How Do They Fix This? … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs


There is no magic potion that’s available at the coaching supply store to sprinkle over a struggling football team.

Todd Haley checked on that. He was told to take a number. The line in front of him was very long.

There is no blueprint that can be dug out of some old football library that lays out exactly what the head man of the Chiefs, his staff and his players must do to turn around a season gone so, so bad.

Haley checked on that too. He was told some guy named Rockne checked out the blueprint decades ago and it was never returned.

So Haley was forced to visit the cliché store at the Sports Mall and buy an old-fashion remedy to cure the Chiefs ills. With only themselves and their capacity to work, they will face week No. 3 of the 2011 NFL season with a simple plan – they are going to rely on hard work.

“There are no excuses for poor performances and poor outcomes,” Haley said Monday, after spending the first half of his day looking at the tape of Detroit’s powerful 48-3 drubbing of the Chiefs. “What I’m concerned with and what the solution is – continued hard work and better execution. We have to play smarter, we have to protect the football and we have to make plays when there are opportunities to make plays.

“If we don’t do those things, we’ll have a hard time changing the results. That’s what we are doing. Nobody is going to work harder or prepare more thoroughly to try to make the necessary changes.”

On the base level of all 32 NFL teams, few work harder than the Chiefs. That was true when Marty Schottenheimer was here and continued through Gunther Cunningham, Dick Vermeil, Herm Edwards and now Haley. The Chiefs have always been willing to work. Players drafted and signed as free agents over the years all arrived with hard hats and lunch buckets. That was the type of player the organization sought.

Work ethic didn’t just become important when the powers that be decided they needed to have the “right 53 players.”

So how do you work harder?

“I’m not sure that’s the way to say it,” ILB Derrick Johnson said. “It’s probably more like we have to be better at what we are working at. We have to be more efficient, we have to make sure we don’t leave something out. We have to make sure that we have all the angles covered with offense, defense and the kicking game.”

OK, that makes sense. But there are only 24 hours in a day, some 168 hours in any given week. Maniacs like Haley generally end up working 100 to 125 of those hours. Can they ask the same of their players? They can, they will and they expect a reaction.

“It’s about having a sense of urgency,” said NT Kelly Gregg. “There’s a lot of time left in this season, but we’ve allowed two weeks to slip by and we are not playing well. This isn’t something you can wait around on. The sense of urgency has to be there every day now, and it has to come from every player.”

I doubt Hall of Fame football coach Chuck Noll was the first to say this, but he was the first person I heard that crystallized the thought – “It’s easier getting to the top, than it is staying on top. That’s the hard part.”

That’s true in the case of the Chiefs, who did not conquer football’s Mt. Everest last year; they simply won the AFC West, climbing more of a hill than a mountain. They wanted to stay on that hill and start this year with a climb to the mountain top. Instead, they’ve tumbled off the hill and they are now staring not at getting to the top of the mountain; they simply need help to get back on the hill.

Maybe it tells us that last year’s 10-7 record and division championship was a fluke, a lucky combination of poor competition and no major injuries. Quite possibly it was a mirage that obscured some critical areas that simply were not ready-for-primetime.

The Chiefs won’t accept that plot line. They say they worked too hard last year to reach the top of that hill. But to move beyond, or to simply stay at the same level as last year, this group needed to work even harder. It’s a tough formula that requires a great deal of patience and determination. It all goes back to another line I heard Chuck Noll say time after time – “In this league you are either getting better, or you are getting worse. Nobody stays the same in the NFL.”

The Chiefs did not get better between the end of the 2010 season and the start of the 2011 season. That time has passed. There’s only one alternative for them right now.

Even though it seems impossible, they must work even harder.

25 Responses to “How Do They Fix This? … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • September 20, 2011  - Josh says:

    Any of you remember the Doozers? The industrious little guys that would work tirelessly to build wonderfully ornate structures, only to have the massive Fraggles (from Fraggle Rock) EAT the fruits of their labor like it was afternoon snack?

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the Chiefs, and would love for last year not to have been a fluke. But even going in to the home playoff game against the Ravens last year, it simply seemed like Kansas City was playing an entirely different game, and the Ravens were simply munching away. Well, this year, our best Doozers are getting eaten, weekly, as real NFL teams (Bills, Lions…) are feasting on the “hard work.”

