|Haley on Bills game: 'To me, you can't let a loss like this drag you down.' (US PRESSWIRE)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
Earlier Wednesday, we documented the dilemma facing the Colts. They can either concede that this isn't their year, put Peyton Manning on injured reserve, and regroup in 2012. Or they can see if Manning's healthy enough to play later in the season and hope Kerry Collins can win a few games in the meantime. It's not ideal, but there are worse problems to have.
Take the Chiefs, for instance. Winners of the AFC West last season, Kansas City has looked like one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2011. They were 0-4 in the preseason (including a 25-0 blanking by the Bucs in Week 1), and are fresh off a 41-7 shellacking in the regular-season opener against the Bills.
Unlike the Colts, a team that will improve the second Manning returns, there's no easy fix for the Chiefs. Quarterback Matt Cassel completed 22 of 36 passes for a whopping 119 yards. That works out to 3.2 yards per attempt, or 2.4 yards fewer than Bills running back Fred Jackson gained per carry. Dexter McCluster and Jamaal Charles also lost fumbles, and the defense didn't have an answer for Ryan Fitzpatrick who tossed four touchdowns.
So what's the solution?
“No. 1 is the plus-minus category, both defensively and offensively," Haley said, via CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Bob Gretz. "We need to create more (turnovers) and we need to protect the ball. If you do that and that alone, even if you struggle in other areas, you can still win games.”
It also helps to have a short memory.
“To me,” Haley said, according to the Kansas City Star, “you can’t let a loss like this drag you down. This core group of guys has shown that in the past that they’ve been able to overcome a game like this. You don’t ever want one, but if you have one you can’t let it drag you down.”
It's one thing to say "hey, don't worry about it." It's something else entirely to put a beatdown like that behind you while also playing markedly better in the next game. As the Star's Kent Babb points out, "The team’s most looming worry is that there were few encouraging moments in Sunday’s game. Quarterback Matt Cassel wasn’t sharp, the defense was awful, and the Chiefs’ rushing offense, which led the NFL last year, never could settle into a rhythm. To make matters worse, second-year safety Eric Berry suffered a season-ending ACL tear, and he’ll soon join tight end Tony Moeaki on injured reserve."
Losing Berry and Moeaki are downers, clearly, but Haley's taking the glass-half-full approach (and he sorta has to; it's Week 1, after all). “There wasn’t anything on that tape that didn’t look like it was correctable,” he said Monday. “If we were sitting, watching the tape and seeing a lack of effort and seeing just guys get beat in one-on-one matchups and saying, ‘Boy, this guy’s got no chance,’ I would feel differently.”
We take Haley's point, but the "it's correctable" line is right out of Jim Caldwell's "What to say to the media when you don't know what to say to the media" handbook. Next up for the Chiefs: they travel to Detroit to face the Lions, who are fresh off a solid win in Tampa Bay last week.
We have a feeling things are going to get worse before they get better.
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