Q&A with Todd Haley 11/22

Posted Nov 22, 2011

OPENING REMARKS: “[It] was a late or early arrival last night. We’ve had a chance to get through the game from last night knowing that it’s going to be a short week and we’ve got a very big game coming up against Pittsburgh here at Arrowhead Sunday night. The game from last night was disappointing. I know the guys were let down. We went up there fully expecting to play our best and win the game and put ourselves heavier into this race and we just didn’t do it. We did too many things that cost us, too many mistakes that just cost us in the end and put us in a position that we weren’t able to quite stay within the game plan as we had hoped. It was a difficult loss, thought the guys put everything they had into it. We just need to continue as a staff and as coaches and players to work and do everything possible to try and clean up some of these errors and mistakes that ultimately cost us. It’s not a lot, its little things that are making a big difference. That’s where we are as a team, we’ve got to play good, good football when you’re playing a team like New England and we’re going to have to do a better job of it this week against Pittsburgh.”

Q: What was different about who was calling the plays last night?

HALEY: “Going in, the situation as it was with Tyler [Palko] being his first real game and on the road and the atmosphere as we knew, the environment as we knew it would be, we put a lot of thought into what would be the best way operationally to handle that. There were a couple items there, that’s why you saw Bill [Muir] on the field, I just felt strongly that where we are right now we have to do whatever possible to try and get better and I thought having Bill down on the field, he talks to the offense all week long and interacts with them and I just wanted to get a little closer connection there within the game, that then created a little bit of an issue but not much. Bill is still the primary play caller, what changed last night other than him being down is that I took the coach to quarterback communication so I was the one speaking to Tyler and that was strictly, again with the environment, with what we knew we were going into and Tyler being the first time around, you know us having had some efficiency issues, I thought the most direct line of communication would help us, it would help free Coach Zorn up to really just focus on Tyler and what he was doing within the game as opposed to having to deal with handling that aspect of it. I thought it went well overall. I thought we were proficient and we were able to keep up-tempo really well and like I said I think that’s a strong point of Tyler, his ability to handle tempo like that. I think it’s the way we’d like to play when we can and I thought it really gave us an edge in some areas offensively throughout the game and unfortunately the result didn’t show that because of some of those areas that I talked about. As I’ve said about the play calling, Bill is the primary play caller. It’s a collaborative effort all week, that all the offensive coaches are involved in, that I’m involved in. On Sunday they do a great job, they did a great job in between series because I’m having to deal with all the other two phases of the team and Bill I thought put together a great plan, we just need to do a little better job in some of those situational areas.”

Q: Did anything standout or surprise you about Tyler Palko’s performance?

HALEY: “No. I watched it a couple times last night on the plane and he actually came up and we sat down and watched through it one time and I thought there were a lot of things to be encourages about. There were some things that he’d like, some decisions and throws he’d like to have back. But I do think he’ll learn from those and I think it’s really important to take the positives out of that performance because there were a lot of them. He completed 67 percent of his passes and that included a couple, two or three that I thought had a chance to be caught in addition. He just, a couple of those decisions like I said, he’d like to have back and he’ll learn from them. Overall it was an encouraging start for Tyler.”

Q: Do you have more “veto power” since you are talking directly to the quarterback?

HALEY: “No I wouldn’t say anything is different in that area then its’ been.”

Q: Will it continue, to have Bill downstairs?

HALEY: “Yes. I think there were a number of positives. There’s positives to him being upstairs that are a true advantage from a standpoint of calling plays, but I just feel like there’s more positives with him being down and again some of that, or a lot of that being that he’s the guy that is in front of the offense all week and out on the field and just on game day I thought that would be something that could and I think will help us here going forward. We’ve just got to try and do everything that we can to keep improving.”

Q: Having Zorn down there also allows him to talk to his offensive lineman…

HALEY: “Yes, and coach [Pat] Perles is the assistant offensive line coach and does a great job but again I think that when you’re talking about the coordinator and the guy that does a really good job in that specific area that it, like you said it’s hard to get that same effect when you’re up in the box.”

Q: What do you do to avoid tipped passes on balls that are virtually impossible catches when your players are trying to catch the ball?

HALEY: “I think it’s the technique. There’s clear cut technique in my opinion and having coached receivers for a long time, there’s things you can do and things you can’t do and there’s a better way to do it. Again, I’m not putting blame in any one place. I know that balls being tipped up in the air, especially between the numbers generally lead to problems, big problems and it showed up last night and we’ve got to just continue to work and be better in all areas so we can be as efficient as we can be.”

Q: How’s Ryan Lilja?

HALEY: “I think he’s going to be okay. He took a big hit and he didn’t want to come out but we just thought it was in his best interest and making sure everything was good so we’ll continue to evaluate him.”

Q: Is that one of those cases where a couple of years ago you wouldn’t have even thought about putting him back in but the stress these days on blows to the head changes it?

HALEY: “I don’t think anything has changed from our standpoint. We’re just looking out for the player’s well-being and theres times you’re aware of being careful and sometimes you don’t know that anything is going on.”

Q: How did you think Rodney Hudson looked?

