It’s good to be back from vacation, well sort of. When you leave for a while you always come back to a pile of work and chores that were neglected while you were away, but such is life. While I was visiting friends and family in Kansas City this past week I had the opportunity to do several things. I went to my first MLS game to see Sporting KC beat the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0, caught some sun at the lake, and while driving I spent a lot of time listening to 810 Sports Radio which is awesome if you’re a fan of KC sports. Indeed I forgot just much more in depth coverage you get from the media when you’re actually in town. While driving around one day, they were interviewing the Chiefs players that attended the three day minicamp put together primarily by QB Matt Cassel, and while listening to these players talk about how much work Matt put into getting this thing rolling something struck me.
Could it be? Did I just unwittingly stumble upon a plot forged by football masterminds dating back to week four of last season, or has this lockout finally pushed good ol’ Nick over the edge of insanity? Am I seeing just how much forethought and vision Todd Haley’s coaching staff possesses, or am I connecting dots to form a picture that only I can see?
Find out after the jump.
Addicts, flash back to Week 4 of last season. The Chiefs had just gone 3-0 after besting the Chargers, Browns, and 49ers. They rolled into their bye week undefeated, leaving the AFC West teams and fans rocked to their core after only winning four games the year before. The Chiefs had achieved their goal of winning 3-4 games in the first quarter of the season, and had an extra week to prepare for what was a very winnable game against the Colts. This was a very good time to be a Chiefs fan.
So, during the bye-week, Todd Haley came up with this grand idea. Instead of doing the normal workouts under the normal coaches, he did something very curious. Haley and the coaching staff appointed 15 “Player Coaches” for the week. These players wore coach attire, ran meetings, and were basically on the coaching staff for the entire week. Haley’s reasoning behind this was that a lot of the veteran players hated the bye-week, and that he wanted to do something different, and bla-bla-bla.
I however, think this was a conspiracy. I think that the Chiefs organization utilized this time to appoint team leaders during the lockout. I think they took this time to show the players how to run practices in the absence of a coaching staff. I think what we saw last week at the minicamp was the fruition of the foresight of the Chiefs coaching staff from the bye week of the 2010 season. It is true that the Chiefs are not the only team to have camps during the lockout, and to be honest I have no idea if Haley borrowed the idea of player coaches from any other team. What I can tell you is if this is mere coincidence, I bet Haley and his staff (minus Jabba the Weiss of course) are singing praises to Serendipity.
I don’t think this was coincidence though, and the more I think about it the more I appreciate the way the Chiefs team is managed. If this is in fact true, that means that both players and coaches for the Chiefs started looking at this lockout long before anyone else, built a plan on how to keep the team together, and under the leadership of Matt Cassel executed the plan. A lot of reports were saying this was less of a time to exercise, and more of a time to build team chemistry. They are saying that the players took it relatively easy to reduce likelihood of injury. What I can tell you is that regardless of these reports I feel a lot better about a player ran camp run by players that ran an entire week of workouts under coach supervision than I do about one ran by players that hadn’t. With a tough schedule coming up against veteran teams, the Chiefs need all of the edge that can be afforded to them. I hope that despite the relatively easy nature of the camps, the extra leadership gained during that bye week will prove valuable to first and second year players trying to make it in the league. I hope this gives our guys a sense of continuity during a time when they cannot contact their coaches with questions or access team facilities. Lastly, I hope that the determination of the players and coaches pays off and this team continues down the path started last season. Every little bit helps.
So, fire off here Addicts. Is this reaching just too far? Am I off my nut, or can you see the connection? It is no lie that I am normally an optimist which from time to time affects my perspective and insight. If this was coincidence, I would have to say it’s a hell of a coincidence, but I guess none of us will ever quite know for sure.