Following Chiefs practice in Kansas City today, Todd Haley met with the media. Here are the highlights:
On Derrick Johnson:
“There’s no doubt that Derrick has a lot of ability. Has he played to that ability? No, I don’t think in my opinion and for a lot of different reasons and one of those being the inability to be able to stay healthy through a season. Derrick is fighting through right now; he’s fighting through some nagging things. I think he’s back to where he feels pretty good. He needs to turn it up; we need to get the most out of the Derrick Johnsons on this team.”
This organization has been down since two years before you got here. Is one of the things you have to guard against the culture of losing setting in?
“Yeah, it’s throughout the whole building. It’s not just the players; it’s not just the coaches. It’s marketing, it’s everybody. It’s human nature to fall into that trap. Now, again I’m grateful for my past experience having been places that have turned around a lot of losses going all the way back to the New York Jets who were 1-15, 2-14 back-to-back to 9-7 to 12-4. I was there. I got to see it and be part of it. Even the Chicago Bears from 5-11 to 13-3. The Dallas Cowboys had really fallen on hard times and while we never got to where we wanted to, a fumbled snap on a field goal, or who knows what happens that year. Arizona, there is no greater example. There weren’t a lot of people in that building that believed things were going to change. It was, ‘oh, here comes another group of coaches. Here we go again.’”
What’s your concern that you don’t have a rushing touchdown? What does that say about the offense?
“Right now, our number one (problem) putting everything else aside is we need to eliminate minus plays whether that’s a penalty, a minus yardage run or a sack. We need to eliminate that. I guarantee and I’m looking for the stat right now but we’re probably last. We’re doing some good things. We’re number one on punt, number one kickoff, net average punt we’re number one. There are some good things going on, but right now minus yardage plays ain’t one of them. When you have a minus yardage play in a drive your chances of getting a first down go down dramatically. So, forget running down in the Red Zone. Forget all that stuff and concentrate on minus yardage plays and eliminating those and those other things will take care of themselves. Period.”
What are your thoughts on the old AFL and how do you feel about the throwback uniforms you’ll wear this weekend?
“I had some old helmets growing up and jerseys and things like that. I saw them at the owners meeting and I think it’s cool stuff, some of them are awesome, ours being one of them. Those AFL guys, and Mr. Hunt being the main one, to fight and stay alive to keep it going and get it to where it is today is a big part of why we’re all here. I think it’s great. I wore a couple of shirts and hats in training camp and I like wearing them.”
Do you get the feeling that this game means a little bit more to Clark Hunt and his family?
“I just think because of the history it’s probably natural. All the Hunts, and I talked to Norma after the game, it was something that meant a lot to her husband and to (Clark and Dan’s) father. I think that’s just natural for them to carry that on. That this is the anniversary adds hype to it. But I don’t know if there is anything more important right now for us than to get a win.”