Following practice today in Kansas City, Chiefs head coach Todd Haley met with the media. Here are the highlights:
On Matt Cassel:
“Again, I would say that Matt was very similar to yesterday. Not full participation but he’s moving around better than he did last week, so I would say that’s a positive for us. But again, I think we’ve got make sure we get it right and we’ll make it an evaluation that includes tomorrow.”
Is there any thought you might use his sparingly in the game?
“I think you have to consider it because you don’t know if he is the guy that plays and if he fatigues you’ve got to ready for everything that there is. I wouldn’t say that’s out of the question, to do something like that. But again, I think it’ll kind of be dictated by how he looks tomorrow.”
What do you want to see out of this defense this week?
“I thought the defense gave us a chance to win last week and in the end we didn’t make the play. We have to play complete defense week-in and week-out. This is a very good offense that we’re playing with some real weapons. Their three running backs, as I said yesterday, all run as hard as any backs that I’ve seen run. I mean, they hit it running. It’s going to take a full effort from the defense to get those guys stopped. Then when they throw the football they’ve got a great weapon in (Zach) Miller that makes plays all over the place, so you’ve got to defend him. Then they’ve got a couple of young, fast, fast receivers, quarterback who can move around a little and who is a hard sack. We got our work cut out for us.”
What do you try to do to invigorate a pass rush? This is a group that is hard to bring down.
“Yeah, and this group has a big, strong, tough offensive line also. You have to do anything and everything. As I said way back in training camp, we’ve got to figure out ways to create pressure and if we can do that with four guys that’s ideal obviously. If we have to do it other ways, then we’ll have to do it other ways. But we have to create some disruption in the backfield, no matter what. I would agree with you that last week was probably not enough.”
How much pressure is on your offensive line and running game to keep your defense off the field this week?
“Again, as I said after the game despite the fact that the offense didn’t turn over the ball we’ve got to help keep the defense fresh. Three-and-outs don’t cut it. Part of eliminating three-and-outs is running the football and converting on third down and we’ve got to do both of those obviously better than we did last week.”
You said that Sunday there might have been some fatigue at the end of the game and you didn’t exactly take it easy on these guys in camp. Do they need more conditioning or was it just one of those funky games where they happened to be out there forever?
“Well, we’re going to have to be a well-conditioned and strong team throughout the year. I’ve made it clear to the players that we’re not in sustain mode. We want to get stronger as the year goes on and we want to maintain the conditioning aspect. Last week was a very difficult game for the defense when you’re out there for 85 plays. I thought we were tested to the limit and at the end we didn’t make the plays. You can look at a couple of different factors but in the big picture this team has got to be the best conditioned team on the field each week as far as I’m concerned to give us a chance to compete.