Commentary: Tough Team, But Dumb

From Arrowhead Stadium

There are certain methods and ideas that are part of the NFL Head Coaches Handbook.

One of those suggestions is that the head coach should pick several themes or traits that are important for his team to possess. Once he has those, he’s advised to keep pounding on those ideas, to drive home the point over and over, so players, fans and the media come to understand what is important.

That’s just what Todd Haley has done over the last eight months as head coach of the Chiefs. He had a vision of three things he wanted his team to be. First, he wanted them to play smart football. Second, he wanted them to be tough. Third, he wanted his team to be in top physical condition.

Smart, tough, conditioned, those are words that have come out of Haley’s mouth hundreds of times. It is his mantra, his chant, his foundation for building a successful football team.

It’s not happening. Oh, the Chiefs show all the signs of being a tough bunch of hombres. They had to be to survive the training camp and pre-season that Haley put them through. That also means they are conditioned.

But they ain’t smart. At times, they are simple one dumb football team. One of those times was Sunday against the Raiders.

If any team over the last 20 years has written the book on playing dumb football it would be Al Davis and his band of silver and black from Oakland. For 10 years, Marty Schottenheimer told his Chiefs that all they had to do was play hard and tough and then wait for the Raiders to screw up. And, they always did.

Now, the Chiefs are playing like the Raiders and they did against Oakland, helping the visitors to a 13-10 victory that is the most unexpected gift that the silver and black have received in some time.

Mistakes were a plenty in this game and the majority of them wore the red and gold of the Chiefs:

  • They wasted two timeouts in the first quarter. When they needed them late in the first half, they were gone and cost the team at least a field goal. They lost by a field goal.
  • A hard to understand play call at the end of the half when the team had 14 seconds left and QB Matt Cassel threw a short pass to RB Dantrell Savage, who did not get out of bounds to stop the clock. The rest of the half ticked off and the Chiefs got nothing.
  • Nine penalties, seven of those against the offense, including four penalties that were simply mental mistakes, three false starts and an illegal man downfield on a pass play. In all the Chiefs lost 37 yards of offense thanks to penalties.
  • They blew a chance to down a punt at the Raiders one-yard line. There were enough bodies around the ball that three or four people had a chance to touch it before it bounced into the end zone for a touchback.
  • A pair of interceptions that were just killers, as both came in Raiders territory.

That’s just a short list, but all of those situations badly hurt the Chiefs chances of earning a victory. But none more than wasting timeouts in the first quarter; that’s a surefire way to get burned. I’ve never understood why head coaches allow their quarterback to call a timeout that early in the game.

On the first one, rookie TE Jake O’Connell was late running on the field and the play clock was about to expire. On the second, there appeared to be a communication breakdown between the sidelines and the huddle, as if the play was coming in late, or was garbled in transmission.

Now, that first timeout came on a 1st-and-10 play at the Chiefs 31-yard line. Why waste one there? Take the five-yard penalty and move on. The second timeout was a 4th-and-2 play in Oakland territory and stopping the clock there made more sense.

What did not make sense was the last play of the first half. Without the timeouts to stop the clock again, Cassel should have been instructed to throw the ball to the end zone or throw it away. Make sure you get three points. Conservative? Yes, but effective.

Certainly more effective than Cassel’s pass to Dantrell Savage in the flat where the running back could not get out of bounds.

“It’s an out of bounds or incomplete situation,” said Haley. “That stuff can’t happen.”

It can and it did. It just shouldn’t be happening to a team that is being coached to be smart, to understand situations, to practice them ahead of time and know the right things to do.

The Chiefs margin of error is a slim one. They do not have enough talent to be able to make mistakes and expect to win games. Haley says they will go back to work on being a smart team on Monday. Something has to change, because the idea of being a smart team is not getting through to these guys.

Smart doesn’t guarantee victory.

But dumb will lock up defeat every time.

