Following Chiefs practice today in Kansas City, Todd Haley met with the media. Here are the highlights:
“As I start here, I’d like to recognize that it is Veterans Day. I have a couple of people who are close in my life that are veterans and I know it’s an important day to recognize all those people who make sacrifices including their lives and families.”
Mike Goff went to injured reserve today. What does that do to the offense and offensive line in general?
“Mike is an important piece to us who we signed in the offseason to help a lot of these young guys figure out how to do it. Disappointing that his season is over; I know he is disappointed. But as we’ve said, injury is a part of this game. We actually were a little heavy at offensive line so I feel that last week Andy [Alleman] stepped in and played and he missed a couple of plays but fought back and finished the game strong. We’ll have to carry on. Guys have to step in.”
Did Rudy Niswanger participate fully today?
“Yeah. Made it through the game, got to take your hat off to that guy. That’s a pretty impressive comeback. That’s a sign of somebody who wants to be on the field, wants to be part of it. Those are the kind of guys we’re looking for.”
Is Kolby [Smith] come along to a point where he can be the starter?
“He’s got four weeks now and that’s almost a training camp. He’s worked really hard so I wouldn’t put it past him. I’m still trying to keep it within reason and not have the expectations too high and understand what the situation is. But I would say Kolby Smith is the type of guy who could surprise you.”
That first Raiders game statistically was about as strange as any I’ve seen. Is that something you’ve looked at this week?
“You’d like to win those games and statistics say you generally do close to 85% of the time. Just being plus [in giveaway-takeaway] is an interesting stat for our team. We’ve been in the plus category four times and you win 80% of those games – it’s eight out of 10 generally if you end up in the plus home or road. You’re going to win eight out of 10 of those and it hasn’t worked out that way for us. Going back to the bye week we’ve looked closely at ourselves and there are some interesting things about our team. Defensively, we’re in the top seven or eight in forcing three-and-outs – the top seven or eight in the league. Every team ahead of us in that particular category is a winning team. We’re not a winning team and something’s happening. I think it’s pretty clear to everybody that the big plays are the killers on defense. When we give up big plays in the passing games specifically that’s what’s causing us to lose.
“Offensively, we’re number one in [fewest] giveaways – us and New England. Seven times we’ve given the ball away. Generally that’s a winning stat. Generally if through eight games you give the ball away seven times you’re usually a winning team.
“So, we’re forcing three-and-outs, not giving the ball up, and we’re losing games. To me, we’ve got to create some more turnovers on defense and that would help us and it comes back to the minus plays. We’re now slowly starting to climb the ladder. We were dead last and there wasn’t anybody close. But we’ve climbed into the pack at least. Last week was very good in the first half and then four minus play in the second half and you see what happened. We need to continue to get that right.
“We’ve got to continue not to turn the ball over. We’ve got to not have minus plays which we’ll get us into the Red area more, I’ve got to believe. So, there are some interesting things but stats are for losers. Still, we’ve got to look at what will make this team better and I think there are some pretty obvious things that will help the team along.”
How are the Raiders a different team this time around?
“When we met them they were pretty healthy. They got banged up in our game but they’re getting healthy again which is important for them. Sounds like they’re getting the running back back and Gallery is a big piece of their offensive puzzle. They’re a team that has had some real good games and probably some games they’re not happy with. To me, you get a team that can beat that Philadelphia Eagles team that’s a big win for them.
“We’re working our backsides off to find a way to get a win. T he most important thing is what do we have to do to get that done? That’s what coaching is. It’s not just drawing it up on paper and saying we need to do this and if we don’t say we had the plan and they didn’t do it. That’s not it. We’ve got to find a way to maximize our players and minimize our weaknesses. If we can do that we’ll be pretty good coaches and we’ll be a team that competes every week and has a chance to win.”
Any thoughts on going into the Black Hole in Oakland?
“I grew up hating the Raiders, but I like going there. There’s nothing like coming in on the bus into that parking lot. I don’t think there is another place quite like it. There’s no telling what you’ll see. I never like being on the road but it is an adventure from walking out of the tunnel on.”