The Now Or Later Battle … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

It’s the constant predicament faced by NFL head coaches at this time every year. When chopping the roster to the league limit of 53 players, what’s more important – players who can contribute now, or developmental players who are a year or two or maybe more away from carrying their own weight?

The decision making can sometimes leave a head coach a bit dizzy. Todd Haley may have been that way on Monday. The Chiefs head coach said he wants help from every player on his roster this year, and he wants developmental players.

Here’s Haley on the idea of the players must produce now:

“What I’ve been telling these guys from day one, and that includes just now when we ended practice, is we need you now; we don’t need you tomorrow, we don’t need you next week, we don’t need you next year. In my mind I want to put the best team out there every week, whatever that is.”

So does that mean Haley has turned into a modern day George Allen, who as a head coach of the Rams and Redskins lived by the motto that “the future is now”?

Here’s what Haley had to say about that:


“I don’t think that’s the headline that I want because that’s not what it is. The name of the game is to continue to infuse talent into a team to create competition and then from that point to develop the players that you already have here. We need to be developing players from the coaching staff perspective – getting those players ready each and every day to improve and be better and help us. I would say that model hasn’t changed. We’re just trying to get better.”

Confused? Don’t be. It really comes down to this – Haley wants both. He wants 53 guys that can contribute to winning games this coming Monday night and then 15 Sunday afternoons after that. But he also wants his youngsters, players from rookies to third-year players, to fall into the developmental pool where their talent that can be shaped, molded and helped to grow by his coaching staff.

“You have to have players developing,” Haley said. “You need front-line players becoming Pro Bowl players, you need second-line players that are trying to move into the front line, you need role players to continue to improve, you need special teams players. That has to go on – development of your players.”

But Haley has said many times in the last few weeks that he’s not handing out red-shirt seasons; he needs contributions from his No. 1 player all the way through No. 53, whoever that might be.

“I don’t know who they are but No. 51, 52, 53, don’t thank me, just show me that we’re right,” said Haley. “There are a lot of guys out there right now that are chomping at the bit for an opportunity. Maybe they tasted what it feels like to be out in the darkness and that’s where nobody wants to be. We’ve got to do justice for this team, if there is anybody that can make us better we’ve got to look at that and make sure we’re doing everything we can.”

Here’s the problem every NFL coach faces, with the exception of only a handful of team leaders – they need victories and they need them now. A coach sitting in a spot like Haley can talk all he wants about building foundations, changing cultures, turning around the franchise, and all that. But if he soon doesn’t win some games, he’s never going reap the benefits of the tough days he’s currently going through. Just ask Herm Edwards.

Head coaches do not get redshirt seasons. Some could point to the results and moments of the Chiefs season last year and say Haley was unprepared to be an NFL head coach. Whether true or not, what isn’t debatable is this – his record as an NFL head coach is 4-12. That’s “his” record; it goes right next to his name. It doesn’t get chiseled next to Scott Pioli’s name, or Clark Hunt, or his coordinators.

So how many “developmental” players do the Chiefs have on their roster? Haley would probably say 53, plus the eight guys on the practice squad. But realistically, a developmental player is one that has not performed at a consistently successful level on the field. So, there are the 10 rookies on the roster, including the seven draft choices. There are four draft choices from 2009 that haven’t really gotten anything done at a successful level – DE Tyson Jackson, DE Alex Magee, S Donald Washington and TE Jake O’Connell. There are three more undrafted players from ’09, Jovan Belcher, Reshard Langford and Jackie Bates.

That’s a minimum of 17 “developmental” players on the active roster. Debate could easily add another three or four young players to the list, guys like Andy Studebaker, Wallace Gilberry, Barry Richardson and Mike Cox, pushing the total to 20 players.

More than likely, the eight inactive players for each game will come from this group. That means a dozen of those developmental guys are going to be on the field on Sundays. That’s 27 percent of the 45-man game day roster.

If Haley’s record is going to improve, then some of these developmental guys have to grow up fast, like right now.

“I’m not giving anybody a free pass,” Haley said. “That goes even for Bobby Greenwood who’s making a pretty big transition (from defensive end to offensive tackle.) We don’t know what’s going to happen and we need to have this guy ready so I’ve continued to press the coaches that we need him now, we’re not waiting on anybody.

“I think that’s how we’ll keep pushing and trying to get better that way.”


  • BILLS – signed FB Corey McIntyre to a 2-year contract extension, tying him up through the 2012 season.
  • BROWNS – claimed C Steve Vallos off waivers from the Seahawks.
  • BUCCANEERS – claimed RB LeGarrette Blount off waivers from the Titans; signed P Chris Bryan; released P Brent Bowden and WR Reggie Brown.
  • CHARGERS – signed QB J.T. O’Sullivan, last with Bengals.
  • DOLPHINS – signed LB Bobby Carpenter, last with the Rams; released OLB Charlie Anderson.
  • 49ERS – signed QB Troy Smith; released QB Nate Davis.
  • JETS – reached an agreement with CB Darrelle Revis on a 7-year contract that is essentially a 4-year deal for $46 million, with $32 million in guaranteed money. He’ll receive $16.25 million in the first two years; re-signed FB Tony Richardson; released DB Brian Jackson.
  • PACKERS – released RB Quinn Porter; reached injury settlement with G Allen Barbre, giving him his release.
  • RAMS – acquired WR Mark Clayton in a trade with the Ravens in exchange for an undisclosed late-round draft choice.
  • RAVENS – signed WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh to a 1-year, $855,000 contract.
  • SAINTS – signed LB Danny Clark; released TE Tory Humphrey
  • SEAHAWKS – signed DL Raheem Brock, last with Titans; signed RB Michael Robinson, previously with the 49ers; signed DT Junior Siavii, formerly with the Cowboys; did not release RB Julius Jones, but did restructure his contract.
  • STEELERS – QB Dennis Dixon will be the team’s starting quarterback this Sunday against Atlanta.
  • TEXANS – signed QB Matt Leinart.

