A Damage Control Monday … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs and Chargers were still playing on the field Sunday in San Diego when Todd Haley began the process of figuring out what went wrong.

That’s how bad things had gotten in the fourth quarter of the 31-0 debacle – there was time to access the damage even before the car came to a complete stop after the accident. They were doing the autopsy before the patient was pronounced dead.

“We did a lot of talking over the headsets as the game was winding down,” Haley said. “You go back through and you figure out what you personally could have done better to make the outcome be different. If all of us do that, we’ll have a chance to make progress out of this.”

Progress is going to be the only way the Chiefs recover from what has to go down as a learning experience for this team. Many of these players were in this position for the first time in their young careers and they learned a valuable lesson – when the calendar turns to December in the NFL, the intensity level goes up for those teams fighting for spots in the post-season tournament.

Haley talked about it last week, how the point was being made to the team that each quarter of the season requires a step up on the intensity level.

That certainly was what the Chiefs were missing against San Diego. They weren’t missing intensity; they were without an intensity level to match that of the Chargers.

“Right from the start, we did not come out and match the level of intensity they had,” said veteran guard Brian Waters.  

They most certainly did not and in the aftermath, that’s something the Chiefs will take a close look at – why did the team not respond to the idea that they couldn’t continue to play the way they have all year. There’s a reality that comes with not increasing the intensity level in December.

“You will get exposed this time of year against good teams,” said Haley. “Our focus is on trying to become a good team. We know we are not there yet. It’s been very clear a number of times in the year. We’ve shown a lot of good signs and good indicators that we are making progress in becoming a good team, but we clearly are not there yet. That team we played yesterday is in that category and they’ve been there for a number of years. There’s a lot to be learned from that.”

On the teams return flight home from San Diego on Sunday night they were delayed almost two hours by a mechanical problem with their charter aircraft. As frustrating as the waiting around was, Haley said he put the time to good use. The coach wandered out of the first class cabin where he sits and headed to the back of the plane where the players are located.

“I went back through and talked to each and every guy,” Haley said. “I thought it was good time spent. We are a developing team and there is so much to learn from each and every experience. That’s what’s critical, that you are learning from it, that you are taking something out of each game, each practice and figure out a way to make yourself better. That’s how we are going to be a good team year in and year out, by staying the course and not deviating from that. And, understanding we are not there, and exactly what we are. ”

A couple comments were popular Monday around the Chiefs complex – it is what it is, and you are what you are. The Chiefs are 8-5. They lead the AFC West, now by a single game over the Chargers. But they are a flawed football team. Overall they are inexperienced on the ways of a contender in the NFL. On top of that, they don’t yet have enough talent to overcome injuries to major contributors. They are piecing together this run to a potential spot in the playoffs on the fly and sometimes it will fall together perfectly (see the Seattle game) and sometimes it will look like a fraternity prank thrown together on the quad (see Denver, San Diego.)

What the Chiefs have done a good job on this year is putting games like the San Diego blowout behind them. They didn’t let the Houston fourth-quarter crumble derail them – they answered with back-to-back victories. They didn’t let the 20-point loss in Denver change their approach of moving on from disappointing and they won three in a row after that game.

Now they have another chance to respond. Three in a row at this point will put them in the AFC playoffs, no ifs, and or buts.

“We’ve got to move on,” Haley said. “We’ve done a very good job of moving on, win or lose. Now we have to do the same thing. We have to move on, move forward. You can’t let a big win or a tragic loss drag you down. If you do, you’ll be sorry. That’s been our m.o., what we’ve preached and the guys have done a good job of paying attention to that.

“It’s the little things this time of year. You can get away with some little things every once in awhile, especially early in the year. This time of year, your fundamentals have to be right on point. Yesterday, they weren’t. ”

And that means on Wednesday when they return to the practice field, the Chiefs will get a healthy dose of the little things.

“We’ve shown the ability to bounce back, but this will be the most devastating loss to date,” said Haley. “Those others were all forgotten because we found a way to come back. What we need to do is take this devastating loss and take it as a catalyst to try and make ourselves better for these last three games. If we do that, we’ll have the chance to be a good team.”


