Haley making all the right moves for Chiefs; 10 things to watch for
One week is way too small a sample size to judge a team, obviously. And we're not going to really know about the Kansas City Chiefs until they come back from their Week 4 bye and play two straight roadies at Indianapolis and Houston. But there they are, alone in first place in the AFC West after their 21-14 win over division favorite San Diego -- with a winnable game at Cleveland coming up.
There was a lot to like Monday night -- the rebirth of
Look a little closer. Look on the sidelines. There was a big difference there, too.
Last year, during breaks in the game on the sidelines, Haley would have been deep in conversation with quarterback
"Put McCluster back on punt returns,'' Haley told special teams coach
"Why?'' Hoffman said. "Javier is doing a great job!''
"He's tired!'' Haley said.
"I understand it wasn't a normal decision to make,'' Haley said this week. "But because I wasn't buried over on the bench coaching Matt, I could make a lot of observations the other night. And when I saw Arenas wearing himself out in the middle of the second quarter, I just thought we could use our resources better.''
McCluster returned the next
"I had a lot of fun coaching the team the other night,'' Haley said. "The team.''
Weis has settled into an anonymous role with the Chiefs. He doesn't do interviews -- the Chiefs denied me permission to speak with him this week -- ostensibly so he can focus on his job and not the media and public things he struggled with during his five-year tenure at Notre Dame. From all reports, quarterback Cassel likes Weis, the former tutor of Cassel's pal
There were a couple of exceptions Monday. On fourth down at the San Diego 39 with nine seconds and no timeouts left in the first half, on a rainy and windy night, the Chiefs had a few options. They could throw a Hail Mary or try for a quick throw to the sidelines to get 10 to 12 yards closer for a field-goal try. Weis favored the Hail Mary. Haley flashed back to the Dallas disaster just before halftime the previous night, when the Cowboys should have played it safe but
"I just thought the businesslike decision, up two scores on a lousy weather night, would be to dump it to the back and maybe we'd get in field-goal range with a second or two to kick it,'' Haley said. "We did it, and it didn't work, but I just didn't want to take any chances there that could have cut into our lead. But for the most part, I'm going to bend to the other coaches because they're the ones who've put all the work in, all the time in.''
Haley said he's "really enjoying working with Charlie. When he interviewed, I wanted to know how he was going to react to being in a situation like this. I said, 'You've been the boss of a lot of people for a long time. How will you handle this?' I mean, there's probably not a more high-profile job than Notre Dame coach in our business. But it's been great. I have not had a single doubt about it since we've been working together.''
One other thing I found interesting, and unprecedented to the best of my knowledge, about the Chiefs this week: On Monday morning, 10 hours before the game, he put the players through a 20-minute "workout'' (largely a yoga-type stretching period) at their training facility.
Did it work? Who knows? But last year, Haley pressed so many of the wrong buttons. This was a week that was a long time coming for the Chiefs -- a week when the coach made the right moves with players good enough to win a big game against a quality team. The times might be changing in Kansas City.
When's the last time a strong playoff contender relied on a 34-year-old back as its primary ballcarrier? That could be the case now that the Patriots have traded the underachieving
"The big thing about how I feel now,'' Taylor told me last night, "is how I prepared with a bunch of young guys in the offseason --
"It'll be a pleasure facing
Be careful what you wish for. The starting cornerback opposite