Chiefs coach Todd Haley made sure to send a message to the players that failed to pass the previous day’s conditioning test. Rather than practice, OL Brian Waters, Mike Goff and Damion McIntosh and DL Ron Edwards and Glenn Dorsey had to do conditioning work. This was all done for everyone to see.
The players did not retreat to the privacy of a nearby gym at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls to perform their activities. That alone was a seemingly unusual move for a team which under its new administration and coaching staff is intensely private and prefers to do all of its work behind closed doors. Instead, the players worked in a corner of the practice field in full view of anyone who cared to watch.
Asked whether he purposely had the five players work outside as punishment, Haley grinned mischievously and said, “I didn’t do anything consciously like that.”
Goff understood why he was left off the practice field.
“It’s the rules. Whether you’re a 12-year veteran or a first-year rookie, those are the rules. Unfortunately this is the bad part about it. When you’re sitting there watching your teammates go and they look like they’re having fun over there, of course you’re a little embarrassed. It’s disappointing, but at the same time it’s understandable, and the only thing I can do is get better at whatever they ask me to do.”
Whatever his intent in that regard, there was no mistaking Haley’s mission to rid the Chiefs of what he believes are some lazy ways that contributed to two miserable seasons.
Waters wouldn’t comment and none of the other players were aware of when they would be allowed to try to pass the conditioning test or be allowed to practice. Haley previously indicated no player would be allowed to practice without first passing the test, a series of three 300-yard runs each player must complete in an assigned time. McIntosh, listed at 320 pounds, isn’t sure it’s possible for him.
“We’re not cross-country runners. I don’t know if I can pass that test. I’ll try.”
I love the idea of punishing players in public view. But I also forsee some issues, because McIntosh has a great point. Some guys, no matter how much they work will never be able to run at a certain speed. Hopefully Haley realizes a guy like McIntosh, whom has been working at the team’s facility all offseason long, deserves to be out on the field playing and not being embarrassed in the corner. Punish guys like Brian Waters and Glenn Dorsey who show up overweight and slow to pick up the new program, but not the players that are trying to do things the right way.
Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop will be kicking for Kansas City week 1, right? After all, the team released his only competition last week. Not so fast.
Though he will get all the reps in training camp, Succop still has to earn his spot as the Chiefs kicker. Kickers at other teams’ training camps, veterans waiting for another shot, even Barth — they’re all still in the mix if Succop doesn’t perform.
With several rookies still needing to sign, the Chiefs had to make a move to get their roster down to the league-mandated maximum of 80 before the start of training camp. They didn’t want to release anyone they didn’t know much about, so they cut loose Barth, a known quality.
The move also gave the team a better chance to evaluate Succop. The last overall pick in this year’s draft, Succop has a strong leg, but is unproven. Haley said giving Succop all the reps in practice and in preseason games should give the team ample chance to see if he can handle kicking in the NFL.
“In the preseason, you may only kick one filed goal in a game, so in order to get this guy seasoned enough to see if he can do it, we felt this is the best direction to go right now. We wanted to give this kicker enough reps to see how good he can be.”
I was worried initially, but that was probably just because I actually wanted to see a “kick off”. But knowing just how many quality legs there are out there — Barth among them — it makes sense to give Succop, un unproved commodity at this level, as many reps as possible.
After saying he was done covering the Kansas City Chiefs, Jason Whitock has returned to tell us… Well, he’s heading to River Falls to cover the Kansas City Chiefs. Today he is talking about Larry Johnson and more importantly the Chiefs confronting the errors of their way.
Larry Johnson’s major flaw is just like yours and mine. He can’t sincerely admit when he’s dead wrong. We can’t either.
Oh, we might utter a half-hearted “I’m sorry,” but we’ll expend the majority of our energy rationalizing or lying about our inappropriate behavior. We want our errors to vanish and memories of them to disappear just as quickly. We rarely muster the courage to address our failings head-on.
Later today, I’ll arrive in River Falls, Wis., site of Chiefs training camp. I’m excited — if not optimistic — to see how the Chiefs deal with their two most important failures.
Larry Johnson and Brian Waters, in my opinion, are Kansas City’s most talented players. To some degree, they can dictate the ease of Todd Haley’s transition from hot-headed offensive coordinator to respected NFL head coach. If Haley can inspire Johnson and Waters to play up to their potential, it will be considerably easier for the Chiefs to rebound from last season’s 2-14 disaster.
Inspiring Johnson and Waters for an entire 16-game schedule is likely to come down to whether Johnson wants to confront and acknowledge the errors of his previous ways and whether Haley and general manager Scott Pioli are willing to acknowledge the disrespectful manner in which they welcomed Waters to the new Chiefs organization.
Gez, Whitlock back to playing Waters off as the victim here. Listen, maybe Pioli and Haley could have handled the situation better, but Brian Waters shouldn’t have put the new hires in the position to begin with. No player on the roster had the right to walk into the team offices acting as if they are more important than any other person on the team. And they especially shouldn’t try to act equal to or above the GM and/or coach, because like it or not they are not.
It’s time for Waters to grow up, move on, get in shape and act like a professional. To be fair, there’s a chance he has started to do all of those things. But we would never know. Waters isn’t talking to the press and his friend Whitlock is writing articles like this one, trying to tell everyone to feel sorry for the poor, mistreated guard. Time to start talking for yourself, Brian. And while you’re at it, tell your friend to do what you both should have been doing all along: focus on the team.