Outside of a few overly optimistic people, no one felt the Chiefs would have a quick turnaround the way the Ravens and Dolphins did last season. But as John Marshall notes, things have been tougher than the men in charge anticipated.
Haley and new general manager Scott Pioli have done their best to shake things up, bringing in new players, new schemes and a no-nonsense attitude.
So far, it hasn’t amounted to a win.
Three games into the season, the Chiefs are still generating more questions than answers. The defense has been porous and sporadic. The offense is ineffective and, at times, ultraconservative. Penalties, a point of emphasis for Haley in the preseason, have become a problem.
Nothing, it seems, is going right for the Chiefs.
“We’re not in a sense of panic right now,” receiver Mark Bradley said. “We have a sense of urgency to try to get things turned around and put some W’s in the column.”
It’s not panic time, nor should it be at any point this season. Unless of course the Chiefs are still winless as they enter the last quarter of the season. But their schedule eases up considerably after the bye week.
Speaking of the Chiefs schedule…
Todd Haley and the Kansas City Chiefs are sitting at 0-3 and as the the Star’s Adam Teicher points out, things are only going to get more difficult with the undefeated New York Giants and beyond.
The Chiefs are in the middle of a rough stretch of schedule that also includes games against Dallas and San Diego. Their schedule flattens out considerably in the second half of the season, though in late November the Chiefs have a home game against the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
Haley indicated the Chiefs would have to live with their slim margin for error, particularly against stronger opponents.
“I don’t know that our margin of error is going to change much this year,” Haley said. “We’ll keep working at getting this team rosterwise as good as we can get it. We’re going to have to play a certain type of football, and that’s going to have to be on point all the time.”
It will be hard to do, but while things are getting even uglier over the next few weeks try to remember that the Chiefs will have a lot of very winnable game in the second half of the season. Coaches, players and fans don’t dream about looking forward to “winnable games” when the season starts, but it’s still something to keep in mind if Kansas City enters the bye with an 0-7 record.
Last week the Philadelphia Eagles presented a level of unpredictability due to their injuries and the return of Michael Vick. This week the New York Giants are tough to game plan for simply because they can beat you equally on the ground and in the air.
When defenses shut down the Giants’ rushing attack the first two weeks of the season, Big Blue just opened up its passing game instead. And when the Buccaneers backed off to defend that on Sunday, the Giants made them pay by hammering them on the ground.
So now, when future opponents look at the Giants on film, they’re faced with a dilemma. Stop the run and the Giants can win with the pass. Stop the pass and they’ll win with the run.
“Shoot, I don’t know what they’re going to do,” receiver Steve Smith said. “I guess they’re going to have to come up with a new defense or something.”
Don’t laugh, because the Giants’ performance through the first three weeks – including their 24-0 win in Tampa on Sunday – probably has a few defensive coordinators scurrying back to the drawing board. The Giants clearly aren’t the one-dimensional, ground-based team so many thought they’d be coming out of training camp. Nor are they the one-dimensional, pass-happy team they looked like at times the first two weeks.
What they are is a dangerous, versatile offense willing to play whatever style is necessary. They’re capable of doing whatever it takes to win.
Scary, scary, scary. If you have to pick your poison with the Giants, which way do you go?
Even after getting killed in the air against the Eagles, I would force the Giants receivers to beat me. Stopping Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw is easier said than done, but they have been much more consistent over the past two years than the New York receiving corps.