“The transition has been kind of easy, being able to play under Coach Saban the past four years,’’ Johnson said, referring to Alabama coach Nick Saban. “The terminology is a little different. That’s kind of what I’m struggling with now, but I’m learning as I go, but each and every day is getting easier and easier.’’
Working alongside Derrick Johnson, a consummate pro, won’t hurt Nico Johnson, either.
“He’s really the first player out of the Chiefs roster to hit me up on Twitter and just tell me congratulations and that it’s time to get to work,’’ Nico Johnson said. “I felt that as motivation to want to go out and do my best and show them I’m willing to work.
“We’ve got some flexibility,” coach Reid said. “Donald gives us a little flexibility. (Chiefs OL Geoff) Schwartz gives you flexibility inside. The guys that are in there are doing a nice job with what they’re presented with. That seems like a close knit group, and they have to be. You’ve seen that they have that in them. They’ve welcomed the new guys in. It seems like they’re working hard there.”
Stephenson described his current role on the team, saying, “I’m a plug-in guy; wherever they see fit or wherever they need me, that’s where they plug me in at.”
He also gave me a description of the OL.
“We’re a young group,” Stephenson said. “When you’re young, there’s a lot more hunger, so, you’re ready to get after it. We can do a lot of different things, everybody is versatile.”
The versatile group added another member, OL Matt Reynolds, who was claimed off waivers this week.
While Reid was at Green Bay, the Packer tight end Mark Chmura had three Pro Bowl seasons, as di Chad Lewis playing under Reid in Philadelphia. L. J. Smith averaged 55.5 catches in 2005-2006 with the Eagles and Brent Celek has averaged over 59 receptions over the past four seasons with Philadelphia, including 76 in 2009. Obviously, Andy Reid likes to integrate the tight ends into his game plans and he knows how to get the ball into their hands.
The incumbent tight end is Tony Moeaki. He had off season surgery on his knee but is expected to be healthy for the start of the season. Moeaki has a reputation as an injury risk but when he has played, 2010 and in 2012, he has been productive. In those two seasons, he averaged 40 catches a year and 12.6 yards per reception. Those numbers were accumulated in an offense that seemed to ignore the tight ends much of the time.
Bray’s preparation habits and seriousness about being an NFL quarterback were two huge question marks that teams had about him going into the draft.
As with everything in the NFL it’s very early and all new to the rookies. Eventually the first year players will hit the “rookie wall” as the summer turns into a grind. Bray will have to show he can keep his focus and keep working hard to improve himself as a quarterback and a leader.
Bray’s teammate, and fellow Tennessee Volunteer, Eric Berry likes what he’s seeing so far in the rookie quarterback.