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Q&A with Todd Haley 8/9

Posted Aug 9, 2011

OPENING REMARKS: “This morning, changed things up a little bit, had our first real morning practice. That’s when we’ve been devoting most of our time to our strength and conditioning. But this morning, we thought go out there in the morning, they’d have to recover a little quicker from being in pads yesterday for a bunch of that practice but the idea was to while they were fresh, before they’ve had their big workout for the day, give them a chance to go out and practice at a little different tempo and at a little different length. We were out there almost two hours and forty minutes so that was definitely longer. As you get closer to some of these games that are coming up, you have to try to lengthen things out and where guys are handling many more reps. Not something we’re going to do all the time but we wanted to get one in there before Thursday and Friday and then on top of that, now what we’ll get is a good core work in the afternoon or a lift after they’re a little more tired and then be able to back it up in the morning so we’re essentially getting back to back workouts from a strength and conditioning standpoint. Thought it was good work. We created a little controlled chaos out there to kind of keep them on their toes and also put everybody on the same sideline there for a period to give them a feel for what Friday night would be a little more like as far as a crowded sideline which is another one of those things that you don’t really think about, but you have to handle and have some organization out there. We’ll get back this afternoon and have some meetings and a little walk through and then they’ll have a good workout.”

Q: Are you comfortable with the quarterback depth?

HALEY: “We’ve talked about this in here. I wouldn’t say it worries me, but it’s something like all positions; we have to continue to monitor, pay attention to who’s available and pay attention to how our guys are developing, because they are young developing players. I know that they’re both making progress. I think I said in here that we have to get into some of these games. They’re going to get significant action in these games and we have to see how they’re progressing. I’m encouraged by their development; both of them. Tyler’s (Palko) now been around a little bit, but he’s going to get to see, hopefully, more action than he’s seen to this point in his career, and I’m excited to see how he’s coming along. Obviously, Ricky (Stanzi), a first year player, he needs to be developing and developing at a good rate, which he is to this point. I’m encouraged. That being said, like all positions, if there’s somebody there that we think improves competition, puts us in a better chance to succeed, or gives us a better chance to win, then we obviously are open to that at all spots.”

Q: How comfortable are you with Barry Richardson as your starting right tackle?

HALEY: “I’m very comfortable to this point. I think the way we lined up last year, we’re not going to be able to line up this way, obviously. I feel like our offensive line has developed across the board since year one. For some of those guys, it’s more than just our year one; they’ve been here a little longer. They’re developing, they’re getting better and they’re improving. I thought that last year throughout the season, the offensive line was an area of maybe the best improvement across the board in a lot of ways. When you lead the league in rushing or you run the ball very well like we did and you sacks go significantly down; those are all good signs that the guys are getting better and giving you a chance to win. We’ve won a bunch of games with Barry Richardson lining up there. Much like I’ve talked about with a lot of guys, I’m not going to put a ceiling on Barry. He’s still a young, developing player that we’ve been able to have some success with and I want to see him continue to develop. At the same time, same deal; we’ve got some young guys behind those two, that we need to be developing and if there’s competition and the right kind of guy, we feel like, out there that can come in and help increase that competition or make us better, we’re exploring that daily.”

Q: Is Jerheme Urban bringing you what you had hoped to see last year?

HALEY: “Yeah, I have a lot of experience with Jerheme all the way back to Dallas. We were together, we picked him up off, Seattle had let him go and we picked him up in Dallas while I was there. He found his way out to Arizona, was a contributor for us. He’s a guy that each and every year, I’ve seen improvement from. I haven’t seen the arrow flatten out or start down, which is a good sign. Last year was disappointing for him and for us, because he had worked so hard and had an injury that didn’t allow him to continue. But he helped us coach out there and was actively involved. He’s been chomping at the bit, he’s worked really hard to be out there; put himself in a position to compete and have a chance to help us get better and that’s what he’s doing. I’m encouraged with him and the entire receiver group. I’ve seen good progress out of here as we’ve started through the first week and a half.”

