“For the rookies, it’ll now be their third time through it. In addition I think you saw a lot more team plays out there, so that gives us a little more time to evaluate some of the guys that during the OTAs we didn’t get to see quite as much, in addition to having a little one-on-one with the o-line/d-line which this afternoon we’ll be able to get the receivers/DBs and TEs/backers going up against each other. They came out and kind did what we’ve been doing which is worked hard, practiced fast and now they’ll be meeting and then we’ll be back out there.”
Q: Since this is more of a review and this offers more of a chance for evaluation, does that mean that OTAs are more focused on teaching?
HALEY: “We’ve had some OTA days where we had two team periods, but it’s been a lot more drop-back pass, seven-on-seven type things, o-line working by themselves, the d-line working by themselves. The more team reps you have the better for all those guys up front. Again, we’re not in pads so we can’t really evaluate those guys until we’re in pads. It was good on both sides. For the coaches, we get to see maybe some guys that haven’t had very many reps get in there and do something and guys that have been looking for reps are getting more. I would say that’s the biggest change.”
Q: Is this where the depth chart could start changing?
HALEY: “Again Karen, I think until the pads are on we’re really, what we’re trying to do is coach these guys up on the things that we can, which is practice tempo, taking care of each other, the finer point and details of all their positions, offense defense and special teams. We were able to have our first special teams period so it’s a lot of teaching and there’s evaluation going on all the time but until we get into pads and see that start to happen, I think is where depth chart stuff will become a little more important.”
Q: It appears that your front seven on defense is going to be the same as it was last year. Why do you feel like your pass rush will be better than it was last year?
HALEY: “Well, I hope it is and it needs to be. We need to stop the run first and foremost and that will help our pass rush, keeping teams in little more difficult situations than we were able to last year a lot of times. We did some good things on defense last year that we’ve talked about, the three-and-outs, but the big plays, the big runs, we’ve got to stop and that will help our pass rush. Guys having a year of development has to help us be better and that’s as big as anything that we’re talking about. All these first, second and third-year guys now having a year in the system for the most part, an additional year under their belt, an additional year of coaching, an additional year of lifting and conditioning so that’s what has to happen.”
Q: Do you feel like you have the personnel to get the job done, in that regard?
HALEY: “We’ll find out. We’re working hard, we’re coaching them hard, we’re getting a lot done and we’re making progress. Time will tell. The next step after getting through this mini-camp and our last couple OTAs will be training camp and putting the pads on and we have to make progress during that time – as much progress as we feel like we’ve made to this point, we have to do it again. As I told them last night, having a great off-season, they aren’t going to spot us wins and that’s just the way it is. That will just give us a chance to improve and get better.”
Q: Are you guys excited to go to St. Joseph for training camp this year and being closer to home, and what are the team’s feelings about that?
HALEY: “I won’t speak for the team, I’ll speak for myself, I had to go up there the other day, for unfortunate reasons – a funeral that happened to be in St. Joseph, and stopped off and took a look around, got chased out of there by their security, which was good. I’m really excited personally. It’s a win-win-win. It’s a win for the people of St. Joseph, both that live up there in that nice little town, cute little town that almost reminded me of back home in some spots. It’s a win for the university. It’s a win for the fans that now have great access, it’s not a bad drive, it’s easy, it’s convenient so I’m really excited for the fans. It’s a win for us, for the Chiefs I think because having a bunch of fans out there will be fun. That creates energy. I think it allows fans to get to know the team on a little more personal level, being out there, you get the people that choose to come out. I think it’s good stuff. I’m excited.”
Q: With players like WR
HALEY: “They’re a different group, they’re a whole separate group but it’s just as important that each and every one of those guys takes a step. You’re exactly right, it’s a great point, the fact that when you come in mid-year like all those guys that you mentioned did, I have a feeling for what they were doing because a couple of them came from places that I’ve been, but you don’t know. We now have been able to put them into our program, which I’ve said a bunch of times I’m really excited about the direction we’ve been going in the off-season portion of it and I think it’s got to give them a great chance to compete having that time and learning the system, all those factors, you have to factor in them taking a step for us. It’s tough to come in mid-year and all those guys you mentioned did a real good job at times. Other times you probably wanted to be better, but it has to help.”
