Q&A with Todd Haley 10/21

Posted Oct 21, 2010


OPENING REMARKS: “Ok, we continued preparation today. We had a little sub work in the third down with some review of yesterday’s first and second-down stuff. Thursday’s always a big day, a very important day for us that we made some improvements. I feel like as a team we’re getting closer and closer in becoming a team. We’ve got a good mix continued of veterans helping young guys develop and again I only mention that because it just seemed like today I saw a little more of it which was an encouraging sign for me and again that’s just veteran guys that have been around a little bit really working hard to help continually be part of the development of some of these young guys that have to help us now. So I thought today was a good day and we’ll have a meeting this afternoon and then tomorrow get some Red Zone and overall review and then the game will be coming fast.”


Q: Talking about third downs, you were markedly better against Houston in that area. There weren’t a lot of third and shorts; you converted some third and longs. Anything you can put your finger on there?

HALEY: “No. Just execution, Adam. We’ve had a couple good ones and a couple poor ones on third down which is always something we want to be more efficient than less efficient taking into account some of the factors we’ve talked about in here – the one thing we can’t do is turn the football over, which we’ve done a fairly good job to this point but it has to continue. Weeks like this against a team like Jacksonville who is a big, physical, run-and-hit team, we’ve got to stress it, stress it, stress it. Like I said, we’ve had a couple that were better than a couple others; the first one being one that I would have a hard time factoring in the mix just because of the situation. We’re getting better and that’s what’s important. I think we’ve better every week on third down, there’s just been some weeks that we didn’t quite do what was necessary to get the execution.”

Q: What do you think of the way that RBs Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles have sort of begun to complement each other both on and off the field? They’ve got a pretty good relationship? And Thomas doesn’t have to take a young guy under his wing but what do you think about that whole dynamic?

HALEY: “None of these guys get paid for helping other guys but I think that’s what begins to separate you as a team is more of those players, and they don’t necessarily need to be veteran – six, seven, eight, nine, 10 years in the league – that is not a necessity and factor in this but what they do have to do is care about their teammates and that’s what I think we have going on here with this group of guys is we have a bunch of guys that care about each other. There are no relationships like the ones you see in these locker rooms and out on the field, I should say there are very few relationships that you see in daily life like this and from a group of guys that are coming from all different places but I think that’s the number one thing is you have to care about your teammates then you want to help them in every way you can and one of those things is help them get better and give them some of the knowledge that you may have accumulated over time and even if that person in any one of these cases could eventually be the guy that replaces you. That’s unselfishness but that’s what makes the great teams, when you have a bunch of guys that think and operate like that.”

Q: Have you been in locker rooms before where that relationship is absent and how is that different?

HALEY: “I don’t know that I could explain it any other way than just to say that you know it’s not right. I guess it depends on what type of person you yourself are and how you operate and have operated in similar situations. Anybody that’s been part of a team, there’s a difference, you feel it, you know it and you know that it’s got to change for you to have a chance to be good at whatever you’re doing.”

Q: How do you prepare for a team where you don’t know who’s going to be the quarterback?

HALEY: “I said yesterday that the good thing is that the couple guys, QBs (Patrick) Ramsey and (Todd) Bouman that were signed yesterday, is they’ve played in the league, there’s tape of them. It may not be necessarily in a Jaguar uniform but that’s different than the alternative sometimes when there’s a complete unknown guy that you may only have college stuff on. That part of it is good. We’ve put together a full cut-up that goes back multiple years on both guys just so that we are prepared. We’re assuming that number one, (David) Garrard will be in there playing. Like I said, both these guys that have different issues are real tough guys and you’ve seen from the past that they want to play whenever they can so that’s who we’re expecting and we prepare for them but at the same time we have to have some idea of what else we could see and I think that’s where videotape comes in handy. The other factor is that I think Coach (Jack) Del Rio has done a good job of getting like-type players in there that are drop-back passers. That’s obviously what they want, they’re drop-back passers that have athletic ability and can hurt you with their legs. Garrard, number one, is as good as most anybody at that, a big, strong guy that will break tackles and who isn’t an easy takedown and then from there on and out, all those guys at one time or another have shown some athletic ability in addition to being drop-back passers.”

Q: Have you guys watched the video from the NFL yet on the proper way to tackle?

HALEY: “We just got it right as I was getting ready to go out on the field. I watched partial and we’ll show it to all the guys in the morning.”

