Q&A: Todd Haley 10/5

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley met with the media today to talk about yesterday’s loss to the Giants.  Here are the highlights:

Third downs on offense continue to be a problem. You made it an emphasis last week. More of an emphasis this week?

“Yeah, that’s all you can do.  Now, on fourth down we were 75% which, to me, I factor into the equation.  At least we were reasonable counting those, but that doesn’t help you on third down.  We put an emphasis on it last week.  We did more third downs Wednesdays than we have in the past.  We had an extra period Thursday and we had an extra period Friday.  Thought we did an excellent job in practice in that area but it didn’t translate to the game.  We’ve just got to keep chopping wood on it and I feel like we’ll get something going.”

Are you going to stick with Jamaal Charles as your kick-return guy and your third down guy?

“We’ll have to see where we’re at personnel-wise.  We just went through the game as a staff and we’ll talk about that as the week progresses.  But starting the game that way hurts morale – hurts like a dagger in your abdomen.  Not any way you want to start a game and especially since it wasn’t a big hit or a great play by a defensive player.  I feel like we kind of served it up for them and we can’t do it.  Jamaal was very remorseful about it.  He told his teammates that and we’ve just got to move forward.”

He’s had trouble with fumbles before and you’ve talked about the necessity of consistent performance from guys.  Is that a dilemma for you because he does have big play ability?

“Yeah, and he showed it.  A couple of the other returns were pretty good.  One of those would have been real big had we got one more block.  We just have to work on the technique.  We have the gauntlet out there that we run through twice a week.  We talk about protecting the football and how you’ve got to do it.  We just got to work harder at it.  We’ve talked about margin of error around here and we can’t do those things like that against a good football team.  It generally gets you beat.  Now, I feel like we rebounded from it.  They scored a touchdown but we had a chance to get the game back to even pretty quick.  But just from a momentum and feel and enthusiasm that hurts you.”

On Derrick Johnson:

“Derrick has been nursing a little bit of an injury and been on and off the injury report.  I think that set him back a little bit.  We had a plan for Derrick and we ran the plan and it ended up not being a lot of plays because of the type of game we were in.  But we need him healthy and at full speed and playing at a high level.”

Your team is 0-4 and this franchise has been struggling these past few years.  How do you prevent the team from imploding or losing its focus?

“That’s coaching.  We are 0-0 as far as I’m concerned.  And that’s what we’ve got to do as a team.  We’ve got to understand that the second quarter of the season begins today.  It’s all even and that’s the only way we can think.  That’s the way I think our team is going to think and how we’re going to prepare.  Our number one goal right now is to beat the Dallas Cowboys.  That’s it.  Period.”

What do you think in the first four games that have aided the process and strengthened the program?

“I think that yesterday’s game, although a major disappointment, had some encouraging things.  I think our defense made some progress.  I think our defense is starting to work together a little bit.  Were they perfect?  No.  Can we give up 27 points and expect to win?  Not usually.  But I saw some encouraging signs from them.  Offensively, we have to be better across the board.  We need to start working together as an offensive unit.  I think we have played good teams – three of them that were in the playoffs last year and will probably be there again this year.  We have seen some really good competition and I think that’s a good thing for us.  We’ve seen some really good personnel.  Yesterday, for instance, a couple of those pass rushers are as good as you’ll see.  All those things should help us.”

Do you see pressure your QB is under hurting him?

“No, I don’t think so.  I think the kid is a tough, competitive guy who fought it out yesterday.  We had some dropped balls on some better throws than others and on some lesser throws.  But it’s an across-the-board thing.  That’s what I’m talking about: the offense needs to start working together as a team and looking out for each other a little more.  I think that’s what good teams and good units do.  We need to make those plays, period, whether it’s a little bit better throw or catch.  There were plays in yesterday’s game that to me would have greatly affected the outcome or at least the immediate outcome.”

You spread out your offense down near the Giants goal-line.  Was that more of what the Giants were doing than what you wanted to do?

“We were in goal-line formation three times and were probably spread out three times.  No, it was just the game plan but the big factor in the two situations was time.  We were 27-3 one time down there and 27-9 another time.  Just common sense-wise I’ve been in games where you’ve had to come back and when you are down that far and you’re trying to win the game – which we were definitely trying to do – you’re going to have to do some things to conserve time.  A run down there that doesn’t score uses approximately 35 to 40 seconds sometimes as opposed to a pass that can use four seconds if it’s incomplete.  I was in a game, the Jets-Dolphins, the Midnight Miracle game, where when you’re trying to come back from that type of deficit time is critical.  You’ve got to do some things you maybe not normally do in a little tighter game.”

On Jovan Belcher:

“He still needs to get his feet under him a little bit.  He’s wired up out there but that’s one of the things I like about him.  I thought performance-wise there was enough there to let me think we’ve got a guy that can be a player for us.  He’s made an incredible transition.  He’s a natural football player that’s got very good instincts, incredible rare transition that a lot of guys don’t do, especially coming from Maine which is even a bigger adjustment.  We’re nothing but encouraged.”

How do you see yourself as a head coach after the first quarter of the season?

“It’s a process and I’d like to think I’ve learned a ton after four games and, hopefully, that I’m able to use it better for this team.  I’ve said, don’t complain, don’t explain, find solutions.  I was taught that a long time ago as a young kid and I really try to follow it.  I’m not going to make excuses.  We’ve just got to find solutions, find ways to get better and, hopefully, those experiences we’ve been through to this point that I’m able to get better.  My ego isn’t a factor in it.  I’ll stand up and apologize as I’ve shown.  I’ll do it to players and to anybody.  Ego is not going to be a factor.  I want to get better so I can help this team be its best.  I expected a great, great challenge and when the schedule came out I expected even a greater challenge.”

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