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HEAD COACH TODD HALEY ROOKIE MINI-CAMP WRAP-UP Q&A HIGHLIGHTS – 5/2

Posted May 2, 2010

OPENING REMARKS: “The young guys got through their first weekend with us. I feel it was very, very productive in a lot of different areas. Kind of how I felt to start with these guys, I’m excited about these guys. I feel comfortable that they understand how important these next couple weeks are for them and getting at it pretty hard so that when they are allowed to come back here, they are in a position to have a chance to compete against some of these guys that are a little further along.

“I feel like some of the other areas that we were able to spend some time with them were very productive, and then on-the-field, I thought was extremely productive and in the classrooms, I felt like they made progress through the weekend and now have some idea of what to expect for when they come back here and are really thrown into the fire with all the guys and we’ll be rolling.”

Q: How much do you take away from a weekend like this, how much do you really learn about these guys?

HALEY: “I think there was a lot of learning on both sides. We’re chomping at the bit too, as a staff and for instance, (WR Dexter) McCluster, we orientated him into multiple areas so it was important to us to see how he handled that – being in a different classroom, different meetings or different spots. That’s just an example, but we’re learning as much as they are, and it’s important. We now have a couple weeks to get prepared and put our ducks in a row and be ready to roll here when the OTAs start.”

Q: Was DT John Henderson ever going to come visit the Chiefs?

HALEY: “Like I said the other day, I’ll limit it, in this room, to conversations about the Kansas City Chiefs.”

Q: You had the second-to-last run defense in the league last year. You’ve improved a lot on both offense and defense, but are you at all worried about the front seven and are there pieces that need to be added?

HALEY: “I think I said this earlier, Nick. When you win four games, we’ve got pressing needs across the board. What I’m excited about is I feel like you have a limited number of ways to try to improve and I feel like we did the things we had to with what we had to have a chance to be a better team and we’ll continue. It hasn’t stopped yet, that process, so we’ll continue to, if people come available or if there are things out there that we think give us a chance to get better, we’ll definitely be on it.”

Q: What was your first impression of DB Eric Berry getting a weekend worth of work with him?

HALEY: “I thought Eric, along with this whole group; I don’t feel a whole lot different than I did a couple days ago in that I’m excited. I think these guys have a good energy about them. There are some good personalities in this group which is important – you’ve got to have some personality on teams and I would say I like that about these guys. They’re fun; it’s nice, pleasant to be around these guys, I should say, it doesn’t appear too big right now for them, which is a good sign.”

Q: How did McCluster handle all of the things that you threw at him this weekend?

HALEY: “I think across the board, the guys got better as the weekend went on. I thought we kind of looked like the Bad News Bears on the first one and by today, I thought it was a much smoother operation across the board, which told me the guys were understanding a little more.”

Q: What pieces of the puzzle did you add to help your run defense be better than it was a year ago?

HALEY: “Well, I hope it’s across the board. I hope it starts with the guys we’ve got in this building right now that I have hope for and know we have hope. In this league, to be a consistently good team, you have to develop players, you have to. If you don’t develop players, you’re going to have a hard time being any good to start with, and sustaining for sure. You have to develop young players. We have a lot of young guys in this building that have a year under their belt, have a year of dealing with me, have a year of dealing with most of our coaches and what’s expected and they’re making progress and they need to make progress. They understand that and I think they’re trying to put themselves in a position to take another step and if we have that happen first and foremost, we’re going to be better.”

Q: So you’re counting on guys improving their games then?

HALEY: “Across the board. Not just defense. We need to have guys develop and get better. We need to have young guys that were peripheral, ‘maybe’ guys, ‘hey, maybe this guy has a chance,’ we need those guys to step in and say he’s a solid backup or more. We need to have guys that were starting that were out there playing and starting games – it doesn’t mean anything to say you started games if your record was four wins – so we need those guys that were starting to step up and take another step and become better players for us. These guys that we brought in, we need for it to not be too big for them right out of the gate. Some of them, we know it’s going to be some time, others are probably, as we get a little better gauge on the, I don’t know who they’ll be, but we’ll say, ‘hey, this guy’s got a chance,’ and to create competition right away. When you’re doing that, I think then you’re getting better.”

Q: How are you more comfortable, where do you think you’re better your second year around as the head coach?

HALEY: “Pete (Moris) tells me I’m not any better in this area (interviews), so that’s out. [Teicher: He’s right.] Thank you, Adam for seconding that. Across the board, and I have to be better and every one of our coaches has to be better. I think we’re all working, we understand first of all that has to happen, there is no misconception there for any of us, and we’re working hard to be better in every area we can be, to do a better job of getting these guys ready to play and win games.”

Q: How much evaluation were you able to do of your staff because you have a lot of new faces in a lot of different places?

HALEY: “They’re always being evaluated. I know I’m always being evaluated, it’s no different than the players, we’re all being evaluated at all times and that’s part of my job description, is to evaluate these guys that are out there doing a lot of the coaching. I feel really good, we had a bunch of real good coaches on the staff and then the guys we were able to get in here that wanted to be a part of this, even though they’re new here, they’re not new to me, which is a huge, huge thing and that was apparent to me this weekend. I know I felt comfortable, it’s hard to explain exactly, but when you do things a certain way and you’re watching practice as the head coach and you see something that you know is wrong or not the way we want it, and then you hear it [another coach correcting it], that feels good.”

