Can’t We All Get Along? … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

This started out as an epistle about last Sunday’s yo-yoing of Matt Cassel by head coach Todd Haley. There’s an interesting dynamic in that relationship that deserves discussion. I will get to it in due time.

That’s because something else popped up on the Chiefs radar screen yesterday and that was the Mr. Charlie goes to Florida story. Let’s start there.

Haley & Weis

National media outlets like ESPN and the Gainesville Sun newspaper (shouldn’t every paper in Florida be called the Sun?) were reporting that offensive coordinator Charlie Weis may soon be doing that job at the University of Florida for the Gators new head coach Will Muschamp.

Is it true? At this time that’s not crystal clear. Haley said it was news to him when asked about it after practice on Friday. But there is smoke in the air and I’m willing to say that there’s a fire causing the rumors. More than likely that fire was set by Weis and his agent.

Does that mean Weis is headed to “The Swamp”? It’s safe to say it’s under consideration. Whether it happens or not should play itself out pretty quickly.

The worst kept secret in the NFL all season has been the fact that Haley and Weis have had their disagreements over the last few months. Some of that bubbled up in front of audiences at training camp. More has happened behind the scenes in meetings and on the practice field.

That these two guys would butt heads does not come as a shock. They are smart, talented football coaches, both raised in the Parcellsian School of coaching, where opinions are shared and sometimes at the top of their lungs with a few expletives thrown in.

Yes, they had worked together before with the Jets, but that was over a decade before and the roles were reversed with the Chiefs – Haley was the boss. After five years as head coach at Notre Dame, it may have been harder for Weis to take a step down on the ladder than he or Haley thought. I could be that Haley has overruled him more than once on a play call and if Weis isn’t capable of handling that, then it’s probably time for him to go.

There are conflicts on every coaching staff in the league. That’s not news. It would be news if there was not, because that would mean the head coach had assembled a bunch of “yes” men who were more concerned about ruffling feathers than speaking their piece or supporting their ideas or plans.

Back in training camp, Weis met with the media and said he was there to “fix the quarterback.” Now that may have been his assignment, but that’s not something that should have been said out loud. That it came out from behind the Iron Curtain of Football Information that has become the Chiefs under GM Scott Pioli was shocking and not something the GM and head coach wanted to see on the six o’clock news. The coordinator has not come close to revealing any information or opinions since that day.

Weis has told friends and associates that he’s not happy with the Chiefs. That I believe is true. Whether that unhappiness is such that he’s decided to find work elsewhere is not something that’s obvious at this moment.

Understand two things as we close the subject for now: this was going to be a short-term marriage anyway, and if there is a fire that has caused the smoke blowing out of Florida, more than likely the match was lit by Weis or his agent. That’s how these things happen.

And let me add this – if Haley and Weis weren’t/aren’t getting along, every NFL team should be so lucky to have the type of offensive production that the 2010 Chiefs have in the books already. They are No. 9 in yards gained, No. 11 in points scored, 10 victories, a division title and three offensive Pro Bowlers. It will be the team’s best offensive season since 2005.

Cassel & Haley

Now, let’s get back to the subject of the quarterback and the head coach and what happened at the end of the third quarter last Sunday. In many ways it was an important moment in the development of Matt Cassel.

For those who have been asleep under the Christmas tree all week, Haley pulled Cassel out of the Titans game late in the third quarter. The quarterback wasn’t injured. Brodie Croyle went into the game cold (he did not warm up on the sidelines), threw one pass and then it was the end of the third quarter. Croyle was in the huddle for the first play of the fourth period and his pass ended up as an interception, as the ball bounced off WR Dwayne Bowe’s hands.

The next time the Chiefs were on offense, Cassel was back in the game. The yo-yo was called by Haley “a strategic area that we had to get cleaned up.”

Here’s what obvious about what little Haley has said and also what he hasn’t said – he yanked the starting quarterback as a punishment. Obviously there was something going on where the coach and quarterback were not on the same page, maybe they weren’t even on the same chapter.

That Cassel would be pulled and then sent back in would tell us it had nothing to do with injury or skill, and everything to do with straying from the plan that was implemented for the game.

If so, that’s great news for the Chiefs. It’s a sign of Cassel asserting himself. It’s something that Haley wants him to do, although in this case it obviously went too far. But talking about Cassel on Friday, Haley said:

“He’s taken on a much bigger role, with much more responsibility from the standpoint of taking control of his offense, which is something we’ve talked about a bunch. He’s the guy who’s going to be responsible for this in the end. As far as offense goes, the quarterback, it generally falls on his shoulders. So you’d better make sure you have everything covered and that you feel good about it and he’s done that. At the same time he’s grown in his role as an on-the-field leader and if something’s not right, he’s not afraid to speak his mind and try to get it right.”

