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Q&A with Todd Haley 10/24

Posted Oct 24, 2011

OPENING REMARKS: “Got in here, were able to get a good look at the tape. Really, a lot of that the first time through happened on the plane last night. No. 1, a big win for us. They’re all big, but that was a big win for the guys. I’m happy for our guys. They put in a lot of work through the bye week and into last week. I’m most happy for them and for the fans. To get a division win on the road, always a big thing. It got us to 2-0 in this quarter. We obviously had some ground to make up and we still have ground to make up. So, a big, big win for us, but just another step in our development as a team, and I think some of that showed yesterday. I thought that defensively, really, those guys sparked the entire team – Kendrick [Lewis] with the huge play, Brandon Flowers, obviously, with a couple huge plays, but really everybody. That was the epitome of a team win to me, of a team playing complementary football – defensively, offensively and special teams. Yesterday, I failed to mention Dustin [Colquitt], [who] I thought had a terrific, terrific game that really, really was a big part in helping us win. Ryan Succop also, even when we had to kick from deep, we almost turned that into a real good play for us, when Sabby [Piscitelli] created the fumble. But I thought that was a great kick by Ryan. Just in general, a really good complementary football win, and that’s what we have to do. I think we’re continuing to develop as a team. There are obviously some areas yesterday that we’ve got to clean up and be better in – penalties, stopping the run, just being a little more efficient on offense. But, in the areas we had to – third down, both sides of the ball I thought were terrific – that was the difference in the game. And, creating as many turnovers as we did obviously overcame any deficiencies we had. We’re just taking it step by step here and making progress and just know the fellas enjoyed that one yesterday.”

Q: Talk about the goal line stand. Where does that one rank?

HALEY: “That was a great one because the game obviously was in the balance. They were trying to turn the momentum their way and had made a couple big plays to get down there. That was a perfect example of 11 man defense down there and they saw multiple different looks, but I thought the guys really stepped up and made four huge plays for us that really kept that game from turning.”

Q: Can you talk about No. 56 and his role?

HALEY: “56 all day. I thought Derrick [Johnson]… That was probably one of the best games I’ve seen him play and he’s a guy we talk about. As good as he’s played, he keeps getting better and it looks like he can continue that. Just a terrific, terrific afternoon in general, but the couple plays down there he really was a difference maker. The one run off our defensive left side looked pretty bleak for a couple steps and you saw this missile shoot through and knock everybody down, really a great, great play. And then the one even where [Michael] Bush was going to try to jump over, I thought we stuffed it up inside and he was part of that and Demorrio [Williams] came off the edge and got a hold of his ankles and kept him from jumping, so it was really everybody. When you have stands like that, it’s a lot of guys doing good things. That was fun, and I know that really, really sparked the entire team.”

Q: From a results standpoint, your defense looks completely different than the first two weeks of the season. Can you crystallize what changed?

HALEY: “I think we’re playing much better complementary football, No. 1. I think one thing you’ll see with our defense is though we’ve given up a bunch of points, when you start to break down drives against and where those drives have started – we haven’t been great on a short field generally – but when we force teams to go the distance, we’ve been pretty good, among the league leaders or defensive leaders. I think that’s a telling stat, and I think early on we just were in some really rough spots defensively and they were going to be hard to succeed in. As our team has started to come together and play together and play that complementary brand of football that we need to play and we talk about so much, you’ve seen the defense really start to thrive.”

Q: How does the Webster’s, Parcells, Haley dictionary define complementary football?

HALEY: “Yesterday. We didn’t start real well offensively and the defense made a couple plays. After the defense had made a couple plays to kind of get us ahead, then we got a turnover and the offense went 60 yards or so to score. When we needed field position to change, our punter and special teams came through special teams-wise. I think it’s a team. It’s basically what I’ve really been talking about. It’s the offense not turning the football over. Again, the end of the half one, it’s hard to count for me. I know it was a turnover, but not one I would ever feel bad about when you’re trying to take a last play shot. Offense, don’t turn the ball over, run the ball efficiently – which I feel like we did yesterday for the most part – and then defensively limit the big plays. What we were able to do yesterday was we gave up a couple big plays, but against that team we did a good job of limiting them, but we made a bunch of big plays. Any time you create six turnovers and you get them to put the ball on the ground an additional time on special teams, you’re complementing each other pretty good.”

