Q&A with Todd Haley 9/5

Posted Sep 5, 2011

OPENING REMARKS: “OK, so our first day out there with our team for this year, as far as the 61 guys out there practicing. A tough couple days there for everybody involved. As I said a few times, we had a lot of guys that put a lot into it, that were a big part of helping us make progress through preseason training camp and very difficult to say goodbye or have to say goodbye or at least, ‘See you later’ for now to a bunch of those guys. So, we got through that and then got out there today, kind of a bonus day in our minds, bonus Monday, not really a Wednesday or a Thursday, kind of a little combination of both. We had a few competitive periods out there, [offense] versus [defense], but also were able to work on Buffalo on both sides of the ball. I thought it was productive, I thought we were [at] a good tempo, got a lot of good work. Now, it’ll be players day off tomorrow and we’ll be back on schedule Wednesday. And, just the one thing of note, Wednesdays this year – at least until further notice – we’ll be practicing in the afternoon, 1 o’clock on Wednesdays and then go back into the pre-lunch for Thursdays and Fridays, so just a heads up. Any questions?”

Q: What is the status of Matt Cassel?

HALEY: “He was out there practicing. I thought he did a good job. Again, this is the first real game plan day, so always some kinks to work through, but I thought we had a productive day across the board.”

Q: Any thoughts on the approach that you guys took in that last preseason game? Was the reward worth the risk?

HALEY: “I feel like we had a plan and a way that we wanted to handle a little different situation. I feel like we were able to move through the training camp and preseason in a very productive manner for our team as it relates to the 2011 season, which really is what training camp and the preseason is all about, is getting ready for the start of the season and for the entire season, really. You’re not putting all your eggs in one basket, so to speak, on the first game, but you’ve got to be ready to play and ready to win or ready to play your best game. How I felt about how we went through, I felt really good about it. The last game… How anybody else does it really doesn’t pertain to us. Like I said, we’ve got a very experienced staff. We had hours and hours of discussion through the offseason of how we wanted to do things, how it’s set up in relation to what we were trying to get done, and we followed along with that for the most part. I don’t know that there’s a training camp you get through without some injuries. Injuries are an unfortunate part of it. But, if you’re asking if that was why guys got hurt, no, in my opinion, and especially for where they got hurt in the game, anybody that was nicked up or worse. Since I’ve been in the league, which is going back into the ’90s, that fourth preseason game I’ve been places where we’ve played guys, starting left tackles entire games, where we’ve played quarterbacks up to the half. Again, I’m really not interested in how everybody else is doing it. It’s how we have to do things to get ready to play the season. We won’t know. We’ll know as the season plays out, so I don’t know that there’s any way you can really make an accurate assessment of our preseason right now.”

Q: Had you been more efficient in Week 3 against the Rams…

HALEY: “No correlation.”

Q: You still would have done what you did in Week Four?

HALEY: “That was kind of how we laid the plan out. And part of that was the playing time as it related throughout the other three games. There’s no doubt you have to get guys game ready and ready to play. In those early preseason games, we physically were just not ready. We didn’t feel like… Most everything we did pertained to injuries and trying to do our best to prevent them by knowing that if our guys were in core shape or as close to core shape condition as we could get them, that we would have a better chance to practice and play in an efficient, healthy manner.”

Q: Had Matt taken that shot in Week Three instead of Week Four, he obviously would have had more time to recover and get ready for Sept. 11 as opposed to the risk you take Week Four.

HALEY: “I don’t know whether he can handle the shot in Week Three. There’s no way… Again, it’s pure speculation. We did, like I said, we put a lot of thought, time, energy into trying to figure out what was best for the Kansas City Chiefs and our players. When you start talking about quarterbacks, you’re talking about the line. So, then you’ve got to start talking about is the entire front line or the core guys that you do have some trust in at that point in the preseason need to be playing when the quarterback is playing. Again, it was well thought out. I think it went according to plan. Injuries are going to occur. It’s a tough part of the business, but show me a preseason where that didn’t happen and I thought for the most part we were able to get through the preseason in a pretty healthy manner.”

Q: Will Cassel play against Buffalo?

HALEY: “Again, I won’t talk about any of those things. He was out there, he practiced, he was moving around and I thought did a good job.”

Q: Was he a full participant in practice?

