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Chiefs’ Haley still has confidence in ’The Plan’

Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley talks with punter Dustin Colquitt (2) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Aug. 26, 2011.

Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley talks with punter Dustin Colquitt (2) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Aug. 26, 2011. Photo by The Associated Press.

KANSAS CITY (AP) — Todd Haley is sticking with The Plan.

What that means, exactly, only he knows.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ head coach arrived at training camp after an atypical offseason and decided to go about things a little differently than his peers. Whereas most other coaches tried to play catch up by putting their guys in pads and ramping up the contact early on, Haley chose to bring the Chiefs along methodically, working on their conditioning and slowly building them up.

The results have been mixed. The Chiefs have lost all three of their games — though Haley is 1-10 in the preseason, so that’s nothing new. But they’ve also fared better with each passing week, the margin of defeat in each game slowly dwindling.

After a 14-10 loss Friday night to the St. Louis Rams, the Chiefs have one preseason game remaining before the regular season, against the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.

Then Haley will know whether The Plan has paid off.

“We’ve got another three practices and be on a plane,” Haley said. “Again, I believe in the guys. We’ll get a good week in and go out to Green Bay. We’ve got to get things going. You never say you have to this or that or the other, but I’d like to see us start to get some success.”

So would the rest of the Chiefs.

Matt Cassel has been abysmal in three preseason games, hardly throwing a pass in a 25-0 loss to Tampa Bay, struggling in a 31-13 defeat to Baltimore, and going 6-of-13 for 59 yards while taking an 11-yard sack in the loss to the Rams.

The league’s top-ranked rushing attack last year, when Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones combined for 2,363 yards on the ground, was supposed to get better with the addition of former All-Pro fullback Le’Ron McClain. Instead, the first-team managed 14 yards on six first-half carries against the Rams’ No. 1 defense. Charles and Jones each carried twice for eight total yards.

“I think this is all just part of the process, and Coach Haley has decided this is the best for our team,” said Cassel, repeating Haley’s refrain about sticking to The Plan. “As a player you conform to whatever he’s got set up for you.”

When asked whether Cassel thinks the first-team offense will be ready for the season opener Sept. 3 against Buffalo, given so little work in the preseason, he offered up a candid answer.

“I don’t think we have a choice,” Cassel said. “So we’ll be ready to go come Buffalo. I guarantee these guys will be ready to go. We’re ready for the season.”

Just not the preseason, it seems.

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