The Kansas City Chiefs will release their preseason schedule today as the team officially kicks off a new era under new head coach Romeo Crennel.
The Chiefs have been absolutely miserable in the preseason for a very long time. Just take a look at the team’s preseason record recently:
Yep. I had to go back to 2003 to find a preseason that the Chiefs finished with a winning record. That was also the season, if you recall, that the team won 13 games.
Now before you start jumping down my throat, I know that there is absolutely no connection to preseason record and in-season wins.
But if you are still in that group that thinks the preseason doesn’t matter, then you weren’t paying attention through the Todd Haley era.
The preseason isn’t about wins and losses but more about the feel you get for how prepared and comfortable the starters are. The third game, in particular, is a nice dress rehearsal. In 2009, Haley’s first year as coach, the Chiefs looked utterly miserable all preseason long, whether it was starters or reserves.
In 2010, I felt significantly different about that preseason. The team had lost the first three games but I thought they looked a lot better. In fact, take a look at what I had to say following the team’s 20-17 loss to the Eagles, a team that had thoroughly embarrassed them the season before, in the third preseason game.
Though the game started off in a familiar fashion, something looked different to me that night, in particular, the play of the defense. KC’s defenders were flying all over the field making plays and it was the first sign that Romeo Crennel was making an impact. The offense, showed some promise but was also a bit sluggish.
You may remember, the beginning of the season reflected that assessment. Cassel and the defense were not very good while the defense played strong. The Chiefs scraped by with a 21-14 win over the Chargers and their defense carried them in a 16-14 victory over Cleveland the following week. Cassel through for 68 yards in the first game and only 168 yards in the second game. It was not until the following week against the 49ers (Cassel threw for 250 yards, which, let’s be honest, for him is like throwing for 350) when the Chiefs opened things up and won easily 31-10.
So yes, my friends, the preseason does matter.
Todd Haley’s bone-headed approach to last year’s offseason led to an inordinate amount of missed tackles and blown coverages early in 2011. I believe that slow start, coupled with the team’s general inconsistency over his tenure, is what cost Haley his job.
Now that Crennel has taken over, hopefully the days of unpredictable, wacky coaching are over. No more Herm Edwards
training fat camp. Or “Club Herm” as it was often called. No more bipolar Todd Haley, working his team to death one camp and then treating them like china dolls the next.
The Chiefs are a talented bunch. It may be that a normal, steady, traditional coaching regime is just what they need. I think near the end, Todd Haley was getting in the way of his talent, rather than preparing them to succeed.
This preseason, let’s hope we like what we see.