Q&A: Todd Haley 11/23

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley met with the media today to talk about his team’s victory over the Steelers.  Here are the highlights:

Is getting a reward against a team like the Steelers a bigger deal than the other two wins because of the quality of the opponent?

“I think it’s just progress.  You’re always going to be excited when you win especially since we’ve struggled early in the year.  I know the Washington win was a big win for everybody as was Oakland on the road.  But I just think we’re making progress and, as I said beforehand, it’s a great opportunity for us to see where we’re at.  I just felt like we’re making progress and we’re much further along than when we faced the teams earlier in the year.  We were facing the defending world champions and it was a great opportunity to see where we were at and we came out on top.

“I know the guys were really excited, but that being said, we know there were a lot of areas we need to be better in to help ourselves.  That’s what is critical: to take the positive and at the same time we’ve got to continue to work on things that put us in tough positions like sacks, too many sacks yesterday offensively.  We can’t have that many sacks.

“We only had four penalties in a very physical game against a very talented team.  A lot of times when you’re playing a very talented group you can fall into some penalties where you’re over-matched in some spots.  But to only have four penalties for 28 yards against that group….  That’s been an area that we’ve continued to stress and I think it’s shown.  I think the guys are showing some discipline and you can’t have nine or 10 penalties and expect to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

Is this week’s game against San Diego a bigger judge because this is a team a month ago that beat you pretty bad?

“I don’t know that as much as it’s another opportunity for us.  We’re 2-0 in the third quarter of the season.  We’ve got to win a quarter of the season.  That’s the goal: to be 3-1 at least each quarter.  Now, we haven’t done that to this point but we’ve got ourselves in a good spot and this is a division opponent that’s on a roll right now winning five in a row.  But every game is a big game for us in our maturation process.”

Chris Chambers talked about the quality of your conditioning program being one of the assets of the team.  Do you think that had anything to do with the win?

“I believe strongly in our off-season conditioning program.  I know that at least in the experiences that I’ve had that it’s a critical factor in the success of a team.  I made it clear to the players that it wasn’t that we were just going to get in condition for training camp.  It was going to be something we were going to continue to build.  We run every day and we’re not just trying to sustain.  We’re trying to get stronger and that’s the idea and in some games that’s maybe showed and yesterday if that was your view of it I think you may be correct.  But I know that’s something we have to be to have a chance.”

What do you have to do to make sure your team doesn’t use this win to kind of relax?  Is there a danger?

“I mean, that wasn’t the Super Bowl.  That was our tenth game and we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing and trying to stay consistent.  We’re trying to get them ready each week and have a good plan that we think gives us a chance for success.  I don’t think I will do anything different other than just be ready to get back to work.”

Derrick Johnson made some great athletic plays but it also seemed he was out of position coverage-wise too.  Has that maybe been the rub for him?

“I don’t know there’s a rub with Derrick Johnson.  I think I’ve kind of made that clear.  I think like any other player we’re trying to coach all the players to be the best they can be.  I don’t think anybody yesterday played a perfect game.  Derrick’s out there on special teams covering kicks and doing a lot of things for us.  I wish there hadn’t been a flag on [his] sack play because that was a big-time looking play and it’s too bad it got nullified.  I think we’re trying to get all these players better on a daily basis and he’s no different from the rest.”

Do you worry about Jamaal Charles taking these big hits.  He’s not a big back and do you worry about him?  Have there been any discussions with him about the mechanics of running, to stay lower?

“I think Jamaal is very well coached, I know that.  I know his coach [Mo Carthon] for a long time.  I know he’s being coached very well on all fundamentals.  Jamaal is making progress and progress that we’re all excited about.  He’s not a big back by any means but I think what he’s shown is some toughness.  I probably would focus on that.  You’re playing against a physical, physical defense that knocks the heck out of a lot of people.  What you saw from Jamaal yesterday were some real positive signs.

“He took some hits and didn’t go down and almost broke out of the one in overtime.  I thought that one was a heck of a run and Wade Smith actually ran into him in his hustle.  You know, that’s a great play and I rewound it about 10 times today just to see 10 of our players doing their job and then hustling to the ball carrier which we teach.  You saw all red jerseys in there around the ball and Jamaal took a big-time hit and stayed on his feet and almost pulled out of that for a big play.  I thought it was an excellent play and sparked us.”

Do you feel you’re starting to get into more of your style of play-calling now that you’ve run the offense for a while?

“I think we’re making progress.  Yesterday we had a good plan and just need to figure out a way to start faster.  We’ve tried numerous ways and just can’t seem…it’s just one of those things.  You see it in a lot of different areas.  Maybe you’re good on third down early in the seasons and then you stay good, or like us, it’s just hard to get off the snide.  I think we’re starting to find a little bit of an identity.”

How does the fullback option come into your head in a big situation?

“That’s a play that I’ve been familiar with for many years that we used to run with Rich Anderson when he was the option guy with the Jets.  Made some big plays on it so it comes back around now and then and why you have some of the guys you have around you.  It was a big first down.  When you take that risk you’d like to make a big play, but I was happy to get a first down against those guys.”

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