Q&A with Todd Haley 9/19

Posted Sep 19, 2011

OPENING REMARKS: “OK, had a chance now to go through the tape. I’ve said really along here [that there] won’t ever be real excuses for poor performances or poor outcomes. Really, what I’m concerned with and what the solution is is continued hard work and just better execution. I’ve said a number of times if you do certain things you’re not going to have a chance to win games, and we’ve got to stop doing some of those things. We’ve got to play smarter, we’ve got to protect the football, we’ve got to make plays when there’s opportunity to make plays and if we don’t do those things, we’ll have a hard time changing the result. That’s what we are doing. Nobody is going to work harder or prepare more thoroughly to try to make some of those necessary changes, and that’s where we are.”

Q: What is the root problem to turning the ball over?

HALEY: “The majority of the time it’s technique wanes for one reason or another and some of those things that you mentioned are sometimes why, but it comes back to technique. If you’re carrying the ball the proper way, you should not turn it over, in most cases. And why that technique suffers, sometimes it’s just a lack of doing it the right way, not having the sense of urgency to do it. Sometimes you’re doing it the right way, and like you said, you’re trying to get an extra yard or try to get to the first down marker or make somebody miss and then the technique slips. Like I said, in the cases here that we’ve seen at least from carrying the football and then losing it, it appears that it’s been technique.”

Q: What is the news on Jamaal Charles?

HALEY: “Not good. Jamaal will be placed on injured reserve. As I’ve said many times, we’ve got to pull together as a team, and injuries are a part of this game. It’s unfortunate directly for Jamaal because I know Jamaal had high hopes and was excited and had worked very hard to be ready to take this to the next level, and now he won’t be able to do that. I know he’s hurting pretty good inside; he was after the game and today. That’s first and foremost where my feelings go. But, as far as our team, we must step up as a team and move forward and find a way just to play better football in general.”

Q: Three weeks, three left knees. Coincidence?

HALEY: “Yeah, like I said, injuries are a part of the game, sometimes through preparation, sometimes through just freak happenings. We’ve seen a little bit of each.”

Q: Do you think your team is mad enough to come back from what’s happened the past two weeks?

HALEY: “You’ll have to ask those guys. I know they care, and that’s why I know that I believe in these guys and our team. We knew coming in to this year that it was going to be a little different and it was going to present challenges to us that we would have to overcome, and I think that’s where we are right now. We’ve had two rough weeks, but in reviewing both of those weeks, there are reasons why. As I said yesterday, it doesn’t take a great deal to see the things we’re doing that are causing us to lose the two games that we’ve lost. The key is that we change it and then the key is that you believe in your guys, and I believe this is an opportunity and we will take advantage of it. We’re 0-2 in the first quarter of the season. The leader in our division has one win, but we’re not looking there right now. We’re looking at trying to make a change to the things that we’re doing that are putting us in bad position because you just can’t do it and expect to win. That’s where we are.”

Q: Individual players in a lot of sports go back and watch tape of when they were doing well when they are in funks. Does that apply on a team level?

HALEY: “As it applies to who we’re playing, always. We go back years to look at things that we’ve done or how we did it or certain schemes, plays, whatever it is. I know I’ve referenced guys watching themselves play a number of times and I know you’ve got to always monitor where you are as a team and as individuals. But like I said, as it applies to what we’re doing now. This is a new year and we’re two games into it. We’ve just got to do some fundamental things better than we’ve been doing them.”

Q: Are you concerned for your job at all?

HALEY: “No. I’ve said this to a few people that that’s not something that I generally have worried about or thought about at whatever level or whatever I’ve been doing. I’ve kind of been raised that way and believe that way, that you focus on the task at hand, you focus on doing the things you can do to make improvements and do your job to the best of your ability. The NFL is a team results business. Teams will never be judged on individual results and that goes for coaches and players alike. I don’t think I think that way calling plays, I don’t think I think that way standing up for what’s right or wrong, in or outside the building. I think I go full steam ahead trying to be the best you can be and that usually solves a lot of problems.”

Q: What has your communication been with Scott Pioli and with Clark Hunt? Have they been encouraging to you? Do you feel like they’re supportive right now?

HALEY: “Absolutely. I’ve been excited about the opportunity to be here and for a reason, because of the leadership in place and the opportunity that gives you to have a chance to succeed. When you lose, it’s tough. When you win, it’s a lot better. Like I said, it’s a team results business. Right now, we’re 0-2 in the first quarter of the season and the head coach and I know the players and the staff will be doing everything within our power and have been to try to change the result.”

Q: Does it seem strange to you at all that just two weeks into a season after you won the division that you’re answering questions like that?

HALEY: “Again, not something that I really let use up too much of myself. My focus is on and will continue to be and has been on, ‘What can we do to be better?’ It was the same the first year, last year and this year. Right now, we’ve done some things that have caused us to lose a couple games. As I’ve said, we’ve got two more games just in this quarter alone to try to get better and make progress. The one this week is against a division rival that I know if we can go out and do the things that we need to do a lot better from an execution standpoint that we’ll all be feeling a lot different a week from now than we feel right now.”

Q: On fourth-and-one at their 48, were you going to go for it?

HALEY: “Yeah, we were going to go for it.”

GRETZ: What happened? Was it just miscommunication from sideline to huddle?

HALEY: “Communication. And you’ll find in times like this when you’re not playing the way you know that you’re capable of playing that it usually comes down to communication across the board, coach-to-coach, player-to-player, coach-to-player, player-to-coach. Communication is one of those things that we just have to continue to stay focused on because communication will have a great deal of impact on the outcome of each play, each series.”

Q: Why do you think it breaks down in situations like this?

HALEY: “I think it’s more you find that out. When execution or things don’t go the way that you had planned or practiced, then usually there was some sort of breakdown in the communication. Again, that’s what we work on and it’s always evolving within a team. I just know that the teams that play well communicate well and the teams that play poorly, generally, communication isn’t great. So, that’s something that will evolve as the year goes on each day and as coaches and as players you try to foster to the best of your ability to create good communication because once you’re out on the field and things are happening fast, you’ve got to be able to understand and almost feel before it happens what the guy beside you is going to do.”

Q: When you challenged McGraw’s fumble, did the box see something or were you just taking a stab in the dark?

HALEY: “No, the initial aspect of the challenge was that we thought there had been some contact. Now, whether that had occurred before he had possession or after was the question. But, immediately what jumped into my head when thinking about challenging it was that the outcome could be worse than what it was. In looking at it, it was probably the right call. I think the bigger question just was whether it was an interception at all, whether there was possession to begin with and whether it was going to be third-and-four or five or whether it was going to be – because of a change of possession – first-and-10 for them.”

Q: Were you really trying to freeze a 20-year veteran or did you just have one more timeout?

HALEY: “Again, we’re going to try everything that we can. I joked with the coaches that they just wanted to hear me get booed a little bit by the crowd. If you don’t – and we talked about it as a staff while it was going on because there was a good bit of time in there – and said maybe just let the field goal block team or rush team regroup, maybe get a little extra air and somebody come free, and it really almost was close to happening.”

Q: You said something about calling plays earlier. Are you calling plays again?

HALEY: “No, nothing has changed there. Bill [Muir] is the coordinator; he is the play-caller. We collaborate on it all week. We collaborate in-game. I was just speaking in general terms of, I think, the way that you call defenses, offenses. You’ve got to prepare to the fullest so that you feel confident that the decisions you make are the right ones. But, you can’t look back and I just know from experience that if you start second-guessing yourself you’re probably going to have a very little chance of success.”

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