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Conference Call: Chiefs Coach Todd Haley


(on how effective the Titans offense is with all their players healthy)

Obviously, injuries are a part of this game that make it difficult.  Sometimes you have a little tougher time than others or you get hit with more bad breaks than others and Tennessee has gone through the ups and downs of that, but looking at them as they are now, they are truly a formidable group starting with the running game and Chris Johnson.  Kerry Collins has 16 years in the league with a big arm and it doesn't look like his arm has dropped off at all with great experience.  I can say with certainty that of all the teams that we have seen, I haven't seen a group of receivers stretch the field quite as well as I've seen from Tennessee.

(on his team's turnaround this year and the excitement it has brought the city)

Obviously, these guys work so hard and sacrifice so much, players and coaches alike.  We knew we had a big job coming in last year and we are still in the middle of that job.  We are by no means there.  We have been trying to get just a little better every day going back to last year.  I feel like that happened last year.  We made progress throughout the year even though we didn't have many wins to show for it.  We continued to make progress, the guys continued to work.  We knew this second offseason together would be real critical and they came in ready to go, in shape—unlike the year before where guys really didn't know what the expectations were.  We lost 700 and some pounds the first year.  This year we're not anywhere even close to that because guys knew what was expected, they came in ready to go, we had a great offseason, preseason, training camp and throughout the year we've continued to make progress.  Like I said, we're not there yet; we're not a good team, we're just a team transitioning from a not very good team trying to become a good team.  Anytime you have a reward of a win it helps the cause because these guys work so hard, like I said, and they're putting their trust in us as coaches that we're putting them in a position and having them do the right things to become a good team and when you see some results that's obviously a very good thing and helps the cause.

(on how Eric Berry has done and fit into the defense as a rookie)

We've been very fortunate; I think our scouts did a tremendous job targeting the types of players that we want to continually bring into the fold here and the types of players that we want to be part of our program.  Eric and really this entire rookie group fits that description very well, almost to a T.  Eric was a captain at Tennessee, obviously one of the leaders of that team.  On top of that he's really a high character guy, but especially a high football character.  He's into football and he's fun to be around just like the rest of our young guys.  They like to practice, they like everything that has to do with football, and that rubs off.  Even though they're a young group, they've been able to have quite an impact on our team.  Maybe more of an impact than I've ever seen from any rookie group since I've been around and that's a real good thing.  That's a true compliment to these guys that came in and weren't really, a lot of times with young rookie players I don't want to say guys are scared, but they're timid and worried and just trying to get the lay of the land.  Starting with Eric, none of these guys you haven't seen that part.  They haven't had the big eyes, they've taken everything in stride and they're obviously not there yet.  He's got a lot of room to get better, but there sure is a lot to work with and it is fun working with him.

(on Jason Babin and how he's improved this year)

Well I made this statement to our media that I don't know what it is down there in Tennessee, but you can see guys that you've seen in other uniforms and they get down there and they transform into Jevon Kearse's.  No disrespect to Jevon, but the stance changes, they're all in that four-point with their nose about a quarter of an inch off the ground and they're firing off the ball and spinning and great pass rush moves.  He had just become a free agent when I got this job, so we never actually crossed paths here, but believe me all week I've been saying, 'how the heck did we lose this guy?'  He's obviously been very productive, but he's got to be working for it I imagine.  He's being well coached and that's really obviously a well-coached team in general.  It starts with that defensive line and you just see players become better players when they're there.

(on how helpful it has been to the Chiefs turnaround to have a true home-field advantage)

I think it's huge.  I played a couple games and I've coached a couple games there in Tennessee and it is one of the great crowds in the league, without a doubt—a tough, tough place to play.  When I got this job, I was so excited having grown up in Pittsburgh and my father played for the Steelers and worked for the Steelers and I was a ball boy for the Steelers through the 70's and 80's.  That's football and I always kind of lumped Kansas City and Pittsburgh together when it came to the fans.  That was something I was real excited about being a part of, and I knew we were going to have to earn them back because there hadn't been a whole lot of good football being played.  We've been doing that and we're doing that and it's definitely brought them out.  When they're in full force, they are as good as any group of fans in the league.

(on if he's surprised that the Titans-Chiefs game hasn't sold out Arrowhead Stadium yet)

You know, I had heard that, but that's not something I'm really concerned with.  I'm really concerned with trying to get our guys a little better every day so we can play our best football.

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