Chiefs Going The Wrong Direction

With this being the 50th Anniversary of the AFL, you'd have thought that the team founded by the late Lamar Hunt would not play like an expansion team. But right now, that's what we have in Kansas City, and it showed against the Giants at Arrowhead Sunday.

It's clear that head coach Todd Haley has no confidence in his starting quarterback, Matt Cassel. The play-calling, especially on first down, was horrendous Sunday. The Chiefs are not a running team. They don't have the offensive line, but Haley is trying to shove a square peg into a round hole.

There isn't any way that Cassel can be effective in this system. Cassel never established any rhythm or sharpness in the passing game, because the Chiefs ran the ball too much for the second straight week. Unless they were in an obvious passing situation the Chiefs didn't even bother to throw the ball on consecutive plays.

The Giants were teeing off on Cassel, but 11 guys off the street could easily decipher if the Chiefs were going to run or pass based on the formation. People talk about a baseball pitcher tipping his hand when he pitches, and right now Haley is guilty of the NFL equivalent.

Haley appears to be trying to do too much at once for this football team. I'm equally certain that general manager Scott Pioli isn't doing near enough to help his head coach. What does that all add up to?

Through four games the Chiefs are the Bad News Bears of the NFL. Even the Detroit Lions are a better team than the Chiefs. With an 0-4 record, the season is over. Any shot at the playoffs is a pipe dream. This team can't run the ball, they can't pass the ball and the plays being called are eerily similar to those of the Jimmy Raye era.

Pioli needs to call Ozzie Newsome, the Baltimore Ravens' general manager, and receive permission to talk with Al Saunders, who is acting as an offensive consultant. He needs to clear up the hard feelings that Saunders was left with after he was discarded by the Chiefs following Dick Vermeil's retirement.

The Chiefs need to pay Saunders the $2.5 million per year he'll want to leave his consulting gig, and make him the new offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs. Pioli needs to get it done post haste.

This is such a bad football team right now that it's hard to see the direction. I don't see it getting better. At this point Haley appears to be all alone on an island. Pioli is chatting it up on New York Radio stations, talking about his head coach and how he's a good person, is going to be a good coach and that he needs more time. While all of that is taking place, he never speaks to the local media about Haley.

Does that bother anyone else?

It's one thing to keep tinkering with a team's personnel from week to week, but it's another to appear so distant from the head coach. Right now there are few words to describe this football team. They are simply bad. The Chiefs are not coached well and the man in charge of assembling the 53-man roster has missed far more than he has hit.

The journeymen free agents Pioli has brought in have done nothing to help this football team. None of the 2009 draft picks have made an impact other than the kicker, the last man drafted.

There is plenty of blame to go around. With the Royals ending their season Sunday, it appears the Chiefs season is also nearly over even though we still have 12 games to go. That stings and it resonates with a lot of Chiefs fans. I talk to them on the streets of Kansas City and on our message boards at Warpaint Illustrated. They are frustrated to the point they aren't even watching the games for free on local broadcasts.

I guess, if you want a silver lining, at least Haley finally trusted Cassel in the fourth quarter and allowed him to carry the team to a pair of touchdowns. If he can do that in the first, second and third quarters, maybe the Chiefs will again be in a game this season with less than two minutes to go.

Even better, they might win one or two. But for now, they are headed in the wrong direction.

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