Chiefs buckle up, knuckle down in tough practice

When he mapped out long-range plans for rebuilding the Kansas

City Chiefs, Todd Haley never figured on spending November

practices retracing steps that were covered in training camp.

But neither did he plan on getting blown out in Denver and

preparing for Arizona this week on the heels of a two-game losing

streak. So in their first post-rout practice since 2009, the Chiefs

buckled up, knuckled down and ”went back to basics” on

Wednesday.

Players said a tough workout was exactly what they needed after

Sunday’s 49-29 flop to the Broncos, a game in which they set a team

record by falling behind 35-0 in the first half.

”Today was just a ‘put-your-head-down-and-go-hit’ day,” said

fullback Tim Castille. ”Hitting helps a little bit. You get to

take your frustrations out on each other a little.”

Haley, limping noticeably from an injury or procedure he refused

to disclose, agreed with players who said it was a good, energetic

practice.

”We got a bunch of base work,” he said. ”We were in pads,

just trying to get back to fundamentals, fundamentals of doing

things the right way – offense, defense, special teams. I thought

we had a good day’s work. I thought we made progress.”

Progress seemed urgently needed after the Denver loss. In fact,

after a 3-0 start to their second year under Haley, the Chiefs

(5-4) have played poorly their last three in a row.

They got lucky and beat Buffalo in overtime, then had no luck in

losing in overtime to Oakland. Against Denver, they looked like the

2008 team that finished 2-14 and got the coach and general manager

fired. Instead of leading the AFC West, they’re tied with Oakland,

although the Raiders hold the tiebreaker by virtue of beating them

head-to-head.

”There was a lot of energy out there,” said linebacker Derrick

Johnson. ”I thought it was going to be one of those days when

everybody was trying hard to get in a groove. But everybody was up.

That’s a good sign for a Wednesday. Coach has us mentally

tough.”

The Cardinals (3-6) are on a four-game losing streak, just as

the Broncos were last week. Haley’s old boss and Arizona

counterpart did the same thing as the Chiefs on Wednesday.

”Exactly the same thing,” said Whisenhunt, who hired Haley as

his offensive coordinator and went to the Super Bowl in the 2008

season. ”That’s been our bugaboo. Too many mistakes. Too many

self-inflicted wounds. We’ve had that discussion as well

here.”

The Chiefs are trying desperately to avoid the snowball affect

that seems to have gripped the Cardinals.

”Things started to pile on us,” Whisenhunt said. ”It’s tough

when you have a couple of (tough losses) back-to-back. It really

taxes you confidence-wise, mentally.”

Haley appears to have a heavy brace on his right leg. He cited

team policy of not talking about injuries when refusing to say how

he got hurt. Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has been limping

around since training camp with a knee problem he intends to

correct through surgery when the season is over.