I’m going to venture a guess that Haley was not unhappy that Cassel pushed the limits. Maybe he stepped over the line a bit too much for the head coach and had to be yanked back. If what happened was a major issue, there’s no way Cassel goes back in the game, or prepares this week as the starting quarterback.

It’s one of those steps in the development of a good/great quarterback. I cannot think of many great quarterbacks who didn’t have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the guy in charge of calling plays, whether head coach or offensive coordinator. They work so closely together for about nine months a year and to expect them to agree on everything is silly. Staubach-Landry, Bradshaw-Noll, Elway-Reeves, et.al. The coach often sees the quarterback as an extension of himself. The quarterback sometimes has a hard time swallowing that idea.

In the end, what happened last week against the Titans was another sign that Cassel is growing as an NFL quarterback and offensive leader.

NFL PERSONNEL FILE FOR FRIDAY, DECEMBER 31

  • NFL – fined Colts LB Gary Brackett $15,000 for a hit on Raiders QB Jason Campbell; fined Patriots LB Jerod Mayo $10,000 for an unspecified hit in last Sunday’s game.
  • NFL DRAFT – University of Texas CB Aaron Williams and Southern Mississippi WR DeAndre Brown both said they plan to leave school early and submit their name for the 2011 Draft.
  • BENGALS – signed WR Shay Hodge off their practice squad.
  • CHARGERS – signed RB Curtis Brinkley off their practice squad.
  • COWBOYS – placed LB Leon Williams (hamstring) and WR Sam Hurd (concussion) on the injured-reserve list; signed K Kris Brown.
  • DOLPHINS – placed LB Karlos Dansby on the injured-reserve list (toe); signed WR Julius Pruitt off their practice squad.
  • EAGLES – released CB Jamar Wall; signed S Jamar Adams off their practice squad.
  • JAGUARS – placed QB David Garrard on the injured-reserve list; signed LB Alvin Bowen off their practice squad; said RB Maurice Jones-Drew would not play on Sunday against the Texans because of a knee injury.
  • PACKERS – placed OL Marshall Newhouse on the injured-reserve list (back); signed OL Evan Dietrich-Smith.
  • PANTHERS – announced that John Fox and his coaching staff are out of jobs after Sunday’s game. Fox has spent nine years in Carolina and goes into his last game with a 78-73 record.

24 Responses to “Can’t We All Get Along? … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • January 1, 2011  - Tracy says:

    Great take on the Todd Haley-Charlie Weis pissing contest, Bob. While it may seem surprising that Weis would head back to the college ranks, given NFL rules about lateral movement by coaches and the like, he may have had no alternative if he was hellbent on seeking to escape from Haley’s control.

    Perhaps, since the big mid-field hug scene, Josh McDaniels’ name will surface as a possible successor. LOL.


  • January 1, 2011  - Milkman says:

    It’s good to hear an opinion about this topic from someone with some experience around NFL teams. This is the most logical explanation I’ve heard since the news of Weis leaving was “leaked” to the media. The best part of this article was when Bob said, “This was going to be a short marriage anyway”. I think all Chief fans already new that even if they didn’t want to admit it. Maybe one of the younger coaches on the staff has been paying attention and can take the reins over without a glich next year. It would be nice, however, if Crennel would stick around for 2-3 more years.


  • January 1, 2011  - Tenand6 says:

    The leak isn’t an affront to Haley as much as it is to the man signing Weis’ checks— Clark Hunt. Hunt has paid Weis well….very, very well and for Weis to pull this stunt is a reflection on his character. I’m glad Weis is here, but when I see this kind of thing, I think what the owner must think. Paying someone millions of dollars to be a key leader of a team should carry the “burden” of being a positive influence, regardless of the petty gripes that come with cashing checks of that size.


  • January 1, 2011  - MattMac44 says:

    Bob – Not to be the Editor, but is this correct:
    “…roles were reversed with the Chiefs – Haley was the boss.” Wasn’t Weis higher in the food chain at that point?


  • January 1, 2011  - MattMac44 says:

    My apologies, that is correct (somehow read Jets inot Chiefs) …. NO more posting on New Year’s morning.


  • January 1, 2011  - zbschiefs says:

    Nice read! Bob – Haley has talked about the importance of developing coaches. Are there any coached on staff that you could see transitioning into Weis’ role for the 2011 season? What are your thoughts on Nick Sirianni?


  • January 1, 2011  - el cid says:

    Got to say, Bob, I thought I stayed on this site to get more insight into the workings of the Chiefs. You wrote this as if it was fairly common knowledge Weis was unhappy with the way it is in KC. Why did you never mention this all year? Where were you? Isn’t that the point of this site?

