Todd Haley got a late start putting together his coaching staff for the 2009 season.
That left him in a position where he was concerned about the kind of coaches he would be able to hire for his first chance at being a head coach.
When the smoke cleared, Haley was very satisfied with the group he put together especially men like offensive line coach Bill Muir (left).
“It exceeded my expectations because of the late start,” said Haley. “To get some of the guys that we were able to bring in here has been a huge help to me in getting everything off the ground. We are all learning from each other and I think that’s a great way to bring a staff together.
“Not one person has all the answers, so we sit and talk a lot about methods, philosophy and the way we want to get things done.”
None of those assistant coaches has been available to the media; that’s pretty much standard operating procedure in the football worlds where Haley and GM Scott Pioli learned their trade. Those restrictions will have to lessen a bit once the season starts because under NFL mandate coordinators must be made available to speak to the media.
But since the assistants have not been allowed to speak, we asked Haley to talk about his staff. On Tuesday, we’ll cover the offense. On Wednesday the coach will speak of his staff on defense and special teams.
CHAN GAILEY/Offensive Coordinator-Quarterbacks Coach
Gailey is one of six holdovers from last year’s 2008 Chiefs coaching staff. League scuttlebutt says Pioli pushed hard to keep Gailey in Kansas City, rather than releasing him from his ’09 commitment to the Chiefs.
That doesn’t mean Gailey was pushed on Haley. While their coaching paths have not crossed in the past, there’s little doubt Haley knew all about the coordinator from his history with Pittsburgh, Dallas, Georgia Tech, Miami and even Denver before that.
“Everybody in the NFL knows about Chan and what he can do,” said Haley. “When I came in, I looked at the tapes and I was very impressed with what they did last year under some tough circumstances. They found a way to be fairly productive the second half of the year. That showed his ability to adjust to the personnel that he had available to him.”
When it comes to play calling, Haley has found that Gailey and he talk the same language. They favor execution over surprise and putting their best players in position for the best results.
“I think you want to be good at what you do and not put in something new just to put something new in,” Haley said. “There’s nothing wrong with something unique every now and then, but we have to know what we can rely on and to learn that, we have to do it over and over again.”
This season will be Gailey’s second with the Chiefs, 16th in the NFL and 39th year in coaching.
MAURICE CARTHON/Assistant Head Coach-Running Backs Coach
Last year, Carthon was part of the Arizona Cardinals coaching staff and there was no doubt in Haley’s mind once he got the job with the Chiefs, he wanted to find a way to get Carthon to move with him.
“It took a lot of work, but we got that done,” said Haley. “He’s a huge addition. It was a huge get for us and a huge get for me.”
Carthon is a former USFL-NFL fullback who comes out of the Parcells’ school of football. Haley says he coaches the game much the same way he played it for 11 years with the New Jersey Generals, New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts.
“Mo is the best running back coach in the league,” Haley said. “He has a way of creating soldiers, not to disrespect real soldiers. But players that play for Mo, they always end up coming out of the same. They are mentally tough, he hardens them. He has the ability to really coach them hard, but at the same time they have a great love and respect for him in the end.
“Mo has taught me so much about coaching over the years. He is somebody that as a young coach I watched and paid attention to, because you could tell there was something special about him. He is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever been around. He brings great energy every day and it’s not just running backs. He’s the assistant head coach and he’s able to interact with everybody and I think he can have a great impact and he already has with this team.”
Haley worked with Carthon with the Jets, Cowboys and the last two years with the Cardinals. This will be Carthon’s 16th year in coaching, all in the NFL.
BILL MUIR/Offensive Line Coach
When Muir got his first coaching job back in 1965 at his alma mater Susquehanna University, Haley was not yet part of the planet. Muir was into his second coaching job at Delaware Valley College in 1967 when Richard Todd Haley arrived.
This will be the 28th season Muir has coached in the NFL and he had 31 seasons in the league. He’s been a coach for 41 years. He most recently served as the offensive coordinator/offensive line coach for Tampa Bay (2002-08). He has also enjoyed NFL coaching stops with the N.Y. Jets (’95-01, where he worked with Haley), Philadelphia (’92-94), Indianapolis (’89-91), Detroit (’85-88) and New England (’82-84). Muir coached collegiately at SMU, Idaho State, Rhode Island, Delaware Valley and Susquehanna. He also coached professionally for Houston/Shreveport of the World Football League back in the mid-1970s and in minor league football with Orlando of the Continental League.
Without a doubt he is the staff’s elder statesmen.
“The further I’ve gone in this business the more I’ve recognized Bill Muir as being the top at his job in this league,” Haley said. “I think he’s another excellent, excellent coach. He knows how to coach and he coaches how I believe you have to coach.
“He coaches them hard, but at the end the players have great respect for that. He’s not one of these guys trying to be their friend. But at the end they love him and have great respect for him, and I think that’s what coaching is all about. He gets results.”
DEDRIC WARD/Wide Receivers Coach
On the other end of the experience spectrum in coaching from Muir is Ward. This is his fourth season of coaching, and the first year he’s been a full-time position coach in the NFL. After his eight-year NFL playing career ended, Ward got a job coaching wide receivers at Missouri State. That’s when he got in touch with Haley, who had been his position coach with the Jets and Cowboys.
“I’ve known him for a long time and he was always a smart player that was very aware and knew all the positions and kind of saw the big picture,” Haley said. “When Dedric called me when he was coaching in college and talked about wanting to coach on the pro level. I worked to get him in there at Arizona and he did a very good job.”
