“I’ll never forget how relaxed he was,” wide receiver J.J. Birden recalled. “We were all kind of nervous, and he came in and kind of smiled, and said, ‘Hey, listen up guys, this is no big deal, let’s go finish this.’ ”
“I think with us, the big thing that happens is I think quarterbacks are getting it out quicker,” second-year defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said. “If you noticed in some of the games — like the Cleveland game, for example — that ball was out right away. I think they know that we are going to pressure and I think they respect some of the guys that are coming, and so the ball is out quick.
Weis also became frustrated with questions about the Ravens, who feature four Pro Bowl defensive players: defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, linebackers Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs and safety Ed Reed.
Asked whether the Chiefs would be in awe of their opponents Sunday, Weis snapped back.
“We’re well past that stage,” he said. “It’s really about what we’re going to do against them and not what they’re going to do against us. That’s the way you have to approach it as an offensive player and staff. If not, you’re going to end up on the defensive instead of attacking.”
On what impresses him about Charles besides the physical gifts (they have a budding friendship off the field): He’s open to information. He doesn’t mind being a student of the game. That’s the biggest compliment I can give to Jamaal. He challenges himself to be a better running back…One thing coming out of San Antonio, you learn quickly, when you run that ball, you run it with determination and passion. I think he does that, too.
“We’ve been in contact as an organization,” Harbaugh said. “All I want to say is, our thoughts and prayers are with the Reed family at this difficult itme. We’re just praying for them. I love Ed Reed, I know he’s fighting something now and hopefully it’ll turn out OK.”
Pioli’s first major acquisition, quarterback Matt Cassel, was inconsistent in his first season as the man. Then, the Chiefs traded the face of their franchise in future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez. That was followed by friction between the brash Haley and some of the team’s remaining stars. Pro Bowl lineman Brian Waters said Haley was disrespectful during a meeting, and running back Larry Johnson criticized the first-year coach for never playing football — even at the high school level. Linebacker Derrick Johnson, a former first-round pick, seemed to be in the doghouse most of the season, and Haley struggled in the attempt to juggle head coaching and play calling duties.