Coaches, Coaches Everywhere … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

Todd Haley’s desire to think outside the box had WR Terrance Copper running the special teams during the Chiefs first bye week practice on Tuesday.

It’s not a role that Copper ever envisioned for himself. “I’ve always been too busy trying to make the team and keep my spot,” Copper said. “I didn’t think about stuff like this.”

But Haley does. Like a lot of head coaches, he’s constantly trying to build a better mousetrap. He’s always looking for different ways to do the same thing, just to break the monotony, to fuel something in his players or even his coaching staff.

What the second-year head coach believes in, that foundation is set in stone. But there are always ways of sticking to those beliefs and making it work in different ways.

That’s what’s going down during the three bye-week practices for the Chiefs. Haley has designated 15 players as assistant coaches this week. They range from 15-year veteran center Casey Wiegmann to third-year cornerback Brandon Flowers. There is a player/assistant coach at every position group, save the specialists and quarterbacks.

“In a lot of different discussions with veteran players in the last year or so, in asking about what parts of the bye week they like, what parts they don’t like, I came to the conclusion that veterans didn’t like the bye week period,” said Haley.

It’s part of Haley’s personality and his approach to the job that he’s always poking and prodding, trying to pick the brains of people he trusts or respects on different subjects related to the team. In questioning the veterans about the bye week he found out that players, but especially older players, hate practice. It’s something they’ll put up each week because they know the importance of preparing for an opponent.

But when there is no opponent, spending three or four days practicing in the middle of the season is torture.

So Haley has changed their roles. He started hatching this idea when he was riding the bus to the movies up in St. Joseph during training camp. Haley sought a way to allow his most veteran players to get into the bye week, while giving his younger players the opportunities they needed to get better.

“I came up with this thought of getting some or our leaders and veterans a little more involved in the communication process with the other players,” Haley said.

So joining Wiegmann, Copper and Flowers as player/assistant coach for this week are DL Shaun Smith, OLB Tamba Hali, OLB Mike Vrabel, TE Leonard Pope, G Ryan Lilja, ILB Demorrio Williams, CB Travis Daniels, NT Ron Edwards, S Jon McGraw, G Brian Waters, WR Chris Chambers and RB Thomas Jones.

“Through one day, I’m happy with how things went,” Haley said. “I thought it was a real productive day for us. We definitely got a little bit better today, and that was important for us.”

How it worked was for instance the offensive line had Wiegmann, Waters and Lilja running the position drills for the remaining blockers. Offensive line coach Bill Muir was there, but like all the other assistants, he stood back and allowed the players to coach the players.

Some of the player/assistants were very active. Smith was working the defensive linemen pretty hard. Vrabel was actively involved in working with the outside linebackers on reading and reacting to the offense. A couple times LB coach Gary Gibbs got involved, but it was largely Vrabel doing all the talking.

“It was just like it always is with Mike, he just didn’t have pads on, he had a ball cap,” said OLB Andy Studebaker. “It was a chance for some of us younger guys to get more reps that kind of disappear when the regular season starts. It’s a chance to gain some insight from guys that have been around for awhile. And it was fun, too.”

Haley spent most of his time in practice watching his player/assistant coaches and how they handled their assignment.

“It’s just a great opportunity for our young players to get more work and to do it with their more veteran teammates,” said Haley. “They’re following a different path this week, I think, is the way I’ll leave it. This was an idea to try to benefit the team as best I saw it fit.”

It was certainly eye opening for some of the player/assistants.

“You realize what the coaches go through when they are out there,” said Copper. “It was fun, but it was still work, a lot of work. Getting the chance to be out there today, really gives me an appreciation for Hoff (special teams coach Steve Hoffman) and what he gets done all the time. He’s been doing this a long time. I’ve done it one day and it’s wearing me out mentally.

“My hat goes off to him and all the coaches. We got a chance today to see what they go through.”


  • BILLS – re-signed QB Levi Brown.
  • BUCCANEERS – promoted TE Erik Lorig from their practice squad.
  • CHARGERS – re-signed S Quinton Teal and CB Dante Hughes; signed LS Ethan Albright; placed LS Ryan Neil on the injured-reserve list ending his season; released RB Curtis Brinkley; placed LB James Holt on the injured-reserve list
  • GIANTS – placed S Michael Johnson on the injured-reserve list (herniated disc in his back), ending his season; promoted DB Brian Jackson from the practice squad.
  • JAGUARS – claimed QB Trent Edwards off waivers from the Bills; released LB Alvin Bowen.
  • PANTHERS – released DT Louis Leonard.
  • RAMS – signed RB Chauncey Washington off the Jets practice squad; re-signed CB Kevin Dockery.
  • SAINTS – signed K John Carney.
  • SEAHAWKS – signed WR Brandon Stokley, last with the Broncos; signed OL Breno Giacomini off the Packers practice squad; released RB Quinton Ganther.

5 Responses to “Coaches, Coaches Everywhere … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • September 29, 2010  - Tracy says:

    Interesting approach by Todd Haley. It may result in some of these players, who might otherwise not have done so, becoming coaches.

    We presume that Shaun Smith did not offer any advice on groping.

  • September 29, 2010  - el cid says:

    Haley can begin one heck of a coaching legacy if he can transition players to coaches. I am talking a generational thing. If only one or two continue after their playing days are over, wow.

  • September 29, 2010  - dan in joplin says:

    Ya, some of these guys were “interviewing” for the future whether they new it or not! This is the kind of stuff that really gets me excited about Haley and his approach to the game! Alot of people lableled him not being a “players coach”, but this is a major bone he just threw these veterans!

  • September 29, 2010  - David says:

    Wow…Saints sign John Carney, age 46. Is this some sort of memorial tribute to George Blanda?

  • September 29, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    nice sarcasm el cid!

    I like the idea, its different anyway. May not accomplish anything, other than helping or keeping your team bonding.

    I forgot about stokley, any one know what his down fall was and why he wasnt playing…. not like the chiefs dont need a good receiver….maybe he sucks, dont know, I dont pay any attention to the donkeys much, but it seems like I remember him burning our D up though!

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