Thursday night however his plan appeared to be working, despite the fact the Chiefs lost 20-19 to the Green Bay Packers.
The Chiefs came out a bit sluggish early but that was the precise reason Haley's starters needed some extra reps. To this point the offense has shown little to no continuity in the passing game or on the offensive line but much of those concerns were alleviated after the first quarter.
Most expect the Chiefs to handle the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead on 9-1. But if this team doesn't have the opportunity to iron out some of the wrinkles Thursday night, the Chiefs could be surprised on opening day.
So for the first time this preseason Haley's squad looked like they were ready to play a regular season game. However the team left the unfrozen tundra with a few dings. Quarterback Matt Cassel, Tight End Tony Moeaki, Safety Eric Berry and running back Jamaal Charles all left with injuries early which should have been reason enough to force Haley to avoid playing some of his starters the entire game.
In theory Haley's plan should be applauded, considering the Chiefs won't play again until opening day. But this really wasn't a shock considering how Haley coddled his starters through a trio of preseason games.
You could say a lot about Haley but one thing you could never say about him is that he is conventional. Not many coaches inside their own thirty yard-line will allow their punter to throw a pass. Not sure if that play is in the regular season playbook. Still he left the preseason with an 0-4 record and that has some wondering what will happen this season.
Looking ahead, the Chiefs hit a murderous row at the seasons midway point and getting off to a good start will be imperative to this teams success. I suspect this is one of the reasons for Haley's against the grain approach to offseason conditioning but he may have put too many of his eggs in one basket.
It's easy to say Haley should have fallen in line with the rest of his colleagues. Heading into year three of his contract and coming off of an AFC West division crown, Haley is filled with expectations from the top of the organization. If the Chiefs stumble early and fall out of contention, many will start to question if Haley is the right man for the job.
So did Haley's plan pay off to go half speed until the final preseason game?
The truth is nobody will really know until sometime in early October. Thursday nights impressive showing on the road against the defending Super Bowl Champions was certainly an encouraging sign but the team still lost.. If the Chiefs stubble in their season opener however, the blame will fall squarely at the feet of their head coach.
But as any gambler will tell you, sometimes you beat the dealer and sometimes the dealer beats you.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Will Todd Haley's plan backfire?
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