I was writing a response to another fan post and it was getting pretty wordy, so I am posting it here. I have been reading some readers bashing Haley's demeanor and his "my way or the highway" attitude. I want to defend the way that Haley has handled the Chiefs so far; I think he's done a pretty remarkable job and I expect the team to win between 5 and 7 games (which would put Haley on the same level as Vermeil and Schottenheimer in their first seasons in KC). With the exception of not dismissing Chan Gailey during the winter, I think Haley's made all the right moves.
I was wondering how many readers on AP are coaches? I am not meaning to say that people who have never coached are not entitled to an opinion, but I have some insight into this. I coached high school football and wrestling for ten years. I have been a head coach and run my own program. I also taught a class on sport psychology. I never approached coaching at the pro level, but ultimately the psychology of it is the same. You have a group of people you are trying to motivate, teach and get to maximize their abilities. I coached wrestling but had never wrestled in school (I only played football). If you know your shit, nobody will care that you didn't play the game.
Toddy Haley is taking over a program that was a loser. Mediocrity was acceptable. Lack of discipline was the norm. The reason Haley made the team lose weight was when watching game film from last season, the players were noticeably getting fatter as the season went along. The Chiefs were losing games due to conditioning, they lost games as professionals because they were fat and out of shape. As a high school coach, that's just mind-boggling. You never lose because of conditioning because it's too easy of a factor to control. That Herm's team couldn't finish games because of too many trips to Krispy Kreme and not enough time running and lifting is simply an embarrassment to the Kansas City Chiefs organization. We were lucky to win 2 games last year.
The head coach of a team runs a program. That's the job, if it's high school or the NFL. The head coach of a team has a philosophy about how he thinks teams win. When Marty was in KC, he believed in ball control, defense and protecting the football. The games were boring as hell, but the Chiefs were in a position to win in the 4th quarter almost every game. Herm's philosophy was pretry similar to Marty's. A coach's philosophy isn't up for a committee to vote on. It is truly his way or the highway. It's up to the head coach to tweak his philosophy if it fails. And if that doesn't happen, then the coach should be terminated -- if his way doesn't work then you gotta find the guys whose way does work. Example: If a coach believes in running the football, then that's the way it is. If everybody isn't on board that and buying into it, then the team will fail. I think the Raiders are a fantastic example of allowing the inmates to run the asylum. That's their deal, that's their "mystique." And in the modern age it's a complete and utter failure. Literally, Al Davis can't get anybody to take his head coaching job. Three years ago Art Shell took it as a favor to Davis because no one else would take it. Davis had to hire Lane Kiffin (who had never coached in the pros or been a head coach at any level in college or high school) because nobody would take the job. It has to be the head coach's way or the highway. A good coach learns from his mistakes. If he's wrong then fire him.
Haley has a pretty daunting task in front of him -- he has to change the culture of a losing organization. He has to take a bunch of fat (they lost almost 800 pounds in the offseason) undisciplined players and make them into a disciplined unit, also called a "team." And he is trying to do this in as fast a period of time as possible. I don't think he gives a shit if he's hurting anybody's feelings. As fans we'd better hope he doesn't care if he's hurting anybody's feelings or this boat ain't every going to turn around. His job is to win games, not be a guidance counselor. His job isn't to make sure Brian Waters is comfortable. If Haley puts being likable above winning, well,then he's Herm Edwards and we all know how well that movie ends. I think we will see Haley start to dial back on the attitude as he gets his guys in and as the current guys start to buy into the program. Mike Tomlin did the same thing in Pittsburgh. Right now he is trying to change the culture as fast as he can. And the Chiefs culture sucked.
Coaches have to work within the parameters of their personalities. I haven't met Todd Haley. But, it's highly possible that his personality is that of a hardass. Tony Dungy is a nice guy and he was able to make his nice guy personality work as a coach. However, I do tend to think that coaching is a career field in which nice guys do normally finish last. Dungy is the exception rather than the rule. Most head coaches are taskmasters. That's their job and I can tell you it isn't always fun.
I noticed somebody mentioning Herm had won more games than Haley. Well, no shit Sherlock. A guy with 8 years head coaching experience has won more games than a guy who has yet to coach a regular season game. Following that logic we can report that Herm has also won more games than Liza Minelli and R2D2. I think Haley will have a higher win percentage than Herm (.422) after 8 years.
And one last thing, we are only privy to about 10% of what's going on at One Arrowhead Drive. We have no idea what Haley's demeanor is like in meetings. We know he gave the team a day off and took them bowling because he was so pleased with their efforts during OTAs. Brian Waters appears to have gotten with the program.
As a guy with a coaching background, I like what I have seen from Haley so far.