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Q&A with Todd Haley 10/19

Posted Oct 19, 2011

OPENING REMARKS: “Good afternoon. We continued our preparation for Oakland. I won’t take up much time; I know you probably have a bunch of questions. Guys are excited to be in here today. We’ve got a nice football practice day out there with the temperature and everything, so I know the guys are excited to be back at it. We’ve got a big day today. We had a big day of meetings and now we’ve got to have a good practice, one in which we make some progress. This is an Oakland Raider team that obviously beat us both times last year. They’re a physical group across the ball. They run the ball as good as anybody in the league. They can and are dominant up front on defense. They’re a physical secondary that will play a lot of man and now they’re really mixing in a bunch of pressures, which you hadn’t seen a bunch from them in the past. Like I said, the quarterback thing, we’ll have to prepare for at least a couple guys to be ready. As far as the kicking game, they’ve got arguably two of the best guys in the league at both positions and a returner or two that can really hurt you, starting with Jacoby Ford, who did hurt us last year. We’ve got to play our best Sunday, play our best game of the year against a division opponent and we’re trying to get to two wins in this quarter of the season.”

Q: What do you see as the differences between the two quarterbacks because it sounds like Carson Palmer will start?

HALEY: “Carson has a long track record in the NFL. We played against him a couple years ago in Cincinnati. The good thing is we’ve got a lot of tape on Carson and our staff [has] very good familiarity with his strengths. Kyle [Boller], same thing, we’ve seen him through the years a number of different places. He’s on tape last week some, so much like Indianapolis, we’ve got to prepare for two guys and that happens on occasion and this is one of those weeks.”

Q: Do you shift the emphasis more to one guy that may look to be the starter?

HALEY: “I think first and foremost we’ve got to stop one of the best running attacks in the league and one of the best backs in the league. If we don’t do that, it will be a long day for us and it won’t matter really who is playing quarterback. We’ve got to stay focused on the strengths of their team, specific strengths of their team, knowing that they have a number of receivers that have hurt us and can hurt you, especially vertically and after the catch. But, first and foremost, each and every week for us, and it just becomes even a greater importance and emphasis is we must slow down their run game, some way, somehow.”

Q: Can you imagine anybody being ready to start a game when he signs on Tuesday after not going through an offseason or the first six weeks of a season?

HALEY: “I don’t know. That’s not something that I have to worry about right now on our end, so I can’t really tell you. That would strictly be opinion. It sounds like Carson has been working extremely hard to be ready if something came up. Like I said, this isn’t a one-, two-year guy you’re talking about; it’s a guy that’s got a bunch of years under his belt. I wouldn’t put it past anybody. They had a linebacker last week that came in to an entirely new system and started and played in [Aaron] Curry. I think we’ve just got to plan on either guy.”

Q: When you heard that Palmer got traded within the division, what was your reaction about what this means for the Chiefs?

HALEY: “Like I said, this is a very big game for the Kansas City Chiefs this particular week. It’s a division opponent, like I said, who beat us twice last year, who is much like us and has been improving here the last couple years. That’s really where our focus is. Now, I appreciate the question. I’d say surprised as much as anything else. They had a heck of a quarterback in Jason Campbell, too, that was doing nothing but getting better in my opinion. They’ve got a lot of talented players in a bunch of positions, and they’re going to be a team to reckon with one way or another, I would feel.”

Q: What’s your general assessment of how your run defense played through the first five games?

HALEY: “Not good enough, really. It’s an area that we’ve got to continue to improve, but it has been improving and that’s the most important thing. I said after the Minnesota game – who I think has shown a bunch of weeks that they can really run the football – that we had done a pretty good job in that game, had we been able to stop some of those reverses. This team is another team that likes to hand the ball off to receivers and they can really run with it, so we’ve got to continue to do some work on that as a run defense. But, in general, we’ve been making progress and that’s the key and I think that’s why we’ve seen our team continue to improve. It has to happen again this week.”

Q: In the last game of the regular season last year, they ran the ball down your throat. Are they just a tough matchup for you guys?

HALEY: “They were in that last game for sure. I thought in the game out there we did some things to move the ball, throwing and running. We did some things to hurt ourselves. In that last game that we all played, they were clearly much better than us on that day. I know, again, our guys are really focused on trying to continue to do the things that we’ve been doing here over the past three weeks to make progress. We don’t want to go backwards at all. We need to keep getting a little better each and every week.”

