Thursday, December 16, 1999
Q- In the last two games, play-calling wise, is there a difference between Jim and Sean call the game?
KC- I donít think there is much of a difference. I think that we are executing a lot better than we have. We havenít run the ball, in the past, like we have the past two games and when you do that it allows you to do so many more things. I donít think there is that much of a difference. I think that we are just executing a lot better.
Q- Is it a misconception a lot of people thinking you are trying to go downfield, prior to the past two weeks? Are you more conscious of trying to do that?
KC-I donít think it is any more or less, honestly. I think it is more of; we are executing better, we are putting more drives together, we are getting more opportunities. What it comes down to is a play is going to get called and it is up whether or not we execute it and how we execute it that is going to make the difference. I think we have been executing better in the past couple of weeks.
Q- A lot of head coaches in any sport would not have done what Jim did; take a step, look at the situation and say, Ďhere, you do this.í Why do you think he did that?
KC- I think he had the best interest of the team in mind. All of the stuff going on with him at the time with his mother dying and going out to the funeral out in California. He said, ĎLook I got back late, I didnít get the game plan with everybody as much as I would have during a regular week and I am not prepared the way I want to be to call plays on Sunday.í I think it takes a big man to do that. He stepped back and let Sean do that. Sean did a good job with it. We have been at it ever since and I think it has worked well.
Q- Do you think this offense is at a point where you can win a shootout if you have to?
KC- I donít know. We might have to see this weekend because they have got, obviously, one of the best offenses in the league if not the best offense. I think the important thing for us is we are going to have to play ball control and we are not going to allow them to get the ball in good field position with turnovers and that kind of thing. If we do that we are putting ourselves in a hole. We are putting our defense up against a really tough job. Who knows what will happen if we get into that type of game. We canít worry about that. We just have to worry about executing and we will see what happens.
Q- Re: Rams Defense
KC- They are a tough defense. I have played them several times over the past couple of years. They play hard and they play fast. They may have been one player away, two players away, or a good offense away from being a good football team. Now they are getting up on teams. The defense is kind of pinning their ears back and getting after the quarterback. Hopefully it wonít get to be that kind of game, but if it does we have to make sure that we block them up front and get the ball out quick. They are kind of team that can get up in your face, create a lot of pressure in the pocket and force you to make mistakes.
Q- Do you get a fired up for a game like this, considering this is one of the best teams in the NFL and the stakes are as high as they have ever been for this team?
KC- Yeah and we have played well the past couple of weeks. We have a lot of confidence around here and certainly our biggest challenge yet this weekend. As long as we continue to play the kind of games we have been playing and executing the way that we have been, that is going to give us the best chance to win. It is going to be a tough job. We are going to play the game so we might as well give it our best shot.
Q- What about your confidence level?
KC- My confidence level is high right now. The past couple of games have gone really well. The Jet game was really a breakout kind of game. Practice is going real well, last weeks game went real well, so I am as confident stepping onto the field right now as I have been in my career.
Q- How much of a factor is it for you to prove yourself to the team?
KC- I certainly think that is part of it. I am a new starter here and games are won and lost a lot the times by the quarterback. I am sure the guys are looking to see what is going to happen with me. As long as I continue to do the things that I am doing, make good decisions and take care of the ball, then I think everything will work out fine.
Q- Re: Joe Montgomeryís importance to this game.
KC- The running game really needs to be effective for us this weekend. Simply because we need to keep their offense off of the field. If we can chew the clock up running the ball, convert third downs, be efficient, and not give up turnovers, we are going to keep our defense off of the field and keep their offense off the field; which is putting up some unbelievable numbers. If we can run the ball and be efficient, put some drives together and take some time off of the clock, it is going to help us win.
Q- Can you talk about what Amani and Ike have done?
KC- They have done a great job. Both guys have a lot of ability. They have got real good instincts for the game. The fact is that they have worked as hard as they have and are really starting to come around. Those guys are two guys that I love throwing the ball to. We have developed a good repetoire and I hope it will continue.
Q- Do you think they can emerge as one of the better receiving tandems in the league?
KC- I definitely think so. They have got the ability to do it. Hopefully everything will come together for them like we feel that it is right now. If it does, I definitely feel like they can be.
Q- Are these the best two receivers that you have played with?
KC-Definitely. I know Ike is going to get open. I know the plays he is going to get open. I know when to look for him. I am starting to learn that with both of them. Amaniís strength are different that Ikeís strengths. I am learning all of that and what they do on packages and the play that we have for them. I am looking forward to it. I think it is going to be a lot of fun. I think we are going to do some really good things.
