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Q&A with Todd Haley – 8/24

Posted Aug 24, 2010

Highlights

OPENING REMARKS: “Good morning everyone. We were out there today which I’ll talk about in a second but first just want to talk about little bit about tomorrow. As you know, we’re going to have this night practice at the New Arrowhead. I just encourage the fans out there to come on out and see a bunch of what look like real positive changes. The stadium looks great and I know we’re looking forward to as a team playing up there this year. This is an opportunity for us really to go through that pregame process, be in the locker room, simple things, even finding out where to park – we’ve got a lot of new guys here and there’s been enough changes up there that some of that’s changed. So guys knowing where to park, where their locker is, getting out on the field, seeing the surroundings, the lights, all those kinds of things. I think it ought to be a real productive night for us and just encourage the fans to come out there and see what’s going on.

 

“Practice today – a little cooler. The mood intensified as it went on. I thought it was a real competitive practice today with some real good situations to learn from. We’ll be doing some coaching this afternoon and then get out there and get a little more into Philadelphia.”

Q: Who’s the best running back on your team?

HALEY: “I don’t know that I can answer that. It remains to be seen. I’m excited about what our running game is doing. We’re averaging if not, close to 150 yards per game. I think our line is showing real good continuity on a couple different levels with the first-line and second-line guys and we’re trying to find the right mix there. I think our running backs are making yards that the line is blocking in addition to making a bunch of yards on their own, which I’m real excited about. I think there’s good competition, as I said last week we probably played a little more the way we’ll play in-season, with a couple of these guys, RBs Jamaal (Charles) and Thomas (Jones) specifically. What I felt good about it was sideline presence, each of them going in and out of the game and having a little something to prove and feeding off each other and I think we have a chance to have a real good combination there, along with, we know we’ll have to have another guy that’s getting some carries and I think that’s still kind of being decided.”

Q: Do you disagree with people who say that Jamaal is the best offensive player you’ve got?

HALEY: “I think anybody can have an opinion about it. I think Jamaal, what he did last year has never been done before but it was an eight-game window or an eight-game sample that we saw. Now what we’re pushing Jamaal to do is show that he can do that throughout a 16-game and hopefully plus schedule. That’s something that Thomas has proven through time. To judge or rate these guys right now, I’m really excited about Jamaal showing signs that he’s ready to do that and take that challenge. I know Thomas Jones has come in here and what he’s about is trying to make this as good a team as we possibly can be and win games. I just think it’s a real good combination and everybody can have an opinion on who the best player is. I’m not going to get into that right now. I’m for trying to get these guys ready to go and us to understand how we need to use them to be the best that we can be and that can change.”

Q: Do you think that Jamaal has the body, the physical capability where if he had to be an every-down back, that he could handle that workload?

HALEY: “That we don’t know Nick, that we don’t know. We’ve talked about it a bunch in here. I don’t want to set a bar on Jamaal Charles and I said that last year multiple times because when a bar’s been set on him he’s kind of broken through it and proved people wrong. That is yet to be seen. I know that Jamaal was a work-in-progress last year and our coaches, specifically coach (Maurice) Carthon did a tremendous job with this guy. This was a guy that was inactive in a couple games early that he then used that to his own advantage to push himself harder. It’s a tough position to play. You’ve got to have a certain mindset to play that position and when you start talking 20, 25, 30 carries a game, game-in and game-out, that’s a lot to ask of anyone. I’m not going to set a bar on Jamaal and again, we’re just going to have to see how it plays out because I don’t think there’s any way to answer either one of those questions right now.”

Q: Some running backs you talk to say they need 20 or 25 carries before they even get warmed up. Is that like having a receiver say they’re open every play?

HALEY: “You have to go by what you see and like I said, that’s a difficult position to play. You can see it within the game, when guys are looking for ways out, or tapping out or some of the words we use that they need a blow and sometimes then you realize that talk isn’t being backed up. There have been some guys I’ve been around now that are backing it up. With Jamaal, it remains to be seen. We’ll just have to see because it’s a competitive situation which I think is good for us and we have more ability at that position than we’ve had. Now we just have to continue getting better and I know that if we can be a real good running team, that will be good for the Kansas City Chiefs.”

Q: The trend in the NFL seems to be having two backs and is kind of what you have here. Would you say that there is really a starter vs. a non-starter or does that even make a difference?

HALEY: “I think somebody has to start. All the running backs on this roster would like to start. Someone has to start, that decision has to be made. What that means I think remains to be seen. I think that trend or no trend, it comes down to coaches, instincts and field. We were in New York with Curtis Martin, he showed us we didn’t need to take him out, he didn’t want to come out and we didn’t need to take him out so if he’s holding up and healthy every week and able to practice every week and he was going through torture – I know that’s a tough-minded guy that played with a lot of injuries, but there was no alternative. We had other backs on the roster but why would we take him out? Now that’s something that as a coach you have to feel within a game. We’re not setting a script of plays and this guy is doing this and this guy is doing that at any position. It’s the same with receivers. I’ve had receivers you could not get out of the game. I’ve had other receivers that are tapping their helmet and I’m saying ‘you’re staying in, you’re staying in.’ I think that all will kind of play itself out and if Thomas or Jamaal is averaging seven yards per carry after 100 or 200 carries, then you’d be a fool not to play him if he’s holding up and things aren’t adding up that you feel would be detrimental to the team. My father told me a long-time ago about an unnamed player, ‘We’ve got this guy who’s starting who’s averaging 3.5 yards per carry and then you’ve got this guy on the bench who’s averaging 22 yards per carry in the preseason. Wouldn’t you put him in until the average went down a little bit? At least keep him in there until he’s not averaging 22 yards.’ That makes sense to me. That’s common sense. As a coach that’s what I try to go by. I play the guys that give us the best chance to win and the good thing right now is we’ve got great competition because both those guys want to be pretty good and I think we’re going to have another one or two that want to stick their nose in there before too long.”