    No amount of effort by a Doozer will amount to anything but feeding a Fraggle. As sad as it is to say, we need a few of our own plush, furry, hungry, singing dolls to begin competing.

    As for all of the Andrew Luck fans, I think there are great options out there at QB. If Case Keenum can stay healthy, he’s a viable early to late second rounder, that would allow us to draft a true franchise lineman who could given us a chance not to be eaten each week.

    Go 2012 Chiefs!

  • September 20, 2011  - Tim says:

    Sorry Bob, but I don’t really believe Herm’s teams worked all that hard relative to other NFL teams. It was widely known it was a “country club” atmosphere with players significantly overweight & not in good condition.

  • September 20, 2011  - RW says:

    I don’t believe there’s any NFL team that fails to say they believe in hard work. There’s working hard and working smart as the two should coincide with the other. In these 2011 Chiefs, it’s obvious the smart part isn’t always or seldom answering the roll call.

    How much longer can the franchise travel along its current path before it dawns on the myopic owner that this ain’t working? 3 consecutive blowout losses? 4, 5? Maybe a half empty Arrowhead or merchandise sales deep in the dumper might have a better chance of getting the needed focus & attention from its owner?

    Here’s an idea: Call up Jeff Fisher and ask if he’d be open to interrupting his forced vacation for a return to the daily grind? That seems a better starting and smarter place to begin than continuing to ride this ugly biatch of a season into oblivion.

  • September 20, 2011  - el cid says:

    I could go for Jeff Fisher if he would come here but we need to get rid of Pioli first. He is a bust. On another site, they compared Pioli to the Detroit GM first draft, Detroit 5 starter, 2 who are stars for the team, Pioli get Succop as an adequate K. Says it all, Pioli has this team way behind the power curve with his bad moves, I will leave Hunt out of it, cannot get rid of him anyway.

  • September 20, 2011  - Kiowa says:

    Enough with the mentioning of the “right 53″, get the best 53!

  • September 20, 2011  - Tenand6 says:

    I’m off the Pioli bandwagon, too. Waiting for results. The shine on his star diminishes with every passing day.

  • September 20, 2011  - bhive01 says:

    I’m definitely off the Pioli bandwagon. I’m also unsure about Haley and his seemingly inability to keep a Offensive coordinator. I’d have rather had McDaniels come in this year and see what he could do for us rather than the blasted Rams. I know he’s broken some rules here and there, but the offense the last few games is just broken and without Moeaki and Charles and Baldwin it will only get worse.

    Then you’ve got a defense that can’t protect against the pass. I know megatron is a beast and Flowers did the best he could. I personally would have rather seen Carr’s size up against him, but Crennel probably called that one.

    Haley’s getting the short end of the stick IMO. Pioli and this whole team got too much credit last year and it’s coming back to haunt them in a big way.

    As for the cutoff, I’m watching the whole season if I can help it. Dammit I paid for gamepass. If I have to pick another team to watch instead I’ll do it, but I’d rather not. As much as I’d like to see Luck on our team after the draft I just don’t see us tanking the rest of the season on purpose either. Haley’s head would be on the platter.

    I second the Jeff Fisher, but I’m not ready to call for Haley’s job yet.

  • September 20, 2011  - Kiowa says:

    Tanking or not, I dont think they have much say in the matter, seeing how hard their schedule is, they will be hard pressed to win 3 or 4 games this year.

    I agree that Carr should have maybe played up against Megatron, but really, he only got 29 yards all game, just happened two were in short yardage TD plays. Tough task for any defender to stop that guy!

    And what happens if another RB goes down? There is absolutely no depth, but I do think McClain should get more touches, he has some pretty nifty moves for such a big guy and he can take a pounding.

  • September 20, 2011  - tuan says:

    sorry man but who in the heck is (Baldwin)I can’t remember what the dude looked like, and for us to get the first overall pick (if they do)I’m not sure pioli willing to draft an potential franchise
    QB! instead he will go look for tyson jackass brother.