46 Responses to “Commentary: Tough Team, But Dumb”

  • September 20, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    An EXACTING analysis above by Bob G/someone other.

    “It’s not happening.”

    - succinct…

    What Rin wants to hear is the Herm haters tell us again how the coaching was the reason the Chiefs lost last season but in 2009 it is SO MUCH BETTER… right… ‘check’

    heh heh heh


  • September 20, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    Speaking of ‘dumb’ – hello :roll: ‘check’ – Rin is really happy His Chiefs kept things so under wraps and didn’t show much in the preseason… this way we all get to enjoy it now the regular.

    Head Coach, QB Coach, OFF CO-ORD and lip readers of America scourge :roll: Hailme certainly has a full plate as he juggles multiple duties and yet still finds time to air out his lungs & act like a total loon weekly while wasting timeouts.

    Too much to do and not up to the task the latter aspect DIRECT cause loss today … ‘check’ makes Dick ‘Father Time’ Curl look like Big Ben at the Palace of Westminster in London.

    Comedy :lol: & Tragedy :cry:

    Ladies & gentlemen, your 2009 Kansas City Chiefs!

    heh heh heh


  • September 20, 2009  - aPauled says:

    Stupid Team. That sums it up.

    - Cassel will learn, this is just his 16th game.
    - Hang the time-outs on Haley trying to do too much as OC and confusing the guys.
    - Biesel and Battle…Biesel is supposed to be a vet teaching the young guys. He should get the ultimatum to step up or be out.
    - The O-line didn’t do bad work considering…but apparently they can’t block and avoid penalities in the same game
    - Bobby Wade had a good game but his fumble for every 16 touches showed up on the punt return. Asking too much of Wade. Savage needs to return punts.
    - Jake O’Connel for some reason has Cassel’s confidence. The guy did nothing today and took a pass to the side of the helmet when he wasn’t looking. Surely Cottam is better than this guy.

  • September 20, 2009  - Alexthe"GREAT" says:

    No1 commenting today but rin lmao, I guess they are all hiding in thier own shame! Cant make anymore excuses for Haley, its the RAIDERS for crying out loud. Haley is a great offensive coor but his HC skills are very shakey. If u watch the end of the first half he is clearly screaming almost scolding Savage for not getting out of bounds but the last time I checked it is the QB job 2 either throw the ball in the endzone or 7 rows up, not check down 2 a player who is clearly uncapable of making the proper decision in those situations and thats why he is a 4th string back! Every1 will be held accountable(words from Haley) when starting from the ground up and he should have unleashed his dissapproval towards Cassell on national tv not Savage a guy who is not sure he will be here next week! Im out

  • September 20, 2009  - ED says:

    Inspite all of the boneheaded things we did to lose the game we still had a chance to win in the end. What the 2009 Chiefs have to learn is play for 60 minutes. Regardless of the score who’s leading or who’s behind just continue to play football until the clock runs out. Too many times it seems like this team gets a lead late and then they let up and end up losing the game. To become a finisher in the 4th quarter we have to learn to play until the whistle blows. Until Chiefs learn that will be on alot losing end of these kind of games all year.

  • September 20, 2009  - ED says:

    Either way Cassell will shake off the rust next week against Philly, but if we don’t beat the Eagles without McNabb this could be the start of an 0 and 6 season starting out. We better take advantage of McNabbless Eagles. But like Bob said as well we can’t beat ourselves bottom line.

  • September 20, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    Alexthe”GREAT” said

    “No1 commenting today but rin lmao, I guess they are all hiding in thier own shame!”

    - Chiefsfandumb is not a smart lot – nor is their new head coach…more so “stupid” as the evidence afield his affirms 6 weeks and running now…too, he’s not receiving much help from his co- slappy, ‘search’.

    He :shock: likes to waste draft choices even more than Carl Peterson did – he sent MIA at least one (maybe more) for bench sitter “Chicklets” Alleman and a RT who’s so good he manages to keep an real live ex-NE Patriot waiver wire claim RT OCallagag (sp?) on the bench too (“Clippers” Npoopwe (sp?) his name.