Q: As you’ll always be a wide receivers coach, on that play at the end of the half, those guys need to go up and knock that ball down, right?

HALEY: “Yeah, tough position just because we were throwing it from a little deeper than we normally would. That’s something we preach all the time and I actually just talked about that, gosh, we’ve got to find some way to get that ball out. And the other one, Dexter [McCluster] was trying, he just couldn’t get there. And really that one, maybe we had a chance, but like I said, end of the half, taking a shot, I’m not going to fault anybody on that one.”

Q: Reading the player quotes yesterday, it seemed like there were a lot about being comfortable. Did you see a point where it started to sink in?

HALEY: “No, it’d be hard for me to agree with that. I think the No. 1 thing early on was we turned the ball over nine or 10 times and that’s not going to work. You’re not going to win games, period. I think as you look around you’ll see evidence of that every week, year-in and year-out. I do think, though, that with some of the injuries we had to make some adjustments, so some of that truly was adjustments that we’re still working on each and every day. We’re not there yet, but to me, as bottom line as I can make it, we turned the ball over nine times in the first two games. If you could change one thing and you change that, I don’t know how any of those games would have gone. Nobody knows, but I have a feeling that they would not have gone the way they went, with the extreme that they went.”

Q: Even the yardage was huge in those games. Are you saying that part of just being put in bad positions even led to that?

HALEY: “Again, I think that when you’re giving your opponent the ball on the other side of the 50, when you’re turning the ball over early in games – which we did – that’s what happened in those games early on. Detroit – regardless of the final score – going into the last five minutes of the first half, we were moving the football. We weren’t scoring points. And we were doing a decent job of slowing them down and creating turnovers, what looks like a pretty good offense. Turning the ball over is what turned that game, and we turned that ball over early in the first game and it really changed that game, and really, in San Diego, a turnover kept us from having a chance to at least tie.”

Q: Kelly Gregg looks like he’s started to play better. Production isn’t always the case with nose tackles doing their job in the 3-4, but the last two games he’s looked really active?

HALEY: “I thought he played real good in the San Diego game. Now we gave him a chance as a team because we kept the game in a position where guys like that can be an integral part, because obviously he got a sack yesterday, I don’t think we’re counting on Kelly for a sack a game or anything like that. I think he’s getting more and more comfortable with his teammates, with the system. Any of those guys that are new this year, Steve Breaston and Kelly Gregg, there’s an adjustment period and I think you’re seeing him get more and more comfortable. What I believe right now is he’s a heck of a player at what he does well and he played well again yesterday. And when you throw in a bonus sack you get excited. I’m happy he’s a Chief and I know he’s getting more comfortable with his role and even off the football field. I think he’s a heck of a leader, a heck of a player in his own way and the guys really look up to him and look to him.”

Q: It’s not all about the sacks for the defensive line, it is more about taking up blockers and freeing up other guys, right?

HALEY: “In our defense, that’s exactly what we’re asking them to do – to try to take up a couple defenders and let our linebackers make plays and that’s how the defense works. I think we’ve been getting better and better. We have to continue to improve and we don’t want to give up 155 [yards] rushing, but when you go on the road and can keep that zero in the points column, I think that’s pretty good for us.”

Q: At the end of the game, you ran six times in a row, you were up 28-0 and you came back from the two-minute warning and you took a shot. Why did you do that?

HALEY: “First things first, that was a run play, as we do throughout the game we have run calls that have routes attached to them and we make a decision based off the defense that we’re seeing and Matt made the right decision there. As long we called the play and hadn’t put a red light on it, for what he saw and the number of players in the box, he did the right thing. I wish we would have executed a little better.”

Q: What’s your philosophy on that? Is there ever a time where you think you shouldn’t be taking those shots in the NFL?

HALEY: “At that stage and where our team is, we kneeled on it to end the game. We were operating the offense the way the offense is supposed to operate. Like I said, I wish we would have executed better on the play. We’re a team that’s trying to climb out of a hole, we don’t have time to worry about a whole bunch else. I think you’re seeing with our guys and the resiliency and the tough-mindedness that we’re making progress and I’m just excited for the guys and the progress that we’re making and we’ve got to keep it going and we’ve got a pretty big game this weekend. You’re not going to find me worrying about a whole bunch else.”

