We've all mentioned it at one time or another. Todd Haley never says diddley in his press conferences, right? He has mastered the art of the Master (Parcells) at speaking in tongues and saying absolutely nothing. One down fall of this type of communication is that often times his words to the press are given meanings that were not intended.
Many of those in the 'press', will look at Haley's words and then look at what is happening on the field or in the locker room or on the sideline and try and apply those words to the existing situation as they see it. The most important part of that last statement is "as they see it". What's happening, as they see it, could be accurate. It could also be as inaccurate and irrelevant to what is actually going on as the production of pot ash is to learning how to swim.
Be that as it may, I think that Haley is actually 'loosening up" a bit in his pressers. Either he is, or I am beginning to "hear" between the lines and get insight for previous questions from his current answers.
In his most recent attempt at interacting with the press, Haley seems to actually answer a bit more clearly this question about going for it on fourth down. Many here believe that Haley is just a young, inexperienced HC that is a bit of a gambler. This, they say, is evidenced by the fact that Haley continually takes risks that are anywhere from justified, to borderline, to completely inappropriate and unnecessary. In fact, some have said that Haley has taken risks that even a casual observer of the sport wouldn't make the mistake of taking.
I take exception to that. I believe that Haley's "go for it" mentality (whether you agree with it or not) is a scripted part of his game planning. I think the players and coaches all know the situations that can and do occur that will put the team in "go for it" mode.
Q: What was wrong with an 11-point lead at that point in time?
HALEY: "I don’t think anything Randy, I don’t think anything would’ve been wrong with an 11-point lead, but at the same time, like I said yesterday, what’s important for everybody to understand is that the fourth down is thought out a considerable amount of time before it’s actually fourth down and there are many times within that game that we’re in that mode, it just does not get exposed because we don’t get to fourth down. I think it’s very valuable for our team from a big-picture view of there is going to be some games where we’re going to have to play complementary football like that and we’re getting a lot of work at it this year to this point a quarter-and-a-half through the season and we’re going to have to utilize it as we move forward."
Haley has rarely been this forth coming about things football. I find it interesting that he is beginning to actually answer some questions instead of tap dancing around them all the time. He is saying here that their are reasons for going for it that are really already part of the game plan. He is also letting the rest of the league know that this condition exists. He doesn't tell what those conditions are, but he does let them know that they do in fact, exist. In other words, we could go for it on fourth down at any time. I believe that this makes other teams game plan differently for the Chiefs because the Chiefs are different. For a team to know that the Chiefs are in four down territory in places that are not normally four down territory can influence how that third down play is handled by the opposing defense.
Some have suggested that it is done to show Haley's confidence in his offense. He says it is more than that.
Q: Would you make a decision to go for it on fourth down just to send a message of confidence to your guys?
HALEY: "I think it’s still more big picture than that. That’s one of the results of it, when you let them know we’re in that mode, and again that’s happening much earlier than when you’re actually there at the fourth-down situation, but I think it’s more about a mindset of how we’re going into each and every possession and that changes week-to-week and it changes throughout games. But it is something that we practice, talk about, work on and the defense is aware of it when we’re doing it, I’m not saying when it’s actually fourth-and-whatever, the defense knows ahead of time the mode the offense is in and they are mentally prepared and ready to go and I thought that it showed up yesterday and that was a real good sign for us."
Interesting. Would you say that this sounds like someone who is just sort of blindly pulling the trigger on risky plays hoping to get lucky? Am I hearing between the lines or is Haley beginning to crack a bit?
Then there's the issue of Matt Cassel. Many here have little to no confidence in him, even with his improvement this season. Now I know that this is a volatile statement, but if you look at his stats (I know, some like'em and some don't) you have to agree that they are better than they were (and that is considering the fact that he has played arguably the toughest games of the season in two of the last three games).
Does Haley dodge the questions about Matt in the normal way in this press conference. I don't think he quite did.
Q: QB Matt Cassel has been sacked the fewest times in the league. How much of that is credited to his decision making?
Matt has continued to make strides and improve in some subtle areas that make such a big difference for a quarterback. I saw some great evidences of Matt getting back fast, being able to slide up and feel the pressure and get the ball out on time. One time he wasn’t able to and one other time, which was probably my least favorite play of the game, was the throwback across as he was getting hit. That was a borderline carelessness with the ball that could have turned into a bad play. He is working hard every day and we are staying on him as a group but he understands the things he needs to do to continue to improve. He is working hard to do those things and like I said, he is a developing quarterback that hasn’t had a bunch of experience and each and every game is a great opportunity for him to grow and get better. I think yesterday he did a very good job of leading this team and protecting the football as well as handling the game management and the other things he has to do."
Haley actually gives examples of what Matt has done or is doing better. He also comes the closest he has to pointing out a specific thing Matt is doing poorly. Then he goes on to dispell any questions about what Matt's priorities are as far as he (Haley) is concerned.
Q: Is not giving up sacks a major priority for you?
HALEY: "Yeah, definitely. If you are talking about a turnover or a sack and having one or the other, it would be a sack every time.
That's pretty clear. Throwing an int is a bigger no-no than taking a sack. Both outcomes suck. I wonder why Matt is so worried about that pressure coming at him that nobody gives him credit for feeling? Could it be that he has been told that the fastest way to ride the pine is by throwing the ball up for grabs? Most QBs throw INTs when they are under pressure. If that is true and you have only thrown three ints in six games like Cassel, it's not surprising that he looks a little goofy while getting used to not taking a sack as one of his primary objectives, is it? Especially after last year when sacks were an every down concern.
Amazing what you can learn by selective listening.
Then there is the Dog House.
Enquiring minds want to know, is so-and-so in Haley's dog house? So they make connections between things that don't exist. For instance, Chris Chambers. Is he in the dog house or does he actually have an injury that is causing him to be a healthy scratch? Haley, once again, is fairly forthcoming.
HALEY: "I can’t say it’s not health-related at all but like I said, all these guys are not going to feel any better than they do today, it’s just the way that it goes. Chris had a little issue that he’s been fighting through and I think I said it from the standpoint that if he had to, he could’ve played but again, big picture for me as the head coach and what I’ve really been trying to promote and push is we need everybody and there are opportunities when one guy’s maybe not 100 percent that we have opportunities to get other guys into the mix and playing and developing.
Chris wasn’t going to give us a whole bunch on special teams yesterday, he’s fighting through trying to get back to 100 percent and the special teams aspect of it was very critical and it came down again to the game day roster. Chris was a great teammate yesterday I thought because that’s not fun, he’s very competitive, he wanted to be playing but I will say he was down there on the sideline and really helping with all our young receivers and did a great job. Hopefully this week he’ll be back in there contributing and helping us."
Is Chambers in the Dog House or not? It doesn't quite sound that way to me, but as I have said, I have a newly acquired skill of listening between the lines.
And so my friends, it would seem to me that after turning a very important corner in our season (that being the ability to beat teams we should beat), Haley has begun to come clean. Why would he do this? Well, he must be less concerned with what information is being released. Why would that be? My only conclusion Chiefs fans is that there is Something Good Coming...
Something Good Coming (Video) (via tompetty)
I think we finally have something good coming. Get ready, it'll be here before you know it.
Chiefs Win. Chiefs Will. BELIEVE.