Chiefs fire Haley after 5-8 start to season

By Dave Skretta

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Dec. 12 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

"We've had one of those years where we've had injuries, and injuries to key players, but that's typical in the National Football League," Hunt said. "As a team you have to find a way to overcome that and we just weren't able to do that this year. Our play was up and down the entire season and at times it was up and down during a given game, and I think those contributed to our decision."

Besides the lousy performance on the field, it was no secret that there was friction between Pioli and Haley, although the GM insisted Monday that they had "a good working relationship."

Pioli has said he values consistency in an organization, and that he's used the Steelers as a reference point for building the Chiefs. But the decision to part with Haley was just the second in-season firing of a head coach in franchise history — Paul Wiggins was fired after seven games during the 1977 season — and leaves the team in tumult with three games remaining.

"I don't perceive Todd Haley as a mistake," Pioli said. "Todd Haley is a good football coach. I'll say that. What we need to do is figure out what direction we're headed in and how we're going to continue to make progress, how we can get some consistency back."

Previously, Haley was the offensive coordinator for Arizona when the Cardinals won the NFC title in 2008. He also was an assistant coach with Dallas, Chicago and the New York Jets.

The biggest bright spot this season has been on defense, where despite missing Berry and Siler the Chiefs have still managed to keep themselves in games. They lost 17-10 to the Broncos and 13-9 to the Steelers, and their only victory over the last month — 10-3 at Chicago — came when they piled up seven sacks, forced three turnovers and prevented the Bears from converting a single third down.

Along with previous head coaching experience, that's the biggest reason why Crennel was selected as the interim coach. Quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn also has head coaching experience with Washington, defensive backs coach Emmitt Thomas served as interim head coach in Atlanta, and Maurice Carthon has been the assistant head coach the past four seasons.

The Chiefs won't decide on a permanent head coach until after the season, but Crennel could make a good argument for the job if he can rally the team over the final three weeks.

Kansas City is still mathematically alive in the AFC West.

"We've made some progress the last couple years and we're at the point some of that progress has slowed down," Pioli said. "I don't put timeframes on things, but clearly I need to get to work too, because if we're going to be a good football team and continue to get better and consistently compete for championships, we need to have a good roster."

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