Forget Pretty, Just Win … Sunday Cup O’Chiefs

“I don’t think there are going to be many pretty ones.”

Those were the words of Chiefs head coach Todd Haley, and he wasn’t talking about the fans sitting in the stands at Arrowhead Stadium.

He was talking about the games his football team will play in the 2010 season.

“If you are expecting it to be pretty fancy, flashy, dashing, daring, any of that stuff, it’s probably not going to be like that for a little while,” Haley added.

I think it’s safe to say that the die-hard Chiefs fans that are left out there could fill Haley in on a lot of ugly games and outcomes that have come down in the last four years. Nobody that holds the red and gold close to their hearts cares right now about how fancy or good looking their team might be.

They just want victories, and they don’t care if they come with warts, pimples or scabs. Haley feels the same way, and you can bet the Hunt Family, Scott Pioli and every person in the locker room wouldn’t care a whit about winning ugly.

Take for instance Friday night’s game, won with a last-minute touchdown by the Eagles, 20-17. Philadelphia was one of the most successful teams of the past decade in the NFL, winning 103 regular season games and made the playoffs eight times. But in the last two minutes of the game, when the Eagles offense went 80 yards on eight plays, they were not led by grizzled veterans of the Philly success story.

The winning TD was thrown by Mike Kafka, who six years ago when the Eagles went to the Super Bowl was still at St. Rita of Cascia High School in Chicago. The deciding six points was caught by Riley Cooper. When Philly last played in the championship game, he was still at Clearwater Central Catholic High School in Florida.

These were not players steeped in the winning tradition of the Eagles. They’ve been around the team since the end of April when they were selected in the 2010 NFL Draft. Friday night was the first chance they’ve been given to make a difference between winning and losing for the Eagles.

And, isn’t it amazing that they found a way to win the game, while the Chiefs found a way to lose the game?

Luck? Happenstance? Just the way the cards fell on a Friday night in August? It’s not explained by any of that. The Eagles won because that’s what they do, they know how to do it, and more importantly, they know how to find players that fit what they do and learn how to win. They identified Kafka and Cooper as players who fit their profiles; it’s the lifeblood to everything the Eagles have done through the years. They don’t just identify players – they identify their players.

Yes, it was a meaningless pre-season game. But don’t discount what the Eagles were able to accomplish and what the Chiefs fumbled away in those closing two minutes. It was true to the form both teams have established for the better part of the last half of the decade.

So how does a team learn how to win? They put themselves in situations where their performance and decisions are the difference between winning and losing that single play, quarter or game. They learn through their accumulation of success and failure what needs to be done to achieve the victory or what not to do to get slapped with the defeat.

When Haley speaks about not expecting any pretty games from his team in 2010, it’s really a message of hope more than it is providing a precursor for hard times in the coming months.

Cut through everything and the Chiefs problem is simple to explain – they do not have enough talent. We’ve been beating that drum for the last two years and it remains the No. 1 problem. It doesn’t mean that the roster does not have better players than it did two years ago, or even last year. It just means that there are not enough of those players.

Nobody knows this more than Haley; he’s the one who deals with his own guys and he has to prepare for those he will play. He knows what he lacks. But he’s seen the effort this group has put in, the desire to improve and win, and the improved coaching staff that he’s working with this year gives him an edge he did not have last year.

The most talent does not always win. It’s the talent that’s put to the best use and is prepared that plays the best and walks away with more victories than defeats.

“It’s still going to come down to the team that plays the best that’s going to win,” Haley said. “That means not turning the ball over, tackling, playing defense the way you have to play it, executing on offense and special teams.

“We’ve got to be a smarter team. We have to do all the little things right. We have to finish off games and then build from there. We didn’t win (Friday night), but it was a good sign for our team and a good sign of the direction we’re going.”


  • BROWNS – S Nick Sorensen was taken from the field Saturday night on a cart immobilized after a helmet-to-helmet hit against the Lions. Team officials said later that Sorensen had feeling in all of his extremities.
  • COLTS – released K Garrett Lindholm, WR Dudley Guice and G Andrew Tyshovnytsky; claimed CB Danny Gorrer off waivers from the Saints.
  • EAGLES – released G Zipp Duncan, S Ryan Hamilton, OL Greg Isdaner, LB Simoni Lawrence and WR Jared Perry.
  • 49ERS – signed franchise player NT Aubrayo Franklin to a 1-year, $7 million tender offer.
  • FALCONS – released OT Mark Ortmann and CB Gabe Derricks.
  • LIONS – placed DE Jared DeVries on the injured-reserve list (knee) ending his season; released injured S David Roach (calf); signed DT Jaron Baston, last with the Broncos; signed S John Wendling, formerly with the Bills.
  • PACKERS – released WR Shawn Gore.
  • RAIDERS – QB Jason Campbell was taken from the field on a cart after taking a hit from the blindside by 49ers LB Travis LaBoy. The team said he suffered a stinger and would be fine.
  • RAVENS – have lost WR Donte Stallworth for eight to 10 weeks due to a broken bone in his foot. Surgery is ahead to insert a screw.

