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Chiefs' Haley may call plays next year

Chiefs' Haley may call plays next year

January 12th, 2011 in News

KANSAS CITY (AP) - Chiefs coach Todd Haley could wind up calling plays next year.

Haley said Tuesday he intends to hire a replacement for offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, who is leaving to take a similar position at Florida. But Haley also indicated he might take a bigger role in calling plays, which he did in 2009 when he fired offensive coordinator Chan Gailey shortly before the season opener and assumed the position himself. Haley was a successful offensive coordinator at Arizona, helping the Cardinals get to the Super Bowl before he took over in Kansas City in 2009.

Asked Tuesday if he would consider calling plays next year, Haley said, "I'll consider anything."

"But it's going to be a very thorough evaluation of the entire system," he added.

Weis, a three-time Super Bowl winner at New England and former head coach at Notre Dame, was part of a franchise-record six-game improvement in 2010. The Chiefs went from 4-12 in 2009 to 10-6 and won their first AFC West title since 2003.

In training camp, Weis said his main goal was "to fix what's wrong with the quarterback," and Matt Cassel made a huge leap. After throwing 16 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions the year before, Cassel finished the regular season with 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

The Chiefs of 2010 also put running back Jamaal Charles and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe into the Pro Bowl before ending their season with a 30-7 loss to Baltimore in the first round of the playoffs Sunday.

"We had a real good coordinator here in Charlie who has moved on to Florida and we have to make sure that we continue to develop our coaches and have good coaches on the staff," Haley said. "That's a critical part of being a successful team year in and year out and reaching our goals, which is to be a championship team."

A number of possible replacements for Weis have drawn mention, including Josh McDaniels, who was fired before the end of the season as head coach in Denver. But the two have had a stormy relationship, to put it mildly. In what proved an embarrassing moment for Haley, he refused to shake McDaniels' hand immediately after a blowout loss Nov. 14 in Denver. He apologized the next day to fans and to McDaniels, but conceded he had not called McDaniels personally.

Another possibility may be Nick Sirianni, the Chiefs' young quality control coach on offense. Sirianni would seem like a long shot because he has only two years in the NFL. But Haley has spoken highly of him in the past and given him much credit for taking a big hand in Cassel's improvement.

"I would not discount anything right now," Haley said. "What I'm going to be interested in is getting it right. I feel like last year I got it right. We were able to continue to make big progress in building the identity of this team and on top of that having some success to boot. We didn't accomplish all of our goals. But I feel like we got it right and my staff, our staff, continues to grow and develop. You need to be developing coaches also. We'll get it right."

The ultimate decision will be his, Haley said.

Whoever gets hired will be Haley's third offensive coordinator in three years. He said he's not concerned about a perception he's not an easy head coach for an offensive coordinator to work for.

"It's not something I've thought about or considered," Haley said. "I'm going to continue doing the things that I know as the head coach have got this ship going in the right direction and moving at a pretty good clip."

Haley disputed a report on Kansas City sports talk radio station KCSP he relieved Weis of play-calling responsibilities in the second half of Sunday's loss to Baltimore.

"Absolutely not true," he said.