One week into OTAs, some of the storylines have started to shift, but one remains the same. As we’ve heard throughout new strength and conditioning coach Mike Clark’s short tenure, the Chiefs off-season program continued to get rave reviews from both players and coaches alike inside the club’s locker facility this week.
“I feel like I’m moving a lot better and able to sustain a lot more at this time compared to a year ago,” DE
Head Coach Todd Haley went as far as to say that the differences between this year and last aren’t even comparable.
“It’s not even close,” Haley said. “So many of these guys, you can’t even talk about weights, it’s guys that may be similar weights that they were at this time last year but they’re in so much better condition. We’ve really had a good off-season to this point and I think the guys are excited, energized, it’s fun to be around them all, there is a great overall energy to the group and again, this is a good time.”
One of the obvious players who would fit into that category is second-year LB
You might have remembered reading in one of last week’s blogs (Show Up!) that I mentioned Belcher as being a player who you can physically see a difference in comparison to one year ago. In Belcher’s case, his story isn’t about a flab-to-fit transformation. Belcher simply seems to have reaped the benefits of reaching the big leagues. He’s gone from a small-school weights program at the University of Maine to an everyday effort filled with top-of-the-line equipment, personalized programs and all the protein shakes he can put down.
“It’s done me a lot of justice, a whole lot,” Belcher said of spending one year in the program. “I’ve gained weight and have been eating my Wheaties every day, so it’s all helped out.”
Belcher went on to say that he’s now lifting more weight and feels a bit quick in tracking down footballs and ball carriers running sideline-to-sideline. That’s not a bad thing to hear coming from the player widely regarded as the fastest sideline-to-sideline tackler on the Chiefs defense in 2009.
Originally joining the team as a rookie free agent and making the roster as a special teams player, Belcher worked his way into defensive sub-packages a year ago after an impressive defensive debut in an otherwise forgetful game in Week Three at Philadelphia.
Before that contest against the Eagles, Belcher had not stepped onto an NFL playing service for a defensive snap. Following that Week Three matchup, Belcher averaged 26.5 defensive snaps per game the rest of the way out, including a career-high 67 plays in the Chiefs blowout win at Denver.
This year, Belcher is hoping to extend his role as battles for playing time in a position that seems to have plenty of wiggle-room. Thus far he’s gotten the physical part down and he’s looking to conquer the mental aspect of things over the next month – becoming comfortable in Romeo Crennel’s playbook.
“It’s feeling really good,” Belcher said of the first week of OTAs. “Everyone is in their books and learning, communicating as a team. The young guys are now with us and it’s starting to feel good. Just learning the playbook, picking it up as fast as you can and getting better is what we’re concentrating on.
“We’re all about getting better every day, so I’m hitting the books,” Belcher finished.
Belcher and the rest of his teammates will re-convene Monday morning for the fourth of 14 scheduled OTA sessions.