  • BRONCOS – placed S Kyle McCarthy on the injured-reserve list (knee) ending his season.
  • LIONS – placed CB Brandon McDonald on the injured-reserve list (forearm) ending his season.
  • PANTHERS – placed DE Everette Brown on the injured-reserve list (wrist) ending his season.
  • REDSKINS – placed SS LaRon Landry on the injured-reserve list (Achilles) ending his season.

23 Responses to “A Damage Control Monday … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • December 14, 2010  - Butler says:

    I agree forget it learn from it we have More Fish to Fry.

    Go CHIEFS Go

  • December 14, 2010  - Josh says:

    I only hope this team can recognize that every game counts. The inconsistency is as damaging to morale as big losses. We don’t just have to win the next three, we have to dominate, if we’ve any hope of showing a sporting chance come wildcard weekend.

  • December 14, 2010  - Milkman says:

    I think is was very evident Sunday that all the Chargers bought into Philip Rivers’ claim that the “playoffs are now”. That was the difference in intensity. A lot of the players on their team have playoff experience and it showed. We will get to see in the next few weeks just how much the Chiefs have bought into Todd Haley and his program. I think even he realizes we don’t have all the pieces to make any kind of serious run if we do get to the post-season. But it sure would be nice to get some playoff experience for the ones we do.

  • December 14, 2010  - Chuck says:

    I agree as “to put this one behind us” but I think the thing that we all learned is that without Cassel in there we have very little chance of winning. I personally thought Brodie looked very bad. 7-17 and 40 yards just doesn’t stand a chance in the NFL.

  • December 14, 2010  - Mike says:

    Remember the few times this year when they could have let Brodie get some snaps when the team was playing well or even at the end in the Denver crash. The coach let the player (Matt) decide on one occassion. Croyle did not look as good as he should have on many occassions durin this game. He moved out of the pocket into pressure when he could have stepped forward and thrown several times. A back up must get some time not 2 or 3 plays in practice. That is on Haley big time.

    Prepare your team as team is what he sells.

  • December 14, 2010  - el cid says:

    OMG, this article is revealing about last sunday’s debacle/slaughter/asskicking. Yes, put it behind us, cannot change anything anyway. But be aware of what you looked at, at least the amount of the game you could stand to watch. The Haley/coaches game plan was finished after the first drive by SD. The coaches just took it. They might as well of forfeited after the first 5 minutes and left the field. This is supposed to be the NFL, “pro” football. You are “paid” big bucks to entertain. So you go down swinging, that is right you try anything but not our Chiefs (and I am not talking about the players here), no we are building for that future dynasty so what is wasted effort in 2010, we will forget it.

    As for the players, veterans looked old, Croyle lost, Bowe stayed in KC with Cassel, and the rest less than average (Flowers). How much was that genius game plan or SD need of a win? Who knows, just/better get ready for St L.

  • December 14, 2010  - Morten says:

    Bob; What is it in your opinion that is happening to our run defence? Is it fatigue or do the other teams have figured out how to run against KC? We really need to fix this if we want to have any shot at getting into the playoffs. And is it just me or is the hamstring still slowing Flowers down? In my opninion he has not looked sharp the last two games…

  • December 14, 2010  - el cid says:

    Mort, it is nice someone noticed. Maybe Flowers is trying to play thru injury. The run defense is not there because of a lack of quality players. Dorsey and Smith seem to contribute fairly regularily. Edwards as been a stop gap as long as Haley was been here (Smith was supposed to help here but a lack of DE changed that). Jackson is still waiting to contribute. Gilberry has regressed and not much else. Add the LBs regularily out of position and are not getting the job done, we cannot stop the run. Just chase it down. Hali is not a run stopper and DJ and Belcher are sad in the middle Vrabel is done and backup have not shown much upside.

  • December 14, 2010  - aPauled says:

    The biggest disapointment to me in our 2 debacles this year has been the O-Line. This group is anchored by vets Waters, Wiegman and Lilja who all have playoff experience. How can this group not rise up and get the rest of the team up for big games? They have done quite the opposite. In the 2 debacles…they were the group that came out and got pushed around setting the tone for the whooping.

