Kansas City Chiefs: 5 Mistakes Made During Todd Haley-Scott Pioli Regime
Todd Haley's run as the Kansas City Chiefs head coach is officially over. Scott Pioli is realizing that this was a much-needed move and he has learned that he made a mistake hiring Haley.
As he is close to completing his third year as the Chiefs' general manager, fans can only hope that Pioli has learned from his first ever head coaching hire and will do better the second time around, as the Chiefs continue their search for a new head coach in 2012.
There were some bright moments during the Haley-Pioli regime. But the darker moments overshadowed the bright ones.
As Haley prepares to pack his bags and leave the Kansas City area, let's look back at some of the highlights that led to Haley's firing.
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1. Canning Chan Gailey as Chiefs Offensive Coordinator in Favor of Haley
The bold moves began. Relieving Chan Gailey as the offensive coordinator was the first of many.
Haley felt that having Gailey on staff was not necessary. Instead, Haley decided to name himself the offensive coordinator in his rookie season as a head coach.
Haley said to the media that he made this move because he wants all the blame to go to him.
Eventually, Haley learned from this move and figured he needs an offensive coordinator to help him take control. He knew that just because he played a big role in taking the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl as an offensive coordinator does not mean he can carry that duty along with another big duty.
Haley's offense finished 25th in the league in 2009.
2. Signing Matt Cassel to a 6-Year, $63 Million Contract and Starting Him
Is it possible to for a quarterback in the NFL to prove himself for just one season?
Matt Cassel did it. Cassel stepped in when Tom Brady went out for the season with a torn ACL in 2008. Cassel threw 21 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. Despite missing the playoffs, Cassel led the Patriots to 11 victories that season.
When the 2009 offseason began, Pioli negotiated with his old team and was able to acquire Cassel, as well as Mike Vrabel, for a second-round draft pick.
The Chiefs surprised a lot of people in August of 2009 by giving Cassel a six-year deal worth $63 million, with $28 million guaranteed.
So far, Cassel has not been able to prove that he can be a good starting quarterback in the league. In his three seasons with the Chiefs, Cassel has 53 touchdown passes and 32 interceptions with 7,753 passing yards, with an average quarterback rating of 79.8. Cassel has missed nine games due to injury since coming to Kansas City. (That includes the three games remaining this season, since he is currently on the injured reserve list.)
With inconsistent play from Cassel and injuries piling on top, the next head coach may have little interest in keeping Cassel around.
3. Starting Larry Johnson for 7 Games
While playing under Haley, Larry Johnson earned 132 carries for 377 yards, resulting in a 2.8 yards-per-carry average. Johnson never found the end zone and was setting the Chiefs back.
It was not until Johnson blasted his former head coach on Twitter that led to his eventual release.
When Jamaal Charles was named the new starter, he rushed for over 1,000 with ease, even factoring in the fact that he started 10 games and was one yard short of being in the top 10 among all rushers in 2009.
Why did Haley not look to Charles when Johnson was unable to gain a chunk of yards? We will never know. Perhaps this is one of many examples that proves Haley is not good at evaluating the talent he has on his football team.
4. Signing Thomas Jones and Starting Him over Charles
While the national media did not project the Chiefs to finish in the top five in rushing for the 2010 season, many Chiefs fans were excited to see the team sign Thomas Jones.
Jones and Charles both rushed for 1,000 yards in 2009 and were looking forward to making the Chiefs a force on offense. Eventually, the Chiefs finished first in the league in rushing, but it could have gone better.
Jones carried the ball 245 times, while Charles got 15 fewer carries than Jones. Charles finished the season second in the league in rushing with 1,467 yards, while Jones mustered 896 yards.
With Charles on the injured reserve, Jones has rushed for 337 yards off of 112 carries and no touchdown runs this season.
Jones has a 3.4 yards-per-carry average since coming to Kansas City.
5. Promoting Bill Muir as Offensive Coordinator
Bill Muir has been involved with the game of football for 42 seasons and has never been given the responsibilities to call plays on offense.
This year, the Chiefs gave Muir a promotion by having him replace Charlie Weis, who was only with the team for one season.
With three games remaining, the Chiefs rank 28th in total offense with Muir as the offensive coordinator.
There is a reason why Muir went 42 years in football without calling the plays. This will be his only season as a play-caller. It is also likely that this will be his final season with the Chiefs.
Pioli understands he is responsible for the Chiefs' woes. He will now have another head coach come into the franchise in 2012, making somebody his second head coach since taking over as general manager.
Pioli admitted that he needs to do a better job. Clark Hunt said he has a lot of confidence in Pioli and that the he can get the franchise to move towards the right direction.
Pioli will evaluate Romeo Crennel for the final three games. If Crennel goes 3-0, which would include a win over the undefeated Green Bay Packers, he is a heavy contender to become the head coach of the Chiefs in 2012.
If Crennel goes 0-3 or 1-2, Pioli will have to search for someone outside of the system to come in.