We predicted it would come to this. Many posts on this site in the offseason concluded the first half of the 2009 season would range from uncomfortable to absolutely brutal. Of course, that might be a safe assumption since last season concluded with a 2-14 record, but for many fans, the blank slate, the supposed parity in the NFL (save that misnomer for another time) and arrival of Scott Pioli and Todd Haley equaled hope for better days. Heck, we play in the AFC West, so anything is possible, right?
Well, one close look at our schedule would have told you we'd been in these waters. And the advice is the same advice given now: Be Patient.
Year one is always grueling in a complete overhaul in any franchise. Pioli and Bill Belichick both endured a horrible first season in New England and many of us remember the ridiculously poor first year for Jimmy Johnson and the Dallas Cowboys before they ran the '90s table on everyone else. It's a season of settling schemes, finding the proper talent or at least identifying where you have none.
You can see it in the way Pioli is throwing pasta at the wall to see if it sticks. We've signed more random players than the Indians in the film Major League and we're not afraid to turn things over no matter what it does to intangibles like "chemistry" or "continuity." After all, consistency doesn't amount to anything if it's going to consistently bad.
More after the jumpPersonally, I didn't think we'd hit our first win until after the bye week and into the second half of the season. As exciting as some of the offseason additions were, the fact is that every team is making the same changes, the same adjustments, the same evaluating everything they need to do to achieve success. So inevitably, some teams will fail to do so. The Chiefs simply didn't enter the season with the familiarity with the schemes and the overall talent, especially at key positions, to make it work.
What's most important isn't patience with the fan base, however? Start to win and everyone will be smiling again - even with the first one. What's essential, instead, is for the players to remain patient. For those Chiefs in this for the long haul, building some momentum in the second half of the season will become crucial for the years to come.
I'm afraid, however, that Coach Haley might have already lost them in the process by the time that comes around. After all, as bad as it feels now at 0-3, consider how the locker room or practice field must feel at 0-7. Of course, you hope for the best and I think the second half offers some exciting opportunities to find hope. But with reality settling in on this roster of players, it's important to hold the fort, play smart, disciplined football and continue to do what you can no matter the record. The wins will come in time.