Dee Ford trains with Von Miller’s pass rushing coach in offseason


Dee Ford is training with a pass rush specialist this offseason who has also worked with Von Miller and Robert Mathis.

Judging by Chuck Smith’s clientele, he’s the real deal. That’s the only reason to explain why elite pass rushers, past and present, from the NFL have spent their rare time off and hard-earned money to get better at their craft by traveling to meet with Smith and study his methods. Smith, a former NFL pass rusher himself, has created a training center in Georgia.

Denver Broncos pass rusher Von Miller trains there. So does Aaron Donald of the St. Louis Rams. Former Indianapolis Colts sack artist Robert Mathis did as well. It’s an impressive client list that has drawn Kansas City Chiefs pass rusher Dee Ford to join them.

"“He’s lived it,” said Ford to CBS Sports Pete Prisco. “That’s what guys like. He’s been around it. How can you give piano lessons if you’ve never played the piano? Chuck has played the position and he is so passionate about pass rush. He breaks it down where you won’t forget it. I think he’s a great addition for any player looking to take their game to the next level.”"

Ford’s adjustment to the NFL level has been a bit slower than some would like. Ford had only 1.5 sacks in 16 games, although zero starts, his rookie season in 2014. In 2015, Ford had 4 sacks in 5 starts and was given more playing time with Justin Houston’s ongoing injury concerns. Last year, when Houston missed the bulk of the season, Ford came on strong from the outset, with 10 sacks in the team’s first nine games. At that point, Ford was the league leader in sacks. After that game, Ford wouldn’t sack another quarterback for the rest of the regular season.

What happened to Ford down the stretch? A hamstring injury is partially to blame. Houston’s return also forced some shifts on the defense. Still a complete lack of sacks in the final seven games is a bit unsettling.

Here’s hoping the coaching he’s receiving from Chuck Smith and another full offseason of working out and learning the system will help Ford emerge over the length of a full season.