Do injuries catalyze the Chiefs?

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Oct 25, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley (17) catches a pass for a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won 23-13. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless of whether the unexpected performance boost we saw last Sunday, and at times last year, is due to newer players trying to make their mark, or just a locker room realizing that they have to come together in order to have a chance, it is one the most damning indictments I have seen of the coaching staff.

For the second year in a row we have seen that Kansas City can play well, even without some of its best players. The Chiefs were not dominant, but they played a good game against a decent team last Sunday. They actually looked prepared and motivated for that game. And if it takes the loss of some of your best players to get a team mentally prepared and motivated for a game, that is a coaching problem.

I tend to be an adherent to the philosophy that it is the players who must execute in a game, and therefore they bear the brunt for consistently bad performance. But it is the coaches’ domain to ensure that the team is ready, physically and mentally, for game day. Yes, the player controls what goes on in his head, and bears responsibility too. But someone has to set the tone, and that starts with the coaching staff.

The fact that for a second year in a row, the Chiefs start showing flourishes after their roster becomes diminished indicates to me that the coaching staff just has not been properly prepping and motivating this team.

It is a sad realization, but much of the Andy Reid era makes more sense with that in mind. Reid is known for a more hands off approach, so if the locker room is not already pumped up, then it is unlikely he will do much to change that. And it also provides at least a partial explanation for how a team with this much talent on the roster can under-perform so badly and so often as they have.

Next: Remembering history...