Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley called in to Soren Petro’s weekly Red Zone Podcast today on KCChiefs.com.
Listen to the show via the player below or check out my notes on the interview after the jump.
Haley talked about everything from the competition at quarterback to drawing up plays for Michael Vick. Check it out and be sure to come back tomorrow for the latest episode of our own podcast, The Red & Gold Report.
Petro’s questions and Haley’s comments are paraphrased.
Is this the calm before the storm or are there still a million things you need to get done?
I think we’re prepared but the last few nights have been pretty restless. I turn the light off at night and a million things start running through my mind. I have to take notes at night so I don’t forget anything during the day.
This being your first time as a head coach, has anything shocked you?
Everyday there’s something. And that’s what the guys I talked to told me would happen. It’s an on-the-job learning experience, but I relish it and can’t wait to get in and get to work. I’ve worked hard to get here and I’m excited for the opportunity.
On Chan Gailey calling the offensive plays:
The reason I kept Chan and wanted him to be a part of my staff is the experience factor. To have him here and for me to try and do too much early on would negate the great positives Coach Gailey brings to the team. I have a different job than I did in Arizona. This is all part of the process of trying to get it right.
Would you rule out taking over the duties down the road?
I wouldn’t rule out anything. Whether it’s me or someone else. I have a lot of guys that have made calls on both sides of the ball on staff.
On the coaching staff:
I’m really excited about the staff. The time in the season I got hired, everything was kind of finished. For me to end up with guys I have past experience with who have been good coaches in the league for a very long time, I’m super excited.
Has having Clancy Pendergast around helped to move things along for you?
He was a big part of what we did in Arizona last season, especially down the stretch. To get a guy you’ve worked with for two years and know first hand, I think that helps speed up the process of us coming together as a staff. The big thing we’ve been pushing is we are together as one. It’s not offense, defense and special team. It’s the Kansas City Chiefs coaching staff.
Why did you choose to go with the 3-4 defense?
As an offensive coach my entire time in the NFL, I’ve studied defenses and the 3-4 presents a lot of problems for an offense. But the biggest factor to me, Scott Pioli is one of the best talent evaluators of players that can play in the defense. To not push in that direction, to me, that wouldn’t be good business. It just made sense for us.
Should the fans expect a two year learning curve like you experienced in Dallas?
I know it’s a “what have you done for me lately” business, so I’m not going into a year 1, year 2 type thing. We’re going to do whatever we can to win games now. Seeing the Cowboys acquire talent and turn things around, it was a great experience and will help me make decisions. But we are going to do everything we can to win games.
Will there really be a competition at quarterback after giving Matt Cassel such a big contract?
I just came from Arizona, where they drafted Matt Leinart No. 1 and had an old timer in Kurt Warner. It was clear to me during practice Warner would give us the best chance to win so we went with Warner. In Dallas, Drew Bledsoe came down for big money, but there was this kid named Tony Romo that tore it up in practice and I was standing on the table saying “I’m for this guy playing”. Whoever gives this team the best chance to win at any position — QB or whatever it is — those will be the guys playing. That’s the promise I made to these players and that’s the way we are going to go.
Larry Johnson has been known to not be willing to do anything other than run the ball. What have you seen out of him so far?
Larry has done everything he’s been asked to do. If you play for Mo Carthon, you are going to block protections and for other backs. He’s done everything he’s been asked to and looked good doing it.
How important is it for a running back to do those other things?
It’s paramount to success. And I’ve said it every year I’ve been with Mo: If you can’t do it, you won’t play. If a guy wants to play they’ll be doing it. My favorite thing to watch during training camp is the blitz pickup drills.
Can Dwayne Bowe get to the level that Larry Fitzgerald did for you in Arizona?
I think after what Larry did last year, especially at the end of the season, you might be talking about one of the greatest ever. Larry has pushed himself into an area few guys have walked, so I don’t think that’s a fair comparison. Bowe has shown a nack for going up and catching the ball in the end zone. It’s more than catching passes. they have to be football players, they have to block. Dwayne’s done a good job at that in the past, but we get to see him in pads now for the first time. He’s put himself in a position to be very good.
On the Brian Waters situation:
As a coach I have been taught — and follow this clearly — I go by what I see. in the mandatory mini-camp, Brian was here and I was impressed by the way he acted and performed. I’m looking to see him get into the action and how it all works out.
What’s your golf handicap?
Non-existent. I’ve played 18 holes in the last 24 months. Five kids and a being a football coach doesn’t equate to golf.
Off-the-field issues aside, would you have liked to scheme for Michael Vick?
Anytime you have a great athlete that can do special things, it’s fun. I was always scared when I was on the other sideline and Michael Vick had the ball in his hands.