ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs spent 90 minutes on the practice field at Missouri Western on Monday and completed the first day of workouts in their 2018 Training Camp.
Several veteran players joined rookies and quarterbacks, including center Mitch Morris and linebacker Dee Ford. Along with Head Coach Andy Reid, several players spoke after practice.
Here are transcriptions, provided by the Kansas City Chiefs, of the post-practice discussion with Reid and several players:
RICK BURKHOLDER, Chiefs Vice President of Sports Medicine and Performance
: “This camp for us is a little bit of rehab so these guys are getting back before we get the pads on. Just to go through some of the guys who are coming off injuries. So (Ashton) Lampkin who tore his ACL last year he’s not quite ready yet and we’ll just take him day-by-day. Dee Ford is here. He’s doing great. We anticipate that he’s going to be okay as we get into pads. Mitch Morse the same thing. He’s healed up, been cleared, he did everything today. De’Anthony (Thomas) is coming back from a fractured leg. He did a lot today. We’ll take him day-by-day and we’ll lead him back into contact as the camp goes on. Right now we’re just going to get him ready for contact but he’s not going to do it. Same thing with Spencer Ware with his knee. He’s doing phenomenal as you saw in practice, but we’ll bring him back slowly. Then Damien Williams who we signed and was coming off surgery is doing great. He did everything today. So all of these guys we’ll monitor day-to-day and see how they are and coach will give you updates as we go.”
HEAD COACH ANDY REID
REID: “It’s good to get everybody back out here and working. The guys got a lot of reps today for the small numbers that we have. A lot of individual coaching. We have two d-lineman so they’re getting a lot of personal coaching. Linebackers, we have three outside guys and three inside guys so there’s not a whole lot of bodies out there. We were able to get some seven-on-seven work in, some team work as far as offense separate versus air and defense separate versus air. Again, a good starter especially for some of these guys that Rick (Burkholder) talked about. Just getting them back in the flow is good. Getting the communication part of it set for the quarterbacks is a plus and then for the young guys hearing it one more time and then they’ll get it another time once the veterans get here.”
Q: This camp you have one quarterback with one year of Chiefs experience. It’s so much different than what you’ve had in the past. What are the challenges?
REID: “We do, we have Patrick (Mahomes) who has the year. But we have two good veteran players that have been in similar offenses that are sharp guys and true professionals and then Chase (Litton) is the young guy, he’s the rookie. He’s coming in and learning fast and doing good things there. I’m happy with that room where they’re at right now as far as that part goes. I’m confident that we’ll be okay there. Again, I’m adding in the work that we’re going to get done this camp.”
Q: How has it been working with Chad (Henne)?
REID: “I really like him. I’ve kind of followed his career, followed it in college and then followed it in the NFL. I like the way he goes about his business, smart guy. He’s been in this role as a backup the last few years. He’s also been the starter and been counted on. So he’s got a good balance and feel for both of those things. I think the guys around him have confidence that if he has to get in there you’ll be okay.”
Q: What is different for Eric Bieniemy learning the play book in his new position?
REID: “I just joked with him out here. He is having to walk around now, he isn’t coaching just one position. He has to grind on everybody. That takes a little bit of getting used to. He did a nice job of just figuring all that during minicamps and that. He is rolling here and he is doing a heck of a job.”
Q: Do you expect Mike Kafka to help with quarterbacks in that situation, too?
REID: “Well Mike is coaching the quarterbacks. Mike will be coaching the quarterbacks and then Eric is the walk around coordinator and he hits a little bit of everybody. He is my right hand man. He and I work together and I have full confidence that he can take the offense and roll with it. If I can’t make it to something, he can take it and go.”
Q: What is it going to take to measure this training camp as a success?
REID: “Well, I’ve done a couple of these so probably the feel of it. I put everything into it. How do they concentrate when they get tired? Are they still able to perform? Guys kind of have areas he has to improve upon, so how are they improving in those areas? You measure in these preseason games, which are valuable. How do they do when they are flying a little faster than here and they are live? You balance it all out and go a little bit off experience.”
Q: Is the plan for Dee Ford to bring him back slowly to get back with the rest of the defense?
REID: “So we brought him up here for this. We will just ease him in and let’s see how he does. Nice and slow and communicate with him. We’ve got good guys and that is where it helps. The guys will shoot you straight and they’re not trying to get out of something, you know that. They are competitive guys, just work it out with them.”
Q: Bieniemy doesn’t seem to be yelling and screaming as much as he used to, is that just because of his new role?
REID: “Listen closer. He’s just not in one spot. He just goes around. He is teaching. That is the important part. He is not afraid to voice it and he does it with everybody. It doesn’t matter who you are, he is going to let you know.”
Q: Is it comforting to have Mitch Morse back in the mix?
REID: “Yeah, Mitch is a good football player. Being able to knock the rust off I think is important for him and for us in the long run. We are looking forward to getting him in here.”
Q: When you look at a young guy like Speaks, what would you like to see to measure this a good camp for him?
