Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley met with the media to answer questions regarding Larry Johnson and the team’s loss to the San Diego Chargers.
“I realize that probably there are going to be a lot of questions about a player of ours. At this time, we’re looking into a couple of situations and I will not have further comment on that. I will say that how our players conduct themselves with the media and through the media is very important to me as the head coach and to the Chiefs as an organization. That being said, again I appreciate your curiosity and desire to get information. That’s where I’ll leave that situation and get back to football which, right now, we’re 1-2 in the second quarter of the season.”
Do you have any theories for why the practices didn’t translate into a better performance?
“I don’t know if I have a theory. I don’t think there was a player on the team after we got off the field Friday that didn’t think we were going to have anything but a great chance to win the game. I think when the game didn’t start out positively or quickly went south it kind of caught some guys off guard and really threw some people off. That’s the closest I can come to a theory. We didn’t execute in all phases and you’re not going to have a chance to win if you don’t.”
What’s your bye week plans practice-wise to turn things around?
“I’m happy that it is the bye week because this is a much needed week for us to work on some things. We’ve got a load of things to work on obviously, but we’re going to do some self-scouting of ourselves – specifically offensively some of the minus plays and how we prevent those from occurring, when they’re happening, is it a scheme that we’re putting players in a poor position to succeed, is it certain players? Defensively, we’ve got figure out a way to prevent the big play because this is a recurring theme. It’s something that has to change. That’s the plan as far as studying and we’ll practice against each other in areas that we want to work on.”
Do you feel you have the full unquestioned faith of the players in the locker room?
“When you have at 1-5 your best week of practice I think that’s a pretty encouraging sign. I feel very good about the progress this team is making. It was not reflected in our performance yesterday and that’s the disappointing part. I’m very encouraged with the effort that was given on the field yesterday in all areas. I don’t think effort was an issue. I think that’s evidenced by a couple of goal-line stands. If you watched the tape when there was an interception and you see 300-pound linemen diving to try to knock a guy out of bounds on the one-yard line, I think those are encouraging signs that we’ve got some guys who care and are working to get better. Could we have more wins? I’d definitely not like to be sitting here at 1-6. But this is a process and losing is not going to be accepted and we’re going to get back to work tomorrow and get this team better.”
Very generally and not specific to this situation, what are your general thoughts on Twitter and guys posting things like this and expressing themselves in a public forum?
“Like I said in training camp, I’m confused. I understand text messages, the other I really don’t understand and that’s the honest to goodness truth. I’ve never looked at it or seen it. I ask the question every time the word comes up: what exactly is it? I understand this is a new age and there are a lot of different ways to communicate but I’m really worried about one thing and that’s trying to get this team going. That is my number one job and all that I really care about outside of the Man upstairs and my family.”
Will you try to educate yourself on what it is or give the guys an idea what might or might not be okay?
“I don’t know about educating myself. I think I’ll stick to what I said: how our men conduct themselves and how they represent the Chiefs is very important to me personally and to I know our owner and our general manager. That’s what is most important: how the Kansas City Chiefs represent themselves in the city of Kansas City and in the country.”
Have you ever questioned yourself or your coaching ability because you didn’t play the game?
“No. These are kind of old Sunday-afternoon-in-the-offseason-stories that you’re asking. I’m very proud of what I’ve done to get to where I am. I’m very proud of my results as a position coach, as a coordinator. Right now, am I proud of my head coaching record? No. But I intend to do everything I can to change that.”
When you watch the tape after the game, are you happy with the play-calling?
“No, anytime we lose I’m not happy with the play-calling. I’m just like anybody else. There are always things you feel you could do personally to have done to be better. It’s something I have to learn from and understand the players that we have. You have to understand as a coach and a play-caller what your players’ strengths are and what abilities they have and how you can best utilize them or best put them in a position to succeed. If we lose the way we did yesterday and I’m the head coach of course I’m very disappointed in my performance.”
What’s Rudy Niswanger’s injury situation?
“Rudy is having his knee looked at as we speak and we will know more about that injury later. It’s a significant injury of some sort but, hopefully, less significant than we initially thought.”
So Wade Smith is your center now?
“I would say when we go on the field tomorrow, but we are getting back together as a staff and we have some center potential. We’ve got to talk through some of those things. Andy Alleman has played center and we have a practice squad player who has played a lot of center. We have some center options, Wade being one of them.”
On Branden Albert:
“He was actually real close to playing last week. It went right down to Saturday and Sunday. We worked him out extra after the walkthrough on Saturday and then Sunday we had some more conversation about it. Hopefully, he’ll be back this week practicing and then a full week of practice for Jacksonville.”
On Jamaal Charles:
“I’ll say this about Jamaal: I think Jamaal’s starting to get it. He didn’t have a perfect day yesterday but Jamaal is kind of growing on me. I think he’s got a little more fight in him than I probably initially thought. I would see Jamaal continuing to get better. He had a chance to make a real big play in the game yesterday that we didn’t connect on which would have been a huge play at the time and kind of got us back into the game. We’ve kind of been incorporating him more and more into the game. Again, I like the direction Jamaal is heading and he obviously has some big play ability or we wouldn’t have him in some of those spots. He had two real nice carries in the game.”