Under the Todd Haley/Scott Pioli regime, we've seen two different Kansas City Chiefs teams. Year one brought us four wins and very few tangible positives to look to. Other than discovering Jamaal Charles, I can't point to many positives in that year. Year two brought us 10 wins, and an identity. The Chiefs are now a rushing team with a quarterback who plays very, very efficient.
Though the relationship between Haley and Weis will never fully be understood (at least publicly), Dan Pompei of National Football Post reports that Haley preferred a more conservative offense and that, without Weis in Kansas City now, that's where they'll be headed.
Making Bill Muir the Chiefs' offensive coordinator made sense from this perspective: head coach Todd Haley wants to run a meat and potatoes offense. He believes the Chiefs' offensive personnel is best suited to play smash mouth football. In fact, I've been told that was one of the sources of conflict between Haley and Charlie Weis, the former offensive coordinator. Weis wanted to use a lot of shotgun and spread formations while jazzing up the offense. Haley wanted to play it more conservatively.
The use of the shotgun and spread is something Cassel probably likes more than a conservative approach so I can't imagine he's thrilled about the change of direction. Weis' presence also propelled Cassel to new heights as a quarterback. It'll be interesting to see how Cassel progresses if the Chiefs tweak the offense for a more conservative approach.
The good thing though is that the Chiefs are built to play a conservative, run-heavy offense, and that's really Haley's background, too.
The Chiefs are built for this offense because of Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles. Plenty of folks argued that Charles didn't get the ball enough in 2010 and, if a conservative offense means more rushing attempts, those folks will likely see what Charles can do with more attempts.
Haley's background, though often cited as a passing one because of Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerand and that Arizona Cardinals offense, is actually more of a conservative approach. Think Bill Parcells. Think Erhardt Perkins.
So we'll see a more conservative approach in 2011 and that's a good thing. That means Haley's sticking to what he knows and what he's had success with in the past.