  • December 14, 2010  - jim says:

    el cid, I’m sitting here trying to find a way to rebutt some of what you said, but cannot. We (you and I) are normally at odds in a rib poking sort of way ( I hope) with your glass half empty and mine half full, but I am FORCED to agree with you completely. Nice post.

    I’m not sure if this young squad understands how to play in December, and if the talent is there to reach the level of play necessary in December. we’ll find out quickly.

    This I do know. We’d better not go into the Ed Jones Dome Sunday expecting an October walk in the park. Spags has the Rams playing at a very high, intense level and we’ll likely get another solid asswhoopin if we take them lightly. Believe that…..

    We could talk about how Wiegman and company got thrown around like rag dolls, etc., etc., but that’s old news. We just need to get as good as we CAN get, and get there quick.

  • December 14, 2010  - bhive01 says:

    aPauled is right. In both the Denver and SD game our O-line stunk, which meant no running game, which meant we couldn’t control time of possession or score many points until the prevent defense showed up.

  • December 14, 2010  - el cid says:

    Jim, just for purposes of disagreement (LOL) consider this. These pro players are getting ready to play SD. What do the coaches give you to succeed? You spent the last 20 years playing football and, while not headed to a HOF, you know your profession. You supposedly have two “genius’” as coordinators and your record in 2010 is better than anyone expected. And you look at the game plan they expect you to “succeed” with. Offense, run, run,pass, punt. Defense drop back as deep as possible and pray they make a mistake. No wonder this team looked so bad last sunday. Your coaches told you, forget your booboos and strap on your helmets and wait to get killed. My point is the management of the Chiefs quit on this team, their players, and we simple fans. And it all falls back on Mr Pioli needing 4 or more years to build his kind of team. Today is what is important not failure waiting for some mystical future.

  • December 14, 2010  - dan in joplin says:

    Ok, I’ve been holding off on posting this because of fear! :) But it just keeps rolling around in my head and I have to now! Go easy on me!
    Ok, I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around this SD game because of how bad we “played”. Is it possible that it was intentional? I mean they “lost” on purpose or decided to play half speed and just “get thru it”. Here are some reasons why I think it could have been possible: Cassel is out and we prob had a chance to win with him, but w/ croyle the coaching staff says no way. The whole team showed lack of effort, there was no “creative” game planning on either side of the ball. I don’t think McCluster was targeted once on offense. It’s just hard to imagine/believe that they went into that game full steam ahead! Is it possible they really played that bad and were trying? I guess, but not probable. What would be the advantage of doing something like this? Well, w/ this current regime’s secrecy about everything and how unorthodox they operate, I could see them saying, we’ll lose it anyway, so why give any other teams another game film of us to look at! Why show your creativity on either side of the ball and give them anything to their advantage? Lets get thru this one w/out injury (hopefully) but make it “look good enough”. Since they felt they had “no chance” they knew they would need these last three games anyway….
    Look I know they got there a$$ kicked and I’m not trying to make excuses and I understand how much was on the line, just a thought. Has anybody ever heard of a team doing this? Help me get this thought out of my head! We all like to use the phrase “mailed it in”, but does that apply to before you even start the game?

  • December 14, 2010  - Kiowa says:

    I pretty much agree with El Cid. Someone else asked why the run D looks so bad, and it seems obvious they aren’t stacking the box and trying to not get scorched by big pass QBs like Rivers. Once ya do that, here comes the run. They need to go out and get another pass rushed like Hali and real game changing linebackers. The deep guys are all young except forMcGraw so need for long term worry there. Though Berry needs to grow up!

    Very disappointed in Weiss and the play calling, just let them play and go down the field instead of being scared to turn it over onve in awhile.

  • December 14, 2010  - Jimbo says:

    The San Diego game was so bad I could barely stand to hear it on the radio, let alone watching it on TV. There was no fight in our team, pure and simple. There is’nt enough sugar on this planet to coat the fiasco that occurred in southern California. Our second worse offensive display in franchise history. Yikes… Yes, all teams in the course of a year have a game plan & outcome that is forgettable. We have had two.

