Q&A with Todd Haley 8/23

Posted Aug 23, 2011

OPENING REMARKS: “Good afternoon. We had a morning practice today. Again, much like last week, [we] want to get some of these in for both heat reasons and also to stack workouts together. So, by having them work out this afternoon, then we’re able to come back in the morning tomorrow, get another big lift. Especially with it being a night practice tomorrow afternoon, that’ll give them a little break in between and they ought to be pretty frisky by the time we get up to Arrowhead tomorrow night. As you’ve probably seen, we changed practice up just a little bit. Really, again, [we’re] in this mode of treating every day, evaluating this team every day. I felt like we’ve streamlined it a bunch, got a lot of guys running the same number of plays, but in a much shorter time and then moving into a little more developmental work after that main practice ends, which is a good opportunity to try to get some of these young guys really some developmental time working at their craft, whatever their position is. We’re going to stay in this mode here for at least a couple days. So, again, I thought today, tempo – and yesterday – was real good. I thought there was good energy and good competition and I felt like we’ve gotten better here the last couple days.”

Q: So you think yesterday was a pretty spirited practice? What were you guys able to take from yesterday?

HALEY: “Well, just what you said. I thought there was real good energy, but it wasn’t all perfect by any means. I thought there were positives in a lot of different areas, and when you have guys working like that, usually you can get a bunch done. That was the first time really picking up the tempo that way where I’m blowing the horn, giving them little breaks, really trying to get them in game condition [with] a lot of the core guys that we probably feel like will have a good chance of playing for us early in the year. So, like I said, they’re running the same number of plays but in a much shorter time as far as they’re concerned, a lot less standing around, baking in the sun. Again, today, this morning I thought it was good again. It’s early, they haven’t practiced much in the morning, so it took a little while to get going, but I thought it was real good work.”

Q: Where are you now in relation to where you would have been if you had OTAs?

HALEY: “Again, I don’t think it’s fair to assess it that way. It’s a different year. Everybody is dealing with the same issue. But to try to judge where we would have been had we had two-and-a-half, three months with these guys working out, again, you’re not going to make it up in three-and-a-half weeks. Now, that being said, I feel like we’re making consistent progress, we’re getting better, we’re getting stronger, we’re getting in better condition. You’re seeing some guys come up with some issues now, and again, that’s kind of the unknown.”

Q: You picked up a kicker last week. With two games left and a cut in between, might you look at this guy this week?

HALEY: “We put him in once. He kicked off once last week. Todd [Carter] – a guy we’ve worked out a couple times – big, strong leg. He is a strong-legged kicker. Like I said, I think in Coach [Steve] Hoffman we’ve got a guy that really does a good job with teaching, developing young kickers.  He’s done it throughout his career. Billy Cundiff – we saw last week in Baltimore – was a guy that Hoff worked with a bunch early in his career in Dallas. He has a way of finding some of these diamonds in the rough, so to speak. But, it takes time to develop, so [we] felt like we’ve got roster numbers to do it, and he became available again. Like I said, we had targeted him early on, but he went to St. Louis and then they released him, so it was an opportunity for us to bring him in and work with him. Now, [we] had him punting here the last couple days and he’s got a strong leg. He’s been working at it so we’ll just see how he does.”

Q: What have you seen out of Jared Gaither?

HALEY: “As far as Jared goes, I’ve been pretty clear that where he was coming from we knew that it was going to take a little time in a number of different areas, mentally and physically. But, for right now, the work is being done, for the most part, on the physical side of just trying to get him physically ready to go where he can hold up to the rigors of a season. So, [I] haven’t seen a lot as far as football goes, other than he’s got a lot of tape out there and he’s a good player. He’s getting better every day. He’s getting stronger. The core strength is coming back, which is the key. He’s getting a little tired of working out on the side, but he’s progressing and I feel good about where he is on his own individual plan.”

Q: Is he a PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) guy maybe at the beginning of the year?

