It’s A Work Zone … Sunday Cup O’Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

When the players found their way back to STJ on Saturday evening, they were not met by a head coach holding tackling drills in the players’ dorm parking lot.

In fact, it’s doubtful that Todd Haley even raised his voice in speaking with his team. That may not be the case on Sunday, when the Chiefs return to the practice field almost 48 hours after their dreadful performance against Tampa Bay.

An upset it would be if Haley doesn’t have his team in full pads for this practice. It would also be a shock if there was not a tackling drill or three during the afternoon session.

Haley has been concerned about the physical condition of his team, and with good reason. The 88 players on the roster are all over the board when it comes to what kind of shape they are in. That concern remains, but now it’s time for the Chiefs to get to work on football, and that’s going to require Haley and his staff to step on the accelerator.

“What’s important is that our guys recognize they have a lot of work ahead of them and a short time to do it,” Haley said. “Our goal is to be ready to go on September 11th (regular season opener) and we have a lot of things to work on and a short time to do it.”

Tackling will be one of the primary areas where the defense will be working this week. Tampa Bay was able to add all sorts of offensive yards after first contact, and it started on the first possession when two different Chiefs had shots at RB LeGarrette Blount and it took a third K.C. defender to bring him down.

Hitting, wrapping up, taking the ball carrier down – it doesn’t get any more basic than that in football. It was a point of emphasis for the defensive staff coming into the season and the first game out of the chute belied that standard.

“As coaches and players is you can’t accept certain things and being a poor tackling team is not something we want on our resume – ever,” Haley said. “Right now it’s on there for this year and a little bit of last year. What’s important is that these guys and our staff recognize some of those areas that were glaring and that we get to work. Time’s limited and we’ve got a bunch to do.”

As limited as the lead up to the start of training camp was post-lockout, it’s just as limited now in time leading up to the first one that counts, the season opener against Buffalo and it’s 28 days away.

Offensively, the focus has got to be on pass protection, and that’s going to require either great improvement or a bunch of new players. The Chiefs gave up a sack every 3.5 passing plays against Tampa Bay. Four of those came in the fourth quarter when the team had a blocking unit made up of four undrafted rookies and rookie C Rodney Hudson. It’s a wonder QB Ricky Stanzi isn’t in intensive care.

Newly signed Jared Gaither will be on the practice field Sunday for the first time. But what can the Chiefs expect from him? He hasn’t played since 2009, missing all of last season, and there was one ominous line from Haley during his post-game press conference.

“We’ve got to get him into football shape and try to get him into a position where he can compete,” Haley said of Gaither. That would indicate that it may be awhile before the big man can actively compete at either left or right tackle.

Right now, the Chiefs need football. They need practice time, but Haley and his staff are now limited by the new labor agreement in how long they can have the players on the field.

So, that time must be put to good use and cannot be wasted, not a second. As the Chiefs showed Friday night, there’s a lot of work to do.

“We’ll go back to camp and work the problem,” said OLB Andy Studebaker. “That’s what we have in front of us. This game won’t stick with us. It wasn’t pretty but it didn’t count, and it gave us the things we need to work on.”

9 Responses to “It’s A Work Zone … Sunday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • August 14, 2011  - Mark says:

    Where do you get all those quotes? Great stuff!

  • August 14, 2011  - john says:

    Mark, try Bob, all things being equal, why does it appear that K.C. looked so much worse than any team I saw the past week? As far as I can tell, they are obligated to the same restrictions that the Chiefs must adhere to. Is it a lack of talent, poorly managed practice time, evauluation of personel, or all of the above? Not quite sure most teams would find much positive out of that performance. I do appreciate you, and your unbiased professional opinion. (unlike the afore mentioned web site, with the rose colored glasses!) Kudos to you for telling it like it is.

  • August 14, 2011  - el cid says:

    Conditioning may be the by word for Haley’s Chiefs but the rest of the league is moving forward getting ready for the real season. All things being equal, condition over preparedness means lots of losses the first half of the season and, frankly, a wasted year. Way to go Chiefs.

  • August 14, 2011  - Kevin says:

    Did you happen to watch how much those teams played their starters? The Chiefs basically didn’t play any starters. That’s the difference. If they wanted to the Chiefs could have torn up TB but what’s the point of that?

  • August 14, 2011  - Tucson Chiefs fan says:

    New England didn’t play Brady, Welker, Branch, or Ochocinco. The back ups scored 47 points. We were the only team in the league to lay a goose egg. Our backups may not have been expected to win, but should have at least made a game out of it. If they can’t, were screwed everytime a starter gets injured.

  • August 14, 2011  - Watcfull Observer says:

    ( I mean fatso) why are all of your stories irrelevant. Fatlock is a much better writer than you and knows more than you. He is not as smart as Rick Gosselin but he is much closer than you.

  • August 15, 2011  - JP says:

    One pre-season game and everyone is ready to abandon ship. I have heard of fair weathered fans, but this is ridiculous. The coach has stated, from the beginning, that they have been conditioning. It would appear that they are taking care of business for the long haul. That means November, December, and perhaps deep in to January. Show a little patience and remember this is not Madden ’11.

    Watchful Observer…come on…Fatso…seriously?

  • August 15, 2011  - jim says:

    Let’s all make el cid happy…….”the first half of the season has been forfeited…..”. el cid, we’ll see you in mid-November. Whet ever will you do till then? No use watching the Chiefs, after all the ‘sky is falling’…………

  • August 15, 2011  - jim says:

    Watchful Observer…………it’s real simple then. Don’t read his stuff. Continue your love affair with Fatso, and take communion at the Table of Gosselin.

    As for me………..Go Chiefs and go Bob!!!!

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