23 Responses to “Forget Pretty, Just Win … Sunday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • August 29, 2010  - Anonymous says:

    What, is a 20 yard route fancy and flashy? Is managing to not fumble the first run of the game dashing and daring?

    I heard something like this jive before. Something about scoring over 30 and arena football. Just another way of saying we suck again.

  • August 29, 2010  - Brandon says:

    It’s in line with my expectations for this season. A “W” is a
    “W,” whether it’s pretty or pretty ugly. I want to see this team get some heart and soul and pull at least one “W” out of the air this year. I think those ugly W’s will be the difference between this year and last years’ record and will give us fans and the Chief’s organization something to build confidence in for 2011.

    If we can’t manage those W’s this year, then we’re not better than last year and we’ll need to get yet another great draft and offseason to double our efforts next year.

    I’m hopeful we start seeing sparks this year. We’re already seeing some of that from McCluster and Berry.

  • August 29, 2010  - RW says:

    The watchword for the Chiefs to realize any kind of success in 2010? CONSISTENCY. Not making boneheaded mistakes. Executing the basics. Taking care of the ball.

    We’ve heard it ad nauseum over the years regardless of the sport. It’s on every roster player to be that word, and on every coach. Be consistent. Are they up to the task? Flip a coin.

  • August 29, 2010  - johnfromfairfax says:

    Bob has the pulse of the team and fans, as is usually the case. Even a pessimist had to see the improvement in the play during the game, even if the outcome was the same. I’m not looking for pretty, just forward momentum and wins. If we get to the dance it doesn’t matter to me if we get there with Angelina Jolie or Phyllis Diller or Ugly Betty. As they say, just get to the dance and dance with the one that brung you!

  • August 29, 2010  - Merwin says:

    Fact of the matter is they lost the game in the first quarter by first the fumble and then the interception to give Philly a quick ten points. Take that away and we looked pretty darn good. Had the starters been in for the whole game I’m sure we would have won in the end.

  • August 29, 2010  - Jimbo says:

    Bob is a little pessimistic about our talent level. The last drive of the game by Philly was against 11 Chiefs players that won’t be a Chief 8 days from now.
    I believe we beat the Eagles… They just ended up with more points.
    To see the Chiefs come back from the horrendous 1st Qtr was a very good sign of things to come.
    Go Chiefs.

  • August 29, 2010  - Niblick says:

    I also felt we won the game. The score when it was starters against starters was 14-10. I liked the defensive pressure. We haven’t seen that in a long time. We need a better downfield passing game. I’m not sure we are not throwing downfeld because that hasn’t been an emphasis, or we can’t protect. Perhaps it’s some of both.

    I never like the 4th pre-season game. It’s reserves against reserves for most all the game. I have no idea of what to expect this week. I’m ready for the Chargers in the opener.

  • August 29, 2010  - el cid says:

    Lack of talent, the new mantra of the Chiefs. Who decided to convert to the 3-4 def with only Vrabel having any idea of what to do, wasn’t me or you. The offense’s best RB was inactive for games last year, wasn’t me or you. Drafting kids who need “years” to develope, wasn’t me or you. Get it? Pioli is looking in the distant future and 2010 is beside the point. Win or lose, to bad for me and you.

    Need to add, if this play happened or did not happen, the Chiefs would have won the game or “I feel they won the game”, sorry that is just loser pap. Until the gun goes off the game is to win or lose. Next I am looking forward to many here and on the Chiefs site to complain about lack of fans at the stadium or lack of cheering. That is just so much BS, the team is supposed to entertain us to the best of their ability not the other way around.

  • August 29, 2010  - Tenand6 says:


    Who makes the final 53? What does the roster look like without any additions?

    Can Cox and Castille both make the team? I like them both.

    Is it possible the Chiefs could pick up an ILB? I don’t like Mays even as a back up.

    Is there a new D lineman in our future?

    I think I like the WR’s. I’m not as hot for a waiver wire guy or trade as I was a month ago.

    I have no idea which DL that are here now should stick. Got any thoughts?

    We need more talent….yes. Here’s where I think we are most thin: QB, ILB, DL.

    RT is questionable. Thoughts?

