Q&A: Todd Haley 11/30

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley met with the media today to talk about his team’s 43-14 loss to the San Diego Chargers.  Here are the highlights:

You seem to have stopped the big play but the middle of the field 15-25 yards is the one that’s hurting you.  Is it possible that you have to take the lesser of two evils?

“I think the number one thing is we cannot allow big plays – we will get beat if we let 50 yard, 60 yard touchdown plays like we did early in the year.  The big play I’m referring to is the three-play drive [vs. Chargers].  We cannot have that happen.  We can survive the intermediate throws – we showed that in the Pittsburgh game.  So, if you got to stop one, we can’t allow big plays.

“The intermediate chunk plays are something that takes all 11 guys.  It’s not strictly the safeties, strictly the linebackers; it’s not strictly the guys up front because there are a lot of different things that go into preventing those plays.  On each and every one of those it was pretty clear to me in watching the tape that they were preventable with better technique, better understanding of what was going on.”

Charlie Weis was fired today.  Do you have any interest in talking to him about coming in as offensive coordinator?

“I just heard that before I came down.  My focus right now is 100% on trying to get ready for the Denver Broncos and bounce back from a very disappointing game yesterday.

“As I said last week, at the end of the year I will do anything and everything to evaluate areas of this team and coaching staff to get better.  I would say that’s more a question for when the season is over.”

Can you foresee a time of your tenure in Kansas City where you’re the head coach and are not calling plays?

“I believe in my heart of hearts that’s the way to be the most efficient.  In this case this is the way to be the most efficient right now.  So, again, if you get the right situation I don’t have any problem knowing I could handle it.  It’s been done many different ways and successfully.  That’s through experience and the staffs that I’ve been on: that’s having a defensive coordinator and an offensive coordinator.”

On any contact the Chiefs organization has had with Charlie Weis:

“I can say with a clear conscience that there’s been no contact.”

On his relationship with Weis:

“I shared an 8X8 office with Charlie for three years in New York, by the way.  I know Charlie about as up-close-and-personal as you can know him.  That’s the job whether it’s players or coaches and you see it throughout the league.  There are working relationships, previous knowledge, players you know and players you don’t know.  You’ve got to make that decision with anybody you bring in.  Sometime familiarity is more important than a talent edge.  That’s the balancing act you do all the time.

“It’s like Leonard Pope.  I’ve known Leonard Pope for two years and I’ve known him pretty well.  When there is an opportunity or a need that just gives you one more edge.  But you’ve got to evaluate all areas.”

Derrick Johnson seems to be playing more.  Where does he stand with you right now?

“Derrick is a work in progress much like the majority of the players on this team – really I can say the majority without a doubt.  It’s a work in progress and everything we do is based on who gives us the best chance to win.  If somebody is doing a very good job in practice then they get an opportunity.

“Quinten Lawrence is an example.  Quinten is a guy we cut and put on the practice squad early in the year after he had played in a game or two.  He really wasn’t quite ready it appeared.  But over the course, over practice time it was clear to me and the coaching staff that Quinten was improving and making big strides to the point that when we had an opportunity to bring him up on the active roster we went ahead and did it.

“It’s no different than that on a little smaller scale.  If a guy is doing it right and doing it the right way we’re coaching it we’re going to give him more opportunity to play.”

How much time do you devote – if any – to determining defensive personnel in games and game planning?

“Unlimited.  Much to the chagrin of my staff, we have a staff meeting every evening and it always ends with a talk about personnel.  That’s Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoon that we discuss just that.  Sometimes it’s an hour meeting and sometimes it’s a 15 minute meeting, but it’s always discussed and that’s a special teams question also and injuries.  It’s six days a week and sometimes it’s a morning discussion going right down to the wire.”

How much are you involved during games?

“Directly involved.  None of that has changed.  I think that’s the head coach’s job, at least what I believe, to make sure the right guys are out there and playing.  That’s with a great amount of input from the guys who are coaching them directly.”

The pressure on the quarterback wasn’t there yesterday.  It was early and then it disappeared completely.

“Yeah, I agree.  We have to put pressure on the quarterback and it’s a fine line.  When you pressure you put people in a position of disadvantage and teams can make decisions versus you whether they want to block up protections and run two or three man routes or get everybody out.  Again, I think that we’ve got to create pressure.  I don’t think that answer is always blitz or bringing five or six guys.  There are other ways to create pressure.”

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