"Never a dull moment in the National Football League. When you have been in it as long as I have been in it – it is not the first time that I have been through something like this – it is what it is. I think I told you guys this the first time last year when I got here: there are three reasons why I came here: one, my respect for Hue Jackson, and I still have tremendous respect for him – he is a really good football coach. I do not want anybody ever to misunderstand ever how I feel about that. So is Todd Haley. Go way back with that, even with his dad, Dick (Haley). Guys that I have grown up with in this league and respect and understand. It is what it is and how we go about doing things. Second reason I came here was that there are a lot of the defensive guys that were high on my list that I was trying to draft anyway and did not get to coach them so I thought maybe I might want to come here and see if I can coach. The third reason was – I smiled when I told you guys that last year – everybody was telling me, 'Don't go.' The worst thing that you could tell me or dare me and say that I can't do something. In that respect, I enjoy being here. I have been in several organizations and several buildings. There are an awful lot of good things here, but we have to win. That is what our business is about.; it is about winning. We are a lot closer than a lot of people think, especially this year, especially about four of those games when it comes down to 11 points or less in a game. We have to find some ways to make a few plays to get us over the hump. Make no mistake about how much I respect Hue, how much I respect Todd and all of the things about that. I want to get it out there right now, you are wasting your time asking me any questions about that. I am on to today. This is the time of what we are doing. It is about taking this step here today as the players respond and understand about what it is to do your job. Another great friend of mine in the league is (Patriots Head Coach) Bill Belichick. How many times have you heard him say that 'Do your job.' It is about all of us, everybody in this building, doing our job. From a player, to a coach, to the owner, to the GM, to a scout, to a ticket sales, it does not make any difference. We all have to do that. That is what makes the organization sound. Players, getting closer. I like their response. Their response of all of the confusion, all of the different kind things and the dysfunction, you have to settle down and have to do what you have to do. This is what we have to do. If you are not afraid to compete, then you belong. If you are afraid to compete, you do not belong. That is what this business at this level is all about. We have eight games ahead. It is about taking the next step today and we will get to tomorrow after we get done grading today. After we get done there, we will get to Friday. After we get to Friday, we will get to Saturday, and now, let's go play the Kansas City Chiefs. I have tremendous respect for the Chiefs. (Chiefs Head Coach) Andy Reid and I go way back. There are several guys on that staff that I have been on staffs before with. Andy and I used to go head to head at Philly and Washington twice a year in the same division. I see so much of the same similarities when I watch the film so far. He has come a long way, too, and the adaptation of what they are doing offensively with their quarterback, adjusting to what he can do and how he goes about doing it and bringing some of the spread stuff from college into the National Football League. We have our work cut out for us there in all three phases. Look forward to that opportunity. The big thing is that when you take a look at the players today and you saw the players when you came here today is their comfort level is getting back into a routine here and doing their job. The comfort level is going about competing at the highest level in our sport in the world competing and that every day is an interview. You have to get ready to roll. Let's get better today, one day at a time. On to the Chiefs."
On if this a potential audition for his future and to determine if he wants to be a head coach again:
"That is a legitimate question. Since I left Buffalo, I have had 11 letters sent in to interview for head coaching jobs. In all of them, behind the scenes, I have, and in four of them I did not even have to show up. Just sign the contract and come. The structure has to be correct. I have my thoughts on how things have to be done. I like things here a lot. I will tell you this, right now, all of my focus and concentration is on this week and then let's build weeks upon weeks upon weeks and see how much we can. I can't ask for the players to not look ahead if I am looking ahead. They do not do that. This business is too tough to do that type of stuff. You have to go – today, let's add up each day, continue to press on and do better each day. We will wait and see how the outcome is."
On balancing responsibilities as head coach and defensive coordinator:
"When you guys ask that, I can tell that you do not know. One of the things when I left Buffalo was and I have talked about all of those spots that have called me is that I am never not going to do both or do all three. The reason being is you know what is fun about sitting in the chair of being a head coach? Coaching football. Not coaching marketing. Not coaching scouting. Not coaching ticketing. Not coaching analytics. Coaching football. Why would I not do that? When people say, 'You can't do that and be the head coach.' You do not know. How does the quarterback get into the huddle and play quarterback and coach all five offensive linemen? All three receivers? And the running back? He has to do more than just his job, too. The fun part about what I do is that I am not going to give that up ever again. It is fun coaching. There are lots of really good people in this building. There are lots of good coaches on this staff. They have to do their job. I have to do my job. The one thing that falls silent is that on gameday, they have to do their job. The game is about the players on gameday. Coaches assisting the players. So much of Monday through Saturday is coach, coach, coach, coach, coach, coach, but come gameday, it is players and managing the players and helping them win. It comes down to the execution in the game by them. We do not coach poor execution. You have to do it on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, right? It is not a mistake and it is not surprising that you do it right in Sunday. We have to have more good days like we had today. We had a really good day today. I would have been shocked if it was not that way. It was very good today. You can ask those guys about that when you talk to them again."
