**B:** On the roster move today, we put Matt Chatham on injured reserve prior to the Detroit game and brought up (Maugaula) Tuitele and that created a practice squad spot so we signed Antico Dalton who is a linebacker out of Hampton. He was with Minnesota last year. Then today we released Chris Floyd, which puts our regular roster at 52 with five practice squad players. We will manage that here as we go along in the next few days. The schedule this week, we actually have a couple of extra days. Starting today on Tuesday and through the normal Wednesday we are going to go out and work, not work in full pads we have a lot of guys that are still banged up from the last couple of weeks but we are definitely getting started here on Kansas City and getting the foundation of the game plan in. We will go through the scouting report today and so forth. So we will be moving along on that and getting into a little more contact as we move on in the week, but I do think it is important for us to get a good day of timing in because we haven't had the opportunity to do that since last Thursday. So that is pretty much where we are. I think that Kansas City, I think their record and I know they have had trouble the last couple of weeks here, but just watching them against St. Louis the y really do a lot of things well as a football team. I think they are a very dangerous opponent and certainly not one to be at all taken lightly, particularly given the state of our team, but Kansas City has played some real good football this year. They played very well against the Rams and they are capable of beating anybody in this league and that's the type of opponent we have to prepare for not one that didn't play there best game last week against the Chargers.
Q: Last week you started to hit on the rebuilding process, now that you are mathematically eliminated will you filter, I am not talking about starting backup players, but will you filter them to get A) experience and B) an evaluation process or do you think you have a pretty good idea about what people can do anyway?
B: I think some of those players maybe you are referring to if they are ready to play, if we think they can help us then we will definitely play them. I think (Adrian) Klemm is a guy that is getting closer. He has made progress really since he has been out there, but he has made a little progress and maybe we will get an opportunity to play him if he continues to show that he is ready to play and won't jeopardize the other people that are counting on his blocks to execute. So yes that could happen, but again in terms of just throwing guys in there that is not really what we are looking for.
Q: I am playing Devils advocate here, but it is possible that some players that maybe you think can't play actually can if they got a chance?
B: Yes you never know exactly how it is going to work out you just have to go on what evidence you have and try to make the best judgement that you can. We have all made mistakes and I am sure there will be some made in the future, I am sure every coach has done that. You never know exactly how things are going to go you just have to go on the evidence you have and what players have been able to produce when they have gotten an opportunity to do that. It is not an exact science.
Q: The releasing of Chris Floyd, is this another situation that just didn't work out?
B: Exactly it just didn't work out. Chris is a hard working kid and we tried to find a role for him and tried to put him in positions where we felt that he would best fit for us, but in the end it just didn't work out.
Q: Does this make you worry at all that you are thinner at running back?
B: He has played very little at running back or fullback anyway so I don't think it is that big of a factor. He hasn't had a significant amount of playing time on offense.
Q: That penalty he had the other day was not the brightest in the world, how much did that enter into it, you are not at a stage where you can tolerate that kind of tomfoolery?
B: Yes, well he had three penalties in the game and that certainly didn't help any. I have tried not to make any judgements on anybody based on one play or one game or just one thing it has been accumulation of a lot of practices, games, opportunities, where the production has been and where we need it to be. Like I said it just didn't work out. We have had that with some other players, maybe it will work our for them somewhere else, some other system or some other situation, I don't know, but I just feel like everybody is given a pretty good shot and it just didn't materialize.
Q: There are a lot of exceptions, guys who don't play well in practice but they get in a game and they find a spark in the game. In your experience are there a lot of those guys or are there an infinitesimal amount of guys who perform much better in games than they do in practice?
B: It is definitely not the same. I don't know that you can say that a player doesn't perform well in practice and then does perform well in games or does perform well in games and then doesn't perform well in practice. I mean I can think of examples of a lot of players doing both. It is different in the game and some things, the plays and timing and all it doesn't quite hit the same in a game as it does in a practice, the best you can do in practice is to simulate it. So where you really want to see a player perform is in the game. I mean it is what he does in the games that really counts. Football being the game it is there are just a lot more plays in practice than there are in games in terms of evaluation so if once you see enough of a player in a game then you can make the evaluation of his game performance. Until you see those plays then you are just going off of preseason which is somewhat game conditions and the opportunities that he has in practice.
