Q&A: Todd Haley & Romeo Crennel

Following the announcement that Romeo Crennel was hired as the defensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs, Todd Haley and the newest member of his staff spoke with the media via conference call.  Here are the highlights:

Romeo Crennel’s Opening Statement:

“I’m excited to be here at Kansas City. I was able to, as Todd said, take a breath last year.  I had hip replacement surgery and when Todd talked to me last year about the possibility of coming, and he was willing to wait however long I needed, I thought it would be a disservice to him and his program to have to wait until basically June because with hip replacement, they tell you that after three months, you should be ok and I had it in February.

“I decided that I would take that deep breath that he mentioned and I told him I wasn’t available.  This year, after sitting out for a year, I’m available.  That breath has filled my lungs, my enthusiasm is up, my energy is up, my hip, there’s no pain in it, so I feel really good about being able to come in and trying to help build this program.

“Part of the reason is that I know many of the guys on staff.  I know who they are, I know how they coach, I know how competitive they are, and I want to work with guys like that.  The relationship that Todd and I have started back in New York, I saw him develop as a young coach on the field and grow in this profession and now he’s sitting here in charge of this program and I’m just excited about being able to try to help him.”

On last season’s DC Clancy Pendergast:

TH: “It’s not a lot different than when I was the offensive coordinator last year.  I have a lot of confidence in my abilities in that area, but when I had a chance to make Charlie Weis part of this staff and bring his vast experience and success into the mix, and provided the fit was correct, as is the fit with Romeo, it was very important that I made that move.  And again, this is less probably about what we’ve done this year or results even of this year, this is about adding a quality, quality coach that I have a great amount of respect for, the league has a great amount of respect for, and adding him to our defensive staff to help make us a good team.

“He is the defensive coordinator.  Clancy is part of my staff.  We’re in that process, obviously, and there are some moving parts, and we’ll just kind of see how everything plays out.  I want Clancy to be part of this staff, just as I did last year.”

“As far as I’m concerned, if you’re asking what I want, yes.  And Clancy and I have had some discussions and we’ll just have to see where it goes.  At this time, I’m probably not informed enough to answer that question.”

Obviously health concerns kept you out this past year, but did you watch the Chiefs with a different eye this year, did you pay attention to what they had on the roster and what their defense looked like?

RC: “Well, I didn’t spend a whole lot of time watching.  I spent more time with (my wife) and with the family, so I didn’t get to watch as much football maybe as I wanted to watch.  When I did see the Chiefs, I noticed that they played hard and there were several games that they were in at the end, overtime games, and toward the end of the season, they were pretty successful at the end of the season.  Particularly in the last game, the team did a great job in that last game.  In a situation when you’re not winning, players can toss it in just about at any point so I was impressed with the way they played in that last game.  I think that there’s a good, young nucleus.  We have to improve and add some players and we’re going to start doing that, but I think that this is a great opportunity to try to grow and develop a team.”

What kind of defense will you run?

RC: “We’re going to be based in a 3-4, but we will not be limited to the 3-4.  We can do some other things, which we will.  We will mix things up as we need to.  Each game plan is different and you have to look at your opponent to see what their strong points are and then what you think you need to do to take away their strengths and then try to take advantage of them that way.”

What is your defensive philosophy?  Are you more of an attack style or bend don’t break style defense?

RC: “I have been some of all of that.  Like I mentioned before, we are going to base out of the 3-4 but I have been in games where we have gone in and played 70 percent zone.  I have been in games where we have gone in and played 70 percent man, so it just depends on what the game plan is for that particular opponent.  Basically it is going to be a combination of zone and man going in.  Now how much we pressure or how much we don’t pressure is going to depend on the game plan primarily.”

TH: “I think that is a great question because there are some teams that are not game-plan teams and there are some teams that are.  I would say that it is one thing that has been unique to this system on both sides of the ball that we are a game-plan team that is going to do whatever is necessary to win on both sides of the ball.”

Coach Crennel, do you have any aspirations of becoming a head coach again in this league?

RC: “I think that is why many of us coaches are in this business, to get to the highest level possible.  I think being a head coach is the highest level and if that opportunity came along again, I would definitely consider that.  At the present time, the opportunity is to be the defensive coordinator for the Chiefs and that is what I am putting all of my energy into.”

Does it feel like old times coming back to work with GM Scott Pioli and newly-appointed offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, as well as Coach Haley?

RC: “Just a little bit.  It is good to be back around those guys.  On the offensive side of the ball I have worked with Bill Muir, Maurice Carthon, Richie Anderson, and Charlie Weis.  With Todd (Haley) here, I know Scott (Pioli) and Chris Caminiti in administration and Dave Price, the trainer.  All of that was important in my decision to come here and try to help build the program.”

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