    Combine this desertion and the Cassel being pulled for one series, and I have to say WTF? is going on. This is supposed to be a professionally operated organization. I had hoped Haley was maturing but he still seems like spoiled brat, who when he does not get his way, wants to pick up his ball and go home to momma. Hope I am wrong but see Weis lose as a negative no matter how it turns out.

    Lastly, please, guys, got over yourselves, McDaniels for new OC. Come on, he has proved he is not a HC, why would you want a guy with no up side. Also a simple no the Moe Carthon,he did not get the job last year.

    As usual, I am worried.


  • January 1, 2011  - Jimbo says:

    If it was Weis and or his agents intent to expose his exit from the Chiefs, shame on them. This is playground pooh poohing without the Charmin.

    Weis is famous for being arrogant and direct. He is intelligent, talented and rich. Submissive is not in his vocabulary. It’s a real shame that he will now be famous for not playing well with others. If what we are hearing about his OC position with Florida gig is true, that new Head Coach is into some deep Doo Doo.

    None of this makes sense to me, should it be true. Charlie Weis wants to be a General not a Captain. In the meantime Mr. Weis, finish your job this season and make us proud.
    Go Chiefs.


  • January 1, 2011  - Rick says:

    .
    Bob, thanks for the insight into the Cassel/Croyle deal during the Tennessee game.

    I’m disappointed with Weis. I knew after everything we heard about his time at Notre Dame, that he obviously had ego problems, but I had hoped he had put that behind him, guess not.

    Bob, what do you think the odds are that McDaniels could come in next year as our offensive coordinator? And if not him, who?


  • January 1, 2011  - Chuck says:

    Bob; Very interesting story. I for one will say I will be sad to see Charlie Weis go. I think he has done an OUTSTANDING JOB. Its just a shame these guys can’t get along. It does seem their EGOS get in the way. There’s NO WAY they would bring in Josh McDaniels after the FINGER POINTING GAME. Haleys huge ego just wouldn’t let that happen. Eventually their friggin egos are going to start costing us victorys.


  • January 1, 2011  - DAVID says:

    I don’t like it either because it causes a big distraction for the team.


  • January 1, 2011  - Merwin says:

    I suspected Weis would be short term before heading on to greener pastures, I just hope Crennel gets along well enough to stay to really devolop the defense into what it used to be like under Marty S. As to not hiring someone who does not have aspirations to getting a better job, there are some darn good coaches on this team now who are good at what they do and don’t seem to want to move onwards and upwards (ex. Emmitt Thomas comes to mind). If nothing else it would be good to have McDaniels here as a QB coach to continue Cassels development as a top QB in the NFL. And McDaniels does have two things going for him, the Parcells/Belichick tree and he’s from the Pats.


  • January 1, 2011  - david says:

    Great article Bob. Is it a coincidence that the Weis rumors come out the same week Haley pulls Cassel for a few plays? Maybe not! It might not just of been Cassel but a play against Weis as well. I know both coaches have big egos and with Weis turning the offensive and QB around this year as compared to what Haley was able to do last year with basically the same guys it must really get to Haley. IMO Haley was not even a good OC. He lived off Whisenhunt in Arizona. I would say everything got worse once the offense started clicking and Haley cant handle it. Like someone posted earlier about him – spoiled little brat that wants to take his toys and go home. Ego wont let him accept Weis turning Chiefs into good offense. Dont think Haley will mess with Crennel because he knows very little about defense. I really dont think he knows as much about offense as he thinks he does, he proved that last year. HALEY=EGOMANIC


  • January 1, 2011  - Niblick says:

    I think Weis was primarily a Pioli hire. I think Haley accpeted him because his boss wanted him. I don’t think Weis would have been Haley’s choice if he had hired the new OC. I think they only co-existed because we were having such a turn around year. I think we all knew Weis was only here for the short term anyway. I would have been far more upset if Crennell were leaving. I think he can find a new OC without a major drop-off next year. The foundation for the improved offense and Cassell as the leader, was laid this year.


  • January 1, 2011  - Patrick says:

    Well maybe this is all part of their own little family argument,not divorce and besides like you said Bob we’ll find out soon enough.

    I know I brought up what Mortensen had said but I forgot to mention that even though he was right about Weis coming here last year he was also very wrong the year before when he reported that Shanahan was our next coach.

    Haley has mentioned he does have young upstart coaches learning with the veteran coaches, like the Parcels and Bilichick systems did and do so lets just hope whoever the replacement is either gets another year or 2 to learn or he’s a quick study and that in the mean time it’s not too much of a distraction as others have mentioned.