Q: Are there a lot of guys that have shown you, you know you see something in practice that you see a lot better in the game, does that happen often?
B: Sometimes that happens, but I don't think that consistently happens with a lot of players. That players just go out and are bad in practice everyday and then all of a sudden play great in a game or are real good in practice everyday and then all of a sudden are just terrible in the game. I can think of examples of both of those with the same players. Sometimes they have good weeks of practice and bad weeks of practice and good games and bad games, but I think over the long haul basically it evens out. A player who is a good player and a consistent player you can pretty much count on that performance on Wednesday, on Friday, on Sunday, over the long haul. Then there are other players that over the long haul with enough opportunities and enough chances and understanding what they are doing their performances are a little less than that sometimes.
Q: Do you look at the pattern that other teams have used to turns things around quickly and I am thinking New Orleans, Philadelphia do you try every week in the terms of rebuilder never mind a coach, do you try to pick things up that they might have done that you may patten yourself after this offseason?
B: I think that the time to evaluate the offseason is in the offseason. Right now it is difficult with the schedule and the daily demands that you have, and your team has for each upcoming opponent to devote a lot of time to offseason planning and that kind of thing. When that is appropriate I am sure we will do it and I have done it in the past. I have taken a look at a lot of successful programs in this league from you can go back about as far as Paul Brown all the way up to Jimmy Johnson in Dallas and Don Shula. I have been a part of those myself and sure you are always learning from them, you always try to take positive things that you think can help you along the way, but I think right now the main issue that we have on this football team is are the coaches and the players and the people who have the most familiarity with all of the parties involved to try to get the highest possible performance that we can and that's really what we have been doing and that's what we are going to continue to do. At some point in time it certainly bears the time and consideration to look at all of the successful teams in this league and try to see what you can take from them to help your situation or how you can apply it positively in what ever you are dealing with whether it is a player, or a coach, or a system, or a scheme or all of those things. We do that every year in the offseason I mean that is definitely a project that coaches take on in the spring.
**Q: Have you addresses your team considering you are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs about what you expect from them, what you want to see in the next four weeks?**
B: Well we talk about that every week, yes. So I will do it this week, just like I have done it last week, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Buffalo, Denver, Indianapolis yes it will be the same every week sure.
Q: What do you say to them?
B: I tell them what the critical things are for the week, where we are at, what we need to do. I mean it is not the same every week, the team that we are facing is different and sometimes the state that we are in and what we are doing is different too. I am not saying there is a carryover from week-to-week, but each situation is a little bit different and you try to address those things specifically so that going into the game everybody understands exactly how we need to perform and what we need to do to win and that's I think pretty clearly stated every week. That we understand as a group how we need to play this particular game, what needs to happen, what we can't do, things we need to be alert for, absolutely that stuff is definitely spelled out every week. That is what preparing a team is all about.
Q: Fred Edelstein had a piece last week suggesting that maybe you were a guy who wasn't pleased with Bledsoe and might want to see him move on. Having seen him this far, are you pleased with what he has done, do you think he has a future here, and would you like to re-sign him before free agency starts?
B: Yes he is our quarterback I would like to continue with him as our quarterback absolutely.
Q: Where do you stand with negotiations or can you say that?
B: The contract that he has right now is the contract that he has there is no new one in place.
Q: But don't you run into a problem if he doesn't have a new one in terms of rebuilding this team beneath the cap?
B: Anytime you do a contract or whatever the terms of the contract are that's what they are. Whether you want to call those positive or negative or advantageous or disadvantageous, however you want to characterize them each contract has its' own life and its' personality and when both sides sign it then you have an agreement and that's where it is at. At this point the agreement that we are under is the previous one. Hopefully at some point there will be a new one and when that is done I am sure both sides will be happy with the agreement or they both won't sign it and at this point since there isn't one I guess we don't have a new agreement yet.
Q: Have you gone to the people who handle the negotiations and say for us to get better we need to free up cap room by re-doing Bledsoe now we get a lot more cap room to work things to make the team better quicker?
