We've been talking about the NFL lockout and how it will affect the Kansas City Chiefs heading into the 2011 season. We've hit on just about every topic but Mitch Holthus, Voice of the Chiefs, made a good point yesterday on 810 WHB (audio here).
"A concern that I have going into this year," Holthus said, "and it deals with the unique situation we've been in, and it's that I think the Chiefs use their OTAs and training camp the last two years probably as good as any team in the NFL."
Very true. The story out of offseason workouts and training camp the last two years has been how tough and rigorous it is. Haley kept his team in pads for almost all of training camp and plenty of players noted the difficult camp schedule as part of the reason for their success.
"It was not easy," Holthus continued. "You talk to the players, they had some of the toughest OTAs in the league. The first year was the shock factor. Todd Haley came in and shocked everyone. You remember the stories that leaked out. They were like, 'Wow this is going to be tough.' It was a tough training camp. Last year it became a source of pride with these guys. You've seen this with other sports teams, if you work harder and tougher than everyone else, it's like, hey we can take anyone on."
Right. The Chiefs may not have had a talent advantage over other teams but that's not necessarily something they can control. What they could control, though, was being in better shape than other teams. For the most part, I think the Chiefs had that advantage over their opponents.
"I noticed the breakthroughs in '09 when they beat Pittsburgh in overtime," Holthus continued, "because they (Pittsburgh) were the stronger team. I watched this game on tape -- 11 Pittsburgh defenders had their hands on their hips. It became a source of pride.
"Now you essentially lost that. Now that you don't have those OTAs, I'm curious how that will transpire into camp and if the Chiefs can go into the season feeling like they can be a stronger, tougher team."
So the Chiefs just have training camp to prepare for the season. As Holthus mentioned, the guys that came in out of shape are an even bigger problem because, in the past, you'd notice they're out of shape in April. Now you notice that issue in August, only weeks before the season.