Kansas City, Mo. Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley says he expects his players to arrive at training camp already in shape, and he’ll determine quickly who is not.
The Chiefs open camp today in River Falls, Wis. Haley will use the day to have all players run three 300-yard shuttles in times that have been set according to position.
“Over time, it’s proved, at least in my opinion, to be one of the better conditioning tests,” Haley said. “If you haven’t been working or kept your weight where it needs to be, you’ll struggle.
Those who don’t make the allotted times risk being held out of the first practice Saturday. And they could be held out until they pass the test.
“Hopefully, nobody will have to experience (failing the conditioning test),” he said. “It’s part of the physical. This is something that has to be done. We’ll take each case on a case-by-case situation. Maybe someone’s had an injury or some other issue. We’ll use common sense in this.”
Haley says there’s not enough time in camp for players to work themselves into shape because of everything else they need to do to get ready for the season.
The Chiefs’ first-year coach says players were told last month that training camp would begin with the shuttle runs.
Haley believes in a well-conditioned team. After beginning 0-2, 0-2 and 0-3 in former coach Herm Edwards’ three seasons at the helm, the Chiefs needs to do something to get out to a faster start.
Like most NFL teams, the Chiefs have cut back on the frequency of camp practices because of the 80-player roster limit. No back-to-back, two-a-day practices have been scheduled.
Haley believes practices will be more productive with well-conditioned players.
“I hope we started that in the offseason by what we did with the conditioning aspect,” he said. “I tried to stress that was going to be important to me and to us and that it’s going to be important they come to camp in shape. That’s part of what’s changed in the game.
“Before, when you had five- or six-week training camps, guys could afford to come in out of shape and practice their way back into condition. Now, you need to come into camp in shape and ready to go. That way, we’ll have the chance to practice efficiently every day and use the little time we have to practice to get us ready for the games.”
Kansas City opens its season Sept. 13 at Baltimore.