Q: All that being said, is this Colts team perhaps more vulnerable than they’ve been in the past?
HALEY: “If they are I don’t see it. I see a group that had a long field goal kicked on them last week that cost them, and not one that you think is going to be made very often – no disrespect to Jacksonville or their kicker – it was a tremendous, tremendous play, but when watching that game, when you saw Indy go down the field, you thought that was about the way it was going to go. They’re a good team, they’re fast. If you watch that Giants game in their place where it’s loud and tackles are slow off the ball or a hair behind on the count and those ends give you nightmares. These linebackers, like I said, they fly around and make plays and their secondary is a group that although banged up a little bit, plays hard and plays fast and plays tough.”
Q: What have you seen from WR
HALEY: “I think that Dwayne knew that this was a very important year for him and he’s shown that. Going back through the off-season and the work and effort he put in, the condition that he came into the off-season in as compared to where he was the year before showed that sense of urgency that he had and I haven’t seen anything other than that from Dwayne from the day we got back on to our turf in there. He worked hard, he was here every day, never missed, has continued that through training camp and that’s paying off for Dwayne and it’s paying off for the Kansas City Chiefs because Dwayne’s in, he’s on board, he’s doing what good receivers in this league, in my opinion, have to do and that’s earn the right to make plays, and I’ve said that a number of times – he’s doing that. All of our big runs that have shown up so far this year, Dwayne’s in the mix somewhere, somehow where he’s getting a very critical block and having coached receivers for a long time and having been a very big stickler on the ability of receivers to be physical and be football players and not just pass catchers, that’s something that’s real important to me, to us and now to Dwayne and that’s a good thing. I know our runners appreciate that, I know everybody on our team appreciates that. That’s the way you earn your right to make some of those big ESPN plays we saw in the San Francisco game.”
Q: How do receivers normally respond to that that they have to earn that right and how did Dwayne respond when you first laid that out?
HALEY: “I think the players respond how you coach them. If you enforce the idea and make it clear that that’s the way it’s going to be, generally guys get on board or they jump off and Dwayne, like I said, is clearly on board. I think that players do respond how you as a coach hold them accountable and I know that all these guys are all being coached hard and are being pressed to be the best that they can be and part of being a very good receiver is being a good blocker.”
Q: Have you been impressed with his willingness to throw his body around a little bit more than in the past?
HALEY: “I’ve just been impressed with his progress in general. This is a big year. He’s one of those developing players, young, developing players for us that had to make strides, no different than all the others that I’ve talked about: the (Glenn) Dorseys, the Tysons (Jackson), the Derrick Johnsons, the Branden Alberts, the Matt Cassels and all those guys. You’ve got to develop your own players and Dwayne was here and he was in the mix and he had to develop and improve and get better and that’s what he’s doing and it appears to me continuing to want to do and that’s a good thing for us.”
Q: Is this a ‘take stock game’ of where the last year of work has brought you?
HALEY: “I’m trying not to Steve. I’m trying to see it as just the last game of the first quarter of the season. That’s the focus that I’ve continued to push with our players – that these games are very simple, the team that plays the best wins on Sunday – I believe that’s tied into how you prepare and work and do the things that you have to do to get better. Obviously this will be a real big test for the Kansas City Chiefs, and again, one that going into that environment, that first and foremost I want to see that we can be competitive and if we can be competitive then I’ll feel pretty good because that will be another sign to me that we’re making strides and getting a little better every day and every week.”
Q: This is the first 4-3 defense you guys are going to face. How big of an adjustment is that going to be?
HALEY: “It’s a big adjustment for those guys up front. I think everybody else would prefer it but guys up front and having to handle some of the things they’ve had to handle, it is an adjustment. Seeing it through training camp, it’s all we saw for the most part and then through these first three games so we did a little work last week on just letting the guys up front see an even front and get back in tune with that. It is an adjustment in a lot of different ways but like I said, some people, some positions prefer it a little bit to get back to an even (front), some positions don’t. The line is who will have to make the biggest adjustment, in my opinion. You may know where these guys are but that doesn’t mean that’s where they’re going to be. Their alignments and those things continue to get a little more interesting every time I see them.”
Q: There was always stability with the offensive group, not just Peyton Manning, but with Tom Moore, Howard Mudd. Mudd’s gone, not sure what Tom Moore’s doing, but do you see anything different?
HALEY: “I haven’t seen anything glaringly different. I think what they’ve done and continue to do a good job of is what good coaches do, which is use the players they have to the best of their abilities. I haven’t seen that change. Now they’ve plugged new guys in that look like they have real good abilities and they have some holdover guys that continue to have real good ability. I was hoping to see some kind of drop off but that hasn’t been the case unfortunately.”
Q: How much is Tom Moore in your memory bank?
HALEY: “Tom Moore took me to a lot of Steelers games because my father was generally on the road scouting, he didn’t get back into town until a lot of times Sunday morning or right before the game, late Saturday and wanted to sleep when he got in late Saturday, so Coach Moore picked me up every morning for a lot of years and he towed (assistant offensive line coach) Pat Perles before he went off to college and myself in there to the Hilton and pack up some steak sandwiches and take us over to the stadium. A lot of great memories of Coach Moore that every time I see him I think about and that’s not even counting training camp and all those things. He’s a great coach, a great person; he didn’t live but a couple streets down from us. Always fond memories.”
Q: Were there football conversations?
HALEY: “Coach Moore is a man of very few words as it is. I was just happy he didn’t snarl at me – I tried to keep quiet in the back and not say too much and hope I got through most of those rides without him getting upset at me. I was under strict orders most of the time, as I can remember.”
Q: The players seem enthused about coming back to practice this week. Is that different than what you may have seen in the first half of last year?
HALEY: “I’ve talked a bunch about last year and being a difficult year, specifically that first half because there was so much change, so much unknown and so much learning going on of expectations and how we were going to do things and a lot of even created chaos at times and conflict. The second half now, I was encouraged. I stayed away from last year other than to talk about this – there were many encouraging signs with how the guys came to work every day, practiced and played hurt a bunch when guys could’ve packed it in and the tempo continued to be real good. We ran all season long, gassers and there were never complaints and all these guys were watching tape and we were making progress and they could feel it, we could feel, the wins just didn’t show up as often as we’d like. I can’t say that I’m surprised at all with this group. This is a good group of guys that want to be good, want to be part of something special, they’re working real hard.”
Q: But now they’re seeing the success?
HALEY: “Yeah, they’re getting some of that reward, which as I’ve said a bunch, the reward to all this sacrifice and effort and lifting and running and sweat and blood and practicing is that win on Sundays. It’s great for the guys, great for all of us to have some positive reinforcement. We’re still in the foundation-laying of this and I think that’s part of why going into this one against this group, I think maybe expectations or those things are just a little different from the standpoint of this is a real good team that we’re playing that’s real talented and as it has each of the first three weeks, it’s going to take all 45-plus on Sunday to have a chance to be competitive and that’s what I’d really like to be. I’d like to go on the road in a very tough place to play against a team that’s won a ton of games – when you start getting up into 100 over eight years and you’re in the 12-plus range every year I think it’d be a real accomplishment for us to go in there, this developing team and see how we do and be competitive against a team like this.”