FanPost

The Turmoil at the Top (Start at the Beginning)


When Scott Pioli arrived in KC, fans and media alike were giddy about the fact that the Personel man for the Patriots dynasty was coming to KC. It seemed the one question about Pioli was whether he really made that much of an impact in the New England Warroom. Pioli received a pass on his first draft since he came in late to the process and was using Carl Peterson's scouts. Overall, the grades on his early decisions were positive. Here's what Peter King said of the Haley hire in 2009:
"I know this: If I'm the rest of the AFC West, and I see Scott Pioli and the son of Dick Haley with $45 million in salary cap room, and with the third and 34th picks in the April draft, I'm getting a little nervous."

Pioli and Haley looked like the dynamic duo coming out of the gate. Haley had just been within a couple minutes of being the playcalling guru of a Super Bowl Champion and Pioli was a wizard of bringing "the right 53". As a matter of fact, it seems that even though the speculation was that Haley was Pioli's third choice after McDaniels and Spagnuolo, Haley and Pioli were perfect compliments for each other.

Again, Peter King notes, "Friends say Haley really wanted the Chiefs gig because he believes in Pioli's ability to build a team; they worked together briefly with the Jets from 1997 to '99, when Pioli was the Jets' director of pro personnel and Haley the team's fledgling receivers coach." It's interesting to note that Haley bought into the Pioli draft genius reputation. Granted while the 2009 draft was considered weak by most accounts, many were surprised by Pioli jumping on Tyson Jackson at #3. Although many didn't understand the pick, the rationale for Pioli was clear as Mel Kiper pointed out prior to the draft: "The pivotal team will be the Kansas City Chiefs. Much has been made of new general manager Scott Pioli’s penchant for trading because of his past with the New England Patriots. But I expect him to stay where he is for this draft (third overall) and turn the draft upside down by picking LSU DE Tyson Jackson. This kid is the best fit for the Chiefs’ 3-4, and Pioli clearly knows the value of a good defense. In my previous mock draft, I had Jackson going to the Denver Broncos at No. 12, but Jackson fits perfectly with the Chiefs and Pioli isn’t afraid to make a big play."

Ultimately, Pioli in his learning under Belicheck probably wanted to trade out of the #3 pick however, the cost prohibition of the #3 pick kept him locked and now we have Tyson Jackson. This was the omen of what the 2009 draft would bring for Kansas City. However, Pioli didn't disappoint in 2010 statements like the following were common throughout last year "For Scott Pioli, this is looking like not only his best draft ever, but possibly the greatest draft in Chiefs history. Is it far fetched to say something like that when we are only half way through the rookie season of these players, but never before has a entire rookie class came in and contributed as mightily as these players have."

With Matt Cassell turning into a Pro Bowl QB last year, Pioli's magic looked to be unchallenged. Yet simmering somewhere in the background was the makings of the 2011 debacle.
Back to Todd Haley. The fiery, angry coach that was known for his run-ins with TO, Anquan Boldin, and even Bill Parcells hasn't shown the magic that we've come to expect from an offensive guru. In his first year, running Chan Gailey off moments before the season started and then taking the reigns in a failed 2009 experiment as playcaller gave Haley and Pioli an idea that the fledgling head coach needed to focus his energies on the team as a whole. And so the great Charlie Weiss was brought in. I can understand and even accept the turnover of staff from '09 - '10. Again, just as Pioli was brought in late to the game, Haley also experienced being late to the game. He had to settle for Clancy Pendergast as his D coordinator, while transitioning 4-3 personel to a 3-4 scheme hoisted upon him by Pioli. So with a strong finish in 2009 Haley was set for a promising 2010. If they good get a good draft, pick up some decent coordinators, and with a weak schedule they could see some progress.

One has to wonder if Haley would've hired Chrlie Weiss and Romeo Crennel if it were left up to him. Either way, the decision to hire Weiss and Crennel worked out well for KC until the last couple games of the year. Haley is obviously a guy who can motivate but it seems that the only play in his motivation playbook is the angry man. And that can be detrimental in certain instances (see Chan Gailey, Charlie Weiss). Again what we see with the Charlie Weiss departure is not that he left but when. Just as Gailey's departure was awkward at best, so too Weiss' announcement / leak right a couple games before the playoffs deflated the team.

