Minicamp is officially over, and now we make the grueling month-long wait until football returns in the form of training camp. Before we start that journey together, here’s Andy Reid’s comments from after the final day of minicamp.
Note: Comments from AA (me) are in italics.
Q: What’s the difference going into this training camp versus last year?
REID: “Yeah, we’re ahead of that, just the natural progression. That’s a good feeling. We were able to add some more to our packages. The guys weren’t shocked by it. Last year every day was a new day and it was a heavy work load plus the mental art of that and the new scheme. They are quite a bit ahead of that.”
Q: How do you spend the next few weeks before training camp?
REID: “I’m going to try and relax a little bit. I’ve got a place out west I go to. You can visit. We’ll make a splash, you and I – a real big splash.”
AA: Curious turn from “Chiefs are ahead of where they were last year” to an image of Reid doing a cannon ball in my head. This should be interesting.
Q: Will Sean Smith return to his regular role?
REID: “We will see. There’s competition there and we’ll see how all that works. The other kids did a nice job. (Marcus Cooper) Coop was working in there and did a nice job. Parker did a nice job in the other corner. There’s competition at those positions.”
Q: What is it about Ron Parker that you like?
REID: “Listen, they’ve all got a long way to go. Ron is a tough kid that’s going to challenge every play and that’s the thing that jumps at you. We saw that last year when he was in the game he made plays. It seemed like the ball went his way. He forced turnovers when he had opportunities last year. That’s a plus.”
Q: What have you seen this camp from Sanders Commings?
REID: “He’s one of the ones I really am looking forward to seeing up at camp once we are able to hit. I think everyone is tired of this right here. They want to take a quick blow and then finish up their training and then get the pads on. We’ve done all the short stuff we can do. Now we need to take it up a notch with camp. We’ll definitely take it up a notch and be more physical with each other. Sanders, we sure liked what we saw in shorts, just have to see how it looks with pads on.”
AA: The ceiling on the Chiefs secondary could be huge, but the floor is what terrifies me. It would seem there is a better chance the secondary falls on it’s face than it does reach their potential.
Q: Will we get to see him range a little bit more?
REID: “He can cover a lot of ground.”
Q: During training camp how important is it to have physicality?
REID: “That’s what we do. We prep for that all year to get ourselves ready for the season. It’s worked. I’ve kept doing that over the years.”
Q: What do you think that gives your team?
REID: “It allows you to tackle, that’s a big part of it. Then there is a certain way that you protect your body when you are being tackled. I think that’s important that you learn both of those things. That’s why we do that.”
AA: Kansas City has to be a better tackling team – especially in the secondary – than they were a year ago. Yards after catch were huge problems in the Denver, San Diego, and Indianapolis games.
Q: What has impressed you the most about Demetrius Harris?
REID: “You look at the improvement he has made since last year. He came in as a basketball player so he hadn’t played football since high school. He would say now that he is a football player. He’s transitioned. I’m talking everything from body language to the side of the girth he’s put on, the strength he’s put on over the off-season and how he functions out there as a player.”
AA: He and Sanders Commings are the two guys I am most anxious to see at training camp. Could be x-factor type players for the Chiefs.
Q: Did you give a special speech this year and say keep out of trouble, don’t eat too much, keep working out?
REID: “You hit them all. That was good. You were right on cue.”
Q: What about the guys that are new to the league?
REID: “They hear it often. These are young guys. You give them constant reminders. They heard what you just said.”
Q: What was the assimilation process of Vance Walker?
REID: “He’s playing three positions. He plays all three inside positions. You need six of those guys who play for you in every game. I could set him as a starter, that’s how I look at those six and that’s what we are striving for, that’s what Dorsey is striving for bringing in the competition. He picked things up. He is a very intelligent guy. He picked things up fast. He’s done a nice job.”
AA: Pass rush upgrades like Walker over Tyson Jackson are going to be huge for this team. I don’t think a move like this can be overstated.
Q: What’s your comfort ability level with the offensive line?
REID: “We rotated guys in there. From a coaching standpoint we were able to get as much of a picture as we could without pads on. It’ll be important to get Eric (Fisher) in there and get him going in training camp and re-acclimating him to playing again. I think when you have him in the mix you have a good group right there.”
Q: What were you able to gage with Travis Kelce, Kyle Williams and De’Anthony Thomas this week?
REID: “They did the individual periods and the group install periods where we come together as a team and we run the plays versus air. They didn’t do any offense versus defense. It was good. That’s the first step. It was good to get them back out there and moving around. They looked like they were strong and in good shape from what we asked them to do. The main thing was they had no swelling in the joints that they had operated on. That’s a plus.”
Q: Was there any discussion about getting Dontari Poe off the field every so often?
REID: “He’s is a unique guy. You go in and do these conditioning tests and he’s 340 pounds or whatever he is. His body percent fat is zero. He’s goes out and runs these things and is the first guy out front with the big fellas. He’s one of those guys. He’s a unique character. To get him off the field you have to pull him off. He’s not one to tap out. That’s not how he goes. You monitor that the best way you can. We didn’t see a decline in his play as the season wore on. There are a handful of teams that do what we do where you play certain guys a high percent of the plays. We do want to find people that can rotate in there. That is important, to answer your question.”
AA: How is Poe not a top 100 guy? I don’t understand.
Q: Did you see any cumulative effect on Derrick Johnson playing so many plays last year?
REID: “You didn’t see it but you heard people talking about it. Really, when you study it, evaluate it, I don’t think you see that. At least we didn’t as coaches. We have a little bit of experience with it.”
Q: Regarding Vance playing three positions, have you seen him play the nose on the defense?
REID: “He did a little bit of that against us in that first game against Oakland.”
Q: So you saw a lot of versatility?
REID: “Sure, yeah. I mean he’s got a pretty good feel for doing that.”
Q: Is this it as far as everybody being done even if the rookies can have another week of work?
REID: “This is it.”
Q: Was that your decision or a collective decision?
REID: “No, that’s my decision. They have another week I believe where they can be here but they are going to go down to the symposium and do their thing down there. We’ve gotten enough reps and time out of them. They weren’t included in that collective bargain.”
Q: Did the two extra weeks with the draft make a difference for the rookies?
REID: “That helped plus when all of the veterans leave, the veterans only have X amount of hours they can be in the building. Consistently, the rookies can be in here 10 hours a day. When you let the veterans go, you have the rookies for another three or four hours and we got a lot done. We tried to utilize that time so that we didn’t have to keep them around here with no supervision around and get them back home, relax. They’ve had plenty of reps for what they need here to function in camp. That’s where we are at.”