One of the themes this week as we've been talking about the Kansas City Chiefs game against the Miami Dolphins this weekend is how KC will respond after a four-game winning streak and a pair of physical and emotional AFC West victories.
There's a sense from outside the organization that the Chiefs could ease up a little bit given the Dolphins aren't the Oakland Raiders or San Diego Chargers. Inside the organization, however, the Dolphins are getting some respect. Both Todd Haley and several players have indicated that the Dolphins are better than their record says they are (sorry, Bill Parcells).
On this topic of letting up against (supposedly) bad teams, I found this passage from Michael Lombardi interesting. He said he was having a meal with Bobby Knight, Gil Brandt and Bill Belichick and the topic of getting your team motivated enough to play bad teams, and that that's one of the more difficult tasks they face.
The solution to the problem, according to Coach Knight, is to be even more demanding after a win, particularly when preparing for a game against a lesser opponent. Most teams adopt the personality of their head coach; if the coach is worried, the team will be worried. If the coach is working hard and doing some unique things in his preparation, then the team will sense his level of concern and respond.
Derrick Johnson talked a little bit about this idea in an interview with Peter King this week -- basically that Haley took it easier on the team at 0-3 to reinforce the fact that they're good players. But when they're playing well, it's the opposite -- go harder on them so that the players don't ease up.