Complementing Each Other … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

From the Truman Sports Complex

Each week, little drips of Todd Haley’s football beliefs leak out when he talks to the media. Yes, the Chiefs like to keep things quiet these days, and sometimes it would easier to get information out of the Pentagon than out of the team’s facility.

But the Hunt family and GM Scott Pioli have made Haley the face of the franchise. He’s the guy who five times a week spends part of his day with the media horde. It’s a weekly joust between Haley and sporting press with the coach revealing as little as possible about things like strategy, injuries, thoughts on the officiating and the like.

However, Haley is not monosyllabic as he answers questions, and is actually quite forthcoming when talking about the foundation of his thoughts, principles and desires as he tries to get the Chiefs out of the NFL basement and back to the playoffs.

That led to a new item in the Haley vocabulary on Sunday and Monday – complementary football. According to the head coach, that’s what the Chiefs were able to play in the second half against Jacksonville that assured them of the victory.

“There were a lot of positives in that game and one of the biggest to me was that second half, that last quarter and a couple of minutes, where we really started to play complementary football,” Haley said on Monday. “Really it started following the fourth down that we were unable to execute. I think that’s when I thought we really started to play the way you have to play to make good things happen and that’s what occurred. I think the guys understand that, they understood that and we’re continuing to grow as a team.

“I’m real happy with the way the guys worked together from a complementary football standpoint.”

OK, so what the heck is complementary football?

“I think complementary football as when one group is struggling, the other group understands they have to pick things up,” Haley said. “To put it in broad terms, say the offense goes the length of the field and scores points. It comes on one of those 15-play drives where you have worn the defense out.

“First off, the special teams go down and cover the kickoff and do not allow a big return. Then the defense goes out and forces a three-and-out. Then the special teams come back and get a nice return to set up the offense and they start another long drive.

“That’s a quick version of it; when the team is playing together, helping each other.”

Haley saw his team play complementary football in the fourth quarter, and it really started with his decision to go for a first down on a 4th-and-3 play at the Jaguars 24-yard line, rather than kick what would have been a 42-yard field goal.

“The offense went for it on fourth down and didn’t get it,” Haley said. “That could have been a negative situation but the defense went out and turned it up. They allowed one big play but then three plays later the Jaguars are punting it. The offense then, even though they hadn’t converted on the fourth, they went the length of the field again to score points. That is complementary football in my mind.”

If that sounds like good football with all three phases of the game working together, it is exactly that. Shouldn’t every team aspire to playing in that manner? Yes, but it doesn’t always happen. When a team of 53 players is divided in half between offense and defense, there’s the tendency for the offense and defense to become teams within a team.

Coaches don’t necessarily encourage that type of thinking, but sometimes they foster it by the way they handle their side of the ball. There have been times over the years where inside the Chiefs coaching staff the offensive and defensive coordinators didn’t talk to each other and seldom considered the other half of the team when calling plays during a game, or even planning a practice.

“That is why I try to communicate to the entire staff whichever way we are thinking,” Haley said. “Whether it’s from a schematic standpoint or a philosophical standpoint, we communicate where we are in the game and what we need to do to finish the game earlier than 60 minutes.

“The more time you are able to enjoy yourself on that sideline a little bit it is good for your team.”

There haven’t been too many occasions of that over the last four years. That’s what made Sunday’s fourth quarter against Jacksonville so much fun for the Chiefs.


Haley will talk at length about complementary football, but injuries are another thing.

Everyone will have to wait until Wednesday to get any clear indication of the status of rookie WR/RB Dexter McCluster. After Sunday’s game, McCluster was unavailable to the media in the Chiefs locker room because he was in with the trainers and doctors.

On Monday, several of his teammates indicated there might be a problem with bruised ribs for McCluster, but even they weren’t sure.

McCluster was on the field more against the Jaguars than in any of the previous five games. That was due largely to the absence of starting WR Chris Chambers, who was a game-day inactive. The Chiefs have been guarding McCluster’s exposure early in the season, due largely to the young man’s size at 5-8, 180 pounds.

Going into the weekend against the Jaguars, McCluster had touched the ball 34 times in the first give games, an average of 6.8 times per game. On Sunday, he touched the ball nine times for 69 yards, including four running plays out of the backfield.

Apparently all that took a toll on him.

Also, OLB Mike Vrabel left the game in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a right-hand injury. He went to the locker room, but returned to the sidelines, although he did not return to the field of play.

On Monday, Vrabel wouldn’t address the injury, but he did not have a wrap on his hand as he talked with the media in the locker room on Monday.


