Before Sunday Night’s game at Arrowhead stadium, the University of Kansas fired Turner Gil. After two disappointing seasons and a 1-16 record in the Big XII, the hierarchy decided change was in order. Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli must do the same with his own head coach, Todd Haley.
After a 13-9 loss at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Chiefs fell to 4-7 on the season and for all practical purposes are out of the 2011 playoff chase. As a fan, moral victories like the one I saw Sunday Night in Kansas City are passé. It’s getting old. And it’s time that Pioli follow the move that Kansas Athletic Director Sheahon Zinger made by firing his inept football coach.
I hate to be so cold and tough on Haley but it’s clear he’s not a good head coach at this level. He’s overmatched in every aspect of his job. When he didn’t activate newly acquired quarterback Kyle Orton for Sunday’s game, it told me he’s already thrown in the towel on this season.
Had the Chiefs won Sunday, they would have been back in the AFC West race. Had Orton played, even in the second half, Kansas City would have won. But Haley didn’t see the value in having Orton active as an insurance policy in the event Tyler Palko struggled for the second consecutive week.
It’s reckless and mind boggling that Haley would risk the remainder of the 2011 season on Palko. There is a reason he’s a lifetime backup. Everyone in the NFL knows he’s not a starting quarterback.
He’s turned the ball over six times in two starts, seven if you count the bad snap he turned over Sunday night. He can’t throw the deep ball. His mechanics are woeful and Haley backed the wrong horse.
Even though backup Ricky Stanzi isn’t ready to run any part of the Chiefs offense, he might have done a better job. And in fact if Stanzi wasn't 100% as was reported earlier in the day, then why was he listed as the back-up quarterback.
Regardless of Stanzi's status, the man who should have played in the second half was wearing his sweats on the sidelines and wondering why the Chiefs put a waiver claim on him just to sit on the bench.
Yes, Orton didn’t get into Kansas City until Friday. He had the benefit of only a single practice, but that’s all the veteran should need.
The only reason Haley didn’t use him is because he was unwilling to change the approach to Sunday’s game offensively. The hurry-up college offense he ran to try to upend the Steelers worked in spurts, but it failed ultimately because he didn’t have his best players on the field.
That more than anything else tells me Haley is overmatched and out of his element as a head coach. In crucial stretches in the second and third quarter, running back Jackie Battle was on the bench in favor of veteran Thomas Jones.
First round pick Jonathan Baldwin rode the bench. Had he been used as a slot receiver when Palko was going three and out, maybe he makes a big catch to keep a drive alive or breaks a tackle and gets a big gain.
But instead Haley, who is supposed to be an offensive mastermind, chose to do it his way. And it’s not working.
Haley from all accounts is a good person but he’s not head coaching material. It’s time that everyone else realize what was painfully obvious to the rest of the NFL since he was hired two plus years ago.
The Chiefs, regardless if they want to admit it or not, are spiraling out of control. The GM hasn’t built a roster with enough depth or starting talent. He went into the season with no sure fire backup to quarterback Matt Cassel. He has yet to assemble a capable offensive and defensive line in Kansas City.
Pioli’s team has been decimated by injuries, but that’s no excuse. Plenty of teams around the NFL are winning despite losing All-Pro caliber players. It’s part of the way of life in this league.
Now he has no choice but to either fire Haley now or at seasons end. But time has run out. If this organization is going to turn it around, like the program at the University of Kansas, a big-time, high-profile head coach is the only way to go.
That means without fail Pioli must move quickly in eliminating Haley from the equation and concentrating on hiring a big name such as Jeff Fisher, Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden or Marty Schottenheimer to bring this football team back to relevancy in the NFL and in the AFC West.
Without that move, this franchise is going to suffer more losses the rest of the season. Next year could be bleak despite the fact some of its big-time players will be healthy.
As a fan, I’m fed up. I’m tired of being close, but not good enough to win football games. The Chiefs, with a better head coach, would likely be sitting somewhere above the .500 mark at this point in the season.
Now they’re out of the AFC West race and this morning Pioli needs to be shaping his 2012 coaching staff and roster or next season, this organization will be in for more of the same in Kansas City.
It’s time that Pioli earn that top notch executive salary and do what should have been done when the team fell to 0-3 – and that’s replace a head coach who isn’t delivering the goods on the field.
Wins are all that matters in the NFL. And that’s the harsh truth that fans should be holding Pioli accountable for going forward.
It’s time for major change in Kansas City and waiting another week or two will just put this organization in a tougher light than the one that’s already been shining on them in back-to-back prime time losses on the national stage.
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Should the Chiefs fire Haley?
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