- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Kansas City coach Todd Haley spoke at the NFL owners meeting Tuesday.
He covered a lot of ground, centering on the team’s changes this offseason. Here is some of what Haley had to say:
HaleyOn the challenges new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel faces:
“The advantages are last year we really made the jump to the 3-4. Though there's differences, that will be a big help, the guys having played a year in it and having a greater understanding of what's expected. If it had been last year, I think it would be a big, big challenge. Not that it's not. We were at the bottom of the list and we need to be better."
On the expectations of new running back Thomas Jones:
“I don't want to set a role for Thomas. Thomas first of all came in and really blew us all away just with his attitude and his commitment and love for the game and desire to keep playing and playing at a high level and to be part of something special. That was something big on his list. He had been a couple of different places where it turned around and he liked that feeling. He wanted to be a part of it here. We're all just really excited to get him on to the team and get him in the building. I know he's excited about getting going. I'm a big believer in letting these guys play and compete and that was a big part of getting Thomas in here was to bring the level of competition to what maybe we didn't have.”
On new center Casey Wiegmann:
“He's a tough, tough player, a tough, tough guy. He's played a lot of games in the league with very few interruptions. He's a guy that a handful of us had familiarity with going back to New York. We were in New York a short time starting out when I was in personnel, for whatever reason you get connections with certain players and throughout the years when we played either Kansas City or Denver, places where Casey's been, we'd see each other before or after the game. I've always been impressed with what he's done since he left New York. When we studied Casey, it appeared he was still playing at a high level. He's done a great job of taking care of his body, a really, really great job and he's got the mindset that he wants to play some more.”
On third-year offensive lineman Branden Albert:
“The interior of the line was definitely an area we felt we had to get better at or make sure we were solidified. I think everybody feels good about that, not to say that we wouldn't ... go that direction (in the draft). One of the big positives about Branden ... is that he does have versatility to play inside or outside. Right now, Branden Albert is our left tackle. He lined up in some pretty difficult situations. He knows he needs to be better this year. There was an injury factor with him also. He's ready to go.”
On if he thinks the team is better after the offseason changes:
“Our overall philosophy is when we have opportunities to add players to the Kansas City Chiefs that are our kind of players, we're going to do it. The direction this offseason has gone, all of us are excited about it. We improved in areas we need to improve in. No. 1, guys that can play that also have character and leadership. Thomas Jones is an example of that. Casey Wiegmann is an example of that. Ryan Lilja is an example of that. In general, across the board, I feel like we've done the things we have to do to continue to improve.
“Obviously, we need to get better talent-wise and scheme-wise because we weren't good enough last year. It was a hard year for the defense. A lot of those guys had to make a very difficult transition. But I feel positive about a lot of those guys and the development they made. Glenn Dorsey is No. 1. There was a lot of speculation about whether he fit, are we trading him? We were clearly a better team when Glenn Dorsey played. He learned a lot of things last year and he's much further along and now understands what our expectation level is with him and we understand him. Tyson and those guys are just night and day in talking to them having a year under their belt. It's a difficult transition. Those guys are thinking the right way. They're working hard.”
On Jamaal Charles’ durability:
“In this day and age, it's a concern for everybody regardless of who it is because those guys talk a severe beating. If you don't have another quality back that you feel like if something happens to one or the other, there's a marked dropoff, then you're probably not doing yourself justice. I wouldn't say it's about Jamaal so much as it's about the way of the league right now. You need two quality backs.”
On receiver Dwayne Bowe:
“He didn't know what to expect last year so he came in and he wasn't in the greatest shape. He had a difficult road back and it was a struggle but he survived it, much like a lot of us did. He weathered the storm and got his weight where it had to be and more importantly, he understands what's expected of him. I expect him in a couple of days and we've stayed in contact and stayed in touch and I know his mind's in the right place. He wants to be a top receiver and now it's going to be up to him. This offseason is going to start and [Bowe must] put everything into it to be a top receiver. I do think understanding what's expected is a big item for Dwayne Bowe. I don't doubt he has the skill to be a top receiver. He just needs to do it on a full-time basis.”
Kansas City coach Todd Haley spoke at the NFL owners meeting Tuesday.He covered a lot of ground, centering on the team’s changes this offseason.