Don’t blame Romeo Crennel for the Chiefs’ defensive woes, blame Todd Haley because it was his ridiculous approach to the preseason that caused his team to forget how to tackle.
I am sure you have seen the bumbling Chiefs defense running around the field trying to make tackles the last two weeks. You may have noticed that they are really bad at it.
In 2010, the Kansas City Chiefs defense missed 82 tackles in the regular season, according to our friends at Pro Football Focus. That averages out to 5.125 a game.
Through two games in 2011, the Chiefs have missed 19 tackles for an average of 9.5 per-game.They are currently on pace to miss 152 tackles on the year.
Is it any wonder why they are losing?
The loss of Eric Berry hurts. He made a big impact on the defense last year. His aggressive style of play combined with his speed, helped the Chiefs make up for a lot of deficiencies. Still, the Chiefs had 661 tackles in 2010 and Berry only accounted for about 80 of them. He was also responsible for 11 of the teams 82 missed tackles, so let’s not pretend the loss of Berry made everyone else on the defense forget how to wrap up a ball carrier.
I firmly believe the Chiefs’ tackling woes stem solely from Todd Haley’s “genius” preseason plan to “take it slow,” “get conditioned” and “avoid injuries.”
After the shortened offseason, what the Chiefs needed was to cram as much football as they could in the limited amount of practice time they had available to them. As Haley continues to say at every press conference, injuries are a part of the game. They’re going to happen whether you are hitting or not.
Instead of getting to the business of preparing his men to play live football against actual competition, Haley spent half of training camp prancing his players around in shorts and helmets. He blew off the first preseason game completely and didn’t do much more in the second. By the time Haley figured out that he was an idiot, it was too late. He left his starters in the entire game and watched them get their asses pounded by a bunch of guys the Green Bay Packers cut a few days later.
It was after the Green Bay game that I knew the Chiefs were in big, big trouble. What we saw in the preseason carried over into the regular season. With the exception of a trip to San Diego in Week Three, the first part of KC’s schedule was entirely manageable. They needed to take advantage of winnable games against the Bills, Lions, Vikings and Colts if they wanted to navigate a second-half schedule that contained brutal games against the Patriots, Jets, Packers and Chargers.
Instead, Haley “outsmarted” himself. He wasted an entire season of Kansas City Chiefs football for all of us. Everyone makes mistakes in their jobs. We can all forgive a bone-headed call here and a wacky personnel decision there.
The Chiefs aren’t losing because of injuries. They are losing because they are unprepared to play football. That is why their tackles have doubled. On offense, the ball carriers are fumbling because they aren’t used to getting hit.
There is a lot of blame to go around in KC, but if you want to know why things are as bad as they are, look no farther than Todd Haley.