Count the Kansas City Chiefs as one of the teams that is getting players together to work out this offseason despite not being able to use the facilities because of the lockout. It’s a smart move by a young team. After all Kansas City is coming off their first playoff appearance since 2006 and for a young team like the Chiefs they need to do everything they can to keep the continuity and the chemistry during a lockout so they can defend their AFC West crown in 2011, if there is football.
While working out a local high school is nowhere near the same thing and nobody can duplicate the things that players gain from being around the facility on a daily basis, this is something that all teams should try and do. Whether it’s just bonding together as a group, getting on the same page in terms of timing or rhythm, or learning the language of an offense from the quarterback, working out with teammates is better than nothing during a tough time for everyone involved.
Matt Cassel joined WHB in Kansas City with Kevin Kietzman to talk about how the offseason workouts with teammates are going right now, whether or not they need the coaches during these workouts, how his preparation this offseason is different, if at all, and whether or not he feels the back and forth between the owners and the players has turned personal.
How the offseason workouts with teammates are going:
“They’re going well. They are. We’re getting some good participation and we’re getting some great work in. It’s really important. I feel this time of year is when we make strides as a team and so it’s been difficult because obviously with everything going on with the lockout, not being able to use the facility and everybody is scattered around the map of the United States to get everybody together. At the same time the guys have responded well and have come into time and we have gotten a lot of great workouts in.”
How much it hurts not having coaches there:
“It’s really interesting because obviously the coaches are there to coach, we need them, and they do such a fantastic job and it allows us to play to our ability, but at the same time, this time of year it’s interesting because I’ve kinda gone through a normal offseason as if I was at the facility everyday anyway. I’m getting my workouts in in the morning and we’ve got a good group that’s showing up. We’re able to teach, throw, and do that. Really we didn’t start OTA’s last year until this time anyway so it’s kinda on schedule with what we do in the offseason and for me, when we go out there and throw I hate to run through the motions. I’m not one of those guys so what we try to do we try to simulate what we would do on the field so I call out a formation, I call out a play. I tell them the defense that they’re running whether it’s man coverage or something kind of zone which might dictate release into the patter and do those things. We make the guys think, we talk about specifics if somebody is not running a route exactly how we had envisioned or thought about it then what we will do is correct it, talk about it, move forward, and we will run it again.”
Whether or not the lockout is getting frustrating:
“That’s all I want to do is play. That’s what my main focus is and that’s why I’m getting out here and working and doing all those things and preparing to play football because that’s what my job is and that’s what I love to do and that’s what I want to do. I think that speaks for everyone of these players in the NFL they want to be out there and they want to be playing. Unfortunately there is obviously a disagreement on the labor agreement and everything like that. As players we didn’t want this to happen. We were just fine with the labor agreement as it stood and the owners decided to go a different direction. It’s frustrating as players because like what you just said, we want to be out there, we want to be playing, we want to be practicing, and it’s a very difficult situation and I know that we’ve got a lot of smart people working on it on both sides and hopefully they can come to a quick resolution and get this season started on time.”
Whether or not he feels the labor talks have gotten personal:
“It’s a good question that you ask, I can’t speak for the rest of the players and I can only speak for myself and I think it’s purely a business decision. I really do. I think we as players feel this should be a partnership and as a partnership it should be fair for both sides and people should be open and truthful on both sides. We just want to play and we want to all go in the right direction, but at the same time we’re not going to sit here and just get stepped on and walked over when it comes to everything going on in the labor disagreement right now.”
On the weapons that the Chiefs have coming back and what they added:
“I’m excited I really am. I’m excited to get back to work and hopefully it will be sooner than later.”