B: We have talked about several things organizationally that we feel like we need to do to improve this football team and again most of the things and a lot of the questions that are coming up here are really offseason type questions. Those type of negotiations whether it was Terry Glenn or Bobby Hamilton or whoever it was those contract have very little impact on this year currently from a cap standpoint, very little. Moving forward those are all issues that you deal with in the offseason in terms of managing a team and managing the cap and signing players and all of that. There is no question about it, but at this point in time whatever is getting done is getting done and I am sure at some point it will get worked out, but it really won't effect anything today, tomorrow, Friday, or Monday. I don't think it will effect anything at all just like a couple of the contracts that have already gotten done have virtually no effect on the current situation of either the player who signed them or any other players involved on the team or outside the team.
Q: You say you want to give the team the best chance to win each week, but in making so many changes week to week on the active roster doesn't that sort of a counter to that?
B: The ideal way to go through a season would be to have 53 players and have them all healthy and go all the way through with those guys and not make any changes and have them all perform well and have a total continuity on your football team. That hardly happens to any team in pro football particularly at this point in the season. When you have players that have been injured, that have missed a substantial amount of time and you think about when they do come back it will still take them a week or two before they are really back ready to go and you are at the end of the line. Then you just have to decide whether or not it is worth it or not to go through with that or to try to get somebody else who can help you more immediately and that was really the situation last week. We went into the Cincinnati game with four linebackers and that probably, I can't ever remember seeing that really a team going into a game with four linebackers, even a 4-3 team let alone a team that plays some elements of a 3-4 like we do, so that is pretty much unheard of. The situation with Matt Chatham just got to the point where the clock is ticking on him and there are only so many games left, so many opportunities left and he's not ready. We are playing with four linebackers so we brought Tuitele into the Detroit game, but I think that is the kind of thing, if you just look at the waiver wire, that is the kind of thing that is happening in the league every week. Teams get guys hurt, they are out for four or five weeks if it was the first game of the year the team would probably carry those players and wait for them to get healthy, but now those players are going on injured reserve and they are being replaced by other players that can contribute a little bit more immediately.
Q: A lot of people looked at this team after the early games, the four losses early, then you beat Denver and the Colts the sense is 'Okay they know what they are doing, they have turned it around." Did you share that opinion and what has happened since then to cause this team to go back to those same problems you had earlier?
B: I don't know that I could give you all of the exact answers there. If I could I would probably bottle it and you wouldn't be asking the question. We have played twelve games and basically eleven of those games have been very competitive right to the end of the game or well into the second half of the game. The only game that really wasn't was the second Jets game. Our ability to perform under pressure, our ability to execute when critical situations in the game have come on the line has come up short. Sometimes it didn't, but most of the time it has. I can't really tell you, and you know they have all been different situations it isn't like it has just been one thing. We have come up short on offense, defense, at times in the kicking game a little less there and that is the hump we still have to get over.
Q: Did you think that after those two games, the Colts and the Broncos games, there were things falling into place that would carry you through the rest of the season?
B: I thought we could win every game. I mean I thought we could win the first game I thought that we could win the last game so I didn't feel that it wasn't going to happen going into the Denver game. I didn't feel any differently in the Detroit game, but the outcomes haven't manifested themselves the way we would like for them to, but I think the confidence that we have a good plan, we know what to do, we can execute that plan at times is there but it is not consistent. We have shown a weakness on this team that when things don't go well we don't always respond to it like we need to. We have had several games where the other team scored and then we responded with another score or a turnover or something that immediately swung the game back a little more in our favor and that was true in the Cincinnati game, but it certainly didn't happen in the Detroit game. That was a game that was 6-6, 9-6 and then six minutes later 20-9, a couple minutes after that it is 27-9. So we certainly didn't handle it well at all in the Detroit game. I think as a team we need to find a way to prevail in those situations, to play more aggressively, to play more alertly and to execute in a manor that is good enough for us to win, not come up short.
**Q: As a coach what can you do to make that happen so that it doesn't drift away during crunch time, is it something you have to do?**
B: We talked about that, we have spent a lot of time talking about it about who are the key players that we want to involve at that point of the game, where we want our emphasis to be in other words players as opposed to plays. How to get the team in the right frame of mind, a confident frame of mind that they feel good and confident about performing in those situations and we have attempted to do that in practice where we put them in those situations in practice so they can execute them and feel confident and walk off the practice field knowing that that is what we are going to do in that situation and we did it well and it worked so we are confident that it will happen again. Those are the types of things that we have tried to do to try to get over that bridge and I think that is what we have got to continue to do and make sure that we have the right players or our best players doing the things that they do best in critical situations. Also making sure that things that come up in those situations that everybody is well prepared for them and that the team understands how to execute.
