Opening Comments: - "I thought I'd start out today's press conference and sort of put Sunday's loss to rest. Needless to say, we've had a little bit more time as a coaching staff to go back and evaluate it than we normally do because we play on (next) Monday night and that gives us an extra day of preparation. We chose to give our players an extra day of rest before they come back on Thursday to help them freshen up physically as well as mentally," said Vermeil.
"As we looked at it, we felt we did all the normal things you do to win a football game. Yet, we didn't win. We controlled the time of possession. Controlled the running game. Threw for more yards. Broke even on the giveaway-takeaway ratio. Quarterback throws three touchdown passes. Quarterback efficiency rating of 111. 62% of your third downs converted. You rush 36 times, complete 21 passes for 57 actual attempts to move the ball offensively compared to 39. I've never experienced a loss in that environment before.
So, right now with the extra day we're evaluating everything we're doing, how we're doing it, and the people we're doing it with. We're making sure that we're not overlooking someone that could step up and play a position a little bit better and making sure that we're doing something that we think is really good but maybe isn't. It's a total evaluation process.
I'll tell you this: we've won a number of games since I've been here when the football team didn't play nearly as well - sometimes against a very good football team. It's why you've got to go until the game is over."
Commenting on last years 13-3 record and the expectations for another banner year. - One of my concerns right now is not the X's and O's phase, but the mental frame of mind of a disappointed football team and a disappointed coaching staff. When you go into a season coming off of a 13-3 record I think you've earned the right to have high expectations. I don't think it's boasting or bragging or making statements that you can't back up with a past performance.
But right now we are not a 13-3 caliber football team. As long as we don't forget how we got where we are, I think we can battle our way back into a picture of being very, very competitive. Personally, I don't think this team has forgotten how they got where they are or will they. That's strictly based on the quality of the people we have on our roster and the quality of people we have coaching them and the quality of the leadership we have within the roster," said the Chiefs Coach.
Commenting on losing three consecutive games. - "I think every franchise I've ever had the opportunity to work with has gone through periods. Yes, I've lost three consecutive games in a season but we went on to the playoffs despite the three losses. Does it make it easier? No. But when it happens this early it hurts a little more because your expectations are so high and the pain is a little bit deeper and everyone starts predicting and writing you off.
I would like to believe that this team has the capabilities of doing something for the first time. They've done a ton of things in the last three years that this organization has never done before. So, I'd like to believe we will compete, work, stay together and do something again that this franchise hasn't done: lose three ball games and become very competitive at the end of the season and be in the playoff race.
We have the kind of character people I think to do that. We have the kind of coaching staff, I think, that can do that. The reason my teams have had some degree of success is they stuck together. The coaches don't jump ship on them. I care about my players more when they lose than when they win. You get closer to them when they lose than when they win.
They didn't rationalize or make excuses. They didn't point the finger. They held themselves accountable and responsible. There are a lot of guys who have already stepped up. They kept on working in the areas that needed improvement.
We're talking about an offensive football team that's led the National Football League two years in a row in scoring. Not by accident or good fortune or luck. By hard work and players staying healthy, offensive line, and a great running back who just set an all-time rushing record in the history of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Deep down inside the heart of this football team I think they like challenges. Everybody I've been around who's ever gone through this has done so with clinched fists and ended up fighting themselves out of a hole.
One of my ex-players called me today. Being around those kinds of guys you learn a lot more about them in this environment than you do when you're 3-0. I've been through some losses with some of these guys now and I know how they normally respond. I haven't been through three losses with these guys with the expectations as high as they were. My expectations were just as high and I pumped the expectations. I raised the expectations and I think that's the job of a head football coach.
We'd like nothing more than to do something for the first time – something that no one has done. Will we do it? There's no guarantees in this business. But I think our frame of mind, our effort and our focus and concentration and togetherness will give us an opportunity to go ahead and keep doing that. Just because teams haven't accomplished something before doesn't mean this football team can't."
The health of the team. - "Health-wise we'll be healthier this week than we've been at any time this year. I just saw Vonnie Holliday and he said he felt good. I think William Bartee has a very good chance of being back. Eddie Kennison is questionable, but we'll have a chance to get Sammie Parker back and working into the rotation. Everybody else is questionable to probable. We're going into preparation physically better off than we have been.
"You'd better when you go to Baltimore. They are tough. Fortunate for us, we're not strangers to what it is like to play in Baltimore. Now, we haven't been there on Monday night and that doesn't make it easier. But we do know what you have to do to go there and win: you have to have good fortune; you have to play smart football. It sure helps to play on the positive side of the turnover ratio. It took Dante Hall to return a kick for a touchdown last year. We took the ball away four times last year and were productive enough to win the game.
The phyisicality of the Ravens football team. - "But it will be a problem. They will be as physical a football team that we have played to date and maybe the rest of the year. They're a great running team with a horse as a running back. It's totally defined as to how they do it. Their defense led by you-know-who (Lewis) is outstanding.
It'll be a real challenge. Should we surrender because we're 0-3? No, I like the challenge. I think our players will like the challenge.
Do we like playing on Monday night? I don't know. We've only played once since I've been here and we won it. That was on the road, too. I think we'll be a step fresher for having 48-straight hours off."
Talking about penalties - "We hope we can solve our penalty problems. We're behind where we were from a penalty standpoint. We have five more penalties on offense right now, two more on defense and two more on special teams after three games. We've got to solve that problem or the official who makes the mistake can't call it.
Sometimes with penalties what you have to realize is it's not the number of penalties but when they were called and what did that penalty create or take away from the outcome. I can think of a great punt return that was taken away (vs. Houston). I can think of a nice run that Priest Holmes made a few weeks ago for 31 yards that was called back. So, sometimes penalties happen at the wrong time. We have enhanced an opponent's scoring opportunity three times within a scoring drive. We've got to cut back on that.
We've been in tight football games before where we went for it on fourth down. Last year we were in five tight football games and went for it on fourth down situations and make four of them. We've done it before and scored touchdowns and been successful. The other day we did and weren't."
How long will it take to solve problems. - "Can we solve all our problems? Not in one week. But we know where we've been, know how we got where we were and now we have to find a way to get back to where we were. And, then our schedule isn't as conducive as last year," said Vermeil.