Following the Chiefs only practice of the day, Todd Haley met with the media. Here are the highlights:
You’ve got a couple of new offensive linemen in. How long does it take to work guys in like that?
“I would expect these guys to integrate in fairly quickly. The program’s not going to be a lot different (than Miami). I know a lot of those people down there, lot of those coaches. I know the way the practices go and they’ll get that pretty quick. System-wise, terminology is a little different but still a lot of the same thought process. I worked with Coach (Dan) Henning for four years, so we think a lot of the same way. Again, some of the terminology will be a little different but these are both smart guys that I think should have a chance to pick it up fairly quickly.”
You had one of those guys working at right tackle (Ndukwe) and one working at right guard (Alleman) today.
“I think that’s where we’ll start. That was the plan when we had an opportunity to get these days. We were excited about the chance to get them on our team and for those positions specifically. They will do just what we talked about yesterday: they will bring competition to the right tackle and right guard spots. I would expect them to fully compete for all those open spots.”
Do you have the talent to be a good offensive line?
“I think I’ve seen enough from these guys at different times to think we have a chance. I like our leadership a lot. I think Brian Waters has tremendous leadership skills as does Mike Goff in two different ways. I think when you have a couple of guys like that and you see them run after practice on their own that’s a good sign. I think we have a chance to be a physical line. I know we’re going to be well-coached. So again, if we can continue to bring in competition and get better when we get a chance – like I feel we did with these two players – I think we’ve got a chance to be a good offensive line.”
After what we heard at OTA’s from Brian Waters there appeared to be some friction. Do you feel like he’s completely bought into everything that is going on here?
“None of my personal stuff with these guys will ever be talked about by me. Again, this is a player who has come in and done above and beyond what’s been asked of him every day. He obviously can play; he’s shown that. He’s got himself in very good condition which I think he’s seeing as an advantage. The guy is doing what is asked of him and he can do it well enough, which it looks like he’s got a chance, and if he continues to work he’ll be a part of this team.”
Has Dwayne Bowe responded the way you would like now that he appears to be running on the first team?
“I think that’s pretty obvious for all of you who have been out here and who have seen a progression from Dwayne that’s encouraging. From the early days of camp to where he’s at now I think he has made very good progress. Is he there? No. Do we need to make more plays? Yes. But again, that’s what coaching is all about: trying to push the right buttons all the time with a lot of different guys. I would say that Dwayne has made progress in the last couple of weeks more specifically. For a while there it was treading water but now I feel the arrow is going in the right direction.”
On the wide receivers:
“I think the group as a whole has made some progress. I think you’ve seen Amani get a little more acclimated to the system. Bobby Engram, I think, the closer we get to the season he’s an older veteran that I’ve got to worry about him conserving too much. I kind of got on him this week that I wanted to see what he had, see what we were going to get from him this week. I think he stepped up. But as a whole I think the group has made some progress. I felt we were banging our heads against the wall early on and I don’t feel there’s as much banging on now. And, they’ve worked. You see them after practice working every day and that’s how you do it. There is no magic potion that does it other than working hard and getting better.”
On the kick returners:
“Still hunting. I was encouraged by Jamaal Charles. Again, it’s such a hard play to get a good one at times. There are so many factors involved. I would say the way Charles took it up there was encouraging to me. The returner we have back there will not be a finesse guy; he will be a take-it-up-the-field-hit-the-hole guy. And, the way things have changed on kickoff return with the wedge-part of the game is going to change a little bit. It’s an area I’m looking forward to watching and seeing how it plays out.”
A couple of the players said this morning that the group dynamic was such that the conditioning drills of the spring have sort of helped everybody come together. Is that what you would have hoped for?
“I think that hard work generally does that. That’s why the off-season is so important to me. What I’ve learned is that’s when you start to build the foundation of your team. Without that, it’s just a little tougher and the old days when they didn’t have an off-season you had seven weeks of training camp and that was the time. Now, it’s a little different set-up but I think it’s all part of it. Another part of it is when you add a player or two players late and they end up being on your team; it’s how they work into the fabric of your team. There is not a manual for how to do it. You try to go with what you know works. That’s what I’ve tried to do.”
People will look at this third game as the most important of the pre-season because of the first cuts. But to you is this just another step or a key pre-season game?
“This will be more important than the last two because it’s the next one. We’ll see a lot of guys play more and you’ll have to see them where they have a halftime where they have to get themselves going again, from where they were shut down (prior pre-season games). Those will all be very important. This one is the most important to you right now. Every day is an evaluation and if you can’t get yourself in good standing to get into the game then the game means nothing because some decision may already been made. I think every day is extremely important for all these guys and for us.”