REID: “I think consistency and then, so when you are young, you might have one move that is your favorite move. And in the NFL they take that away from you. How are you going to counter that? Are you going to work on those things that help counter that move? And add to the repertoire you can throw at the offensive lineman. And work on all the fundamentals in the run game. And then he has the coverage part that he has to continue to work on. He has never had to do that. But one thing is he is a smart kid. Real smart. And he has a nice feel for the game. Things come relatively easy to him picking it up. And then that demand, that grind, how are you going to handle that throughout this whole camp? That will be the challenge there.”
LB DEE FORD
Q: Did your body do what you felt like it needed to do out there today coming back from injury last season?
FORD: “Yes, and I pretty much knew that. In the offseason, once we broke this past summer, I knew once I started training that I was back in full form. At this point, we are just progressively working each day and don’t want to jump the gun even though I feel good. I still have to ease back into things.”
Q: How has your motivation shifted from where you were last year to now in coming back from an injury?
FORD: “I am always motivated. It is extra motivation. Coming off of a back surgery, no one really expects you to be back to where you once were. It happened to me in college when I had my first back surgery and I came back a different animal. It’s definitely good motivation. I am just excited to be back in full form. It’s been a long time since I have felt normal.”
Q: Do you view this year as a chance to make up for lost times?
FORD: “I see it as an opportunity to bring everything together. Everyone has seen flashes of what I can do. In order to be a good player, you have to be consistent. You can’t just be good. I think in my third year, in those first 10 games or so before I got hurt, everyone was saying that’s the guy we expected. Then I got hurt. I showed flashes last year before I got hurt. In order to be great you have to be consistent. I see that as this is the time to put it all together. As a player, it’s important to learn how to be consistent beyond skill. There’s a lot of guys able to be skillful. We all are the best athletes out here. Being consistent is almost like another skill. As you grow and mature, you understand that to be a great player you can’t just do it for 14 games. You have to do it for 16 games. Then next year you have to do it again for 16 games and again consistently for a 10-year stretch. That’s greatness. Those are my personal expectations.”
LB BREELAND SPEAKS
Q: Coach (Reid) talked about guys like you coming in maybe only having one move and having to learn how to counter that and add on to that. How many moves do you have right now?
SPEAKS: “Right now, about one or two. Like coach said, there’s definitely some stuff I’m going to be working on – especially with Justin Houston, Dee Ford, TK (Tanoh Kpassagnon) and those guys. They already have put me under their wing and are showing me different things so it’s going to be an exciting year.”
Q: Coach Reid mentioned that you’re one of the smarter young guys that he has. What do you think when they can say that, calling you smart right away?
SPEAKS: “Probably my ability to pick up the defense. It’s been a nice transition, like I said earlier. I am definitely trying to hone in and learn a new position so I want to make sure that I know that new position. So, I stay in my playbook.”
Q: What excites you most about trying to prove yourself and gain respect from your teammates?
SPEAKS: “Just that. Going out there and earning those guys’ respect. Earning those guys’ comments and being able for those guys to say that they want him on the field. That makes my day. Knowing that veterans want to play with me is a part of my drive also.”
Q: You said all these guys are taking you under their wings. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from some of them.
SPEAKS: “The best piece of advice had to be to make sure you run before camp this offseason. That was probably the best advice because I know it’s going to get nasty out here soon so preparing myself for that and getting ready for this training camp. I used to run a hill – probably about 20-25 times. Doing gassers, I know we’ve got a big conditioning test coming up. If I didn’t do anything else, if I didn’t work on quick feet, work in the sand or do anything else that day, I ran. Just wanted to make sure I’m in shape.”
QB CHAD HENNE
Q: You played for a number of offensive coaches, how does Andy Reid’s way of doing things compare?
HENNE: “I think the straight west coast offense, which he’s one of the inventors of. It’s a lot a fun, I was doing it in Jacksonville with Nathaniel Hackett a little bit, so the terminology is very similar. It’s a lot of fun to be in, he has a bright mind. He is always trying to think of stuff in order to get playmakers involved.”
Q: You’re one of the new guys in that room, outside of Patrick Mahomes most of that room is new. What’s the dynamic you guys have and how have you guys built a relationship since you started getting together?
HENNE: “I think every quarterback room I’ve been a part of has been great. Patrick Mahomes is a great, young quarterback with a bright mind. I just like to be around guys that like to work and come in to work and not screw around all the time. You’re there to work, have fun with it but really just study the game to help you prepare to play well on Sundays.”
Q: Have you noticed any differences yet between Blake Bortles and Patrick at all or are you still getting accustomed to him?
HENNE: “They are young, talented guys. They’re both mobile, strong arms. Pat’s probably one of the stronger arms I’ve been around. He can make every throw, that’s for sure. I came out with Joe Flacco and I felt Joe had a strong arm. I was around Ryan Mallet for a little bit at Michigan when he was a Freshman. Those big guys that can really hose it in there. For Pat’s size, I haven’t seen anything like it. It’s a lot of fun to be around but at the same time it’s take what they give you, not always pumping that thing. It’s obviously a threat to have but make smart decisions with it as well.”