The Ravens are winning the games. I think that they have some confidence in their ability of what they are able to do on the football field. The fact that they might be giving up a few yards, until they lose games, then I don't think that that will impact them that much."

On Ravens LB Ray Lewis being in his 17th season: "Ray is a really good player, a competitor, and 17 years is an excellent career. That's what that says for him to be able to play 17 years and still be able to compete at the high level that he competes at. At his position, he takes a pounding. His body is still in good shape, and he can still go out there and do it. So, I think that speaks volume for his preparation and what he does to take care of his body."

On if Quinn could play in any role with the struggles of Cassel: "We're going to go play the game, and we're going to see what we can do to try to win the game. Whoever gives us the best chance of winning the game, that's what it's going to be."

On if this Ravens' offense is one of the better Ravens' offenses he has seen: "They have made a lot of strides offensively, but many of the people are still the same. Ray Rice is an excellent player, and he has been there for a little bit. You have an athletic offensive line. You've always had good tight ends, and these two [Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson] that you have now, they are effective in the passing game, particularly. [Anquan] Boldin is a possession guy, and he can make plays. You just have a lot of weapons on that offense that allows you to score points."

On how comfortable he is with his offensive line due to the season-ending injury to C Rodney Hudson: "We have to do what we have to do. Every team in the NFL has to do that, because guys get banged up and another guy has to go in. We tell our guys to be ready when your turn is called. When your name is called, you have to be ready, and you step in and get the job done."

On how G Ryan Lilja did at center in the absence of Hudson: "He did good. You'd think that he has been playing guard, and he steps in and he played center. You had no issues with the quarterback-center exchange, shotgun snaps and all of those things, which when you have a new center, that's one of the main concerns. But, he handled it very well. He is a pro. He is a competitor."

On if there is anything else the team can stress in practice to improve the turnovers: "We can work on them more, because usually when you turn the ball over, rather than working on it once a week, you work on it every day. Not that we haven't been working on them every day, because the defense tries to strip the ball from the offensive players in practice and things like that, but you just have to put more emphasis on it. We are going to put more emphasis on it to make sure that we have their attention and get them to understand the importance of the football."

On what he sees in the comparison of DT Dontari Poe and Ravens DT Haloti Ngata: "Dontari is a young player who has good ability, has good size. I think, similarly, coming out [of college], that you could look at him and make some comparisons. I think, in time, Dontari will be a force as a football player. He is still a rookie, and he is still learning. We are pleased with the progress he has made, and we think that he will be able to help this defense for a long time."

OLB Tamba Hali

On what T Branden Albert is like as a teammate: "Branden is a leader on the team. I do go against him during practice, so for the past four or five years, we have gone against each other. We go hard and make each other work. He is just encouraging as a teammate and to the players around, and he works hard. So, he exemplifies the example of being in the NFL."

On what Albert does well: "Instead of elaborating on what he does well, I'll just say he does everything well, just because we don't want to say too much about what he does well and give those guys some tips on what Branden does. He is able to move, he is very athletic. He is able to absorb hits, so if you try to bull rush him, you are going to have a hard time."

On if Albert gives him a tough time during practice: "Yes, because we know each other so well. Over time, he knows what I'm trying to get done, and I know what he wants to get done. It gets tougher. He wins some; I win some. But, I think he wins more than I win."

On if he can imagine an offensive line without Albert if he leaves following his contract year: "It will be a shame. The guy has been here; he's worked. I don't believe … I don't know if he's missed any games. Right now, not envisioning him being on our team wouldn't be a positive."

On his thoughts on Sunday's matchup, particularly going against T Michael Oher: "Great athlete, good player, good player. [He] knows how to punch his hands. He gets to the spot, forces you to make decisions. [He] protects the inside very well – strong."

On the success he had against Oher in the 2010 playoff game, and if he will use it in this game: "Every year it's different, and guys prepare differently. They are doing things a little different. Hopefully, if we get in that type of game, I'll be able to use what I was able to do in prior years, but this year is a little different. Depending on how the game goes, it will be interesting on how he and I will match up for the entire game."

On if he anticipates the Ravens using the no-huddle offense: "Oh yeah, they are going to do that. I think they did two years ago or three years ago when we went down there in Baltimore. We are used to that type of pace. We just have to make sure we are on the same page of the defense."

On if the defense will focus on QB Joe Flacco: "Me, preferably, I have to focus on my keys and do what the defense has asked me to do. Joe's a good quarterback. He's come in and he's getting stuff done over there. We can't really focus on one thing. They run the ball well. They pass the ball well. It's like a boxing match – they're able to jab you, they're able to throw their playmakers at you. So at the end of the day, we just have to be real sound on what are doing on our keys."

On the NFL becoming more of a passing league: "You don't want to say that, because we still have good running backs in this league. Yeah, you need a quarterback to be able to throw the ball downfield and be able to change the tempo. In success for the passers, usually it's going to come from a good running game, and if you can't really run the ball, sometimes you become one dimensional and teams can take advantage of you doing that."

On if RB Ray Rice is still a priority in the meeting rooms: "Definitely. [He is a] real Pro Bowl running back. [He's a] good running back, probably one of the best in this league. Every year, he's up there in yardage and touchdowns. He's definitely a priority, hard runner and talks a lot of trash. He makes the game even interesting as it goes on."

On how much trash Rice talks: "A couple of years we've played him, Ray's talked a lot of trash. (laughing) I don't know if it gets him going or it's something about him … It's good, though. It's not dirty trash; it's good trash. He's a good player, and some guys are motivated doing that."

On if Rice talks more than other running backs in the league and who he compares Rice to: "Well, I've only played against him three times, and all three times, I think they've won the games. [He talks a] decent amount of trash. I don't remember a lot of running backs talking that much trash. Usually running backs are quiet and get their job done, but he's one of those guys – he's a mouthful. Philip Rivers talks a lot of trash. Maybe I would compare him to Philip Rivers."

On if when Rice talks, it motivates the Chiefs' defensive unit: "Well, yeah. He's carrying the ball, and he definitely makes a difference during the game. So if he's going to talk, that's going to bring the best out of the guys on the field."

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