Q: What is his skill set that you like? Was his injury just bad timing?

HALEY: “We went around and around about that at the time because he was a guy that we felt like was going to help us and had competed and had himself in a position where he was going to make the team and looked like a contributor. It was one of those where it was just a tough decision, but I think with all the facts in now and knowing how everything progressed, it was probably the right decision for both parties. This year, you’re asking about what he offers us, he’s a big-strong guy that understands his role, whatever that is. Meaning if we’re running the ball, he’s going to be one of our better blockers. If we’re throwing the ball, he gives us another vertical threat. He’s somehow been labeled, it’s probably our fault in Arizona, because we had him inside a bunch just by what we had there and how we had to organize the group, so he got labeled as more of a possession guy, but he’s a vertical threat. He can run. He can run, and he’s been excellent from a leadership standpoint in that room specifically. He’s competing right now and that, in turn, is helping make everybody better and we have to see how it plays out.”

Q: Were you upset to see that Jonathan Baldwin had to spend some time off the field?

HALEY: “That remains to be seen. We’re all pretty clear on this side that if you miss time, it makes it more difficult for the player, it makes it more difficult for our team that a guy’s not being able to be out there and practice, is not a good thing ever because it slows the process down and what we need to get done. This year with limited or no offseason, any time missed is going to be a major challenge, but again, that’s what this year is going to be about. Again, it’s a new year and as these challenges come at us, which they’re going to come from all different directions; up, down and sideways. We have to challenge and move forward and also handle the opportunities.”

Q: With the limited offseason, do the preseason games take on more weight?

HALEY: “I think that one of the keys this year, again, because you’re figuring you’ve missed almost three months of time of some form of evaluation. We always tell these guys, you’re being evaluated at all times. You’re being evaluated how you sit in here in the meeting room, how you take notes, how you handle yourself in the training room, or when you’re nicked up or not feeling so hot, it’s not all just football. Those three months are really important for ourselves and our scouting department because we’re, that’s missed evaluation time like you said. All efforts to evaluate have to be used this year. We have to do a good job evaluating. We have to find some different ways to evaluate because of the rules that are in place for everybody. It may not be the way it’s always been as far as just being able to go out there and have, it’s not that way where we can have two big practices each day and evaluate the heck out of these guys and make sure we’re right. We’re having to adjust a little bit and figure out ways to make sure that we get it right on all of these guys. The games are important in a lot of different ways, but evaluation is the number one thing here. Whether it’s happening in a game, the practice field, you know we have to have a good feel for what these guys are and what they can do and what role they can fill.”

Q: Do you think you’ll adjust playing time from years past in those games?

HALEY: “Again, I’m really, for the guys and for us, trying to keep this one day at a time and not get ahead of myself as the head coach, not let them get ahead of their selves as the players or coaches, the same thing. Because it’s a little different situation, I don’t want to just do something because it’s the way we’ve always done it or do it different because of the circumstances changed. I want to do it the way that I feel like gives us the best chance to evaluate our team, get our team in condition, get our team strong and ready to compete September 11 against Buffalo.”

Q: What areas have you seen progress from Ricky Stanzi and what still limits him?

HALEY: “Well, I don’t, again, it’s a short evaluation and for a quarterback, the more live type situations, game type situations we can create, the better. You’ll see us here the last, probably more so than in the past, you’ll see a lot of unscripted periods out there where I’m giving the down and distance, the coaches are having to react and respond accordingly, the players then are having to react and you’ll see these quarterbacks put in a bunch of different situations throughout a day and a lot of those situations are specifically for them to make them understand when it’s fourth and eight from the eight-yard line, we’re going for it, it’s probably the end of the game, we’re probably behind, understand what you have to get done. He’s a young, smart guy that is big, strong, good arm, athletic, he looks like to me, now we’ve just got to coach the heck out of him. He’s willing and able so I’m encouraged with where he is and really all the quarterbacks for this matter at this stage. We’ve got a ways to go, all of them.”

