Q&A: Todd Haley 9/7

Following the Chiefs practice today in Kansas City, Todd Haley met with the media.  Here are the highlights:

On Matt Cassel:

“He was out there as you guys saw.  I think as the week goes on we’ll know a little bit more with Matt.  It was good that he was out there and he was able to get through some things.  As the week goes on a little further we’ll know a little more where he’s at.”

Do you think there is a chance he will play this Sunday?

“I think it was positive he was on the field.”

At what point does Matt need to practice in order to be able to play on Sunday?

“I think that will be pretty much for everybody.  You’ve got to practice to have a chance to play.  This is a long week so it’s a little different, but I would say generally you need to have a full Friday practice in to have a chance.”

On the excitement of scheming for the regular season as opposed to preseason:

“Yeah, this has all happened kind of fast for me.  But it feels like football season, there’s no doubt about it.  We were here late night the last few nights and it feels like football season.”

On the pass rush:

“I’m encouraged defensively overall.  At least coming out of the pre-season, a lot of guys were asked to do some different things they weren’t used to doing and I think most of those guys responded.  We’ve had other guys step in who look like they’re going to help us.  As I said after the game the other night, I’m encouraged with the defense.  Now, it’s just going to be a matter of continuing to get better and being able to do the things that give you a chance to win.  Our defense is going to have to play good football.  I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”

How do you feel about the 53 guys you have?

“Right now, I think we have the right 53.  I think there is no doubt in my mind but this will be something we continue to work on the entire year.  The rules have it that there can be movement on the bottom end of the roster and I think we’ll take full advantage of that to have the right 53 out there.  You will continue to see some movement from the Chiefs.”

On the kick returner:

“There is still some competition mainly because now we’ve got to go with who’s going to be in the game.  Now, we have some options which are good.  If that’s one of their limited jobs they’re going to have to be pretty good to get on the game-day roster.  If they’re not then we’ll have other options.”

On new OT Ryan O’Callaghan:

“I think he’s a guy with some experience, even though he hadn’t been a consistent starter.  He has started games in the NFL.  He’s got some experience under his belt; he’s a big man who I think has been around a team that’s won some games and that’s always good.  He’s got some athletic ability, so he’ll be in the mix.”

On the Baltimore Ravens:

“It’ll be a great challenge, no doubt about it.  That team year-in and year-out is one of the best defenses, if not the best defense.  They’ve got a couple of the great defensive players in the league.  The challenge will be great and at Baltimore where it’s a tough place to play.  I’ve been there on the road a bunch over the last few years.  The fans make it tough and the defense makes it tough.  Their offense looks like it has a chance to be a very good offense.  It will be a great challenge for us.”

On Larry Johnson:

“If he runs the way he ran the other night I’ll be pleased.  If our running backs do what they did the other night (vs. St. Louis) and have chunk runs like they did and we can roll up that kind of yardage that means the offensive line is doing something but it also means the backs are doing something.  Those guys have shown progress much like the defense and have continued to get better.  They probably are one of the strengths of our team.  Now, on some of those long runs we need to finish them and score touchdowns.  But overall, that’s a spot that has stepped up to the challenge.”

Please, please, please sit Matt Cassel out this week.  I have no doubt that he wants to get out there and play as soon as possible, but there is no need to rush him back, especially against a defense like the one the Ravens have.  If that sounds like conceding the game, fine.  But I’m more concerned with keeping Cassel in one piece for the long haul and that means not running him out there with a bad tire.

I am on the same page with Haley in regards to how LJ ran the ball against the Rams.  However, it would be interesting to hear his thoughts on his running back preparing for a game week in Las Vegas.  Maybe I harp too much on what he does off the field, but when one wrong movement there could cost him a year on the field I think it’s warranted.

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