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VIDEO: Todd Haley On Last Day of OTAs

Below is the video from the mothership with Todd Haley discussing today's practice, the last of the OTAs. The transcript will be added when it's posted on


UPDATE: The transcipt is now posted. Hit the jump for the full Q&A session.

TODD HALEY: "Today actually was the official last day (of OTA’s). We ended up cutting it short. The reason you weren’t out there was we actually just ran our conditioning tests today that we’ll run in training camp.

"I think we made a lot of progress overall, specifically in some areas. In strength and conditioning each and every guy was clearly improved. We started this at the start of the conditioning program, not the OTA’s, but we’ve come a long way in that respect and I think we’ve come a long way as far as schematically and guys understanding what they’re supposed to do. This wasn’t so much pre-meditated as much as we as a staff felt it was the right thing to do right now for the guys."

Q: Does that mean you’re ahead of the curve then?

HALEY: "Yeah, I believe we all feel that way. Now, we’ve got a long way to go but from where we started to where we’re at right now I think the guys really worked hard every day and we had such a good attendance – so many guys here – that it was worth throwing them a bone."

Q: What is the message you give to the guys as they leave?

HALEY: "We’re going to have a team meeting here in a couple of minutes (and) I won’t disclose obviously what I’ll tell them. But one of the big things for a bunch of these guys is what I said yesterday: that we don’t give back how much progress we made. I don’t want to go into training camp to get into shape. I want to go into training camp in shape. I think that gives us the best chance to succeed since that’s one less thing to be worrying about. We’ll have more focus on the football aspect of it; we’ll have less injury and all the things that have to go along with being a well-conditioned team."

Q: So, today was it for the off-season then?

HALEY: "Yes, today was it. We had scheduled tomorrow and the next day but, again, they gave such a good effort that I thought it was fair to give something back."

Q: Where are they in terms of defense?

HALEY: "A lot further along than they were at the start. I think we’ve made great progress. Until the pads are on and we’re really playing we won’t know for sure. But as far as understanding what they need to do, I think we’re night and day. As I said yesterday, technique-wise, fundamentals, alignments, all the things that go with making a big change like we did, I think we’re a lot further ahead. We put in a bunch of our pressures, really all of them, and I think that those are the tough things for guys – getting lined up correctly, understanding what gap they have to take care of and I think overall I feel encouraged by what I’ve seen."

Q: Are you concerned at all with what still has to be done and you skipped these last two days?

HALEY: "That’s a decision we had to make. Was there going to be a case of diminishing returns because again these guys started early, have been working really hard? I just thought it was worth the sacrifice and what we need to get to in training camp other than having pads on is much more of the situational football. We didn’t get to a lot of that in these OTA’s. I didn’t think we would do it in these next two (days), so in training camp we’ll have to see a lot more practice devoted to situations – all kinds of situations, anything you can think of to get this team to a point where it’s a smart football team and understands how to win. That will be the next progression along with getting into the full pads and having some physical practices."

Q: Will they have studying to do while they have time off?

HALEY: "We’ll have all their books available. Obviously, the rookies are going to stay and we’ll have a large number of guys who will also be around. That will be a big part of it. What we can’t do is go back to square one in any way, shape or form. If we do that it really just becomes a waste of time which we don’t want it to be. Teams that I’ve been a part of that have been successful have utilized this time efficiently and been into training camp and been a step ahead of where they were."

Q: How did everybody do in the final conditioning test?

HALEY: "Everybody did not pass and the conditioning test will generally be part of the physical they have to pass (going into camp). So, they did not all pass but there were some guys who had some circumstances, whether it was injury or they couldn’t condition the way they need to, but everybody stepped up from where they were the first time they ran these tests. The rookies I was very encouraged with – all the rookies made it, even Donald Washington who has been on his own. I was very encouraged."

Q: Do they have to pass that test before they clear for camp? Do you have a pretty good feeling they can do it?

HALEY: "That’s like an albatross hanging over their heads for the next month. It’s a stressful test and not easy by any means for any of them, even for the top-conditioned guys. It’s a taxing conditioning run but it has its purpose. When training camp’s hot we need these guys in shape. We don’t want to have any issues."

