Q&A with Todd Haley - 8/1

Posted Aug 1, 2010


OPENING REMARKS: “Good morning everybody. We made it through our first two-a-day yesterday and we’re into the true grind of training camp now. I think the guys are getting settled in. They are now understanding the schedule, where all the buildings are, meals, meetings, all that, which is a good thing for us.


“Yesterday afternoon was another productive day. Temperatures were obviously pretty warm and it sounds like it’s going to stay that way but I thought the guys fought through. I thought the fans were really good yesterday, which I said early on, that’s a big benefit to the players and the coaches alike, just the energy level out there really felt good and I think as people realize how easy it is to get up here and accessible, I think crowds will grow, which will be good. We’ve got a one-a-day today, no lift this morning, so they’ve had a pretty good opportunity to get rested up for this afternoon.”

Q: In your years of training camp, do you feel that there is generally more concentration, more focus and it’s easier to get things done this early in camp rather than when they can see the light at the end of the tunnel toward the end?

HALEY: “I don’t know. Every day is obviously very important and it’s very important that in each stage of training camp our concentration level continues and that’s one of the key things, kind of what I talked about yesterday – I want guys to be same guy every day, regardless of the amount of pressure, what the type of practice is, whether it’s a game, a Friday, a Thursday, whatever that day is, you want the same guys every day. I think that’s all part of the training camp process, concentrating and we’ll remind them as we go through, and my head’s down too. You want it to be day eight but it’s day three and that’s just the way it is. We’ll look up and then we’ll be getting close and then it will be time to remind everybody that we’re not worried about getting home or going to their house or doing those things. We’ve got to stay in this training camp mode for as long as possible to be productive.”

Q: This is the second year in a row that you guys won’t work with another team during training camp for a scrimmage. Is that something you guys just don’t believe in or do the benefits not outweigh the hassles or the negatives?

HALEY: “That’s a good question Adam. Last year I think we had a couple brief discussions about it and just felt that in the first year it was a little too much and this year it didn’t really come up like it did last year. It’s not something I’ve been a part of very often. Never did it in Arizona. Never did it in Dallas. Never did it in Chicago. With the Steelers we did it with Washington when I was a ball boy. I think early on in New York we maybe did it one year. Maybe that has something to do with it, the places I’ve been we haven’t done much of it. It’s just training camp and we’re just focused on the Kansas City Chiefs. We’ll have preseason games to get some of that done. What I’m really excited about this year is the ability to have some of these night practices, our first one being this Wednesday, which I think is a real good thing because it’s a little schedule change, you get the benefit of it being at night, practicing under the lights and we’ll make it as competitive as possible. That will be an excellent preparation thing for us because we’re going to be to the preseason pretty quickly, which are obviously played at night, and our first game is being played at night. I’m excited about the ability to have a couple of those.”

Q: You guys have a scrimmage coming up next week. Can you get something out of that even though it’s not against another team?

HALEY: “There’s no doubt. That scrimmage is a big day for us. It will be very similar (to last year’s). That’s as live as we’ll be able to get. Again, it’s the Kansas City Chiefs, even in a live situation like that, you’re going against your teammates, so I think there’s an element, or what I preach anyway is these are your teammates – yeah, we’re competitive and the offense is trying to win and the defense is trying to win, but they’re still your teammates. I think your able to take care of your team just a little more than if you’re going against another team where now, you’re not teammates and that amps it up a little more. I think there’s time for that and we’ll have enough of that between the preseason games, the scrimmage and some of these more competitive situations.”

Q: Is the scrimmage the best evaluation day of camp?

HALEY: “It’s a constant evaluation. That’s a great opportunity for us to evaluate with the pressure on the players. I think it’s cumulative, and that’s just one of the opportunities that we have to evaluate the players in a competitive situation.”

Q: You’re a guy who likes to see guys work through adversity. It appeared that RB Jamaal Charles’ was pretty badly dinged up out there but he still gave it his all. What did that mean to you?

HALEY: “I definitely want tough-minded guys, and there is a difference between being injured and being hurt because from this day on, the guys are going to hurt all the time. There is going to be pain and nagging things. I want guys that are tough-minded that can overcome. It comes back to being the same guy everyday and that impressed me about not just Jamaal but there were a lot of guys fighting through a lot of things in a year that it would have been easy to say, ‘Hey, this over. Let’s pack it in and get healthy.’ That’s what I’m encouraged about. That’s part of that foundation that was laid in a very difficult year and I think we were able to build on it in the off-season. That’s what I’m excited about and that’s why I’m encouraged and that’s why I feel like we’re making progress, because we had a lot of guys that could’ve, but didn’t. Now they’re back here fighting and they worked their butts off in the off-season and I think that’s encouraging.”

Q: Can a young and ambitious player take that too far and ignore pain and injuries too long?

HALEY: “I’ve got great confidence in our doctors and our training staff. The health of our players is number one. That will always be at the top of our list. We’ll do everything to take care of the players because that is number one.”

Q: Seemed like there were a lot of plays yesterday for your nickel against the run. How big of a problem was that in the whole run defense last year?

