Todd Haley met with the media today in Kansas City. Here are the highlights:
So what do you do different this week?
“I don’t think you do a whole lot different. I think that we have to go back to work. I feel like we’re working hard and we have to stay the course. We’ve got to continue to coach discipline. We just have to get better at the little things. When your margin of error is small you can’t align a yard out of place, or allow a big play to happen. We need to have all those little things coached hard, coached correctly and then we need to execute. I don’t think we do a whole lot different other than focus and not let anything slide. That’s the direction.”
Is it reasonable to think that you guys will get to a point where you will have a margin of error or are you going to have to learn to live like this?
“I don’t know if our margin of error is going to change a whole bunch this year. I really don’t. Although we’ll keep working at getting this team roster-wise as good as we can get it I don’t think our margin of error will change a whole bunch. So, I think we’ll have to play a certain type of football and that’s going to have to be on point all the time.”
Pass interference was a favorite call of the officiating crew that got you yesterday. Looking at the tape was it technique or a poor call?
“Little bit of both but I won’t get into the calls. We have to coach the penalties. The penalties fall on me and we can’t have 10 penalties in a game. We just can’t do it. We have to coach them and make them more aware than we have to this point obviously. We had two first-and-20’s; I believe we had six second-and-12 plusses, five third-and-12 plusses. You know what we were on third down but that’s all a result of what we did on those other downs. Penalties were a big part of it and we’re not going to have much of a chance if we do that.”
On the decision to run the ball in the second half:
“I just felt in my gut yesterday. What we did in the second half all it took was two plays, an interception for a touchdown or a blocked punt. You don’t know what that play is going to be. One of those runs could have broken out. We had some opportunities for big play. It was in my gut because of the way we performed early in that game and ran for three yards. I got to halftime and I thought to myself, what are we doing? We need to make some progress in this game. I just felt like our best chance offensively to make progress was to figure out what we wanted to do.”
Every day you say you battle with your emotions. But why do you feel that you are the head coach that you need to mute that a little bit?
“I think I said it yesterday: as the leader of this team I think you need to have some composure. If you’re the captain of the ship and you’re running around in a storm and a rogue wave is about to hit you and you’re running around like a chicken with its head cut off you’re probably not doing the best thing for your crew. I try to use that emotion to help me and help us. At the same time, I think as the leader of the team I’ve got to be in control so I can make the right decisions at the right times.”
Can the offensive line protect the quarterback and run the ball?
“I think we do. We just have to do it right. When I watched the tape last night on the plane and again today with the coaches and again with the players – four times through – offensively if the guys had just done their jobs with technique I think it would have been a little different outcome. Now, whether we had won the game or not I don’t know, but offensively it would have been a different outcome. That tells me if we just do it the right way and are physical we can be good enough up front to compete and win.”
Second half you had Belcher out there with the base defense? Will that continue?
“Yeah, I think you’ll see more of 59. I think he’s a guy that’s impressed us all from early on and I think we’ve got a potential player there. Whenever you’ve got a guy who can run and hit and shows up around the football and has done a good job on special teams it helps. That’s a guy that needs to be on the field. It was his first real action. He gives us some speed and is a run-and-hit guy.”
Is the problem with penalties a symptom of a bigger issue with personnel or just a team going through some on-field discipline problems?
“I don’t know if it’s either. This is something we stress and talk about all the time and coach hard. It’s one of the areas I was pretty pleased with throughout the pre-season and our first game. Generally those things don’t change dramatically. If you’re low penalties through the pre-season and the first game you don’t expect to swing like this normally. To come into the second game and all of a sudden technique breaks down and we start making poor decisions it’s something we have to figure out how to get back to where we were.”
Did you get the feeling that guys were laying down or giving up?
“Lay down was probably the wrong term. In trying to find this identify for our team which I’ve made clear how you respond in those situations is a big part of that identify. Good teams can impose their will or run the football specifically even when the other teams knows what they’re doing. I think it was more a case of just a little wake up call. This is what we’re doing and we don’t care if they know what we’re doing. We’re going to block them. There were enough encouraging signs to me to think we’re making some progress.”