Q&A with Todd Haley - 9/8

Posted Sep 8, 2010


OPENING REMARKS: “Started our preparation for the San Diego Chargers which we play on Monday night. We are all really excited about it and I am excited for the Hunt family, the Chiefs and all the people that have put so much into the New Arrowhead. I know everybody is really looking forward to it.


“The San Diego Chargers present a big challenge for us. They are four years and running AFC West Division Champs and they have good stability there. Number one, Coach (Norv) Turner has been there now a number of years and it is clear they understand what he expects and they do things the way it is asked to be done it looks like and they have had success because of it. They have a number of good players on both sides of the ball and on special teams that create a lot of problems for any opponent. I think last year the San Diego Chargers had more plus-20 passes than anyone in the league. They have the ability to push the ball down the field in a number of different ways. Even though 21 (RB LaDaianian Tomlinson) is not there anymore, this young guy they have out of Fresno (RB Ryan Mathews) looks like a big time runner. RB Darren Sproles is a threat anywhere on the field and you have to know where he is. Defensively, we have to be at our best and offensively, vs. this defense, they have a bunch of key veterans that are still there that know how to play, play well and play at a high level. Now they have integrated some young guys into the mix that look like they are also already on top of what is going on. This is a very good team and the Kansas City Chiefs will have their work cut out for them this week on Monday night.”

Q: Did you guys do much scouting of RB Ryan Mathews at the combine?

HALEY: “Oh yeah, now he was one of the top dogs coming out. We spent some time with him in a couple different places and when I saw that name going there, that is one of those that you pay attention to.”

Q: How have you developed from year one to year two in terms of your comfort level?

HALEY: “I think it is night and day. I think as the head coach there is no real way to prepare other than trying to work hard and have success in the positions you are in. An opportunity came along because of some of that success but doesn’t change you from that standpoint but the job is a new job that is unlike any other. There is no manual to tell you what to do in each and every situation. You are going to grow, you are going to develop through experience and you are going to handle each situation that comes along in front of you the same, differently, adjust because of that experience. Having a year of experience in me now, number one with the players and most of the coaches and the rest of the employees of the Kansas City Chiefs, that is a great thing. We all know so much more about each other. This game and this league to me are about relationships that are developed. Those relationships are going to grow and develop and affect you one way or another and affect your behavior in some way. Having a year of experience, I don’t know if there is a way to put a value on it because I know I feel the difference now. Go back to last year and we start over, and I think that is the interesting question, now that you have a year of experience, what would you do different? I think that is a pretty interesting question and one that I think about a lot of the time. The thing I feel good about is, I don’t know that I’d change a whole bunch, I really don’t. I think each situation that presented itself to me including the big picture of what had to be done here, I think it called for a certain behavior, action, reaction throughout. Now, sitting here at the cusp of our second season together, I know we are making progress. I will keep saying it, that is the name of the game. If you can just keep getting a little better every day. It is no different than what I tell any of the players. I don’t want a great player one day and an inconsistent player the next I would rather just have an average player, an average player that gets a little bit better. I know we are making progress and I know we made progress through last year as we laid the foundation. We continued to lay that foundation today and now we have a couple practices under our belt and are getting ready for a real good team. So we will see.”

Q: How much of a test is this for your defense to take on the Chargers? Are you eager to see your defense react?

HALEY: “I think you are always excited about a challenge. I think any competitor is but with that being said, would I like (TE Antonio) Gates 85 to decide that he didn’t want to play this week and 43 (RB Darren Sproles) and the quarterback and big receivers who can run and jump? They have a good line, they are a major test. I like the challenge but again, we are working hard to be as ready as we can.”

Q: What do you know about the guy that is going to be playing left tackle for them Monday?

HALEY: “I think that this guy looks really competitive and it looks like he is doing something that he hasn’t had to do a whole bunch and doing it really well from what I can see. I think they have a good line. They can run block, looks like they get very good movement up front running the ball and they do a great job in protection and this quarterback does a great job of getting rid of the football to make all those guys look good when there is pressure or extra guys coming. I think it is a test across the board for us. We worked really hard today and we are going to work really hard tomorrow and the next and the next to hopefully be at our best.”

Q: Why did you choose LB Derrick Johnson to run with your first team?

