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Todd Haley Postgame Comments

Posted Dec 5, 2010

Highlights

Opening Statement: “It was a hard-fought win for the Kansas City Chiefs today. When I say hard fought, I mean hard fought. That was a physical, physical match today. I have to take my hat off to the Denver Broncos: they came in ready to go. That was a physical, physical game. Our team knew going into the game that we had to make it a physical game to have a chance and I thought we were able to do that.

 

Defensively, stopping the run was one of our keys coming into this game and we did not do a good job stopping the run. They were able to spread us out a bit and crease us down the middle; there were just too many big runs, double digit runs, that will get you in real trouble. That being said, in the pass game, the defense was unbelievable. The back-end guys were off the charts. Brandon Carr, we keep asking him to step up with some of the other guys beat up and us not being at 100 percent, playing with a lot of different guys. Brandon Carr has continued to take big steps and competed today. From the sidelines I thought he played a terrific game as did the rest of the pass defense. We created some pressure and sacks (I think we had 4.0 sacks), got the ball out a couple times. It was a team win, defensively.

Offensively, I thought we did a lot of good things. We protected the football in the passing game on a pretty difficult day. We turned the ball over once on a fumble, which we cannot do, and what really kind of kept this close was our offense’s inability to stop hurting ourselves with penalties at the wrong times, in the red area. We had a touchdown come off the board, which would have been a real big score for us, and another penalty inside the five-yard line. Those are the kind of things good teams don’t do. But we ran the heck out of the ball; the backs fought it out and did a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage for the most part and we made enough plays to win.

Special teams: I thought the guys did a terrific job. [Denver is] a dangerous return team and I thought we did a good job of covering. Our kickers, we asked them to step up today because we needed them. The guys, both Dustin and Ryan did a great job. Verran Tucker, a late sub in there, what a play; and what a punt by Dustin and what a play by the gunner, Verran, and everybody else swarming down there to make plays. I thought we managed the two-minute situation at the end of the half real well to get the three points back. It was just a team win for our guys and a big one – 3-1 in the 3rd quarter which was our goal and now we start the 4th quarter of the season with the San Diego Chargers.”

On the congratulatory hug with Coach McDaniels following the game, in contrast to the no-handshake following the game in Denver: “That whole situation…I appreciate everyone liking to talk about it, but it’s just such a big win for our team. The Kansas City Chiefs, who a lot of people had written off at the start of the year, we’ve been through some hard times but we have a group of fighters in there that have come together and are becoming a tight-knit team. When you have a team like that you can do some special things. That’s what it’s really about, that’s what I prefer to keep it about, with all due respect because this was a big win, a division win at home.”

On the two opposite fourth-down decisions in the first half: “The first time through, that’s that tricky area of the field. We weren’t in four-down mode. I didn’t want to be reactionary about what we were doing and field position was critical with the way our defense was doing a good job. Dustin did a very good job of keeping field position in check there. But, like I said, the in-to-the-wind field goal was too long for the conditions. We just wanted to keep field position where it was and not give them a chance to get out of the hole. We weren’t in four-down mode. The other one is when we were in four-down mode; we were in it even before we crossed the 50 in that series, that’s why you saw a lot of runs. When we’re in that mode, we’re trying to get in a mindset. We just can’t take a sack there. The thinking is, if you don’t get it there, they’re on the one-yard line and have to go 99 yards. That’s something we just have to do a better job of coaching up. Players were kind of in the mindset that it was fourth down and we have to make a play, but we also have to understand situational football - part of that scenario is that we want to force them to have to go 99 yards. The good thing about us is we have a lot of areas we can improve and get better and that’s a good thing.”

On the play of CB Brandon Carr: “I think Brandon Carr falls into that group of second, third and fourth-year guys that are developing and that’s the name of the game. This is a guy that comes to work every day and he epitomizes the same guy every day. You can count on him; he’s like clockwork, he’ll be there at the same time, in the same spot. There’s not a lot of variance and that’s a good sign. He’s hungry to continue to get better and I think you’re just seeing him start to make progress. That’s a really good thing for us because as we get healthier back there and Brandon Carr continues to get better then all of a sudden we have a chance to really be good. You can see him getting better and better every day in practice, gaining confidence, making big hits, knocking the ball out; he had his hands on the ball a couple of times. I would have loved if he had come up with it but he still made some really nice plays.”