HALEY: “Yeah, he was full. I mean we don’t have to get to that, but I’ll… Since I’m so nice, I’ll say yeah, he was a full practice today.” [laughter]

Q: If you had to go to Tyler [Palko] either to start or come in, do you feel like he’s ready to go in and win an NFL game?

HALEY: “Yeah, I thought it was one of the areas that I was even more encouraged about than some other areas, was the quarterback deal because we talked openly early on that we were going in with a little less experienced bunch. But, I thought through preseason and training camp, really the entire process that both guys made significant process. It was very important for us to get Tyler in there with some core guys for probably the first time in his career. He was able to do that a few different times, which I thought was really good for us as a coaching staff in our evaluation of him. And I thought the end of the game situation there in Green Bay, that was great stuff just as far as for the entire team, defense having to get a stop, offense… some of the things that we practice out there that you can never quite simulate that game feel, overcoming some penalties, some drops, moving the ball into a position, and really, that’s all that drive was about, getting into position that we could have an attempt at a kick to potentially win the game. Again, thinking about the regular season, if we’re in a situation like that, that was just excellent, excellent situational football. Which, this year, situational football is always important, but I think there’ll be even a greater premium on it, and I’m talking about third down, red area, two-minute situational football will have a huge impact. And I think the teams that are able to be smart and handle some of those situations will have a chance to succeed.”

Q: Why do you think it will be greater?

HALEY: “I just think less preparation, less time. So, I think if you can be real efficient in those areas with your entire squad, with everybody being on the same page, then I think it may be just a little more advantage than it generally is, and it always is a great advantage. That’s why we practice it. That’s why we work so hard. You always see us with situation periods, but even just the baseline situational football, third down, red, two-minute I think will be even a little more critical.”

Q: How do you feel about your tight ends without Tony Moeaki now?

HALEY: “Any time somebody goes down, it’s difficult and tough and there’s feelings involved, all those things. Because again, Tony had put a lot in to trying to be ready and it kind of was just a fluke deal on top of that, which was really frustrating and disappointing. Injuries are a part of this game. Like I said, that Green Bay team, we played them last year in the last [preseason] game here at Arrowhead and we think we’re playing their backups, well, when they’re playing in the Super Bowl about 15 of those guys were starters because another 15 were on the IR. So, I think that’s a great example, and one point that I made to our team is you don’t know if you’re playing Kurt Warner when you’re playing him. Our guys, we need to step up. When those things occur, somebody needs to step up and take over that position and allow our team to keep moving forward, and that’s what’s going to happen.”

Q: Knowing that a final roster is seldom final, you have only seven offensive linemen, does that number concern you?

HALEY: “I don’t look at it as seven. This practice squad is a big deal to us and we try to have guys over there that we’re getting ready, and obviously, if something came up, we’d have to be ready to make moves within a week as you lead up to games. We’re not just at seven. We’ve got a couple guys over on the practice squad. But, like any position, anybody we think is out there that has a chance to come in and upgrade and improve the competition, eyes will be open. I feel good about the guys that we have on our team right now, the guys that are on the active roster, and I feel good about the young guys that are over on the practice squad. It’s still part of the team. We’re in developmental mode with a bunch of guys right now, just trying to develop our players so that they’re ready to step in if called upon.”

Q: You mentioned Buffalo earlier. Knowing Chan [Gailey] likes to use a lot of different formations, different quarterbacks, are they any more difficult to prepare for than a regular game?

HALEY: “I’ll cover Buffalo a little more on Wednesday for sure. They’re a developing team also, not a lot different than us. They have a lot of unique talent players on both, all sides of the ball, including special teams, that can hurt you in a number of different ways. Like I said, I’ll get into them more fully. They have weapons and they obviously are a well-coached team that knows how to use the weapons. That’s what we’re working on right now, and everybody is just really excited that this is regular season mode. They’ve been chomping at the bit for this week to get here, and like I said, I’m happy with the guys that are here and the work that they’ve done to this point. But, we’ve got a lot of work to do here and thankfully have an extra day, but today was a good work day.”

Q: Can you talk about the importance of the opener?

HALEY: “I think any time you’re able to start fast, that’s very good for your team. It may be even a little more critical this year. I don’t know that for sure. Just kind of the way we feel, starting fast, coming out of the blocks will be very important for every team in the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs included. The fact that we’re at home, the fact that it’s an AFC opponent, those all just add into the sense of urgency that we need to have as we prepare here throughout this week getting ready for Sunday.”

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