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November 6, 2012

NFL: Chiefs' Crennel removes himself as D-Coordinator

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs made another round of sweeping changes Monday in an attempt to lift themselves out of a season-long funk.

Coach Romeo Crennel sacked himself as defensive coordinator, and plans to spend more time with the team's inept offense, while cornerback Stanford Routt was waived and defensive tackle Shaun Smith was signed.

Crennel had been juggling head coaching and coordinator duties since taking over on an interim basis when Todd Haley was fired last December. Gary Gibbs will take over as defensive coordinator.

"We have a young team, you know? And some guys, their perception, all right, may be that I'm a defensive coach, or a defensive coordinator, and I don't care about other parts of the team, which is not true,'' Crennel said Monday. "They will see I'm concerned about the whole team.''

The Chiefs fell to 1-7 with Thursday night's 31-13 loss at San Diego, their fifth consecutive defeat. They still have yet to lead a game in regulation this season.

They play Monday night at Pittsburgh.

"Romeo has to do what he has to do to save the team, and if somehow that's a spark for us, we don't know. We won't know until Monday night,'' linebacker Derrick Johnson said.

Crennel said he wasn't overwhelmed by his dual roles, but he did say that the time demands made it difficult to spend as much time as he wanted with both sides of the ball.

"We're going to try to get this thing right and get this thing turned,'' Crennel said. "We're going to try to do everything we can to come out these eight games on the winning ledger.''

That played into Monday's roster moves, too.

Routt was one of the Chiefs' most notable free-agent acquisitions, signing a three-year, $18 million deal to fill in after Brandon Carr left for the Dallas Cowboys.

The longtime member of the Oakland Raiders has struggled mightily in Crennel's defensive scheme, though. He's been routinely beaten for long pass plays, including two weeks ago against his former team, and missed last week's game with what the Chiefs called a hamstring injury.

"You have relationships,'' Crennel said. "You bring people in and you hope that things work the way you want them to work. The transition was taking a little longer than I thought it would take.

"We just thought it was time to part ways. That's what we did.''

Javier Arenas started in Routt's place last week against San Diego, and Crennel said that's what he envisions going forward. Jalil Brown will also be in the mix.

"I was very surprised, to be completely honest with you. It kind of threw me off guard, but I have to get back on my feet and handle my job, point blank,'' Arenas said. "What's happened has happened, and again, I have no control over that. I just have to do what I can do.''

The roster spot opened by waiving Routt was filled by Smith, who played in Kansas City two years ago but who's been out of the league since the Titans waived him in August.

The veteran defensive tackle provides valuable depth along the defensive line, where Glenn Dorsey could miss significant time after hurting his calf against the Chargers. Dorsey already has missed four games this season with the same injury.

"The depth along the defensive line, particularly with Dorsey's situation there, I think that he helps us,'' Crennel said. "He's a big body - big, strong, physical guy. He's seen a lot. He understands our system, what I want and what I'm looking for, and I think he'll help us.''

Smith signed a three-year, $7.5 million deal with Tennessee after the lockout ended last year, but was jettisoned after a mediocre season in which younger players developed at his position.

"At the end of the day I'm off the couch, I can play some football,'' Smith said after his first practice, pausing several times to wipe a nosebleed. "I don't have to watch no more. It's good to come back to a place that everyone wanted me to come back to. It should be good.''

Also, Crennel said that quarterback Brady Quinn (concussion) will be evaluated Tuesday and a determination made later this week about his availability Monday night.

Crennel refused to say whether Quinn will start over Matt Cassel if he's cleared.

"Quinn has made progress, but he's out. He's not allowed to practice,'' Crennel said. "He's being evaluated tomorrow and then they'll let me know something at that time.''

 

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