It seems strange to be saying so after his team's success this se..."/>

It seems strange to be saying so after his team's success this se..."/>

Haley Putting His Job On The Line With Offensive Coordinator Move


It seems strange to be saying so after his team’s success this season but if the Kansas City Chiefs perform poorly next season, head coach Todd Haley could find himself on the hot seat or even worse, out of a job.

By now you know the story. Haley came to Kansas City and failed to immediately fire Herm Edwards holdover Chan Gailey to hire his own offensive coordinator. Haley kept Gailey on but then decided to fire him three weeks before the season when things didn’t work out. As a result, the Chiefs’ offense was a mess all season long. Learning a new playbook, on top of having a bare bones personnel set doomed the 2009 Chiefs. Whether the team’s struggles that year had to more do with a lack of quality players and the transition or Haley’s management of the offense is still up for debate. Chances are it was a little of both.

In 2010, the arrival of Charlie Weis, Romeo Crenel, the 2010 draft class and a soft schedule helped the Chiefs drastically reverse their fortunes from a 4-12 team to a 10-6 division champion in just one offseason. Whether the team’s success in 2010 had more to do with the additions of Crennel and Weis or the coaching of Haley combined with an infusion of talent is also still up for debate. This too, was probably a little bit of both.

While it is clear the Chiefs are moving in the right direction the fact of the matter is that Haley continues to be a lightening rod for controversy. In 2009 it was for his firing of Gailey and his untempered behavior on the sidelines. This lead to questions about Haley’s ability to calmly lead and manage his team as well as work with his staff.

In 2010, however, Haley seemed to be a changed man. He rarely lost his cool on the sidelines and the images of the coach screaming and cursing at his players all but disappeared. He also hired on Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel, two veteran coaches with multiple Super Bowl rings. The hiring of Weis and Crennel  seemed to indicate that Haley had matured and gained the ability to set his ego aside in order to delegate responsibilities to other coaches.

Then Weis departed after only one season and Haley, instead of hiring another talented play caller, appears ready to call the plays himself after promoting offensive line coach Bill Muir who has served as an offensive coordinator before but has never called plays. The Muir hire is leading many to believe that Haley is taking a step back and not forward in his maturation as a coach.

I think it is important to look at this situation from a broad scope because issues such as this are very rarely black and white. I believe that Haley’s failure to fire Gailey from the off was a big rookie mistake. Haley wanted to install his own offense which is completely understandable but his failure to make a decisive decision upon his arrival set his offense back.

I also believe that his choosing to hire Weis and Crennel and his change in sideline demeanor does represent a step forward. Haley kept his cool on the sideline all season long and while that might seem like a small thing it demonstrated to me that he really is committed to becoming a better coach.

To expect Haley to completely change overnight, however, is silly. It is also somewhat silly to just assume that Weis left because Haley was too difficult to work for. We have no proof that that is the case. There is just as good a chance that Weis left because of Weis and not because of Haley. Weis is known to have an ego of his own and sometimes two strong personalities clash. The problem is that Haley and Weis were not colleges. Haley was Weis’ boss and if Weis did not want to work under his boss, he may had chosen to leave. People quit jobs every day and when they do it doesn’t necessarily mean that the boss was an unbearable tyrant. Sometimes the problem is the employee.

I’m not saying Weis was the problem and I’m not saying Haley was the problem. I’m saying we don’t know.Weis is the only staff member Haley has had that has quit. Mo Carthon hasn’t quit, Steve Hoffman hasn’t quit and Bill Muir hasn’t quit. Chan Gailey didn’t even quit.

Haley’s problem is that not everyone is going to look at it that way. Folks look at the Chiefs and see that Chan Gailey, Todd Haley, Charlie Weis and not Bill Muir/Todd Haley have all been the offensive coordinator of the Chiefs in the last two seasons. To these folks, this situation screams instability and spells possible doom. Those folks may very well be right.

What Haley has done by hiring Muir is painted himself into a corner. If the KC’s offense struggles next year and the team does not meet expectations, Haley could find himself on the coaching hot seat. If the team does poorly enough he could also find himself out of a job.

Since Muir will likely be nothing more than a caretaker of the offense, Haley has shouldered all the responsibility.

The Chiefs face a much more difficult schedule in 2011. They will face both Super Bowl teams as well as a number of playoff teams from this season. Many of these teams have the league’s top defenses. Haley is going to have his hands full. If the Chiefs succeed Haley will be pretty much vindicated of the criticism he is receiving now.

But if the Chiefs fall flat on their face in 2011, there will be no one left to blame but Haley. It is Haley’s offense. Sink or swim.