Todd Haley Postgame Comments

Posted Oct 31, 2010


Opening Statement: “It was a hard-fought game for our young, transitioning team. There were multiple valuable lessons to be learned from and I’m very happy the result was what it was, specifically today, so that some of those lessons can be learned a little easier. That really is across the board, coaching included. I’m really proud of the guys. I was impressed by the Buffalo team, a team that’s fighting like heck to trying to get a win each week. It’s evident on tape. It was evident all week as we prepared for this team. All of my fears were legitimate leading up to the game and Buffalo didn’t disappoint. But I’m impressed, proud, happy with our guys that they were able to go out there and stick together. Some bad things occurred, you didn’t see any kind of indication that our guys were affected by it and that’s real important for us as we go forward. All we really cared about was getting to 2-1 in this quarter, to give ourselves a chance to potentially get to three (wins in the second quarter), which is our goal, so it kept us in a position to do that. I’m real impressed with everybody’s effort and play, everything they put into that game but, specifically, some of our young guys that were asked to step up today and some that hadn’t played a whole bunch and others that have been playing that were still asked to step up and make plays for us. I think you saw a bunch of those plays were pretty obvious throughout the game that ultimately gave us a chance to win. I thought we ran the heck out of the ball. I thought our quarterback played really, really smart for the most part. We did some of those same things that have put us in a position to stay in games and have chances to win games. We just did a few other things that put us in jeopardy, but it’s a big win for the Kansas City Chiefs. It is a very big win. We’re going to get back at it tomorrow and get ready for an AFC West division team that looks like it’s becoming better also.”


Are you relieved Ryan Succop made the field goal at the end of overtime and did it get you off the hook after not kicking the FG earlier in the game? “I’m relieved that we won, but it would be a normal feeling for me. I wanted to win bad. I’m assuming you’re referring to field goal … we’re doing things a certain way. It’s very critical to our team success as we go forward, not necessarily today, small, short term, long term, some long term decisions. I just wish we would have done a little better job in both areas, both execution and making things go, not putting ourselves in quite such a difficult position. There are a lot of factors that go into those decisions that I’m not going into but one of them is that I thought today there was a pretty significant wind, clearly making kicks difficult throughout the game. The wind today was interesting because it was coming from the opposite direction of what it normally does; going a certain direction is something that we were a little more concerned about, but that was a big step for the Kansas City Chiefs.”

Looking back, would you try it again that way? “If you’re going to tell me the result, I’ll tell you what I would have done. Did we make it or did we not make it? If we weren’t going to make it I would not do it again, absolutely not, but if we’re going to make it then I’d do it.”

Is there an art to icing the kicker? “I was just happy we had (Leonard) Pope in there. That’s what I was happy about. This icing the kicker thing, I guess, must be one of those things you have to have a lot of experience to get good at. I’ll openly, honestly say I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to icing the kicker. I saw (Buffalo Head Coach) Chan (Gailey) going down the sideline on that last one and he was faking us out. I was thinking, ‘A kicker can’t see that,’ I don’t know, maybe there’s something to it. I’ll be right up front and say I’m a work in progress in a lot of areas; icing the kicker is definitely one of them.”

On fourth downs, can you explain why you feel it’s so important that it seems like the Chiefs do it so differently than what the norm is in the NFL: “I really can’t because I do think from a competitive standpoint there would be enough things [to take into consideration when making the call], but somebody could have an awareness of what was going on at different times, which I just don’t feel comfortable talking about. It’s still football though. You have to take into account the game and how each side of the ball is playing, what you feel like you’re going to be able to do, weather conditions, all those things. I think there’s a lot to take into account. You try to make the best decision possible at the time, but also some of the areas that I can’t or won’t delve into have an effect and there’s some moving parts that I don’t feel comfortable going into.”

Was there a chance you were going to go for it on fourth and one from your own 29 late in the fourth quarter (following the timeout): “There was a totally different circumstance, though. One that, now you’re talking about inches. You know that if you punt that ball away, you potentially are not going to see the ball again and at that point you start to factor in…we were running the ball at a major clip for a bunch of yardage and the hard part is that the play was run and the timeout was called so that’s the easy one. I made the decision sooner that we were not going to go for it; that we were going to make Buffalo go the distance…That’s why you saw some indecision. That’s one of those coaching things that I’m talking about. You’re in the game and I don’t like to get far away from the initial intent or game plan. There’s going to be adjustments but that’s not one of them. You’re starting to put some factors at play that you have planned and [worked on] in practice.”

