Jamaal Charles. Dwayne Bowe. Branden Albert. Tony Moeaki. Glenn Dorsey. Tamba Hali. Derrick Johnson. Brandon Flowers. Brandon Carr. Eric Berry.
That is an impressive list of talent that most teams would be thrilled to have. Last year, under the seemingly masterful direction of Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley, they were all at or near peak performance all season. Not only that, but the team was getting the most out of its spot contributors like Dexter McCluster, Thomas Jones, Ryan Lilja, Casey Wiegmann, Shaun Smith, Andy Studebaker, Jovan Belcher, Kendrick Lewis, Javier Arenas, and Ryan Succop.
After two collapses to end last season, a horrendous offseason, and now a bad loss that somehow outshines the two concluding losses of 2010, the team seems under the direction of a completely different guy. Everybody, from the studs to the role players, are playing lost, soft, and disinterested. These guys are damn near unrecognizable.
This isn’t like night and day, it’s like noon and midnight.
If there’s any comfort to be had for Chiefs fans at this point, and I’ll admit there’s not much, it’s that Todd Haley will be spending the rest of 2011 fighting for his job.
Because anybody who allows a team with that much talent flounder for a full season doesn’t deserve to coach this team. He’s one game in at this point, and he’s got one F so far. How many more is this team capable of this year? How many more will general manager Scott Pioli tolerate?
Pioli can tolerate a growing, positive team that needs patience to groom its talent, busting with promise and direction. But a listless team that blows up in the locker room and regresses on the field, so afraid to own up to their play that the whole squad bolts before the press descends upon them after the game?
Anybody who thinks Pioli has any tolerance for this mess will be proven delusional if the season continues along this path. Weeks 2 through 17 will be Haley’s closing argument to keep his job. Let’s hope he makes a case.