I’ve been catching up on my Chiefs news after being away from the internet the last couple of days (how did I survive, right?). While reading through the reports and quotes, I’ve come across a potentially troubling trend. Each one, in and of itself, isn’t that big of a deal but together, and with other moments from training camp, could indicate the beginning of a storm on the horizon.
There were two great posts last week about Haley’s coaching style. There are many fans for it, and against it. I do not intend this post to come down one way or the other on that subject. This is a piece that is pointing out observations that might indicate a crack in the team, a crack might be the beginning of a catastrophic failure.
It’s pretty obvious that Coach Haley is attempting to use the depth chart as a motivational tool. He’s using public demotion as a stick to drive players to try harder. Is it working? What do three Chiefs’ veterans have to say about being motivated by this practice?
The most reported of these demotions was Bowe. Here’s what Gretz has to say about Bowe’s reaction.
There’s the Dwayne Bowe’s been demoted story that has been made into a big deal, yet we’ve yet to hear any comments from Bowe.
How about Johnson and Page?
When asked what was going on with him, Johnson stammered a bit and said, “I don’t know.”
Has anything been said to him? “No,” Johnson replied. “I just go out there and sometimes I’m on the first team, sometimes I’m on the second team.”
Has he asked any questions about what’s going on? “No I haven’t,” he said.
“I’m confident that they’ll make the right decision,” Johnson said. “They’ll figure it out … “I’m a football player, that’s what I do. I don’t do any coaching. My job when I get out there is to make plays.”
“I don’t pay attention to it,” said Page. “I guess it could affect some guys but I don’t really let it bother me. You go out and practice and play in the games and the best players get out on the field. It shouldn’t change the way you approach the game. If something is going to make you work harder, then you were just trying to get by initially, and I don’t try to just get by.
“Every time you step on the field whether practice or a game, you should be trying to be the best. You should want to be the best. I don’t think it changes the way you approach practice or the game.
“My work ethic doesn’t change based on the depth chart.”
One player is silent and 2 others are calling what they think is a bluff. Not good.
The other potentially big story of the week is that Waters has retained representation. To me this says that Waters does not plan to finish his contract as written. Trade? Extension? I don’t know, but it could be trouble.
Here are some of Bob Gretz’s observations as camp wound down in River Falls.
There have been issues and items of a controversial nature that have popped up in camp. Veteran players have grumbled about the contact, about all the running and about Haley’s loud and public rebukes for mistakes and missteps. All that has come off-the-record.
More from ESPN.com
Haley is a certified screamer and he has expressed this offseason that his team -- which won a total of six games over the past two seasons -- needs to be better in all phases of the game. He also directed a mass weight-loss program because he thought his team was too heavy and too soft. A coach like Haley can either light a fire under a team or alienate it.
I think Haley has done some of both. I’m wondering how much of the team is “on board” with Haley at this point. More importantly, I’m wondering how many losses it will take for that number to decline, or for those who are not “on board” to speak. We have a brutal first half of the season, and it appears to me that there are already cracks in the morale of our team.
Is Haley’s command of the team secure, or is there a point where we look up from a loss and see we are now in the middle of the storm that was once in the distance?