Ward spent the last two seasons as the Cardinals offensive quality control coach, working closely with Haley in his role as the team’s offensive coordinator.
“He’s a young coach and he’s got a lot to learn,” said Haley. “But I think he’s surrounded by some very good coaches and has been around good coaching his whole career. I think he has a great chance to be a good coach.”
BOB BICKNELL/Tight Ends Coach
Another one of the holdovers from the ’08 staff, Bicknell and Haley crossed paths several years ago. The head coach was with the Bears and Bicknell was an offensive coordinator in the World League/NFL Europe.
“When I was with the Bears we always had to go down to the World League training camps and Bob was a coordinator down there and I visited with him and talked about players and teams and the guys we (Bears) had in the league.
“I was impressed with how he ran the offense and coached the players. When I got here and sat down with him that background played some part in keeping him. He’s just a good coach. He’s got good roots and been around coaching all his life and those are good qualities to have.”
This is Bicknell’s third year with the Chiefs and coaching in the NFL and his 17th season in coaching. He put in eight years in the World League/NFL Europe.
JOE D’ALESSANDRIS/Assistant Offensive Line Coach
D’Alessandris was another holdover from last year’s staff. Haley liked his football roots coming out of western Pennsylvania (Aliquippa, PA) and common thinking on what’s important in the game. He also like Joe D’s ability to teach offensive linemen.
“I think Joe is another guy with very good experience that has been around, in Canada and in colleges,” Haley said. “He’s into coaching, it’s pretty important to him. He likes to teach and in this day and age of trying to develop offensive linemen, it’s critical to have somebody who is not your main offensive line coach that can spend the extra time and do the extra things with these guys and try to develop them. That’s really his main job.”
This is D’Alessandris’ second year with the Chiefs and in the NFL, and his 33rd year in coaching, that included stints in the Canadian Football League and the World League, as well as college football.
NICK SIRIANNI/Offensive Quality Control
For years, the Haley family has spent part of the summer at a cabin on a lake in western New York. During his time there, Haley has always used the facilities at a Y.M.C.A. in a nearby Jamestown to workout.
There’s where he met Nick Sirianni, who at the time was playing college football at Mt. Union College, the NCAA Division III powerhouse in Ohio. Every summer, Haley would be back on the lake and back at the “Y” lifting weights. So would Sirianni.
“I think he timed out his lifts to come in when I was in there,” Haley said with a smile. “He bugged me every day. He would ask questions about how he could improve himself as a player. Then when he got into coaching, he would ask questions about coaching, strategy and stuff like that. He really reminded me of me.”
Sirianni is in his first NFL season and sixth year in coaching, working at his alma mater and the last three seasons at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
“I think he’s another guy with a great background” said Haley. “The fact he was at Mt. Union and won championships there (two as a player, one as an assistant coach.) His father is a long-time coach. His brother is the head coach at Washington & Jefferson. Another brother is the head coach of a high school team that won a state championship in New York. I think coaching is in his blood. The fact he was around the Mt. Union aspect was intriguing; as much as they’ve won, it’s got a rub off a little on everybody involved.
“He’s a young, energetic, smart guy who is willing to sacrifice and is willing to drop everything for the opportunity.”
GROUNDBREAKING HELD IN ST. JOE FOR CAMP CONSTRUCTION
They turned the dirt at Missouri Western University on Monday, kicking off the construction of a new facility on the campus in St. Joseph that will help bring Chiefs training camp to the city.
Among the many dignitaries taking part in the ceremony was Chiefs President Denny Thum.
“Today marks a special occasion,” said Thum. “It represents the Chiefs return to Missouri and to the local fans who have meant so much to this franchise’s success through the years. We’re delighted with the cooperation we have received from the various entities and are looking forward to our new partnership with the university, the local community, and the various government officials who have aided us in making today a reality.”
The biggest part of the construction is an indoor practice facility that would be available to the Chiefs for inclement weather and will provide locker room and training facilities. They will leave for the 19th consecutive training camp in River Falls, Wisconsin on July 30. If construction proceeds as planned and the facilities are ready, they will hold the 2010 training camp at Missouri Western. The last time the Chiefs held training camp close to Kansas City was 1991, when they were in their 29th year at William Jewell College.
MOVEMENT & SIGNINGS AROUND THE LEAGUE
EAGLES – signed second-round draft choice RB LeSean McCoy.
GIANTS – signed third-round draft choice TE Travis Beckum
JAGUARS – agreed to terms with sixth-round draft choice TE Zach Miller.
SAINTS – signed LS Jason Kyle; released LS Kevin Houser.
STEELERS – signed third-round draft choice OL Kraig Urbik.
SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY …
Born on June 30, 1966 in Livermore, California was P Louie Aguiar. He kicked 10 seasons in the NFL, including five years with the Chiefs (1994-98.) Aguiar kicked 421 times for a 42.6-yard average in the 80 games he played with the team. He also had a 35-yard pass completion on a fake punt. In his career, he kicked for a total of four teams.
Born on June 30, 1984 in Pasadena, California was CB Tyron Brackenridge. He signed with the Chiefs as a college free agent in 2007 and played 14 games with one start during the 2007-08 seasons. He scored a touchdown in ’07 on a fumble return against San Diego.
Born on June 30, 1978 in Shreveport was CB Pat Dennis. He was a fifth-round choice in the 2000 NFL Draft by the Chiefs out of Louisiana-Monroe. Dennis spent that rookie season with the team, appearing in 16 games, with 13 starts. He ended up playing with four different teams over four seasons.