HALEY: “I think the thing that I am going to stress, and I really mean this, every one of our guys has to think of themselves and be a frontline contributing player for us. That inside backer position in the base defense is no more important than say the wing or the gunner on the punt team. You are going to play some more snaps there but if I can have guys playing at a high level at all those spots that you have to play during a game, I think that is good for us and that gives us a chance to win. I am trying to take anything like ones, twos, out of the vocabulary and that is just the way I think. The more our guys can think, the better for us because we are going to have guys penciled in as starters playing on special teams. When you have to start dealing with 45 guys I am not going to take insurance policies to the game. I don’t think we have the depth. However you want to see it, the margin for error to do that, we need everybody that is putting shoulder pads, helmets and cleats on other than maybe the second quarterback, to be contributing more than one, two or three snaps. We can talk about numbers of snaps guys are taking once we get through a game and that is the way I am going to judge value and productivity and we will see how it goes.”

Q: Have you seen anything from LB Tamba Hali that makes you think he is going to take the next step?

HALEY: “I would go all the way back to the off-season with Tamba. This is a guy that cares. He is a passionate guy that is very thoughtful about life and the world in general but he cares now. He wants to be part of this team succeeding and he has shown that every single day along the way. You saw him make continued progress last year and he is clearly one of our better players out there every single Sunday from a consistency point of view. He is learning a new position and he is making strides in that this year, he just needs to continue to get better and I think that is where his mind set is. Again, his mindset is that way, this is my opinion, because he wants to be part of seeing this team succeed and be part of it.”

Q: What are you expecting out of DE Wallace Gilberry this year?

HALEY: “He has to contribute, he really does. These guys that are on the active 53 have a potential of going to the game and they have to contribute. This is another guy who cares that puts everything into it every single day and he is getting better and improving. You are seeing him make progress. If he is on that 53, which he is, if he is one of the 45 that are going to be getting ready to go Monday, then he has to contribute. Where that is, I think it will be a number of different places. It will be some in base, some in sub and it will clearly be on special teams because he can run and he is big and strong and aggressive.”

Q: So he is going to be a full-time contributor?

HALEY: “Has to. As long as he is in that 45, which I don’t know right now, we haven’t gone completely through that but I would lean towards yes, he probably has a good chance of being there.”

Q: The game doesn’t start till 9:15 PM. How do you keep guys mentally strong all day?

HALEY: “I call them all every night at 9:15 and I tell them all we would be kicking off right now! What are you doing? (laughing). This will be new for me from that standpoint because it is late. I think we have a little plan for that. It is something that I think you have to think about. Whether it is through coaching but we will do everything we can to have these guys as ready as they can be to play.”

Q: How do you manage a practice schedule as well? It is a long practice week. Is it tough to keep these guys’ minds from wandering?

HALEY: “I think that is coaching. That is our job. It is their job to come out every day and be at their best. That is part of being a good teammate. I have been involved in a bunch of Monday night games and I have a bunch of coaches that have been and a few of these players. That is when you use some of your resources and your instinct on what the best way is to have your team ready to go. I feel like we have a very good plan but it doesn’t mean that we can’t adjust but I feel good about how we have it setup through the week.”

Q: Do you think the energy level will help out there for that Monday night contest?

HALEY: “I know the tempo is going to change and the tempo has changed. It changed going into this week. These card periods were different tempo than some of the ones we ran in camp. I think that is part of the game, that is part of getting this thing lined up the best you see fit to be ready to go. That is part of some of these veterans that have been on the team that have been involved in a couple of these. You just have to know what you are supposed to do and do it as close to the way you are supposed to do it and good things will happen.”

Q: Does C Rudy Niswanger’s versatility give you opportunity to use him in other places?

HALEY: “I think we touched on this a little bit. We have a bunch of guys up front that have some versatility and that is a good thing for you. I touched on Rudy’s new known versatility that we saw a little bit and I think that is good. Having gone through it on my own without a significant meeting on it yet, that is one of those head coach things that you are going to have to make some tough decisions at the back end of the week and make the right ones for the team. I try to take all the factors into account that I can and determine what is going to affect the balance come Monday. Offensive line coaches are always going to want more, the receivers coach is always going to want an extra receiver. Everybody is always going to want their security but at the same time, I think we need to get the best 45 to the game that can contribute the most snaps whoever that is.”

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