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Romeo Crennel Conference Call Transcript 09-17-2002

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Q: How were you able to put in so much and have the players do so well?

RC: Well, our guys have been through training camp and were able to get a lot on during training camp and the fact that we have some veteran experienced guys, that helps that situation quite a bit. They are conscious and cognizant of the fact that they need to be in the playbooks and stay on top of it because it's been successful for us, so it makes a little easier that way.

Q: It seems like they look at it as a pleasure, they can't wait to see what you give them in a given week.

RC: Well I think when you win, that's the case. Whatever you're doing, when you win I think they look forward to it and we've been fortunate enough to be able to win a little bit. They are excited about coming in and seeing what we have for them.

Q: Would you acknowledge that you are a very difficult team to prepare for on both sides of the ball?

RC: I would say so because we present some multiple fronts and we do some different things and I think it would make it tough for our opponent to try to get ready and try to pinpoint what we may be doing.

Q: You had 10 sacks in the first two games by nine different players. How much of that has to do with putting guys in position to be playmakers, how much of it is by design that guys are freed up, how does it work?

RC: Well, I think it goes with our team philosophy a little bit, we feel everybody needs to do their job and you just don't know when a guy's going to come free and when he's going to have a chance to make a play. So they're all into it, it just depends on where the breakdown may occur on the other side of the ball. Sometimes an offensive tackle, he's got to decide, 'Am I going to block the outside guy or am I going to block the inside guy' so he chooses to block the inside guy and the outside guy is able to make the play. If he had chosen to block the outside guy, then the inside guy would have been free. It just so happens that we do mix things up quite a bit and several different positions have a chance to make plays and so far they've been making them.

Q: How does the safety decide who's going to go to the quarterback and who's going to cover?

RC: Well because we do have experienced safeties they are able to interchange their responsibilities, and the fact that they all know the scheme and each others responsibilities, they're able to make that change. Lets say Lawyer [Milloy] goes up and he sees the quarterback looking at him very hard, then he may decide, 'well I'm not blitzing this time, I'm going to stay up here and I'm going to drop out and I'm going to let Tebucky [Jones] or Victor [Green] go.' They have kind of been improvising like that.

Q: Is that what happened on the play where Tebucky sacked Vinny [Testaverde] for the touchdown?

RC: Well, the call was made and I think that Lawyer and Tebucky, they had the choice of which one was going to go, and so Lawyer, I think they communicated and worked it out so that Tebucky was going in, and Tebucky went in and made the play.

Q: There are some teams in this league that can't run one defense, let alone six different sets in one series.

RC: I think a lot of credit has to be given to our players on that because they do stay into it and study and they don't make very many mistakes, now we're not mistake free by any means because we do have some screw ups. Our players are very conscious that they do need to stay on top of it, and they do put in the time to know the different fronts and the different defenses, and when you have the ability on your team to be able to do that, it helps. Like I said, if we didn't have Victor Green, we might not be able to go with the big nickel package.

Q: That's why you went and got him [Victor Green] right?

RC: That's one of the reasons, he knew our system and we had had him before, and we liked what we saw before you know. So we felt like he would be a good addition to the team.

Q: I think a lot of people thought, 'Why do you need this guy?'

RC: Well because he's a good football player, starting safety in the NFL and we knew he could make a contribution so, you can never have too many good players.

Q: You picked him up as an integral part of the team when I'm not sure many other teams could have envisioned that.

RC: Like I said, we had him before, so he had a good background in our system so we felt like we would be bale to incorporate him in and he would be a help to us.

Q: How complicated is the system?

RC: Well, Lawyer [Milloy] says you have to be somewhat smart to play in this system. I mean, it's multiple, I don't know how complicated it is, it's multiple, and being able to handle the different responsibilities and different assignments that they have, and our guys have been doing a good job of it, knock on wood.

Q: How much fun is it for you as a coach, you can do more things?

RC: It's enjoyable when you win. When I was with the Giants and we were playing 3-4, and a lot of cover two, we were able to win, and it was enjoyable. Now, we're a little multiple and we're winning and it's enjoyable, I think the winning is the thing that makes it enjoyable.

Q: How often in the first two games, when there has been a screw up, has the other team capitalized?

RC: I would say five percent of the time that that's happened. That we screwed up and turned the guy free and the quarterback wasn't able to get there or his primary read was to the other side of the field, and it didn't hurt us. In last week's game we had [Wayne] Chrebet running down the sideline holding his hand up, but you know, Vinny's [Testaverde] primary read was to the other side of the field so he didn't get back to Wayne. Like I said, we're not perfect and we have to continue to work week in and week out to try and do it right and get it right.

Q: So you're saying that 95% of the time that you do screw up the other team takes advantage of it?

RC: No, I said about 5% of the time we screw up and they are not able to take advantage of it.

Q: So when you do screw up, most of the time they are able to take advantage of it?

RC: Sure, teams in this league are pretty good, if you screw up, for the most part, they are going to find it and hit you with a play.

Q: How much to the defensive package did you add when you signed Victor Green?

