The criticism I heard from sports talk radio folks on the way home from work this afternoon surrounded the notion that Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley gave up in the second half of Sunday's loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Chiefs had mustered three yards of rushing in the first half. Despite being down 17 and 20 points at times in the second half, the Chiefs continued to run the ball. Ultimately, the 3.5 yards per carry in the second half didn't affect the game.
"I would say that was not the case," Haley told reporters today when asked if he gave up in the second half. "We ran a fake punt, we ran an end-around; we had two other calls that we had to check out of. In no way was it a wave the white flag."
What Haley said next is open to interpretation depending on how you look at it:
"It was, in my gut and as the head coach that something had to be done to benefit this team. Not in that particular game but to benefit this team as we go forward, to establish our mindset and to lay it out there."
I'm not sure exactly what Haley's intentions were with that statement but a cynic might view it like this: The coach knew, down 17 points with an offense that has hardly generated anything in the first half, that the game was all but lost and he needed to work on some other aspects of the offense to see where they stood going forward.
On the one hand, I see the logic in it. An NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint. On the other hand, that's almost flat-out admitting that they were more focused on other aspects of the game besides winning. Am I right or am I wrong?
My personal opinion is that Haley will regret that statement (whether we're interpreting correctly or not) if this season goes in the toilet early. My personal opinion is also that the coaching staff doesn't care what the media says (and I think they've demonstrated that thus far).
Speaking of regrets, does Haley have any so far this season?
"No, there isn’t anything where I said, ‘that was probably stupid, Todd.’"