Chiefs May Not Be Concerned, But The Rest Of Us Surely Are

Todd Haley of the Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs have not looked good in any of the team's three preseason games. While these games may not count, they will very shortly, and that should be of great concern to Chiefs' fans.

Three consecutive listless exhibition losses is not a good way for the reigning AFC West champions to get their season started.

The preseason games may not count for anything, other than the opportunity to get a good look at the guys on the back end of the roster and see what they can do under game conditions, which many of them will never see. What's worrisome, though, is that in 14 days, the games will start counting for real, and the Chiefs don't appear to be anywherenear  ready to turn it up a notch.

Kansas City's first-team offense has looked lethargic and unimpressive thus far in the team's three preseason outings. And the defensive unit has been pig's meal against their opponents' starting offense, leaving impressions of Chiefs' teams of the recent past. It's hard to believe, but the backups have actually outperformed the starters in terms of productive effort.

Following Friday night's underwhelming and uninspiring performance against cross-state rival St. Louis in the annual Governor's Cup exhibition tussle, Chiefs' quarterback Matt Cassel defended his oft-criticized head coach, telling reporters, "Coach Haley has a plan. We're all on board with that," he said. "It's worked in the past, so hopefully it'll work again."

Hopefully? Doesn't particularly sound like a ringing endorsement from the team's on-field leader. Maybe someday soon Haley will let the rest of us in on what that plan is.

Is has been reported that Haley, in his third season in Kansas City, is more interested in seeing player effort this preseason than he is physical execution. Seems to me that effort may make you feel good inside and provide a sense of short-term satisfaction, but sound execution is what wins you games.

With one more preseason game to go, against Super Bowl-champion Green Bay in Green Bay, in a game in which you're not likely to see any key starters on either side, the Chiefs are probably fortunate that it is only an exhibition game, and the final one, at that. Kansas City will, however, get to see the Packers again in the season, under much different circumstances when Green Bay visits Arrowhead Stadium in December.

When you look at the Kansas City schedule this season, the Chiefs actually get a mild break to open the year, hosting Buffalo at home to get the season started on Sept. 11 before traveling the next weekend to Detroit , which is expected to be better but still not among the NFL's better teams. From that point, the Chiefs' schedule will get increasingly more difficult, including a brutal five-game stretch beginning Nov. 21, in which they will play New England (there), Pittsburgh, Chicago (there), the New York Jets (there) and Green Bay on successive weekends.

Many of the experts are projecting that Haley's team actually could be better this year, fueled by the preseason free-agent additions Kansas City has brought in on offense, and likely end up with a worse record than a year ago. Given what we've seen so far in the preseason, however, the better part is highly suspect.

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