Wearing a sweatshirt and wrinkled khakis, Todd Haley addressed the media at the NFL Combine earlier today. In what is becoming the norm in Kansas City, he answered questions without really giving us any information.
Nonetheless, let's take a look at a few of his comments and see if he is dropping any hints about what we can see with the Chiefs next season.
On the fate of the current roster:
- "We're gonna have an open mind and kind of a clean slate on everybody if you will."
- "Everyone will have a fair shot."
I think this is true to an extent but Haley obviously comes in with certain expectations and there is assuredly players currently on the team that don't meet his expectations. With such a young roster, Haley will look to last year's abysmal performance and make some changes.
On Larry Johnson:
- "There are always solutions to certain situations."
- "I have to get a feel for what we have to do as a team."
- "My policy is going to be that everyone has a clean slate and a fair shot to show who they are and what they want to be."
This is a PC answer. Larry Johnson, by all accounts, doesn't have much of a future with the Chiefs. As Bill Williamson of ESPN speculated earlier this week, I think LJ should be moved within the first two weeks of free agency.
Production over position:
- "Our players can be impact players. You see a guy like, in Arizona, like Larry Fitzgerald and what a tremendous impact he had in Arizona this past year."
- "Any time you get a guy that can have such an impact on the game even when he maybe touched the ball 7 or 8 times a game. When you get a guy playing like he's playing, it doesn't matter what position he's playing. When you can get defenses to worry so much about a certain player, that;s a good thing."
Before the reports that surfaced today regarding Michael Crabtree's injury, I would have thought this meant Crabtree is in play. But his injury precludes him from working out at 100% until around draft time so I don't expect the Chiefs to take a gamble on somebody they haven't "methodically" evaluated.
Priority number one is the coaching staff:
- "I'm not even done trying to get the staff together. And like I said earlier that's priority number one."
The fact that he's not done with the staff might lend some credence to the speculation that someone like Romeo Crennel is still being pursued.
Good reports on Chan Gailey:
- "I'm excited about having a guy like Chan Gailey with his experience. The more I'm around him the more I'm excited about what he'll bring to us."
As you all know, I'm a big Gailey supporter. I want him on the coaching staff AND I want him calling plays. Though the latter has yet to be decided, it's a good sign that Haley is responding well to Gailey.
Regarding calling plays, I'm on record (though Chris beat me to it) as saying I think Gailey can effectively call the type of game that Haley wants. This would help with Haley's transition to being a first time head coach. 72% of you agree that Haley shouldn't call the plays in his first year.
What's the coaching staff doing right now?
- "Their first assignment was to go player by player and not think about scheme."
- "Think about what each player brings to the table and until that's finalized and we have to get an idea of what they can do."
- "That's not something we can wait two months to decide. We gotta get moving."
Some semblance of urgency in that last statement which is good to hear. This process has been more reminiscent of the turtle rather than the hare.
Haley/Pioli talking point:
- "Just like the coaching staff, I'm going to try and get as many good players as we can here."
On Branden Albert:
- "Branden Albert right now is one of the least of our problems. i think he has a chance to be a good player here if he does the right things."
I wish there were some follow up questions to this because it doesn't quite answer the question many of us want to know: Is Albert going to stay at left tackle? If so, that answers some of our questions about the Chiefs third pick in the draft. I'm slowly beginning to see the point so many of you have made about the importance of bookend tackles regardless of where the second bookend might be drafted.
I think top 3 for a right tackle is a little high but if there were an elite right tackle available I would be content with drafting him. The problem is, I only see career left tackles that are rated high enough to warrant a sniff from the Chiefs.
"You are what you are"...where have we heard that before?
- "Well I think you are what you are. and last year the Chiefs won two games. That's what they were last year. this year is a new year."
- "I'm going to do what we can to win games. I know that's basic but that's what we're about."
- "Right at this point we haven't won a game with the Chiefs. and that's our goal, to win a game."
Has he been watching his former team?
- "I think this is dumb but I have no idea what the Arizona Cardinals have done. I've been in the weeds, the tall weeds so I don't know what they've done."
'I think this is dumb..." Coming from the media friendly Herm era, I'm already liking this attitude from Haley.
No repeats of the 2008 Chiefs:
- "I think we've got some hungry guys that wanna win and wanna succeed and don't wanna go through a year like last year."
On the importance of Scott Pioli being on board with the Chiefs:
- "Very important. I know these jobs are hard to come by. As I said all along through the playoffs, I had a great job and loved who i was working for and working with."
- "Scott was the #1 most attractive part of the situation along with part of the ownership and the fan base. Scott was a big, big part of the decision."
On his personal football aspirations:
- "I wanted to be a Pro Bowl quarterback but that didn't work out."
It all comes back to Bill Parcells:
- "I'm in the position I'm in due in large part to coach Parcells."
- "He understands the way that works best for him. I've been lucky enough to know him for 7 or 8 years or even longer. You cant ask for a better mentor than that."
We've focused on Bill Parcells and his influence because of statements like this. Haley takes many of his lessons in football from Parcells. Likewise, Pioli and his mentor, Bill Belichick, have ties to Parcells.