KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs did their third full-team training camp practice Saturday at 8:15 a.m. It was the first time this season the Chiefs practiced in pads. The team had their open practices on the campus of Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri.
Statements Courtesy Kansas City Chiefs
Question & Answer with Head Coach Andy Reid:
Opening statement: “As far as the injuries go, we really only have one. Charcandrick [West] took a hit to the head. Rick’s [Burkholder] evaluating him, so we’ll see where he’s at, we’ll keep you up to date on it. It was a good first day for putting the pads on. We thought we went back and forth. Great work. In this we’re able to get a lot of work with the ones against the ones and the twos against the twos, threes versus threes. On those days that are a live tackle to the ground, then we do it a little different. For this, that’s how we roll. It’s great competition. These guys are challenging each other which I appreciate. It’s important that we keep doing it. This is just the first day. With that, time is yours.”
Q: When you’re evaluating your players at the end of camp and you’re deciding on the roster, how much more important is a day like today when you do have live contact?
REID: “You get to see that part of it. You evaluate everything. We look at all 120 plays here. We give them a grade. Those guys that are participating in the practice, every one of them has a grade at the end of the day. We evaluate it. We meet as a staff, as a personnel group, we sit in there at night and grind over it and at the end of this thing we do the same thing. We also will put in the preseason games. So it’s all part of it. We do everything from the walk through on. These guys get a grade.”
Q: Do you have a time frame or a plan in terms of how much you want to see with Hunt and how you want to work him back in? He’s obviously been off to the side for most of the last couple days.
REID: “His hamstring just tightened up a bit on him. I don’t want to mess around with that. He had a sore hamstring during the OTAs and I want to stay away from that. So we’re just going to ease him back in. He did some stuff early and then we just backed him off. I just don’t want to take any steps backwards. All these guys that are coming off these injuries, I don’t want steps backwards and so that’s what we’re doing. He still got a lot of work in. Good conditioning work on the side. When you’re hurt here, you’re still working. We just get you over and have you do something else to that exhaustion point just like the guys do when they’re on the field. They’re just doing it on the side.”
Q: There’s only so much we can take away from watching the practices, but it looked like Jehu Chesson made some nice catches today. Just what have you seen from him over the last year?
REID: “Yeah, he’s getting better. We just have to keep going. Every rep he gets, is an important rep. We know what he can do on special teams. He’s a good special teams player. He just has to keep coming on with the offensive part of it.”
Q: One guy that hasn’t been practicing much and got in today was Armani Watts who I know missed some time in the summer too. What’s his status?
REID: “He hurt his ankle. He’s back in today. Got some work in and we’ll see how he does. Armani was a good college player and we have to see.”
Q: How important is it now for him to stay on the field?
REID: “He needs reps. He has to be in there. If you’re going to make this thing here, this team, you have to get in and show it.”
Q: Besides the physical ability, what’s the value of having Eric Berry on the field?
REID: “Eric’s our leader. We appreciate when he’s out there going. The guys feed off him. It’s the whole story. It’s not just that it’s Eric Berry, It’s the whole story, the whole thing that he went through. The fact that he does everything out here and works his tail off. It’s a phenomenal story.”
Q: Is there a level of concern with Ragland? I know you said it was just a plane/flight thing, but we just haven’t seen him get out there.
REID: “He’s making progress. I’m not worried about it. I think he’s going to be fine.”
Q: How do you like how Tanoh [Kpassagnon] has done? Just making the most of his opportunities.
REID: “He switched positions last year, from a down defensive end and then to an outside rusher or drop outside linebacker position. He’s very intelligent. He’s made tremendous progress. He’s done a nice job with that.”
Q: Kind of the same token, [Cam] Erving mixing in at guard, what did you see with that?
REID: “I thought he did some good things. You know he can play all three positions and the fact that he got in and was able to play center, you have to know everything there, you’re in control and he did a nice job with that. Then he stepped in and got some guard work today.”
Q: In terms of the secondary as a whole, how are you seeing that group particularly mesh, especially the first day in pads?
REID: “They looked good today. They did some nice things. I think the more they’re playing together and communicating and working through Bob’s [Sutton] schemes back there, the better. They’re quite familiar with it, with the exception of one guy and he’s a smart one, he’s very intelligent, so he picks it up quick. I just think the more they’re playing and the more they’re communicating the better they are.”
Question & Answer K Harrison Butker
Q: Is it a little different this year, starting on day one with the team?
BUTKER: “Yeah, it’s definitely different. I love being able to be with the guys and build that camaraderie. It’s just an awesome time to be together in the offseason. It’s a little bit more relaxed, but we’re spending all day together so we really can build those relationships. I’m really grateful to be here at training camp and St. Joseph has been awesome so far.”
Q: What advice would you give to any player on a practice squad in the league considering your story?
