Following Chiefs practice today in Kansas City, Todd Haley met with the media. Here are the highlights:
What is the silver lining to injuries? With Vrabel out the last couple of weeks what have you learned about that position having looked at some other guys?
“I think if there is something positive about injuries that’s one of the things: you get a chance to see an Andy Studebaker. You get a chance to see a Pierre Walters. You may not have pushed that envelope with the injury. Even though guys were practicing well, Mike’s been one of our better players day-in and day-out.
“We’re encouraged with that spot overall. The fact that Andy came in and did some of the things he did were real encouraging. I felt both games he started and the game he came in partway through he had positive performances all the way across. Anytime you find out about a backup that’s been a top special teamer for you that you think potentially could start and play in that role that’s a good sign.”
On the linebackers:
“Well, I feel better about Andy. I think that Tamba has continued to make progress on the other side. We’re not there yet. We’re continuing to grow into what we’re going to be but that’s got to be another real good strong spot for us – to play defense the way we want to play. The outside backers have got to be a position of strength. Anytime you have somebody that’s been predominantly special teams that you didn’t know a lot about going into the year that steps in and plays at a pretty good level then you have to be encouraged.”
How do you feel about your depth at running back today with Smith injured?
“We’ve got a Plan B, Plan C ready to go one way or another. I feel like we’ve done the things necessary to be ready. If Kolby is indeed out, I’m happy we have a guy like Tim Castille that we’ve added here recently that can play both positions. We haven’t given him the ball a bunch but we think he can play the halfback and fullback positions. We’ll be ready to go regardless. Anytime you have an injury it’s a setback but somebody has to step up and fill the void.”
On Pierre Walters:
“Pierre is a guy when the season started who was close to being up every week. Just because of the numbers you have to deal with in all areas, he was the eighth and ninth guy multiple weeks in a row throughout the season. The positive with the injury is we got a chance to get Pierre up and get him a few snaps. I think it’s too early to make a real evaluation because he hasn’t had a whole bunch of snaps – only 18 I think and a couple on special teams. We’ll see how the week pans out.”
When you look at a Walters and Studebaker you can say they look like football players. How do you explain a small guy like Denver’s Elvis Dumervil leading the league in sacks?
“It seems like every year there are a couple that break the mold at all positions. We’ve seen some of them this year whether it’s Maurice Jones-Drew or Harrison and now Dumervil. Every year there are a couple that break the mold and (don’t have) a prototypical height, weight and speed. He’s special and has a motor that won’t stop. I guess that’s the best way to describe him: a low center of gravity with great leverage and doesn’t quit. Those are the kind of players you’d like to have.”
You have a guy in Tamba Hali whose motor never stops, but his numbers aren’t there. Is there a reason for that?
“I don’t know if I’d put numbers on Tamba right now. Again, we’re still trying to get to where we want to get to. I think personnel kind of dictates that a little more than other times. Tamba has done nothing but show he belongs and, like you said, he’s got a motor that doesn’t stop and it doesn’t matter if it’s practice or the game. I’m happy that we have Tamba and that he’ll do nothing but improve. As we get better I think he’ll get better.”