It’s All In The Details … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

From the Truman Sports Complex

It was just over a dozen years ago that Todd Haley drew the ire of Bill Belichick.

It was 1997 and Haley was in his first season of coaching, working as the offensive quality control coach on Bill Parcells staff with the New York Jets. Part of Haley’s duties each week during the season was preparing the diagrams of opponent’s plays for the offensive scout team to use against the New York defense, whose coordinator was Belichick.

The plays are printed on cardboard cards and shown to the practice offense before they ran each play.

“I was running cards, coaching the show team receivers and Belichick would scream at me for having a play one-yard out of line on the cards,” Haley said. “At that time I had no idea. I said ‘Why is this guy being a jerk to me? I’m trying my best.’ Now I understand … now I know how important those details are. That’s how you learn all that.”

Jump ahead 13 years to the Chiefs indoor practice facility on a rainy Tuesday in June where the Chiefs are in the midst of another OTA practice session. The offense is running plays against the defense and Haley sees something is not right. He stops the quarterback who is calling the signals and walks towards the receiver on the far right of the formation.

His voice doesn’t cover the 50 yards to where the media horde is watching the practice, but there’s no doubt what he’s doing. He walks over to numbers designating the 50-yard line and marches off four yards to the right. That’s where he wants the receiver to line up and start running his route, exactly four yards to the right of the numbers.

Not three yards, not five yards, but four yards. Somewhere in New England, Belichick is wearing a knowing smile.

“We’re just trying to pass that along,” Haley said with a similar smile.

That’s what this off-season work is all about. There are 14 on-field sessions and a three-day, five-practice mini-camp. The way to make the sessions valuable is to stress the fundamentals, i.e. the little things. The pace is slower at this time of the year. There is no opponent to prepare for each week, no injuries and roster moves from the weekend action to deal with and handle.

It’s the time to work on these important things, the type of details that a coaching staff hopes will become rock solid when the pressure and pace increases during the regular season.

But is it really that much of a difference for the passing game if a receiver is three yards off the numbers instead of four yards? We’ve heard many times that it’s a game of inches, but are those 36 inches that important to completing a pass?

“Spacing in the passing game is so critical to your success and some of these guys are still in the process of really understanding that,” said Haley. “The great receivers understand the areas of the field that are being defensed and then where they have to be in order to maximize opportunity.

“Splits are just one of those factors that are very critical and guys cannot let those little things go. This is the time of year where you can make real progress on some of that and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

So that’s what these OTA sessions are filled with – working on the little things. The core personality of the Chiefs offense and defense are similar in that their weekly game plan during the season is based around what the opponent does and what matchups they can find on either side of the ball to take advantage of in the game.

At this time of the year, there’s no opponent to get ready for each week. That doesn’t mean the coaching staff doesn’t put together plans and plays for teams they’ll face in the fall, specifically that first opponent in the San Diego Chargers.

But the focus is inward, not outward. It’s about preparing players with the understanding of what’s important in making the game plan work whether offense, defense or the kicking game.

What will happen in the five mini-camp practices is a repeat of the process that’s gone down in the OTA practices – the idea is provide a second exposure to the basics, a second run through the process that’s important to the Chiefs coaches.

In the past the mini-camp would have been the highlight of the off-season for the coaching staff and team. But with the OTAs drawing near perfect attendance in the last four weeks, the camp really becomes nothing more than extra OTA sessions. The only real difference is that Haley and his coaches can have two practices a day.

“It does take on not quite the significant role that it did,” said Haley. “But that being said, it is two-a-days. They’ll have to bounce back and be ready to practice again that day. From that standpoint I think it’s important. But as far as the information that they’re getting, it’s a little more of a review for us. The first six or seven OTAs we went through an installation process on all sides of the ball and then we’ll kind of go back through that again in them mini-camp.

“It’s become more of a review from the mental side.”

And a review to make sure the wide receiver split is four yards, not three.


Jon Runyan moved from the NFL offensive line to the political world and on Tuesday won the Republican nomination for the House of Representatives seat in New Jersey’s Third District.

Runyan spent most of his long career with the Eagles, but finished up last year by playing with the Chargers in the second half of the season.

He’ll face first-team incumbent Jon Adler in the November general election.


The Chiefs through the NFL/LISC Grassroots Program helped the Police Athletic League of Kansas City to receive a $100,000 grant to build a new playing field next to the PAL Center at 18th Street and White in Kansas City, Missouri.

The new field w ill host more than 1,100 youths playing flag and tackle football, including students at several nearby schools.

