Q&A with Todd Haley 8/16

Posted Aug 16, 2011

OPENING REMARKS: “Sorry, I do want to apologize. This morning we took a little detour; did a little team building. Went over and had our choice of four or five movies. The trailers were a little longer than what was expected. I do apologize. I thought that was a good thing for our team. Yesterday, I thought that we followed up our practice Sunday with, I thought, another real good practice from a standpoint of energy and effort; with some good physical periods in there. I thought there were some good things and some not so good things, but the highlight of the day definitely was having the airmen from Whiteman Air Force Base out here. I thought it was great thing that is being done at a bunch of camps and, we tried to get those great people involved a little bit in practice, which I think they really enjoyed. I got real good feedback from a few of them on top of having a couple of potential linebackers in the group and Vince Lombardi’s, the way they rode the sled. It was, I realized about halfway through that starts period, what we call it, that I might have maybe had somebody sign a waiver. I don’t know if it was our guys or their guys, but I thought it was great and all of our guys really appreciate everything that they do, so we wanted to give them some good memories.”

Q: What movie did you see?

HALEY: “I saw The Changeup.”

Q: What were the options?

HALEY: “Captain America, Planet of the Apes and Cowboys and Aliens. I think it was a pretty good mixed group. It seemed like about all theaters were about evenly filled.”

Q: Did you have anybody snoring this year?

HALEY: “No, I didn’t hear anybody snoring, but I was too busy crunching on my nachos. So, I might not have been able to hear.”

Q: Were the players allowed to have nachos too?

HALEY: “Yeah; yeah. I made it clear that they were good this time. Just be cognoscente of the weigh-in next week.”

Q: Do you expect some guys to have to come off the field with injuries when the intensity goes up at practice?

HALEY: “Yeah, I think that whenever you’re practicing hard like that, things are going to happen. I don’t think there has been anything out of the ordinary, which if we were seeing anything like that, I’d maybe have a little different thought. Not that we ever want anybody to get anything, but we’ll kind of monitor how those are going. We’re, like I’ve said, we’ve got a task at hand we’ve got to be ready for and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Q: What’s got into your thought process about why you think it’s best for your team to go about business the way you have so far?

HALEY: “I think I shared a little bit of that, but I just feel like that nothing’s really been more important to our team and, what we feel like is continued success, than our offseason program and the commitment to that from the players and us. This year, I had a hard time really trying to figure out how we could leave that to chance. So, as we went through our discussions as a staff and those types of things and like I said, you kind of go back to conversations in the past all the years you’ve been in the league and what’s important; what’s not important and that continues to stay at the top of the list for me. The plan has revolved around that as it always does it’s just maybe just a little more entwined with offseason with preseason or training camp. The goal is to try to get everybody to somewhat of the same level of fitness, strength and conditioning and knowing that if we are that, that gives a chance to survive and be able to play the whole season. That’s the goal. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. In our minds, we need to get this team in condition where we need to be to then compete, knowing that we need every edge we can get.”

Q: Is it more difficult for a quarterback to get ready under these conditions than any other position?

HALEY: “Again, I think it comes back to each player is going to be a little different. Just like each team is going to be a little different. There’s teams that have been together longer than us, there’s teams that have been not together, you know as a staff, as a group, as a core and I feel like we’re somewhere in the middle. Our quarterback, the good thing is that he’s been, our particular quarterback who I’m worried about, is he’s been in this system now going on three years. He’s been with the core of the players that are around him for one, two and three years, or going on that. Again, I think I can only worry about him, and what he’s doing and all the quarterbacks for that matter. I think probably every quarterback as you go around the league is going to be in a little bit different situation.”

Q: Do you change your expectations for him at all with what’s going on here?

HALEY: “No; no, absolutely not. I think that Matt’s done nothing since he got here but improve, but last year he did so many things that helped us have some success. Now, this year he’s passionate about trying to improve. We’re, as coaches, going to do everything we can to try to make that happen and help that happen.”

Q: Are you going to let him throw some on Friday?

HALEY: “We’re, what’s today? Today is Tuesday, so we’ve got a few more days on our one day at a time plan.”

Q: Did you consider that going with this plan that you may have an advantage late in the season, but you may not be as football ready in September?

HALEY: “I don’t know that I’ve thought that way. I’ve really just thought about what our team needs to do to have the best chance to succeed and that’s where our efforts have and will go. If we need to adjust, we’ll adjust. Right now, we as a staff feel real good about our plan. I think our players understand the plan and feel good about it. We continue to keep them abreast in all areas of where we think we are. I think, again, and this year when you have missed sometime together, that’s why something like today I think is real important, because these guys haven’t spent three months in the weight room together. Some of that buddy up stuff that I’ve done is important; again, because they haven’t lifted together and got to know each other maybe quite the same way; specifically, the new guys on the team, young and old. They haven’t got to know each other and maybe develop some of those relationships to the point where they’d be. We’re trying to facilitate that as much as we can as coaches. Today was a real good, this morning so far. Now, we’ve got a big practice this afternoon that we’ve got to make progress in. We’re just trying to be ready for September 11 and the goal is to play our best game on that date and then go from there.”

Q: Did you sign a defensive lineman today because Anthony Toribio may be injured more than you think? Or was that a depth move?