HALEY: “Not bad. He got a bunch of work this week in practice for other reasons but we’re excited about Rodney and what he can bring to the team and I thought that was positive time for him.”

Q: Were all the backs healthy enough to play a full load? And Jackie [Battle] for a little while seemed to be the primary ball carrier but doesn’t seem to be right now, where does that stand?

HALEY: “I think really the same that it’s been. Within the game I think all our backs are trained to run the runs that are in the game plan and we have some that we might lead more towards one or the other in certain situations, and within the game I think Coach [Maurice Carthon] does a terrific job of knowing whose where and how they are doing and how they are feeling and what’s going on. Again, last week it was just unfortunate that we got in a position where we couldn’t keep running the ball as much because I thought we were pretty effective early on moving it on the ground.”

Q: How fine is the line between great execution and a mistake?

HALEY: “What type of mistake?”

Q: On the 52 yard touchdown pass, it looked like great execution by the Patriots but also that your linebacker didn’t get the kind of depth he needed. When you look at that play, do you chalk it up as that’s a heck of a play or that we made a mistake?

HALEY: “I think as you go through different plays its different things. Sometimes it’s assignment errors, sometimes it’s just physical errors, you know technique errors, sometimes it’s just a one-on-on situation that you get beat. Throughout the game I thought our defense really did a terrific, terrific job against a really good offense for the most part. There was a couple of things we felt were very critical, we were able to create some pressure and keep [Tom] Brady a little uncomfortable and we were able to hit him a few times and I thought that created some problems for them. It’s a game of inches and it’s a game of small details and little things and that’s what happened last night on that big play. We’ve got a corner free, or a safety free coming off the edge that has a chance to potentially disrupt the ball from being thrown and we got a chance to do a better job of tackling them a few times and a couple of third downs, looked like we had chances and again, whether it was a missed tackle or missed technique, we just can’t afford many of those and against a team like that, as explosive and as good as they are on offense, and as good as the quarterback is if you have one it generally gets exposed and it turns into too big of plays. It’s unfortunate again because I thought our guys really played and they did some really, really good things throughout the game and a couple of poor plays or poor decisions hurt us, and that happened on offense too, and special teams.

Q: Did you just kind of pick your poison against the Patriots offense regarding who you would cover?

HALEY: “Yes. When 80-something percent of their offense is going to a handful of guys that are all really, really good, and I wouldn’t say that we said we weren’t, you know it’s just how things played out. We had a number of plays where by tendency and things like that we tried to determine who the guys we wanted to try and take out of the mix are and sometimes we did a real good job on [Wes] Welker for the most part, we did, [Rob] Gronkowski we had covered a bunch of times but, the times we didn’t or the times we didn’t get him down were a big problem and he’s a heck of a problem. We just have to be better.”

Q: Does it ever get to a point in the season where you just want to give a guy like Rodney Hudson playing time to see what you have for next year and have you reached that point, or when do you reach that point?

HALEY: “No, I think we are in the mode of do whatever we need to do to try and win games and stay in this mix because we still are in it. We’re by no means out of it. If we start playing consistent, good, consistently good football here down the stretch but right now, we haven’t done that here in the last three weeks so we’ll continue to work, all of our players, and work to be better and work to, and keep competition like we’ve had and where we feel like we can get better we’ll make any of those moods. As it is Rodney is developing and I think he has a chance to be a good player for us and he’s fighting and clawing for play time every week.”

Q: Is it hard to find some of the depth you need when you have so many playmakers that are not available to you?

HALEY: “It is hard but its life. We’ve accepted that and moved forward and at times we’ve done a good job and at times we haven’t. And that’s all of us so that’s the challenge of coaching in the NFL and a NFL season. You’re going to have things happen and you’ve got to find ways to overcome those things and like I said at times we’ve done a good job of it and at times we haven’t. The thing is we’re still in the mix here in a number of different ways. We just have to continue to work and figure out a way to fix some of the things that continuously jump up and bite us and it’s not a lot of things, its little things that become big things but we need to do a better job.

Q: With Cassel done, do you guys bring in another quarterback?

HALEY: “We’ll continue to work on that subject. There’s been a bunch of discussions and again, I feel good about where we are as far as Tyler [Palko] and Ricky [Stanzi] and it’s just a matter of if we feel like there’s somebody that can come in and either help us at some point or make us better at any position we’ll obviously explore.”

Q: So it’s more who you can get rather than just getting somebody?

HALEY: “Yes I think that’s important. We can’t afford to just throw sports around, game day roster spots. We just need the guys that we have up on game day… like I said to the guys last night, whether you’re playing one play, three plays, ten plays or 50, those are really important plays in whatever role that is and whatever phase of the game and we just, I think the guys understand that and we’ve got to just continue to work in that area.”

Q: How did [Jerrell] Powe handle his playing time?

HALEY: “Powe?”

Q: Yes.

HALEY: “He was disruptive. He had a couple of opportunities to finish plays that he didn’t quite get done but I do think he looked like he was difficult to block a couple times there. We’ve all been encouraged about Powe and his development and we’ve got a bunch of those guys that are working hard and continuing to make progress and develop and when they get their shots they have to take advantage of it, and a bunch of guys have.”

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