At the end of last year, Mike Florio at PFT made this observation about Haley, "When Chiefs G.M. Scott Pioli lamented the short stay of offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, Pioli avoided commenting on the widespread belief that Weis packed it in after only one year because Weis believed coach Todd Haley is too hard to work for. Haley seems to realize that he has developed a reputation, deserved or not, of being a bit of a workplace bully, and he likewise seems to be spending as much time as he can in the offseason trying to change the way he’s perceived." You have to wonder if Pioli has finally had enough of Haley's act. In an article in the Palm Beach post in January of 2009, some insight is shed into the Todd Haley in the warroom "Following the 1998 draft, a 30-year-old Haley didn’t back down from Parcells, who had been to three Super Bowls and was considered one of NFL’s best talent evaluators. In the draft war room, Haley pushed for a wide receiver Chris Brazzell out of tiny Angelos State in Texas. Parcells didn’t want any part of Brazzell. "He wanted to have nothing to do with him," Haley said. "I kept pushing. It got to the point where he was doing a lot more shouting than I was, but we ended up taking Chris Brazzell in the (sixth) round." Haley wondered if Brazzell might last longer than he did. "I thought I was getting fired," Haley recalled."

The Mike Silver article that has everyone abuzz again points the finger back at Pioli, however, while he has some valid points one has to wonder how he can attribute Matt Cassell's success last year to Haley when Cassell fell apart after Weiss announced he was leaving. If Haley was the guru that turned Cassell into Prince Charming why did he turn into a pumpkin after Weiss? Let's look at Silvers main premises: "We know Pioli’s not going to take the fall himself, and unless owner Clark Hunt decides he wants to get rid of both of them (don’t hold your breath), Haley likely will be the one to go. That’s too bad, for a number of reasons: 1) I think Haley’s a very good coach, though he’s habitually dissed in the media, a sign (I suspect) that someone in his organization whose name rhymes with cannoli likes to go off the record with certain reporters. 2) That whole "he’s a lousy offensive coach without Charlie Weis" is a laughable load of crap. Weis, who left for the University of Florida after a single season as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator, was completely unenthused about the prospect of coaching Matt Cassel(notes). Haley stepped in, took the lead and helped Cassel play at an alarmingly high level that resulted in a stunning Pro Bowl selection. Haley, by the way, was a pretty good offensive coach when he was Ken Whisenhunt’s coordinator in Arizona and the Cardinals nearly won the Super Bowl three seasons ago."

I would theorize that Weiss left after it became aparent that he would not be getting an NFL Head Coaching job anytime soon and that his ego and Todd's couldn't co-exist. As for Pioli going off the record, I wouldn't be surprised if the "leaks / Haley Theories" come from some old New England compatriots (i.e Thomas Dimitroff in Atlanta. For example this one from Pro Football Weekly "Chiefs head coach) Todd Haley knows his team stinks, that he is going to get blamed and it probably is his fault. He definitely has done nothing to help the offense, especially at the receiver position. It's not difficult for anyone to connect the dots. Look at the guys they have brought in (during Haley's tenure) — Jerheme Urban, Terrance Copper, Steve Breaston, Bobby Wade — they all played for Todd at Arizona, Dallas or Chicago. (Rookie first-round pick Jonathan) Baldwin is already in trouble. You look at the offense as a whole. They have no center; the receivers are not that good; (Tony) Moeaki is hurt again, the right tackle (Barry Richardson) cannot block speed. Subtract Charlie Weis — how does the offense get any better? This will be Todd's last year, and I think he knows it."

So after all of this, my analysis is that Haley and Pioli seemed ideal on paper -- however, the lack of talent from the Peterson era combined with the Pioli draft misses in 2009/2011 (so far) and Haley's inability to either take over the offense or connect with the coordinators foisted upon him along with the inability of the players he promoted to develop depth, at the very least, has brought us to this point. Throw in our rash of injuries and this is a lost team.

One can only hope that these errors aren't compounded in the future and that either we get the dynamic duo it seemed we would have in 2009 or we get a fresh change with a little Luck.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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