KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Todd Haley's vow to be more mellow has been greeted by crickets at the Kansas City Chiefs training facility.
Amid the grunts and exultations from the players and the occasional admonition from the coaches, Kansas City's offseason workouts have been marked by the sounds of birds and bugs.
Is it possible that Haley, a standout firebreather in an occupation filled with them, has actually turned down the volume?
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So far, yes.
"I don't know if mellow's the right word," Chiefs safety Jon McGraw said Monday. "I'd say more comfortable."
Haley certainly still screams. A player makes a mistake, particularly a mental one, he'll be the first to let them — and anyone else within about a mile — know about it.
It's just that now the second-year coach picks his spots, able to let loose without looking like his head is going to turn into a scene from "Scanners."
A year under his clipboard and two proven coordinators to share some of the loud load, Haley has settled in and settled down.
"This is a growth process for everybody involved and me No. 1 as the head coach," Haley said. "I'm just trying to be the best head coach that I can be. I'm so much comfortable than I was at this time last year."
Haley's coaching career has been filled with fire.
He learned from one of the greatest screamers of a generation, Bill Parcells, and carried on the mouthy mantel at every stop.
In Dallas, where he was the receivers coach, Haley had a running feud with flamboyant receiver Terrell Owens. At Arizona, he had a sideline confrontation with Anquan Boldin during the NFC Championship game.
In his first season as a head coach last year, Haley became known as much for his in-your-facemask screaming as his game plans, the attention accentuated by the fact his team won just four games.
Practices were filled with front-of-the-team dressdowns, games with obscentity-filled tirades that were often caught on TV. It wasn't just the players who felt the Haley wrath; he also gave a Chiefs fan a one-fingered salute as he walked off the field.
This season, with a better understanding of the machinations of being the man in charge, Haley has pulled back the reins on rage, settled into his role instead of charging after it.
"He still gets on guys, he's still pushing us, but I think there's more of comfort level there," McGraw said. "Roles are a little more defined, the coordinators are in place. It's still a work in progress."
The coordinators have made a huge difference.
Charlie Weiss and Romeo Crennel have been head coaches before, so Haley can rely on them instead of feeling like he has to do it all himself. And, because of their background, he also feels comfortable allowing his two coordinators free reign to rail on players.
Call them his designated screamers.
"These guys are coaches that I'm comfortable with, have a similar mentality," Haley said. "We're totally different people, all three of us."
This may be a tamer version of Haley, but he still coaches with the tenacity of a linebacker bearing down on a quarterback. Mistakes won't be tolerated, hurting feelings not a concern, yelling just a part of the process.
Just ask the rookies, who needed an adjustment just to get used to this new, harmonious Haley.
"I really didn't realize what I was getting in to," rookie safety Kendrick Lewis said. "But as you get to know coach Haley, you see that he loves the game; and that's how he coaches it, teaches his players. He wants them to be better."