Q: Is it different for different positions like for the big guys?

HALEY: "There are different adjustments. It’s a test that I’ve been familiar with for a while now and a number of teams use it I’m sure."

Q: Did the guys who didn’t pass today have to pass it then?

HALEY: "That will be the first thing we do (at camp.)"

Q: Did the guys who passed today not have to take it?

HALEY: "Some of the guys tried that actually and wanted to know if that was an option. But, no, they all have to do it again. It’s a tool to keep guys where we need ‘em. It’s just what I believe. It’s not like the old days where you had a long training camp where you could get in shape. It’s a short training camp and it’s trying to get shorter. These guys need to come in condition for us to have the best chance to compete at a high level."

Q: What’s your stance on signing a guy who has some baggage off the field like a Plaxico Burruss? Do you shy away?

HALEY: "There are a lot of people involved in that decision and I won’t talk about anybody specifically. It’s one of those things you have to go through and it’s a process and a lot of people are in on that decision. It’s something that everybody in the organization has to be comfortable with and not just myself, not just Scott (Pioli). Everybody has to be comfortable and then you try to make the best educated decision."

Q: Did you talk about Greg Ellis at all, or talk about bringing Greg Ellis in?

HALEY: "I won’t talk about that but we did not."

Q: Can you summarize Matt Cassel’s off season program?

HALEY: "I think that Matt has done everything the way you want it done. Has he been perfect? No. Has he made all good decisions? No. But I think there has been a steady increase in what he’s been asked to do and how he’s performed and I’m very pleased with the progress he’s made to this point."

Q: This is your first training camp as head coach. Are you looking forward to it?

HALEY: "I’m looking forward to it. I’m a little nervous but we’ve got some time to get over that. I’ll just try to get my butterflies flying in formation."

Q: How intense will your training camp practices be?

HALEY: "You guys will see that. I’ll be fair to the guys, but at the same time it’ll be kind of what I told you guys here. We’re going to practice efficiently; we’re going to practice fast. Everything we do is going to be fast and up-tempo and we’ll see how much we can get out of that without doing too much. There is give and take. If you’re going to have a long practice you can’t be running from drill to drill. You have to balance it out. My goal is to practice fast and efficiently and get on and off the field and get ready to do it again."

Q: How do you like the idea of going to River Falls for training camp?

HALEY: "I’ve been involved in a lot of different ways. In Dallas, we flew to California. I grew up driving an hour and a half to Latrobe (PA). I like the fact of getting away a little bit at times. In New York (Jets) we had training camp right at Hofstra (University, near our offices). There are all different ways to do it. They work the way you make them work. In Chicago we were up in Platteville (WI), so I’m guessing that it’s going to be a similar kind of area and I enjoyed it."

Q: As Missouri taxpayers, do you believe that the team should have training camp in Missouri? Isn’t that fair?

HALEY: "That’s not my area of expertise and nothing I have an opinion on. I just go where they tell me to go and try to get the most out of this football team in my first year. That’s what I’m focused on 100%."

Q: These players are going to have their time off? I can’t imagine you’ll get much time for yourself?

HALEY: "I’ve got five kids. I’ve not had a vacation since July 21st of last year. So, I’m looking forward to a little time with my family for sure. Generally when the season ends there is some time there for us as coaches. But having to play the wild card week and all three weeks of the playoffs, the two week separation preparing for the Super Bowl and then getting off the plane and this coming…then having to root for the Penguins every other night, I need a little break. So, I’m not going to brag about how much I’m working in the next month."

Q: Does that apply to your assistants as well?

HALEY: "I was taught that way. Coaches to be effective coaches have to have energy every day whether it’s talking to the team out on the field, coaching them on the practice field, or game planning among themselves getting ready for each day of practice. So, there needs to be a recharged time and some great coaches believe strongly in that. That’s the way I was brought up. I believe last year I used every bit of energy and enthusiasm I had to get done the job we got done. You’ve got to recharge and you’ve got to be able to bring it each and every day. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel once it starts."

Q: Are you going to make your camp the same as you saw it other places you’ve been?

HALEY: "I’m going to try and do my own thing and try to take a little bit of all the places I’ve been – most of the good I saw along the way and try to do my best."

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