Q: How do you think that’s going to affect your team?

HALEY: “I couldn’t answer that for you. I said yesterday that the rule hasn’t changed. We teach our guys to play within the rules of the league and we work real hard at that from a technique-standpoint. That’s not just tackling, that’s everything. That’s offense, defense, special teams. Since October 11th of last year we’re the least penalized team in both calls and yardage so I think that’s a good sign that the coaching, for an extended period of time, is getting across to our players. Like I said, the rule has not changed. They’re putting an emphasis on it for the safety of our players which we are all for as coaches and players. We’ll just continue to teach the right way to do it within the rules and obviously we’ll put a point of emphasis on this no different than each week, for example, I get a full rundown of the crew that’s going to be officiating the game and if there are calls that standout that there are a bunch of, then I’ll always emphasize those to our guys. Last week for instance, the group called taunting and I hadn’t seen taunting in an extended period of time, going back into mid-last year so that gives me an opportunity to talk about taunting and what we do and don’t do to play within the rules. This will be the same as that – it’ll be an emphasis no different than any week when I get up generally on a Friday and then on a Saturday and talk to the guys about what they need to do and be smart.”

Q: Have you ever been asked by the officials to call a timeout because the network needed to get more commercials in?

HALEY: “Absolutely not. I’d tell you if I had.”

Q: What attracted you guys to drafting CB Javier Arenas this past year and what have you gotten to know about him in the past couple months that you’ve been able to spend around him?

HALEY: “Him, along with all those other guys, and I know I have said this but I just can’t change the way I feel, this entire groups has at least through five games, six weeks of our season, coming up on seven, has at each stage, shown to be the kind of guys that I want to coach. That’s for a number of reasons: number one they have skill and then they have some of those other components that make the potential for a talented player, each and every one of them. It’s a long season, it’s an especially long season for these guys because they haven’t experiences anything like this and there’s still a lot more to prove, at least through this first year. But they are making progress and Javier being one of those. He’s shown he’s not going to do it perfect but he’s not afraid to make a mistake, he plays hard, he’s physical, he’s got skill like I said, he prepares the way we want guys preparing, he’s a good teammate, all those things. It’s a big list but most of these guys have a bunch of those on the list, which is good.”

Q: He’s shown the ability to bounce back from injuries, from whatever personal stuff he’s dealt with in his past. That’s something you like in a guy. How much emphasis do you put on that? How much do you like that about him?

HALEY: “I think it’s a necessity Kent. It’s something I tell the guys in the first talk to all the new guys every year is there’s too much at stake to have a lot of personal problems that actually become a factor in how you prepare and get ready each and every week and that’s just part of the deal. We try to help our players when they’re here the best we can. We have some real good people that do that but at the same time, if you can’t separate, if I can’t separate things that are going on in my personal life from coming in here to work and vice versa, my wife won’t let me come home and bring my work stuff home or I’ll be out on the curb, and I think that’s part of it. That’s part of being a successful professional, really in any job description, same here.”

Q: In all seriousness then, if you can’t bring your work stuff home, do you ever go home?

HALEY: “I’d be on the curb if I didn’t do that also. I actually got on the bad side of my oldest daughter and I won’t tell why, but I’ve been making extra trips or drives to school and pickups which has added some mileage to my car but family obviously takes priority.”

Q: How do you balance that?

HALEY: “I don’t know, I take pride in it though. I do. I take pride in separating the two. I would guess probably the same thing I was talking about teammates, relationships are about – we’re having Dr. Phil now – but love. You’ve got to love people and that’s what’s important and that’s important on this team and I’m seeing more and more of it. It may sound corny, but it’s true.”

Q: Bill Walsh always knew he had a team when he saw the group of players, when it became important for them to play for the guy next to him and that’s the first step you have to have and if you don’t have that you don’t have a team. Is that what you’re trying to foster here?

HALEY: “In some way, shape or form, for sure Bob. It cannot just be coaches doing all the coaching and yelling and pulling and pushing and prodding because that will not work on a long-term basis. You must have guys that are fully invested. Like I’ve been saying around here going all the way back through last year, I’ve seen every step of the way all the way back to my first day here, more and more guys become fully invested and I think that’s why we’re making progress. We’re not there yet, we need to continue that and continue all the things that are part of you becoming a good team and we’re working like heck to try to do it.”

