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Chiefs Head Coach Todd Haley : 'If I could have 53 Matt Cassels, I'd be excited'

todd haley interview
todd haley interview

Clearly Matt Cassel has been the guy at the Kansas City Chiefs offseason program.  It seems like Todd Haley has been dropping praise (as much as he drops) on Cassel every chance he gets. GM Scott Pioli thought enough of him to play 'Let's make a deal' with the New England Patriots without a contract agreement in place.

How great is it that our quarterback is highly respected by several of the finest minds in football and is constantly pointed to as the hardest worker on the team?  I mean of all positions it is absolutely crucial, a sink-or-swim situation, that the quarterback performs.  There's no doubt to me that Matt Cassel is leaving no stone unturned in doing everything in his power to prepare for this job.

Okay, I'm off my little Cassel tangent.  You can check out the full video of KCTV5's Brad Stephens interview with Todd Haley here.  Or click 'Continue reading this post' and you can read the interview in it's entirety (after you've sufficiently protected yourself from another attack, cyber style).

How long have youe been here?

About five months, which have flown by.

On his family:

Yeah, obviously I have a big family and a lot of kids but now they're having sleepovers and that makes me feel good.

Overall, a pleasant surprise, not having spent a lot of time here.

I have five kids.  Four girls and a boy.  (12, 8, 4, 3, 15 months).  They're mad that we don't have a pool so we gotta figure out a way to join a country club at some point.

On becoming a head coach and being at the pinnacle of his career:

I wouldn't say its my team, I'm the head coach of the team.  Every morning the way I drive in I can see the facilities above the trees.  Every morning I take a peek and think to myself, 'You have a big job ahead of you'.  I think of it that way.

Now we're gonna see if I'm any good is the way I look at it.  And what pushes me to be the best I can be.  It's exciting and a dream come true.  It's something I never thought could or would happen.  Things fell right and you get an opportunity and now the job is to make the most of it.

What's more important - the progress made or the progress not made?

I'm definitely looking at what's ahead.  You came in and it was a big job, and it still is a big job, and you take one day at a time and do it the way I've been taught.  There's a lot of different ways to skin a cat and over the years there's some notes I've taken to see which way works best and works most efficiently.

So you come in here and it starts with the offseason program.  We've had great attendance and done a great job of getting in condition and getting stronger.  The team as a whole was very out of condition after the break and not very strong so I think we've seen strides there. 

Now you're into the football, with the OTAs and the minicamp.  That's the next prograession.  Now you're teaching them how we want them to do it.  How we want it done, how we practice, schematically, how and what they're supposed to do.  It's one step at a time.  But once each hurdle is cleared there's another one sitting in front of you you gotta get over.  Now we're heading into the last few weeks of the offseason and it'll be training camp before you know it.

What will make this season a success?

That's a tough question.  I haven't necessarily set a goal in that fashion just because of the way we're starting and what a big job it is.  Right now to this point I think the ofseason program has been succecssful.  Guys have bought in and been here and gotten their bodies in condition so that's been a success.  If we can continue to do it the way we want them to do it then it becomes clear we have enough talent or ability to compete against teams then that will be the next success. 

That's a tough question for me right now because it's so early in the process and you never know what's going to happen.  There are a lot of factors and how we'll look at that when the year's over.

Do you have the talent to win?

Well I just told the team the other day I think we do.  Now we have to be pretty close to perfect.  I think that's pretty obvious to me.  We gotta work harder than most every team.  We gotta work together more than most every team.  If we do that then I think we'll have a chance to compete against any team that comes in here or wherever we have to go.  So I do.  I think we have enough players to compete.

Will the AFC West being perceived as weak help the Chiefs?

I just came from Arizona where after 80 years of losing we went ot the Super Bowl.  We didn't pull it off in the end but it offers hope to everyone in the NFL.  For a team that has struggled as much as Arizona, we got it together and played together as a team offensively, defensively and special teams.  We played hard and won enough games to go the distance.  I'm breaking it down into even smaller increments than that. 

I'm not even looking at the AFC West in its entirety yet. 

There's so much change in the AFC West.  Here, Denver, Oakland, both still in transition.  San Diego has still been a  pretty good team over the last few years.  Last year didn't show because they had a few bad breaks but I still thought they were a pretty good team.  Every year is different.

On making Arrowhead rock again:

My focus right now is right up there on the hill at Arrowhead.  If we can compete and win games at home, then steal a couple on the road...then I think we have a chance.

Our big advantage right now to me is homefield advantage.  I've been here as an opponent and I know how hard it can be to play.  So I'm gonna try to get that to where its been in the past and figure if we can win most of the games at home, we have a chance to do something.

On Matt Cassel:

Obviously the QB is the focal point of the team.  Matt is...I'm really excited about Matt Cassel.  I just came from Arizona with a guy named Kurt Warner who I thought would be hard to out-prepare each week in the offseason.  But he's (Cassel) giving him a run for his money.

He's clearly one of the hardest workers on the team, clearly it's all about football for Matt. I dont think there's much else he's thinking about every day. He's texting me, he's in my office, the coaches office...He wants to talk football all the time and he backs it up with his work.  First one in the weightroom leading all our competition groups.  He likes football.

He's big, pretty accurate thrower and athletic. He can move around a little bit.  He's got great leadership qualities.  Even though the guy's played one year he's been in a place like New England where's hes been learning from a guy like Tom Brady, one of the top guys, for the last few years.  That's a pretty good education for him.

Now he's got a chance to compete and lead a team. I'm excited about Matt Cassel as I think everybody should be.

If I could have 53 Matt Cassels I'd be excited.

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