OPENING REMARKS: “Had a chance to look at the tape, visit with the players, a very disappointing outcome for our team and our guys. It was very clear in that game, again – much like I said after the game – that there were a number of things that we could have done a little better, executed a little crisper or sharper that could have and would have changed the outcome of that game potentially. That’s not the way that it went, but as I said last night, I have a strong, strong belief in this group of guys. We have not played to our potential in this first quarter of the season to this point. We’re 0-3; our goal is very simple: to get to 1-3 in this quarter here this week. That’s really all we’re worried about. Their chins are up. They’re disappointed, but their chins are up. They understand the things that they need to do different, and it’s not extraordinary things I’m talking about, it’s just little things and we can start to become a good team and we’ll then move forward. That’s where we are. Again, I sense nothing but positive from this group of guys and what they feel about themselves as a team.”
Q: Why does it seem the offensive line has regressed from last year to this year? You basically have the same guys intact.
HALEY: “No. 1, I’m not going to compare this year to last year. This is its own year. I talked a little last week about that you’ve got to be careful about judging any team or any part of teams too early because – as we’ve seen – even just in our case that some of those early judgments could probably not look very good later on down the road. We’re getting better. We had to get better last week, significantly better, and we did in most areas. Unfortunately, we just again didn’t do quite enough to get the result to be what we wanted. And those are simple things. We need to run the football better, and that obviously comes down to everybody, but starts up front. It includes the back getting yards after contact. It includes the receivers getting blocks down the field and staying on those blocks. And then we offensively need to stay out of three-and-out situations. Easy to say, but the bottom line is finding the solutions to some of those. If you have six three-and-outs in a game, especially when most are coming in the first half, you’re going to hurt your time of possession, you’re going to wear your defense out potentially and all those things kind of have diminishing effects on your team. So, offensively we’ve got to run the football better, we’ve got to throw the football better, we’ve got to run after the catch significantly better. That’s a little thing that’s easily correctable in my opinion, and if we can run after the catch – a very simple little thing for an additional couple yards a catch – that’ll help us a tremendous amount.”
Q: Did you take over play calling duties in the second half?
HALEY: “No, I’ve talked about this. It’s a collaborative effort during the week, offensively and defensively. Surprisingly, I’m very active defensively, too, and that’s what’s really that I find fascinating and awesome about this job. When you’re no longer a position coach or a coordinator, you get to see both sides of the ball and get some input. Yesterday was no different. During the game, Bill Muir is our play caller. I thought he did a tremendous job yesterday of just sticking with the plan. We had a clear-cut plan that we really felt strongly as a staff in all areas, but offense being one of those, but we couldn't get out of the plan too early and we probably had to stay in it maybe even a little longer than we felt instinctually safe doing that and still having a chance to win. All that being said, I thought Bill did a terrific job. Throughout the game, we do a lot of talking. There’s always suggestions and thoughts and interaction and yesterday was no different. I thought we did a good job of staying with the plan. We’ve got to do a few things a little better from an execution standpoint and from a coaching standpoint to put ourselves in even a better chance or a more positive chance situation at the end there.”
Q: How did not having
HALEY: “I know we’re going to be a good running team. With Jamaal not in the mix, that presents a set of challenges. That being said, I like our guys. I like our backs, and I believe we’re going to be a good running team. Yesterday, again, wasn’t a matter of needing Walter Payton out there, we just need to do little things, and like I said, up front, at the tight end position and at the receiver position to give ourselves a little better chance and then, like I said, yards after contact is something that probably wasn’t good enough yesterday in my opinion. And those, when you have 27 carries, you tack a yard on to every one of those carries that you’re able to move a defender or drag a defender, all of a sudden that’s 27 more yards, same with the catch-and-run. I’m excited about our team and I just can’t say it any clearer. We can’t dig ourselves much more of a hole, that’s all, and feel like we can still accomplish our goals. But right now, our goal is to get to 1-3 in this quarter and then put it behind us.”
Q: How is
HALEY: “We’ll know a little more on Wednesday and I’ll be able to give you more info. He’s a guy that I was really proud of in the game yesterday. I thought that while he was playing, he really did some real good things, especially in the run game. You saw a physical impact player in the run game and obviously made a big play for us and unfortunately then couldn’t continue. But, I had to drag him off the field once. Our trainer was over helping somebody else and he sneaks out on the field. And then, throughout the game, anybody that was watching, you saw this guy on the sideline, he’s the first one out there encouraging, talking, pushing those guys along, keeping their heads up. That’s another real good sign about this group of guys that we have here and why I believe that despite it looking dyer that it’s maybe not what it appears.”
