After the Chiefs released RB Larry Johnson, Todd Haley met with the media to talk about the move as well as yesterday’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Here are the highlights:
Of all the things that have happened regarding Larry from essentially calling you out, to calling out the fans, to the slurs, which do you personally think was more troubling?
“I don’t think I could fairly answer that. I don’t think it was any one thing. It was the totality of the situation and even before I was around here. Again, at this time, we felt it was what was best for the Kansas City Chiefs as we move forward and continue to turn this team in the direction it needs to go.”
The decision to release him early on Monday morning looks like this was something that was decided before you went into yesterday’s game. Was that the case?
“No, we again continued phone calls after we arrived back home last night. Clark actually flew home with us last night and we were on the plane together. This morning we had more conversation early around 6 [AM] or 6:15 and this was something we wanted to make sure we were right on, so we put a lot of time and energy into it.”
You talked about wearing all these different hats and responsibilities. How much has this taken away from your focus?
“I think the job itself is a big job and a hard job. As I’ve said before here when you have one win to show for your efforts that makes it tougher because you know going in it’s a big job and you want to have positive results. Myself as a coach and the way I’ve been taught and the way I think is there’s a way to win these games and we haven’t done it. So, as far as I’m concerned, then I’m not doing my job well enough and my staff isn’t doing its job well enough. Whatever the situation, good and great coaches find ways to get their players to win. So, tired or not tired, that’s all I really care about. I went into yesterday believing we could win that game. After watching the tape I believe we could have won that game if we had done things a certain way. It didn’t work out that way.
“I’m going to be tired and worn out but that’s the way it always is. You’d just like to have some wins to show for that exhaustion because there isn’t a year that I’ve been coaching that I haven’t been exhausted. That’s why when the season ends whenever it ends I generally get sick as a dog for about a week and a half. We’re not allowed to get sick in-season. That’s just the way it goes.
“You’d just like to have some wins and I’d like these players to have some wins to show for the effort we’re putting in. Right now it’s not there and we need to get it there, need to figure out ways to win regardless of the circumstances.”
What can you tell us about your running back situation right now without him?
“Jamaal [Charles], Dantrell [Savage] and Kolby [Smith] – I like the [rushing] average especially from Jamaal and Kolby. When they have a four-plus average [per run] I think that’s a pretty good sign. I think they did a really good job in blitz pickup. I don’t think I called enough runs. The game kind of dictated it. We were getting in a bunch of run formations and we were getting heavy pressure and I probably let that dictate some of my decisions too much.
“But I think the guys came out and competed and I was really happy for Kolby because this was no minor deal that he’s come back from and it’s been a long way back. There are a lot of different things that a running back has to deal with specifically dealing with live action. On Thursday I sent a signal that those running backs were fair game and go knock the heck out of them and our defense gladly did to have them ready. But I don’t think until Kolby ran that one down in the Red Zone where [#] 42 almost knocked his head off and Kolby popped up that I knew. That was a good sign. He’s worked really hard and is a good kid and made it through unscathed.”
Is this season just part of the process, more about evaluation than wins and losses?
“I’ll never say that, never say that. I’m very serious when I talk about what I pride myself as a coach. It’s hard for me to stand up here as a coach and say that with us having one win. That’s a direct indictment of myself, but it’s the way I think. I believe great coaches find a way to win regardless of the circumstances and situation and we haven’t done that but one time. That’s not good enough and that has to change. However that changes, whatever process we go about as a coaching staff, it has to get done whether it’s thinking outside the box, inside the box, doing something that’s never been done before, we need to find a way to win with the players we have and the team we have. That’s our job and we haven’t done it and we’ve got to get it done.”
Did Larry potentially breaking Priest Holmes rushing record have anything to do with his dismissal now?
“Not at all. This was all about one thing: doing what we think is best for the Kansas City Chiefs and what gives us to be a winning team and going forward?
What was the reason Wade was not up Sunday?
“That was strictly a roster deal on game-day, a very tough decision, but there are a lot of factors involved in that. It was roster, special teams and those types of things.”