Herm Speaks

Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards sat down with the media Tuesday for a short chat about the upcoming free agency period, preparations for the NFL draft and a smorgasbord of other football-related topics. Warpaint Illustrated was on location to catch it all.

Herm Edwards...

ON 2008 FREE AGENCY

On this football team, there's going to be competition at probably eight spots, starting. Let's say you draft 10. You're going to maybe sign three free agents. There's certain guys we're going to go after and certain guys we're not even going to deal with. Is age a factor in free agency? Yeah. Big factor for us.

You'd like to get some guys in their second contract, not the third contract guys. The guys that have played three or four years now, kind of established themselves. Maybe they're not the starter, but they're about to be a starter. Probably in a bad spot somewhere else because the guy in front of them is a guy that's been starting. If you think he has enough upside, those are the guys you're going after, the guys that are 26 or 27.

We brought Jon [McGraw] in knowing he was going to be the third safety. He was going to be a special teams guy. We brought [Alfonso] Boone in knowing he hadn't been a starter and there wasn't a lot of tread on him. He's older, but he started later. He went to college, dropped out, went back and ended up going back to junior college. So his clock started a lot later than everyone else. He spent two or three years stumbling and bumbling around before he really started playing football.

We went after him knowing he could help us. What hurt him last year was he played too much. The two young kids (Turk McBride and Tank Tyler) weren't ready to play. He had to play a little bit more than what we had anticipated, and he had never played that much. He was kind of like Turk and Tank for Chicago. He was the rotation guy.

When he came here and became a starter, he didn't understand, now all of a sudden you're playing 35 plays a game instead of 25. So now he'll be more equipped, and so will these young guys.

ON FREE AGENT CORNERS

The ones that are out there? We might have champagne taste, but we've got beer money. You can sign one, but only if you need one guy. There's a couple guys out there that we kind of like, a Jon McGraw kind of guy. You can't get them all in the draft, but you might can, depending on how it falls.

It depends on what you want to pay. Cap and cash are two different cows. Let's say we have 50 million under the cap. That's great, but there's a certain amount you're going to spend in free agency that's a wise thing to do. You're not going to handicap yourself.

What we want to do, we want to build this thing through the draft. We're not going to live in free agency. The thing that we understand, we're going after players that fit. They come in here, they've got a certain role. Is he a tight end that's the backup tight end? Yeah, OK, he's the blocking tight end. Does he have a chance to be the starting corner?

Those guys always are the guys that you pay too much money for. You always do, because you're buying the guy's name. It looks good in the paper, it looks good when you make the announcement, but at the end of the day, does the guy still play up to the name? If they're at a certain time in their career, I say they don't.

ON DEFENSIVE END JARED ALLEN

I know this. He's going to be happy because he's a football player. He's going to play football. That's what's great about my job. I don't deal with contracts. I don't have to deal with that. He's going to be here. At the end of the day, Jared Allen's going to be out at the stadium, he's going to show up and do what he does.

This (the franchise tag) has happened to some players here before that ended up getting long-term deals. Will Shields went through that. Tony Gonzalez went through that. He wants to be here, we want him here and that's why he's here now. Hopefully things get worked out down the road, but there's nothing I can do about that.

He likes this place. He likes what we're doing, he likes our coaching staff. He has a good relationship with all of us. We have a good relationship with him, we all get along. This is a business. That's what's great about football - there's the football and there's a business part. They're in the business part of it. I don't have to deal with that.

There's two ways you can look at this deal (the franchise tag). If I'm a player, you know how I look at it? I must be pretty good if they franchise me. So you can look at it that way too, now. You don't always have to look at it the other way. People try to spin it that way, but in my opinion it's a way of saying you're a good player. We want you to be here and right now this is what we have to do to keep you here.

He's been a good player here and he's earned his right to be where he's at right now. He went to the Pro Bowl, but he's a part of the team. That's what you have to realize, it's about the team. It's not about one guy. It's about all of us, and we're all in this together. That's what these guys are going to learn.

ON OLDER FREE AGENTS

You can always get those guys in the middle of training camp. Those older veteran guys? They don't want to go to training camp anyway. You don't need to be in a panic to get them now. I say, get all the young guys, bring them in here, let them compete.

