Kansas City Chiefs' Offense Mirrors Overwhelmed Todd Haley

Denny K.Correspondent IDecember 14, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 13: Head Coach Todd Haley of the Kansas City Chiefs yells at a referee during NFL game action against the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium on December 13, 2009 Kansas City, Missouri.  The Bills defeated the Chiefs 16-10.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Confusion is never an emotion that a head football coach wants to inspire in his players or his team's fans.

This Sunday as the Chiefs were in the process of losing to the Buffalo Bills 16-10, confusion about the Chiefs' offensive philosophy and identity was as apparent on the sidelines as it was in the stands.

And by stands I mean, the 30,000 people who saw Sunday's debacle.

Unfortunately, the only people in Arrowhead who did not appear to be confused about the Chiefs' offense were the Buffalo Bills' defenders who were dialed in on key plays throughout the game, including a critical stop at the goalline on fourth down.

The Chiefs ran a naked bootleg with Matt Cassel on that play that failed to fake any of the Bills' defenders.  Cassel was sacked and with it an opportunity at seven points that would have won the game.

You could recite a litany of strange fourth-down decisions made by Todd Haley this season.  The fake punt on fourth down against Denver last week though is nothing compared with Haley's decisions on Sunday in two near identical situations in the Red Zone to go for it on fourth-down once and then to kick it the second time.

The problem with these spin-the-bottle type play-calls is simple.  They are inconsistent.   Inconsistency leads to confusion and to a lack of direction.  These are not good traits for a professional football organization.  To be honest, they are not even really good traits for an intramural flag football team to have.

Three quarters of the way into the regular season the Chiefs' offense lacks identity in almost every aspect of the game.  Todd Haley's play-calling, the fourth-down calls being an excellent example of this, have contributed largely to this overall malaise.

Haley's play calling seems to have no reason or philosophy behind it.  If he wants to be a pro-version of Texas Tech's Mike Leach and go for it on practically every fourth down then do it.  If he wants to be conservative and take points when they come available then fine. 

Just pick an identity and build from it.  Maybe players then players will grow confidence in themselves and their coach's ability. 

Todd Haley seems overwhelmed by the head coach position.  Haley is a confident person and sometimes confident people bite off more than they can chew. It appears he has done this in Kansas City.

By being head coach, quarterbacks coach and a play-calling offensive coordinator, Haley and his team are coming off as frazzled at best.

The last eight minutes of Sunday's game against Buffalo is an excellent example of this. During that time Kansas City had two huge dropped passes, two interceptions, two holding penalties and three receivers failing to get out of bounds when the Chiefs were desperate to save clock.

Haley got his start in the NFL being a wide receiver's coach.  The Chiefs' wide receivers have led the NFL in drops this year.

Haley got the Chiefs head coaching job partly based on his play calling abilities with the Arizona Cardinals.  The Chiefs play calling this year, as already noted, has been a mess.

I don't think Haley should necessarily be fired after this season, but changes are in order.  To start, it would make sense to hire an offensive coordinator who can give the team an identity to build around and free up Todd Haley to perform the duties of head coach.  Charlie Weis would be a good man for the job, but there are others out there who could do better than the status quo.