On Ryan Succop’s mindset, especially after missing the first field goal attempt in overtime: “Ryan’s a tough-minded guy. It’s one of the reasons we really liked him last year and wanted to get him on our team. I think the first kick he hit it really good, there was clearly a major gust of wind that you could feel rise up. I’ve watched him kick enough. That thing just boomeranged to the left. I think he understood that and he understood that he did what he wanted to do and just missed it. That’s going to happen, but it wasn’t a situation of where he got out of his game plan. He did it exactly the way he wanted to do it. There was a factor there that he didn’t quite account for or wasn’t able to account for. I thought he was going to make that one and I thought he was going to make the one he made. I like Ryan and I know his teammates like him a lot and he’s a good teammate.”

Does he understand that sometimes he’s not going to be called on? Is it usually obvious? “That’s one of those things that the entire team is aware of. I would not do that…there’s a strong mental capacity needed to be a kicker in the NFL and a little different than other positions. I wouldn’t want to be anything but clear with my kicker, punter, defense, offense, quarterback, running backs, of what our intentions are.”

On the lessons to be learned, mentioned in the opening statement: “I’d like to re-group. Tomorrow I will probably have some answers closer to reality. Right now that was a big, big win for us. The feeling I have is one that there were some opportunities to do a better job of coaching in that game and not the obvious. I feel very comfortable with decisions that were made and some of them are a little more non-obvious that I think could have been better, across the board. We had chances to make plays in that game and have things come out a little different, but I think there were a lot of positives and that’s progress for the Kansas City Chiefs. I feel that strongly. We took another step in the direction we are going, which is keeping that arrow pointing up and continuing to make progress. I feel strongly about that statement.”

On rookie TE Tony Moeaki’s catches on the game-winning drive: “He’s one of those young guys, but you can’t talk about Tony without talking about Jon Asamoah that got his first real opportunity to play in the NFL in a real game. I have to believe that seeing our quick rushing total and some of the things we were able to do moving the ball. Though we didn’t score the points we would have liked, Jon had a big, big part of that. Tony was a big part of that and Eric Berry, Javier (Arenas), I saw all these young guys out there, first and second-year guys specifically, Kendrick (Lewis) also. They made plays and made enough plays to win and that’s why we won. We had enough guys step up at critical times and make plays for our team.”

Does your record reflect how good you are? “I don’t know that. I know we are still a team in transition, but we’re not there yet. We took a big step here today. It will be a real important game for us when we look back at our team. I’m not talking about standings or where we end up. I’m talking about for our team and the core of our team that will be a game that I feel we’ll look back on. I don’t know when we will look back on it, it might be this year, next year, or the year after that game will be one that a lot of these guys will keep in their memory bank. It will be a big part of, when we talk about foundation, this will clearly be one of the cinder blocks in our foundation and it will probably be one of the bigger ones. I am very much in the present tense. What I was interested in was get to 2-1 in and giving us a chance to get to 3 in this quarter. We have to go on the road this week against Oakland, a team that looks like they’re playing good football. So that’s what I was concerned with. At the same time, 5-2 will have no bearing on what we do next week. You don’t win games just because people think you’re going to win games. You win games because you play better than your opponent and we know the things we have to do – we did a lot of those things in this game. But we did enough things that we have to get cleaned up that can’t happen at other times for us to win.”

Is the significance just that the team endured? “We’ve used this word ‘will’ around here all year – ‘Chiefs Will’ – to see guys walking out the tunnel and touching the wall, and believing it and understanding it…It’s not magic, it’s just a mindset. I think you saw some of that mindset today – of just doing whatever it takes and not allowing our will to be broken as a team. That’s what I’m really proud of. There will be, as in every game, a bunch of things that we can do to continue making progress and that’s encouraging. This was a great example of a non-pretty football game that kind of suites us well. I think guys understand it and we have to move forward.”

On how much not having WR Dexter McCluster hindered the club: “I don’t know. I know he has been making progress all week. We were a pretty productive offense today; we ran the ball for a ton of yards. Now we had overtime but I’ve got to believe we were close to 200 at the end of regulation. That’s three weeks in a row of 200 rushing yards. I’ve never been on a team that’s done that. That’s big and when you protect the ball and do those types of things it allows you to do other things that then can help you get better and better, when you’re operating that way.”

On the significance of playing two consecutive divisional road games coming up: “Each game’s bigger than the next for us. When you’re making progress like we’re making and we’ve been able to have some of these games come out the way they have, more in our favor than not in our favor, each of the games gets bigger each week. This was a huge game to us. There had not been a bigger game this year, than playing here today in front of our fans, on Halloween and on military appreciation day, against an AFC opponent. The crazy thing is that next week will be bigger. That’s just life when you’re trying to become a good team. That’s life that good teams face on a weekly basis, year in and year out. Each game’s bigger than the next. We’re interested in getting to three wins in this quarter, that’s our goal each and every quarter of the season. And we have chance to do it. We did it in the first quarter. Now we’ve given ourselves an opportunity by stringing a couple of wins together to do it in the second quarter.”

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