From Detroit, Michigan

Whether it was Derrick Johnson, Jon McGraw and Kelly Gregg on defense, or Casey Wiegmann, Terrance Copper, Thomas Jones and Matt Cassel on offense, this was the week the Chiefs needed their veterans to step forward.

As head coach Todd Haley said all week, “one week does not form an identity of a team.” That’s only true if the team comes out and establishes something other than what they’ve already presented. That’s what the Chiefs must do on the second Sunday of the 2011 NFL season when they take on the Detroit Lions at a sold-out Ford Field. Kickoff is 12 o’clock on CBS-TV.

Part of the equation in the Chiefs ability to turn things around was the influence of the veterans on this team. The Chiefs are no longer a young team. They are an inexperienced team, especially an inexperienced team dealing with the season after success. They’ve learned very quickly that nothing about 2010 really carries over to 2011. As the head coach admitted this week, his team was carrying an attitude like they had arrived.

And what happens when a team takes on that persona is generally they get their butt kicked, which is exactly what the Bills did to them last Sunday with a 41-7 beat down.

Haley has addressed the situation, reminding his team that “one week does not …” But a lot of the work at making sure this team moves forward against the Lions must come from within. On defense, one guy that knew he had to speak up and lead was Derrick Johnson. That was the role of veteran OLB Mike Vrabel the last two seasons, and he had the perfect resume and mentality for the job. Vrabel had Super Bowl rings, knowledge of the defense and a willingness to speak his mind without worrying about stepping on toes.

Johnson doesn’t carry Super Bowl rings into the discussion, but he’s one of the most veteran members of the Chiefs – only punter Dustin Colquitt has been with the team as long.

“I’m trying to get everyone accountable for their actions,” Johnson said. “I have to do a better job of being accountable on the field. I’ll stand up and say that first, but in practice everyone needs to stand up and take a look at themselves and make sure they’re doing the right thing throughout practice. We were bleeding during that game. We couldn’t stop the bleeding and we bled to death. That’s not acceptable.”

On the other side of the ball, Cassel has not been shy this past week about saying he’s not sure the effort was there against Buffalo.

“Number one overall, we just have to play with great effort for four quarters,” Cassel said. “Not to say that we didn’t, but at times I think that for whatever reason it looked like we were lackadaisical and we can’t do that. We have to be a team that goes out there every play and every time they turn on the film they see us running around the field with our heads cut off.”

That’s something that Haley did not want to hear, although he understood his quarterback’s point.

“I don’t think chickens with heads cut off is really what we want to be doing,” Haley said. “Effort was not something that was an issue in that game to me. Now, concentration, focus, there are a number of things that we did that then led to us getting into really bad spots. I think effort was not one of those.”

The Chiefs face a Lions team coming off a rare road victory from the opening weekend, where they beat Tampa Bay in a game they dominated in the first half and then coasted to a victory. Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz isn’t one to read too much into one Sunday of action, whether it was the performance of the Chiefs or his team.

“It’s the NFL; you can’t read too much in to one week,” Schwartz said. “You’ve got on a whole body of work and their body of work of was pretty good. They have some explosive players, they have Pro-Bowl players, they have guys that are weapons on the field and they were a playoff team last year. You don’t have to go back very far in the memory banks to see teams that don’t play well in the first game and go on and win the Super Bowl. New England, I can’t remember what year it was – 2003 maybe. They opened with Buffalo. Buffalo skunked them, 35-0. (They) came back and won the Super Bowl that year. We know better than to read too much in to a one game performance.”

“I think that we worry about ourselves, worry about playing well,” Schwartz continued. “We can play a lot better than we did last week, but I think we’re at a different point with our team. Like I’ve said, there’s not a lot of carryover from year to year, but it has been awhile since we’ve had a loss, so we’re starting to get used to dealing with winning. In the past, it was how do we deal with a loss and we got pretty good at doing that, so I think we’ve had a little practice … a little too good. We’ve had some practice at coming back off of wins and we’ve got a good mentality as a team.”

Haley is convinced that his team will come off the poor opening game performance and get their mojo back.

“I know we can respond … we have to make major progress in the game,” Haley said. “That’s really the focus. It’s the first quarter of the season. We’ve got a four-game quarter. We’re 0-1 and trying to fight like heck to get better and go play in a pretty hostile environment against what looks like a pretty good team.”


  • September 18, 2011  - bhive01 says:

    I’m really hoping they show up today. A good butt whooping can do a team good.

