KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It was pretty easy for former Kansas State Wildcat and current Kansas City Chief Monty Beisel to describe his personal and team goals for the 2003 season. In fact, one word can sum up how the linebacker feels about the upcoming year: breakout.
"I want this season to be my breakout season," Beisel said while taking a breather between practice sessions at the Chiefs training camp in River Falls, Wis. "This is my third year in the league and I feel I can really help the team win."
Beisel made it clear that not only does he hope to have a breakout season, he thinks the Chiefs as a whole are primed for a strong year.
"We are coming off a disappointing season," Beisel said. "We play in a tough division, but our goals are still high. We think we have the talent to reach the Super Bowl, it is just a matter of putting it all together."
In order for Beisel and the Chiefs to reach the big game, the defense will have to show improvement from last year's squad that ranked among the league's worst. Moves in the off-season, along with the return of young players such as Beisel, point towards vast improvement for the 2003 version of the Chiefs' defense.
Kansas City head coach Dick Vermeil recognizes the important role Beisel will play for the Chiefs this year. In a recent interview with 810 WHB, Vermeil was asked who he thought could be a surprise contributor to the Chiefs defense during 2003.
"I think Monty Beisel could really contribute for us on defense this year," Vermeil said. "He has worked extremely hard and should be able to contribute for us on the defensive side of the ball. He looks like he can be a strong player for us this year."
The increased role will be new for the third-year player. In his previous two seasons, Beisel has seen most of his time on the field as a special teams player. Beisel has played in every Chiefs game over the past two year's on special teams, recording 31 tackles over that span. He has also seen action in 16 games on the defensive side of the ball, recording 14 tackles and two tackles for loss.
Those numbers will likely increase dramatically this next season, as Beisel is the favorite to serve as the club's top backup behind starter Mike Maslowski at the middle linebacker position.
Beisel, however, seems poised to make the transition from a special teams player to a regular defensive contributor. He praised Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder with helping him prepare for the transition into the National Football League.
"Every player that passes through Kansas State understands coach Snyder provides them with an opportunity to prepare for the pro game," Beisel said. "A lot of the things I learned under coach Snyder are taught in the pros as well."
In addition, Beisel credits Snyder with helping him learn how to make an impact off the field.
"Coach Snyder was so important in helping me develop as a player and a person," Beisel said. "He taught me a lot of things about what it takes to perform at a high level on a daily basis."
Beisel apparently took the words to heart because performing at a high level on and off the field is something he excelled at as a Wildcat. While at Kansas State, Beisel helped lead the team to four straight bowl appearances from 1997-2000 and was a consensus first team All-Big 12 selection as a senior. During the course of his career at Kansas State, Beisel recorded 192 tackles, 22 sacks, 45 tackles for losses and 18 pass deflections.
Beisel also succeeded with the books as a Wildcat. In 1999 and 2000, he was named to the Academic All-Big 12 team for excelling in the classroom and on the football field.
All of the success Beisel enjoyed at Kansas State will help him complete the transition from a special teams player to a regular defensive contributor. In addition, the transition may be made even easier due to the similarities Beisel sees in the philosophies of the two coaches he has played for.
"They both approach the game in the same way," Beisel said. "Our practices at Kansas State were very similar to the practices Coach Vermeil runs. They are both old-style coaches who care about how you do on and off the field. The only real difference is the time commitment. Obviously, the pro game requires a greater commitment because it becomes a career."
No matter what role Beisel plays during Sundays this fall, he is extremely glad to be doing it for a team he grew up watching.
"I am thrilled to be playing for Kansas City," the Douglass, Kan., native said. "I grew up watching the team, rooting for them to win, and hopefully I can help the team be successful for years to come."
If the success Kansas State enjoyed during Beisel's time is any indication, and if he is able to have the breakout season many are predicting, Chiefs fans should have plenty to look forward to from this former Wildcat in 2003 and beyond.