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Old 09-08-2009, 11:03 PM  
Tribal Warfare Tribal Warfare is offline
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Babb: Chiefs’ Hunt pleased to see some early improvement

Chiefs’ Hunt pleased to see some early improvement
By KENT BABB | THE KANSAS CITY STAR

Considering the way the past two seasons have gone, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Chiefs fans’ expectations were dulled as the 2009 regular season approaches. After an offseason packed with changes, the team’s most influential fan — and the man who shepherded much of the change — said Tuesday that his expectations are simple.

“I want to see progress,” Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said at the team’s annual kickoff luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center. “We’re looking for the team to play hard week in, week out.”

Hunt wouldn’t share the win total he’s hoping for, rather saying that he’d like to see the Chiefs improve in all three phases compared with last year, when Kansas City lost a franchise-record 14 games. That result compelled Hunt to overhaul the franchise, as longtime team president Carl Peterson resigned and coach Herm Edwards was fired. Hunt hand-picked their replacements, general manager Scott Pioli and coach Todd Haley.

Hunt said he already has noticed improvement while watching the Chiefs’ defense and special teams. He said the offense, though, has “struggled a little bit,” and he said Pioli and Haley consulted him last week before Chan Gailey was fired as offensive coordinator.

Hunt said that Haley, who spent the past two seasons as Arizona’s coordinator, was initially comfortable with Gailey. But, Hunt said, as the team advanced into the preseason — with the Chiefs scoring two touchdowns in their first three games — Haley was unsatisfied with how he and Gailey were communicating.

“At the end of the day,” Hunt said, “I agreed with Todd that it was the right thing to do. Ultimately, he’s got to be comfortable with his staff and be happy with how the offense and defense are being coordinated.

“Todd didn’t feel that it was working.”

Haley took over for Gailey, calling the plays and coaching the quarterbacks, but the Chiefs still didn’t score a touchdown in last week’s preseason finale against St. Louis. Kansas City continued its offensive overhaul this past weekend, cutting two players who shared time starting at right tackle throughout training camp and the preseason. Veteran Damion McIntosh and second-year tackle Barry Richardson were waived, leaving the Chiefs with eight offensive linemen on the roster a few days before the team opens the season against Baltimore.

Still, Hunt said he’s confident that Haley can, in time, turn the offense into a force.

“He showed in the past a tremendous ability to coordinate offenses,” Hunt said. “Although it may not happen day one, I know he’s going to turn our offense into a high-powered offense.”

Pioli told the audience Tuesday that he doesn’t have a timetable in mind for the team to emerge as a contender.

“I don’t know when we’re going to win,” Pioli said, “but we’re going to win. … We’re going to work until the job is done. There is no other option.”

Hunt praised rookie kicker Ryan Succop, whose strong leg on kickoffs improved the Chiefs’ field position and gave the team a long-range option on field goals, something Kansas City lacked the past two seasons.

Hunt said he’ll remain patient as long as things continue improving. Regardless, Hunt said he’s eager for a new season to begin — and to see how all those changes begin to shape the Chiefs.

“I don’t want to put too much emphasis on this season because building a winning team is a process,” Hunt said. “I feel really confident in Scott and Todd’s ability to do so.”
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:13 PM   #2
Bane Bane is offline
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Well getting rid of Carl and Herm were the best steps taken so far!!!
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