  • January 1, 2011  - cychief24 says:

    Bob, thanks for the insight.
    Weis is an arrogant offensive genius. His ego must be frustrated being under Pioli/Haley. He may think he can tell Muschamp what to do and he may be right.

    I do think Haley would strongly consider bringing Joshie McD in if he and Pioli believe Joshie would help us win. Mangini may be available too.

    Also david…every NFL Head Coach has a huge ego. Haley has turned a us around in year 2. I can’t wait for tomorrow and then next week sitting in my season tickets for a Home playoff game!


  • January 1, 2011  - el cid says:

    cychief24 – “Home playoff game” certainly has a nice ring to it.


  • January 1, 2011  - Brian says:

    The Coach seeing the QB as an “extension” of himself? Herm….Brodie….a frail guy who can’t figure out a way to win in the NFL….Hmmm…..Okay, I think I could buy this.


  • January 1, 2011  - Nate says:

    Great stuff Bob! Thanks for the insight. I can’t believe someone would even talk about Josh McEgo as a offensive coordinator for the Chiefs. He has stink all over him.


  • January 1, 2011  - Michael says:

    Everyone thinks they have an idea of what goes on behind the scenes with the team when actually none of us knows anything. For no other reason than their own bias, some are quick to lay blame at the feet of Haley; others Weiss. Maybe there is blame for everyone involved, or no one. We can’t know any of that at this point. We don’t even know for sure if Weiss will leave. I know it’s fun to speculate, just saying.

    And yes, Bob, if it were such a non-story all year that Haley and Weiss didn’t get along, why is it news to all of us here? What evidence suggests that? Maybe they’re just two coaches with big ideas and big egos, who clash from time to time, which wouldn’t be news.

    Haley has appeared relaxed, way more relaxed than last year, and happy to have coordinators such as Weiss and Crennel on the team to help him fulfill his vision. The operation has run smoothly all year. Everyone involved in pro football has a huge ego, and it likely gets in the way sometimes; that’s just life.

    I love what Weiss has done as coordinator this year, but it’s foolish to think the offensive turnaround was accomplished by Weiss alone. Haley and the other coaches have had as much to do with it. We’ve already seen that there’s no way Haley will allow anyone to run an offense that isn’t what he believes in with the firing of Gailey. Oh, and the players had a little to do with the improvement, too.

    If Weiss does move on, I do think Mcdaniels has a good chance of coming to KC. He is considered to be a brilliant OC, has a philosophy that fits with Haley, and he has ties to Pioli and Cassel. You can bet he would love the chance to help Cassel develop even more while rubbing Denver’s nose in it. McDaniels showed he wasn’t ready to be a HC yet, but he’s young and has time to learn. No doubt their are other’s on Pioli and Haley’s short list, maybe even someone on the current staff.

    So far, what Hunt, Pioli and Haley have shown of their philosphy and the way they’ve gone about building it out, is that it is team and organization first. You always have to ready for anyone within the organization to come or go, and be ready to bring in the replacement who will help keep the ship going in the right direction. So if it happens, I expect the Chiefs to do just that.


  • January 1, 2011  - Michael says:

    Sounds like some names are starting to pop up as possible replacements if Weiss leaves. Greg Olsen, the current QB’s coach for the Bucs, and Nick Sirriani, current Chiefs Offensive assistant coach, who works with Chiefs QB’s daily.

    Haley worked with Olsen in Chicago. Many in the Chiefs organziation credit Sirriani more than anyone with Cassel’s development.


  • January 1, 2011  - Edward says:

    Great take on both relationships Bob. I guess it will be true what Adam Sheffter said about Josh McDaniels resurfacing with the Chiefs. Before the Weis to Florida rumors he said Weis wouldn’t be back next yr. This is kind of a surprise I figured though Weis ego wouldn’t allow him to the an offensive coordinator to long I just figured it would be another yr before he left and it would be a move for a head coaching job. But going to college over the pros as an OC just makes me thinks he doesn’t want to do the grind of the NFL anymore.


  • January 2, 2011  - el cid says:

    Not sure college is easier or different from the NFL at least in terms of high expectation football. Usually have to add recruiting and lots of travel to the college. Maybe Weis likes that over going to Arrowhead daily?

    As long as the Chiefs do not suffer, goodby Weis. Would not like next year – The OC needs to get to know the players and put in his system.

    Still say (from an outsider) looks a lot like the Gailey firing. Who has the hammer and will use it. Either way we will survive, it will just take a little longer (darn it).


  • January 3, 2011  - Gerardo says:

    Bring Paul Hacket back! he fixed the QB problem at the Raiders didn’t he?




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