OPENING REMARKS: “We finished our first full week of OTAs, but we have an extremely long way to go. I think we had a very good week and definitely made progress in the areas that we need to be making progress. We got three substantial lifts which were very good and we got three pretty good run days, with today being a big run day, I think you guys might have left by then, but had a really good run knowing we’re going into a little bit of a long weekend. We’ll have the rookies here tomorrow and then we’ll be back at it Monday.”
Q: How can you compare the level of fitness now to where the team was last year now that you’ve been with them for three days?
HALEY: “I don’t think it’s close. It’s not even close. So many of these guys, you can’t even talk about weights, it’s guys that may be similar weights that they were at this time last year but they’re in so much better condition. We’ve really had a good off-season to this point and I think the guys are excited, energized, it’s fun to be around them all, there is a great overall energy to the group and again, this is a good time.”
Q: Your linebackers have been a big question. Are there certain guys that you think right now could play both inside and outside or guys that weren’t playing linebacker last year like DE
HALEY: “I don’t know about specifics but there definitely are a couple guys that we’ve had those internal discussions, that I’ve had with the coaches about somebody that looks like they have a chance to have some versatility in that area. It’s tough to find that person that can do both but there may be a couple guys that have some versatility. Right now the most important thing is that they continue to lift and run and work on that side of it and they get indoctrinated into the system, the new guys, and really everybody gets a real good understanding of what we’re asking them to do as far as scheme and I feel like that, at least through the first week, that’s been accomplished.”
Q: Are you guys considering moving DE
HALEY: “I think you saw out there where he’s playing. He’s a potentially versatile player, there’s no doubt about it, but right now he’s where he is and he’s had a very good off-season. He’s light-years ahead of where he was last year, at least from the physical conditioning standpoint and that’s given him a chance to be out there and really work hard at trying to be an impact player for us.”
Q: It seems in the 3-4 scheme the body types for defensive ends and defensive tackles are very different. How do you manage where his body needs to be if you want to move him along at one spot or the other spot?
HALEY: “I think the number one thing is you try to figure out where each player best helps you and right now that’s where he is, the defensive end position. Again, he’s working hard and learning and meeting with the rest of the guys and to me is making progress. I think that’s the most important, find out what you think each guy does to be his best for us as a team.”
Q: With Dorsey, is there any sort of timetable because of the different body types between the defensive end and defensive tackle positions?
HALEY: “No I don’t think you’d ever think that way and if there was any movement from any players in situations like that it would be down the line and I don’t think weight would ever be an issue. He’s continuing to work to get into the condition that he needs to be in and that would be the same, whichever spot he’s playing. He’s got enough bulk and size to do either-or and if it got to a point where to get our best 11 on the field we felt like moving somebody would help that happen, than that’s when it would occur.”
Q: Are you trying to get him in the same condition and weight that he was in last year, not trying to bulk him up a lot?
HALEY: “Yeah, just further ahead of schedule, where last year it was happening at the back end. I think I’ve talked about it, when you get into guys cutting weight or losing weight at the back end, the body’s not acclimated to that weight, your energy levels are affected, all kinds of things, so the earlier you’re in the condition and at the weight you want to be or close to it, then you can get to your peak performance weight and condition, then the better.”
Q: How much do you think that affected the players, getting acclimated to the new body weight?
HALEY: “I think it did. It definitely affects guys because you’re different but I don’t think it was a major issue, it just takes some time. I think what I said was you have to learn to play with real good technique in some of those bulk situations – when you’re real big and heavy you can get away with things and you tend to play a little more upright. I’m not speaking specifically to T Branden (Albert), but I just believe that for guys to play four quarters and to be at their best, they’ve got to be at a weight that best suits them and for some guys it’s heavier than others. That’s not an exact science either; you’re always trying to figure out what is best: what’s heavy; how heavy can this guy be without being too heavy and on the other side, not being too light.”
HALEY: “I don’t know exactly, Nick. The ball today, the one that I remember him dropping is not necessarily an easy catch when receivers are running towards the quarterback across the line of scrimmage, that’s one of the more difficult catches in my opinion. If it’s offline a little bit it becomes even a little more difficult. Drops are going to happen. Every ball is not going to be caught, the key is to minimize it, keep it at the small end as best you can and the guys are working hard at it and that part of the game, these guys haven’t spent a lot of time together – we’ve done some throwing, but not a lot and I think if you worry too much about some of that stuff right now I think you’re going to miss what this part of the year is about.”