    Maybe we can send another draft pick to the STL Rams & reacquire Dick Curl so he can help :roll: ‘check’ remember what time it is – and how many timeouts there are- as well other non-screaming related football stuff.

    Coach Herm Edwards never had this much trouble in his entire career as ‘check’ has had just a mere 6 games into his… what a :roll: sap.


  • September 20, 2009  - David says:

    No doubt the Chiefs did not play Oakland smart but to suggest this is a stupid team based solely on today’s evidence is grossly stretching the point. The team was over matched last week and the only reason they were in the game was because they played smart and relatively mistake free.

  • September 20, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    Brodie Croyle should start next Sunday v PHIL; the Chiefs will lose anyway but he’ll make it a closer game than ‘The Money Pit’ mutt ca$$ell would…

    CROYLE 24-16-177 2/0 67.0% 116.7 QB RATING 24 pts.
    ca$$el 39-24-241-1/2 62.0% 66.3 QB RATING 10 pts.

    Croyle is by far the Chiefs best QB


  • September 20, 2009  - Stiv says:

    Bob, we got the point in your earlier posting. If you’re going to go “Whitlock” on the Chiefs and just harp on negative $hit, the blog will suffer because of it.

    Your former boss Peterson deserves more blame for the current state of the Chiefs than Haley does.

  • September 20, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    “to suggest this is a stupid team based solely on today’s evidence is grossly stretching the point.”

    - Rin wonders as He wanders if basing it on the 0-6 record to date in 2009 is stretching the point…

    :cool: daddy-o

  • September 20, 2009  - ABLEY says:

    wow bob you should be the head coach. they would never lose if you were the coach because you are so smart. yeah the chiefs made some mistakes that cost them the game, but i still saw improvement in defense and offense. it sucks to lose to the faders but this type of game WILL make them better for the future.

  • September 20, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    Hey Bob G – can we get some cheese in here to go with all Chiefsfandumb’s WHINE…


  • September 20, 2009  - Rodeo John says:

    Wow, give a guy 3 years and his team goes no where but down.

    Give a guy a preseason and 2 games into the regular season and Mr Gretz and his lap dog are ready to say that this coach absolutely sucks.

    Hmm, one guy handed a decent team and makes it worse.

    Next guy gets the crap that was left by the previous guy and is trying to do something with it.

    At least he is trying, vice standing there like Herm did and do nothing.

    Mr Gretz and Lassie, we are all dissappointed in the loss today (well Lassie might not be, wouldn’t give him something to whimper about) but to be complete negative nellies about it is nothing but showing your ar$e. Best way to be constructive is to point out the good and the bad, and kick ugly (Rin Tin Tin) to the curb.

    Oh and for the record Lapdog, we are only 0-2… as the preseason does not count against our record. For someone that supposedly knows so much about football, it would be safe to presume that you would not need to be scholared in that.

    Now go ahead and instead of rebutting my posting with intelligence, cut it up, show us your editing skills, as you lack football knowledge skills.

  • September 20, 2009  - CK says:

    You want to talk about dumb? Take a look in the mirror and then log on to your p.o.s. website that you have let go to crap!

  • September 20, 2009  - David says:

    Idon’t have any problem with Bob bringing an edge to his reportage and I’m very grateful for this site’s existence. It’s a godsend to Chief’s fans who don’t get local radio.

    Mental mistakes cost a badly needed win. Apart from the turnovers, it must be nearly unprecedented for a team to dominate the statistics so throughly and still lose at home. That deserves some harsh commentary. The test will be whether the players focus in on what they’re being told about situational football or tune out the coaches in a belief nothing will change. Calling this a dumb team after one game though is unfair.

    Not as unfair as suggesting anyone really cares about a teams record in pre-season games but unfair nonetheless.