    Haley has said it best, “we are not a good team yet”. I doubted him, even after the Denver 1 game I doubted him. Not any more. He is spot on with his statement. I did not expect a total collapse with the Chargers. Offense, defense, coaching Oh yeah, everbody got involved in this one.

    For the past 40 years I always dream about the Chiefs going to the playoffs and winning the big one. Most true fans do. On the other hand reality has kept me in check and I am usually content with a big win every now and then. In September I did not expect the Chiefs to contend for a playoff spot. Like any other year, I just wanted them to. This year they have been dangling a carrot in front of me, convincing me we have a legitimate shot of actually being division champs. Until last Sunday.

    We still have control of our destiny, St Louis is preparing for us. Then Tennessee, then Oakland. Whether or not we win one or all three of those games, I can be comfortable knowing the Chiefs got better this year. For that reason alone, I am optimistic about next season.

    Pioli and company have grand plans for the Chiefs. If results mean anything, they are ahead of schedule. In the meantime. I’m not going to be tempted by any dangling carrots.
    Go Chiefs.

  • December 14, 2010  - Andy says:

    What do you guys think about this theroy? i think they were wore out from practicing in pads for 3 weeks they had nothing left, i hope he gives them a little rest this week for this playoff run.

  • December 14, 2010  - Edward says:

    As fans we need be patient. This isn’t a Super bowl contender but it is a playoff contender. We will make playoffs probably win one game. Its a process and as fans we can’t rush it. This team is a year or 2 away from being a super bowl contender. Give players, organization, and coaches credit know but a select few thought they would be where they are now

  • December 14, 2010  - Flyboy26 says:

    Good post Jimbo. Like you, I had visions of sugar plums dancing in my head after the first quarter of the season. The vision was dimmer after the 1st Denver game and totally obscurred after Sunday. El Cid made some valid posts as well. Even Dan’s points kind of make you wonder. Haley has said that he wants to instill good character and stress intelligent play in his team. The way that Sunday’s game was planned and played, on both sides of the ball, showed the exact opposite of what he has been preaching. Haley, Weis, and Crennel let the team down completely. It almost reminded me of how the US fought the VN war. I kept thinking as I watched the game and listened to the radio (thank God I could manually sync the two), that coordinators would adjust. But they didn’t adjust, they just gave up.

    Where is the genius that many of us hoped for with the hiring of Crennel and Weis?

  • December 14, 2010  - RW says:

    Question for Bob:

    What notable coaches on the current staff for the Chiefs do you believe won’t be back in 2011 and why? Same question for players not returning. Thanks.

  • December 14, 2010  - Tim says:

    I know they keep harping on fundamentals, and they should BUT I think he’s got to ease up some to let them freshen’ up a bit. We have a lot of rookies that have got to have hit the wall a bit. Likewise, some of our older guys have to recoup some. With only 3 to go, I think they’ve got to get a little more fresh because sometimes the mind will say “go” & the body says “no”…

  • December 14, 2010  - el cid says:

    Haley’s “this is not a good team” is true but pure copout. As for last sunday, “no” team showed up and did anyone else notice Haley’s demeanor all thru the game. NOTHING, he just stood there. Folks, that is not our HC. He foams at the mouth, chews on the almighty, he does not stand there like a old time pro coach.

    As for Edwards “patience”, well buddy, next year the Chiefs are going to play a “good” conference and, even with a healthy Cassel, may get more than their share of losses. Add the less than stellar 09 draft and the fact the 10 draft is regressing, the team could take a huge step backwards. That is why I want to be like the vulture, to heck with WAITING for something to die, let’s go kill something. This year was and could be something special to comfort us during next years growing pains but it is slipping away and the coaches seem to have no idea what to do.

  • December 14, 2010  - Gerardo says:

    Do coaches look at tapes from other games? or just the ones from their own games? I just looked at some beautifully designed play that put receivers like Andre Johnson creating spaces for running backs or TEs, if Bowe is being shut down he must be getting some attention from defenders that can be creating space for others to make a play, where is that?

  • December 14, 2010  - bobmac says:

    We are undersized, beat up and worn out !

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