RC: When we got Victor, we started looking at the scheme trying to determine how we could incorporate him into the packages to get him on the field so that we could have the best players on the field that we could get, and so if we started looking at our packages, we said, 'Okay lets try him in this role and see if he can handle this role.' And so, as it developed, our big nickel package worked out perfectly for that.

Q: Well, Romeo, I don't see anybody outsmarting you.

RC: I appreciate that comment, but you still have to line up and play every Sunday, and we are always concerned about the opponent that we have to play, and we're very respectful of the opponent that we have to play, and you just go out there on Sunday and do the very best you can and see what happens. And so far, we've been doing okay, and hopefully that can continue.

Q: How good do you think this defense is, and how good do you think they can be by the end of the season?

RC: Well if we continue, at the rate we're going, I think we can be a good defense, time will tell that. This is the NFL and any team can win on Sunday. We just try to play them one at a time, we have Kansas City this week and those are the guys we're going to concentrate on, if we're able to continue at the end of the season then I'd be in a better position to answer that question for you.

Q: What are the differences then between this defense and other defenses you have been associated with?

RC: Well I think one of the differences is in this defense is pretty much a total team defense, in other defenses we've had Lawrence Taylor and Carl Banks, some outstanding guys, and not that we don't have outstanding guys here, we do have some good football players here, but you know, you can just hear the press clippings, some of the writers talk about how no one knows the guys on this team, which is fine with us. They don't have to know us, we just have to go out there and keep winning, and so that's our focus and we're going to go out there and try to get that done.

Q: Romeo, what about [Richard] Seymour, he's obviously very important to the defense.

RC: Richard is a young man that we drafted last year, and he was hurt part of the time, but he showed flashes of having really good ability, and so he's come in and picked up this year, and it's tough having him one-on-one inside because he is a big man and has some flexibility and has some strength. So we try to get him one-on-one and let him operate that way, and with some of our ability outside, say with a Willie McGinest and Anthony Pleasant, you know those guys, if you double team Seymour, you leave McGinest one-on-one, if you double team McGinest, you leave Seymour one-on-one, so we try to get some of those one-on-ones and try to take advantage of it that way. And Richard is developing and I think he should develop into a very good football player.

Q: What exactly are you looking for when you're looking at the opposition?

RC: Well, the first thing that we look at is, look at their team and determine what they do, what is it that they do, who is it that we have to stop because everybody has some go-to guys, everybody has their foundation of fundamental plays and offenses, so we look at that and determine what it is that we have to stop and who it is that we have to stop, and then we try to look at our package and determine, alright, we need to use this run or we need to use this coverage to defend what they're doing.

Q: Where does Daniel Benetka, who was cut during training camp, need to improve to come back next year and compete?

RC: Daniel did a nice job for us in training camp, and he's a hard working young man. I think Daniel is still learning the game of football and that was one of things that he needs to improve on, and so playing time, whether it's in NFL Europe or in another training camp would be the best thing for Daniel. I was very pleased with the work he did for me and the way he approached his job, and I think that he will have a chance to play for another team maybe next year.

Q: Do you feel his age is against him?

RC: Not necessarily, he plays the defensive line position and he's physically strong and he's got the right attitude, so I think if stays healthy, I don't see why he couldn't make a contribution.

Q: How in the world would you try to scheme the Patriots offense?

RC: You know what, they have so many go-to guys that I'd have to get about 10 more Victor Greens and put them on the field at the same time.

Q: How much change do you do on defense just for change sake and to keep people excited about what you're doing?

RC: We have so much stuff in, that it's hard to add a whole lot new from week to week. There may be one scheme or one pressure that we might add for a particular game, but because we do have a lot of stuff in, we try to maintain what we have and try to do a good job of what we're doing.

Q: Do you ever scale back at the end of the week on defense?

RC: Sometimes, because you add some stuff in, and you put it out there on the practice field, and if it doesn't look good, or your guys can't get it right then you take it out. If your guys can't get it right in practice then they probably won't get it right in the game. So we had a defense in last week that we had in, we felt it was going to be good, but we just couldn't get it right in practice. So I said, 'Well, look, we're not taking that one to the game, so lets forget about that one.' And probably it's a good thing that we did.

Q: Have you ever teased Charlie [Weis] about the fact that they didn't score more than two touchdowns offensively for seven or eight games, and say, 'hey, we won a Super Bowl without offense, do you think you could help us out.'

RC: No, I really don't. I don't have to tease Charlie in that manner because we've been together for a long time and I know they work hard like we work hard and try to get it done, and so I know that they were trying to do it just as we tried to do it, and I know that usually in this business, you know, you're only on the top for so long, and so, one day it's the offense's day, the next day it's the defense's day, and the next day is the special team's day, and so you know.

Q: In that sense Romeo, you are a better team this year because you do have balance.

RC: I think so, I really do. We acquired some guys on the offensive side of the ball that help the offense, and we've acquired some defensive guys on the side of the ball that help the defense. We should be better, we're better on paper, and we just have to go out on the field and see if we're better on the field.

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