Anyone who has listened to Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Todd Haley speak about the goals for his team knows that he is particularly fond of stating that he just wants his team to get a little better each week. After reflecting on the graph below, it seems fair to ask whether Haley is failing to achieve his stated goal? Somewhere starting after week 5, certainly after week 8, the Chiefs began a trend that, more weeks than not, shows them either tending to not improve or just getting worse, with the overall trend clearly favoring the latter. Was last Sunday’s SoCal debacle little more than the fruition of just how bad Haley has allowed his team to become?
Much more after the jump.
I’m guessing that for a lot of Chiefs fans, questioning Todd Haley’s coaching cred is tantamount to fan treason. Well, all I have to say to that is if you don’t like what you see, then don’t look. If you do look, then don’t bitch at me because I’m just bringing the facts.
Now onto this week’s stats and after that more commentary. As always if DVOA analysis is an unfamiliar concept for you, you can get the 411 on it at Football Outsiders. Lot’s of good, in-depth stuff there.
All indications suggest that the Chiefs are becoming a team that is complacent in its mediocrity. One gets the sense not just from a lot of fans, but really from the team in the way it is playing, that it is okay to feel that this is a successful season, that nothing that happens from here on out really matters. In short, eight wins, mission accomplished, the rest is gravy. We’ve all heard that in some form or another, am I right?
The Chiefs plan against the Chargers had all the markings of a pre-season game, pure vanilla. Translation, coach Haley did not really care whether his team won or lost, he played it safe. Haley clearly did not coach up his team for this game, he clearly did not take any of his characteristic gambles, he clearly chose to mail this one in and that ambivalence was clearly reflected in the play calling, the team’s body language and how they performed.
By contrast, the Chargers played the game like it was the Superbowl. For them, the outcome clearly mattered. The Chargers did not do anything tricky to defeat us. They did not rely on Phillip Rivers’ arm to win. They simply ran on us for 40 minutes. When a team runs on you for 40 minutes, when you’re down by 3 touchdowns at the end of the 3rd quarter and still running the ball, when your opponent scores 31 points and you score zero points, there is but one explanation – you just didn’t care enough.
People make much of how the Chiefs are being molded in the image of the Patriots, that they are following the “Patriot Way.” Well, I got news for you, the Patriots are a team that play like every game matters even when it doesn’t. The Patriots do not mail it in. Aside from how they deal with the media perhaps, the Chiefs are not even remotely like the Patriots.
There are no good reasons for what we fans were asked to endure on Sunday. There are no good reasons for why this team is getting worse instead of better. And if this continues, perhaps there is no good reason to retain Todd Haley as head coach? If what we are seeing is ambivalence, that is unacceptable. If what we are seeing is a coach reaching his peak and then falling off after achieving it, then perhaps it is time to move on?
Now that I got that off my chest, let’s take a look at how we match up against the Lambs.
St. Louis is a team that should not be hard for us to beat. The biggest threat they have is Sam Bradford. If you give him time, he can chew you up. Bradford’s primary and best targets are his Tight Ends. I believe the key to winning this game will be to work our safeties in press coverage against their tight ends. If they go with a single tight end set, we bring a safety blitz. If they go with 2 or more tights ends, we run a corner blitz. Aside from that, let our inside linebackers contain the run and bring both OLBs as much as possible. Our DL’s ability to control the LOS is where it will all start.
That’s this week’s Double Take. What are your takes Addicts?