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Insider Blog: New Role for Chambers

Posted Mar 29, 2010

For WR Chris Chambers, 2009 was about adapting. This year, it's about leading by example.

Chiefs WR Chris Chambers finds himself venturing into a new role for next season as offseason workouts begin for 2010. Nope, Chambers’ on-field assignment isn’t changing, he’s still one of the Chiefs go-to receivers (first or second option depending on your view) and the club’s primary vertical threat. What’s new for Chambers is his status in the clubhouse.

Unlike 2009, the 2010 season is no longer about the adaptive process for Chambers. This year, it’s about leading by example and elevating the game of both himself and the receivers surrounding him.

We all remember the immediate impact that Chambers made upon arrival, via waivers from San Diego, last November. He changed the course of a Chiefs offense that had tallied just three total receptions of 30 or more yards during the seven games prior to his arrival (the team finished the year with 17). His abbreviated season was enough to lead the Chiefs in receiving yards and it was also enough to catapult him to the status of a player that each of the Chiefs younger receivers is always watching.

Chambers is by far the most established receiver on the Chiefs roster. He’s going into his 10th NFL season and owns 7,435 career receiving yards. To put that into perspective, the Chiefs other five rostered receivers COMBINED to produce nearly 3,000 less receiving yards than Chambers’ career total.

He’s established, respected and re-signed. The 2010 edition of Chris Chambers knows that his role is much different than it was a year ago.

“Definitely lead by example,” Chambers said of his leadership approach for 2010. “I’ve been fortunate to have been coached by some great receiver coaches like James Lofton, Charlie Joiner who was here a few years ago. I’ve got a lot experience teaching and learning and stuff, but you have to go out execute and you’ve got to work at it.”

Executing was exactly what Chambers did for the Chiefs over the final nine games of 2009. He arrived under difficult circumstances, but easily eclipsed marks that even the most optimistic of Chiefs fans could have imagined given the time frame. To take the next step in the passing game as a whole, Kansas City’s receivers will have to follow suit. In turn, Chambers will have to lead them.

A year ago, WR Dwayne Bowe’s pairing with Chambers looked extremely promising. The only problem was that it was so short-lived. Bowe logged 10 receptions for 165 yards in the two games playing alongside Chambers, before going on the suspended list. Those two-game numbers represented 21.3% of Bowe’s seasonal reception total and 28.0% of his seasonal yardage total.

The Chambers/Bowe partnership is one that the Chiefs need to see blossom. Right now, that pairing still in the developmental stages and the offseason program presents an opportunity lay a foundation.

“Hopefully he’ll take ease with some of the things that I show him and the coaching staff can build his game,” Chambers said of Bowe. “He’s got an excellent physique. He’s got good hands. Hopefully he can build and just get better. Once he knows what he’s doing on the field, kind of threw a lot at him last year – all of us, to tell you the truth, changing the offense pretty much each week, but now that we can all get in here and kind of learn what’s going on, it’s going to be much better for us.

“This is his third or fourth year and it’s a good time for him to break through,” Chambers continued. “He’s had flashes of success in this league and he’s excited as can be to come back and be part of this offense.”

Past Chambers’ increased comfort level in Kansas City’s offensive system, and the hopeful progression of Bowe as a fourth-year pro, the Chiefs are also in search of a player to man the slot position inside Chambers and Bowe. Recently signed WR Jerheme Urban is classified as a “possession receiver” and will likely get a long look at the job, but it’s far too early to handicap a front-runner for the position.

Urban is currently joined by three other players in competition for playing time alongside Chambers and Bowe. It’s a virtual certainty that more players will be added to the mix, but the competition for roster spaces this fall is already well underway.

“We’ve got some young guys in WRs Lance (Long), Quinten (Lawrence), Chandler (Williams) and we’ve got to bring them along as well,” Chambers said. “At some point we’re going to need another guy, a third receiver in there that’s going to make some plays. They’re probably going to have to make some tough plays inside in the slot because I imagine that Dwayne and I will be on the outside.”

Chambers’ workouts with his fellow receivers began today. Eventually those workouts will expand with QB Matt Cassel and others involved in Kansas City’s offensive attack, both fresh and tenured. Chambers began today’s offseason program by focusing on setting his own example for others to see.

“I’m going to take advantage of my opportunities when I get a chance,” Chambers said. “Hopefully I’ll improve and I’ll feel myself getting better and wiser with experience. I just have to pretty much keep myself in shape and go out there and get after it.”

That sounds like a good motto for this offseason program – “go out there and get after it.” Chambers seems to have the first steps of this leadership thing down.

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