Emptying the OTAs notebook: Dick Vermeil on Todd Haley, Brian Waters and the attitude adjustment

By Kent Babb; Kansas City Star

Former Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil, who led St. Louis to a Super Bowl title in 1999, made a long career out of doing things his way. Practices were exhausting, and mercy wasn't usually part of the equation. Like every NFL coach, he once led a franchise for the first time, something first-year Kansas City coach Todd Haley is charged with doing this year.
Vermeil understands Haley's obstacles, including getting the disgruntled guard Brian Waters to buy into the coach's message. Vermeil coached Waters early in the lineman's career. We spoke with Vermeil last week to discuss his thoughts on Haley's 2009 challenges, the Brian Waters situation and what the new Chiefs coach has to do to earn the team's respect.
These are Vermeil's thoughts, in his words:

On Todd Haley:

"You sort of grow into those leadership responsibilities, and you grow into your philosophy. I was far more intense, far more emotional when I took over the Kansas City Chiefs. You get better as you do it."

"Remember, Bill Walsh was a first-time head coach..... Vince Lombardi was a first-time head coach at one time."

"He’ll do it his way. He’ll also lean on things that he’s learned from his recent experience."

"They'll fall in line. Regardless of what players say, sooner or later they’re going to learn who the boss is. They’ll soon find out why he’s the head coach."

On Brian Waters:

"I know him very well. I see him having a great year and going to the Pro Bowl as a Kansas City Chief and ending up buying in and being a leader. It’ll just happen in a matter of time as he gains respect and they (coaches) gain respect for him."

"He’s just not some dumb offensive lineman. He’s a bright guy, and he will evaluate the whole process as it’s going along, and he’ll buy in. He’ll see that this is a good way."

"There’s a lot of guys who play on rosters who’d just as soon play somewhere else. But they always end up falling in line."