- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lamar Hunt would not recognize these Kansas City Chiefs.

The founder of the franchise died in December 2006 near the conclusion of a season in which the Chiefs reached the playoffs for the ninth time in 17 seasons, a span during which the club was 46 games over .500.

The Chiefs have posted a dismal 8-32 record since Hunt’s death - including an 0-5 mark this season heading into Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins.

Only eight players from the Hunt era remain, and nearly half the players on the roster - nine of 22 starters included - are newcomers this season.

Coach Todd Haley and 10 of his assistants also are in their first year with the club. Haley fired new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey during training camp and changed receivers coaches Thursday.

“We’re switching guys up and switching coaches, so it’s hard to find chemistry,” said third-year receiver Dwayne Bowe, one of the Chiefs’ few bright spots. “Everybody’s new, so now it’s like we’re building all over again. Change is going to be hard, so we might as well make the best of it. We’re trying to find a way to win.”

The Chiefs came close twice, losing 13-10 to the Oakland Raiders in Week 2 and taking the Dallas Cowboys to overtime last week.

Haley, the offensive coordinator of the NFC champion Arizona Cardinals last season, also reached the postseason as an assistant with the 1998 New York Jets, 2001 Chicago Bears and 2006 Cowboys.

All those franchises were down when he was hired, giving him reason to believe the Chiefs can turn it around, too.

“My expectations were about on with where we’re at,” said Haley, whose team ranks last in defense and 30th in offense. “I was a scout with the Jets when we went 2-14 and 1-15… and the very next year, we went 9-7. Dallas, which had been downtrodden for an extended period, I was able to be part of turning that in the [right] direction and then Arizona. … There weren’t a lot of people around there that believed when I got there. I draw from all those experiences.”

Some of those experiences came against the Redskins, against whom his teams have gone 5-6 the past decade.

“I’ve had my fill of the Redskins,” Haley said. “[Defensive coordinator] Greg Blache seems to have my number. Not somebody I look forward to playing against.”

Blache’s defense has gone 37 games without allowing an opposing quarterback to post a rating of at least 100. The Atlanta Falcons and Indianapolis Colts rank next with just 10 such games.

Smith to punt Saturday

Hunter Smith will punt Saturday for the first time since he injured his groin Oct. 4 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If he and special teams coach Danny Smith aren’t pleased with the result, Glenn Pakulak will fill in for a second straight game.

“We did what we needed to do this week, which was strengthen it and rest it,” Hunter Smith said. “It’s probably a three-week injury, and we’ll try to make it back in two. If it’s not all the way ready to go, we’ll put her down for another week.”

Extra points

Defensive end Phillip Daniels practiced Friday for the first time since he tore his right biceps Sunday and plans to start against the Chiefs. So does defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin, who was listed as inactive Sunday with a sprained left elbow. …

Guard Chad Rinehart, who lost his starting job to Mike Williams last week, said he’s still trying to regain full strength in the left shoulder he injured against the Buccaneers. If Rinehart can’t play, rookie free agent Edwin Williams likely would be made active for the first time. …

Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (ankle) and running back Clinton Portis (calf) were limited in practice Friday and will start. Defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery likely will miss a fifth straight game because of a troublesome knee.

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