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Q&A with Todd Haley 7/30

Posted Jul 30, 2011

OPENING REMARKS: “We essentially got day one under our belt. As I said yesterday, overall I was encouraged by the way the guys looked as a group, all things considered. Clearly we’ve got a ways to go but I felt good about the way the day went. I do think this will be somewhat of a work in progress, especially from a scheduling standpoint, so I ask that everybody just bear with us between some of the new rules and spacing of things that are going on daily, and just trying to get the right mix of time in between drills and meetings and eating, again I’d just say bear with us if there’s a half-hour change here and there. We’ll try to give to you as in advance as possible. We got a day under our belt and we just had a real good workout this morning and they’re resting now. Our rookies will begin lifting. Like I said, we’ve got them separated right now just so they learn exactly how we do it in there in the weight room and some of the training things. Then we’ll be back out on the field at 3 p.m. for a very similar practice to what you saw yesterday. I’ll open it up to questions.”

Q: What difference does moving the schedule by a half hour have? Is it for weather?

HALEY: “Oh, no. For us there is a new rule involved where in between activities, even though we didn’t have a practice, we’re just really trying to get ready for when there’s a couple different field works going on the same day, you must have three hours between those drills and trying to space that out, as practice wound down yesterday, which wasn’t even a full-length practice, then dinner became an issue and still getting to the meetings and treatments and cold tubs and all the things we’re asking them to do on top of coaches trying to give them a time to be able to watch the tape before meeting with the players. Like I said, the schedule we were on the last two years, we’d worked the bugs out of that schedule over the years and felt pretty comfortable with it so we’re just trying to get this one right and it’ll take a little bit of time for some of that scheduling, more just the timing of giving guys enough time to get everything done they need to get down.”

Q: Practice was almost exactly two-and-a-half hours yesterday. Is that the limit?

HALEY: “No, I think today it will be very similar but as we move forward, and like I said early on, everyday we’ve got to be evaluating the progress we’re making and with the little more limited window to get ready for games, I just think we will adjust at different times according to how the team’s responding, physically more than anything else.”

Q: Is there a time limit in the new CBA?

HALEY: “For length of practice, yeah. I don’t want to say the wrong thing but it depends on one-a-days, two-a-days, if there’s four hours of total field time and you just have to break it up accordingly.”

Q: Now that you’ve signed WR Steve Breaston, can you talk about him, what your experience with him was like in Arizona and what he adds to the mix here that maybe you didn’t have before?

HALEY: “I think with Steve, first and foremost, he’s just a really good young man. He’s our kind of football player, tough guy from the mean streets of Pittsburgh – another western PA guy – but when you have experience with a guy, especially in these circumstances where you don’t have a lot of time with some of these guys to get to know them and know exactly on the character/makeup side, when there’s some familiarity in the mix, positive familiarity, I think is a real good thing and that definitely worked to Steve’s advantage. We spent a couple years together. He’s obviously a good young player that’s played a lot that’s had some success, made a lot of big plays while I was in Arizona as a punt returner and as a receiver, he was one of the three that had 1,000 (yards) in 2008 when (Anquan) Boldin was hurt for some of the second half of the season, he stepped in and did a great job. He’s a good receiver; he’s really developed into a good receiver. He has speed, he’s a vertical threat without a doubt, he’s tough, I think he’s got great versatility and like I said, that along with the makeup side of him I think hopefully we’ll be able to get him integrated into the team and he’ll be a part of what we’re doing.”

Q: Talking about his speed, how important was it to get more speed in at the receiver position?

HALEY: “I think it was definitely something that we wanted to try to get done if possible. I wouldn’t say it was a mandatory deal for us but I think when you have a competent player that can run and stretch the field when needed, it only helps everybody else, it helps your run game. That being said, WR Jerheme Urban, who was here last year but then got hurt, he’s another guy that I don’t think people realize quite how fast he is. In this process of trying to continue to build this team, I know we’re all excited to have somebody like Steve in here to help be part of that.”

Q: Is he the kind of guy that can run the Wildcat?

