I have never felt so much trepidation heading into a season. Usually, for as long as I can remember, I have always had a sense of optimism as the Chiefs head into the season. That sense of optimism stemmed from the fact that our team and more importantly previous coaches handled things differently from new Coach Haley and GM Scott Pioli. Dick Vermeil and Herm Edwards, would never intimate that things weren’t going well. They refused to see the weaknesses in their team, and headed into the season with blind optimism.
For example, Vermeil headed into another season with Defensive Coordinator Greg Robinson when he had done such a piss poor job with the defense in previous years. Carl Petersen was the one who had to force the move. As usual Vermeil shed a tear when the news came that Robinson had to go. Vermeil always had a difficult time cutting loose players and coaches who performed badly. (Do you think we will ever see Todd Haley cry?)
Same was true with Herm. He was a players’ coach, who “buddied” up to his players. I think it was an ego thing with him. He loved his own “street free agent” story, and was always rooting for the underdog, even on his own team. (I can hear him now….”and that’s a good thing”). He played those rookies, because I think he wanted to show the world that he could find talent where none was to be found. Never a negative word came out of the mouth of those two.
Well, now that Haley is in town that has all changed. Hardly a positive word comes from his mouth. He is letting all the fans know via words or actions that this team stinks. He pushes players, and is not afraid to cut them. You either play well or within the system or you are gone, no matter who you are. Everything is black and white to him. He is not afraid to make a move, even if it is near the brink of the season. Vermeil and Edwards would never have done such a thing. That is the way it should be, right? I mean winning and losing is black and white, correct?
We are a team with very little talent, and Todd Haley has made us all aware of that. Those players who we think are talented really aren’t: Derrick Johnson, Jarrad Page, Tyler Thigpen, Brodie Croyle, Mark Bradley, Brad Cottam, Tyler Thigpen, Rudy Niswanger, Mike Cox, Demorrio Williams, John McGraw, Tamba Hali, etc. Are these guys really game changers? They are/were starters around here because that is all we had. They won us 6 games in two years! (This is also why Derrick Johnson sits on the third string team right now; he is just too inconsistent).
The cutting of Bernard Pollard is further evidence that yesteryears starters aren’t that great. We all assumed Pollard was good just because he was starting. When you look back on his play, other than a couple of blocked field goals and punts on special teams, can you name any game changing moment (sans the Brady incident)? To further prove this point, Pollard has received no interest from anyone, including Seattle and Indy who signed other older safeties, when they could have had him for cheap.
In any event, Haley is not blowing smoke up anyone’s ass. He is making significant roster changes at a time when most coaches would head into the season with what they have. He knows the team stinks, and he is going to do whatever he can to purge this team of its underachieving players and losing ways. As such, my usual yearly optimism is gone, and I am heading into the season with lowered expectations. Laugh if you will. It’s sad but true. However, I have a feeling that the season will be more enjoyable than the last as a result.