Workouts take on stricter tone


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Jan 22, 2006
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Workouts take on stricter tone

The Kansas City Star

Back in the days of Dick Vermeil, there were hugs, dinners and the occasional night at the coach’s house where a fullback could hang with the boss and listen to a little disco.

Now that Herm Edwards is in Kansas City, let’s just say things are a little different. Offseason conditioning started Monday, and Edwards made a rule that the players couldn’t have cell phones in the weight room. The workouts are voluntary, but it’s obvious Edwards has his eye on who’s there and who isn’t.

His offseason programs are a little more structured, offensive tackle Jordan Black says.

“With Herm, we bring some more discipline, honestly,” Black said. “With new blood and a new coach, players have to be more careful with what they do. They have to make better decisions.”

The discipline issue was magnified last summer, when the Chiefs had several off-the-field scrapes with the law at training camp in River Falls, Wis. Critics said that Vermeil wasn’t tough enough on his men.

Black said Edwards’ rules apply on and off the field.

“I don’t want to get too carried away with this, but the players have a sense of … There’s a boss man and he wants to make sure we’re doing what we need to be doing,” he said.

■ WILL AND WILLIE: Edwards may be a defensive guy, but he’s obviously won some people over on offense.

Black raved about his new coach Tuesday and said Edwards undoubtedly was a big reason 11-time Pro Bowl guard Will Shields decided to return. Shields, who has battled arthritis, recently signed a contract extension and plans to play at least another year.

“I think it’s a testament to coach Edwards that somebody, by all accounts, was going to retire and decided not to,” Black said. “I think that had a lot to do with coach Edwards. I think people just want to play for him.”

■ FOR STARTERS: Derrick Johnson had 80 solo tackles in 2005, not too shabby for a rookie linebacker who was thrown in the starting lineup in week one.

But Johnson says he didn’t really start to feel confident until the end of the season. That’s also when the defense showed its biggest signs of improvement from a unit that ranked near the bottom of the NFL in 2004.

“I had a good year,” Johnson said. “You mess up a few times, you fall, but I got back up. It’s about trying your best. My last game (a 37-3 win over Cincinnati) was probably one of my best games. I really mentally knew what was coming to me, I studied the game, and that last game really put me over the top and gave me the confidence to come out this year.”
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