Q&A with Todd Haley 11/18

Posted Nov 18, 2010


OPENING REMARKS: “We continued prep for the Arizona Cardinals here. We had another spirited practice it felt like, felt like we were getting back to basics and doing that and kind of getting back to how we started out the beginning of the year. I felt like the guys got into it, got back to having a little more fun practicing which is one of the keys that I think was going on early on in the first half of the season and like I said, it felt like it was a real good practice, we made progress, we’ve got a lot of work to do yet still but I do feel like we were able to stack two good practices together Wednesday and now Thursday and we’re looking forward to this game, we’re looking forward to getting back to Arrowhead, for our fans to be able to come out and build on what we’ve been doing here and we need them and we know how important this week is for our development and for us to continue to take steps and then ultimately this Sunday, we know how important that is and this will be our biggest game to date. It’s coming fast now so we’re working hard and we’ve got to be ready.”


Q: How did you see the team having more fun at practice?

HALEY: “Just a feeling Adam. We have a sign up here ‘Don’t confuse routine with commitment’ and sometimes I think you just kind of get into a routine a little too much even though we’ve worked hard to change things up by just continuing to impress upon our guys that we need to get back to practicing the way we were even all the way into training camp. One of the things that I know I felt all the way through training camp into the beginning of the year was it seemed like guys were running around, having fun, felt pretty good about themselves and I just felt that here this week and even though we were hitting and it could’ve been an easy day to say it’s the middle of the season, it’d be a little more work, it just felt like the guys were enjoying themselves out there and that it was a good, spirited practice.”

Q: What does is say to you about QB Matt Cassel that he wanted to stay in Sunday’s game and finish it out rather than leave the game early and what did you learn about him from that?

HALEY: “That was a bunch of guys, really that was a majority of the guys that as you tried to make changes or get other guys in there that there was a resistance or some fight to it. But Matt is a competitive guy and we’re a young, transitioning team that needs all the experience that we can get and that told me that Matt wanted to be in there and he wanted to continue to lead the team and like I said, sometimes the leader’s got to go down with the ship occasionally and he felt like he was part of it from the start and didn’t want to not be part of it in the end. It just confirms my belief and knowledge that Matt is a truly competitive, competitive guy that wants to be a real good quarterback in the league and more importantly wants to be the leader of a team that wins a bunch of games. He shows that every day out here and he shows it in games like that that are maybe not exactly the way you script it or the way you want it to go but the fight stayed with everybody and that was a good sign for us.”

Q: What does the team get out of seeing someone like that who could leave the game but says that he wants to stay in? What’s the benefit of that?

HALEY: “I think you see who your leaders are and you see who cares and it wasn’t any kind of test by any means, we’re in a game that we’ve got a chance to get other guys some experience maybe but in a lot of our guys’ cases, all the guys that are out there need experience. I just think it shows your teammates that you care and that it’s important to you and that you care about your team in good times and in bad and sometimes it’s even better tested in bad times.”

Q: You didn’t have a coach’s pick (captain) in Denver, at least not one that was visible. Was there a reason?

HALEY: “We had one. He just chose not to be visible.”

Q: Who was it?

HALEY: “C Casey (Wiegmann). Which is much like Casey. When I had him as a captain earlier in the year, he’s one of the guys and that’s what he wanted to be.”

Q: When you first got to Arizona in 2007 what did you find when you really had a chance to look at tape on WR Larry Fitzgerald?

HALEY: “I did a lot of work on him coming out. I saw a guy that had a heck of a lot of ability, as much ability as I have seen in any receiver. I saw as I went through practice and things like that a guy that I didn’t know for sure if he was practicing the way that he had to practice in order to be a great player and working on the things that he had to work on to be a great player. But what I saw very quickly in Larry was that once you laid out a plan for him, it became clear that he wanted to be a great player and really wanted to be the greatest player. Along with that he wanted to be part of a great team. Larry was one of my favorite guys to work with but I had a lot (of players) out there in Arizona that mean a lot to me, Larry being one of them. He was willing to do anything and everything to reach his goals and he was thinking football all the time. I can remember sitting on buses driving into stadiums and him leaning over, he would always sit somewhere near me on the bus, he would lean over the seat and ask about Keyshawn (Johnson) or asking about Terry (Glenn) or asking about run after catch. He was always asking football questions. He would ask about Lynn Swann, he was a football guy that has a football background with his father. He was into it and he wanted to be great. He was a pleasure to work with on a daily basis.”

Q: He gives you credit for reaching his full potential. As a coach I would guess that is a great thing to be a part of?

HALEY: “Well, I appreciate that but there were a lot of people involved, mainly him with some of his ability. Then there was a guy named Kurt Warner, but there were a lot of coaches and people involved in that. Larry, like I said, those are the guys you love to work with because they get it and they understand what you are trying to get done, they embrace it and then they appreciate it. They realize that your goals are really the same as their goal.”

Q: In your time coaching football, what percentage of players would you say were among the best in the game?

HALEY: “Kurt Warner wanted to be the best and Kurt Warner cared about just going to Super Bowls, that is what he wanted to do. That was his focus. So you happened to have a few there in Arizona, Anquan (Boldin), Larry (Fitzgerald), Steve Breaston who was kind of an unknown guy that is getting more and more known. We had a handful of guys on that side of the ball that really wanted to be something special. I was talking about it yesterday, I have been lucky enough to be around the Keyshawn Johnsons and Marty Bookers and Terry Glenns, guys that really wanted to be great players and were willing to do the things necessary to do it or to try and be that. They had some pretty good years. I was glad to be there and see it.”

Q: Would you be able to guess a percentage?

HALEY: “I don’t know, it is hard to give a good answer on that. First of all you are talking about rare athletes and skill with a couple of those guys that can actually achieve it. The thing that impressed me with Larry (Fitzgerald) was that he has changed over from just wanting to be a great player to wanting to be part of a great team. When players do that, when you get the Keyshawns and the Larry Fitzgeralds to put their goals and individual statistics aside and really want to be part of the greater good of the team to achieve something special, that is when you really know that you have had an impact or you feel like you have had an impact. When you hear them start talking about those types of things, Super Bowls instead of Pro Bowls, wins instead of 10-catch days, that is when you know you are making progress.”

Q: You know that there are going to be a million people watching the game this Sunday. Are you confident your leg is not going to be a hindrance for you?

HALEY: “Like I said, I am not even on the injury sheet. I didn’t see my name on there. Just as long as I am not sitting on one of those little carts.” (Laughing)

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