Play-calling under fire in Kansas City, too

Vikings fans aren't alone in questioning the play-calling on offense. Chiefs offensive coordinator Bill Muir is coming under fire, too.

It's a now weekly question for Chiefs head coach Todd Haley – did you take over play-calling duties in last Sunday's game?

Offensive coordinator Bill Muir was named the play-caller by Haley at the start of the preseason and it's stayed that way through the 0-3 start according to the head coach. Everyone watching the Chiefs expects Haley to take over, if he hasn't already, because of his background as a play caller.

Haley says that is just not the case.

"No, I've talked about this; it's a collaborative effort during the week offensively and defensively," Haley said. "Surprisingly, I'm very active defensively, too, and that's what's really that I find fascinating and awesome about this job. When you're no longer a position coach or a coordinator, you get to see both sides of the ball and get some input.

"(San Diego) was no different. During the game, Bill Muir is our play caller. I thought he did a tremendous job of just sticking with the plan. We had a clear-cut plan that we really felt strongly as a staff in all areas. I thought Bill did a terrific job."

From the time it became public late last season that then offensive coordinator Charlie Weis was leaving, the Chiefs offense has struggled. They've produced in the last five games that counted in the standings or playoffs just 44 points, five touchdowns, an average of 208 yards per game, 15 sacks and 17 turnovers. Last Sunday's game was the first time they scored more than one TD in the game.

The offense isn't productive or efficient and that has Chiefs watchers pointing to Muir, QB Matt Cassel and Haley himself as the culprits. At home games, fans watch Haley's actions on the field to see if it appears he's back into the play calling. They make judgments by what they see on sideline shots during TV broadcasts of road games.

For his part, Haley stays out of most sideline huddles with Cassel and his staff like QB coach Jim Zorn. But he's patched-in to everything via his headset.

"Throughout the game, we do a lot of talking," Haley said. "There's always suggestions and thoughts and interaction and (San Diego) was no different."

What must be different in the weeks ahead is the offensive production leading to victories. If that doesn't happen, then somebody other than Muir and/or Haley will be calling plays for the 2012 Chiefs.


  • QB Matt Cassel continues to struggle, posting a poor 65.5 passer rating after three games. He's 3 to 5 in TD-to-INT ratio. His average per attempt is just 5.2 yards and average per completion is only 7.9 yards. Yet, his completion percentage (65.9%) is the best of his career.

  • RB Dexter McCluster has 35 offensive touches in three games, producing 178 yards or per game average of 11.6 touches for 59.3 yards per game. In coming weeks, expect the Chiefs to continue to probe for the ceiling on how many touches the 5-8, 170-pounder can handle. While his offensive touches figure to go up, his special teams opportunities will likely decrease.

  • RB Thomas Jones is struggling to get anything going with opportunities in the running game. Jones has carried a team high 28 times for just 74 yards. That 2.6-yard per carry average is essentially the lowest on the team at this point.

  • FB Le'Ron McClain and his opportunities with the football continue to ride a roller coaster. In game No. 1, he didn't touch the ball. Then in game No. 2 he had the ball in his hands six times. In game No. 3, he had two touches. Overall McClain has eight carries/catches for just 29 yards.

  • TE Leonard Pope got the starting spot when Tony Moeaki was finished for the season with a knee injury and his eight catches for 65 yards and a TD makes him one of the most productive receivers on the team. If he keeps up this modest pace it will be the most productive season of his career as a receiver. That was in 2007 when he caught 23 passes for 238 yards and 5 TDs with Arizona.

  • WR Dwayne Bowe has not put up significant numbers in three games (11 catches for 185 yards, 1 TD) but that production is actually far better than what he did last year in the first three games: seven catches for 119 yards and 1 TD. Bowe ended up leading the league with 15 TD catches.

  • WR Steve Breaston continues to struggle to find a spot for himself in the Chiefs passing game. After three games, he's caught six passes for 88 yards. His best catch and most yards came against San Diego, with a 43-yard catch that set up a K.C. touchdown. He's QB Matt Cassel's fourth choice when throwing the ball.

  • LB Derrick Johnson leads the team in tackles with 22 over three games, but he's not been able to produce anything close to the big plays the defense needs from him. He has no interceptions, no forced fumbles, no fumbles recovered, no tackles for loss and no sacks.

  • CB Brandon Flowers status for this week will become better known on Wednesday when the team returns to practice. Flowers suffered a right leg injury against San Diego. Coach Todd Haley doesn't expect the prognosis to finish the season for Flowers. That would hurt, because in basically two and a half games, Flowers had 18 tackles and two interceptions.

  • OLB Tamba Hali with two sacks has moved ahead of former Chiefs DE Jared Allen with his 43.5 career sacks, ranking sixth in team history. Hali is just one sack behind DE Eric Hicks in fifth place at 44.5 sacks. With two sacks this year, Hali now has 7.5 sacks in the last six Chiefs games that counted in the standings or playoffs.

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