As deflating as Friday night's exhibition against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers turned out, it's hard to knock Haley.
His plan worked!
With all 32 NFL coaching staffs navigating through uncharted waters, each must formulate their own plan of action for these preseason contests. Haley just chose the extreme conservative route.
With rain pounding on Kansas City into the afternoon, the wet and slippery conditions, were no match to the minimal contact drills that had been the norm the last couple of weeks in St. Joe.
Though the field was dry the conditions could have led to injuries, Haley's motivations for a vanilla brand of offense, were probably appreciated by his players.
But Haley may have failed to see that gaining confidence is just as valuable as the health and well being of his players. Because the physical is one thing but so is the mental.
Haley confirmed to the Chiefs sideline reporter just moments before kickoff, that he wanted this game to look like practice and it did. Although his plan worked to perfection, after months of waiting for the return of football, few fans will offer much applause.
The returning AFC West Champions followed the orders of their coach to perfection but some like running back Thomas Jones looked frustrated on the sidelines.
In fact, Jones was the key contributor in the Chiefs only successful drive of the night. But he was quickly jettisoned to the sideline after meeting up with a water cooler on the sideline.
The frustrations of Jones however were much like the frustrations of the booing fans in the seats at Arrowhead.
To contrast Haley's approach, Bucs skipper Raheem Morris took a very aggressive approach, that showcased his young star quarterback, Josh Freeman well into the second quarter. His play calling on both sides of the ball was aggressive and his players responded in the same fashion.
Kansas City on the other hand went retro with their play calling and his players looked out of date as well.
But still its understandable that the team looked sloppy considering half of their offensive and defensive starters didn't play a single snap. But even with that this game should not diminish the work they accomplished a year ago.
So I'm not going to say Haley's game plan for was wrong. It was clear after the game that he had to adjust his plan a bit because his back-up quarterbacks were running for their lives. On defense, the team was still blitzing in the second half.
In the aftermath, the Bucs will fly back to Tampa Bay feeling ready to finish the business they started in 2010. In contrast, the Chiefs will head back to St. Joe with a sour taste in their mouth that might lead to a few more questions this week in practice.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Pretty or not it was just a meaningless preseason game.
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