Q: Isn’t that Jamaal Charles though because he’s averaging 7.7 yards per carry and Thomas Jones is only averaging 3.7 yards per carry…

HALEY: “How many carries do they have?”

Q: Maybe 10 a piece?

HALEY: “Ok, alright, let’s talk when they have 200 or even 25 for that matter. No. We are in the preseason. We are not scheming. We are trying to get guys ready to play. Jamaal Charles I’ve talked about. My job as the head coach, he’s coming off a pretty significant off-season physically that he had to deal with. We want this guy to be playing when the games count. Now, we want him to be playing at a high level when the games count. Right now we’re in that process of trying to get him to play at a high level, trying to get CB Brandon Flowers to play at a high level, hopefully CB/S Maurice Leggett will be back here and we’ll start getting him trying to play at a high level and anybody that’s had anything that they’ve had to deal with and hasn’t had quite the recuperation time and the off-season that other guys have had. So there are a lot of factors involved. I’m excited about what both of these runners plus RB Jackie Battle, plus the times WR Dexter McCluster has been in there at running back, I’m excited about some of the options and the ability we have at the position, I’m getting the feel that this offensive line is working well together and winning some battles in there.”

Q: The passing game against Tampa Bay, it seemed that a lot of passes were underneath, putting the ball in the hands of your receivers and let them make a play. Do you expect that to be the basis of your passing game or is that simply that the man was open and that’s who got the ball?

HALEY: “From a competitive advantage or disadvantage position I don’t think I’d get a whole bunch into that. It’s preseason. We’re not game-planning, we’re trying to evaluate a lot of players. I will say that we’re going to try and be a running team. I’ll give that morsel.”

Q: Do you have to make a decision in the coming days about who is going to be your starters so they can work together and build chemistry?

HALEY: “I think there is some merit to that, guys working together. You are taking practice, a lot of snaps into account and trying to get to a point where you feel comfortable. I think there are some overrated aspects of that at times but there is some merit to it. Part of what I said yesterday about this game is, we need to get into some of the role playing that is going to go on. Good teams, everyone knows their role. Yes we are still evaluating and there is still competition at a lot of different spots on a lot of different levels. With this game, we need to put some guys into positions and situations that they have a better chance of being in once the season starts. That could be a sub rusher, a third-down back, a short yardage back, goal-line, it could be a tight end, it could be a heavy set. Who is going to be the wide receiver that is going to play? Is it going to be (Dwayne) Bowe? (Chris) Chambers? Who is it going to be? A lot of those things we are trying to nail down a little bit without game-planning. We are devoting about the same amount of time to Philadelphia as we have the other two. We are still learning how to get the guys to do the things the way we want them done in the games. More and more of that has showed up at this point and this will be another test for us.”

Q: How much do you weigh in DE Wallace Gilberry’s contract vs. what DEs Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson are getting paid when considering playing time?

HALEY: “Zero. That goes for the whole building. Once they enter the building it is who gives us the best chance to win. I have been in other situations and other jobs where you are supported by the people who ultimately make the final decision and we have done that in a bunch of different places and that is the way that everyone in this building knows that it works. I would say zero is that way.”

Q: For GM Scott Pioli, does the amount of money in the players’ contract ever cross the mind when it comes to playing time?

HALEY: “I don’t know, you would have to ask someone else that question. I am not in the business of giving good football players away and I know that Scott isn’t either. Again, that is what this is going to come down to – who are the best football players. Yeah, there is some potential involved in the mix always when you are talking about these guys in developmental aspects. We are going to do our best not to give good football players away that can help this team, be part of this team and fit and do the things that will make us a good team. That is what we are working to try and be is a good team and not just one year but every year be a consistently good team. It is hard to win in the NFL. I am encouraged with the direction things are going right now and I am really looking forward to, number one, getting back out there this afternoon and getting into Philly a little bit and then tomorrow night seeing the stadium with hopefully a bunch of fans in there and kind of see what it is going to be like Friday night and then September 13th is coming fast and it will be a good opportunity for us that way.”

Q: Are you disappointed with the production you are getting from last year’s draft class?

HALEY: “No, I wouldn’t say disappointed. As we know with drafts, there are people that rate them the day of the draft, there are people that rate them a week after, there are people who rate them a year after. I think most of these play out a little further down the line than that and all I can do is coach these guys the best we can and get our staff ready to go. I think we have a lot of guys making progress that want to be part of something special and I think that was evident today from the energy, effort and physicality. We have been in pads now for 28 practices. That has to be up there with anybody and these aren’t marshmallow practices and these guys are into it. I think we are getting ready to try and be a good team.”

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