After the Kansas City Chiefs closed up their rookie mini-camp, head coach Todd Haley met with the media. Here are the highlights.
“The young guys got through their first weekend with us. I feel it was very, very productive in a lot of different areas. Kind of how I felt to start with these guys, I’m excited about these guys. I feel comfortable that they understand how important these next couple weeks are for them and getting at it pretty hard so that when they are allowed to come back here, they are in a position to have a chance to compete against some of these guys that are a little further along.
“I feel like some of the other areas that we were able to spend some time with them were very productive, and then on-the-field, I thought was extremely productive and in the classrooms, I felt like they made progress through the weekend and now have some idea of what to expect for when they come back here and are really thrown into the fire with all the guys and we’ll be rolling.”
How much do you take away from a weekend like this, how much do you really learn about these guys?
“I think there was a lot of learning on both sides. We’re chomping at the bit too, as a staff and for instance, (WR Dexter) McCluster, we orientated him into multiple areas so it was important to us to see how he handled that – being in a different classroom, different meetings or different spots. That’s just an example, but we’re learning as much as they are, and it’s important. We now have a couple weeks to get prepared and put our ducks in a row and be ready to roll here when the OTAs start.”
You had the second-to-last run defense in the league last year. You’ve improved a lot on both offense and defense, but are you at all worried about the front seven and are there pieces that need to be added?
“When you win four games, we’ve got pressing needs across the board. What I’m excited about is I feel like you have a limited number of ways to try to improve and I feel like we did the things we had to with what we had to have a chance to be a better team and we’ll continue. It hasn’t stopped yet, that process, so we’ll continue to, if people come available or if there are things out there that we think give us a chance to get better, we’ll definitely be on it.”
How did McCluster handle all of the things that you threw at him this weekend?
“I think across the board, the guys got better as the weekend went on. I thought we kind of looked like the Bad News Bears on the first one and by today, I thought it was a much smoother operation across the board, which told me the guys were understanding a little more.”
How are you more comfortable, where do you think you’re better your second year around as the head coach?
“Pete (Moris) tells me I’m not any better in this area (interviews), so that’s out. [Teicher: He’s right.] Thank you, Adam for seconding that. Across the board, and I have to be better and every one of our coaches has to be better. I think we’re all working, we understand first of all that has to happen, there is no misconception there for any of us, and we’re working hard to be better in every area we can be, to do a better job of getting these guys ready to play and win games.”
How much evaluation were you able to do of your staff because you have a lot of new faces in a lot of different places?
“They’re always being evaluated. I know I’m always being evaluated, it’s no different than the players, we’re all being evaluated at all times and that’s part of my job description, is to evaluate these guys that are out there doing a lot of the coaching. I feel really good, we had a bunch of real good coaches on the staff and then the guys we were able to get in here that wanted to be a part of this, even though they’re new here, they’re not new to me, which is a huge, huge thing and that was apparent to me this weekend. I know I felt comfortable, it’s hard to explain exactly, but when you do things a certain way and you’re watching practice as the head coach and you see something that you know is wrong or not the way we want it, and then you hear it [another coach correcting it], that feels good.”
Around the league, if you have a tryout guy or an undrafted guy that comes in and you see can be a good player, you like the guy, but he doesn’t fit in to a need for the team, do you talk to other teams and tell them about this guy, or does that not happen because that is something that could help a competitor?
“I was taught very early on, and what I told the players at the start of the week was, if you can play, we’ll know or someone else will and tell them right out of the gate that if it’s not here, we’ll do something to try to help you. I won’t get into specifics, but there was actually somebody here that we felt that about and I’ve already left two messages for other people because again, if a guy’s got a chance, then you want to try to help them.”
Does the rule still stand that you can have 80 players maximum on the roster right now?
“Yes, but under contract. So there is a little bit of flexibility right now.”
When it comes to tryout guys, is there any chance you might sign any of them?
“I would say there is a chance. Maybe a couple, three maybe?”
What are you giving these guys for homework over the next couple of weeks that is going to help them since they can’t be here until May 16th?
“The biggest thing is the physical aspect. We had an hour-long presentation by our strength coach which was an extremely thorough demonstration showing them the lifts we are doing, the way we are doing them, it talked them through the runs and what they need to be doing because they are behind. Like I said, by the time they get back they will be officially 26 workouts behind and in most cases, with the way these guys were working, 32 workouts which are significant workouts, each one of them. When you get into the actual repetitions, the pulls, the pushes, squats, lifts and cleans, that our guys will have had under our belt, it is like money. If you lose two-hundred thousand dollars, you are not getting it back. There is no way to make it up, you will always be playing catch up. It was a very thorough presentation that should give these guys a chance if they do what they are supposed to do over these next couple of weeks. It will give them a chance to come back in better shape.”