13 Responses to “The Now Or Later Battle … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • September 7, 2010  - Albert says:

    At the risk of bringing Jason Whitlock back to the Kansas City Star the Chiefs should pick up Nate Davis just waived by the 49ers.

  • September 7, 2010  - Michael says:

    The thought crossed my mind too about Davis, but he was called out by Singletary for poor work ethic, which doesn’t sound like someone KC would touch. Maybe, if they figure getting cut was enough of a wake up for the player?

  • September 7, 2010  - RW says:

    Honeymoons for NFL head coaches seem to be heading toward month-by-month status as opposed to end of season reviews. It kind of reminds me of politicians running for office wanting to do all these glorious things but can’t do any of them unless he’s first elected to do so.

    Haley is on the second year of a three year contract but it might as well be month-to-month and I were in his shoes, that’s how I would approach the upcoming season. I’d also be standing on my hind legs and shouting for more veteran free agent help!

    Maybe he is doing these things but we’ll never know what with the Pioli Gestapo news blackout currently in place? Pioli can take the longerview. Haley cannot. That’s reality and reality for the Chiefs in 2010 as of now is troubling.

  • September 7, 2010  - aPauled says:

    The morning was starting out great…reading abouth the Chiefs…then that name “Herm Edwards” came up. Damn ruined my whole day.

    If Haley truly believes in winning now, we would see C Justin Hartwig and a few RTs passing thru the training facility. We are not strong enough in the middle and on the right in pass protection. Solidifying these areas would help Matt Cassel immensely.

  • September 7, 2010  - Tenand6 says:

    Bob, were there any players released this past week that you were hoping the Chiefs would pick up?

    One more: Of the players who are back from the ’09 squad, who is the most improved? I’ll throw out a name I suspect no one will agree: Jake O’Connell. I’m not saying he should be starting, I’m saying I’m stunned/pleased he made the team based on last year’s performance. I watched him in practices and started pulling for him. To my eyes, he looks like he belongs and can contribute. He’s a pretty good blocker and it appears his hands are better than Pope’s.

  • September 7, 2010  - Ernie says:

    NFL=Not for long. As the Vermeil window slammed shut it smashed CP and HE’s fingers. Rode the wave too long. I like SP and TH’s approach of developing players but infusing a sense of urgency that seemed to be lacking. Hope the results are positive. Let’s start this coming Monday Night!

  • September 7, 2010  - Joshua says:

    Nate Davis is too talented to be ignored for long. We need a QB; I say we grab him. If we don’t someone else will. Plus, he’d be the 3rd QB. That should give him room to grow. Coach Haley might be just what this guy needs.

  • September 7, 2010  - PAChiefsFan says:

    Bob, with the Chiefs receiving corps needing upgrades was an interest in T.J. Houshmandzadeh ever a consideration for the Chiefs? Did they pursue him? Would he have been a good addition in your opinion? The contract he signed with the Ravens wouldn’t have broken the bank.

  • September 7, 2010  - Scott says:

    Bob –
    What do you think of Nate Davis. Seems a better developmental prospect than Palko. big arm lots of upside and 49ers were very positive on him early this year (not sure what happened to change that).

  • September 7, 2010  - Edward says:

    Lack of work ethic according to Singletary. We don’t need guys like Nate Davis if he has poor work ethic. I wished we would’ve went after TJ would’ve been a good addition to go along with Bowe, Chambers, and Mcluster. Either way I’m ready for the season kick off.

  • September 7, 2010  - Merwin says:

    I’m thinking TJ would only sign with a team he deems to be going far into the playoffs. That would exclude the Chiefs from consideration.

  • September 7, 2010  - Jonathan says:

    TJ believed the Ravens were a playoff team and one who could go deep into the playoffs that’s why the Raiders, Redskins and et al were scratched off his list. It would be nice if Hartwig would be signed by the Chiefs but I’m not counting on it. Haley and Pioli are going about it the right way as the most successful teams develop players off their own roster and rarely use free agency unless that player is capable of putting them over the top. I believe the CHiefs aren’t too far off. GO CHIEFS!!!!

  • September 8, 2010  - Michael says:

    They may yet bring in Hartwig, but I agree with Jonathan. They would rather go with their own guys. If they’re going to make a change there, I would rather see Asamough at center. Or, Waters at center with Asamough at guard.

    Tenard6, you’re not the only one who has noticed O’Connell. He’s bigger and stronger, blocking much better,and from what I saw of him in the practices, catching the ball more consitantly.

    He, along with Moeaki and Pope, could give the Chiefs a nice trio of tight ends.

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