Compared to previous coaches, Haley’s been a media hermit. When the guy does speak, it’s 110%coachspeak, if you can even get past his scruffy appearance and mumbling. I literally think the guy rolls out of bed when he appears on “Chiefs Insider.” Get that man some Foldier’s.
But the past 24 hours has been an uncharacteristically candid bonanza of Haley discussing the Chiefs. As a blogger who follows his every public word, I’m not used to it and I’m not complaining about it. Keep talking to us, Todd. For crying out loud, you couldn’t keep Vermeil or Edwards away from a microphone.
I think of all the discussion about offensive and defensive line, Haley’s comments on stud WR Dwayne Bowe are a breath of fresh air (posted after the jump):
”He didn’t know what to expect last year so he came in and he wasn’t in the greatest shape,” Haley said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando, Fla. ”He had a difficult road back and it was a struggle but he survived it, much like a lot of us did. He weathered the storm and got his weight where it had to be and more importantly, he understands what’s expected of him.
”I expect him in a couple of days and we’ve stayed in contact and stayed in touch and I know his mind’s in the right place. He wants to be a top receiver and now it’s going to be up to him. This off-season is going to start and (Bowe must) put everything into it to be a top receiver. I do think understanding what’s expected is a big item for Dwayne Bowe. I don’t doubt he has the skill to be a top receiver. He just needs to do it on a full-time basis.”
Due to how candid Haley’s being, I am actually confident about something that I’ve picked up from a Haley interview! Dreams can come true.
(More after the jump.)
Haley’s taking some responsibility with this. Transitions are hard. Just ask Brian Waters. But Bowe’s taking responsibility, too, from the sounds of it.
But Haley and Bowe can only do their parts. Chiefs GM Scott Pioli needs to get more talent for the Chiefs offense this year, be it through trades, free agency, or the Draft. And Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis needs to call some plays that play to Bowe’s strengths, which of course means he needs to do more than Haley did when it comes to exploiting the other talent on the team in order to free Bowe up.
Here are several things the Chiefs could consider in improving Bowe’s performances, other than Haley and Bowe liking each other more, and Bowe himself simply working harder, in no order.
- Teach Bowe to block downfield. A good block by a receiver can amp up his excitement and get his game going. This is a lot easier than making that first catch to get your game going, because you’re blocking every other game. Whatever happened to the linebacker-head-hunter we were rumored to have drafted in 2007?
- RB/WR/everything CJ Spiller. I get a lot of heat for this but no other selection in the 2010 NFL Draft will have a more dramatic effect on this offense. Don’t think of Spiller as a running back, think of him as Reggie Bush — he is also a crazy good receiver and a genuine deep threat (which we’ll get to in a minute). Spiller demands attention from at least two players on the field, and everybody from Charles to Chambers and Bowe has their field open up. Spiller is a homerun, touchdown, and Yahtzee all scrambled into one.
- Develop WR Quentin Lawrence. I’m with Paddy when he argues that Pioli’s draft is very likely to be defense-heavy. I think the offseason moves dictate that, and the depth in this Draft is at defense. If that’s the case, this team better find a way to develop what little speed on offense we do have, and nobody is speedier than this risky project from Pioli’s first draft, Quentin Lawrence. Lawrence has been a nonfactor so far, but that was to be expected coming from McNeese State.
- Short slants to get Bowe involved. One of Bowe’s best assets is that he demands multiple tacklers because he simply never goes down with the first guy. That makes a quick slant a guaranteed three-to-ten yards if you give him a window of opportunity. Bowe is a confidence-based player (just ask the Chargers) and a couple short plays to get his motor going early should be a definite consideration.
- Draft or trade for a consistent deep threat. Alright, if you won’t go for Spiller, you gotta pick up somebody who can play deep. Chambers is only going to get you so much, and this offense’s primary weakness is a complete lack of deep speed. You’ve got to pull those safeties back, because Bowe is deceptively athletic, but since he is not truly a burner (he’s more of a possession receiver type), he has to rely on his teammates to make space for him. There are a lot of ways to do that but a great deep threat is the best.
- Draft or trade another major red zone threat. Bowe is also facing a lot of coverage in his best area on the field: the end zone. The Chiefs brought in a few receivers last year who helped us intermittently but none of them had any size save a couple nonfactors at tight end like Leonard Pope. This team needs some taller players with great verticals to punish teams for overcommitting on Bowe. (Coincidentally, playing Vrabel at TE in goalline situations seems to be an effective cure — but only occasionally.)
Any others you can think of?