Following Chiefs practice today in Kansas City, Todd Haley met with the media. Here are the highlights:
Would you like the Kansas City Chiefs someday under your direction to be like the Pittsburgh Steelers from a physical standpoint?
“That would never be a bad thing. I think for the Steelers this has been a long time in the making. This is something that was established back in the ‘70s and a blueprint they set about for the entire organization. Like I said yesterday, I’m thankful to have been a part of or had a little piece of. But having that inside knowledge of a lot of the stuff that was going on, I know that they set the stage for what they’ve stayed for a long time. They’re consistently in all areas – personnel, how they draft, all areas, they’re very consistent in nature. They don’t panic. If things don’t go real well early they don’t panic; they’ve proven that over the years.
“I think that this model would be a great one to follow as would some other teams obviously. New England being one of those teams and Indianapolis, Philadelphia. These are teams that have been able to sustain through different players. That’s the key. As players come and go they continue to have guys ready to go and step in and fill in. That’s something you’d love to down the road aspire to be like. I think that’s how you get good: staying the course.”
Matt Cassel said this is one of the tougher defenses for a quarterback to prepare for. Would you agree?
“Oh, they’re good. They’re well coached, very solid, rarely expose themselves, so to speak. They do a tremendous, tremendous job of making it appear like they’re bringing more than are actually coming. They’re able to stay sound on the back end while still creating pressure and giving you problems up front. Other than being a physical group that hustles from start to finish and that plays fast, I think they do a great job of making it appear like more are pressuring than are actually coming. You think seven or eight are coming and sometimes it’s just four and you’re not able to realize it fast enough. Like I said, this is a great challenge for us. As a young team and a new team that’s trying to find our way and find our identity we’ve had some great tests early on. But I think we’re a little further along together in this process.”
On Jovan Belcher:
“I think he’s a run-and-hit linebacker. He’s sideline to sideline. He’s got a natural explosion when he hits. Some guys just have that natural hit role and explode into you. When he hits you hear it.
“I think he can run. He’s playing a new position and very early on you saw that he had very good instincts. I think that is what has accelerated his learning and his ability to step in and start playing. Like I’ve said way back, he’s a player we’re all excited about him as we go forward.
“He had a very good game on special teams last week – very good. Made some really big plays for us and that’s an area that early on he probably thought was where he would contribute solely but he’s turned it into a little bigger job. I think a young guy playing like he’s played and coming from where he’s come from, the position he was playing, we’re excited as we go forward. He’s got a lot to learn but I think when you get those run-and-hit linebackers you get excited. He would probably fit in that Pittsburgh defense too.”
The guys who excel in other sports have certain qualities that work in football. Jovan Belcher was a three-time All-American wrestler in high school.
“I love wrestlers from the standpoint of balance if nothing else – linemen who have been wrestlers, too. A lot of times when he’s been a wrestler he has a little lower of gravity and not built for speed so much. In Jovan’s case that’s not the issue. He’s not built like a typical wrestler. But I think that does nothing but help you. There isn’t anything tougher than that. You go in those wrestling rooms and it’s 100 degrees and a lot of sweat.”