Q: Obviously you are going to work hard and do as hard as you can what you just said, but frankly is it just the point that this team constituted the way that it is right now doesn't have enough talent to get it done consistently?
B: I guess that remains to be seen, but there are times when it has gotten done and then unfortunately there have been a lot of times when it hasn't. I would like to believe that we can keep persevering and keep working to get it done. It happened a week and a half ago against Cincinnati, it happened earlier in the year against a couple of good teams so since we have done it I am going to believe that we are going to be able to do it again.
Q: Was that one of your key concerns coming into the season how your team would react in these situations when they had to respond and when they had to make critical plays, I mean was that kind of an unknown factor?
B: It was definitely an unknown factor. That was one of the things that when you come out of training camp, especially in your first year when you don't have a lot of experience with the team, there are a lot of questions that you have about your team that you just can't answer until they come up during the regular season. How you are going to perform under adverse conditions, how you are going to handle the pressure of playing on the road, playing with the lead, playing from behind, playing through whatever it is bad calls, key injuries whatever it happens to be all those things that every team has to go through. Each year each team has to establish their own mentality and their own performance in those trying circumstances. I think that is going to be a question every year until there is enough evidence on a team and there is enough continuity on a team that you have seen those players in those situations before and you are pretty confident that you know how they will respond when they get into them again, but that's the key question and of course the depth of our team was the key in the early part of the year. Those were the two big ones.
Q: Would you say that the performance in those situations has been a disappointment to you?
B: Sure, when you are 3-9 I would say it has been disappointing, yes. It has been frustrating, it has been disappointing.
Q: Players always talk confidently and feel they can do things, is that what happens at that point the confidence that they say they have or they say they feel in each other is lost especially when you have had a number of close games. Does the confidence that they had going into the game sort of get lost at that point?
B: I don't know I think it is hard to put your finger on precisely what it is you may have a lot of moving parts out there. It is not one player, it is not like a golfer who is one the eighteenth green one guy, one putt that kind of thing. You have eleven guys, substitutions back and forth and again in a number of the games it hasn't been one play or one thing it has been a combination of defensively not being able to stop them, offensively not being able to make first downs with the lead and keep possession of the ball, defensively not being able to convert on third down, offensively not being able to score in the red area where the game is coming into critical situations. All I am saying is when you watch your team play and you watch how they perform in those situations and you see players who look like they are playing a little more tentatively or cautiously or with a lack of awareness I think that is a concern. I don't think you can say that about all players, but it doesn't take all of them it takes just enough for it not to be executed as correctly as it needs to be done. There are a hundred examples, the receiver and the defensive back are right there for the ball one guy comes up with it and the other guy doesn't that type of thing, tackling knowing where the sticks are, knowing what strong tackle means to the runner not making the first down or the runner being able to know where the sticks are and being able to get that extra half yard that he needs to make the first down runner or receiver whoever it is. There are a hundred examples like that. We could go through every game and find a couple of dozen plays where those type of things are at stake. Some of them are done well, some of them aren't and the ones that aren't obviously need to be done better. There were several situations in the Detroit game, third and one in the third quarter we can't pick up the first down. Then we come back on the kick off return get a penalty and it ends up being a 54-yard field position play. That leads to their go-ahead touchdown which on that touchdown included an offsides on third down which resulted in a sack. That didn't have anything to do with the offside, but that kept the drive going. Fourth down was an opportunity to make that play and we didn't make it. There was a situation in the second quarter where it was fourth and six. Detroit has the ball on their own 27-yard line. We were offside that makes it fourth and one. Then they punt it down there and we get two penalties on the return and the result being that the ball ends up on our seven-yard line and it ends up being a 66-yard field position swing. Penalties, judgement, decision-making under pressure, 66 yards that is two-thirds of the football field that is a big swing on a punt. You hardly ever see 66 yards of field position go on one punt particularly indoors where there are no wind conditions or anything, it is one thing if you are kicking in a gale, but 66 yards on one punt that is a lot of field position. So there are plays in there that, just some examples, but that we have come up short on. We need to play at a different awareness and a different level in those type of situations and we haven't done it consistently