As he prepares for some time off before training camp, Chiefs GM Scott Pioli spoke with the Boston Globe about his first season in Kansas City and being able to look beyond just the 12 losses.
“Here’s what I know: We became smarter and we became more competitive,’’ Pioli said. “We were more competitive down the stretch, we continued to play hard, the players kept playing for the head coach. Overall, we’re smarter, tougher, more disciplined.
“We were getting a better degree of production, and that’s people knowing their jobs, what was expected, and what we expect them to do to prepare for their job — being on time, paying attention, doing extra things.’’
The idea now is for everything to be a year better. Haley has a year as a head coach under his belt and a couple of like-minded coordinators (Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel) from the Parcells/Belichick coaching tree. The system is entrenched, and no one is going to be put off by the organizational ethos the way, say, Johnson was last year.
This rebuilding effort is a massive one. It may take patience, but Pioli’s persistence — and focus on that “constructive work’’ — has the GM believing everything remains on schedule.
“They’re starting to understand what’s required,’’ Pioli said. “It’s not completely ingrained yet. It can’t be in 12 months time. It needs to be rewarded with more success.
“[But] everyone’s now been through a whole season cycle with an understanding of expectations. Now, you go in the locker room, talk to the trainers, the video people, the equipment guys, all the support staff, and they have an understanding not only of what we’re doing, but why we’re doing it.’’
The story of the offseason to this point is this team being so far ahead of where they were at the same time last season. Pioli summed that up at the end talking about expectations.
It was such a shock last year when out of shape players were embarrassed in front of their teammates and fans at training camp practice. This time around virtually every Chiefs player was at or near where they needed to be with their conditioning during OTAs, setting up a very — dare I say it — boring first couple of days in St. Joseph.
No matter what is going on, it hurts to go through a 4 win season. But sometimes you need to go through that sort of challenge to see what everyone — equipment guys right up to the head coach — is made of. Like Pioli said, now that the bad apples have been pushed to the side, it’s time for the players doing things the right way to get rewarded in the win column.