With this new field for the PAL, the Chiefs have now donated or helped connect grants for playing field in the metro area to the tune of $1.98 million.


  • BILLS – signed 7th- round draft choice OL Kyle Calloway to a 4-year, $1,851,000 contract with a signing bonus of $61,000 – he’s been working at RT during Buffalo’s off-season work; released CB Stephan Virgil – he was an undrafted rookie free agent out of Virginia Tech.
  • EAGLES – signed 5th-round draft choice DE/OLB Ricky Sapp to a 4-year contract, terms undisclosed – he’s expected to be a hybrid defensive end-outside linebacker in the Philly scheme; signed LB Simoni Lawrence – he was with the Rams earlier in the off-season, but was released on May 25th. He’s out of the University of Minnesota and grew up in the Philadelphia area.
  • FALCONS – signed 3rd-round draft choice DT Corey Peters to a 4-year, $2,550,000 contract with a $767,000 signing bonus – out of Kentucky, he’s the second highest draft choice signed so far this season.
  • 49ERS – signed OT Matt Kopa to a 2-year contract – an undrafted rookie free agent out of Stanford who suffered a broken foot at the end of the ‘09 season. Kopa was petitioning for a sixth-year of eligibility with the NCAA but dropped that pursuit to sign with San Francisco.
  • JETS – disgruntled CB Darrelle Revis returned to the team’s off-season program on Tuesday after missing last week because he’s not happy with his contract. Revis wants to be the highest paid cornerback in the league.
  • PANTHERS – RFA LB Thomas Davis signed his tender offer, a 1-year contract for $3,268,000 – he’s recovering from a knee injury and surgery from last season; RFA CB Richard Marshall signed his tender offer, a 1-year contract for $1,759,000 – he’s been practicing with Carolina in the off-season through an injury waiver.
  • PATRIOTS – signed 4th-round draft choice TE Aaron Hernandez to a 4-year contract, terms undisclosed – versatile receiver out of the University of Florida is more of a catching tight end than a blocker.
  • RAVENS – RFA-SS Dawan Landry signed his tender offer of 1-year contract for $1,759,000 – he’s coming off an 89-tackle season in ‘09 for Baltimore; released DE/OLB Willie VanDeSteeg – he spent last year with the Ravens practice squad as a undrafted free agent out of Minnesota.
  • STEELERS – signed LS Matt Stewart to a 1-year contract – he has not played in the NFL since the 2006 season, spending all of ‘07 on the injured-reserve list and he failed to make the roster of the Cardinals in ‘08 and the Cowboys in ‘09.

22 Responses to “It’s All In The Details … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • June 9, 2010  - J Lloyd says:

    Way before that 7 yrs there was a Coach-QB-WR in San Fran. that did that so much that they could almost hit each other blindfolded .
    The results set records .

  • June 9, 2010  - Danny W says:

    I hope Matt is doing what good quarterbacks do and that is not be relentless or dedicated but I hope he is completely and utterly obsessed with becoming the best QB he can be.

    By doing this he will need a reciever that is just as obsesses as he. When someone gets payed as much as these guys do I think it is essential that they are workahaulics. I think Todd Haley is one of these guys and that will help I hope it rubs off on Cassel and Bowe, for that matter the entire team.

    It’s obvious the great ones are obsessed if you look at Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison or now Reggie Wayne. They have the obvious skill setting but are obsessed with perfection and getting things right. It comes through when you watch them play catch in practice before a game and during the timing is perfect and the accuracy is unmatched on every route ran.

    So I hope Matt has a great wife who is letting him sleep through the night. I’m sure they could hire a great nanny for these first few months when the baby will be up every hour and a half with an in need of a changing and hungry baby Quinn. Don’t get me wrong a guy should never sacrifice family for work but Matt needs to be watching film while he hugs his wife and kid and throwing a pass to Dwyane Bowe or doing a bicep curl or tricep pull down with one of those blue tooth cell phone devices in his ear while hugging the wife and kid be talking to Dexter McCluster about his positions and route running.

  • June 9, 2010  - ED says:

    Dude don’t worry about Cassell. Have you not read all last yr how Haley compare Cassell passion for the game to Kurt Warner. So bottom line if you don’t think Cassell is dedicated as he needs to be to be great you haven’t been paying attention. As the talent around Cassell get better so will his game and his numbers. People have to remember a QB is only as good as the pieces around him. From the o-line to the running game and receivers. It was obvious last yr based on all the drops and sacks we had one the worst receiving core and o-line in the league. Thus leading to Cassell 16 and 16 tds and interception that’s impressive to me seeing the poor talent he had to work with throughout the season.