  • September 20, 2009  - Rodeo John says:

    For those that are tired of putting up with the lapdog’s stench and bile coming forth from his snout…I recommend going to Arrowhead Pride. Much more informative then Mr Gretz has been lately. At least they are objective in their analysis and reporting. Pointing equally towards both the good and the bad.

  • September 20, 2009  - CK says:

    Still Bob is dumb and his website is a p.o.s.!!!

  • September 20, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    Oh the humanity, angst, hand-wringing, gnashing of teeth and – “a fiery farce with an 0-6 mark – a team of BUSTS and a hearty Hi-Yo Hailme – The Loss Arranger!”

    The same pleading for time/patience that a Herm adherent asked for last year – and received not – that is exactly what :roll: is getting/will get; he deserves said just as richly…


    heh heh heh!!!

    :lol: & :razz:

  • September 20, 2009  - el cid says:

    Bitter loss. Anytime the Chiefs lose to theRaiders is a bitter loss. That asside is this really the kind of football you guys want to watch for the 09 season? Haley’s team plays just well enough to lose. Other than Jacksonville, we have the worse team in the NFL. I predict many more losses by tight scores and possible blackouts locally. Who is to blame, I feel Haley will step up and tell us he is learning from the experience. To bad, I not interested until he can win a single game. So shuffle players, fire coaches, and do whatever it take but win a game before Nov., I doubt the Chiefs will. Maybe by 2011, Kansas City may have a team that is watchable and win an occasional game.

  • September 20, 2009  - ILChiefsFan says:

    To those attacking Bob – Guess what: the Chiefs did a bunch of dumb stuff today! It can’t be denied. This team clearly outplayed the Raiders and lost due to mental lapses. I take exception with Bob’s assertion that this means the Chiefs are a “dumb team”, but what would a blog be without hyperbole?

  • September 20, 2009  - Chiefs Update Chiefs News | Chiefs Football at says:

    [...] COMMENTARY: Dumb plays and mistakes kill the Chiefs. [...]

  • September 20, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    Aaaaand another Herm Chief to sign: DE Alphonso Boone will sign with the SD Chargers tomorrow…


  • September 20, 2009  - CK says:

    el cid says
    So shuffle players, fire coaches, and do whatever it takes

    We just did that.

  • September 20, 2009  - ILChiefsFan says:

    el cid,
    When the season started I doubted the Chiefs would win a game before November, with the exception of the one today. After watching today’s game I feel more confident they’ll win one before the bye week.

    How can anyone come away from today’s game thinking the Chiefs won’t be able to win until 2011?

  • September 20, 2009  - Rodeo John says:

    September 20, 2009 – Rin Tin Tin says:

    The same pleading for time/patience that a Herm adherent asked for last year – and received not – that is exactly what is getting/will get; he deserves said just as richly…


    Now if you would please quick licking the peanut butter off of Herms private areas…cuz apparently the stench down there is affecting your brain cells Son.

  • September 20, 2009  - BinSC says:

    You can’t beat the Raiders with 400+ yards of offense. 0-8 here we come…

  • September 20, 2009  - Rodeo John says:

    I would venture to bet that in 3 years under Haley’s leadership the KC Chiefs will have a better record than Her did during his 3 year tenure.

  • September 20, 2009  - David says:

    I thought Herm got a bad deal. He was hobbled by Carl and then when Peterson was sidelined and he was promised time to rebuild, he was chopped off at the knees.

    There were a bunch of blowhard Chiefs fans who never gave Herm any credit no matter what and at times there seemed to be a racial component to their wilful blindness. I understand why some would be galled by the perception that those fools influenced Clark’s off season moves and want to hold a mirror up to them. But really wouldn’t it be more interesting to comment on the fascinating relative merits of different management approaches than simply repeat the purile critical style of morons in a Chaucerian dialect?