On if he will continue to be a 'risk taker' as head coach as he has been as a defensive coordinator:
"When we talk about risk takers, what I have done defensively everywhere that I have been is adapt a system or scheme to fit the player profile and the needs systematically of how offense, defense and special teams work together. We have had a lot of really good meetings here. I have met with (offensive coordinator) Freddie (Kitchens) and (special teams coordinator) Amos (Jones). I have done their jobs, too. Bill Belichick and I, have done all of those jobs at some point in time of my life. I have coached all of the positions and all of that. We have to be all in sync together. When you are talking about risk and/or the dynamic of going for two, the dynamics of fourth down, the dynamics of pulling the trigger on a pressure or not on a pressure, all of those are calculated and it is because of all of the time and energies that we put in during the week on making the calculated risk and thinking about doing it but then the best players that I have been around and the best coaches that I have been around have a really good instinctive feel on gameday. There is a feel. You have to check your ego at times because of the feel that you are having at the situation – change the situation. When you change that situation, there are 11 guys out there that have to execute – 11 guys around the ball, 11 guys on the ball. Those are the things that we have to do. We will be in sync and there will be a lot of things that we have discussed. Right now, I am wearing out a lot of people upstairs with a lot of meetings that are going on that it is fun for me to see the smiles on their face because maybe I might know something besides defense. I do now know, we will see. I do not know."
On if there was any hesitance to accept the position:
"I will say this, I was shocked. The hesitancy was 'not again.' I stepped away, I stepped back. It came back to this: I can't spell quit, let alone do quit. I am not going to quit on these players. I am not going to quit on this organization. I am not going to do whatever. That is how I feel. When we went through the process, we went through the process. Now, let's get on to Kansas City. I blinked a little bit."
On if he has implemented any new rules for the team:
"Things were being done here really well, and things were done very well in lots of areas of this building. I tell you this, there are things that is the best I have ever been around in this building with Hue and lots of different people with (General Manager) John (Dorsey). They were already letting me be me. You guys are seeing me be me so there is not any change in that. The offensive guys get to hear it a little bit now. The special teams guys get to hear it a little bit now, but there is not any pushback or anything. They know that everything is meaning well, and for the most part, when I say this is that when I do some of those things that people go, [wow,] it is premeditated. I have to get you to focus – maybe even you guys. Refocus. Sometimes I have to refocus, too, but it is premeditated. They have responded and we have to get on. This is a tough business, and if you are not tough, you do not belong. You do not belong at this level. You are not tough."
On DL Myles Garrett's comments after the Steelers game about the gameplan:
"I did not see anything about that until later on, and my interpretation was I did not interpret him saying that when I saw what he said. We talk about that every day. He and I talk about that every day, and people handle frustrations differently. You guys are going to point things at me. I am asking you right now. Sometimes you do, too. Sometimes my wife does. Sometimes my kids do. I am OK. I have been OK my whole life. One of the biggest gifts – I tell the coaches that get a chance to work with me and players – is my biggest gift that I give you if you have a hard time taking responsibility is blame me. They have had heard me say that over 100 times here. Just blame me. You can't take responsibility? Just blame me. I am OK with it. Now, I am going to get to the bottom of it. We are going to discuss it, but there are people that respond that way. That is just how they are. Some of you guys have kids. I have a bunch more kids, too. It is crazy in some of the world and how we accept excuses anymore. My dad did not accept many excuses when I was growing up. It just is what it is. He is fine. He is totally fine. It is really a non-issue."
On his relationship with QB Baker Mayfield before and after the coaching change:
"I will tell you from my point of view – ask him. One of my first… I probably should not tell the story, but I will. When he came in on our 30-man visit, he came straight to my office and gave me a come get some lecture. Some of his college coaches were buddies of mine, and my best friend in life lives down there, too. He knew some things about me anyway, and I thought that was so cool about how he came on the 30-man visit on the competitiveness of not being afraid to compete and how he was going to be. That is what your quarterback should be. He and I have had a very good relationship from Day 1. One of the things if guys are out there, every day in stretch, he has something he is poking at me. Today, he has so many different things he was poking at me – some of them I can't repeat or print, but that is the fun part of it. The business is tough. The game is tough, but you have to have fun. You have to have some locker room fun. You have to have some practice fun. You have to have those kinds of things. When your quarterback is doing it, other people emulate that, too. Who is that on defense? We have some of the guys on defense that are doing that, too – talking smack and being that way. It will be good. Ask him. I think it is very good, and I have talked to lots of different people one on one so far. I will continue to doing that the rest of the week leading up to Sunday, and then remember this, when it is more important to them than it is to me and you, look out."
