Q&A with Todd Haley 12/31

Posted Dec 31, 2010


OPENING REMARKS: “We continue getting ready for the Oakland Raiders. We studied for the test where we’re going to take the test up at Arrowhead. It was spirited, one of our better Friday practices. Our guys are excited for a chance to reach our goal with three wins in this quarter. It was a real good practice, good preparation week. We have a little more time here to continue to get ready; we’re going to need all of it. This team is a dangerous team in a bunch of different ways – throwing, running, as a defensive team and especially as a kicking and returning team, so in all three phrases of the game we have to be at our best and play our best game of the year to have a chance to get this to go the way we want it to go.”


Q: How big of a factor is it practicing at Arrowhead before home games?

HALEY: “I think it’s been a real good thing for us, not something that we had done last year. I think it falls into the category of as you move through this job you come into a new situation and a new position and you’re learning. Through the off-season it’s something I started to think about that it might be good for us if we could get it done. I went through the proper channels and ended up starting out that way doing it. We didn’t necessarily start out the year saying we were going to do it every week but when things went well in Week One, we definitely wanted to do it again in Week Three, then it pretty much got set in stone and now that we’ve been doing it, I feel really good about it and what it’s done for our team. It’s a Friday and a Saturday that you’re able to spend time up there, get through the locker room, just get comfortable with your home surroundings. With how things are set up throughout the league nowadays, it’s not like they used to be. Here and a lot of other places where you used to have your offices at the stadium and practice at the stadium, you got really familiar with your home field. Nowadays with having a separate building, I think that might get lost a little bit. Then you have to consider that you have new guys on the team, rookies, veterans, that haven’t played a lot here, it ends up being a real positive thing, at least that’s the feedback I’ve received. I’m not saying that’s the reason that we’ve played so well at home, there’s a lot factors involved with that, but it’s been good for us.”

Q: When did you see Matt Cassel take the big step this year, confidence-wise and play-wise? He said that it was the Denver game out there.

HALEY: “I don’t know if step is the word I’d use for that game. I think he’s been making steps, making real big steps each stage along the way going back to last year. But I think if there were a pivotal moment in the season where I think, whether it was us as a group offensively or individually, that the guys said, ‘Hey, we can throw the ball pretty good,’ I think it would be that Denver game because we were down so far, so quick in that game that, though I don’t think anyone thought we were out of it. There was a point there where it became a little futile, but Denver was playing defense and we had to try to score as many points as we could and you’re having to do it through the air for the majority (of the game), so I thought some real good things came out of that game from that standpoint, especially offensively, both individually and as a group. So I would say the Denver game was a key moment to making progress as we move forward. ”

Q: When he said he was going back out there, when he didn’t have to, what do you think that told his teammates as far as trust and confidence in him?

HALEY: “You’d have to ask them. I think that Matt from day one has shown his teammates that he wants to be the leader of this team and he’s got the leadership qualities in his character that I think guys naturally respond to. He’s shown that from day one, from how he works, how he prepares, his desire. We were in games last year in kind of similar situations where Matt continued to fight and all those things add up to make it what it is. I just think you’d have to ask his teammates to get a true answer, but I think it’s part of being a quarterback in the NFL and part of being the quarterback of this team.”

Q: What did it show you then?

HALEY: “A lot of things that I knew, that he’s a tough, competitive guy that isn’t going to give up and he’s going to not let his will be broken. He’s going to do whatever he can, whatever it takes to try to help this team win.”

Q: Earlier this week Jamaal Charles talked about some extra motivation as he’s targeting the rushing title. Does stuff like that ever factor in to how you use a guy in a game?

HALEY: “I think the coach answer is no, but at the same time I know that some of those things are real, real important to guys. But the number one thing is winning the game. We never set our goals any differently than to win a game, but at the same time when you are within a game I’ve been in situations where you’re made aware of a situation where somebody needs this or that and if it can work with what you’re trying to get done, which is win the game, then I think it’s great if you’re able to get guys certain honors or certain milestones that are very, very important to these players and to the coaches at times.”

Q: One of the things you wanted to see more from Matt coming into this season was for him to be a little more vocal with his teammates, to sometimes get on people. Has that happened?

HALEY: “Absolutely. Matt has continued to grow in his role as the quarterback of this team, and that includes that he sets meetings for these receivers. I know he sets meetings with receivers. I know he meets extra with all of us coaches. He’s taken on a much bigger role, with much more responsibility from that standpoint of taking control of his offense, which is something we’ve talked about a bunch. He’s the guy who’s going to be responsible for this in the end. As far as offense goes, the quarterback, it generally falls on his shoulders. So you’d better make sure you have everything covered and that you feel good about it and he’s done that. At the same time he’s grown in his role as an on-the-field leader and if something’s not right, he’s not afraid to speak his mind and try to get it right. And he still does it with the greatest amount of respect to his teammates, but they get it. Really, the best way you describe it is he’s raised the expectations for himself and for the players around him and they get it. I think that’s all just part of the development of a quarterback in this league. As you look at Matt’s career to this point, he just hasn’t had a lot of that time that a lot of other guys have, so he’s making up for some lost time and he’s doing it efficiently well. I’m really excited about the direction he’s continued to move in.”

Q: What does it tell you about a guy that’s had 10,000 consecutive snaps (like C Casey Wiegmann)?

HALEY: “It’s just amazing. I’m just so happy that Casey chose to come here and be a part of this. He’s not your average human being. What he’s accomplished and still how he looks now, today, you would have no idea that he’s done what he’s done. He’s as humble as can be. You’ve got to squeeze words out of him. He doesn’t want the accolades or recognition. He plays the game to try to be part of something special and I think he’s just a special part of this team in his own way. He’s had a huge impact for our entire team and staff.”

Q: Have you or Bill Muir tried to take him out of a game at any point this year?

HALEY: “I think we might have had small discussions that ended pretty quickly.”

Q: So you’ve had those conversations with Casey?

HALEY: “Bill or I, yeah (have had conversations). Some of these guys you just know before it starts how it’s going to go.”

Q: Sunday, you have 10 minutes to play and you’re up 17 points. Would you discuss taking him out, with Casey himself?

HALEY: “I think as the head coach you have to do what you think is best for the team. You have to take everything into account. Sometimes staying in is the best thing in certain situations. It’s just a fine line, a balance, and making sure what you’re doing is what’s the best thing for the team overall.”

Q: There’s something being reported in Florida that Charlie Weis is a candidate to join the staff at Florida. Is that true?

HALEY: “I have no idea. That’s something that I wouldn’t talk about right now. Our focus is on the Oakland Raiders. At a later date, if something comes up, I surely will talk about it, if there is something going on.”

Q: Just to be clear, you’re not denying that that’s going on? You’re just saying you’re not going to talk about it?

HALEY: “No. I’m saying I’m unaware of anything. Charlie was out there today coaching and we’re getting ready to beat the Oakland Raiders.”

Q: So if he’s talked to Florida or is planning on talking to Florida, that’s news to you?

HALEY: “It would be news to me.”

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