Q&A with Todd Haley - 10/27

Posted Oct 27, 2009

TODD HALEY: “Afternoon everybody. Obviously we and the league issued a statement on RB Larry Johnson (today). There is an investigation going on, that’s the Chiefs statement and that’s all I will comment on.

“We started our bye week today. Had a very productive day, this is a very important week for us. As I said, we are 1-2 in the second quarter of the season and trying to get back to 2-2 and trying to get this team better. And again, I think these bye weeks are very important to teams, especially teams like us. Sometimes they are important to get healthy; and we’ve been relatively healthy. This is an opportunity for us to do a little catch up offensively, so to speak, and to clean up some of the issues that have continually been giving us problems. That’s where we’re at. We’re going to work hard and hopefully get better.”

Q: How much of a distraction has this sideshow been for you personally?

HALEY: “It’s a distraction obviously, but my focus is on getting this team better. That’s the way I’m going to be judged – on wins and losses – right now, we’re 1-6, so my focus is on one thing, and that’s on offense, trying to eliminate minus plays. We started a full-length study this morning as a coaching staff and we’ll continue it this afternoon on why and how these minus plays are happening because they’re the root of all evil, so to speak, for us offensively. Defensively, this morning we started studying the big plays that we’ve had against us and how we can stop those because I feel if we can do those two things; that our special teams has played at a level good enough to win, and we have the rest of the time offensively and defensively to be competitive and have a chance to win games.”

Q: Did you have a pretty good relationship with RB Larry Johnson though?

HALEY: “Going all the way back to the off-season I’ve been very clear on my statements about all the players on this team when asked, and again, that particular subject I’m just not going to comment any further again because there is [an investigation] going on.

“I will reiterate again what I said yesterday on how our players conduct themselves. I appreciate everybody out there’s attention on this and the fact that it’s important and I just want to let everybody know that it’s important to me personally and to the Kansas City Chiefs organization how these guys conduct themselves. That’s part of the package.”

Q: Today, an advocacy group called on the Chiefs and the NFL to take action against Larry. Is that something that you and the Chiefs will take seriously?

HALEY: “I will not comment on it any further. Tthere is an investigation going on by all parties, so it’s obviously important to everybody.”

Q: Has he apologized to you coach?

HALEY: “I keep all my conversations with players private.”

Q: Is this a suspension?

HALEY: “I will say it’s not a suspension at this time.”

Q: Do you think all of this has been a distraction for your team?

HALEY: “I can only go by what I see and I was encouraged today. We went against each other offensively and defensively. It was very competitive. We didn’t have pads on coming off the Sunday game, but it was competitive, it was fast. I was rather encouraged by how the guys performed today.”

Q: Is a suspension possible?

HALEY: “I would again say, if it’s being investigated, I think there’s probably a lot of possibilities.”

Q: What does the investigation entail?

HALEY: “That’s something that when a further statement is made by the club or the league I think you’ll have a little more insight. Again, I appreciate the concern and the attention.”

Q: Can you say when you anticipate a further statement?

HALEY: “No, I can’t right now.”

Q: Larry mentioned yesterday that he would talk to the media on Thursday. Is that still a possibility?

HALEY: “I don’t know that either right now.”

Q: Is this wearing you down personally?

HALEY: “Losing wears me down. Losing wears me down and it always has. As I said yesterday, how you’re judged as a head coach comes down to one thing and that’s really results and right now the results aren’t what they need to be.

“I love my job and look forward to coming around the corner (to the stadium) every day. I really love it. So, I wouldn’t say wearing down. We work really, really hard and sacrifice a lot of time. The players do, the coaches do. I’ve got five kids and a wife and sacrifice a lot of time with them. Losing isn’t worth that sacrifice, so we’ve got to find ways to win.”

Q: To get to the winning phase, what does it do when one of the flock strays? How much more difficult does it make it for you?

