“I think the team as a whole has made great progress made as a whole and not only the lifting and conditioning side, but the football side and I think within that progress we’ve seen a bunch of guys that we picked up along the way last year, the T Ryan O’Callaghans, the WR
HALEY: “That position, Kent, we hadn’t done a lot of throwing so I think that slows that group down or slowed that group down a little bit and then being a new guy, I think that makes it even a little more difficult. I’m not making excuses for Jerheme, but I’ve been with him a couple different places and have kind of seen some similar steps made, but I’m being patient with that group as a whole because that aspect of it takes a little more time. We had been making good progress I thought as a group in the passing game. Today was a little rough patch, so to speak, so we’ll have to see how those guys bounce back tomorrow.”
Q: You said you’ve been with him in a couple places and now bringing him here, what do you like about Urban?
HALEY: “Jerheme was a player for us in Dallas; he was on our practice squad, that’s where I got interested in him. Then when I got out to Arizona, we had some big names but we didn’t have a lot of depth so we were able to get him out there. I think he gets pigeon-holed in this possession-type role, at least some of the things I’ve heard or even talking to him. What Jerheme can do is run. He’s big and fast and can stretch the field and you can’t have enough of those guys and he’s a guy at least he’s proven to me that he’ll do anything asked of him on special teams to give him a chance to help us. He was a guy in Arizona who was a backup most of the time but when we had injuries was able to step in and start some games, so he’s got that under his belt. I don’t think I’ve seen the top end of Jerheme. I think he’s got a chance to continue to get better. It’s up to him to do that now but I do think there’s some upside.”
Q: Why do you think he gets pigeon-holed as a possession guy?
HALEY: “Well I think where he was, you know in Arizona, just where he ended up having to play a bunch of their games by virtue of their personnel. I think it gets lost sometimes that he is a big, fast guy. He is fast. He’s got legitimate speed. Again, I think for Jerheme it’s just for him to take the next step and make the plays that he has to make to continue to push to be a good receiver in the league.”
HALEY: “Again, Bob, the most important thing of the off-season to me is the getting stronger, getting in condition aspect of it because again, we’re going to have a whole training camp to work on everything. This time of the year that is what’s most important to me and he’s been able to do everything with the guys in that area and again, that will be an advantage for him because without that, all these guys who came in mid-way, I don’t know what they were doing necessarily. Now, at least we know what they’re doing and we’re seeing them all make strides physically, which is very important.”
Q: When do you project him being back out on the practice field?
HALEY: “We’re being a little more cautious, I don’t think it’s something major, I know it’s not something major. Some of these guys we just want to make sure they’re there when we need them, which training camp for some of these guys.”
Q: And his injury is?
HALEY: “He’s got something that was a carry-over from last year.”
HALEY: “I think it’s good for him. What’s that saying about tub and club and making something (you can’t make the club in the tub), this guy’s got to be out there and I know it’s good for him to get out there and start doing things, which should pick up here as we go forward.”
Q: With the way you work in the OTAs, is there anything significant anymore about mini-camp in your mind or is it just another set of practices?
HALEY: “I said it last week, funny that you asked the question, Adam. I think it is a little different, especially with us having all the guys in here that we’ve had in here and where it’s placed this year, being more at the tail end of stuff – it does take on a little more of not quite the significant role that it did, but that being said, it is two-a-days, it’s going to be a little more on the schedule other than not doing some of the night stuff that we do in training camp, but they’ll have to bounce back and be ready to practice again. From that standpoint I think it’s real important but as far as the information that they’re getting, it’s a little more of a review for us, which then when we start training camp, we’ll review it again. The first six or seven OTAs we went through an installation process on all sides of the ball and then we’ll kind of go back through that again in the mini-camp, just in a little heavier doses. So it’s become a little more of a review from the mental side.”
Q: You have talked about becoming more mellow. How do you feel now as we are getting close and closer to the season?
HALEY: “This is a growth process for everybody involved and me number one. I am just trying to learn how to be the best head coach I can be. I am so much more comfortable from where I was last year at this time. That is what happens when you have a year under your belt and the key thing is making the necessary improvements from what you have learned, know where improvements are needed and where you think you are on point, stay on point. It is about pushing these players, pushing these coaches and trying to get the most out of this group that I can get out of them.”
Q: Where do you think you have made strides?
HALEY: “That is a big question. Again, I just feel much more comfortable in my role now going into my second year and having one of these under my belt. I am comfortable with the coaching staff, really comfortable with how we are functioning on a daily basis, not just out there but how we are functioning in the building behind closed doors on a daily basis. I would say if anything, just having that comfort level and feeling that I am doing the right things that are necessary.”
Q: Is that comfort because of the coaches you have in place?
HALEY: “No, anytime I talk about that I feel like I am slighting last year. I was very excited about what we were able to do last year. I felt like we were able to make great strides and lay some foundation. Some opportunities arose for me as the head coach that I felt like were in the best interest of trying to be the best coaching staff we could be. These guys are good coaches that I am comfortable with and we have a similar mentality outlook even though we are totally different people between the three of us. Getting a guy like Emmitt Thomas, I can see the effect he is having on this secondary. On a day like this when they got things going and had some enthusiasm and really had the upper hand, I think you are seeing some of that come out of Coach Thomas and Coach Otis Smith who is also new here. It is a good group of coaches with a lot of experience that I know and know the way they think. It is progress and that is the best way I can look at it is we are making progress. I said from the first day here that I would do anything and everything possible to give this team the best chance to win. That is what I am going to follow.”
Q: Did you expect some of the new members, specifically the rookie secondary members like DBs
HALEY: “At that position, you have to be able to do that and I am glad you mentioned both guys because I am excited about this Kendrick Lewis and making him a Chief. There is something about this young group, they haven’t been wide-eyed. They have a long way to go, don’t get me wrong and none of these guys you can anoint, but they have a confidence about them that I am sure will be shaken and rattled at different times and we will have to see how they respond. That is an important part of that position, the ability to communicate and quarterback the defense and if one of these young guys is going to play, they are going to have to show that ability pretty early and pretty often to have a chance. It is encouraging when you see these guys out here talking and communicating with some of these veteran guys that know a little more than they do or a lot more in some cases. I think those are some encouraging signs.”
Q: It seems like Kendrick Lewis and Eric Berry seem to be out there together most of the time. What value does that have?
HALEY: “That is just how we have them right now. Again, it is off-season, OTAs, no pads. We are going to be shuffling them around. At that position you have two safeties and communication between them is critical and out to the defense it is critical. We are going to work these guys through and there are going to be some days where you see them together and some days where you don’t depending on the progress they are making. I would just say I am encouraged as to where this young group is as a whole right now. If all of the signs we can get at this time in early June, which doesn’t mean much really once training camp hits, if they continue in that direction I think we will be happy.”
Q: If it came to it, are you ok with two rookies starting at the safety positions?
HALEY: “We will play guys that will give us the best chance to win. If it is those two or any others or a different mix and match, we will do it. There is good competition at a bunch of different spots and I think with days like today, if you all were watching the defense, some of that shows up and that is a good thing for the Kansas City Chiefs.”