Q: Did you see anyone or anything out of the crop of rookie free agents that is particularly promising?

HALEY: “Yeah, I think these guys came out and represented themselves well and I told them all that, even the tryout guys I thought came in and did a very nice job of kind of helping things move along and represented themselves very well.”

Q: Around the league, if you have a tryout guy or an undrafted guy that comes in and you see can be a good player, you like the guy, but he doesn’t fit in to a need for the team, do you talk to other teams and tell them about this guy, or does that not happen because that is something that could help a competitor?

HALEY: “That’s a good question, Nick, very good question. It came up this week. I was taught very early on, and what I told the players at the start of the week was, if you can play, we’ll know or someone else will and tell them right out of the gate that if it’s not here, we’ll do something to try to help you. I won’t get into specifics, but there was actually somebody here that we felt that about and I’ve already left two messages for other people because again, if a guy’s got a chance, then you want to try to help them.”

Q: That seems like the right thing to do person to person wise, but as far as competition goes, is there a worry that this guy might beat the Chiefs down the road?

HALEY: “You don’t know how it is going to turn out. I think generally when you act the way you are supposed to act… Karma, is that what they call it?”

Q: Does the rule still stand that you can have 80 players maximum on the roster right now? HALEY: “Yes, but under contract. So there is a little bit of flexibility right now.”

Q: Yesterday DBs Javier Arenas and Eric Berry didn’t practice. Why not?

HALEY: “We are in the off-season, Adam, so I don’t have to talk about injuries, but I will at least touch on it. They had existing situations that we knew about that we just wanted to be smart with. Now, they were back today and were actively involved. It was more precautionary than anything else. These guys haven’t been in our off-season program so we don’t know exactly what all these guys have been doing, although we try to figure it out as best as we can. There are a lot of things going on, especially having this camp the weekend directly after the draft. Things moved along fast and without knowing exactly where they are, to take a chance, might not end up being what we want to do.”

Q: Is there any long term concern for the two of them?

HALEY: “No, again it was precautionary and they were chomping at the bit to be out there.”

Q: When it comes to tryout guys, is there any chance you might sign any of them?

HALEY: “I would say there is a chance. Maybe a couple, three maybe?”

Q: So to follow up on a previous question, you wouldn’t hesitate to call another team in the division to help get a guy in the league?

HALEY: “Now, that might be going across the line (laughing).”

Q: There was a lot of emphasis this draft on getting guys with good character. Did you see anything this weekend that showed you leadership or is it too early for that?

HALEY: “Again, this process was about finding good football players with high football character. I would say all indicators show that these guys are as advertised. Again, we have a long way to go and they have a long way to go. That is really what we just tried to make them understand. As I said earlier, the energy is good with this group. They are a good group of men and I am excited about working with them.”

Q: What are you giving these guys for homework over the next couple of weeks that is going to help them since they can’t be here until May 16th?

HALEY: “The biggest thing is the physical aspect. We had an hour-long presentation by our strength coach which was an extremely thorough demonstration showing them the lifts we are doing, the way we are doing them, it talked them through the runs and what they need to be doing because they are behind. Like I said, by the time they get back they will be officially 26 workouts behind and in most cases, with the way these guys were working, 32 workouts which are significant workouts, each one of them. When you get into the actual repetitions, the pulls, the pushes, squats, lifts and cleans, that our guys will have had under our belt, it is like money. If you lose two-hundred thousand dollars, you are not getting it back. There is no way to make it up, you will always be playing catch up. It was a very thorough presentation that should give these guys a chance if they do what they are supposed to do over these next couple of weeks. It will give them a chance to come back in better shape.”

Q: Have you seen any encouraging signs from the team in general as well as coaching staff that this team is improving and guys are developing?

HALEY: “I think you saw some steps during the season and you saw some things occur as the season went on that left you encouraged that guys were developing. There is trust and confidence in the staff that they are working diligently on developing these players. I am getting to watch them, I spend half of the day down there now when they are in here, just watching them run, lift, how they are acting, how they interact and what they are doing. All I can say is that I am encouraged from what I see.”

Q: How much has having a better set of coordinators helped in developing these players?

HALEY: “I didn’t say that, Nick, about better or anything. I had a very good staff last year and the way things have turned out, I am excited about where we are going. I know these players will be well coached, I don’t have any doubt about that across the board. I am excited about that as I was last year.”

Q: With a lot of these players getting better, are you saying a lot of that is attributed to not as good coaching a year ago?

HALEY: “No, I felt the players were as well prepared as they could be prepared last year. Again, we are just not to the stage where the coaches have had (a great deal of time) and that is intentional. Some people do a lot more, I believe this time of the year must be spent on getting their bodies ready so they can sustain and play and keep them hungry for some of the football stuff which we are slowly getting into. Again, I am excited about where we are at as a group right now and I am excited to get going.”

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