  • September 20, 2011  - el cid says:

    I do not know who posted under “tuan”. We seldom agree if the sun is up but on Balwin I agree 100%, In fact, I agree with every word. Welcome to the dark side.

    As for another RB, been posted Mike Cox is back for an interview and try out. Means nothing, total joke, I hope. Replacing Charles with a jobless FB, cannot happen.

  • September 20, 2011  - Kiowa says:

    They should grab Clinton Portis, he still has some gas in the tank. Way better option then Cox.

  • September 20, 2011  - robert pritchard says:

    Just realize that when people talk about replacing Haley and/or Pioli, that it means starting ALL OVER AGAIN. It may be required and the right thing to do, but I can hardly bear the thought.

  • September 20, 2011  - Niblick says:

    Robert-I whole heartly agree. Pioli will not be fired. I do think Haley is gone. If not this year with an interim coach, it will be at the end of the year with a permanent coach.I think Pioli signed a six year deal. I’ve not been satisified with a lot of his moves, but I’m not ready to give him the boot this soon. Just my opinion. I know many on this site don’t agree with me.

  • September 20, 2011  - el cid says:

    I agree with both of you. And that is the problem. In my view Pioli has as important a role in what the Chiefs are in 2011 as Haley. And Hunt will not part with Pioli for at least two HCs and at least 8 years.

    We had all better hope Pioli, Haley, and Cassel work out as in HOF careers or back to the bottom of the barrel and start over. yeck

  • September 20, 2011  - Craig says:

    The only new HC i want to see in KC is Bill Cowers!!!

  • September 20, 2011  - James says:

    Hunt wont fire Pioli, he has another two years on his contract at 5 million per. Haley’s in the last year of a 3 year contract so he’s on thin ice. Arrowhead will be empty in Nov and Dec. Changes will be made. I just hope it’s not the OC from St Louis.

  • September 20, 2011  - Niblick says:

    Haley has another year left. He signed a four year deal. I doubt if he’ll be around for that 4th year. I don’t think he will even finish his 3rd.

  • September 20, 2011  - Hank Hobbs says:

    I am amazed how the “results” thus far in 2011 are being viewed without the looking at the year as a whole.

    Last year (2010) Haley took a poor talent team and added a great draft class of players who would immediately produce without our opponents having the benefit of NFL film study. This year our draft class are not positions needing study (except Houston and Baldwin) and Baldwin has yet to play.

    Last year Haley constantly emphasized conditioning in the OTA’s and while other teams lost starters due to injury the Chiefs did not. This year, with no OTA’s, Haley ran OTA conditioning instead of Training Camp especially when league wide players were dropping like flies the first week of camp (albiet most were not starters).

    While other teams ignored conditioning Haley didn’t. He rolled the dice in favor of protecting against injuries over practicing technique. League wide there is still continuing an epidemic of injuries due to conditioning. (I’m not an ortho surgeon but I believe that torn ACL’s are a contact vs. conditioning injury)

    Finally, when you see WHO we have lost this year and WHEN the injury occurred it makes the problem compound. Moeaki at the end of the final preseason game allowing no time to find and prepare his replacement. Berry on the 4th snap of the 1st game blowing up the entire defensive strategy at the very beginning. Charles in the 1st Quarter (after good offensive production) blowing up the entire offensive strategy at the beginning of the game.

    I know you have to be prepared for injuries; however, we are still having to draft players as starters not depth and when you lose three of your best players and without warning you are toast.

    We can possibly recover but not “on the spot”. It will take weeks to get back to a “new normal”.

    Hopefully other teams will continue to lose players due to poor conditioning and we will not, allowing us to get back into competitive play.

  • September 20, 2011  - ED J says:

    OK Reason I always bringing up Cassel is because of this. You can replace RB, WR, Def End, blah blah blah. Bottom line if you don’t have a good to elite QB in this league you’re going to lose. No one has time to find the perfect team. Its fantasy and doesn’t exist. Do we have issue other than QB on this team HELL YES. But until the #1 issue on this team is fixed its not going to matter about the other position. Ask the Colts and Seahawks.