HALEY: “I think it’s all part of the process. This was a big job when I came into it. When I was offered the job it was not something I took lightly. Obviously, if a team has won six games in two years you know there are a lot of broken parts and it’s not probably not bad luck.

“I’ve said a number of times what I expect out of my team – that I want first and foremost a mentally tough team and this will be part of that hardening. I think having to learn. No different than what I said last week going out to practice in the wind and the cold. Those are all steps you take as a coach to get your team mentally harden, where things that eventually happen don’t bother them, where being down 17 to nothing or 20 to nothing at the half isn’t a cause to say, ‘here we go again.’ Instead, it’s saying, ‘hey, let’s get this together and figure out a way to win.’

“When you have a mentally tough group it comes through perseverance and dealing with a very difficult loss in the home opener, at Baltimore, the Dallas Cowboys game where you fight back and lose in overtime, (the) Washington Redskins game on the road that you find a way to win – it’s all part of the process. I truly believe that this will all be part of making us a team that is competitive and has a chance to win Super Bowls.”

Q: Can RB Jamaal Charles or RB Kolby Smith handle, if need be, 16 to 20 carries a game?

HALEY: “I’ve said from the start that running back is a position of strength of us. Kolby Smith has had a tough go here. This is coming up on 12 months for him. I like the guy and I really do. I like the way he works; I like his attitude; I like his character. From what I can tell, he comes from good blood lines. His cousin is Mike Brown, one of my favorite players. I like a lot about Kolby and I hope it works out for him because I think he would be a big asset for us.

“I think Jamaal has shown signs that he is starting to get it. You average 8.3 per carry in limited carries, he’s doing things. He’s showing up to us in the meeting room and out on the practice field. I’m excited right from the start how this running position is going to start out.”

Q: What’s C Rudy Niswanger’s prognosis?

HALEY: “I haven’t got an update today, but the one I got yesterday after his procedure was that everybody was pretty encouraged. He’s a tough guy so I wouldn’t put it past him to find a way back sooner rather than later.”

Q: So we could see him this year?

HALEY: “Oh definitely. You might see him in two weeks.”

Q: You indicated on Monday that RB Jamaal Charles might be a little tougher than you thought earlier or is showing you something that you didn’t see earlier?

HALEY: “I don’t know that I said that, but I think that Jamaal is starting to get it. He’s shown that he’s mentally tough, that he can persevere and some bad things can happen to him that he can overcome and not go into the tank so to speak. Those are all good signs on top of the fact that I think he’s pretty talented.”

Q: T Branden Albert looks like he’s making strides out there?

HALEY: “Yeah, he was out there today. I feel he’s making some strides. He wants to get back.”

Q: What’s S Jon McGraw’s injury?

HALEY: “He had a strain in his leg. He did not practice today fully. Again, if you’re going to get something like that, this is the time to have a chance. Jon is a guy who is making a lot of progress. He’s another guy who I think gets it and I think he’ll do everything he can to be back.”

Q: WR Lance Long was just out because of the head trauma?

HALEY: “This is policy as far as just trying to take care of him.”

Q: Is there any one area you want to hone in on or work on for a couple weeks down the road?

HALEY: “Minus plays, minus plays. We have to eliminate minus plays. Coach (Bill) Parcells drilled it into my head over and over and over again for years about minus plays and how they lead to dissatisfaction with your offense. Right now, we’re all dissatisfied with the offense and to me, the root of that evil is minus plays. So we’re doing an extensive study again, to figure out if it is the play – are we asking the players to do something they just can’t do; is it the players, is it match ups, what is it – if we can see a pattern that develops between the sacks, the minus runs and the penalties. That’s why I’m kind of excited about the bye week and a chance for us to get better.”

Q: Have you addressed the team about the situation with Larry?

HALEY: “Again I’ll keep all my conversations with my guys private.”

Q: How about DT Ron Edwards, why did he not practice?

HALEY: “Illness.”