Q: Is this line doing enough for
HALEY: “Yeah, they have to be. They have to be. A lot of those little things I was just talking about are going to be things that help them do their job also, including Matt. It all works together and right now we’ve just not quite got it all in sync. But, these guys are working hard. They worked really hard last week to give themselves a chance to compete against a good team and it was a tough one and it hurts and it’s painful. I spent a lot of time walking around that plane last night and I saw a lot of really encouraging signs.”
Q: Are you able to go downfield as much as you would like?
HALEY: “Like I said yesterday, when you have six three-and-outs and time of possession gets that lopsided, no I’d say but I’m saying no to all those things. We weren’t able to run the ball well enough, we weren’t able to throw the ball well enough, period, wherever we were throwing it. But that, again, doesn’t fall on any one person’s shoulders, it’s just that everybody has to have a little better understanding of what they need to do and how we want them to do it and we need to just execute. Offensively, I thought there were a couple really… To start the second half, we get a stop and the offense came out and despite they probably could have been feeling pretty bad about themselves, they went out and got points. And then, we were down by 10 three different times in that game, and I thought the entire team continued to fight and try to make the outcome be what we wanted it to be. Offensively, we were able to answer and that one drive was really one of the more impressive drives that I’ve been a part of – 21 plays unofficially because of some of the penalties – but I’ve never been involved in a 21-play drive, and that was very positive despite there being penalties and us only getting three points out of it, we were able to kind of – despite the lopsidedness of time of possession – we were able to wear their defense out a little bit. I think it helped us on the following possession and some of those things.”
Q: Can you talk about the timing of some of the mistakes you talk about? It seems like whenever you have a chance to get some momentum, that’s when they occur in bunches.
HALEY: “Yeah, I think it comes back to, again, we’ve got a group of guys that really care and really want to see this team become a good team and they have a tendency to press in those situations. I thought we did a lot better understanding just to stay within your abilities and do your job. We did that a lot better throughout the game. At times though, there were clear-cut instances where we didn’t have the discipline to do that, and I would count on that continuing to improve.”
Q: SHAFFER: Do you think they press more after a good play happens than other times?
HALEY: “Either or. Offensively, we were able to go down the field and get some points and get the game out of that 10-point range and the defense is very aware that a three-and-out after a nine, 10-minute drive, a three-and-out would have been real good to put the offense back out against their defense, who appeared tired as it was and had some guys down on a knee and things like that. Our defense went out fully intending to get that three-and-out and we just pressed a little bit and get ourselves in a bad position, and it’s not any one guy, it’s a little bit of everybody at one time or another.”
HALEY: “I don’t know early, late, in the middle. We need all our players playing well. With those guys right now, like I said, one of the things that I’m really going to be focused on is just trying to… Because there’s little things that they’re doing that are keeping them from having the run after the catch that would be ideal for us and really help us a bunch and we need to get those guys catching the ball and running with it more than it is occurring right now. We had too many catches and no gains. Some of those are unavoidable. For a receiver in this league, the run after the catch, the bar has always been three-plus. If you can be above three as a receiver as many times as you are catching the ball going out of bounds or catching the ball and getting hit, you’re going to help yourself and our team a bunch. We just need to do some of those little things that’ll make a difference.”
Q: You said that you’re excited about this team. What are you most excited about?
HALEY: “Just excited about the guys and their desire and determination to be a good team. And I would think that’s the goal each and every regular season is to just be a good team because if you’re a good team, you’re probably going to have a chance to play in the next round and that’s where I think the good and the great get separated. But, I’m excited about these guys and their desire to want to be a good team. We weren’t good enough yesterday, but we were a lot closer to being a good team.”
Q: How much do you guard against the message wearing thin after results aren’t there?
HALEY: “That’s not something that I really think about. I think that comes back to the group of guys we have in this building and our coaches and this team is getting closer, not divided. If a team can stick together through the rough times, then they have a chance to do really good things. We’re getting our dose of rough times right now and so far I’ve been very proud of these guys and just their will.”