Q: How important is it for the quarterbacks to get timing down with the receivers while doing these drills?
HALEY: “I think that is priceless. We have quarterbacks that love to work, love to throw and none of those crusty old guys that are saving their arm for half the year. We don’t have any of those and these guys are excited. They (the quarterbacks) were pulling these guys together back a couple months ago, ‘hey, let’s throw some routes.’ I am going to grab a cereal and I see them out there throwing and it is great stuff. It is timing and relationships that those guys have to have so much trust in each other and the quarterback needs to trust each and every one of those that you mention position-wise. Anybody he is throwing the football to he has to trust they are going to do what they are supposed to do and the more time together the better.”
HALEY: “Limited would be a good in-season word.”
Q: What do you see in QB
HALEY: “Yeah, I think that Tyler has a chance. Tyler is a guy who is a Pitt guy, WR Larry Fitzgerald’s quarterback and a guy Larry used to talk about and with me having Pitt roots, I always watched. He came to Arizona right about when I was leaving so we missed each other but I was excited that he was coming in because we knew that was happening at that time. Obviously some other things occurred with me. I am excited. He comes from a football background, he is energetic and he has been around some really good quarterbacks in the years following school. He has had great exposure in New Orleans with QB Drew Brees and Sean Payton who I know really well. He spent time in Arizona with QB Kurt (Warner) and Kenny (Whisenhunt). I am excited about some of the things he is doing. He is like all the others, he is working hard to compete and give himself a chance to make the team.”
Q: How does RB
HALEY: “There are a lot of positions that I am excited about seeing how things transpire once we get to training camp, but that is one at the top of the list for a bunch of different reasons. He is a late-season guy who did some things at the end of the year last year but it was one of those things where he is on cards and you see someone who has fresh legs and is quick, fast but you can’t put a lot into it. We wanted to keep him around and he was excited to be here and he worked his butt off in the off-season. He has followed RB Thomas (Jones) around like a little puppy which is good. It is what he should be doing when you have an opportunity to learn from a guy like that. They are watching tape all the time and most importantly the times we have been on the field, at least daily, he has found a way to show up. You can’t put too much into it until you see him in pads. He is a guy who shows up every day and you get excited about him and he is in great competition so I think that will push somebody to the top and hopefully whoever that is will be able to push the other two guys mentioned and you are getting better.”
Q: Do you see much improvement from S
HALEY: “That whole secondary group I am excited about what they are doing. DaJuan is one of those guys. He is now in his third year, a critical, critical year and when a guy gets to his third year, and you have to remember DaJuan was not only a junior coming out but a young junior. He was a very young guy and it doesn’t happen overnight. He is at that third-year juncture where I think you will continue to see the arrow continue to point up, it will flatten out or it will start down. In that third year, especially with the young guys we are paying attention. He is working hard and he is putting a lot into it and investing in himself and us and that is all we are asking right now so we will see.”
Q: Last year QB
HALEY: “I hope they are better this year (laughing). Matt is into football and that is what we want out of these guys. He cares, he is passionate, he is fully invested and trying to make this a good and then a great team. I am excited about Matt and he is a fighter. I hope he becomes great.”
Q: The way you answered that, it sounds like he doesn’t come up with very good plays?
HALEY: “Obviously last year’s weren’t working very well, so he has to improve on that (laughing).”
Q: A couple referees were out there on the field today, can you talk about that?
HALEY: “Yeah, good observation. Our local guy, the guy from the NFL that works with us said they had a couple guys available if we want it and it is an opportunity for us to learn a little bit. They came out with us and they will be here the whole weekend. They are going to watch tape with groups in between practices and coach them up. They will help explain in more detail from their perspective the rules to the guys. It is an effort to educate, learn and eliminate penalties.”