Q- Is that going to make it even more exciting because as good as this offense has looked in the past two weeks, you are saying that you guys donít even know each other that well yet?
KC- We are getting there and there are certainly signs that we are getting to know each other. Those kinds of things get better with time. As I am with those guys more and they see more of my style, it is only going to get better. We are all intelligent football players and we both have a lot of desire to win and desire to do well. The sky can be the limit for us. Hopefully everyone can stay healthy and we can continue on the pace that we are going because I think we can be really good.
Q- Re: Kurt Warner coming out of the blue to have a great season
KC- It is surprising. He has 34 touchdowns. That is an amazing statistic in and of itself. To come out of where he came and to step in and do it really says a lot about him, his ability, intelligence and stick-to-it-ivness. That is certainly a great feat. My hat goes off to him.
Q- Re: Success against the Rams
KC- I have had some success against them in the past, but I am playing a different team this weekend than I have played at any other point. They are playing much better defensively than at any point that I have played them. Certainly offensively, they are far and away better then they ever have been. I donít think you can really compare this yearís team with any other team that I played.
Q- Re: Rae Carruth situation
KC- I am really shocked. Rae was an introverted guy and really quiet but certainly not malicious. I didnít see any malicious tendencies with him. I didnít seem like it was part of his personality. He seemed like he was kind of California, laid back - maybe a little flighty - but certainly not a guy that you would think would be capable of this. You donít know what is going through someoneís life. I would have never expected it with a guy like Rae. He was friendly; he seemed like an upbeat guy. He never had a bad word to say to anybody. He was quiet, but not that you would look at it and think their was something wrong with him or something weird. It was part of his personality. To think of him doing something like this is really shocking.
Q- Re: Success of Rams defense - one particular player
KC- I think it is the way they are playing. Certain guys are starting to rally step up for them. A guy like Kevin Carter who has always been a guy that has been a great player, but now it seems like he taking his game to the next level. They are feeding off of the confidence they have as a team. They know their offense is going to score 28 to 35 points. They are letting it fly; letting it loose. When you can play confident like that, you are going to become a good defense. I think that is certainly true with these guys.
Q- Rams defense
KC- They are playing more coverage and what they are doing is they are getting a lot more pressure from the guys up front. The front four is supplying sufficient heat to the quarterback. They donít have to do a lot of different things. They are playing effectively against the run. Teams have gotten down on them so much that they have had to throw the ball. We havenít really seen a game where it is close enough where they are running the ball 35-40 time a game. It has been a lot of passing. Hopefully our game we will certainly be able to run the ball, ball control it, and do the play-actions and that kind of thing. If their offense does what it has been doing, we are going to have to see if we can keep up with them.
Q- How much better has the offensive line gotten in the last couple of weeks?
KC- I think that they have gotten much better. I think they got sick and tired of everybody talking about how we couldnít run the ball and how they were breaking down in protection. Rosenthal emergence has really helped out. He has been a steadying force. With the leadership that I think is coming around with Stoney, Gragg, and Roman; I think those guys are playing their best football of the whole year. As they go we are going to go. I think that they know that and I think they are up to the challenge.
Q- Re: Relationship with Sean Payton
KC- It is real good. Sean is a younger guy. He has got a little cockiness to him. He will bust your chops and we will bust it right back on him. He has got that little bit of an edge that you like to see in a coach. Because of the age thing, I think the consensus among the quarterbacks is that we all get along with him great. He has certainly got a sharp mind and really knows what we are doing offensively and conceptually what you can do against defenses. Sean is a bright young coach in this league. I donít think it will be long before he has a coordinator job in this league and before long a head-coaching job. I really think that is how sharp he is. Hopefully he will stay around here for a while because I like having him around. Hopefully he wonít get out of here to fast.
Q- What was your take on the last couple of weeks and how Jim, amid all of his own personal distractions, was able to take every piece and put it back together?
KC- The thing that sticks in my mind when I think about that was when he came back from his motherís funeral in California; we had a team meeting at 8 oíclock in the morning. All the stuff that was going on with what Michael said and that whole controversy that was going on, he was still positive. He didnít rant and rave, he didnít yell, he didnít chew Michael out about everybody. He was very positive, very calm. It made me step up and notice because having to come back into the kind of thing that he came into; I would have freaked out. I think it was a testament to him. We saw him coming back from burying his mother, he comes back, and he is calm and still positive. I think everybody kind of said, Ďwait a minute, this guy is doing all of this for us and really putting the team first. We really need to respect that and really respond to it.í I think that we really have.