“Defensively, I thought we did a lot of good things but at the line of scrimmage, just too many runs over 10 yard, four or five of those, no big ones, but the 14 or 12-yarders, just too many, especially early in the game. We’ve got to do a better job of understanding our fits there; taking the string off the back end so they can concentrate as much as possible on the passing end of it which I thought overall a good job. We let that 15 (WR Steve Breaston) get behind us a couple times which we can’t let happen, but fortunately it didn’t hurt us. Overall I thought the guys played real physical across the board. Like I said, that was the key going into the board for offense, defense and special teams was to out-physical the team and I thought we did that. Special teams, I thought one of our better games. No really flashy points to the game but I thought our kickers did a great job in the wind, handling it, playing it the right way and our cover teams were excellent, excellent in discipline, lane control, swarming to the ball and then return teams I thought their kicker did a great job getting the ball deep into the end zone. If we would’ve been able to get a couple of those out, we had some opportunities and had a good punt return to set up a score. Progress in all three areas, it was a good win for us. It was a good win to get back to 1-1 in the third quarter and it was one that we definitely needed to turn the tide with. I was real happy with the way things went.”
Q: Some of the players said that you stressed to them the importance of not paying attention to other teams and what they’re doing, just worry about what you’re doing here. Did you think that was necessary, did you see signs that maybe guys were focused on other teams/games?
HALEY: “I think it’s natural, I think its human nature. There is so much coverage of this sport that it’s everywhere and you’ve got to really work hard at filtering some of that out and as I’ve said, just ride our horse right now because you don’t know who the horses you’ve got to watch out for are right now, you just don’t. The main thing is for us is just concentrate on our business, on what we’re doing and that is trying to get better and make progress in the areas that we have to and continue doing some of those things we’ve done well for the most part, even a little better and then things will work out the way we want them to. If you’re distracted or worrying about some of the other things going on around you that’ll be a problem. This is a tough stretch; like I said yesterday and I made that point yesterday for a reason, this is a marathon and this is the true grind-it-out period of the season where I think teams are going to start to define themselves as good teams, in between teams and not-so-good teams and the teams that can grind it out and find ways to win during this time of year are the teams that will give themselves a chance down the road. That’s all we’re trying to do, just slug it out, keep trying to land those body blows and move forward.”
Q: You’ve got some guys who have been around and who understand that but you also have a lot of young guys who have never been through anything like this. Are you wondering how your team is going to handle this grind part of the season?
HALEY: “We’re seeing some of that, yesterday was a good indicator, but this part of the season has been going on here for a couple weeks. We’ve done some good things and we’ve done some not-so-good things. Wednesday here I’ll be giving the credit card speech, which I’ll talk about a little later, but there are other areas in this time of year that can get you in trouble and can distract you also. There are a lot of things that can sidetrack you if you’re not careful so us as coaches and our veteran players, we’ve got to just make sure that it’s a continuous education going on.”
Q: Did you think your team wasn’t preparing as well for Oakland and Denver as they did for Arizona and what did you learn that you have to be careful of?
HALEY: “No, I don’t think we weren’t preparing hard enough or maybe well is the word, or good is the word but there was no drop off in practice and those things, I just think that much like we were just talking about, it’s so easy to get out of the present tense that you have to stay in the present tense and you’ve got to force yourself to stay in the present tense and you can’t worry about what’s already happened or what’s happening around you, you’ve got to just worry about each and every day and the teams that become good teams during this stage of the season do that better than the teams that don’t, in my opinion.”
Q: You’re leading the division and you’re still number one in the league in rushing, do you think this a good team in your eyes yet?
HALEY: “No, I don’t. I think that we’re going to have a chance to prove here before too long what we are.”
Q: What kind of things do you want to see or would convince you that this is a good team?
HALEY: “A bunch of things we just talked about: our ability to just focus on the task at hand, to prepare each and every day to fight through the aches and pains that everybody’s dealing with, to have a little luck and to just find ways to win in this period of the season – this third quarter of the season – and that’s what it’s about, because you’ve got a lot of people fighting for the same thing and again, the more we’re able to do the things that we have to do to keep making progress and to handle all the adversity that has been, will be and will continue to be thrown at us will determine what we become.”
Q: Without naming them, are there just certain position groups that have to get better?
HALEY: “All of them.”
Q: Are there some that you’re more comfortable with that are maybe closer to being good than others?
HALEY: “No, because how we’ve played has no bearing on how we’re going to play. It’s everybody on this team, every coach, every player continuing to do the things and maybe a little more each day to figure out way for us to make progress and for us to get better. If I felt comfortable in one area over another, I think that could be short-sighted on my part because each and every guy has to prepare and get ready to play. This is the biggest game of the year – we’re going on the road to a very difficult place to play, in my experience, a difficult place to operate because it’s a great, great atmosphere out there in Seattle where we’re going and (they’re) a team that’s trying to define itself. So this will be a great, great opportunity for our team to make progress.”
Q: Are you the kind of person that will ever say this is a good team, or will it have to be those things that show it’s a good team? Will you say it?
HALEY: “I don’t know, I really don’t. I would lean towards…I don’t know. I’m not one to talk about it a lot either way. I’m just trying to coach the team and like I said, yesterday was one that I was proud of the guys for, I thought it was a real big win for us, real big win. It showed me that guys are listening and paying attention and care about this team and care about what we’re doing.”
Q: You’re a long way from the finish line but as a coach and a teacher, you’ve got to be awfully proud of what WR
HALEY: “I wouldn’t want to slight anybody else because we’ve had a bunch of guys continuing to develop, but Dwayne has been one of those guys at the top of the list. Like I said yesterday, he’s continued to make progress, he made up his mind some time ago, and I’d go back into last year at some point, where I think he kind of decided that he wanted to be part of this and part of something special and I think he’s shown that he’s willing to do the things you have to do to be a good player in this league. Like we say for our team, each game is the biggest, this is the biggest game of the year, each day is a big day for Dwayne because once you start to make real progress the key is continuing it and pushing yourself and seeing really how good you can be.”
Q: Was he one of those players at the tipping point, where he could have gone either way?
HALEY: “I don’t know whether he was at a tipping point or whatever, I just know that there is a difference between talking about it and then doing it. He just started doing it and that has continued. The really good sign with Dwayne was the off-season program from day one. There were a lot of guys here, everybody was here, so you are kind of searching through the crowd to see what each guy looks like and how they are acting but he was one that I was looking for. I knew immediately after I saw what he looked like that he meant business.”