Q&A with Todd Haley - 8/4

Posted Aug 4, 2010


OPENING REMARKS: “Since we all were in here, we got through a very good day for us. It was a difficult day for us. I felt really good about the work we were able to get done in difficult conditions. That was a good sign for me as the head coach so this morning we went ahead and went indoors and had a glorified walk-through in the air-conditioning, which I thought the players appreciated. I just thought after seven real good practices and real good workouts, it was the thing to do, especially in light of tonight’s practice which we’ll go ahead and go full pads and get a chance to work under the lights hopefully, although it’s starting to look a little dark. Again, we’re in full training camp mode right now, the way it should be. All of us coaches are getting very little sleep but we’re having fun.”


Q: How’s CB Brandon Carr so far in your eyes?

HALEY: “Brandon falls into that group of second and third-year players that has to take another step for us. He had a very good off-season. He came into training camp ready to go and I think he’s done a lot of good things. At cornerback and going against some of the guys that he’s going against on a daily basis, I don’t think it’s been perfect by any means, but we’ve got a good competition going out there and I think it’s making everybody better.”

Q: If he doesn’t get the job for you, who are you going to look at to fill that role?

HALEY: “I don’t know exactly who, but what I’m encouraged by is that we have some good competition at the corner position across the board and we have a little more depth than I thought we had going into last year. I think the competition is good and is pushing everyone involved. The guys that are running a lot of first team are getting pushed because they know there are a couple guys that it appears could go out there and compete.”

Q: Why was the walk-through indoors this morning?

HALEY: “We had seven good practices outdoors in pretty good temperatures and again, after yesterday afternoon’s practice, which was on the Phoenix-scale of hot, it felt like one of those 118-degree days to me out there yesterday. I just thought it was the best thing for the guys in order to have them ready for tonight. That’s one of the tough parts of my job is to manage these guys and keep them in a position where we feel like we’re getting all the work we need done and at the same time, keep them physically ready to keep going to make it through this process.”

Q: You tell us not to worry too much about the depth chart, but roughly speaking, how many positions out there would you say are truly open?

HALEY: “I don’t know. I think without going into a dissertation that I don’t have a great answer for you. In my mind there are not a lot that are set, you know what I mean. We’re competing and trying to make this team a good team and the only way to do that is to create as much competition as you can at as many spots as you can. Right now I think we have more competition going on now than I think we have any time since I’ve been here. And guys are aware that it’s a competition, they’re aware that they’re all fighting for a position and jobs and I think that’s the best way I know to keep this moving in the right direction.”

Q: Long-range, are you planning on using RBs Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones as a one-two punch or is that something that will change with the game plan or depending on circumstances/situations?

HALEY: “I think it’ll depend on a lot of different factors: who’s hotter, who’s running better, who’s blocking and picking up blitzes better, who’s doing a lot of things better and who’s healthiest. The good thing is that running back position, not just Jamaal and Thomas but we have more competition there. We have a couple young guys there that have definitely added to the mix and they want as much opportunity as anybody. I think you’re seeing that as you watch practice – you’re seeing RB Javarris Williams who has made some strides from his first year until now. I think that’s the thing, the more competition you can create at each position, the better. Then us as coaches, we have to decide each Sunday who gives us the best chance to win the game.”

Q: After seven practices, are you getting enough competition on the offensive line?

HALEY: “I think there are some players that it appears to me, are making progress and developing across the board. I feel like we are making progress up front. I feel like we’re making progress in a lot of areas but up front, you’ve got a guy like Barry Richardson that had no experience, still trying to find his way last year – I think he got a year under his belt and may be in the mix a little bit. He put everything he had into the off-season and is studying, lifting, working and improving. G/C Jon Asamoah that we drafted, he’s pretty competitive and he’s fighting and that goes across the board. I think the depth has improved as far as competition goes.”

Q: With Darryl Harris, the fact that he’s been at right guard consistently with that first group, is that a sign that he’s ahead of everyone else or did you just put a guy in there?

HALEY: “I think we’ve definitely tried to put the guys in there that we think are the best guys at the time that particular day. Darryl is a perfect example of developing players. You didn’t hear his name much at all last year except for the last couple games when we had to have him. He got an opportunity at the start of camp and he jumped in there and he doesn’t look out of place. I would just expect him to continue to make improvements and if that happens across the board, I think we’re okay with that.”

Q: The reason I asked about that is you’ve been moving some guys between the first and second units on defense. Harris has been consistently in one of those guard spots.

HALEY: “There again, I just don’t know the best way to describe it but defensively we try to have a little opportunity. In order to get the matchups we want to get, we can’t do moves at both sides all the time. Defensively we’re doing a little more shuffling in and out to get different players in different matchups.”

Q: Are there more positions where you have more depth on defense than you do on the offense? The front seven on defense vs. the offensive line?

HALEY: “As the head coach, you want depth everywhere and that’s something that clearly hurt us last year some times and clearly it will hurt us again if the wrong things happen. We’ve just got to continue again through this process. Tonight will be number nine I believe and I believe we’ve got to continue to do the things we’re doing and coach everybody that is here and push as hard as we can to try to get the most out of each and every one of them to create some depth, to create some competition. Again, we’re in a constant evaluation process across the league, our scouts I think leave tomorrow and they’ll be evaluating the entire league. Like we’ve said from the start, anybody we think that can improve competition, depth or a starting position for that matter, we’re going to do.”

Q: How come you didn’t want the media at walkthrough practice today?

HALEY: “I looked in all your eyes yesterday and everybody looked a little ragged, tired and much like I thought with the players that it would be a good break for you.”

