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Replay: Patriots Postgame Show Mon Nov 23 | 03:00 PM - 11:59 PM

Chiefs Head Coach Gunther Cunningham Press Conference

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            **C:**  How are you doing?  

Q: Better than you.

C: I don't know about that, believe it or not, we see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Q: Does Monday Night give your team a chance to redeem itself after last week?

C: Yeah, I don't think there is any question about that. Players rise to the occasion. They know their peers are watching them and I think the coaches do the same thing. The coaches lie about it, they say they don't, but I'm sure it affects all of us.

Q: How have the last four games been different from the start of the season?

C: I think people don't realize how many young players we've got and new coaches on the staff. It is not like anybody is blowing us out, we keep losing three-point games. There have been some extenuating circumstances. There have been some calls that had been made that were tough on us. The officials are a part of the game, I tell our players that. We can't lean on that. I think we're close to turning the corner to becoming a pretty good football team. I know a lot of the young guys that we have really played well. Greg Wesley is one of the top safeties that I've ever seen after just three quarters of a year and that goes on throughout the roster. I don't know exactly how many guys we've got playing, but there is at least 12 to 15 of them.

Q: Can you talk about Elvis Grbac's emergence as a quarterback?

C: I think what happened is that he realized how much confidence I had in him. That goes back to when I was an assistant, I made a commitment to him. He saw me not waiver, and he didn't waiver as well. He kept pushing all the buttons. He worked real hard, he prepares himself off the field and on the field. He's learned to deal with his teammates a lot better. I think the pressure that he's been under here in the city, you know the fans had their votes between (Rich) Gannon and (Elvis) Grbac going back to 1997. I think he's won them over, I think he's won his teammates over, and he didn't have to win me over. I think that combination of things has really let him be the quarterback that I always thought he was going to be.

Q: You've been involved in a lot of close games this season.

C: I think on our football team, it has been real tough. We've been in five games this year where they came down to those situations. Second game of the season, Tennessee, we have it won and we're down there to kick the field goal and we get some calls that after evaluation of the calls they weren't good calls that went against us. We got put out of field goal situation and we go to overtime and Tennessee beats us. It comes down to those situations week after week. That's what leads me to believe that we've got a football team that's going to blossom. Like I told the players, it is about this year not next year. Next it is going to be expected, we have to build into that.

Q: Which do you miss about Derrick Thomas more, on the field or off the field?

C: I think probably both. He was very dynamic in his personality. As I told the team the difference between some of the guys we've got now and Derrick Thomas, when Derrick Thomas walked on the field, he believed he was a man. No one could make him waiver from those thoughts. I took great pride in being able to coach him because I felt the same way. I remember many times walking on the football field feeling that effect prior to a game that he was around. I did the same thing in practice, he really livened up practice. He had fun, but he did his job. I think the team has fond memories of him. How much they miss him it is hard to say, because as time passed this year, we don't talk about him as much. We all remember him, but we don't talk about him as much anymore.

Q: Can you talk about the emergence of the Patriots secondary and Tebucky Jones?

C: I think he's a good player. I thought he was going to be a good player coming out of college. I knew it was going to take him time, I saw him at the Senior Bowl and studied him quite extensively. I think they've got a heck of a secondary all around. Lawyer (Milloy), I known Lawyer for a long time since he came out. I worked him out as well. I've gotten to talking to him quite often after games. I've always wanted – I was hoping we'd have a shot at him when he was a free agent. With Ty Law you probably would never have a shot at getting a guy like that. I think they're a good football team defensively. They're very athletic. They move around well. We've played those kinds teams like that before and we just have to play our own game. And as I tell our team every week, it is about us, not our opponent.

Q: Can you talk about turning your offense into more of a passing offense with Derrick Alexander and Tony Gonzalez?

C: Well, I think it is, we're never going to go away from the run, we've just never had the opportunity because we haven't had a solid running back. I think we've got tough guys. Because Kimble Anders was hurt going into the year and Mike Cloud has really evolved, the last few practices goes, he's really gotten better. I think as far as the passing game is concerned, I think the guy you didn't mention is Sylvester Morris. I think when we got him, people realized what I was going to be all about as a coach. We were going to put the ball up and eventually go back and have a balanced offense of run and pass. There is no doubt what direction we're going to head and I think Derrick Alexander blossoming into the kind of player we though he was. Tony Gonzalez is a special commodity. I don't think there are too many guys running around that tight end position that can play like him and I think Sylvester, although he hasn't had very many catches lately, he's someone you have to stay on top of all the time. He kind of reminds me of the guys San Francisco has had. When catches the slant, you'd better make a sure tackle with at least two guys, because he can break those tackles. I think that combination really also helped Elvis (Grbac) realize that we went out and got some ammunition for him to use and he's had success with all three of them.

Q: Was last week's loss particularly tough to take because people are saying that you're San Diego's only win this season?

C: You really can't worry about what people say. I told the players, in this league when you play, you're looking in the mirror. You have to understand that at this level there are good players no matter what the records are. It is like our team, give or take a few points and we can be amongst the leaders. We've played every leader in both conferences and beat the world champions pretty handily. I talk about that more than anything. San Diego took Oakland right down to the wire. They got taken out of field goal position in both games. They had them won and so I don't think that because San Diego is 0-11 they don't have any players. I know they have a linebacker that no one else has in this league.

Q: The Monday night games this season have been close. Can playing on that stage bring something extra out of the players?

C: There's no doubt. Like I said, often times we reflect on records in this league. We don't give enough credit to guys that are battling their hearts out to try to win games. When you put them on a pedestal on Monday night, you never know what is going to happen. Really that's true every week. When the media tells me that this is a game you should win, I just shudder because I know what those guys in the other locker room what they come to work with. They come to work every weekend and every Monday night to try to win games. I've been in it too long to fall into traps like that.

Q: Will Elvis Grbac play?

C: Well, you can tell I sound pretty upbeat. There's no question about why I sound upbeat. He's taken two good days. Actually a day and a half, we had a walkthrough that he threw the ball extremely well in. Yesterday's practice was kind of shocking to me. I wanted him to just throw on the sidelines and probably took 60 percent of the turns and he threw the ball effectively, so I'm excited about it.

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