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What Todd Haley Must Do To Survive

The more patient amongst the Kansas City Chiefs faithful will tell you that we are overreacting to the teams performance under Todd Haley.  After all, he is in just his first year as head coach of the Chiefs.  He did inherit a roster full of holes from the previous regime.  He did take over a team that only won two games last year and only four the year before.

However, none of those excuses are going to save Todd Haley's job if the poor performances of this team continue, and don't fool yourself, Scott Pioli IS going to be holding Haley's feet to the fire.  Pioli has built up a fantastic reputation for himself in New England and he is not going to blow that on a rookie head coach.  The tree that both Pioli and Haley come from is results oriented and if you are not producing results, you aren't going to be a round long.

So Todd, here is some friendly advice on what you need to do if you want to keep your new job as head coach of the Chiefs and fulfill the sincere hopes of every Chiefs fan that you can turn this team into a winner:

We love your fire Todd.  We really do.  But there is a time and place to unleash it.

Football is a brutal, emotional game.  As head coach, it is your job to be a steadying influence.  I don't care if you have a hard time keeping your emotions under control.  It's YOUR JOB.

If you are coming unhinged at critical moments, your team will too.  You are making too many decisions emotionally rather than rationally.  There have been many delay of game penalties after bad plays this year.  I have to think that  a large percentage of those are because you are blowing up about the previous play and don't get the next play called in time.  THAT IS ON YOU.

You need to learn to harness your emotions and release them at the appropriate time for maximum impact.  Ranting and raving like a lunatic on the sidelines the entire game dulls the effect and eventually the players will just roll their eyes and ignore you.  You also need to find a way of relating your displeasure in a manner other than screaming obscenities like an abusive step-father.  Parcells had "the stare".  Cowher had "the chin".  Players for those coaches received the message of displeasure from those coaches without a word. 

You have taken far too much on yourself.  A rookie head coach has enough to worry about learning his new job without trying to do his old one too.  You need to let someone else call the offensive plays so you can do you REAL job, which is to manage the game.  If you still want to call the plays, you need to quit your head coach job and go back to being a coordinator.

Find someone you know and trust that is capable of doing the job and trust them to do it right.  That does not mean you have to be completely hands off.  You can still give your input and guide the coordinator in the direction you want him to go.

But by trying to run the entire offense yourself, your team is suffering.  You have abdicated your input on the defense to an underachiever in Clancy Pendergast who could use some direction.  When you DO give attention to your defense or special teams, your offense is suffering.

You are only one man.  You MUST learn to trust others to do their job so you can do yours.

One of the most disturbing comments I heard during the Raiders game was the commentators relating a conversation they had with Haley in which he said "Once I get "my" guys in here, we'll be rolling".  That is nothing but an excuse. A good coach will be able to work with the players he has and even if they aren't the most talented guys or don't fit exactly into his scheme, he should be able to get the most out of them.

Naturally as a coach has a hand in picking new players in the draft, he will pick players for what he has in mind rather than what the previous coach was thinking.  But blaming the roster for the teams losses is the LAST thing a coach should do.  Let the GM, whose job is personnel decisions blame the roster.  The coaches job is to coach and if players are under performing, its YOUR fault.

That doesn't mean they have to be coddled.  That doesn't mean you turn the other way to mistakes.  It DOES mean that you don't walk in like a new prisoner at a Super Max facility looking to make an example out of guys to prove you're a bad ass such as how you handled Bernard Pollard.  You are the head coach.  You are the boss.  You don't have to prove it.

Reward players who play well and don't harp SO much on the mistakes that they made that you completely ignore the good.  We have seen a couple times now in Tank Tyler and DaJuan Morgan, where a young player got a chance to start and went out and did a pretty good job only to be benched the next game for seemingly no reason.  You cannot constantly bring the stick without giving the carrot.

I think you are gradually realizing that there is a lot more to winning football games than you thought.  Yes, talent has a lot to do with it, but the New England Patriots have never been the most talented team and yet they find ways to win.

You cannot simply snap your fingers and give a withering glare and expect the team to fall magically in place and running like a well oiled machine.  YOU have to put forth effort to reach your players.  If you feel a player is uncoachable, it is because YOU failed.  You can only beat your head against the wall so many times before you have to admit that whatever you are doing is failing.

We are seeing ridiculous things happening like fumbles on the snap or the QB and RB running into each other that you don't even see a lot of in college.  This once again comes down to coaching.  Maybe you feel that these players are in the NFL and should know how to do these things.  Maybe you are frustrated that you aren't able to use all these awesome plays you've been drawing up your entire career.  But you have to work with what you've got.

If you don't, you won't have anybody to work with.

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