The Chiefs played some ugly football on Friday night and while it certainly wasn’t pleasant to behold, I think most fans understand that the guys getting run over by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers weren’t the real Kansas City Chiefs.
They were a shell.
Coach Todd Haley has been taking a very cautious approach to training camp this year. Usually known for his tough practices, Haley has changed it up this season.
Haley seems to be worried about rushing his players into pads and tackling. Thanks to the NFL lockout, teams had to scrap their OTA’s and rookie mini-camps. Even once training camp began, only about half the players were able to get out on the field. Not until the CBA was finally signed and ratified on August 4th were veterans who had signed new contracts and free agents allowed to practice. Then, just a week later, the teams had to play their first preseason game. Rather than throw his guys to the wolves and risk injury, Haley appeared to be protecting his best players Friday night.
Sure he sent QB Matt Cassel onto the field but he did not allow him to throw a pass. Dwayne Bowe was out there but all he did was run a couple of routes and block. Jamaal Charles was in the backfield but he never touched the ball. A host of other players who will likely start for the team this year, watched from the sidelines.
So as bad as things might have looked at times, what we were really watching were a bunch of rookies and backups playing in a scrimmage with almost no practice hitting and tackling.
But is Haley’s approach the right one? When speaking to the media recently, Haley defended his decision.
Other teams came out this weekend and looked sharp top to bottom. The Patriots reserves played played like they were in mid-season form and the Cleveland Browns drove down the field twice on the defending Super Bowl Champions. Colt McCoy and the Browns offense looked sharp.
The Chiefs offense didn’t even really play.
In the end, Haley’s plan to wade his players into the pool could benefit the team. My instinct tells me that the more time the Chiefs can get practicing hitting and tackling, the better off they will be when the season begins. Then again, perhaps rushing the players into something they are not ready for could end in unnecessary injuries. For a team like the Chiefs, that is still working to add depth, injuries could be very costly.
What do you you think Addicts? Is coach Haley taking the right approach? In what preseason game do you want to see the starters our there looking sharp? Will this approach help or hurt in the long run? Sound off.