  • August 29, 2010  - charles says:

    “I don’t think there are going to be many pretty ones.”

    maybe he’s talking about the Chiefs cheerleaders this year

  • August 29, 2010  - Nate says:

    B0b I rarely take issue with you but I am going to now. We all know the chiefs have been short on talent. Why don’t you give credit where it is due and talk about the new talent from this years draft instead of continuing to harp on your same old tune. Anyone who can’t get excited about what they saw friday night had their eyes shut. 168 yards rushing, 5 sacks and holding the eagles to 13 points until the scrubs took over. The scrubs “lost” because as you reported they ran out of cornerbacks and had a saftey who wont make the final 53 playing corner. Nate

  • August 29, 2010  - Ernie says:

    Run Todd Run! It’s now called Haley-ball in KC. Kill the clock, wear the other team D down by Q4 and throw just enough to win ugly. It’s the 2010 Chiefs. Gotta go to work.

  • August 29, 2010  - JohnNdallas says:

    Well said el cid!

    Chiefs are a team with a serious lack of talent, there is no doubt about that! Haley is quick to admit that (in a coach speak kinda way) BUT! No ONE, not Bob or any one else in the media ever holds any one in charge accountable for personnel decisions. It’s been the same softball questions asked for years, weather it was under Peterson or Pioli.

    I think it’s time for Pioli/Haley and most certainly Clark to start explaining things like the 09 draft class,why was Pollard (starting free Safety for the Texans) cut and an old, worn out, slow, oft injured Mike Brown kept (the leadership crap is gettin kinda old). And why was Wade Smith (the man started at left Guard last night for the Texans) allowed to leave via free agency when the Chiefs O-Line is pathetic! Fine sign Lilja, God knows the Chiefs need all the help they can get on the O-Line! BUT KEEP THE TALENT YOU HAVE! And Why is the Chiefs payroll the lowest in the league.

    I like Haley, I want to see him succeed! But I cringe every time I here him cry poor mouth when it comes to talent on the roster. It’s not as if he hasn’t contributed to that lack of talent.

    Granted Bernard Pollard or Wade Smith would not be enough alone to make this team a Play Off contender but they certainly would have helped.

    So Bob, maybe the next time Haley’s being crowded on questions of personnel, you might consider not being so quick to be a buddy by bailing him out. Having said that I would prefer it be Hunt and Pioli the ones that are having to face the media and answer the tough questions.

  • August 29, 2010  - Don says:

    “You play to win the game!!” As Rev. Edwards would say. I’m not impressed with the whole games so far. But…I see pieces that give hope. The cowturds are losing but do we expect them to have a rotten season. No. Why? They were in the playoffs last year. We lose and what are we expected to do? Lose. As many have said, SHOW ME! I don’t think we’ll be great this year. I have seen enough to hope that maybe we’ll be better boardering on good. Or at least better. As much as I want to throw the remote and curse their ancestory I’ll wait till game four or so of the year to do so. Right now I better focus on buying some tickets for the MNF game. I’m sooooo ready, as all of us die hard fans are, to get a win in our newly renovated digs! If that does or doesn’t happen we’ll know in a few weeks. Jus saying….

  • August 29, 2010  - Rick says:

    Nice article in the Star about retooled stadium needs a team to match. And is it just me or is anyone else tired of the frickin announcer saying ITS 3RD DOWN!!!!! Wow no $h!t. I have been a season ticket holder since 89 and Friday was my 3rd yes 3rd ever preseason game I attended. I thought it was a nice crowd for a preseason game as I usually have four empty seats. Ummm I won’t make the 4 1/2 hour trip thursday but will be at 7/8 home games this year!!!!!

  • August 29, 2010  - el cid says:

    JohnNdallas – nobody is going to answer one of your or my questions, maybe they will write a book in 6 years.

    It is pretty obvious to me, Haley has issues with anyone left from Herm and an over fondness for “his players”. Pioli, for all of his greatness, does not know much about any team other than AZ, MIA, or NE. If you said who is getting cut, with value, by SEA or Chi, doubt he has good intel on them. This is just based on what he has done so far, give him 10 more years and than judge him if you want.

  • August 29, 2010  - Edward says:

    Benard Pollard are you serious we have Eric Berry now gurantee Berry has a far better career than Pollard. As for having enough talent to win Bob I think you’re under selling the talnet on this team. I think this team has the talent to win. Their isn’t but a handfull of teams in the league that are loaded at all 11 positions on the football field on offense and defense. And those teams are teams that has a chance to win it all. The other teams are teams just fighting to get into the playoffs.

    But when you evaluate our team we have good running backs. Good receiving core finally looks like Bowe is going to live up to his potential this yr. We have very talented secondary with Flowers, Berry, Carr, Arenas, and Lewis. Linebacker like Tamba and Studebaker are coming into form. Now even DJ is starting to play like a 1st rd pick along with guys like Demarrio and Belcher stepping up. Dorsey has put up better numbers so far every yr. Jackson is playing better compared to last yr. And guys like Gilberry and Magee are showing good promise. Now I’ve covered just about every position on the team so we have talent. We’ll win alot more than 4 games this season. I predict will be fighting Chargers and Raiders for the division this season.