HALEY: “No. Again, I think that we’ve had continuous workouts here through camp. Really, I think almost every position, probably every position… And when there’s guys through here that we like, and with available roster spots, it gives us an opportunity to bring guys in and get them into the mix and see if they can add to the competition.”

Q: In training camp so far and the first preseason game, are you trying to evaluate the players who aren’t “front-line” guys to determine who could be a contributor to the team? Is that an accurate assessment?

HALEY: “Not entirely. I think that, like I said after the game, there were a lot of different reasons with each guy and how our plan for them is evolving or moving that (explains) why we did different things. Some of that was definitely from an evaluation, in a shorter evaluation period, to give us an opportunity to look at certain guys. But, by no means in all cases was that the way it was. Again, we’re trying to take it one day at a time, keep a plan for each guy, and stick to that plan as best we can as long as we feel like it’s the right thing to do. And then at the same time, throughout the team, try to figure out what roles, again, guys will have – new and old alike – old, I’m saying second-year or third-year players, fourth-year players, what role that will be. Again, keeping in mind what gives our team the best chance to succeed with each guy within that role, or within the team. That’s really the part that we’re working really hard on, and I think as you watch these practices, and then you watch as we get into some more of these games, I think you’ll see some more of that occurring. I think you’ll clearly notice, maybe a little different that in the past, that guys are in specific roles maybe a lot earlier than we would see them.”

Q: Would you have liked for the first preseason game to have been cancelled or pushed back?

HALEY: “No. Like I said, we had 47 days coming in here to get ready. We knew that four preseason games, once everything was settled, was going to be part of the equation, and that’s how we put our plan together.”

Q: Is Derrick Johnson faster this year?

HALEY: “I definitely think that Derrick is. This is a big year for him, also. He obviously was a big part of a lot of good things last year, but I don’t think you’ve seen the top end of Derrick. I think he has his mind set that he wants to show everyone even more. Here, the last few days specifically, I’ve seen him really take a step, and you start to see 56 a little more than we were early on. Again, I think that that’s a good sign for us.”

  Q: What do you think of the kickoff being from the 35-yard line this year?

HALEY: “I want to get through some of these games and see how it plays out. Like I said, in that first game, it was optimum conditions. There wasn’t a lot of wind, a lot to worry about. I said, at the start of the game trying to decide which way we would kick if that were what we had to decide, it was really a toss-up. And then the same thing at the half. I think it’s weather and different things like that, temperature, factor in. It will be a changing deal until we really figure out exactly the best way to handle it.”

Q: What did you see on Keary Colbert’s practice tape that wowed you so much?

HALEY: “I’ve seen a lot of receiver workouts, and you get a lot of those from agents and things like that. Again, it’s a guy you had some familiarity with. I did. I’d done a lot of work with him coming out. I know Scott (Pioli), when he was up in New England, had done a lot of work on him. And we talked to him multiple times here in the last few years. It showed up, and like I said, when you watched it you were checking the speed, the little counter, to make sure it was going at the regular pace. Some of the things with the Photoshop days we’re in, where they can make people look better-looking… We just wanted to see him in person and see if the tape was real. But, he had a great workout, a great workout. And I’m just excited that he’s here and in the competition. As he gets to know the offense a little more, I would think he’d be right in the middle of the competition.”

Q Can you give us an update on where you think the backup quarterbacks are?

HALEY: “I think they’re making progress. I really do. I think that, like I’ve said, I think they’re in a real good situation. It’s a good group. There’s a good dynamic there even between the three of them and their coaches. I think you’re seeing improvement. I saw some things yesterday that had me excited about both Tyler (Palko) and Ricky (Stanzi). It’s still early, but we’ve got to take advantage of every day and trying to get everybody ready, but obviously they’re right up there at the top of the mix.”

Q: When your quarterback goes down, in most cases, do you try to assess somebody who can get you through three or four games?

HALEY: “I wonder if St. Louis thought they were hosed when Trent Green went down. They were like, ‘Oh my gosh, what are we going to do?’ Next thing you know, ‘Greatest Show on Turf.’ Challenge presents opportunity, right? That’s where we are. We’re trying to get those guys better every day, and then take a few, every couple of days, evaluate them and get through a couple more days and see where they are.”

Q: Does practicing back at Arrowhead help with the rest of the preparation? Is there any football advantage to practicing outside of Kansas City?

HALEY: “I think this is a great setup, I really do. I grew up spending my summers at Latrobe (Pennsylvania) at Steelers camp, and there’s a lot of similarities to me. There’s something about training camp when you put the guys in the dorm, and it’s all of us and that’s it, every night. For some reason, you can stay up later, and you’re not as tired in the morning. Until you sit in a movie theater for a couple of hours. Then you’re exhausted. But, I think training camp is a great thing. I think it’s great here in St. Joe I really cannot say enough about the setup and the people and being able to get your fans out here to help… They help a bunch, especially on those hot days. And there are people out there, standing there every day. It kind of gives everybody a little boost.”

Q: When will you know if Jared Gaither can be a starter or contributor to this team?

HALEY: “I don’t know when. I think that he’s got a chance though. Like I said, the number one priority is, he’d been out for quite a while, and we’ve got to get him to take baby steps and keep him working with Coach (Mike) Clark, Coach (Brent) Salazar, which he’s eagerly awaiting each day. And try to get him to a point where we feel, and he feels comfortable, both mentally with the offense, because it is new for him, and physically.”

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