Haley Ends QB Controversy

Thursday, after the initial report of a possible quarterback controversy came earlier this week, Todd Haley finally said the magic words that could have put it all to rest three days ago, or better yet, prevented most of it.

"I want to be clear that there's no doubt in my mind that Matt Cassel gives us the best chance to win," he said. "But also I will stay with what I say, that if that ever changes, I'll stand by what I believe in - put the guys out there that have the best chance."

There's no debate now and not a shred of deceit in Haley's voice when he said he thought Cassel gave the Chiefs the best chance to win. So, if he believes that, why not just come right out and say it three days ago? Why not crush any possibility of a controversy instantly? The only logical explanation is that Haley wanted to send the same message to Cassel, and more importantly the rest of his team. There are no "sacred cows."

However, Cassel indicated Thursday that he wasn't too bothered by anything that happened this week, and had hoped the head coach would be "in his corner."

"It's one of those things where I don't read the papers," he said. "I don't do anything. I don't really get involved, but he's been consistent throughout the entire offseason, throughout the entire year…he wants to create competition, and that's what it's about. That's fine with me. I'm ready for the competition if that's what he wants to make it, but right now I do feel like coach is in my corner. He's been very supportive of me throughout my entire time here, and we're just trying to get better and move forward."

Message received.

Often, coaches, general managers, and players in sports say they don't read the paper, listen to the radio, or watch TV, at least when it pertains to them. Almost as often as they say it, they're lying. At Carl Peterson's farewell speech, he openly admitted he read everything that was written about him, so if Cassel, in fact, does not pay attention to the media, why not?

"I just think it's a distraction," he said. "It becomes a distraction, because every week there's a different story. I learned that real early in my career, especially even going through it last year. People are going to write things and there's always stories to be told, and it might not even be a story, but to me, in this building, the only people that really matter to me are the coaches, the players, and what I have to do on a weekly basis. Everything else doesn't really matter."

Finally moving past the quarterback controversy that wasn't, the Chiefs actually have a game this weekend against the Philadelphia Eagles. On paper, Philadelphia is a team that should chew up the Chiefs and spit them out, but this Eagles team is limping into Sunday's contest after a drubbing at the hands of the Saints in Week 2.

Quarterback Donovan McNabb, wide receiver DeSean Jackson and running back Brian Westbrook have still not practiced this week. Wide receiver Kevin Curtis and safety Quintin Demps have only practiced partially, and guard Todd Herremans and cornerback Dimitri Patterson are listed as out for Sunday. Does Haley look at Philly's injury report? Does it change the Chiefs' preparation?

"I think you've got to assume that those guys are going to be full go," said Haley. "I think if you go into it any other way it'll cause you problems, so I'm just assuming that all those guys will get healthy and be out there versus the Chiefs and full go."

But if McNabb and the others don't play, the Chiefs will be facing a team with a quarterback less experienced as a starter than Cassel, a rookie running back and a depleted receiving corps. That would level the playing field a bit. Of course, the Chiefs have their share of injuries too.

Despite being listed as a partial participant at today's practice, Derrick Johnson said he'd be out for Sunday due to a strained groin suffered last week against Oakland. Also listed as partial participants were Cassel, Brandon Flowers, Jake O'Connell and Dwayne Bowe, who has a hamstring issue that Haley is hopeful will clear up.

Cassel, Flowers, and Brian Waters are nursing injuries they were able to overcome and play with last week, while O'Connell and Bowe's injuries are new. It's probably safe to say Cassel, Flowers and Waters will be just fine Sunday, but the others are question marks. They technically practiced, but so did Johnson, who isn't playing, so don't be shocked if Bowe or O'Connell sit out Sunday.

WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories