Q: What have you seen out of T
HALEY: “I’m expecting big things out of Branden Albert. He’s done everything that we’ve asked him to do to be able to take that next step. I think that’s where his eyes are – becoming a real good player and again, we’ll see. This is just the off-season but he has done everything to this point to continue to get better. The next step for him will be putting pads on and getting into training camp. He’s one of those young guys that has to take a step forward in order for us to become a good team.”
Q: When a young player like him has a rough season like he did last year and he went through physical changes as far as the weight, that can hurt a guy’s confidence. As the coach, how do you build him back up so that it doesn’t affect him for this season?
HALEY: “Well, I think number one he’s building himself back up. The ones that end up being real good or great are able to do that, they understand that there are some highs and lows, no different within a game that there’s highs and lows in life. He’s built himself back up and I don’t think any of us, myself personally, were real down on Branden Albert. I think that he was like all the other guys – everything was new. He had a new position coach, he had a new coordinator, he had a new head coach. Everything was new, and by the way he happens to be going against some pretty big-time competition. I don’t think in any way that I had down thoughts about Branden Albert. I think I kind of saw it for what it was and just know that he’s got to continue to get better and I think that’s the way he sees it and I’m excited to see what the future holds.”
Q: Are you guys still tinkering with his weight and conditioning at all, is he going to be about the same as last year and how do you see that affecting him?
HALEY: “We’re still trying to determine all those things right now, myself, his position coach, coach (Bill) Muir and then our strength coach Mike Clark. We’re spending a lot of time talking, evaluating, trying to figure out exactly what that should be. It’s not an exact science, but he’s getting stronger. He used to be afraid to take his shirt off, he’s got it off all the time now and it shows that he’s been working. I think he’s feeling pretty good about where he is right now.”
Q: So he might be heavier than he was last year, is that possible?
HALEY: “Yeah. That’s not an exact science and if it’s muscle, then that’s good.”
Q: Kurt Warner was here at practice yesterday. Was there any reason for that or just an old friend stopping by?
HALEY: “Strictly an old friend. Our families kind of became close over our time in Arizona and I’ve asked him multiple times and let him know our training camp dates and off-season dates and said if he could fit us into his busy schedule, meaning us the Haleys, that’d be great. He’s on a caravan trip across the country with his family, which sounds exciting and fun and resembles my family somewhat (laughs). It worked out where he was able to come through here. Put aside the football ability, Kurt is a tremendous, tremendous person. He was gracious enough to speak to the fellas and I just thought it was great and really nice of him to come out and do that for us.”
Q: Kurt Warner is kind of known for his acts of kindness and the things he does for other people. Last year during the holidays a story came out about you being very generous to someone on the side of the road. Is that something you possibly picked up being around Kurt Warner the person while you were his offensive coordinator?
HALEY: “I’m telling you Kurt Warner is as good as they come. I’m not trying to embarrass him, but this is a special, special human being and I think he’s been pretty well-represented. He’s the type of person that when you’re around, and I said this to a bunch of guys yesterday, he makes you a little better person and makes you a little more accountable for yourself. The only reason that came to light, what they did as a family, is somebody caught them. He talked about some of those things that he does and he’s an inspiration. He’s special and for him to come out and talk to these guys, I saw a lot of wide eyes and watching and paying attention for a lot of different reasons.”
Q: Do you think that Kurt Warner wants to get into coaching?
HALEY: “No, I think he has more important things to do and that is part of what he is doing. He is spreading his word and he is obviously a great Christian and does it the right way. He is tremendous. I think he has more important things to do than coach.”
Q: Was Warner doing any critiquing while he was here?
HALEY: “No, he had his kids out here and they were running around. He had two of them, he didn’t have all seven. I don’t think we could’ve handled that (laughing), but they were running around. He visited with a bunch of guys and I think it was a nice day for them and for us.”
Q: What can the team take from visiting with a future Hall of Famer like Kurt Warner?
HALEY: “What can’t they get? Someone that speaks like him is able to relate to a lot of things that they are going through. I think they can get a lot but again, that wasn’t the purpose of it. I missed a guy that I was around for a couple of years who means a lot to me. He was able to get through here and it was nice.”
HALEY: “I told him if I could have a baby during training camp and plan it in between two-a-days and make it to the morning practice and afternoon practice, he should be ok (laughing). That actually happened in New York, in 2000 in New York. He (Cassel) has a little bit more bloodshot eyes, but that is all.”
Q: Did you ever really consider moving T Branden Albert into a new position?
HALEY: “No, I mean it is fun stuff to talk about in the off-season, but it is probably a little more for you all than us. I don’t want to insinuate in any way that I was down (on him). I probably should’ve clarified that right away with you, Kent. You might have talked me into that one, but I saw it for what it was. He is a young player that is finding his way playing a very tough position against the top competition. When you start to look at who he went against week after week after week, it is a big job. I like where he is right now and he just has to continue in that direction and I know I will be happy.”
Q: Do you think he took a step backwards last year from his rookie year?
HALEY: “We won four games. Let’s talk when we win eight, nine, 10, 11, or 12 games. That is what is really important to me.”
Q: So just to clarify, you said that you guys never really considered moving T Branden Albert to a new position?
HALEY: “No, I don’t think that was ever a big issue.”