Kansas City Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards addresses the New England media during his conference call on Wednesday, September 3, 2008.
Q: Have you ever been involved in a team with this many rookies and what's it like to work with a group with this many young guys?
HE: It's similar to what we did in Tampa Bay [Buccaneers]. When we were down in Tampa it was kind of the same way. We went through the same process of trying to build a team. And you're right; I think [we have] 11 rookies within our 45 that are dressed for us Sunday. But I think the thing they bring to the table, obviously, is a lot of energy. They're very inquisitive. They don't know what they don't know, which is kind of good as a coach because you can kind of mold them the way you want. But that being said, there're some misfires. Sometimes you scratch your head after practice and ask yourself, 'why'd he do that?'. That's just part of the learning process for young players.
Q: Is there also a consideration, in their first game on Sunday, to try to get them to control their emotions and not try to do too much out there?
HE: Well, yes. I think anxiety - anxiety of playing who we play - sets in. It definitely sets in Saturday night and how you respond to that Sunday morning when you wake up and when the ball is kicked off, that's kind of important.
Q: How's rookie defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey look? I know he was hurt early on. Has he rebounded from that?
HE: He's [Glenn Dorsey] been fine. We anticipate he is going to be a good football player for us. He's been practicing. He's played in the last couple of preseason games and he's ready to go.
Q: Do you have him playing on a different side than in college?
HE: We flip him every once [in a while], but he's playing not so much on the nose, he's playing on the guard. He's playing more of what we call the Three Technique for us, so not two-gapping as much as he did in college [LSU]. We don't ask our guys to two-gap here a whole lot. So he's doing that and he's doing a good job.
Q: Can you talk about your offensive line coach, Bob Bicknell, who from the area [Holliston, Mass.]?
HE: His dad [Jack] was a heck of a coach up there at Boston College. He's been in that area and he's probably going to get fined because everyone is saying they're going to give a parade for the guy when we land because he's kind of a town favorite and all that stuff. But he's an excellent football coach. He comes from a great tree of coaches - his father and all the guys that have coached - and [he is] a really good teacher. He was an assistant line coach last year and then we elevated him to be the head line coach this year. He did a good job with basically kind of a young group of guys.
Q: Do you think his experience coaching a lot of young guys in college and NFL Europe helps?
HE: No doubt. No doubt. He has great communication skills, he's a technician, he's demanding, but he's also a good listener and that's what's good. I think in coaching sometimes you get so involved that you're doing all the talking and coaching, and you forget to listen. And I think he's a good listener.
Q: Is this a bounce-back year for running back Larry Johnson? He's had the benefit now of a full training camp.
HE: Yeah. Obviously, he got hurt last year, he held out and he was disappointed in the season. He's had a really good preseason for us. He's run the ball, he's healthy and he's excited about playing football again. He was a little bit worried there with his foot, but it all came together fine for him and we're happy for him too.
Q: We've heard a little bit about foot injuries up here. Do you expect to see No. 12 [Patriots quarterback Tom Brady] on Sunday?
HE: Yeah, I do. I expect to see him. We anticipate that.
Q: Do you have to prepare your team as if quarterback Tom Brady is going to play?
HE: That's the only way you prepare them. It's always about preparing as if the starters are going to be there. You know the thing about pro players - they find a way to answer the bell. If he's okay to go and if it's not going to be harmful to him, I'm pretty sure he's going to go.
Q: How much stock do you take in watching the Super Bowl XLII film and what the Giants were able to do to the Patriots, and maybe some other teams, in shutting down their offense?
HE: I think you take it for what it's worth. What they did last year was something that you don't see in pro football and there's going to be some games where all of a sudden they're not going to score 40 points all the time. And that's just - the odds of scoring 40 every week is tough. I just think that with what they did and what they accomplished as a football team, there something to be said about that whole organization and not what they did. I think when you look at other teams, how other teams played them, that's how that team played them. I think personnel has a lot to do with how you want to try to play them.
Q: You entered the league in 1977 and you've been on the scouting side and now the coaching side. In your opinion, how has technology changed the game and what you do?