HALEY: “Yeah, I would say without a doubt. Now we’ve got multiple guys that have some of those abilities. You saw Thomas (Jones) do it a little bit, we were limited last year, but you saw him handle the ball well on a couple different plays and Dexter (McCluster) is obviously well-versed in handling the football – seeing over the line will be a little more of an issue for him – Steve, yes, having familiarity and knowing some of those ins and outs. Jerheme Urban was a quarterback and he can throw it as good as anybody. Options are good and then it’s just a matter of seeing how things play out. Right now, in this climate, what we’re trying to do, you’re going to probably over-fundamentalize, especially early. Technique is going to be very important for our football team – that we’re doing things the right way and kind of staying with the ‘do less better’ mindset, at least in this early part of camp.”

Q: What do you think you’ll be looking for in your backup quarterback over the next few weeks in camp?

HALEY: “I’m looking for guys that are getting better, number one. You need to see progress. Obviously when you look at us right now we have QB Tyler Palko, we have QB (Ricky) Stanzi, who’s a young guy, neither one of them has played a whole bunch in the league, obviously Tyler’s been around a little longer but hasn’t had a lot of play time, but he’s here for a reason. I think that’s one of the things I was so excited about coming into this year was the addition of coach (Jim) Zorn. We’ll find out what each and every one of them is capable of, sooner rather than later. Right now, second day of camp, these guys are all trying to get to know each other a little bit because they haven’t spent any time talking to coaches and players. I expect to see guys developing and getting better on a daily basis. I think that’s absolutely necessary Kent, and at that position, because you’re talking about from an experience standpoint, there’s not a lot other than Matt’s experience. We’ve got to get to the games and we’ve got to get them in there and we’ve got to see how they respond when the bullets are flying.”

Q: You haven’t seen much of Stanzi in person yet, but what did you see from his college film that led you guys to draft him?

HALEY: “I think we have multiple guys on our staff, myself included, that have real good familiarity with their head coach up there at Iowa and much like some of the other colleges that you feel comfortable about guys coming into the league and having a chance to succeed from a being ready for the NFL standpoint, they’re well-coached guys up there in Iowa. He’s a quarterback that’s got excellent size, arm is not an issue, he’s a smart guy and if he has a chance to succeed, I think we’ll see it pretty early. Not saying that somebody’s going to be playing every game out of the gate but I think we’ll know, knowing some of that background and having a little more insight on a player, especially at the quarterback position, kind of knowing his preparation habits and his work ethic and those things, if he has enough talent, he’ll have a chance to succeed.”

Q: Did you see any rookies that kind of made you raise an eyebrow?

HALEY: “Day one without pads, this sounds like our staff meeting last night. It’s just really too early. The level I’m trying to evaluate them on right now is pretty simplistic; what kind of condition are they in, what have they been doing, what do they need and then does he know what to do, does he understand what we’re trying to coach them to do, and that’s going to take some time. As a group, I was encouraged that these guys will have a chance to get better. I wasn’t discouraged in any way shape or form. Obviously we have a long way to go. You saw some guys struggling a little bit at the end but that’s an indicator really of what I said before that you can’t replicate what goes on in an NFL offseason when guys are putting the days in and the work in, you can’t. That’s one of our greatest tasks right now is trying to get everyone up to that same strength and conditioning level.”

Q: Would you be comfortable if on September 11, these three quarterbacks were the quarterbacks on your team?

HALEY: “Ask me on September 11, if that’s the case. No again, I’m not trying to be cute, I just think we need to give it some time. We need to coach the heck out of them, and I know they will be, and really I know I’m over dramatizing it, but I’m excited about that position. I’m excited about what’s going to occur here going forward. There’s been great growth to this point and I expect even better.”

Q: Are you comfortable with those three for the rest of camp or are you looking to bring in someone else?

HALEY: “I think it’s like any other position. If there’s somebody out there, our guys are working around the clock, especially our scouting department. They’re not stopping and we won’t stop. If there’s somebody out there that we feel can come in and wants to be a part of this and can be a part of this and can make us better, then we’re going to do it. And that’s with all positions.”

Q: Are you trying to bring back QB Brodie Croyle?

HALEY: “Again, I’m going to stay with talking about guys that are here right now, but I will say that if there’s somebody, anybody out there at any position, you know we’re on it.”