On WR Dexter McCluster and how defenses react when he’s on the field: “We said this is the time of year we need all hands on deck and he’s been fighting like heck to get back. By no means was he 100%. It’s too bad on the one play that it was called back because it would have been a real big play for us. That was another position where we kind of hurt ourselves. He’s a versatile player that creates some problems for a defense because he can line up at halfback and receiver and that makes him tough to defend.”

On T Barry Richardson’s attitude on the sideline following his false start penalty in the third quarter: “I think that what you’re seeing out of our guys, and what’s exciting to me as the head coach, is we have a lot of guys that really care. We had the penalty in the red and I think Coach Muir and our offensive staff just wanted to calm him down a bit and let him re-group. He’s a prideful guy that didn’t want to be out and was upset at himself and that’s a good thing. It’s the same thing that happened with Wallace Gilberry. These guys care and that is such a refreshing, positive thing out of this group. It makes it so much fun to go to work every day. I’ve heard so many of our coaches, myself included, say this is a fun group to be around and coach and it’s because they care.”

On Richardson’s reaction to some taunting from the Broncos while on the field: “I’m excited to see guys care that passionately. This is an emotional game. These guys are going out there and leaving it out there. They are laying it on the line. I want these guys to be passionate and care and then it’s our job to make sure we’re able to re-group and maintain our composure. There were a lot of things going on in that game that were frustrating to a lot of people.”

On WR Dwayne Bowe being shut out today: “The penalty called on him, which would have been a real big play for us…the close play on the sideline. It’s just one of those games. We were able to move up and down the field but the penalties are just too hard for us to overcome, especially in the red area. There were too many times back into those 2nd and 3rd and longs. We just have to work so hard to be a smarter team. I know the guys pride themselves on it. When you have a lot of flags coming out like that we just have to get back to work.”

Do you think that the mistakes made today were more about thinking ahead? “This was our best week of practice. We were focused. We were focused more in pregame, which is what we’ve been doing a lot better job of, not falling into distractions. We won the game so the guys were focused and I can pretty confidently say that there weren’t too many people, if any, that were even thinking about anything other than trying to take care of business today. Our goal was to try to get to three (wins) and we didn’t start this quarter very well.”

Were you shocked that the Broncos punted on their last complete offensive drive of the game? “I didn’t have an opinion one way or the other. We were paying very close attention to make sure we were set for whatever they chose to do there.”

On RB Jamaal Charles’ intelligent first down play right after the two-minute warning: “It was a big first down by Jamaal. Jamaal has made so much progress as a player, a person. It’s easy to see Jamaal’s success and think this guy has always been here and why hasn’t he been out there [on the field more]. This guy has developed and has really impressed all of us and that’s a little play that no one will probably ever notice. That turned the corner, he stayed in bounds, got the first down, that’s something that we work awfully hard at having our team understand how important it is to be a smart team and understand the situations. I was really proud of him there and then recovering the fumble on the one that squirted out under center… Jamaal’s another one of those guys that just keeps impressing me.”

On coaching your quarterbacks in situations with just a few minutes or seconds left on the clock: “Depending upon the situation we have a bunch of different scenarios that we practice. Before the clock hits 5 minutes, out of bounds and those things don’t matter, but you can still milk the clock. We definitely went into a milk mode there to shorten the game as best we could and we have rules for when we break the huddle and when the ball’s being snapped. There’s an aggressive milk and a more relaxed milk. Sometimes that can get you too because you’re worried a little too much about that. I thought we did a really good job of managing the overall operation, the two-minute made me very happy, being able to get the three points back. It was a well-executed drive and clock to get the field goal. We were almost in a mayday situation, that’s why you saw the field goal team start to run because we had alerted them that if we tackled short we’d be kicking in a mayday situation. Those are all things that we work hard on and we got a chance to execute a bunch of different situations today and there’s some that we need to be better on.”

On S Eric Berry standing up for Brandon Carr when he thought a Denver player was going after him: “I don’t quite get into that. We just have young guys that are part of a unique group and really our entire team, one of the things we’ve stressed from day one is the relationships and caring (for one another) and team. I know that sounds sappy, but we’ve done a lot of things to really build a family. I think that’s what you’re starting to see real evidence of – guys wanting to stick up for each other. At the same time, I was ranting and raving for someone to go get Berry. We can’t afford to do things that hurt us. So you saw Jon McGraw sprinting across the field to get Eric. We talk about all those. I appreciate that we all care for one another. That’s what (Eric) said, ‘He hit him. He hit Carr.’ And I said ‘Alright, but it’s not for you to officiate that. You have to be smart.’”

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