    This yr I expect his numbers to be far better with all the nice pieces we’ve added around him. From Mcluster to Urban. Even Lija and Wiegman will be improvement on the line as far as pass protection. Even having Chambers and Bowe play a full season will help alot. This kid will be fine no doubt in my mind I’m sold on Cassell we just need to continue to add the talent around him.

  • June 9, 2010  - Will says:

    There’s seems to be a growing level of confidence with this team. It started with the Denver game last year and has carried over to the off season work. Haley’s consistency unlocks the trust of his players. Even in the OTAs you can sense the “chemistry” or energy building…this is the time to build confidence and momentum as they move toward training camp. I’m looking forward to St. Jo and the start of pre-season in a couple of months. Mr. Page needs to sign his tender for mini camps or be left behind. My hunch is he’ll be playing elsewhere next year.

  • June 9, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    Will, I concur. Haley is building a team. A REAL team…not just a collection of players on a roster. We haven’t seen this for awhile. I definitely like it.

    That whole “the right 53″ thing? It’s been talked about, made fun of (by some), and become worn out almost. But, the bottom line? From the very beginning, it’s what Pioli and Haley said they were going to do. And, it’s exactly what they ARE doing.

  • June 9, 2010  - Danny W says:

    I’m a Cassel guy too. I’m just saying to become elite ala Petyon Brees, you have to be a little obsesses. I have been paying attention in Bob’s article the last OTA he only threw for fifty percent. Are you paying attention Ed. He just had a baby do think that will be a distraction? I bet it will a little he is a brand new dad.

  • June 9, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    This whole thing of Cassel being a new Dad is a complete non-issue. I’m pretty sure that most players in the NFL have children…or become Fathers during their careers. I’ve never heard of anyone not handling it.

    Cassel may or may not make it. But, it won’t have a thing to do with his child.

  • June 9, 2010  - Danny W says:

    Mad Chief
    You ever had a brand new baby? Most guys have and I just had my first so I know first hand how a screaming kid at 1:00 AM and then at 3:00 AM and then again at 5:00 AM can were a guy out.

    Oh and using words like I concur. Do you really talk like that? Seriously this is a Chiefs blog not an NPR commentary man.

  • June 9, 2010  - el cid says:

    Come on Danny. My wife and I had three and, as they were fairly normal, I do not recall a lot of stress and problems. It is what you did when you had a family in the ’70s. I know things may be different with the modern family (seems so with my grandchildren) but, come on, Cassel has enough to provide 24 hr surveilance on a child. Hope the Cassel family does fine and I am sure they will.

  • June 9, 2010  - colby says:

    Cassel doesn’t worry me a bit, but I’m still not sold on our receivers yet. TE is completely unsettled, McCluster is strictly a slot guy, and Urban may not be more than a decent backup. Bowe is inconsistent and Chambers will be hard pressed to match his production from last year.

    One thing that could be interesting is the fact that the Cowboys have a gaping hole at FS. Maybe we could swap disgruntled RFA’s by trading Page for WR Patrick Crayton. Crayton isn’t going to be an all pro, but he is a solid veteran player who worked his way into playing time as a 7th round pick.

  • June 9, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    Danny, Danny…what’s with the personal attacks? Concur, agree, dude…no sh*t, yo dawg I’m feelin’ ya. What’s the difference?

    And yes, I have three children. I handled it. So will Cassel. So will you….and pretty much any other Dad on the planet that has the desire to do so.

    Enjoy your baby. Believe it or not, it will only get tougher as they grow older. These are the good times. Seriously.

    Finally, you’re right…this is a Chiefs blog. And I’m free to write or “talk” any way I feel like within’ the rules of said blog. Same as everyone else here.

  • June 9, 2010  - Mad Chief says:


    I’d probably take that trade. Would be nothing to lose with Crayton, really. And he could end up helping us with quality depth.

    But, while Crayton has been publicly “disgruntled”…Page has been silent. So, it’s really hard to know what his problem is. Or if he even has one.

    Actually, I’d still like to see Page sign with us. He’s not great by any means…but, at least you know you have a decent guy with some experience in there. It’s a shame he’s not here learning and improving his game along with his teammates, really.

