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Haley concludes first minicamp, says Chiefs are 'starting at ground zero'

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Todd Haley isn't kidding when he says he wants the Kansas City Chiefs to start this year from scratch.

The new head coach had the players go through their first on-field workouts without names on the back of jerseys or even decals or team logos on their helmets.

"Everything I'm doing I'm trying to do with a purpose," he said Sunday at the conclusion of a voluntary three-day minicamp. "The thought process there is we're starting at ground zero. We're looking for guys who want to be Chiefs."

The three-day affair began with a lot of "chaos," Haley said, since neither the players nor the new coaching staff had ever been on the field together at the same time. But each day got progressively better, even though rain forced sessions on Saturday and Sunday indoors.

"It was good to just get back on the field. We'd been out here working hard and lifting and conditioning," he said. "We've been doing what we can. But it's nothing like being out there in the real situation and going fast."

Player evaluation was not a purpose of the three days. In fact, it was something coaches tried not to do.

"You try not to do it because you're liable to make a mistake if you go off your first minicamp without pads and a couple of days of learning," Haley said. "You quite possibly could make some mistakes if you judge too quick. I told the players, 'You're not going to make the team or not make the team this weekend. You've got a better chance of making the team lifting and running the way we want it done.'"

While getting a look at his players on the field, Haley also got his first experience as a head coach on the field. The offensive coordinator last year for the Arizona Cardinals, Haley is just now getting his first go-round as the guy in charge.

The transition, he's discovered, does have a few surprises.

"Not so much in front of the team, because I've had to do that a bunch," he said. "But more out on the field, finding my place, exactly where I want to be, what's most advantageous to me. It was three good days for me, just trying to figure out where to stand half the time."

All in all, there were no surprises and no disappointments, he said.

"I learned they're interested in listening and trying to do it the way we're asking them to do it," he said, "which is one of the criteria for being on this team. You're going to have to do it the way we ask you to do it. We've got a long way to go. But at least they're listening and trying to do it the way we want it done."

And how is that? Not much differently from other teams and coaches, said safety Jarrad Page.

"They want things like any head coach," he said. "They want you going hard. They want you to have a fast tempo, going hard, listening, being disciplined and not making mistakes, all the stuff that, as athletes, we know."

After going 2-14 last year, the players are not at all surprised that everyone is starting from the bottom up, Page said.

"Since our first team meeting, Coach Haley addressed us and said that we're starting from ground zero. Basically, nobody is above anybody else. They're going to get the right 53 guys together and that's the way we're moving forward."

The Chiefs will have a mandatory minicamp in early June.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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