KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Now here’s a switch: While the rest of his teammates have been trying to drop weight like it was a bad habit, Allen Bailey is going the opposite direction.
"Double protein," the Kansas City Chiefs’ defensive end says with a grin. "Chicken and protein. And steak, man."
Actually, make that two. Medium rare.
"To help more so with the run," Bailey explains. "I was a little light the last couple years, so I put on a little weight."
Last fall, the 6-foot-3 Bailey was working in the 280-285-pound range, and comfortably. But he wanted to become more of a fixture on first and second down, rushing downs, as well as have the weight to be able to work inside — a la teammate Dontari Poe, a Pro Bowl nose tackle — if the Chiefs go small and shift an outside linebacker to a hand-on-the-ground slot along the line of scrimmage.
"Still got my same speed and agility; just added a little more weight to it," the former Miami (Fla.) standout says. "That’s it."
Like Dwayne Bowe and Mike DeVito, who changed what and how they eat, Bailey changed up his meal plan, hooking up with a service in South Florida called DeliverLean that sent entrees to his home. The end result: roughly a dozen more pounds on his frame than in January, same burst.
"Over 300 (pounds)," he says, patting a belly that doesn’t show it. "You can’t tell, but I’m pushing (the) 300 Club up there.
"Yeah, that meal plan really did it to me. I was kind of surprised when I came back (to Kansas City), what my weight was, because I don’t weigh myself that much in the offseason. So when we came back (here) with (organized team activities), I went, ‘Oooooh.‘"
More Oooooh: For the past three weeks, it has been Bailey, and not free-agent signee Vance Walker, eating up most of what used to be Tyson Jackson’s snaps with the first-team defense, alongside Poe and DeVito.
"My mindset was just coming in and just earning it — just earning everything, right from the beginning," says Bailey, who played in 15 games last fall, starting three, with a sack and three pass break-ups.
"It’s all competition. Everybody’s in a competition …. That’s part of what makes it fun. Competition should be fun. Make it all competitive and have fun with it."
Based on several metrics, Bailey might be more than worth his weight — whatever that weight happens to be. The Georgia native played on 453 total defensive snaps last fall, according to ProFootballFocus.com (PFF), the third-highest count among Chiefs linemen, and second among Chiefs defensive ends to the now-departed Jackson. FootballOutsiders.com credited him with appearing on 39.5 percent of the team’s defensive snaps last fall, the same percentage as DeVito.
Of players who appeared on at least 25 percent of their club’s defensive plays last fall, Bailey wound up among PFF’s top 25 3-4 defensive ends in tackles (18th, with 26), quarterback hurries (18th, with 19), and stops (solo tackles "which constitute an offensive failure"; 23rd, with 19). His overall PFF grade of +8.5 was good for 21st among 3-4 defensive ends — and ahead of more celebrated peers such as the Niners’ Ray McDonald (+7.7), the Ravens’ Chris Canty (+7.4) and the Cardinals’ Darnell Dockett (+2.4).
On PFF’s chart of the top run-stop 3-4 defensive ends in pro football, among those who appeared on at least 25 percent of their team’s snaps, Bailey’s stops percentage of 11.6 ranked fourth overall — behind only Houston’s J.J. Watt (13.7), Cleveland’s Billy Winn (13.4) and Philadelphia’s Cedric Thornton (12.4), and better than the likes of the Jets’ Sheldon Richardson (9.8) and Arizona’s Calais Campbell (9.3), the 49ers’ Justin Smith (8.3), and even Jackson himself (8.1).
"It’s a different feel in the room now with him being gone, I can’t lie," Bailey says. "It’s a different feel, but we’re all about getting to know the new group of guys and go on from there."
FootballOutsiders.com’s log credits Jackson with 500 defensive snaps and 45 percent of the Chiefs’ total defensive plays last season, the highest of any lineman save for Poe (87.8 percent). Basically, that means there’s a hole up front for someone to fill — on and off the field.
"The opportunity’s there," Bailey says. "So I’m just looking to take it."
Well, that and seconds. Big 97’s plan is to shoot a little past the 300 Club now, maybe put on a few more pounds during the roughly month-long gap between the end of OTAs and minicamp and the start of preseason camp — then let the sauna that’s St. Joe in August work off the rest.
"I want to be on the field as much as possible," Bailey says. "That’s the goal, right?"