  • June 9, 2010  - Danny W says:

    Mad Chief
    Thanks I am enjoying my little son. I help my wife in the middle of the night and a lack of sleep tends to play with a guys mind a little bit. I didn’t just learn that though when I served in the Marine Corps your lucky if you get six good hours of sleep.

    Matt Cassel and I are around the same age. That said:
    Were you smoking a pipe when you wrote that last comment in your library? (LOL) No need to use ebonix with me I’m educated just nudging you a little for God sakes. My original comment was for fun. I help my wife in the middle of the night so what is wrong with and someone tell me for wanting Matt Cassel to be a crazed workahaulic who loves his family and his team so he can be in the Hall of Fame as the best Chief quarterback since Trent Green Joe Montana or Granpa Lenny. Good quarter back fine. It’s the great ones who win the big dance more than once gents.

  • June 9, 2010  - Mad Chief says:


    It’s cool. Sarcasm is tough to detecton the internet, sometimes. I know a lot of my comments get taken the wrong way.

    And the only pipe I ever smoked was, well…let’s just say it wasn’t in the library.

  • June 9, 2010  - Danny W says:

    Thats hilarious. Dont ever take me too serious while I am a Chiefs nut,I’m as cool as the other side of the pillow. None of this stuff is in our control so why stress over it. I like to speculate and dream. I think I am a Chiefs fan because its the largest venue were a group of almost a whole state can get together and cheer for a common interest or something good. Oh and the hitting I love the hitting. Almost forgot cheerleaders I love them too.

  • June 9, 2010  - J Lloyd says:

    My daugther is in her 30’s .
    About the time she was born , we had a young kitty , and the cat would sleep all day and run all night(sometimes keep you up)so we would see the cat sleeping during the day , pick her up and feed her – just keep her awake !
    When our daugther found out that there was little sleep during day light , she NEVER MISSED A MIN. OF SLEEP AT NIGHT – and neither did we !
    This one really worked …

  • June 9, 2010  - napahank says:

    Hey Guys,
    After reading your great posts concerning Cassell I reflected back to a sampling of four Chiefs games I replayed this week from 09′ season. There is only three things a playoff QB needs to personally possess:
    1. Accurate (not super strong) arm, Ability to read defenses and Team leadership. That is it-period.

    If he has a great line (lots of time) he “looks” better; if he doesn’t he looks worse. If he has guys who run precise routes and can catch anything close and in traffic he looks better; if he doesn’t he looks worse. If he has an OC who can game plan and take advantage of defensive weaknesses he looks better; if not he looks worse. You get the idea.

    I watched an old 49′rs game recently where Montana didn’t throw one spectacular throw and yet both in stats and points he creamed the opposition. In fact most were 10 yards or less (then 20 yards after the catch!) They had a perfect game plan to exploit a backup corner and linebacker. And not one receiver dropped one ball.

    We can go all the way with Cassell. But no one man can throw, block, catch, tackle, intercept, sack, kick and coach. As the pieces come together around him, Cassell will be viewed in much more glowing terms.

    P.S. Stats don’t mean squat either for all the above reasons and more.

  • June 9, 2010  - Lindzey Lohaan says:

    El Cid, Mad Chief

    Well, I have 25 kids. Each new one was just as dumb as the last one. When I’m making love to wife I say “Watch Kids, watch the beauty that being consummated here!”

    Mad Chief… I haven’t forgotten either about you smoking my pipe. You’re right, we weren’t in the library. We were in the treehouse playing “just the tip.” You’re the second best I ever had.

    And Danny W…. I help your wife in the middle of the night too. ummm.


  • June 9, 2010  - David Henderson says:


  • June 9, 2010  - J Lloyd says:

    Bill Walsh———

    Small group of Coaches that did a lot for the game …

    Some one off their their Med’s ?——Rin ?

  • June 9, 2010  - Michael says:

    I guess I’m not as concerned as some with the recieing corps, including tight end. I know some believe that’s it’s just no good unless you have a collection of young, veteran pro-bowlers at every spot, but that’s not going to happen. I think KC has a good enough mix at both WR and TE to become one of the better passing offenses in the league.

    I agree with napahank; it all goes together, and I think the Chiefs can show improvement in each area of offense, which will improve the entire offense impressively.

  • June 11, 2010  - arrowhead1978 says:

    THIGPEN!!!! 18 TD’s 12 Int’s, Same Team!!!

Leave a Reply


Chiefs Players
College football
Combine 2010
Cup O'Chiefs
Draft 2010
Draft Profiles 2010
Game Coverage
Hall of Fame
Mouth Of Todd
Other News
Practice Update