HALEY: “I think running in general was a problem. I think yesterday, the first two practices, we were strictly first and second down in order to get everybody acclimated and not install too much, Bob, we kind of followed how we did it in the OTAs, staying in base on both sides of the ball. The third practice was the day we were going to get into the nickel. Some of those run things on offense were ‘check-with-me’ or audible-type plays where it may have seemed a little heavy nickel-run. I’m glad; I like that part of the game on both sides of the ball. The run in general, we have to be good against the run to have the chance to be a good defensive team. You’ll see a heavy emphasis in both base and sub runs throughout the camp.”

Q: How much faith do you have in the front seven to stop the run, given that there were very few moves made to address that area?

HALEY: “I think that as I’ve said before, you can’t get everything that you want you may think you need. In the NFL, the way I know you can have continued success is to develop the young, the first, second and third-year players you have on your team and that is mandatory. If you’re not developing young players on your team, you probably have very little chance of success. That’s a big focus of ours from day one going back to last year – developing these players that are on the roster that are first, second and third-year players and the ones that have now come on to the roster since and that’s what you see the after-practice work, the before-practice work. We now have Master Kim back in town for a week to really work with those front seven guys, anybody that’s potentially rushing the passer, really anybody that is on the line of scrimmage, including receivers. He’ll be working here with them and we had him in the off-season. That’s the name of the game – develop the young players. If you can do that, then you have a chance to have success.”

Q: Where is DE Tyson Jackson and his development from last year to this year?

HALEY: “He’s defiantly in that group. He’s now a second-year player that has to make improvement for us to become a good team. He has a year under his belt number one, and I think he understands what he’s in for a little more than this time last year, but I can see the work he put in on the off-season, and then when he was on his own, and came back in for the conditioning and now has a couple of practices under his belt. He is working and has to develop and become a better player than last year, which I think he is in the process of doing right now.”

Q: Is it a bigger year for him (Jackson) or DE Glenn Dorsey?

HALEY: “It’s equally big for all those guys, first, second and third-year guys. I cannot stress it enough, those are the guys that have take that next step, weather their back-ups that become starters, starters that become stars or third-teamers that become back-ups. Those guys have to take steps and have to make that next step, and that will help us.”

Q: It seems like Glenn Dorsey knows this is a big year for him and he knows he has to be effective. Is that kind of the case with those guys in the off-season?

HALEY: “Just something that I as the head coach and I know that assistant coaches are doing the same thing is that we’re making it very clear what has to occur here for us to become a better team. Just like I said yesterday, we haven’t done anything and this is a ‘what have you done for me lately league,’ and we’re all, players number one, are working and sacrificing way too much to not to be able to enjoy the results.”

Q: How big of a difference has defensive line coach Anthony Pleasant made to the defensive line?

HALEY: “I’m really excited as where we are as a staff I feel very comfortable. That’s part of the process also, we’re gelling and coming together as a group, because you have 14-15 guys that are pretty strong-minded and there is some pretty heated interaction at times and that’s all part of it, but, I’m excited as a group of where we are right now I think we’re working together, we understand what the task at hand is. I think Anthony is a young coach that has great experience playing in the league that is a situation not too different than me as a young coach; he has a lot of good veteran coaches around him that can help develop him as a coach. No different than the players as a head coach. Now what is very clear to me is you have to develop your young coaches because changes occur and you have to have guys ready to step-in, so it’s very parallel to what is going on with the players, but Anthony is a good young coach with a bright future and puts into it and he cares about it, and that’s what I like to see.”

Q: Is there any extra emphasis being placed on catching the football because of all the drops last year?

HALEY: “Yes, there was an emphasis being placed on it last year as well too. That’s an area that we have to improve, you can’t lead the league in drops, well one team has done it. The New York Giants won the Super Bowl and led the league in drops, but I don’t think you are going to have a lot of success dropping a bunch of balls. That’s something I know our coaches and players are very cognitive of and I think you will continue to see them working on all the time.”

Q: How do you emphasize catching the ball, what kinds of things do you work on?

HALEY: “You are talking to a long time receiver coach; we could have a long dissertation here on catching the ball. It is a unique subject because a big part of catching the football is mental and has to do with confidence and things. I think everybody coaches it different. What you do need to be doing is catching a lot of balls, before practice, after practice, during practice. You always have to emphasize technique and how you want the players to catch the ball and I think with some of the more subtle coaching points you build on that and gain confidence. You have to have guys with good hands to start with.”

Q: As an old receiver coach is this situation with training camp being hot, tired, two practices a day. Is that the perfect place to work of that mental side of that concentration?

HALEY: “Leave it to Bob, I just had this conversation. This is when love coaching receivers because you do have them tired, and with receivers it’s not all about hands, they are running more than anybody on the field so their more tired than anybody on the field, especially when the conditions are as they are, so those guys have to be able to, when they’re tired to be able to take a knee to get in and out of breaks. You will see a receiver fall down at the end of practice when they are tired and their legs are not functioning the way they were at the beginning of practice, and that causes issues obviously. So I really like at the end of practice at training camp to then work on some of the routes, where you really do have to stop, start whatever that is and still concentrate on catching the ball. Again it is what makes this fun. The important thing is all the guys want to be good and they are willing to do what is necessary and for that reason I think they will be alright.”

Q: I have noticed that the back of the camp shirts read “Chiefs Will.” Can you explain the meaning behind that?

HALEY: “I like to have something in camp to keep your focus on and I will keep it between myself and the team, really in-depth. Will is an interesting word in football and it obviously has a double meaning, but I will leave it at that. I like the way it sounds for some reason.”

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