Q: When you bring someone in, how much weight do you put on character, leadership and how it might affect the locker room that you already have?
HALEY: “I think any time we, whether we draft somebody, sign a free agent, pick somebody up off the waiver wire, pick somebody that hadn’t been on the waiver wire that’s been out on the street, a lot of different factors go into those things, a lot. Like I said, we have multiple lists, some that are emergency lists, some that are future ‘get better’ lists, a lot of different situations that we’ll bring people in (for). Each and every possibility is discussed and one of those factors is always how it’s going to help our team get better and ultimately those are the guys that you’ll see come through the doors.”
Q: It seems like chemistry is obviously a difficult thing to build and once you do, how easy is it to disrupt it? Can the wrong player disrupt or undo what you’ve tried to build?
HALEY: “We’ve all seen it happen at some point or another, not necessarily dismantle but it can disrupt at times. We’re concerned with how we can get better each and every day. The people that are going to help us do that for the most part are within these walls now. To this point, it’s a churning roster and will stay that way forever more. We’re always trying to figure out ways to get better and there are a lot of different factors that go into each and every decision that’s made and sure, one of those is how we think somebody could come in and assimilate into the team.”
Q: You said the churning of the roster will never stop, but as you become a better team doesn’t that slow down because it’s tougher to find people who will make you better?
HALEY: “It may slow down. It depends on what area you’re churning. Competition is good and competition helps everybody get better and that’s all we will continually try to do is create competition and never let that stagnate as best we can so that we make sure we are moving in the right direction. That’s what we’re doing.”
Q: You didn’t have WR
HALEY: “Like I said yesterday, I’m happy that we were able to be pretty productive in a number of different areas offensively missing not only him but also G (Ryan) Lilja and we’ve had to deal with some of those things throughout the year and that’s part of the NFL. Guys are going to get beat up to the point where they can’t go and then we have guys developed and ready as best we can and as best they can to step in and sometimes make you better; at least keep you baseline. Whenever you’re missing somebody that’s been playing 15-20 plays a game, there’s an adjustment of sorts but the good thing is it appeared we were able to continue making progress.”
HALEY: “I think the first thing you’ve got to realize is if Derrick had Jerry Rice hands he’d probably be a tight end right now just because of his abilities. The balls I think you’re referring to, none of those that I’ve seen, are gimmies so-to-speak, since we’re on a golf reference every day now, trying to or not trying to. Those are all difficult plays to make and you’re just not going to make all of those. Now, our defense is working hard to be – and we’re drilling and working on tip drills and disruption drills and all those things – is being able to capitalize when you do get opportunities and that’s the name of the game. There are going to be things that occur in games on all sides of the ball that give you a chance to make a big play and we saw a number of those last week that were not easy plays, offensively, defensively and even some more subtle plays on special teams that maybe were not seen unless you’re really watching the tape. That’s the name of the game for us; doing the things that we know help us play good sound football, being disciplined, being smart, playing together on all sides of the ball and then capitalizing when opportunities come up. When you’re able to do that, good things happen and generally that’s when you see games separate themselves a little bit.”
Q: How important is it for this team now to take advantage of those opportunities?
HALEY: “I think it doesn’t matter whether it’s now, later or real late. The good teams do that, that’s one of the things good teams do, they capitalize on opportunities that come up across the board. Like I said, knowing when to pounce, so-to-speak and knowing when you’ve got an opportunity that can change the game is one of those factors to me of being a good team. Good teams do it most of the time. You’re never going to do it all the time but good teams do it a lot more of the time.”
Q: The Chiefs have won seven straight games in Oakland despite having different teams and different coaches. Have you been in a situation where it didn’t seem to matter what the teams’ records were, what personnel was like, that one teams just has the other teams’ number?
HALEY: “Yeah, sure I’ve been in that situation. When I was with the Jets we got on a roll against the Dolphins and the Dolphins were a good team year-in and year-out. Somehow we figured it out. This is a non-factor for us right now. This is our fourth game in the second quarter of the season, it happens to be an AFC West opponent in the Raiders that makes it a very important game for us any time we play it, wherever we play it. It is important we just continue our progress and understand that the past has no bearing on right now. And if we think that it does we’ll be sadly mistaken and we will probably have a tendency to not do the things that you need to do to play sound, smart football and capitalize on opportunities and all those things. We just need to continue our preparation and go out there Sunday to Oakland and play our best game.”
Q: Do you think those are more statistical anomalies than it is being comfortable in a certain environment or situation?
HALEY: “I don’t know. I’d always check with the team when they end those streaks. That’s the one that I’d check with.”
Q: You’re fairly new to the Chiefs/Kansas City. Do you understand the magnitude of the Chiefs/Raiders rivalry and how important it is to a lot of people in Kansas City?
HALEY: “Yeah, I think that I do. I’ve been around the league long enough to have seen a lot of great, great football that build and feed into that rivalry and like I said, when you have two men in Mr. (Al) Davis and Mr. (Lamar) Hunt that were such a big, big part where the league is right now, I think it’s only added to that. And then you throw in the passion of our Kansas City fans and really, it’s a much broader-reaching area than I ever understood here in this area and beyond. Like I said, the Raiders have some passionate fans of their own. When you have those types of situations come together, it makes for exciting times. What I’m focused on is our team playing its best game this Sunday and I think if we can do that, we’ll make a lot of people happy – mainly ourselves.”
Q: So do you hate the Raiders?
HALEY: “Growing up a Steelers fan with all the games that the Raiders took away from some of my boyhood dreams and my father’s dreams, it was easy to dislike them. That H word is a strong word for me. I teach my kids not to say that, I don’t know how successful I am, I hear them yelling at each other.”
Q: Do you want your team to be passionate about this rivalry or just focused on the upcoming game?
HALEY: “I want them to be passionate about their job and this team and I think that is the direction we are moving. That is really the most important thing. I think if our guys are passionate about this team, their team and their job which I have said is the greatest job in the world in my opinion, then the right things will occur that will enable everybody to have the fun, the rewards and the things that all this sacrifice is about for these guys. That is the focus along with just getting a little better every day and understanding that we need to. I think the guys understand that and they came out today and had their best Thursday so far.”
Q: How much better is this team from Week 1 to now?
HALEY: “Better. That is the critical thing. I think we are making improvement in a lot of different areas and one of those is our team in general. The guys are getting closer and closer together and that is a big part of it. You see more and more of that interaction and relationships that have to go on to be a good team and obviously to ever be a great team.”