New Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Todd Haley had his introductory press conference Wednesday afternoon in Berea. You can watch the entire conference here; below, we have provided our own reader’s digest of what was said.
1. Short and Sweet About Pittsburgh: Haley started the conference by acknowledging the success he was a part of in Pittsburgh, helping to develop “the best WR, the best RB, and one of the top QB’s in the league. ... along with scoring a lot of points.” Other than that, he made it clear that he didn’t want to dwell on the past and just wanted to talk about the Browns today.
2. Comfortable with Working Under Hue: Before being interviewed, Haley says that head coach Hue Jackson was the one who reached out to him. He met with Jackson and GM John Dorsey during the interview process. He has a previous relationship with Dorsey, and that played a big role in him choosing Cleveland. As far as working with Hue, who is used to calling plays, Haley said he’s been in this situation before and it was fine:
“We had great conversations right out of the gate. I worked for Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona who had been a play-caller. Those are all just things that you have to deal with in these positions, but I’m excited about it. Like I said, that is another guy that has been around a long time to talk to and to bounce things, ideas and thoughts off of and get information.”
3. Whatever it Takes to Win: When asked about how much emphasis he would place on the running game, Haley talked about how it is more about “doing whatever it takes to win” depending on your personnel, the opponent, and the situation:
“I think you have to run the ball. The key is you have to run the ball when the other team knows you are going to run it. As far as an overall philosophy, I will do whatever gives us the best chance to win. I think you saw that over the past six years. There were games we threw it 45 times to win and games we ran it 35 times to win. Whatever gives us the best chance to win, that is what we are doing. If we need to make adjustments, we will make adjustments. We will play to our strengths. Kansas City, we led the league in rushing one year and that was definitely a strength of ours. We were handing it off a bunch. Until I know exactly what we have and who are players are all going to be, that will remain a question mark because I am going to always do what gives us the best chance to win. In this division, you better be able to run the ball at some point in games when they know you are going to run it, whether it is running out the clock when you have a three-point lead or having to run it because the weather is bad and it is snowing sideways or whatever your variables are.”
4. Mum on the QB Position: When asked about players currently on the team or entering the draft, Haley stuck to the same type of answer: that they are in the process of evaluating players. Right now, he is more focused on “coaching the coaches” on the offensive system/philosophies the Browns will implement this year.
With respect to general traits he looks for in QB prospects, Haley cited “highly-competitive, physical and mental toughness, NFL-type arm, great feel and awareness, and leadership.” Height isn’t the be-all-end-all, because he says that certain guys “break the rules” and even Kurt Warner “was barely 6-2” in Arizona.
“There are always going to be guys that break those standards or prototypes so to speak. I think you have to go into all of these, whether it is evaluating your own players or other, with an open mind. Really, you are looking or really good football players, and if they are really good football players, they usually find a way to succeed.”
5. No More Clues on Joe Thomas: Everyone wants to know what LT Joe Thomas will do in 2018 — return or retire. Haley said he hasn’t really talked to him, other than “running into him in the weight room a few times.”
“Obviously, I have a great deal of respect for him and what he has done throughout his career, but we haven’t had any real specific conversations. I have just let him know what I thought about him. We had a young left tackle that really looked up to him and tried to work on a lot of the similar techniques and things that he used so we just have had some basic conversations like that.”