Q: You’ve lost a lot of your veteran leadership. Have you had any conversations with certain guys that you would like to step up into that role?

HALEY: “I think it’s a good question for the circumstances. That being said, I think one thing that good teams over the long haul are able to do, is develop players and leadership. The leadership, like I said yesterday, we don’t pinpoint guys and say, hey you need to do this. It’s something that really has to evolve and happen. We definitely coach it and we coach the need for leadership to the entire team at all times. I think good teams, those guys step up at the appropriate time. That’s what I’ll be looking for as the head coach.”

Q: Can that be developed or do you need to draft guys that have those qualities?

HALEY: “I think that’s part of the puzzle. I think you’re aware of our philosophy of trying to bring the right kind of guys in. It doesn’t mean all choir boys, it’s part of trying to get this right. Getting the right kind of guys into the building that you know will understand the expectations and they way we as an organization and we as a coaching staff want to do things. Through the years, I don’t know that you can predict ahead of time when somebody’s going to take another step as a player and as a leader. You just kind of see it happen and you feel good about it. Like I said, we’ll coach the need all the time. That was happening last year, it was happening the year before. This will be excellent for our team; a growing opportunity for our team, so to speak.”

Q: How do you coach that need?

HALEY: “You just make players aware of it. For instance, we reviewed our season last night. That review which was a highlight tape of sorts, it ended with our sour ending last year, but there were some pictures of players on there that aren’t here any longer, and I showed that for a purpose. That, who in this room is going to step up. I don’t know who you are, but be aware of that, be aware of the situation, that we need guys continuing to take steps if we want to be a great team. We’re not there yet, we did a lot of good things, but we did not accomplish what our ultimate goal is through this year and the next.”

Q: What do you envision for Casey Wiegmann this year? Is the guy going to play until he’s 50?

HALEY: “You shouldn’t have said that because I said 50 last night and he got mad. I got confused. On Casey, I think that there’s nobody more excited about Casey’s decision to come back and continue being a part of what he was such a big part of last year. I’m just excited. We’ve got to see, what I’ve told all the older veteran guys, you need to show us that you still have it because I don’t think that’s a guarantee or something that you can assume. Casey understands that and when he’s able to get out there on the field, he’ll hopefully show us that. I’m excited that he’s here. You talk about leadership, I mean this guy’s a phenom, he’s a phenom. You don’t do what he’s done for as long as he’s done it by accident. He knows how to do it, he knows what to do, and this good group of men we have, you make sure occasionally that you say, take a look at the guy in the back of the room; he wrote the book on how to have a great career, so I’d be trying to do most of the things he’s doing.”

Q: Is he about as consistent game to game, week to week as any player you’ve ever seen?

HALEY: “I think he’s the epitome of what I’ve coached for many, many years in being the same guy every day. You can count, he’ll be in the same seat, he’ll be out on the field at the same time, he’ll be in the same area and not a lot changes, he’s just managed to get a little better each and every day in a lot of different areas.”

Q: You guys were together before. Did you envision him having this type of career?

HALEY: “I predicted it. I wrote it down. You want the video? They didn’t have video back then, they had beta. I was a scout at the Jets moving over into coaching, but what I will say about Casey, I think I said it when we signed him that, certain players you have some connection with and you knew he was a tough guy. I think early in 97 or 98, he was on a kickoff return, was in the wedge and went up in there and knocked himself out basically. You knew this guy was tough, you said, you know he’s probably too little, what can he do, you know all that. We formed a little connection, I would say in my opinion, and through the years every time we crossed paths it was one of those where when the game ended or before the game, you go catch up and say how are you doing, and you follow those types of guys that you’re rooting for, that maybe a lot of people are saying he doesn’t have a chance. Then as you see them have success, you enjoy following those kinds of guys. That’s the way it’s been with Casey, and I’m just grateful that he chose to come back to Kansas City with us and believed enough in what we were doing to be a part of it again this year. I’m fired up, so now we’ve just got to make sure he can still play.”

Q: Those 10 guys that you announced last night, they can’t practice until Thursday. Are they all here, do you expect them to be here?

HALEY: “Yeah, rule wise all we can ask them to do is be in meetings.”

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