  • September 18, 2011  - aPauled says:

    Where did these guys come up with the attitude “we have arrived”? They finished last season getting their asses kicked at home by the Ravens…who haven’t even “arrived” yet. Got their asses kicked at the end of last season by the Raiders and Chargers who didn’t even make the playoffs. Got their asses kicked pretty good in all four preseason games including by the Packers reserves. Not sure how someone could gain an attitude that they have “arrived” from that. This team needs to play smart with a lot of effort…starting today.

  • September 18, 2011  - traumaman says:

    Philosophically, I want to see an owner humiliated for setting on tons of cap money, as well as this GM for drafting Tyson Jackson, a safety and receiver when he needs quality linemen and our delusional head coach reminded that as a de facto offensive coordinator, Todd Haley has no pedigree of accomplishment to call upon.

    Perhaps Haley forgets that the head coach at AZ who taught Haley is craft of offensive coordinator was not a very accomplished coordinator himself at the Steelers, and that Arizona actually failed to win the Super bowl. Todd Haley has no credible offensive gene pool to access. Last week, a true offensive genius, with a track record of multiple championships, the one that wasn’t good enough for Haley so he was promptly fired by Haley, showed up coaching our opponent and kicked the Chief’s a**. Demonstrating who’s the better head coach and offensive coordinator to the entire league.

    Frankly, as long as this owner continues to tolerate gross mismanagement by a GM and head coach, field second tier players and charge hard working, loyal fans top price, I can only hope that the Chiefs lose by 20-plus every single week. Even though losing didn’t seem to bother Lamar, since Clark has no championship yet, maybe he will demonstrate some stones and the pride to begin running this place like Dallas, Green Bay or Pittsburgh. It’s obvious, running KC like New England isn’t working. Clearly Belichick was the brains and Pioli was his boy. Chiefs fans campaign for change. This owner and his management team are failing miserably. Last year was a schedule driven anomaly. 40 plus years of this trash called football in KC is enough!

  • September 18, 2011  - Michael says:

    If the Charles injury is serious and he’s out for the year, along with Berry and Moeaki, this season is doomed. I’ve had that feeling since the preseason.

    Traumaman, you might as well pick anohter team root for cuz that ain’t going to happen. Pioli is Hunt’s hand-picked guy. If anyone goes, it will be Haley, and that depends on Pioli. With the shortened offseason and now the injuries, Pioli can keep Haley if he wants because he’s got plenty to blame it on. If he doesn’t want Haley to return, I think he could get away with that, too. He can point to games like today against Detroit with all the penalties and turnovers, which the coach should be responsible for.

    If you remain a Chiefs fan, you can only hope for next year, which is the norm. Hope their record will be bad enough to get a high enough draft pick to land Luck or Landry Jones. Hope all the players injured this year come back strong. Hope their schedule is weak again, hope Pioli spends a couple more bucks, and hope Haley is replaced with someone better. And then there will be, you guesse it, hope.

  • September 18, 2011  - scott evans says:

    Taking responsibility is putting players on the field that give you a chance at winning.
    Guys with limited talent, no upside and not being able to contribute on offense or defense should not be on the roster.
    McGraw, Sabitelli, Copper and Battle are the poster children of roster fillers on a budget.
    Season ticketholdres are the victims here. The money is paid and the value is not on the field.
    Clark, Scott congrats on making ‘season ticket holder’ a synonym for ‘sucker’.

  • September 18, 2011  - david says:

    Michael-I think Pioli will turn it around but not sure about Haley. Last year both of them lived off the players Peterson/Herm picked in draft or as FA (Haley also live of Weis). The CHIEFS have gone backwards since last season. They look like the Chiefs of 09. Common denominator is Haley who thinks he is a genius. Big mistake running Weis off.

    I have rooted for the chiefs since 71 and am a diehard fan even thru the terrible teams they had. I have never felt we were out coached so badly as we were the last 2 weeks. Haley has been schooled. He messed up by getting rid of Weis and thinking he knew everything. Not sure about Crennel and the D.

  • September 19, 2011  - Milkman says:

    Bottom line is that It looks like Haley has lost the locker room. How else can you explain 2 weeks of some of the worst Chiefs football we’ve ever seen? Yes, we’ve had several key injuries. But that has happened before and we at least looked competitive with our back-ups. It also looks like Pioli wasn’t as instrumental in the building of the great Patriot teams as originaly thought. We evidently have no depth.

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