Following Chiefs practice today in Kansas City, Todd Haley met with the media. Here are the highlights:
What about home field advantage? Have you been disappointed with the crowds at Arrowhead?
“I said at the beginning we were going to have to earn the fans back. I understand there hasn’t been a lot of winning going on around here and this year one [win] at home and two on the road isn’t enough to earn that back. But that’ll come as we have success. I know the fans will be on board and I know from past experiences that this is the toughest place as far as I’m concerned to play on the road.”
Forgetting their stats, Buffalo has struggled this year. Is this a unique opportunity to get them at home?
“Every game is an opportunity but I think you do have to look at this team and you do have to look at stats. They’ve had a number of close, close games and there are going to be close games in this league. When you lose close games to what you see are good opponents that means the team is competing and has a chance to win. They’ve had a number of those games. I think four of their losses have come by a total of 13 points. You do have to look at that and while they’ve won four games they had a great opportunity to probably win a handful more.”
Have you figured out how your team can play so well against Pittsburgh and then play so poorly the next week? Is it mental, emotional, coaching?
“That’s one of those questions the quicker you can have the answer to the better off you are. I’ve made it pretty clear with this team and I think it’s pretty obvious that our margin of error is not great. That’s a term I’ve used a bunch. We have to play well, we have to take advantage of opportunities; we can’t make a lot of mistakes or we’re probably not going to overcome them. So, when we played a game against the Steelers we played at a pretty high level. Were we perfect? No. Could we be better? Yes.
“When we don’t play like that there are reasons for it. There is not a lot of mystery to it. Generally it’s turnovers on offense and it’s big plays on defense. That’s the real deal, of trying to eliminate those kinds of plays that get you beat no matter who you are. With us, it’s not most it’s all the time because we can’t overcome them. That’s where we’re at. It showed on some Sundays and other Sundays it hasn’t.”
You said that Matt Cassel like everybody else and has to earn his job. You said after last Sunday that he was your starter. If he’s like everybody else how could you say yet that he’s your starter without looking at the tape or watching practice?
“Number one, I’m the head coach of the team. Number two, with most of these guys there is a full evaluation that is going on all the time, going all the way back. We’ve talked about that. These guys are being evaluated all the time.
“There is a lot more that we see that everybody else doesn’t see. Everybody else sees the obvious, sees a game. It’s easy to say coming out of that game, as I heard in the hallway from one guy, ‘that awful game.’ That’s from a non-expert. There are a lot of reasons, especially on offense, and why things happen. T here are a lot of variables that go into it. The obvious are easy to see, the not so obvious you need to have a little bigger picture which we have the luxury of seeing. We see him every day. We’re in meetings early at 6:30 in the morning with him and we’re here post-practice talking. I’m in a lot of those meetings and there is a lot that goes into the evaluation of these players, not just the quarterback.
“It’s easy to jump up and see a throw and say that was a bad throw when there may have been some other variables that go into it.
“I felt pretty comfortable when that game ended where our quarterback was at, enough to make that statement.”