    Nothing could be more different than the Vermiel/Edwards approach and the Haley/Pioli style. We have a front row seat at the culture change. How about we talk about that?

  • September 20, 2009  - Rodeo John says:


    That would be nice to do if the muzzle is put onto the lapdog, or if the lap dog could speak more of football and not so much his straight up bashing of the current regime and the current players.

    As a matter of fact, others have tried to carry on good debates about all things good and bad but the lapdog always has to inject his nonsense.

    Loved this site when I first found it earlier this year but not so much anymore. Bob still does do some great reporting but just have a hard time putting up with childish posts.


  • September 20, 2009  - phred says:

    Blah blah blah, all those mistakes didn’t cost us the game.

    The defence held the raiders to 99 yds thru 3 3/4
    quarters, then went to the dreaded “PREVENTYOUFROMWINNING” defence, and let the worst QB in the NFL look like a hero.

    Still it reeaallllyy stings when the raiders play smarter football!

  • September 20, 2009  - Tenand6 says:

    The Chiefs should have won and I am stunned the way they lost. Stunned because I know the Chiefs are working on these situations, unlike in the past. If working on situations did not work out this week, going back to Herm’s way is an option, but I would contend that would be stupid.

    I have run too many businesses to know that just because you work on something doesn’t mean it improves. You go back to work and stay after it. Sometimes people have to be let go, some inspired and, in my experience, after working on problems like these, progress is made.

    I’ve heard from enough football guys to know the Chiefs are on the right path. It isn’t the only path, but a good one. If they stay consistent, ask the players to be their best, and continue to bring in players who like to be challenged to be their best, we will be fine.

    That is a fact of life if the people in charge are bright, committed and are willing to critique their own efforts.

    I can put up with culture change and frustration. Been there, done that. It isn’t pretty.

    By the way, I just finished the book, “The Patriot Way.” It’s a good read and a good reminder that the Patriots use to be called, “The Patsies.”

  • September 20, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    “I can take any – ANY – 22 guys from off the street and… go 0-6 (then 0-7 next week’s evisceration of my team in Philly against the Eagles.”) :roll:

    :roll: “Why did I ever say that? Rin Tin Tin & BW & JW have all made me look like the fool that I am…


  • September 20, 2009  - David says:

    RJ, there’s no need to read his stuff. It’s unfortunate he’s taken this road because he has some wit but he’s clearly lost his balance. His attitude toward the unproven Cassel is no different than some of those hare-brained Huard backers who savaged Croyle just because he was competition.

    Bob does a good job. It’s hard to find Chiefs news that walks the line between pandering to boosterism and provocation for effect. I hope you stick around.

  • September 21, 2009  - Jim Lloyd+ says:

    Castle need’s the playing time . Croyle took for ever to start showing improvment , look at Eli Manning–QB’s in GB–Charger’s Den.Tenn. —-Not an overnight deal to at that position !!!
    Also takes time for all these player’s to start working together , middle of season after rebuilding , at least .

    QB rating’s are not the same as 40 yd. dash time’s , AS some might think .
    Their about the same as getting a speeding ticket driving to the game .

  • September 21, 2009  - Ken says:


    All things considered, I thought it boiled down to the Chiefs “prevent” defense on the Raiders final drive. And, I liked Cassel’s “toughness”.

    Did yesterday remind you or anyone else of Marty’s first couple of years with the Chiefs? Bob, might be an interesting comparison.

  • September 21, 2009  - arrowhead1978 says:

    Cassell’s toughness?? I didn’t see him playing tough I did see him pull the ball down and do his best Thigpen impersonation. There were a couple of times when he was in the pocket and the raiders weren’t close to sacking him and he took off running, not looking downfield for the pass, I guess once you’ve thrown 2 picks it’s a safer call to run it.

    Wouldn’t you say that it was Haley’s playcalling that stopped the running game, I mean they were still getting yards rushing, just alot more passing plays being dialed up.

