“We’re just continuing our preparation for Philly which will be a real good test for us. I think this has been a real good team here for a number of years that’s won a lot of games with a number of real skilled players on the field, both offensively, defensively and special teams. I think it’ll be a real good test/opportunity for us as a team Friday night to go out there and try to continue to show and make the progress that we feel has been going on.”
Q: Is tonight going to be like a typical two-a-day second practice kind of walk-though or is it going to be more of a full practice?
HALEY: “Oh no we’re practicing. We’re going to have at least shoulder pads on. When you’re in this training camp mode it’s not quite regular season so we will have a padded practice tonight that will be, for the most part, practice for Philadelphia, preparation for Philadelphia. At the same time I think it’s real important for the guys, I’ve set it up so they’ll do everything down here but then their uniforms will be up there, their practice uniforms, shoulder pads, helmets, shoes, all that, so they’ll actually be able to sit in their lockers where they’re going to be Friday, they’ll get spatted up there, those that do, then actually kind of go through some of our pregame stuff so it’s another opportunity for us to hit that and then get into the practice, so some punt catching, some kickoff catching, some things for those specific skill guys to practice in a new environment. Then again we’ll be practicing some segments offensively and defensively to get ready to go.”
Q: You’ve talked a lot recently about your running game. Are you as encouraged with the passing game as you are with the running game?
HALEY: “I think offense in general, Adam, though a work in progress, the key word is progress. We’re making, it feels to me each and every day and each game to this point, we’ve been able to see some of that efficiency on offense which includes running and throwing the football. I just think offensively in general there’s been good progress and the real important thing is again, can we get this last real good practice in tonight and get out there Friday and continue to show some of that progress because the season’s coming fast and we need to be ready.”
Q: You’ve said it’s a continual evaluation process from day-to-day but how many decisions will be finalized in this game Friday?
HALEY: “I think it’s another big piece of evaluation Karen, and one of the final pieces. There will be another week of practice and another game. In this ‘think outside the box’ kind of mode that I and I try to get us all to be in, we don’t need to do it like it’s always been done. We need to do it how best gets us ready to play September 13th and beyond. I can’t say exactly. There’ll be some big evaluation, that’s for sure, but again, when you’ve got 80 guys and when a large majority are in competition and actually in the mix, which is the way that it is, we’re going to need to use that last weekend game also. The final decisions will be made probably a couple hours before the final decision’s made.”
Q: That includes cuts, too?
HALEY: “That’s what I mean by final decisions. We’re just going to have to use all the time allotted to get this right.”
Q: Sure there are a lot of things about your job you like…
HALEY: “About my job? Greatest job in the world other than these guys who get to put the helmet and play in the NFL, in my opinion.”
Q: Are those decisions you have to make and letting somebody know…
HALEY: “The toughest part of it. The toughest part of it. That’s actually tougher than post-Sunday ‘L,’ I would say. It’s not something you look forward to. It’s a part of this process and it has to happen. It’s just something you’ve got to do and move forward and go to the next thing.”
Q: Going back to the passing game. Is there anything more that you need to see from QB
HALEY: “Those are all positives and good indicators but like I said we’ve got a couple weeks left here – really a little more than a week just because the way the schedule is laid out. We’ve got until September 13th to have everybody ready, everybody that’s going to be on this roster ready. He’s one of those 53. Every chance that Matt gets to take a snap and get a rep and specifically, every chance he gets to take a rep in a game, it will be an important part of his development because as I’ve said a few times, by a quarterback’s standards, he just doesn’t have a lot of experience playing in a lot of games so we’ll have to make full use of the games as we see fit.”
Q: Have you walked around up there at the stadium?
HALEY: “No, that’s what I said. I’ve actually got it on my list next free time. I’ve heard so much about it. With it just getting completed and we’ve kind of been in football mode so all I’ve really done is been able to hear about it. But I’ve got it on the docket to get up there and take a look around because I’ve heard some great things about it. Great things including the Hall of Honor. When you talk about the Kansas City Chiefs and the great tradition and great players and coaches that have come before us, I think that sounds like an exciting place. You all are going today? Good. I’ll get up there next week hopefully.”
Q: You’ve spent a lot of time getting ready to play the Eagles in the last five years or so. What’s the key, why have they been able to stay at a pretty high level and not really drop?
HALEY: “I think like some of the other organizations or teams that have been able to stay the course or have laid the foundation the way it needs to be laid and then understand the model that they’re all trying to follow, whether its coaches, personnel, front office, players, the entire organization, they’ve been able to lay a foundation. A big part of that is coach (Andy) Reid and the staff he’s been able to keep there. That is a key word, keep, or get back guys that have come and gone. I was talking about this yesterday, I talk about my father in here occasionally and I’m obviously biased, but the more I’m around the more I realize how really good he is and was at what he did but the great thing about my background in being able to grow up when I did in Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Steelers, whether it was Chuck Noll, Dick Haley, the Rooneys, the players, they were able to lay a foundation really 40 years ago that is still in place and why I lean so heavily on my father, he’s always said to me, ‘in this day and age you get so many people that think it’s about the quickest answer or who can raise their hand the fastest,’ and one thing he stressed to me since a very young age is don’t have the fastest hands, have the right answer. I think because of people like him and a lot of those people there, the Rooneys and the Nolls, not to speak about them too much, they were of that temperament – they knew what they believed in, they did it the way they believed, they survived a couple chaotic years and eggs being thrown at them, but they laid a foundation that really essentially is still in place now 40 years later. It was by staying unwavering and not panicking and staying the course, so-to-speak. The only reason I speak about that is I’ve been asked in here about myself and how I believe and do things and why. That’s the bottom line right there. I feel like I’ve been around the right people and paid attention and now I’m in a situation of my own that we’re going to turn into something special and that’s the way we’re going to do it. I’m with the right people I feel like, across the board here and we’ve got a chance to get something going here that could be a lot of fun. It just so happens that right now we’re in the process of trying to get there.”
Q: Do you have anything set in your mind for how much you want to see the starters?
HALEY: “Pretty close. I would say just more than we saw last week and that will be on an individual basis. There are some guys that I maybe feel a little more secure about and some others for one reason or another, whether it’s just getting snaps under their belt, experience or for evaluation purposes that may go longer. I would say in general more than what we saw.”
Q: Where does QB Matt Cassel fit into that? Do you plan to play him into the third quarter?
HALEY: “Without getting into specifics this is a guy that every snap counts for him, every game snap is a big thing for him and for us in his development.” Q: One of the things being talked about at owners’ meetings is the idea of moving to 18 games. Do you have any thoughts on that? HALEY: “I just try and get ready and make sure that we’re a better team this week than we were last week and we’ll just see how everything falls.” Q: What would you like the personality of your defense to be? HALEY: “I think much like the rest of the team. I want a smart, tough, disciplined group that plays hard every down. That’s what we’re in the middle of trying to get accomplished and I feel like we’re making progress. As I’ve said, we’ve got more guys doing it the way we’re asking them to do it, more of the time and better. That’s the key to getting better.” Q: I know you want to win them all but is there any extra pressure this week to open the new stadium with a win? HALEY: “I think that’d be unfair to any other game I’ve coached. We’re trying to win them all and winning is real, real simple in my mind. It’s usually, most of the time or a high percentage of the time, the team that plays the best wins the game. I think there are exceptions with the crazy bounce here or there and by best I mean that covers smartest, tackles the best, doesn’t turn the ball over, that’s part of playing your best. Each and every week we’re trying to go out and whoever’s in the game at whatever time try to get that person and that group to play better than the group across from them. If that happens, generally you win.”