Following Chiefs practice today in Kansas City, Todd Haley met with the media. Here are the highlights:
What do you do when your center has problems snapping the ball to the quarterback in the shotgun? Do you let it go or do you trust the player?
“You don’t let anything go, but I think it’s a good thing that it hasn’t been a problem. We studied the tape and tried to figure out if there was a common denominator. We gave Rudy and the other centers some snaps in similar situations to make sure that we’ve got it all figured out because we’re going to be in gun some. We believe Rudy is a good snapper and will continue to be.”
On a Matt Cassel needing to be a leader:
“I think the quarterback has to be one of the leaders of the team just because of the role he plays. It’s so critical. But I don’t think there’s any doubt as you’ve seen throughout the year in critical situations, he has shown his ability to rally the team and take us down the field, whether it’s 91-yards against the Steelers to get the score tied, or 91-yards against the Cowboys to get the score tied, or an overtime drive to win a couple of weeks ago. He’s shown that ability and that’s a good sign as we move forward.”
For the longest time, the Broncos and Chiefs have been familiar to each other. But now the teams have changed so much is there any real value in looking at any of these past games?
“Where there are similar personnel there is probably value in looking at it. But it’s two different teams. They’re a team that is used to being at the top of the division, last year no different, as they were in a pretty good position for most of the year. For most of this year they’ve been in a very good position. I do believe they are two different teams now. Other than personnel and some one-on-one matchups you can’t gain something out of it.”
It appeared you had everybody on the field for practice today. Is that unusual for this time of the year? For December 2?
“Everybody was back. There are some years that are worse than others but I’m happy. It was like guys are looking for ways in and that’s what I’m concerned about and encouraged about. We had a full padded practice today, there was plenty of hitting and I think those are good things for us.”
What did you get out of this practice today in the cold and wind outside that you couldn’t have gotten inside?
“I think just trying to create the mentality that I want this team to have: which is a mentally tough group that not much can bother, not much from the outside and not much when they’re lining up on Sunday can bother, that can overcome bad, difficult times. I think you can only get that by doing some of these things and guys learning how to fight through and not being given an easy way out. Over time, that will pay dividends for the guys on this team.”
What’s the story with the head coach being out there in shorts?
“I’ve just got a long streak going with wearing shorts that I have to keep alive. It made it through three years in Chicago which started on a bet when we were outside in zero degrees. When I was a receivers coach with the Bears I didn’t want my receivers wearing sleeves in games. They said, ‘well, that’s easy for you say.’ So I said I’d wear shorts every day and I won’t wear a jacket on Sunday. I won the bet but they went sleeveless in games. We had a pretty tough-minded group of receivers.”