Q: You’ve been around a lot of different organizations, do you think there’s a level of paranoia between the organization and the players and the media and the people that cover the team? Do you think there is a level of paranoia about what is said and what is allowed to be said and what is covered and what isn’t covered?

HALEY: “I don’t feel any paranoia at all, no.”

Q: Can you answer my previous question honestly, it was funny but it wasn’t because of that reason, because I wasn’t there last night?

HALEY: “Believe me, everyone in here, I appreciate and understand the jobs you all have to do, but this morning, this day and time, I thought it was the best thing for us to handle it the way we handled it.”

Q: What can you learn from tonight’s workout?

HALEY: “I’m excited. I hope there is a big crowd and I hope the weather holds off but I’m more excited about being able to go into a different circumstance as far as lights, night, things like that and get out of the sun. This is our first opportunity to do something like this here since I’ve been here and I think any time you can change the variables and create a different situation for the guys to react to and to not be distracted and to keep their focus and concentration, I think it’s an opportunity for us to improve. Again, we’re going to play four preseason games under the lights and our first game, September 13th, is under the lights, obviously, so I think it’s a good opportunity for us as a staff and as a team to have a good practice.”

Q: Todd, how do you feel about the wide receiver position right now in camp?

HALEY: “I’m very critical of that position for some reason but I feel better than I did last year at this time, which kind of goes across the board, you know I could say that for pretty much everywhere but, I feel like they have made progress, they have more competition and I think the guys are getting better.”

Q: What happens now that WR Chris Chambers has been here for an entire year, not only what it does for QB Matt Cassel, but what does it do for the entire offense?

HALEY: “I think the more guys you have on your offense that you feel like can make plays in some way or another the better everybody’s overall outlook is. Chris you know, he really got to come here on his terms by signing a new contract in the off-season, but more important than that is he has now been with us for an off-season. I knew of Chris, saw him play, played against him but now you know we got some significant time working together. I don’t mean myself and him I mean in general. He’s now part of the team. Sometimes when those guys come in mid-year, it’s a little tougher to become part of the team when guys have been working together and that’s something that we work hard at, when new guys come in any day, trying to simulate them into the team as quickly as possible but you know he’s had a significant time and he’s a Kansas City Chief and I think he feels like, and we feel like that, he’s working hard and I think he’s got something to prove. I think that’s good for us.”

Q: Is WR Dexter (McCluster) the most versatile guy you have ever coached?

HALEY: “I don’t know if I could say that yet, but he definitely has versatility, I will say that. I have been around some pretty versatile players.”

Q: On special teams situations with the return game and with Dexter and Javier back there, are you leaning one way or another? Or will Dexter maybe return kicks depending on how many times he’s touched the ball on offense? And the second would be Ryan Succop. Were you surprised at all by his success last year?

HALEY: “On the Dexter return question and Javier, I think right now we are in the stage of trying to coach them all to do things the way we want them done and I think the rest of that question will play itself out once we start to play games and there are some other guys that probably want to be in the mix too. Again I think we are in the stage where we are just trying to coach the guys up as best as we can to get them prepared to start to play games and then again, we will be able to figure out a lot more as we go. Second question was? (Ryan Succop) Ryan, I think, as I have said in here a couple times, when you get rookies, first-year guys, it is very difficult to contribute early, time has proven that, everywhere, every team, every rookie that has ever come into the league, it’s hard to come in and be as good as you are going to be early. So whenever you bring any young position player in, you are expecting some growing pains, and Ryan when he came in last year I was excited about his temperament. I was excited about the guy we had coaching him and I think Ryan did a very good job last year as a first year player, and I know he is working very hard to make himself better because there is always areas to improve and there are some things I think he can get a lot better at. I think he knows that and again it’s all about now for him just being to be able to be the same guy every day and then I think he will have the chance to be a pretty good player in the league.”

Q: You mentioned four preseason games. Do you think it is important to have all four of those preseason games?

HALEY: “Well yes. I mean I would take six and I would take seven.”

Q: Well I mean, I ask because the commissioner said, I think it was yesterday, was talking about trying to cut the number of preseason games down to two. Would you support that?

HALEY: “I would not speculate on any of that, but I would guess that most coaches would take as many as they could get just because that’s what we have to do – we have to get players ready, we have to evaluate, we have to figure things out.”

Q: You have spent a week watching Ryan Lilja at right guard, making that move, low outside, what you have seen in him, just in watching him?

HALEY: “I’m excited about having Ryan on our team, for a lot of different reasons and again I think this is how you become a good team is you have to have your mix of young and veteran guys and veteran guys that have leadership ability and you know myself or Bill Muir could talk for an hour and not get accomplished watching Ryan do something the way you want it done, Ryan or any of those guys that are doing it the right way. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. You know he is a professional and he has something to prove and he’s working to try to get that done.”

Q: Coach, What are your thoughts on the tight end position? And particularly the progress of TE Tony Moeaki?

HALEY: “I would say the tight end position is very similar to the comments that I made about the receiver position. I feel like we are ahead of where we were at this time last year. TE Leonard Pope came in mid-year, he was one of those mid-year guys that even though I had a bunch of experience with him, he was trying to make himself part of the team. Well now he is a Kansas City Chief and he is our veteran leadership there, but we have Tony and the rest of the young guys and we have some good competition going on there and I think that’s good, which gives a chance to better ourselves. It gives everybody at that position a chance to improve, because again without somebody pushing you one way or another I think it is a little more difficult. Tony is just like the rest of this rookie group and I’m encouraged by each and every one of them and I’m hoping that each and every one of them can come in here and help us be a better football team.”

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