HE: I think what it's provided you with is more information. What you do with that information I think is vital on how you distribute it to the players and the manner you distribute it. Because remember, the players only have so many hours to work with it [information]. The coaches can stay here all night. You guys know the hours of coaches and all that stuff. I think it's another way to find things out. But I still think in this league, and it never changes, that you still have to be a coach that can coach on the grass. You have to be able to coach fundamentals and techniques because that's what the players buy into at the end of the day and that's how you make the player better. You can't coach a player's talent. God gives them their talent. You can't give a player more talent. That's just impossible. But what you can do is, fundamentally, you can make them better if they buy into what you're teaching them and I think that's always the key at the end - you've got be able to teach them on the grass.
Q: What do you think has been the greatest technological advancement since you came into the league?
HE: Obviously, the film and how you get film now. Can you imagine back when I was playing, the coaches had to slice the film? IT was on 16mm. It was on a projector, for God's sake. The only way a player could watch it was you had to buy a projector and they had to dupe the film for you and you went home and watched it on the projector. Now, you give a guy a DVD and you have all the third downs and you can get whatever you want. It's amazing. The different views you can get of a football player and the different situations you can get of football player within 30, 40 minutes. I think that's one of the big things of technology and where the game has gone.
Q: Do you see the Patriots offense being as good or as potent as last year? Do you view them the same way?
HE: Yeah. Yeah, I sure do. You know, they played in the preseason. The preseason is the preseason. You can look at the preseason in a lot of ways and I think you don't get too high or too low with preseason. You never know what teams are working on. I think they had the mindset that they were going to let all the young quarterbacks play because Tom Brady never misses a game. They didn't have a lot of experience playing, for the most part, so preseason is probably the time you've got to play those guys, and they did. I just think they weren't game planning people. They weren't doing that, they were just practicing and working on certain things every week - probably what all teams do for the most part. And now the season is going to start.
Q: How tough is it to prepare for this first game where you don't have a lot of film, at least for this year's group of players?
HE: It's always tough because you never know what people are going to do and I think what you've got to realize, and most coaches understand this and you've got to make young players understand this, is your ability to adjust once the game gets going, on what they're doing and the personnel groups they're using and what they're trying to do with those personnel groups. I think that's probably the most important thing - to have the ability to adjust.
Q: You know a few things about running back LaMont Jordan. What were your impressions when the Patriots landed him?
HE: He [LaMont Jordan] is a good football player, tough, physical runner and has real good hands. He can catch the ball. He's a good football player. We drafted him in New York [Jets] and had a great relationship with him. I'm glad he landed in New England. He's on a football team that's a very good football team and he can help them.
Q: What have you seen in the progression of quarterback Brodie Croyle and where do you feel he is at this point?
HE: I think the thing we see right now is his confidence. It's a lot better than it was in the previous two years. The first year he didn't play at all. Last year he had played some, but I think for the most part his confidence and I think he's grasped the offense. We have a new offensive coordinator, Chan Gailey, who has done a good job with him and [Assistant Head Coach/Quarterbacks Coach] Dick Curl. The confidence is big, especially at that position.
Q: You had an experience with cornerback Ty Law the last two years. Do you think he still has what it takes to play in this league if he so chooses?
HE: Yeah, he [Ty Law] can still play. He's probably more of a role player now and I think he knows that, but he can still play. Ty Law is a smart football player, [he] keeps himself in pretty good shape and he knows what it takes to play out there. He's got a lot of moxie when he plays out there. He understands routes, he understands receivers. I'm surprised he hasn't signed yet with somebody. I think eventually, unless he just doesn't want to play anymore, somebody's probably going to pick him up.
Q: When you guys were on HBO's "Hard Knocks," we all saw that cornerback Ty Law was not a big fan of training camps….
HE: No, no he [Ty Law] wasn't in New York [Jets] either. We got it and we all understand that. And when you've been in that many training camps and you've played that long, most guys are not, to be quite honest.
Q: You spent a lot of time in the AFC East when you were with the New York Jets. Any particular strong memories of playing in Foxboro?
HE: [It 's a] very competitive division. And that's a great venue [Gillette Stadium] to play in. They've got fantastic fans. The new stadium, I think it's great. I hadn't played there since they put the turf in, but I know it was always a tough place to win, very difficult. They're got great fans. They get after you when you come in there, but it's a great venue to play football in.
Q: Are you glad you're coming in September when it's a little warmer than some of those December games?
HE: Yeah. I'm a West Coast guy still. That cold is cold. You deal with it, but if you don't have to that's ok. So that's kind of good. I like to go up there when it's warmer rather than when it's colder.