HALEY: “I don’t know that I would really get into that right now. I think he’s progressing, he’s making progress and again, the goal for each guy… Really, this year, each guy’s plan is a little different, and I think he’s a great example of that, that he’s on schedule for what we’ve got to have him doing right now and what we’ve asked him to do, and the plan is to then just continue to pick it up here as we move. We’ve got about 19 days left, so time is of the essence.”

Q: The last couple days you’ve been very vocal with your offense. First off, would you agree your defense seems to be ahead of your offense?

HALEY: “Yeah, I think I said that when you don’t scheme offensively and you don’t scheme defensively, it hurts the offense a little more, generally. I think that’s just the way that it is, so I want to be fair to those guys. We’re working fundamentals and we’re working base offense, bread and butter stuff – runs, pass, play action. But, the offense is making progress. I saw some really good things yesterday from the offense. I saw some really good things today. We’re making progress. When you have a new staff member… For Coach [Jim] Zorn, it’s basically like learning a new language for him, too. He’s coming along fast. He’s great for us. I see the quarterbacks improving every day – all three of them – and that’s a good thing. Like I said, I thought yesterday and today for the offense there was significant signs of progress.”

Q: Is that an area where it’s obvious you lack the OTA work?

HALEY: “Yeah, timing is a critical factor for offense in all areas, and it’s just a little different than defense that way. Again, when you take some scheme away – because we’re not game planning for our own defense – we’re just running bread and butter plays, trying to figure out what guys do best, what we need to be doing. Again, like I’ve said, we’ll always tailor our game plans to our players and their abilities, and I think that’s the process we’re going through. And you’re right, I think if you would have had OTAs and some of those things, you would probably be significantly ahead there, but again, it’s an even playing field. So, like I said, some teams are going to have a little more advantage having been together a long time, some teams have a less advantage, where some are in the middle, in my opinion.”

Q: You mentioned the OTA aspect of it. Does that affect the usual thing where week three of the preseason would be the game where the regulars play the most?

HALEY: “I don’t know. We’re not there yet. Again, we’re one day at a time. When we get there, when we get to the game, we’ll have a plan, but we’re still formulating it right now. These practices are determining it, and like I said, I’m glad we’ve got a couple days left.”

Q: You guys had four months to sit around in offensive meetings. Now you’ve had about three weeks to get out there, how is it working with Zorn and Bill Muir?

HALEY: “We’re not there yet, there’s no doubt about it. I’m on the coaches as much as I’m on the players, but I think that’s part of the process. I think I feel really good about the staff, as I’ve said from the start. Now, like I said, [with] a bunch of days under our belt, I still feel really good. I think we’re going to be a well-coached group on offense, we’re going to be a well-coached group on defense and special teams. I get excited about every staff meeting we have.”

Q: You were pushing the tempo yesterday and a play didn’t get called fast enough and you let them know it.

HALEY: “I think you’ve got to. It’s part of the process. We ask the players to set a high standard, high bar, high expectations, and we do the same thing as a staff. Again, you’ll see it going on within the ranks with the coaches. I’m the head coach, so that falls under my line. I get to get after everybody.”

Q: How was the concert last night?

HALEY: “It was good, very good. I see that’s getting a little… Our players all knew I was out there. Lil’ Wayne – our song last year – we made a video at the start of the season and it was one of his songs. The players took to it. We played it every home game. It was kind of our… When you saw us gather up in the end zone, it was always a song of his. So, I said if he comes into town and I get an opportunity to give him a copy of it and thank him, I was able to do it. It was a great, great show, terrific.”

Q: Were you a fan of his before last year?

HALEY: “Oh yeah, yeah. I’m versatile, versatile.”

Q: Does that give you credibility in the locker room being a Lil’ Wayne fan?

HALEY: “I don’t know. They didn’t know it a whole bunch until... I guess now they know.”

Q: It’s better than being a Barbara Streisand fan.

HALEY: “I’m a fan of hers, too. Everlong? Evergreen. Everlong is the Foo Fighters. See, Foo Fighters, I like the Foo Fighters. I’m versatile. I like a broad range.”

Q: Who is your all-time favorite?

HALEY: “Lil’ Wayne is up there. I like him. He’s good. He’s good. He thinks outside the box for sure.”

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