Q&A: Todd Haley 9/22

Earlier today, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley met with the media.  Here are the highlights:

Opening Statement:

“First of all, I’d like to apologize for being late after the game.  Rookie head coach here, rookie mistake, unaware of the time limit and then also how that makes it harder for you guys to do your job after the game.  My sincere apology.  That was a rookie mistake and I’ll correct that to help you guys out.  That being said, the hurt isn’t gone, the disappointment isn’t gone from Sunday.  But after watching the tape there was an awful lot positive on that tape to feel good about as a team and as a coaching staff.”

You’ve been in two football games under different circumstances and had opportunities to win both of them.  Does that add to the disappointment?

“It’s as disappointing as you can be when you lose on Sunday.  When you feel like you have an opportunity to win the game it makes it worse.  We could be 2-0 right now, we could be 1-1; we could be 0-2.  We’re like nine other teams in the league right now.  There are 14 that are 1-1 and we’re disappointed just like anybody else because you felt like you had an opportunity to win both games.”

On Jamaal Charles being inactive Sunday:

“As I’ve made it pretty clear, we’re going to continue to do everything we can to figure out who the guys are that give us the best chance to win.  We have some limitations offensively number-wise as we go into each game.  There is some juggling that has to go on and I think that we had a guy in Savage that sat the first week that we felt we wanted to see.  He had done enough in the preseason to get excited about and we wanted to see Dantrell compete.  There is going to somebody left out every week.  That’s been made very clear to everyone and the way it’s going to continue until we find out who those guys are.  That’s all part of the process and it’s happening at other positions also and it’s going to continue to happen until we feel like we’re going in the direction we want to go.”

What’s the procedure in the game operations when you’re calling plays and a cornerback goes out of the game and maybe you spot it and maybe you don’t.  Does somebody tell you? How quickly does something like that happen and how quickly can you respond?

“I don’t think that’s affected at all by our situation here with me being the head coach and the play caller.  That’s in-game and we’ve got guys in the box and guys on the field and I’ve put the backup quarterback in charge of watching coverage and paying attention to that back end.  That’s kind of how I’ve always operated even when I was coordinator in Arizona.  I would have a guy watching the corners and he would come to me and say, so-and-so is limping or whatever.  That part hasn’t been affected by the situation we’re in right now.”

Do you feel you are generally on the same page as far as the starting quarterback with Scott Pioli?

“Yeah, I feel like we’re on the same page on everything.  We spend hours and hours hanging out and talking, discussing and throwing ideas around including the coaching staff all the time.  I don’t think there’s one thing we’re doing that would be a surprise to either one of us.”

Is the game-planning this week more difficult because of the unknown of Michael Vick back and the Colts struggling to figure out the “Wildcat” last night (vs. Miami)?

“The Philadelphia Eagles in general are a great, great challenge.  Obviously, I’ve had a lot of experience against them in the last few years and last year specifically.  They’re tough and I know Coach (Jim) Johnson in my mind was the best defensive coach in the league and sadly is no longer with us.  But Coach (Sean) McDermott has been under him.  I think you can see him put his own stamp on the defense which adds a little unknown.  There are things you’ve got to prepare for all situations.  It just makes it all the greater challenge.  We’re working on it diligently.”

Do you have to maybe guess what they might do with a player like Vick?

“There is some of that.  You try to make a calculated guess off of stuff you’ve seen in the past or stuff other teams are doing.  This off-season I know we put a lot of time in on the ‘Wildcat’ knowing in general it was kind of the wave everybody was riding and you were going to see more of it throughout the year than more than just a couple of teams.  We did an extensive study on any ‘Wildcat’ we saw in the last two years including stuff I had run in the past.  You gotta do those kinds of things.”

You’ve made clear that it’s all about competition and who gives you the best chance to win.  Does that apply to the quarterback too?

“Absolutely and it’s my track record going all the way back to the Jets when I was there with Parcells.  We had a guy there named Glenn Foley that the entire city of New York and Long Island was excited about and we picked up Vinny Testaverde right before training camp, but after three games it was clear that Vinny would give us the best chance to win.  I was there for that change.  I was there in Dallas when we brought Drew Bledsoe in and we had a guy named Tony Romo that as days went on you said, ‘hey, this guy maybe gives us the best shot to win,’ and we made a mid-season change.  No more glaring than in the last couple of years in Arizona between Matt (Leinart) and Kurt (Warner) and Matt being a number one pick.  When we made that change there was a lot of negative feed-back and what about the future.  There weren’t many people saying much when we were in the Super Bowl last year.”

On Derrick Johnson:

“I would kind of put Derrick in that same category as a guy that has continued to make progress.  He obviously made a huge play for us in the Baltimore game that kind of got us back in the game.  He made some plays last week.  All of these guys need to understand that this thing is going to continue how I started the whole press conference: we’re going to continue to keep pushing, prodding, trying to figure who these guys are.  That is a process and you don’t necessarily find the answers in the OTA’s or the pre-season.  Once you’re in these games some of those answers become clear and some become crystal clear.”

On the run defense:

“Baltimore, we felt they were going to play one type of game and they played an entirely different game.  I think at the end of the half it was 31 passes to six or seven or eight runs.  It was a drastic change from what was expected.  It got us a little out of kilter and we never quite recovered from it.  When the runs started we weren’t able to fit and do the things to stop a very good running game.  Last week we said some things had to change and I thought the defense responded for the most part.”

It’s a good sign that right out of the gate he acknowledged he made a mistake with his handling of the media after the game.  A lot of first time head coaches never want to admit any mistakes, especially not ones that involve press.

What’s not a good sign is the absence of Jamaal Charles  on Sunday.  How can this kid not be out on the field?  I’m not saying keep Dantrell Savage inactive for the game, but when you have an offense that is starving for big plays you need to have your best home run hitter on the field.  With the way they used Savage in the passing game (6 receptions for 43 yards) I’m amazed they couldn’t have put Charles in that same position.

I also can’t believe that there are any questions about the quarterback position after two games.  Not only did Brodie Croyle not play that well against the Ravens but Cassel wasn’t that bad.  Can we get through a quarter of the season before we try to replace the starting quarterback… Please?

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