Following Chiefs practice today, Todd Haley met with the media. Here are the highlights:
On the players adapting to the changes:
“If you stay after them it shouldn’t take too long. It shouldn’t take too long. Again, all people are different and I’m going to be different than the next guy in meetings and all those things. I like to meet a lot more together as a group than a lot of people, so offensively we’ll be in there with the offensive line, receivers, everybody, communicating and learning how to communicate. We’ll push the process as fast as we can but, again, we’ve got to be ready to go one way or another.”
What kind of message are you trying to send when you manipulate the depth chart?
“A consistent message, that’s what I try to send: consistent. Not always the same but consistent. Again, the thing I’ve been stressing to these guys is finding the right 53. We’re going to do it at all costs. Every day is an evaluation and if you’re not out there how can we depend on you? If you’re out there and you don’t know what to do, how can we depend on you? It’s coaching and letting them know and being consistent with your response. We treat each player differently, or how he needs or deserves to be treated.”
Are they aware of that? Are they responding to where they’re at on the depth chart?
“If they’re not then I’d be worried about them for not caring or paying attention. It is what it is. Again, we’re going to play the guys we can depend on.”
Do you believe there may be some veterans on the team who are waiting for you to take your foot off the gas, so to speak, figuring that you can’t keep this up?
“I’m not going to speculate on how people feel. I have on occasion said that I’m not going away. This is me and you’re going to get me every day; you’re not going to wear me out. That’s been tried before. That’s just my personality. It’s just being me and letting them know how I’m going to be.”
How are these new responsibilities going to change your week?
“It’s going to be busier for sure. I’ve got to be very efficient with my time obviously. I’d like someone to take over my media duties, is that possible? (laughs) That would make a lot more time available. I’m just trying to be efficient.”
How will you do it when the game is going on and the defense is on the field and you’re thinking about the next offensive possession? Are you going to be able to focus on the game in its totality?
“That’s a very good question and something that I had to put a lot of thought into. I’m grateful that I’ve got some former coordinators, multiple coordinators in and around me all the time. In a game, that’s where we’re going to have to be efficient. As I said yesterday, I think for us to be successful I have to be the head coach of the team: offense, defense, special teams, staff. I have to be able to manage the game. That’s my number one job. As I said, the offense needs help right now and that’s what I’m doing. I have to be efficient and need to rely on guys I can count on and trust and be prepared to do it. I wouldn’t be the only one doing it. There are obviously some guys who have done it and are doing it and I’ve got to be one of the successful ones.”
So you’ll have to lean on some of your assistants quite a bit?
“Which last year, even as a coordinator, I leaned heavily on. I will lean heavily on Coach Muir – a guy with so much experience and game experience to fill this room. No different than last year when I leaned on people. I’ll lean on people this year and I don’t think that part will be significantly different. Even as a head coach I’m leaning on guys on defense, on offense helping me make a decision. That’s where staff continuity comes into play. We have to be together and that’s why we meet together, watch tape together, which a lot of staffs don’t do; they break up ‘cause it’s faster. We watch it together because we’re going to be together.”
On Brodie Croyle’s time as starter Thursday night:
“We’re going to play it by ear. Like I’ve said, there are no sacred cows. I just actually told Brody and Tyler that. We need to get better and this is a chance to get better. We’re going to have to see how it goes.”
Do you base a lot of your decision for Baltimore on what you see Thursday night or is it just a small piece of the puzzle?
“A small piece, but all the pieces are pretty big right now as we get down to the wire. Every day is an evaluation and we’ve got to lean on everything we know and here in these next couple of days we’ll learn some more.”
You haven’t won a game this pre-season. Does this put more pressure on you this week or is it just another opportunity to get better?
“Every week is pressure. I’ve learned that through the years. You might have the greatest win you’ve ever felt on the Sunday before and the next Sunday you feel how the heck are we ever going to pull this off. Every week feels that way to me. That feeling hasn’t changed and that’s just how you’re made up. Some people get comfortable, some people don’t. I’ve never been comfortable.”
On Donald Washington:
“I think Donald is making progress. I think that he’s a guy who was behind the eight-ball a little bit with his graduation stuff. That set him back early but I think he’s a pretty bright kid that cares and it appears to me he’s studying and trying to do the things to give himself a chance. That doesn’t mean that it happens instantly with those (rookies) and the speed of the game is faster and there is a lot going on. I think he’s shown flashes enough and he’s kind of moved himself up the depth chart a little bit. We’re starting to think we maybe got something.”
So Haley is going to lean heavily on his assistant coaches. Chan Gailey was one of his assistant coaches. But he needed to fire (do you prefer the term “reassign”?) Gailey instead of leaning on him? Man, I really would have liked to have been a fly on the wall when they finally blew up at each other. For Haley being unwilling to keep an experienced coach like Gailey around — the exact type of guy he talked about leaning on today — it must have been very ugly.
As for the players, good for Washington. As I mentioned earlier, it will be fun to see him get to run a little bit with the big boys and see how he fares. For a guy to come in behind everyone else by quite a bit — even more than Tyson Jackson who got more time in the OTAs — and recover to the point that he is starting Thursday night is a huge deal.