Around The Web: Rebuilding Pain, Chiefs Hunt For Rogers, No Star Power

At 1-7 there is no arguing that the Kansas City Chiefs are in full rebuilding mode.  There’s also no arguing that, record wise, it’s the ugliest in franchise history.  Bob Gretz compares this process with those in the past.

Six times the Chiefs have gone to a complete tear down of their football team, under Paul Wiggin (1975), Marv Levy (1978), John Mackovic (1983), Marty Schottenheimer (1989), Dick Vermeil (2001) and Haley in 2009.  Only the current Chiefs went 1-7.  The other years the team won two, three, even four games in 1975 and 1983.

None of those previous five teams scored as few points as the ‘09 Chiefs, or allowed as many points as the current edition.  The Chiefs are minus-79 in point differential, or basically 10 points per game.

Of those previous five first-year rebuilds, only one team finished the season with a winning record: Schottenheimer’s ‘89 Chiefs were 8-7-1.  Only that team followed up with a winning record in the second season, as the ‘90 Chiefs went 11-5.

The two coaches who won the fewest games that first season got dumped after 35 games (Wiggin) and 73 games (Levy).  If Haley can’t find a lot more victories than defeats in the second half of the ‘09 season, the clock will start ticking very fast on his future.

Short of Haley throwing Kent Babb down the way Mike Tyson did a photog yesterday, there’s no way he gets fired this season or next.  I think the Chiefs are going to end up winning 4 games so I don’t think it will be a question since a 2 win improvement in a new system with such a lack of talent is some form of an accomplishment.

With that being said, if they finish with 1 or 2 wins and are around that number next season then the chatter will get awfully loud.  But any anti-Haley folks out there are in for a rude awakening if you expect him to be one and done.  Everyone wants to rebuild, but no one wants to go through the process.

The Chiefs put guard Mike Goff on injured reserve yesterday and filled the roster spot by re-signing LB Justin Rogers.  When the team called, Rogers wasn’t sitting at home waiting by the phone, he was in Basehor on a deer hunting trip.

Rogers said Wednesday that he was in a tree stand and that his agent called his father to tell him the news.

“I shuffled down the tree and headed over here to practice,” Rogers said, adding that he took his dad’s call around 9:30 a.m. and drove straight to Kansas City’s practice, which began around 11 a.m.

Rogers said he had been hunting since about 5:30 a.m. and saw several deer before his phone rang.

“Drove straight here,” he said, “and suited up.”

It’s dedication to the team when a guy doesn’t even stop at home to drop of his hunting gear or change clothes, but instead goes right to practice.

Goff hasn’t had a banner year, but it still hurts an already fragile line to lose him.  Just being on the practice field and showing how the younger guys how you go about your business is something that cannot be overstated, especially as the Chiefs tackle the second half of the season just hoping for a couple victories to surpass last year’s total.

Kansas City takes the trip to Oakland on Sunday and for the first time in a long while it will be without running back Larry Johnson.  The lack of LJ’s “star power” is something the Raiders are trying to get used to.

“It’s going to be a little different,” Raiders middle linebacker Kirk Morrison said.  “We all know what Larry brings to their football team, what he did.”

What Johnson did was rush 222 times for 938 yards (4.7 yards per carry) with 12 touchdowns in 10 games against Oakland, including five 100-yard performances.

Yes, he’s been running on fumes since his 1,700-yard seasons of 2005-06. But, how will the Raiders get worked up over replacement backs Jamaal Charles, Dantrell Savage and Kolby Smith?

“Larry was a very good player, so it impacts it to some degree,” Raiders coach Tom Cable said of game planning.  “They still have good runners.”

Indeed, it might not matter who carries the ball.  The Raiders rank 29th in run defense with an NFL-high 13 rushing touchdowns allowed.

With the Chiefs sitting as the only team in the NFL without a rushing touchdown, it should be a great battle of weaknesses.

The most interesting note coming out of Kansas City yesterday was Todd Haley alluding to Smith possibly being the starter over Charles.  If that happens — be it this week or next — it would be quite the indictment of Charles and most likely the beginning of the end for him in Kansas City.

For some reason Haley all but ignored the running game last week against a defense that had just given up 300 yards on the ground.  Hopefully he doesn’t make that same mistake against the Raiders.

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