Q: Was Dorsey going off the field today planned or was there a setback?

HALEY: “Again, I’m not going to talk about injuries. I think it’s a good sign he was out there moving around and again, that’s part of this deal of just handling each situation as it comes at us. Each individual guy has a plan, each day, and we’re just trying to get through that plan successfully and then adjust as necessary.”

Q: What was going on with Tyson Jackson today? It didn’t look like he was participating in 11-on-11?

HALEY: “Again, guys that weren’t out there, he was out there some, but nothing serious. All these guys are at a little different level of conditioning, fitness, all those things. Each guy has a plan, but I will say nothing majorly concerning there.”

Q: Saturday, Stanzi threw a couple of nice touchdown passes to Jeremy Horne in the back of the end zone. He tried it again yesterday and he got picked off.

HALEY: “Was it a team period on Saturday? I have to do this for the (defensive backs) because they’re upset at me because I had them in a shadow mode and the crowd was cheering for the receivers so the secondary was upset. Can we let everybody know that we were shadowing, because I yell at them if they interfere with the ball or the catch. Then we had a little more of a competitive situation, so it could’ve been a little of both.”

Q: What’s Thomas Jones have left in the tank and what do you want from him?

HALEY: “I would say Thomas Jones has already proved the exception as far as running backs in this league and it hasn’t happened by accident. They guy’s as hard of a worker as I’ve ever been around. You have to pull the reins back on him constantly. There is no ceiling/bar for Thomas. What I’m excited about with that entire running back group is: they’ve become a really close knit group. We’ve added a couple of guys into the mix that will probably be a part of that mix and now that Thomas, at the forefront is working on those new guys, kind of letting them know what’s expected and again, this is an unselfish group across the board that make it clear that they want to be a part of us being a great team. Not just a good team or not just getting to the playoffs. They want to do special things and they want to be part of it and do whatever is necessary for us to do it. That’s where we are and as we move forward and move through this preseason, we’ll figure out exactly what everybody’s role is going to be.”

Q: Is there anything Jamaal Charles can do to be named the starter?

HALEY: “You know guys; I know the depth chart is like Christmas for you guys. You want that depth chart, but I will say again that it doesn’t carry nearly as much weight in our meeting rooms, our team rooms and our player rooms. The guys understand what their task is right now: to get themselves ready to be ready to go on September 11, understand their role and understand that that role could change week to week as we go. Really, I wouldn’t put too much into it across the board. We have to get it out there and get them somewhere near where they’re going to play and we’re sorting through that and it really matters when the whistle blows who’s doing what.”

Q: You could save yourself a lot of trouble if you just listed Jamaal Charles as your starter. You know that, right?

Q: Is this just to have fun with us?

HALEY: “No, no, no. Like I said, we just, we’re trying to find the right mix of guys to do something special around here this year and next. I will say, I’ve never quite been somewhere where it’s as big of a thing. Maybe I need to learn and adjust. What if I put (Le’Ron) McClain over there; starting halfback? You guys wouldn’t be able to function.”

Q: Where do you think this team ranks in comparison to last year’s team at this time?

HALEY: “You know, that’s a tough question. Just because of the set of circumstances we’re in. I would say for this year, in this situation, I’m excited about our progress, I’m excited about our competition at most spots. I’ve named some of them specifically, where to me there is some clear-cut improvement, say from a pass-rush standpoint. Our sub-rush options, to me, look like at this stage, they’re far greater than they ever have been since I’ve been here. We’ve got more guys that look like they could with some coaching development work, and understanding what to do that could be real options for us. That’s just a week and a half in; being in pads a very limited time. That’s good for me as far as, I feel good about where we are right now; knowing also that we have a long way to go and our focus really is on one day at a time, understanding that our goal is to be ready September 11 to play our best game.”

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