Q: Even if the Raiders were mad about that last pass, you probably wouldn’t have cared much anyway?

HALEY: “Like I said, I’m worried about the Kansas City Chiefs. That’s the way it’s been and that’s the way it’ll stay. I really am just excited that our guys, this group of guys that I like so much has continued to fight and work to get better and play together and we’ve got a chance to be a hell of a team.”

Q: That game may have been one of the most intense Chiefs-Raiders matchup of not only your time here but maybe the last five or 10 years. Did that feel like a classic rivalry match between these two teams?

HALEY: “It was fun, it was fun from start to finish. It’s fun to drive into that parking lot. They’ve got great fans and it truly is an out-of-this-world experience at times and even the way you’ve got to go out onto the field through the middle of their stands, it’s fun. I know the guys were into it and we preached all week, the night before and the day of that we had to concentrate on the Chiefs and not get caught up in that hoopla, to use a Romeo [Crennel] word, too much. I think for the most part we were able to do that. We did some things that could hurt our team and we’ve got to stay on those things, but with the result what it was, I’m happy with our guys and what they did. It was a fun game from start to finish and it was a fun ride home.”

Q: The Raiders kind of suck you in to personal foul and unsportsmanlike penalty calls. It’s just the nature of the beast, isn’t it?

HALEY: “Yeah, when you play the Raiders, there especially, that sometimes happens. I think last year it happened on the road there a little bit that cost us. Yesterday it happened a little bit but fortunately at the right times and we were able to overcome some of those with some really, really good play and that’s what I’m most happy about. At the same time, I’ll continue to coach our guys that if any one of those things got us beat, none of that fun would’ve occurred. We’ve got to make sure we stay focused on that as a group.”

Q: The beard is 3-0. Do you know what the record of your hat is?

HALEY: “It’s got 13 under its belt.”

Q: Where does the superstitious nature of yours come from?

HALEY: “I blame it on my dad. I’ve said that a few times. When you have a dad that makes you sit in certain seats in the car on the way to Three Rivers Stadium as a young kid and you don’t know better, you just do what you’re told or sit in certain seats when you’re watching on television, I think you’ve probably got very little chance of not being superstitious. I’ll blame him, but I’ll take the win.”

Q: Do you pass it on? Do you make your kids sit in certain spots?

HALEY: “Yeah, we have traditions that we adhere to and as they get old enough to understand, they get it. The young ones are looking like ‘What the heck is going on? What are we all holding hands in the car and saying a prayer? What is this? What’s going on?’ Not that that’s a superstition, but just the order of which we do things, it’s probably getting passed on to them unfortunately.”

Q: Trick-or-treating was a big night for you last year but this year you’ve got some work to do that night. What will they be doing that night?

HALEY: “Some will be going to the game and some will be going out with, not us obviously, but my wife said this will be the first Halloween she’s missed with the kids. I know that’s a big thing in a good/bad way, but I think as long as we can get the result to go the way we want it to go, I think it’ll be a good night. I know the costumes are all at the house and the young ones that won’t be going to the game are very excited about what they’re going to be.”

Q: What kind of atmosphere are you expecting here Monday?

HALEY: “I think it should be awesome. Last year, we still talk about that night, just the atmosphere. I’m just glad again that we’ve been able to battle back and hang in and make this the biggest game of the year for us to this point. I know our fans have got to be excited and will come out in force and it should be a fun night.”

Q: You had the bye last week, you had a very physical game yesterday and you have an extra day this week. Do you just use it as an extra day off or do you give them a day off their feet?

HALEY: “We’re going to work, but it will not be a bunch of physical work. We’ll gain a Wednesday but I think we’ll probably be more in a walkthrough mode so it’s good timing because that was a hot day after a long plane ride and sometimes those days can really get you in trouble but I was proud of our team, the work that they’ve put in and the conditioning that once again clearly showed up on all sides of the ball to me. I know our guys were coming off the field offensively and defensively saying ‘Come on, come on, they’re fading. Let’s go.’ That’s a tribute to the work that our guys have put in here from the start. To get through that game with a couple little minor things I thought was a really positive sign.”

Q: Will you go with a Saturday night practice under the lights?

HALEY: “Yeah, I think Saturday’s the night we’ll go up there and try to bump everything back and start to get acclimated to playing a night game.”

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