Q: He also wrote that he thought the job of the head coach was to foster that environment and then when it starts to happen to get out of the way and let it happen. Some coaches don’t, they want to have that complete control and they want everyone to play for them instead of the guy next to them?

HALEY: “Bob, right now, as I said the first day, there’s no manual for this job and what I’m enjoying is learning a significant amount every day. Really, learning something new every day is fun to me, it’s stimulating, this is what I enjoy and I especially enjoy learning and I think that’s all I’m going to continue to try to do which is learn and it doesn’t matter who it’s from and I think no different than being a good coordinator, I think part of being a very good coordinator is the ability to take everybody’s ideas, because you’ve got a lot of guys that are smart and understand football and everybody thinks their idea is the best, but part of being a good coordinator, what I learned about being a good coordinator is being able to take everybody’s ideas, massage, manipulate them into a unified group of ideas unbiased, whether they’re yours or somebody else’s and the big-picture ideas that give you the best chance to win. Good coordinators do that on a weekly basis and it’s a lot harder than you think because there are a lot and they’re coming from different directions – they’re coming from head coaches, they’re coming from quarterbacks and fans, people and other coaches, defensive coaches and offensive coaches – everybody’s got some thought.”

Q: Can you give us one snapshot of what you saw today?

HALEY: “During our little o-line/d-line ones I was trying to watch Atiyyah (Ellison), our new defensive end and I was watching DE Tyson (Jackson) and I could hear LB Mike Vrabel, I almost said coach Vrabel, and I could hear Mike Vrabel over there passionately talking to Tyson. You know the difference between somebody when they’re talking to be heard so other people can hear them helping somebody and it goes on all the time in this world – somebody trying to get noticed for doing something good and you know the difference in somebody that’s doing it solely to help somebody. I could just hear it quietly off my left side and it was Mike helping Tyson, talking to him, trying to help him with a little technique thing. That’s one and I walked 20 yards and RB Thomas (Jones) is talking to RB Jamaal (Charles) and like I said, he’s like the mom duck in the lake and those other little ducks, no matter which way he turns they’re following him and the other backs were all standing there listening. I guess that’s what had me thinking about as much as anything.”

Q: When you’re taking on a team like Jacksonville who has big receivers across the board, are you teaching your defensive backs a different approach this week or is it the same thing if they’re small receivers or big receivers?

HALEY: “I think that’s part of the game Josh. We’ve seen big receivers; we’ve seen small receivers throughout this preseason and season. Like I said, the rule hasn’t changed. I think some people think that it’s changed. There’s a big emphasis being placed on it so since the rule hasn’t changed though, we’re continuing to coach our guys as we coach them and that’s the play within the rules and one of those new rules here in the last year or two years or so is where that zone is. So that’s what we’re teaching. And like I said, going back to October 11th of last year, probably need to be really knocking (on wood), but October 11th of last year we’re the low team in the league in penalties. I think that’s a good sign that that’s been going on and is continuing to go on. Like I said, last week has nothing to do with this week so we will and have been at it all week on all areas of playing smart football.”

Q: Besides playing linebacker, what is the key of Mike Vrabel the receiver? If he’s on the field, isn’t that an alarm that should go out to everybody and how does he keep catching balls?

HALEY: “Bob, I’m staying away from that one, no matter what I would not answer that question. I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m just glad that it happened last week. I wish it could’ve happened again.”

Q: How do you measure where the process is or how do you feel like you’re moving forward with the progress?

HALEY: “Well I definitely feel we’re making progress and I know like I said, when I think Kent asked about third down or was it you Adam, it’s easy to just look at the statistics and to say well we were good this week, then we were bad, then we were good. I’m looking at it from a much bigger, broader angle and there are so many variables in offensive football that have to be on so it’s easy for me to see and maybe not so much for everybody else, even some of our individual coaches that have their own agenda that they have to be worried about or their own area of specialty but it’s easy for me to see that more and more of those parts are moving in the right direction. I think that’s the best I can answer it. There obviously needs to be better execution but that’s across the board and that’s why this is a process. But again, from my step-back vantage point which I’m trying really hard to keep because I think that’s important, I can see that more and more of those parts are working in unison and that’s a good thing. I know that will lead to more and more execution. That’s just how I feel and that’s why I feel like we are making progress and have continued through this point.”

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