Rival report: Chiefs stress situations

The Chiefs may be young and full of changes, but new head coach Todd Haley is emphasizing attention to the situation at hand.

Situational football has become an every-practice thing for the Chiefs under the direction of head coach Todd Haley. At least two or three times in each of the team's training camp practices, they've attacked a drill or a session based on a situation involving time, field position or score.

That will continue into the regular season according to Haley.

"I want a mentally and physically tough team that's smart — specifically, situation-smart ... and the game these days is almost all situations," Haley said. "You're either coming out (of the end zone), you're in the red zone, it's two-minute (situation), it's the end of the half, it's short yardage, it's goal line, it's four-minute.

"The game is made up of a lot of situations. In order to be a smart team you have to know what's going on, you have to understand the situation and you almost have to do it without coaching."

It's been a struggle for the younger players on the roster to keep up with the situations. A lot of that has to do with the limited amount of time colleges are allowed to spend with players in practice and film study.

"Guys are coming into the league today and they really are not football smart," said Haley. "The college coaches have a limited amount of time and they have got to dedicate that to game plans and the preparation. We've got ground to make up."

Haley says he's been on teams in the league that did not emphasize practicing situations, but learned under the direction of Bill Parcells with the Jets and Cowboys, how important the process can be for a team.

"Definitely, there's a learning curve for sure because there are a lot of teams that don't put a lot of time into it," said Haley. "I would bet that we're putting as much if not more time than any team in the league. There's a reason for that because I believe it wins or loses games for you.

"There is a learning curve, though. I've got to have a little patience but at the same time whatever situation or team, when you learn something and you get it and then you lose it, then that's a problem."

Thus the Chiefs will hammer the situations in practice between now and the end of their season.

"It's something that's going to be part of what we do," said Haley. "We are not going to be one of those teams that beats itself."

NOTES

  • Chiefs head coach Todd Haley made it plain there's a big goal for his team in the preseason. "I think winning has got to be important around here all the time because we need to learn how to win again," Haley said of a franchise that has gone 6-26 over the past two seasons. "That will be an emphasis. But at the same time, the most important thing that has to get done is evaluation. While we want to win, we have to do it with whatever group we need in there to get a full evaluation of the team."

  • Veteran safety Mike Brown knows exactly why the Chiefs brought him to the team. "I was signed for depth reasons," Brown said. "There are two really good young safeties here and I feel like I was brought here to provide depth and to play on some special teams. I feel like my role as an older player is to help those guys out with the mental game, if they need it. I'll answer any questions they might have. I'm here to bounce ideas off those guys and be someone they can lean on if they have any troubles."

  • The preseason opener at Arrowhead Stadium allowed the Chiefs to pull the covers off some parts of the two-year renovation the stadium is undergoing. While most of the work is being done on the structure outside of the bowl itself, the team has drawn criticism for removing the names of Chiefs Hall of Famers from the interior facades of the middle and upper decks. In place of those names are video streaming boards. The club plans to recognize the top players in their history with a Hall of Honor that will be opened next year.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "No offense to anybody that was here before, but Coach Haley is making each one of us responsible for what we do on the field. He's not allowing excuses and he's punishing mistakes that are made. I think we needed that." — Safety Bernard Pollard.

    CHIEFS BATTLES

    BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Damion McIntosh vs. Herb Taylor at right tackle. It looks like the Chiefs may have a good battle going on at this spot. McIntosh is a veteran who started all 16 games there last season. Taylor is a third-year man who received minimal playing time over his first two seasons with the club. McIntosh, who has knees that have taken a pounding over 10 years in the league, is not very fluid in handling pass rushers, especially those with a speed move outside. The quicker Taylor has been given more time with the No. 1 offense during practice, although McIntosh started preseason game No. 1.

    OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Tight end continues to be a very fluid position, as Sean Ryan has worked his way into the starting lineup ahead of Brad Cottam. But in the Chiefs first preseason game, Ryan dropped a third-down pass, while Cottam caught a TD late in the game. ... The wide receiver position is wide open right now, as journeymen Terrance Copper and Devard Darling have the slots with the No. 1 offense, and veteran Bobby Engram comes in as the slot receiver. But Dwayne Bowe, Mark Bradley, Amani Toomer, rookie Quinten Lawrence and first-year man Rodney Wright all figure in the picture.

    PLAYER OF THE WEEK: QB Brodie Croyle started the 2008 season as the Chiefs starting quarterback, but shoulder and knee injuries limited his season to just two games and his entire offseason was spent rehabbing from a torn MCL. After starting camp slowly, Croyle has come on and he was the best quarterback on the field for the Chiefs in the preseason opener, hitting 12 of 18 passes for 145 yards.



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