Q: If you’ve got a quarterback situation like the Raiders do with picking up Carson Palmer this week, in general, do you approach that different defensively and try to pressure them more because they don’t have a lot of reps?

HALEY: “Again, I think you have to take a lot of things into account. I don’t think that I’d give much of that up, as much as I could help it. I’m saying the same thing, but really, we’ve got to continue to get better. We have a very a formidable opponent that took care of us a couple times last year and they’re not going to be any easier to deal with for any reason this week that I can see. We need to play our best game of this year to be competitive and have a chance to win and we need to do some of those things that we’ve been doing in the last few weeks to be better.”

Q: It’s tough to evaluate defensive line play, but how is DE Tyson Jackson doing for you this year?

HALEY: “When I say the run defense is improving, a lot of times in a 3-4 you’re going to be talking about those three guys. You’re not going to hear much about them in our defense but I think the entire group has been making very good progress. I think Kelly Gregg is quietly playing pretty good here the last three weeks. I think Tyson is clearly playing better each week, he’s making progress. And Glenn Dorsey is playing better each week. Even the guys rotating in there are all making progress. I know that has to continue across the board and we’re seeing some forward movement that we’ve got to continue and this week will be a great challenge for the entire defense.”

Q: Do you see a lot of progression between where Tyson is now and where he was as a rookie?

HALEY: “Yeah, obviously that’s very clear. I thought that early last year, specifically in the first game of the year that Tyson was playing really well when he got injured and subsequently missed a few weeks. As the year went on, he started to kind of get back into it but that set him back a little bit. I’ve seen him do nothing but now continue to make progress and I’m excited about the way that he’s fitting within our scheme along with the other guys I mentioned. Really, in our defense it takes all 11 in the run game and the pass game.”

Q: You’ve seen improvement in your run defense in the past three games. Would you say the same thing about your pass defense?

HALEY: “I would say it. I would say in general our defense has continued to make progress. We gave up too many big plays in the last game and that’s something that we’re always working on and have to continue to limit, but that’s not to say that there won’t be big plays made. We just have to limit those plays in both the run and the pass and the more we do that, I think that allows us to play a complementary brand of football tied in with our special teams and that’s the way we’re going to be successful. I think that’s what we’re going to be, we’re just working to try to be a good team and we’re making progress. That’s the important thing.”

Q: Have you had any conversations in the past week with Scott Pioli about your job security?

HALEY: “No. I’m very focused on this team and the progress that we’re making. We dug ourselves quite a hole here out of the gate and we’ve been making progress. Like I said, even though it’s just the second game in this quarter of the season, it’s a big game for us and it will be one that if we can continue to make progress and play our best game and win the game, it will be a very important step for us.”

Q: In the division games you won last year, you seems to be strong in the run defense and in the games you lost, or the games that were close, it seemed like the run defense struggled. Do you draw a trend from that or not?

HALEY: “I don’t know that it’s a trend, other than when we lose we struggle stopping the run, one or the other, or we struggle to stop the pass. I just think that’s the type of team we are right now, one that has to play complementary football. For our team, I believe that means our offense protecting the football, number one running the football efficiently. Our defense limiting big plays in the run and the pass game and then our special teams, specifically in some of the return games we have to make some plays that make a difference in the game. I think generally when I look at our team over the last couple of years, the last three years, when we do those couple things, we play pretty good football and it doesn’t matter who we’re playing. We’ve got to do those things and that’s what we’re working very diligently on.”

Q: Over the bye, did you happen to see New Orleans Head Coach Sean Payton go down with a leg injury on the sideline? Do you have any sympathy for him after what you went through last year?

HALEY: “I have a lot of sympathy, a lot of sympathy because knowing what he’s in for, I know a lot about it having gone through last year. Surgeries mid-season are good for nobody, including coaches. I sent a couple of texts out to him and offered any help I could give as he goes down this road.”

Q: Did you happen to see the postgame exchange between Detroit Head Coach Jim Schwartz and San Francisco Head Coach Jim Harbaugh?

HALEY: “Yeah, I saw a little bit of that too. It’s always fun to watch football.”

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