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Scott Pioli Q&A, 2/25

02.25.10 at 7:10 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS ‘€” We got into Indy too late to hear Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli at the NFL combine, but here are some highlights of the Q&A the former Patriots GM had with the media Thursday afternoon:

Introductory comments: “Welcome to Indy. Thanks for having me back. And there are people complaining about the cold already. It’s good to be back here. It’s a great time of the year to be here. This is the first time in I don’t know how many years that I can walk down the street in Indy and not be cursed at by Colts fans, so obviously I’m making progress here (laughs). I just really want to open it up to questions. I don’t have anything earth-shattering from Chiefs Kingdom to talk about, so I’ll just open it up

Q: How much input will your new coordinators, Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel have in the draft process?
Pioli: “All of our coaches have input in the draft process – our coaches, our college director, our pro director, all of our coaches, including the coordinators. Something that I’ve talked about here recently is that we had a very good coaching staff last year, but I think the dynamics have changed a little bit this year where we’re now dealing with a couple of new coaches that come from a system that we’ve all worked in and they’re looking for very similar players. Instead of the whole system adjusting to some of the players we were looking for, we’re looking for the same type of players, and they’ll be very involved in the whole process.”

Q: Talk about Romeo Crennel. What made you bring him in and what does he bring to your team?
Pioli: “We had talked to Romeo a little bit last year and his personal situation had forced him where he wanted to stay out of coaching. We talked about it. We entertained it. This year came around ‘€” any opportunity we have to improve our football team whether it be with the players or coaches or the scouting staff, in any way we can improve our team – we’re going to do that. Romeo was available. Romeo wanted to be with us, we wanted him. It sounds like a good marriage.”

Q: How much does your background with Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel help you when looking at college players as far as knowing what they want or need in players?
Pioli: “It doesn’t just help me, it helps Head Coach Todd (Haley) too because [we’ve] spent years together and I think that there are times where if you spend a large amount of time with someone, there are some things that can be spoken and unspoken and you know implicitly there are certain things that you’re looking for without having to go through certain processes. What it does, as much as anything, is it reduces the amount of time that you need to spend on certain things. The good thing is the four of us and Mo (Assistant Head Coach Maurice Carthon) and a couple of the other coaches have been through some good fights before so we know there’s not going to be that time where people try to establish some sort of position in arguing for a player or arguing against a player. It’s not just for me, it’s for Todd too, because Todd’s spent a lot of time with these guys. We’ll be able to get through a lot of things a lot quicker.”

Q: So you’re saying everybody feels open to talk freely with each other?
Pioli: “Oh yeah, which is critical. It’s critical because this is a time where you can’t be shy about your opinions because when we make decisions, they’re going to be critical decisions. It’ll be a lot different. Easier may not be the right word, but it will be efficient.”

Q: With more teams going to the 3-4 defense, it’s tough to find a nose tackle now. How important is that position?
Pioli: “Even before, it’s just a tough position to find a player, period. Not everyone wants to play that position and it’s a very, very difficult position. It takes a very different kind of person and I mean that in a good way. The one difference is that there are different types of 3-4. Everyone just talks about the 3-4 and the use of a nose. It depends on how you play your 3-4 has an impact on the type of nose you’re looking for, so it’s an incredibly valuable position.”

Q: What are the expectations for QB Matt Cassel’s improvement from last year to this year?
Pioli: “It’s the same expectation that we have for every player. We expect every player every year to get better, to perform better, to play smarter and to improve. That expectation for Matt Cassel is the same expectation we have for every other player that’s on our roster. And I will say this, I need to do my job better, the coaches need to do their jobs better. All of us should have expectations this year that are a little more ahead of what they were last year.”

Q: Would you say your past drafts have been successful?
Pioli: “I haven’t spent a lot of time evaluating the ’07, ’08, ’09 drafts or the last two years I was there. Whether you have a successful draft or an unsuccessful draft and how you determine you are going to measure that draft on what is successful and what is not – sometimes it’s not just the players picked, it is players that you have traded for. There are a lot of different variables that go into it. It is where you pick players, what round you pick players and regardless of whether you have successful drafts or unsuccessful drafts, you can learn from them. I think some of the best learning I did was from some of the drafts that ended up being successful. I don’t think you can just look at the good ones and the bad ones, that is the way it is going to be, that is the way this business is. That is the way drafts are, that is the way coaching is and that is the way life is. Some things you do well and some things you don’t do well, sometimes you perform well and sometimes you don’t perform well. The important thing is, whether you performed well or not so well, is to learn from both of them.”

Q: What types of players are you looking for at the outside linebacker position?
Pioli: “I think it has something to do with the type of 3-4 that you are playing. Dick LeBeau 3-4, the size of the linebackers performing for him and the size of the linebackers Bill Belichick or Bill Parcells defense when they had Carl Banks and some of the guys he played with back when I was with New England, are different. There are a lot more projections because there are some outside linebackers that are college defensive lineman. When you go back and look at what Willie McGinest was when he came out, the list goes on and on of the different types. Depending on the type of 3-4 that you run, there are different outside linebackers that you are looking for both size wise and skill-set wise.”

(The transcription was done by Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star.)

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