  • BRONCOS – released OLB Diyral Briggs.
  • BROWNS – claimed RB Thomas Clayton off waivers from the Patriots; released RB James Davis.
  • BUCCANEERS – released TE Jerramy Stevens; signed TE Ryan Purvis off their practice squad.
  • COLTS – signed P Jeremy Kapinos.
  • JAGUARS – OT Eben Britton suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder and faces surgery and a ticket to the injured-reserve list.
  • PACKERS – QB Brett Favre is wearing a walking boot on his ankle after an MRI showed he had two fractures in his ankle.
  • RAMS – claimed CB Quincy Butler off waivers from the Saints; released LB Curtis Johnson; RB Steven Jackson had surgery on his left ring finger on Monday, but he expects to play this coming Sunday.
  • TEXANS – played MLB DeMeco Ryans on the injured-reserve list (Achilles) ending his season; released DT Frank Okam; signed DT Damione Lewis, most recently with the Patriots; signed LB Stanford Keglar, last with the Titans;

8 Responses to “Complementing Each Other … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • October 26, 2010  - TX_ChiefAN says:

    I thought that McCluster may have sustained a concussion. He got up woosie after a play and was seen on the sidelines telling the coaches he was ok. I could be wrong I haven’t watched the game again yet.

  • October 26, 2010  - Kenneth says:

    He indeed took a hit to the side of the helmet but he looked like he was limping when he walked off the field, if he had a concussion I don’t believe they would have let him walk off the field under his own power especially if he was woosie.

    After he reached the sidelines it looked like he reached for his lower left leg or ankle and I saw him standing on the sidelines at the end of the game so hopefully its not serious.

  • October 26, 2010  - Justin says:

    Bob, easy mistake but Farve is no longer a Packer…

    Thanks for the info on McCluster. I knew about Vrabel but had heard nothing about Dex.

  • October 26, 2010  - Michael O says:

    Bob, any idea if J. Horne cleared waivers? If so, do you think they’ll sign him to the PS? Also, I’d like the Chiefs to look at Frank Okam, released from the Texans, big guy and young.

  • October 26, 2010  - Edward says:

    The more Haley talks the more you can see he’s maturing as a head coach. We couldn’t see it when Pioli chose this guy as a head coach but now you can see why Haley is such a good GM because he knows what to look for in a head coach.

  • October 26, 2010  - Jimbo says:

    I would like to extend my compliments to coach Haley. Whatever mojo or pixie dust he is sprinkling around 1 Arrowhead Drive, it is working. You can say alot about Haleys demeanor & no nonsense approach prior to him coming to KC. He had been judged and in some circles, deemed a loose cannon with no business being a Head Coach for any NFL team.

    As Bob has brought to light, Todd Haley is his own man, his philosophy & approach have not wavered. We learn about the man in drips & drizzles. Earlier this season he has been criticized largely by the media & fans for not starting Jamaal Charles, limiting Dexter McClusters offensive playing time & defending Cassel & Bowe’s lackluster start of the season.

    I’m as guilty as anyone else. I had not been a fan of Cassel early on & expressed those thoughts on this site. My whole point is… Todd Haley in his own way (as we are always a step behind him) has been matriculating this team down the field to success. Unorthodox? I’d say so… Sneaky? obviously… Effectively? without a doubt… Does he really have to keep us in the loop? all of the time? Yeah! we believe it is our right.

    I may not be thrilled with Todd Haleys “process” of feeding us information & sharing his insight of when the Chiefs (in his mind) are finally a “Good Team” But, I gotta hand it to him. If results are really what makes us happy? He has impressed me so far.
    Go Chiefs.

  • October 26, 2010  - hanknapa says:

    Complimentary Football seems so obvious but it doesn’t seem embraced league wide. I believe Haley is a very wise man and spent many years observing football philosophies awaiting his chance.

    The most interesting observation of today’s NFL is the lack of emphasis on running the ball and run defense. As Woody Hayes used to say, “there are only three things that can happen on a pass play and two of them are bad.”

    As we saw with Dallas last night when the offensive hope of a team rest on one man (Romo) and he is hurt then the offense fails. When the defensive hope of a team rests on the pass rush ability of one man (Ware) and the other team runs the ball or stops your “star” then the defense fails.

    Controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, running the ball with 4 backs and effective run defense may not be flashy but it sure works! I’m glad Haley understands that.

  • October 26, 2010  - dan in joplin says:

    October 26, 2010 – dan in joplin says:
    After watching the meltdown of the Cowboys this season and especially last night, it makes me appreciate even MORE what clark, pioli, haley & co are doing w/ this organization. Everyday, I see more and more that they are doing it the right way. Will they make mistakes, of course, becasue they are human, but I’m willing to bet that they will have more right than wrong.


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