Sunday, September 11, 2011

This start was predictable

The worst part about the Chiefs' season-opening debacle Sunday wasn't the Dexter McCluster fumble on the opening kickoff, the injury to Eric Berry, or the four touchdown passes by Bills' quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick.

It wasn't the predictable play-calling by first-time offensive coordinator, Bill Muir, the lack of touches for Jamaal Charles, or the almost surreal 41-7 final score.

Hell, it wasn't even the $75 ticket, $27 parking or the $8 beer for a game that was over before the grills in the Arrowhead Stadium parking lot had cooled.

No. The worst part about the biggest opening-day loss in Chiefs' franchise history was how predictable the outcome was.

Let's step back a minute.

The Chiefs, led by General Manager Scott Pioli, spent the better part of the off-season gloating about the team's step forward in 2010 and how the "right-53" was finally starting to come together instead of improving the talent on the roster. Meanwhile, underachievers like Tyson Jackson, Jovan Belcher, Barry Richardson and Branden Albert held onto their starting spots.

There were improvements. The Chiefs selected wide receiver, Jonathan Baldwin with their first pick in the draft and snagged wide receiver, Steve Breaston, and defensive tackle, Kelly Gregg in free-agency.

Then, with no shortage of arrogance, Head coach Todd Haley chose to ease his post-lockout players into training camp with conditioning drills and very little contact. Baldwin, an oft-called "head case" while in college, scuffled with a Pioli hand-picked veteran, Thomas Jones, injuring his hand and knocking him out for the entire preseason. The first preseason game essentially became a glorified practice (full price to get in, of course), as Haley sat out most of the starters.

In the final preseason game, one traditionally used to rest the starters and get a glance at younger players, Haley chose to play his starters into the fourth quarter, risking injuries to key players coming into the regular season.

The result? Starting tight-end, Tony Moeaki gets knocked out for the year with a torn ACL, and quarterback, Matt Cassel gets a cracked rib.

And you thought this team would be ready? Ok?

Sunday the Chiefs looked horrific from the head coach all the way down to the punter. Breaston had a whopping 26 yards receiving (9 more than Dwayne Bowe), Baldwin didn't even suit up, and Gregg's former defense in Baltimore missed him so much they caused seven turnovers in a rout of the Steelers.

But should it really have been that surprising?

Probably not.

A team's whose general manager grossly overestimates the talent on the roster and head coach is constantly and desperately trying to prove he is more than just a former golf-pro by attempting to reinvent the game is bound to show its true colors sooner or later.

It happened Sunday against former Chiefs offensive coordinator, Chan Gailey, now head coach of the Bills, whom Haley fired just before his first season as head coach in 2009.

Yep. This start was predictable.

So what now? The Chiefs have a demoralized, injury-plagued roster, whose last three games that counted were all blowout losses — at home. The coach seems clueless and hasn't won a game sans-Charlie Weis (the second offensive coordinator in two years Haley chose to burn bridges with) in 20 months. The fanbase is already fed-up, and it's early September.

This season seemed doomed from the start.

We thought last year's season-opening Monday night victory over San Diego was something of a changing of the tides for football in Kansas City. This year's fiasco may be a sign it was all just a fluke.


  1. We should have seen it coming-- I am disappointed in myself that I allowed myself to believe that it could (would) come together. We were duped.

    The Chiefs looked wretched all of preseason, and we were told by our arrogant coach that it 'didn't matter.' We were fed the "wait until Sept 11th" line so many times that I lost count.

    Turnovers, botched punts, missed field goals, sacks, a lousy QB performance, a shaky offensive line, a toated secondary, and under 120 yards passing on 40 attempts.

    Haley should be fired for his lack of concern for getting the Chiefs into shape. Any coach of youth sports can detail the importance of conditioning and preparing for hard-fought games. This coach's continued arrogance for what are elementary principles are STAGGERING. I am somewhat relieved that the show is grinding to a halt-- he needs to feel the heat for the horrible decisions he has made. This latest debacle of preseason nonchalance may cost the team the entire season.

  2. I like Haley and think we need to cut him some slack. While the injuries are unfortunate, look at the big picture. We had a fration of the Training camp injuries all the other teams had, and if he had ramped up the contact drills we would have been fine. Now that we have one game under our belt, look for the team to revert to last years form.