    I think Bowe was coming into his own last year before the offensive WR guru showed up to town…

    It’s going to be getting really ugly here in the next few weeks playing the NFC East, they might be the McNabbless Eagles but they do have Vick playing this week, they have Garcia also and Kolb almost had 400 yards passing over the weekend. The redskins may be the only team the chiefs have a chance at beating.

  • September 21, 2009  - Doppelganger says:

    I can’t tell you how much it stung to watch the Faiders beat our beloved Chiefs, but I can’t help but notice the improvement of the team. The D took yet another step forward yesterday in shutting down “the 3 headed monster” and generally harrassing Fatmarcus Russell. IMO, we’re a few LBers away from some nasty pass rushing.

    The offense is another story. A new OC/ HC, Cassell starting his very first game as a Chief and still learning his recievers. A constant flux of changes along the O line not to mention a brand new WR who led all recievers yesterday. To sum it up, our offense is still changing into what Halley wants it to be and they’ll get it going before long. Bobbby Wade will be a great 2nd or 3rd WR for us, and soon.

    When KU hired Bill Self to take over the BB program, IMO it took him 2-3 years to kind of figure out what worked and what didn’t at that level. It was kind of a feeling out period for him, and I think Todd Halley is having that baptizm by fire right now. Clark Hunt sited the Pitsburg organization as a model to pattern ourselves after. That would include patience and not hair trigger firing after mistakes. They take the time to figure out what the problem is and then they fix it. I’m convinced that is what Clark and Scott will do with this team. We are afterall in year 1 of “de-Herming” the team.

    With that said, I wanted to jump through the 53 inch flat screen hi-def TV (that doesn’t belong to me) and choke Beisel after he casually watched that punt roll right into the endzone. I wasn’t sad to see him leave the first time he departed KC, and I look forward to his one way plane ride out of here even more now!!!

  • September 21, 2009  - MDChief says:

    I’m afraid Haley is biting off more than he can chew. Somebody had to say to Cassell on the last play before the half, “two reads in the end zone and if it’s not there, throw it in the stands.” With experience, he’ll get that on his own-right now it’s a coaching problem. Not picking on Asomouagh’s replacement until he’d been in for two series-that’s on the coach-somebody has to see it from the booth if the O/C is on the sideline. Smart teams don’t make these mistakes-that’s why they win. We need to grow up FAST.

  • September 21, 2009  - Kevin B says:

    Did anyone see Haley’s face when the game was over? I wish every one would stop knocking Haley.
    the guy is doing more to turn this thing around than any other coach would. We are bare on talent. the team is learning and growing. Haley has the ship turning, it is going to be a long haul, but Haley is the guy for the job. He accepted failure, and responsibility for the loss. another coach would be talking about all the good things we accomplished. Stick it out Haley, it’ll work out in another year or two.

  • September 21, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    “Haley has the ship turning”

    - straight into the reef… beached like a whale

    :cool: daddy-o

  • September 22, 2009  - Ratso says:

    Disapointing game but ….. we had a chance to win if we stop their final drive. I was really disapointed in our secondary .. they seem to be playing extremely soft, which we saw on the 3 and 15, during the final drive, and the cornerback was 5 yds. back with a 20 yd. reception … wtf? This is the second week we’ve seen them allow the opps. to drive down and score …3 man rush .. quarterback has tons of time? wtf again … with all the mistakes we had a chance and blew it. I guess that sums up the Chief’s of late.

  • September 22, 2009  - Anonymous says:

    “Bob, we got the point in your earlier posting. If you’re going to go “Whitlock” on the Chiefs and just harp on negative $hit, the blog will suffer because of it.”

    If you want a dishonest, Rah-Rah blog, you came to the wrong place. Sometimes there’s a number of things you just can’t spin as positive. The things Bob pointed out were correct. We looked more like the Raiders than the Raiders did. On top of everything else, we had a chance to win in the 4th quarter and the defense folded. We lost.

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