Q: Are you at all worried about the progress of the defensive line and the ability to put pressure on the quarterback?
HALEY: “I think we made progress last year but we obviously were not where we needed to be to be a really good defense. That is something we have to do through scheme, through players developing and improving, we have to continue to push and work on creating pressure. It can come from a lot of different places. That has to improve and that is a really clear-cut goal of ours that the area has to improve to at least create pressure on the quarterback, not necessarily sacks and that statistic. We have to create pressure and ultimately create minus plays.”
Q: Are there things you have learned from last year that you are taking with you going into this season?
HALEY: “I think you better learn, especially in the position that I am in. As I said, there is no textbook that you can read to learn. Some of it is learning on the fly, but from a comfort level, as with everyone involved, having that year under your belt is a big thing. It is a big thing for me as the head coach. I feel like I am much further along and I feel like our players are much further along. They are in better condition, they are practicing more, we have been able to acclimate and integrate young guys into the mix that now have true veterans in our system to watch and learn from and do it the way they are supposed to do it. So from that standpoint, I just feel like we are clearly much further ahead and things are operating the way they need to operate.”
HALEY: “To be honest with you, there weren’t a lot of discussions. I talked to all of the players at one time or another. I was on the same page with them and right as the season ended I had a feel for how this was going to go and who to expect here. I wasn’t real worried about that. It is just good to have them out here and it is very good for the team. We are lifting in the morning, then we break up offense and defense. The defense is meeting, the offense is lifting and then they switch. This is really my first opportunity to watch just the offense working together in the weight room and then the defense comes in and I get to watch them work together in the weight room. There is no doubt when you have a presence like G Brian Waters and LB Mike Vrabel that there is a positive impact along with the guys who have shown clear leadership for us. They are making that step and from last year at this point, it is not close, that is all I can say there. There is a different vibe and energy in there. Not that last year was negative in any way, there were positive (vibes) and I was excited last year. With a year under my belt and now a baseline to compare it to, I know we are ahead.”
Q: Is it possible to put a set number on what may be the perfect number of carries for an NFL running back?
HALEY: “I think Jamaal is a great example of that last year. We probably set a number and we had a number when he started playing a bunch and he broke that barrier every week. The lesson I learned from that is that maybe we don’t set a number, just use your common sense, your instinct and at times, it is going to be playing the hot guy, the guy who is running well. At times it is going to be a game plan we have set. That goes for anything, not just running backs, receivers, backs and tight ends. There may be guys that do some things better than other guys and that is for us as coaches to come up with that plan.”
Q: What went into the decision to bring C
HALEY: “For us it wasn’t bringing him back because I was with Casey in New York. It was like any other player, it was no different than any of these guys we acquired in the off-season. We are working on all players that are available at all times and there are guys right now that tapes are going around, we are having discussions about and that is just the process that we have gone through and are going to continue to go through. If there are players that we think can improve us and make us a better team, give us a chance to win games and improve our overall team, we are going to do everything we can. You are going to get some and you are not going to get some others and that is the way it is. We just did our due diligence on him and had the coaches look, I looked, Scott (Pioli) looked and we came up to a decision on whether this is a guy we think can help us and in Casey’s case, we did and so he is here.”
Q: Why do you think Wiegmann can help this team?
HALEY: “I think he is a talented offensive lineman that has some position versatility. From my past experience with him, he is a natural leader. I like those kinds of guys. He is smart and he can play.”
Q: The one guy not here is S
HALEY: “I am just going to talk about the guys that are here and I am really excited about the guys that are here.”
Q: Can you talk about LB
HALEY: “Cory is a guy, no different than Casey, that got on the radar and I think in his case he sent out tapes and videos to every team. I am not sure who it started with whether it was coach (Steve) Hoffman or our scouting department but the tapes started circulating around the building and all of us ended up watching it saying this guy might be able to help us. He is a unique size/speed combination. He is here and he wanted to be here and we will see where it goes from there.”