It's great competition for your football team and at the end you can go, you know what, the guy isn't quite ready and there's this guy out there we can bring in for a year. Not two years, one year. Bring him in here and let him be the band aid for one year. But that's worst-case scenario.

ON YOUNG CORNERS

We've got some guys that we feel can compete for the position. They're all maybes, but then there's the draft. That's something we're looking at. There's more this year in this draft than there were last year, and there's more in the second and third round. As bad as our year was, the only good thing out of that is you're picking high in every round.

Those corners are going to be sitting there. We could end up opening day with two rookie corners starting. If that's what it is, that's what you do. There could be some rookie offensive linemen, who knows? There could be a rookie wide receiver playing.

ON THE SUPER BOWL

What the Giants did, they started off just like us, 0-2. Just like last year. They caught fire against the Redskins in the third quarter, came back, won a game and got some confidence and got on a roll. Were they the most talented team? No.

Were they fancy? No. They ran the ball, threw some passes, played defense and won a Super Bowl. That's boring, I know, but they won a Super Bowl. My wife told me, she said, "The Giants won." I said, "That's what I thought." I was happy for Tom Coughlin.

That's what they are, they're boring. For some people, it was a terrible game, because it was 17-14. I don't understand that. That became a great game. When you play those on Sunday, sometimes people say that's awful, you guys didn't score any touchdowns. Well, 17-14, that's a pretty good football game. What's wrong with that? The Giants are a team that's not real flashy, but they play together as a team, they really do.

ON OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR CHAN GAILEY


I don't know him, but I've kind of watched the way his teams have played. When you watch film, it fits his personality. He's a good football coach. He knows what he wants to do, has a certain system of how he wants to do things. He has a way of how he's going to do things. He's very thorough, very detailed and very organized. But simplicity is good. It's complicated when people look at it, but when you do it for the players, the players are going to like it. It'll be physical, I know that, on offense.

ON ROOKIE INTERVIEWS

They've all been coached up, but what we do, we do it a little bit different. We have a TV in the room, and the kid will sit down and we'll put the tape on of him playing. They generally walk in the room and get asked about their mother or their father.

What I'll do is, I'll get on the board and just draw formations and stuff and ask, "What do you do on this, tell me about this coverage," or, "Tell me about this stunt you're trying to run. What's this coverage? What do you call this coverage in college? What if a guy motions out?" He says, "Then we check." I say, "Check to what?" I go real fast and just see if they can learn football.

It's fun for me, but then we put the tape on and watch them and I say, "OK, tell me what you're doing. Why did you throw the ball over there? What was your read on this coverage?"

It's more of really just educating what the guy knows. Does this guy know football? You don't ask him about pros, you ask him about himself, playing. "Are you the three technique, tell me, why did the guy cut you off?"

"Well, coach, I had bad footwork. I stepped inside." It's kind of fun to listen to the guy talk. You find out about the guy. Does he know what he's doing? That kind of throws the boomerang at the test.

Some of those guys can't read real well, so they don't have good test numbers. Then you put the TV on and ask the guy, tell me what you're doing, and all of a sudden the guy sounds like a Rhodes Scholar.

CHIEFS NOTES

Kickers:

• Edwards said veteran John Carney, who finished last season as the Chiefs' placekicker, will compete with Billy Cundiff and Nick Novak for this year's job. All three could end up going to training camp in River Falls.

Injury Update:

Safety Jarrad Page played through a shoulder injury most of last season ("he was really playing with one arm"), but recently had surgery to clean out the joint. Edwards said Page would be back for OTAs this May, however.

Offensive tackle Will Svitek injured his knee at the end of the regular season, but recently had it scoped and is rehabbing.

Offensive guard Rudy Niswanger, who blew out a knee against the San Diego Chargers last December, is currently getting treatment for the injury, but Edwards said he could be ready for OTAs.

Running back Larry Johnson, despite reports, was not running at full speed toward the end of last season, according to Edwards. The Chiefs plan to bring him along slowly, but he will be ready for training camp.

Free Agency:

• According to our source, the Chiefs' primary focus in the open market will be adding offensive linemen and cornerbacks. It appears Kansas City will pass on re-signing veteran center Casey Wiegmann. Guard John Welbourn has already been released and veteran tackle Kyle Turley has retired.

As far as the secondary, the Chiefs will release veteran Ty Law but hold on to Patrick Surtain for another year.

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