    I’m not one of those fans that need to see us win games before we start actually doing it. I can just look at our schedule and look at the talent on team and make judgements based off of that. We’re going to win alot more games than Bob, other Chiefs or non Chiefs fans may think. So when we do its not going to come to surprise for me.

  • August 29, 2010  - el cid says:

    Had Haley been about to “coach up” Pollard, we would not have needed Berry with first pick. All judgements, good or bad effect what happens. You may think Bowe will live up to his potential this year but his record says he has not been bad, stats wise. Edward, you opinions do not really match Coach Haley, work in progress, Pioli, there will be infusions of talent in the future, or Bob, this team is light in talent, but what do they know. I could go on about it but why, your opionions are a valid as mine, both of us looking in from the outside. My surprice will be if we can win more than 6 games.

    I like Gilberry but that is about it on the DL, a huge waste of allegded talent, a Chiefs problem for ever. Our front seven can play above average if the team run at them but, frankly, they are poor when they have to move laterally. DJ, another of my favorites, just mostly plays out of assignment, Demarrio looks stronger and Belcher looks what he is, undersized.

    Finally many look at the schedule and you should but remember the entire NFL is moving forward and will not play the ’09 teams against the ’10 Chiefs. The raiders seem to have a QB and the bum they had in ’09 beat us. Every team has added to their rosters and the season will show if the Chiefs closed the ground. I fear Pioli is so wrapped up in the future, 2-3 years from now, he is giving away 2010.

  • August 29, 2010  - Jimbo says:

    Gosh, so much drama going on. The peeps & the squeeks need to go to bed. There is nothing going on that we are not witnesssing. The Chiefs are a team progressing. Nobody is argueing that point.

    Yes, we need more talent. Yes, we lose more games than win. Yes, Pioli (at this point) screwed up the 2009 draft class.
    But, Wow… 2010 Draft Class appears to be a Home Run at this point. Granted we lack talent on many levels. But now, we are faster, stronger & leaner than any other time in recent memory.

    el cid & his band of naysayers will be eating Crow soon enough. I understand your delight in pooh-poohing the faithful, but only a fool cannot see the progress from Atlanta to Philly.

    The Chiefs are not playoff caliber (at this time) But you just tell me… honestly… The Philly game was impressive (by Chiefs standards)
    Go Chiefs.

  • August 30, 2010  - JB says: I was 6-10 optimistic—- I’m thinkin’4-12 realistic….

  • August 30, 2010  - el cid says:

    Jimbo we will see when the season starts. Improvement from Atl to Philly, yes. I still say the method the Chiefs chose is a formula for failure. Pioli, hot product, and what has he done so far, Cassel, a K, and a better than average draft in ’10, when is his rate of success translate into a winning team? Haley, hot product/1st year coach, never build a team from nothing to winner in his entire career but dumped defense to 3-4 with only one guy who knew what he is doing. We better hope they have a clue but, so far, upward movement is at a snails pace. like Haley says “work in progress”, I say when?

  • August 31, 2010  - Jonathan says:

    El Cid and crtics let the season play itself out. Pioli was on Chiefs radio on Friday and admitted that last year was going to be hard and it was. Just think he had to come in and evaluate a team he hardly knew about with scouts that he wasn’t familiar. He hired a head coach in February just around the time or shortly thereafter of the combine. The OC and HC weren’t on the same page resulting in Gailey being let go two weeks before the opener and having the team having to adjust to a whole new system. Haley couldn’t hire the assistants he truly wanted and it left the Chiefs with a chaotic season.

    I feel Crennel and Weis will aide in the turn around this season leaving Haley a chance to just be the head coach instead of head coach/offensive coordinator. The team appears to be better coached this year as compared to last year and has made improvements each game. The Dex, Arenas, Berry, and Lewis will make significant contributuins. If Moaki can stay healthy he can give Cassell another option. This team is going to surprise some people this year. If the Chiefs can win against San Diego I feel they have a chance to go into the bye week 3-0. They are a better team than Cleveland and they catch the 49ers coming off a emotionally charged Monday Night game against the Saints. Plus the 49ers have to travel cross country with a time change.

  • August 31, 2010  - el cid says:

    True, really true. Just two points. Bob G. has repeatedly pointed out Pioli had his people in place/had he mind made up about who to draft in ’09. NONE of these kide were picked on some haze of carl’s scouts. What you said is not, NOT true. He got the kids who he wanted and, by my standard, outsmarted himself with kid who should not have been selected, except for K.

    Second, the Chiefs will surprise some people. This team is light on talent and any real coach who does not see it belongs beside you and I because they are plain stupid. 6 wins maybe, and that is truely sad.

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