On his relationship with Dorsey:
"John and I go way back. John and I go back to when he was still playing and I was coaching in this league. I have known him since forever and have had tremendous amount of respect for him as a player and then also had respect for him once he decided foolishly or whatever to go into this business, too. The grind that he had to be and the circuit and how hard he had to work to come up through scouting and be on the road all over the place. We used to run into each other in all of the different franchises I was at. He was at Green Bay for all of those years behind the scenes as an area scout. The respect that I saw him working with and then when he got the opportunity to move up and continuing moving up in the league, we would always communicate. Friends in this league only come from a respect that you can do your job. I tease everybody all of the time now. I am not looking for a whole lot of friends in life anymore. If I want a new friend, I will buy a Labrador. We have no chance of being friends unless I respect you at your ability to do your job at this level. I respected him for a long time before he continued to move up. To be quite truthful, when he ended up coming here, some people came down the hallway and asked me about him before if I knew anything. I spoke highly of him at that time. I did not hire him, but they asked my opinion and I knew of him. Ever since he has been here, it has been the same way. One of the things that has been fun since he has gotten here – you can ask him this, too – is his interaction with me. From the days that he came into the building, he was kind of like a player like the old player and coach back and forth where not a lot of people in the building do that with me for some reason – I do not know why; I am a pretty nice guy – but he started that right when he came into the building, and everyone else is looking at him like are you begging to get your [butt] chewed? What is going on? We have a great relationship. I respect the job that he does. I do not want to do his job. I want to do what I am asked to do. You can't be a master of all of those things at this level. I want to do my job, and that comes from my trust that you can do your job. We have a good trust with each other."
On if he ever expected he would have another opportunity to be a head coach, given what occurred in New Orleans:
"That thing was a long time ago so that is nothing that we are talking about now."
On improving pass protection:
"A lot of that is communication and time on task. We took some steps today. We took some steps today on how we went about doing a particular drill there. One of the things that semi-helps a little bit – I have been an offensive coordinator, quarterback and all that kind of stuff a long time ago too and the understanding of that – is taking the ownership and getting the communication right, everybody understanding what we are doing the protection type things and just take the greyness out of it. I thought they did a really good job today. I thought Freddie did a really good job with that today here of just me observing and not getting in the way too much of that. That would be another great question to ask those guys behind the scenes, but it is a team protection thing not an individual protection thing. Sometimes we put too much pressure on an individual, but now we have to understand how to protect the individual by doing it as a team. They did a really good job of that today in practice. We ended with a competition period today in practice, and the offense smacked the defense. That happened. That had not happened since I have been here so I do not know. Maybe somebody was listening. I do not know. I do not know."
On if he selected Kitchens to be offensive coordinator:
"That was done. No. That was done. That was not me. That was everybody else."
On what Kitchens offers:
"I have watched him coach, and I have coached against him on other teams. One of the things I started doing this a long time ago – this is terrible for me to admit this – from 1992 on, I do a scouting thing on every coach in the league. The reason I did that came down to how (former Steelers Head Coach) Bill Cowher was hired at Pittsburgh when coach (former Steelers Head Coach) Chuck (Noll) left. One of the reasons that Bill got the job was (former NFL Head Coach) Marty (Schottenheimer) helping Bill have a better staff. I am thinking maybe I need to start doing an evaluation on coaches constantly. I have a thing where I am scouting college coaches at all times, I am scouting pro coaches at all times and doing interview with people at all times because then when it comes time when you are in charge of making some of those decisions – it can't be this simple – hire good people, keep good people and get out of the way and let them do their job. You will not get to No. 2 and No. 3 unless No. 1 is right. I had been talking for many years behind the scenes on different places that Freddie was and asking people about him that were working with him at the time. Everything with people I respect and knew me talked very favorably about him. Now, every day is an interview. I am watching every single day. I am in meetings with him. I am watching on the field. I see he gets it. He knows it. Now, it is next man up. He has to do it just like I have to do it, just like the next player has to do it and that is what we do at this level."