For Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman, it’s not just about speed anymore


CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – DECEMBER 22: Wide receiver Tyreek Hill #10 of the Kansas City Chiefs talks with teammate wide receiver Mecole Hardman #17 before taking on the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 22, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The fastest wide receiving corps in the NFL is trying to add a new dimension this offseason.

The Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver group nicknamed the “Legion of Zoom” terrorized NFL defenses last year largely because of the combined speed of all of its skill position players.

Headlined by Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman, the group blazed by opponents last season all the way through the Super Bowl. Despite that success, Chiefs receivers have been hard at work in the offseason to improve on their game, posting videos of intense leg workouts and routines.

But how do you improve one of the best offenses in the NFL? Is there a way for Tyreek Hill to run even faster than he already does? For the Chiefs, it isn’t about becoming faster than they already are; it’s about adding different wrinkles to their game.

For example, Hill has taken a different approach this offseason by finding a unique way to make his route running more explosive.

“I’m doing yoga two times week,” Hill said during a Zoom call Friday. “I’ve been trying to open up my hips a lot more, open up my glutes and things like that and I’ve been feeling amazing. I’ve been getting out of routes even better. I feel like this is going to be a crazy year for me.”

Hill has been adding different elements to his game every season since he exploded onto the scene his rookie year. First, it was his route running, then it was his ability to catch contested balls. This year, he’s working on becoming more explosive.

Every year it seems Hill is working to disprove the idea that he is only a streak and post route player, a player that is only good for his speed. That work has provided some great results for Hill, and it could do the same thing for Hardman.

“He’s definitely a 1,000-yard receiver every year with the (necessary) targets,” Hill said of Hardman. “(But) he’s got to be different, he’s got to find something to be different at every year. It just can’t be speed, it just can’t be relying on outrunning everyone.”

“Sometimes it’s going to be a contested catch, sometimes it’s going to be you have to get off of (defenders). You’ve got to work on those things. He’s going to work on those things, because he wants to be great and he wants to be part of this offense.”

Working on those little things to become a better receiver doesn’t sound like a big deal, especially in today’s NFL where having speed at every position on the field is growing in importance. But for the Chiefs offense, those little things help skill position players win when they’re one-on-one with another defender, which happens a lot when defenses constantly double-team Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.

“Sometimes it’s frustrating because you want to be a part of the game plan, but you’ve just got to (remember) this is a team game,” Hill said on getting double-teamed. “That’s what makes this offense so special. You can’t just double team me, you can’t just double-team Kelce, because then you’ve got one-on-ones all across the field and that’s an advantage for the Chiefs.”

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