Haley's Offense is Proof of Failure

Haley's Offense is Proof of Failure

The Chiefs' offense is bad. Not just the kind of bad that gets quarterbacks benched or has late-night talk shows making jokes - no, this is much worse. This is the kind of bad that sets the records nobody wants and, like a cancer, permeates anything that was once good. Sunday, Todd Haley's Chiefs lost 37-10, but he may have lost much more.

For the fourth straight week, Haley trotted quarterback Tyler Palko out to face the lions. This week, the role of the lion was played by a mediocre New York Jets defense that ended up looking like a Super Bowl defense because of the Chiefs.

The Chiefs finished the first half with four total yards of offense (19 pass; -15 run) and only a single first down. That's the worst offensive half in franchise history.

The Chiefs had more success in the second half by copying the old Denver Broncos playbook. Although bootlegs and quarterback sneaks opened the offense up slightly, the writing was already on the wall. This team had quit.

The most disappointing part of Sunday's game was the regression of a defense that has played well for the bulk of the season. But that is how bad this offense is. It's actually making the defense worse.

Kansas City's defense spent nearly 10 more minutes on the field than the offense in the first half alone, and was spent before the start of the third quarter - both mentally and physically. How could you expect the defense to continue to play with the same intensity when they know they are fighting a winless battle?

Typically, when an offense struggles to this degree you bring the axe down on the offensive coordinator. Although you could certainly make a strong case for the removal of coordinator/offensive line coach Bill Muir, Haley has his mitts all over this offense. He has run two different coordinators out of town. Both have become head coaches despite the fact they were incapable of running Haley's offense.

This might be forgivable if KC's offense had improved, but obviously it's only worsened.

Still, a common argument for retaining Haley is blaming KC's losing season on injuries, including the injury to Jamaal Charles. But the same story applies to a Chiefs' defense that lost Eric Berry in Week 1 and has fielded a starting lineup full of players who would not likely suit up in any other NFL city. But Romeo Crennel has not had to make any excuses for his defense.

The Houston Texans improved to 9-3 Sunday and look to be one of the AFC's playoff contenders. They have continued to persevere despite losing their starting quarterback, Matt Schaub, and best defensive player, Mario Williams. Good teams don't make excuses, they make adjustments.

When Haley went with Muir as his offensive coordinator, he put the success or failure of this offense on his back. Because this offense has struggled, and no successful adjustments have been made, the blame falls on Haley.

The most damning case against Haley, however, is his failure to practice what he preaches. Supposedly, Haley shipped offensive tackle Jared Gaither off to division rival San Diego for failing to stay disciplined. Sunday, Haley lost his cool and was flagged for a 15-yard penalty for saying a few too many choice words to the officiating crew. Just a few minutes later, full back Le'Ron McClain left KC's sideline to protest a questionable hit on Palko.

Usually, in this situation, Haley would chastise a player for such a mental lapse. But Haley has lost the right to call out his players for this type of behavior. You can't effectively lead without practicing what you preach and Haley has lost the ability to do that.

There is still a contingency of loyal Chiefs fans who support Haley and their devotion is respectable. It's just not warranted. Haley turned the Chiefs from a 4-12 squad to a 10-6 playoff team in 2010, which deserves praise. But there is a big difference between a playoff contender and a playoff pretender and both the Raiders and Ravens made apparent that the Chiefs were a pretender to end the 2010 season.

Haley has done some good things in Kansas City and deserves kudos, but the scale has tipped to the negative side rapidly.

Injuries are not a justification for poor, undisciplined play. They are excuses.

When you have to make excuses to justify retaining a head coach, his job is already lost.

Is it time for Haley to be fired?

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