    So instead of dwelling on other positions I’m just getting straight to the point. Bottom line until this organization find an good to elite QB its not going matter. Until we find a guy who puts fear in opposing defense. A guy who can throw a receiver open. Not one who pats the ball until someone is wide open. A guy who can strech the field with his arm. A guy who can carry the offense if run game struggles. A guy who can have a better 3rd percentage. A guy who Haley can trust to have over 30 attempts and get more the 122 yards passing.

    Seriously fellow Chiefs fans. I know you all want to talk about problems with other position but I think you undervalue how much having a franchise QB means to those other position. WE forced 5 straight punts on defense yesterday to start the game and our offense could only get 3 measley points. Think if we had QB who could have did what Stafford did go out there and throw 2-3 touchdowns in those possesions. Now we’re talking about a different game.

  • September 20, 2011  - ED J says:

    ONe last thing the defense isn’t great but it isn’t as bad as score board indicates. If offense were able to move ball and not turn it over so much defense would do alot better. I mean its not like we’re in shootouts. For one offense isn’t helping defense in terms of field position. Bills had 5 straight possesions on our side of the 50. Second when defense did play well against Lions offense only squeezed out measley 3 pts out of 5 straight 3 and outs the defense created. So see what I’m saying QB does his jobs move the ball put pts on the board it helps out the defense.

    Last thing I’m say and I’m done blogging about the situation is this. Ask yourself Chiefs fans whether do you rate your QB out of the 32 starters in the league if it isn’t in the top half then how in the HELL you expect us compete with the good to elite teams in the league. Second the days of Trent Dilfer or Brad Johnson winning Super Bowl are over. ITs too many good young and veteran Qb in the league. Cam Newton is coming in throwing for 400 yards. Andy Dalton looks good in Cincy. Then you have Brady Rivers Manning, etc. Along with your Eli, Big Ben, Flacco, and Ryan. Until we get a guy with the talent to compete with those guys we want compete with the good teams in the league and will continue to lose playoff games.

  • September 20, 2011  - ED J says:

    Bob What do you think about my argument?

  • September 20, 2011  - Michael says:

    Ed, I don’t think anyone is arguing that’s it’s a quarterback driven league. Cassel can be decent with a lot of good talent playing at a high level around him, but he will never be elite and elite quarterbacks do put you in the driver’s seat these days. Even still, you can’t surround an elite quarterback with nothing and expect to go to the Super Bowl either.

    I know everyone’s feeling good about bashing Pioli right now, and some of it for good reason. But, Hunt’s the guy with the purse strings. How do we know how much Pioli is allowed to spend?

  • September 20, 2011  - Michael says:

    Kiowa, the question for me is why was Flowers out there alone one on one with Johnson on that play from the goal line? I knew the ball was going there the second I saw it; and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    What bothers me most about this Chiefs team right now is I can live with poor performance from some of the players some of the time, but not all of them all of the time. Same with the coaching and game planning. It’s just been bad all the way around. Can you imagine this team playing the Chargers now? We’re looking at a straight up massacre.

  • September 21, 2011  - ED J says:

    So now you’re saying he doesn’t have enough talent on offense to put up points. He has strong running game is the o-line the best NO but it isn’t the worst I’ve seen Jay Cutler, Romo, and Big Ben all work with mediocre o-line. Receiving core Urban, Breaston, and Bowe is as good as what Freeman, Bradford, and Cam Newton has. So please don’t take me for a fool. We have enough talent on the offense to do better than what we’re doing. He’s just not a starting QB. Why are you same defending this guy with no argument? REALLY

  • September 21, 2011  - Michael says:

    Dude, you sound like you’re blowing a gasket. Is all that talent you talk about the Chiefs having on the field playing at a hight level? No, not even close, and the defense hasn’t even shown up.
    When all those guys are playing at something close to a professional level, then I’ll look at what Cassel is or is not doing. You might want to fully read a post before you respond to it.

    Cutler, Romo, and Ben? You think think they don’t have a lot of very good players playing at a hight level around them? Look again. And Romo has great regular season stats and what else?

    Freeman, Bradford and Newton haven’t done jack yet,and their teams are very busy trying to gather as much talent around them as possible, even though they may, may,turn into elite QB’s.

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