Lets start around this time last year. Our Chiefs were bringing in all kinds of players "off the street" and rightly so. Several of these guys were big name free agents such as Zach Thomas, Amani Toomer, Ashley Lelie, Bobby Engram, Mike Goff, Mike Brown, and Monty Beisel. Some of these names saw the field for the Chiefs last season such as Brown, Goff, Beisel and Engram but to be completely honest none but Brown did squat. The first three on the list didn't make it out of camp. Everyone knew Brown had an injury history and some were even skeptical he would make it on the field but he did.
Early on in training camp it was known that the new brass was going to look at injuries in a different way depending on how the player himself dealt with the injury. Zach Thomas who appeared on almost every injury report in the Spring and Summer was cut before the start of the season and now has filed a grievance against the team. The matter is unresolved so we are going to have to keep an eye on that.
During the season we saw Mike Goff line up at Right Guard and from the get go it seemed he was playing hurt. Constantly getting pushed around and pushed back, letting almost everyone blow him up at the line of scrimmage, and pretty much just being a door mat for Matt Cassel. On November 5th 2009 Goff entered the injury report and the rest is history. He was injured, playing on the field and it showed in a bad way, which led him to the IR and a short lived stint as a Chief. Which now brings me to point I wanted to make today, Haley wants guys who are going to play tough and fight through the injuries.
Demorrio Williams led all Chiefs tacklers last season with 117. Now everyone talks about how he wasn't flashy getting sacks or causing fumbles. He didnt pick off any throws and return them for TD's like Studebaker and DJ. He just showed up all 16 games and did what we needed more people on our defense to do, tackle. And he did it with an injury to boot.
Enter Quinten Lawrence, 2nd pick in the 6th round last season he wasn't promoted from the practice squad until late November. We know he produced almost next to nothing, except an end around and a few Kickreturns something along the lines of 16 for 317 yards. What does he have in common with Williams the leading tackler on the field last season? They both played hurt, and its just now coming to light.
2010 Chiefs and beyond
Now what does this show us about the 2010 Chiefs and beyond? A few things jump right out at me when I think about it. Haley taking over an overweight, lazy squad and trying to whip them into shape. Here they are:
1. Haley wants physically and mentally tough players.
2. There will be no "hiding" on the injury report.
3. This team is not afraid to cut you if you aren't cutting it.
4. In Haley's eyes guys who give 100% no matter what is wrong with them are what he wants.
Im not trying to say that playing with an injury is a good thing, just the way that these two went out there and played through it meant alot to the team. Several other players were hurt during the season such as Flowers, and Charles and they continued to play. Everyone on here goes on about the "right 53" and just because a guy plays hurt doesn't automatically make him "right." If Williams was truly hurt last season and still led the team in tackles then im interested in seeing him healthy this coming season. If Quinten Lawrence was really hurt and Haley didn't want him I doubt he would be in camp right now, but maybe playing through the pain last year will help his case a little this offseason.
No matter the outcome of the cuts later this Summer or how the roster shapes up for 2010, I can tell you one thing, the Kansas City Chiefs are going to take the field and they are going to play football. Hurt, broken, injured, bruised, tired, bleeding, and bandaged our Chiefs are going to hit the field and come at the enemy. The hammer of Haley has already fell in Kansas City and the one unworthy of being Chiefs better step aside!