After a regular season in which so many goals have been reached or even exceeded depending on your expectation at the beginning of the season, the Chiefs (now in the playoffs for the first time in four years) find themselves with a long list of goals either untried or unaccomplished. They are in uncharted waters, just like Christopher Columbus was back when countries paid men and ships to travel the world and report back their discoveries. Haley would equate to our 'Columbus', while the team could be likened to the crew and Arrowhead makes a worthy 'Santa Maria'.
Now the ship has been at sea for sometime and has seen it's share of storms, weathering them all in one fashion or another. Some times the crew responded better than anticipated and sometimes worse, but the crew and it's captain are still clinging to their belief that they will succeed, and looking forward with a discerning eye at what the next stretch of ocean holds. What is on the horizon? That is the beauty (and curse) of uncharted waters. We won't know until after they have sailed through them.
Right now the Chiefs hold on playoff success seems tenuous at best. They just played a virtually meaningless home game (where until then they had been undefeated this season) against a hated division rival for bragging rights and got handily spanked and sent to bed without their supper. In that sense the Chiefs did appear to be performing as though they were in a priviledged class. There is a saying that 'pride goeth before a fall'. One has to consider whether or not the Chiefs were wearing their pride out in the sunlight last Sunday for all to see. If they were, that pride took a beating and there are some pretty embarassed crew members in that locker room right now.
All the better motivation for playing harder in the playoffs right? Maybe. But then again, maybe these Chiefs were already thinking about and looking towards that playoff game. Not being able to see the forest for the trees is a mistake that young teams (explorers) make. Not finishing off the business at hand is a bad sign for the immediate future. Winning that home game would have given some momentum and a shot at an arguably easier opponent. Now, instead, they will have to try and start fast against a solid football team and build their own mo right out of the gate. The Chiefs haven't been that team all year. Short of a new game plan focused on pass happy play calls, it's hard to imagine how the Chiefs will do well against another tough defense coming to town next weekend. Ed Reed will certainly be licking his chops in anticipation of that new game plan.
If that was really their best effort last Sunday, then the Chiefs are in trouble going forward. If they can't protect Cassel any better than what we saw vs. the Raiders, Matt had better get his running shoes on because he will be on the move from start to finish. Were those pass plays we saw last weekend that ended in interceptions a dress rehersal for some bigger risk taking to come in the playoffs? Uncharted waters call for free thinking when it comes to planning. Flexibility to try different tactics is now on the table. Unfortunately, if what we saw last Sunday was part of that, it didn't work too well. Cassel seemed uncomfortable (probably because most of the time all he could see was black and silver in his face) with the passing game, throwing the ball behind his receivers many times. Bowe made one off target throw into a completion when he landed on the sideline after an acrobatic grab. Moeaki dropped more than one that he has been catching all year. It looked like a lack of focus from the entire team. Maybe even from it's play caller.
Charlie Weis is leaving the Chiefs after only one year as OC. How much of an effect did this behind the scenes story have on the Raiders game? We will never know. This is creating huge speculation about just exactly what is going on. Sam Mellinger of the KC star recently wrote this about the current situation concerning the KC coaching staff. It seems to me that Mr. Mellinger is once again trying to create controversy rather than reporting the facts.
Today, even as he’s a legitimate candidate for NFL coach of the year, Todd Haley looks like an impossible man to work for, ego and insecurity driving two veteran offensive coordinators away in a 16-month span.
Really? He gives no factual evidence to back up his hypothesis of why these two were driven away, rather he just keeps throwing things against the wall hoping something will stick so that he can latch on once it does. Listen to what he says about 'fixing' the QB and how that has divided the coaching staff.
What private efforts to divide credit? Could he please give us one clear cut example? What is most interesting is that Mellinger himself indicates that he believes that Pioli/Haley/Weis knew from the beginning that this marriage would not be long lived.
The Chiefs’ offense blossomed this year, particularly with the quarterback Weis said he came to "fix," and then came a scramble for who would get the credit. Naturally, a lot of it went to Weis, and some within the Chiefs began to talk up the contributions of Haley and assistant Nick Sirianni.
An important dichotomy began to emerge between the preaching about unity and the private efforts to divide credit. The irony is that a clear effort to control the message has now opened room for people to use varying degrees of informed speculation to assess what is now a national story.
If that is the case, then how can it be true that Haley drove Weis away? If so, why stir up controversy like this when the team he supports is trying to win a playoff game? Why could this whole Weis thing not be exactly what it looks like on the surface? It's been several years since Charlie worked in the NFL and maybe his health issues and the fact that he can get a coaching job where his son is going to college really are the reasons he is leaving. I just don't understand why some must look for the sinister in every change that comes down the pike for the Chiefs. Sometimes it really is as simple as it seems. As a Chiefs fan however, this is very aggravating and unfortunate. This young team has more than enough on their plate. They don't need the added distraction that this kind of thing brings. Add to that the intensity that is added by a media that likes to fan the flames to see if it will burn and now you have players wondering about the teams direction instead of how to beat the Ravens. This is normally not a prescription for success. So once again, we Chiefs fans must wait and hope. All I have to offer to help sustain your hope is the promise of the past that is associated with these coaches. They all have ridden herd on teams just like this one that have succeeded in the past against overwhelming odds. Todd Haley may be the most recent and best example. In 2008, the lowly Arizona Cardinals finished 9-7, won their division and went into the playoffs as a long shot to win anything. They got a break in their first game and faced a rookie signal caller named Matt Ryan and his Atlana Falcons. The Cards were able to win the day 30-24. How did they do it? The got a balanced effort from their offense, defense and special teams.
In the beginning, everyone said all the right things, particularly Weis, who right away even called Haley "the boss."
But at some point, the conflicts began to bubble. A lot of it became exaggerated gossip built mostly on speculation and secondhand he-said/she-said, but the basic narrative is that both sides understood this would be a short-term deal.