There Must Be Progress … Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs

During his time as head coach of the Chiefs, Todd Haley sports a 1-9 record in the pre-season.

There was a time and place in Chiefs history where the head coach was paid bonus money based on how many games the team won in the exhibition season. Stram, Wiggin, Levy, Mackovic, they all got extra money because management thought winning efforts in the games that don’t count would lead to more tickets sold for the games that did count.

The Chiefs host the St. Louis Rams on Friday night at Arrowhead Stadium in another chapter in the battle for the Governor’s Cup. Kickoff is 7 p.m. with the television broadcast set for Channel 5, KCTV.

And the Chiefs have a lot of tickets to sell. While there was not any talk of a blackout for this game, the matter of selling enough seats for local television will be a subject for discussion in more than half of the eight regular season home games.

So what kind of responsibility does Haley have of putting a winning effort on the field for these types of games?

“Do you want the honest answer?” Haley joked while talking to the media the other day.

The honest answer is this – yes the coach hears about every defeat, whether it comes in the pre-season or the regular schedule. But coaches go in to the games that don’t count with agendas that don’t always have victory listed at the top of the page.

“Hey, this is a home game for us and that’s very important for our team,” Haley said. “Our home field advantage, our ability to win games at home, is very important to our overall success. I think the earlier you establish that, even if it is in the pre-season when the numbers won’t count obviously, but you can establish some of that feel and that confidence of walking out of your own tunnel, your own locker room, hearing your fans screaming for you.

“It’s the best feeling in the world to walk out there on Sunday right before the game and they’re there and you hear it. There’s no better in the league, I don’t believe.”

But Haley is a firm believer that the atmosphere for the regular season is far more important than matter of winning games and exciting the fans in August.

“I think I owe it to the fans that this team is ready to play on September 11,” Haley said.” I think that all those fans I think they get it. They’re smart fans and they get it. But, again, it’s kind of a double-edger there. We’ve got to get the team ready, but make no mistake, building that home field is something that we talk about a lot. You hear the ‘This is our house’ all the time, but we need to win at home because it’s hard to win on the road.”

Under Haley, in three pre-seasons and two regular seasons so far, the Chiefs are 6-15 overall away from Arrowhead, so yes, winning at home is key, key, key and the head coach believes the fans understand the situation.

I think we’ve got great fans and I do think that what’s most important to them is what’s most important to me, and that’s that we have a good team,” Haley said. “The way you’re measured is when those regular season games start and then ultimately what you do beyond that, so that’s what my focus is 100-percent, all the time.”

But there is no question that the Chiefs need a winning effort against the Rams. Whether it’s to entertain fans, or help turn around the numbers on Haley’s resume, the Chiefs have now lost four in a row – the 2010 regular season finale, the ’10 wildcard game in the AFC playoffs and a pair of pre-season games.

It should be an evening where the starting units get their most extensive playing time of the pre-season. Haley would not reveal his plans for personnel, but Matt Cassel figures to go through the first half and maybe the first possession of the third quarter. If he’s in there that means the No. 1 offensive line will be out there as well.

Some sort of leg injury that RB Jamaal Charles suffered during Wednesday’s practice may keep him on the sidelines against the Rams. It did not appear to be anything serious, but it’s doubtful that Haley will take a chance with his offensive engine.

It’s probably the same situation with CB Brandon Flowers, who suffered a leg injury of some sort during practice. He’s been a limited participant since then.

And it’s doubtful that newly signed TE Anthony Becht gets any type of extensive playing time. He’s not been in any team’s camp and did not play last year.

21 Responses to “There Must Be Progress … Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs”

  • August 26, 2011  - bhive01 says:

    I don’t see why the Chiefs “have to win” this game. I’m fine with us losing every single preseason game if we can turn it around in the regular season like we did last year. Always nice to win the governors cup, but it’s preseason.

    We can lose, but we do need to see lots of progress on the 1st string offense and defense.

  • August 26, 2011  - Mark in Ga. says:

    Marty never cared about the preseason, it was all about evaluating talent, and I believe he had some pretty good teams, back then!!!!!!

  • August 26, 2011  - ED says:

    Agreed guys preseason is meaningless in terms of winning. Remember Lions went 4-0 in preseason before going 0-16 in regular season. Shows you how important winning really means anything. I just want to see the starters play well particularly Matt Cassel and receiving core. Also I want to see young guys play well and mainly stay healthy. I’d take a loss if everyone will leave this game healthy.

  • August 26, 2011  - Tenand6 says:

    To me, pre-season is all about figuring out “the right 53.”

  • August 26, 2011  - MGDog says:

    Winning is not important, however progress is important and the Chiefs offense has looked like dog crap. They don’t look crisp, Cassel still looks indecisive and telegraphs his throws.

  • August 26, 2011  - TRUEGRIT says:

    I agree with all of you but should people have to pay full price for practice and evaluation games?

  • August 26, 2011  - el cid says:

    I am with MGDog. Bob, indicated the first string will play more extensively tonite, well, my view is “couldn’t play much less”. To many feel that Sept will roll around and the team will click, folks, don’t happen in football that way. No switch, just tedious practice over and over. Signing a TE, yesterday, out of football is really a hot item.

    As for the game, no one gets injured and do not care who wins. Would be nice if the AFC West Champs showed up, at least for a series or two.

  • August 26, 2011  - Justin says:

    I agree with Tenand6. I figure the preseason tix costs are actually amortized over the remaining 8 real games I pay for so I say screw “having to win” in the preseason. Find the right guys, get them some work but don’t play them longer just to eke out a win.

  • August 26, 2011  - leo says:

    The same whiners that cried about losing in the preseason when Marty was here, are crying now. You get no trophies for winning in the preseason.
    What you see tonight, will be different during the Season. Last week the Chiefs had the lead until they put in the second and third players.
    That does not happen in the regular season. It is all about evaluation. Plain and simple. I hear the talking head complaining about payuing the same price for preseaon games. Well, that is set by the league. It is all symantics. I have the solution, don’t publish the face value on season tickets, charge a flat rate, and no one will be any wiser. They can say the preseason is free.

  • August 26, 2011  - Anonymous says:

    How cheap you reckon tickets will be down at arrowhead?

  • August 26, 2011  - jim says:

    If they, and they do, charge more for play-off games which mean soooo much more than regular season games, then the same logic would apply to pre-season games that mean sooooo much less than regular season games. Lower the pre-season games by the same percentage that you RAISE the post season games.

  • August 26, 2011  - wgs says:

    I have always liked going to preseason games at Arrowhead. Admittedly, Stram would reinsert his first string defense to preserve a preseason win. For me, though, I liked (besides the weather) seeing new players and their potential for the regular season. I remember seeing Joe Delaney and thinking he was going to be good. Charles is simply Delaney reincarnated. I don’t about the record as long as players play hard and the team is competitive for the playoffs.

  • August 26, 2011  - Mark says:

    I was pleased with the fact they led a very good Raven’s team last week late in the third quarter, when it was still mostly starters or high level reserves (13-10). I could care less once the third and fourth stringers make it in. By that time my focus has shifted to individual player evaluation and where I sat my beer.

  • August 26, 2011  - Mark S. says:

    Why play Charles any during preseason? That’s the guy we need to protect more than anyone. Even if he was completely healthy I’d hold him out of the preseason games. If anything, one series.

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