BUTKER: “I’d say prepare like you’re going to play on Sunday. That’s what I was doing while I was with the Panthers for four weeks. I knew I wasn’t going to be playing on Sunday with the Panthers, but I was preparing as if I was. When I got the call from the Chiefs, I was like: ‘Okay, I’ve been preparing well these past four weeks and now I can prove myself on the big stage on Sunday.’”
Q: How have things changed for you this offseason after the success of your rookie year?
BUTKER: “The Chiefs fans have been awesome. That’s always been great to experience the love and support from them. Every year is new, so I’m not trying to rely on what I did last year. I’m starting with a clean slate this year and I’m going to try and prove myself again.”
Q: What do you make of the new kickoff rules?
BUTKER: “I think they’re good. Whatever the NFL can do to keep kickoffs in the game – obviously I love doing kickoffs and I think their goal is to reduce the amount of injuries and concussions from what we’ve had in previous years. So, I’m all for the safety and the small changes they’ve made to reduce those concussions. We’ll see how effective it is – I hope it is effective. From my end, I’m still going to be kicking the ball the same and I don’t really change but everyone else around me does.”
Question & Answer WR Chris Conley
Q: It’s your first time back in pads, how did that feel for you?
CONLEY: “It was good. I was super thankful this morning. You never know how an injury is going to go, how it’s going to play out, but it’s a blessing to be out here, to be able to play this game again and just have another opportunity.”
Q: Were there times during rehab where you wondered if you’d ever make it back to this point?
CONLEY: “If any thoughts ever come up, you got to make sure you catch them right now and stay positive. There was always a goal in my mind, to be back on this field, and the next goal is to be back on the game field. So that was always in the forefront of my mind.”
Q: Was there significance to the first hit today, getting popped for the first time?
CONLEY: “I think there’s always a significance to the first hit, whether it’s coming off an injury or it’s just the beginning of the year, you kind of got to get that out of the way. This is what it feels like again, and to get back up to that game speed. The speed changes when you’re in pads. This is really where you got to get ready for a game because it goes up again once you get in a game.”
Q: What have you noticed, seen working with Patrick (Mahomes)?
CONLEY: “I’ve noticed that this guy is willing to learn. I think every day you come out here, there’s something else that you can add to that list of things that we want to work on. He’s really taking that list and you can tell that he’s working on it. He’s completely a different quarterback now than he was on the first day, and that’s a good thing. That’s a good thing that he’s able to take that coaching, that he wants to communicate, that he’ll come over when we’re not on the field and communicate with his receivers and say, ‘hey, what are you guys seeing? This is what I’m thinking on this.’ Really telling us where he wants to move and mold the offense and that’s a good thing. I think that’s something that will continue to develop with time, and I think that the preseason, getting in a game environment will help too. So I’m excited to see him on a game day.”
Question & Answer with CB Steven Nelson
Q: How have you improved?
NELSON: “Overall, with me being a veteran and with the experience I have, I know what to expect and what the grind is like. I know what to expect from other teams. I know offenses now. There is so much I am used to now.”
Q: How do you feel the young guys and the unit look as a group?
NELSON: “The young guys are doing a great job. We have great coaches that are coaching those guys up. We also have great leaders in myself and Eric Berry. Those guys are coming along. With the type of coaches we have, they are going to bring them along quickly.”
Q: How has your role changed with being a veteran in the defensive backs meeting room?
NELSON: “You could say I am one of the veterans now. A lot of the younger guys look up to me. I am just going to lead by example. If I have to talk then that’s what I’ll do, but they follow my actions.”
Q: How does being viewed as a veteran and leader by your teammates motivate you?
NELSON: “It has given me tremendous motivation. I see myself in their shoes when I was a rookie and it makes me work even harder than what I’ve already been doing.”
Question & Answer S Eric Berry:
Q: How did it feel to have the pads on for the first time since New England?
Q: What are you trying to accomplish at training camp at this stage in your career?
BERRY: “I think it is more mental. Just understanding what I need to work on and get the good looks and also just staying patient. I tend to want to get out there and make plays and stuff like that, but I have to understand that it is a long season and make sure I take my time.”
Q: Do you ever wonder what you would have accomplished if you hadn’t been out those three seasons?
BERRY: “Sometimes. I got hurt my second year, and I felt like I was in the best shape of my life and I was starting to learn that defense and become acclimated to what was going on around me. So I learned the defense and I learned about NFL football. And then I had the injury and the cancer, I had that injury when I thought I was getting to my peak where I needed to be. And same thing with last year. But you can’t really wonder where you would be. There is really no telling because I learned so much through all three of those processes. I just keep growing. I can’t tell you where I would be without them.”
Q: So you don’t feel cheated?
BERRY: “Not at all, not at all because I learned so much. The whole cancer deal was actually a privilege. To be honest with you it was a blessing at the same time because I learned so much. I helped so many people and so many people helped me as well. They inspired me just being able to connect with them through that common thread of having cancer and being able to overcome it. I can’t really tell you where I would be without those situations either.”
Saturday, August 4, 2018, the team will be having a family fun day presented by Family Center Farm & Home. Admission is $5. There will be a team autograph session.