Following Chiefs practice today in Kansas City, Todd Haley met with the media. Here are the highlights:
You said Sunday after the game that having a chemistry between the QB and the wide receiver was overrated. How so?
“Because we picked a guy up off the street [Chambers] and hit him for two touchdowns. I was kind of making a sarcastic comment in the mood that I was in.
“Obviously that’s important, the more they work together, to get those guys on the same page. We do a lot of things to get those guys on the same page. I started [something] back in 1997, in an effort to get the guys concentrating on not dropping the football and it turned into a much more sophisticated pre-pre-game. To me, that was one of those times that a quarterback and a receiver without a lot of coaching – because we don’t want to be messing around with them right then – can develop some of that chemistry. It’s on the field they’re going to be playing on; there’s nobody bugging them. There isn’t a practice going on. It’s private time. After practice is another big time.
“But you try to fit that in wherever you can and if you get a guy like Chris [Chambers] or Bobby Wade who comes in late they’ve got to work hard. You put a lot of emphasis on it and sometimes you catch up faster than you normally would.”
What are your thoughts on this group of receivers with the addition of Chambers?
“I think it’s helped us that we’re starting to see some improvement in that group. I think he’s one of the reasons why. He’s obviously a talented receiver, been a talented receiver in the league that thinks he’s still got some tread on his tires and he gets a chance to come in and show what he thinks he can be. You’re starting to see some improvement in that group. That’s important. That was obviously an area of concern for us going way back and is an area that now you can see some improvement and we hope that continues.”
How much more comfortable are you with that position than you were week one in Baltimore?
“I think much more comfortable. Now, we still have a learning curve but, just like I said, you’re starting to see some progress. If every position is progressing and getting a little bit better…I think our defensive line is getting better; they’re better than they were and that’s important. It’s important that each individual is better and as a group they’ve improved and that’s a good sign.
“I think receiver is a spot that’s started to show improvement. When you have improvement you gain confidence and you gain confidence as a coach and gain confidence as a play-caller, the quarterback gains confidence and all of a sudden you start making some plays. That’s kind of where we’re at with everything.
“I would say receiver from when we started this whole deal has made progress. Some of it’s been that we’ve had some new bodies, some of it’s been the chemistry and some of it’s just been working together and getting to know the system and getting more practices under our belt together.”
On Lance Long:
“I think Lance should have been a bright spot if he had stayed in bounds at the end of the [Jacksonville game] half, which was a killer. It probably cost us points unfortunately. So, what should have been a bright spot for me as a coach it’s hard to overlook that gaffe. That’s something you pride yourself on and especially somebody that I’ve already coached before. Then he makes a dumb mistake and that’s hard for me to swallow and I know it’s hard for him and I know he wishes he had it back.
“We’re 0-3 in games decided by seven points or less and maybe that’s one of the things, maybe one play. When you say that’s a couple little things on each side of the ball and special teams you can’t sit there and say, ‘that’s them over there.’ You have to look at yourself and say could I have done? What are a couple of little things I could have done better or different and that’s a big one. You go out of bounds and we’ve got a time out and we can run another play, complete it, kick a field goal and, who knows, maybe we throw a touchdown, I don’t know.
“I think that’s again where we’re at in the process. We’re 0-3 in tight games and that doesn’t count Baltimore where the score is tied with 2:40 seconds to go. That’s a close game that we could have won had we done a couple of things and maybe it’s one thing that changes the outcome.
“We are what we are. We’re starting the third quarter of the season and the only way you make improvement is for everybody to be aware and think that every play could be the difference in the outcome of the game.”
That last answer is the one I’ve been looking for since Sunday. Listen, I think Long can be a nice little player but a lot of Chiefs fans have seemed to dubbed him as the next big thing already. You cannot overlook that he cost the Chiefs points and possibly the game.