One of the biggest questions following around Todd Haley this offseason was who would be calling the offensive plays. Would Haley demand full control and use Chan Gailey more as a consultant or allow his offensive coordinator to make the in-game decisions? The Kansas City Star’s Adam Teicher got an official answer out of Haley.
Haley designed the offense and called plays the last two years for the high-scoring Arizona Cardinals, but will set aside those abilities, at least to start the season. Haley reserved the right to take over later in the season but said Monday that offensive coordinator Chan Gailey would call the plays.
“This wasn’t a decision that was made quickly. I put a lot of thought into it. Chan will call the plays as I see it right now. This is all part of the learning process of trying to get it right. That’s where we’ll start from, and I would say that’s the way we’ll go into the season.”
Gailey is a veteran coordinator who was widely praised last season after he switched the Chiefs at midseason to a spread offensive system to accommodate the talents of quarterback Tyler Thigpen. But the Chiefs’ new system is one Haley is bringing from Arizona, another reason it made sense for Haley to call the plays.
“I obviously believe in Chan. He’s done a great job throughout his time in the NFL and in college. He’s run some very good and very efficient offenses.”
Haley acknowledged he wouldn’t be using at least some of the abilities that earned him his job with the Chiefs. The Cardinals last season were second in the NFL in passing yardage, third in scoring and fourth in total offense.
“That was my dilemma. It was the most fun I’ve ever had in my life, designing the offense and calling the plays. Selfishly, I’d love to go out and call the plays. You’ve got to do what you think is best. The head coach has a lot of jobs. Some guys that are play-callers take a head coaching job and continue to call the plays. Other guys just coach the team. That’s the direction I’ve decided to take right now and try to do the best I can at that.”
Haley said he sought the advice of coaching mentors such as Bill Parcells and Ken Whisenhunt. Haley found the consensus was that as a rookie head coach, he would have enough to worry about without the added burden of calling the offensive plays.
I like the idea of Haley taking the play calling off of his plate for now, but I think he will reclaim the duties during the bye week. Once the team gets that far along he will have his feet underneath him as a head coach and it will be eating at him that he isn’t more involved. So I don’t think it will so much be an indictment of Gailey as it will be a need for Haley to feed the beast.
USA Today is continuing their fantastic look at the AFL in celebration of the league’s 50th anniversary. Today Nate Davis explains how the history of the American Football League begins and ends with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Lamar Hunt not only founded the AFL, which began play in 1960, but he also owned the Dallas Texans, who relocated to Kansas City and became the Chiefs after the 1962 season.
“Before there was a player, coach or a general manager in the league, there was Lamar Hunt,” late Boston Patriots owner William Sullivan said at Hunt’s Hall of Fame induction in 1972. “Hunt was the cornerstone, the integrity of the league. Without him, there would have been no AFL.”
The Chiefs concluded the AFL’s 10-year run by thumping the heavily favored Minnesota Vikings 23-7 in Super Bowl IV after the 1969 season. The AFL officially merged with the NFL before the 1970 season.
In the decade between the Texans’ first game and what remains the Chiefs’ only Super Bowl win, the club reeled off an AFL-best 87 victories, won a league-record three titles and developed half a dozen Hall of Famers, all while bringing innovation and integration to the gridiron, much of it courtesy of coach Hank Stram.
Stram found an able triggerman for his offense in 1962 by throwing a lifeline to quarterback Len Dawson, who had been stagnating in the NFL.
“A lot of my skills had eroded after not playing for five years,” says Dawson, who also had been recruited by Stram to play at Purdue. “(But) he was an excellent quarterbacks coach. … It was a close bond.”
The Chiefs dominated the AFL for most of the decade, a time that many of the league’s players, Dawson chief among them, look back upon with fondness.
“All of us owe a great deal of gratitude to Lamar Hunt because of his dream to form a league and own a football team.”
If you haven’t read these amazing stories USA Today has been pumping out this summer, you owe it to yourself to go back and catch up. I’ve had no problem admitting that my one big weak spot is the history of the league pre-1980 and these pieces are so much fun to read. It’s also always great to see Lamar Hunt get as much national recognition as possible, because he deserves every bit of it.
Training camp is just a few short days away for the Kansas City Chiefs. And in preparation for the team’s final trip to River Falls, CE Wendler takes a look into the key questions that need to be answered, among them the options as wide receiver.
Despite the fact they traded Tony Gonzalez, you may have noticed the Chiefs weren’t exactly in a rush to sign wide receivers this offseason. Fans have been clamoring for the team to trade for Anquan Boldin, or even to sign the prison-bound Plaxico Burress. But other than signing Bobby Engram and a few unaccomplished players like Terrance Copper, the Chiefs have been pretty quiet.
The message: Todd Haley is just fine with Dwayne Bowe, Mark Bradley, Engram, Devard Darling and a few no-names providing depth.
We may not find out for awhile if that group is enough for Haley’s offense to produce at a competitive level. If you recall, last training camp Darling was impressive, and even Will Franklin of all people was productive in the preseason. When September rolled around it meant absolutely nothing and KC’s passing offense was woeful until the implementation of the spread. While it’s true the Chiefs couldn’t pass protect, it’s pretty clear the failures of Darling and Franklin didn’t help.
Now the Chiefs are installing a new offense, and during OTAs there were reports that the passing game was struggling to gel. There’s definitely reason for concern here, especially with an inexperienced quarterback. We don’t even want to think about what happens if someone is injured.
As we get closer to camp I’m not that worried about the passing game. Do I expect great things? Not at all, but to be fair I don’t expect great things from the team as a whole. What I do expect — from the WRs and the team — is progress throughout the season. If the wide receivers — Bowe in particular — do not step up their game and Scott Pioli ignores the position next season then I will concerned. Right now I just want to get a good read on what is on the current roster, something that Herman Edwards never provided us with.