Overheard: Day One of OTAs

Posted May 21, 2012

An assortment of player quotes from Monday’s open locker room media session

KANSAS CITY – On Monday, the Kansas City Chiefs started Organized Team Activities (OTAs) at the Chiefs Training Facility. Players participated in positional drills and non-contact scrimmages during the hour-and-a-half practice session.

After, Chiefs players spoke with the media about their first team practice of the 2012 season:

Sixth-round pick running back Cyrus Gray on adapting to his first OTAs:

“It’s not hard to adjust—it’s just something you have to do. The tempo is moving not just on the field, but off the field in the classroom. Things are moving fast out there. At rookie camp, my head was kind of swimming. Now, it’s slowed down. You make things slow down by getting into the playbook.”

Running back Peyton Hillis on what offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, his former coach in Cleveland, brings to the Chiefs and his smooth transition to a similar offense:

 “It was good coming in and already knowing the playbook. When you know what you’re doing, you’re faster when you do it. He (Daboll) knows how to create mismatches for me out of the backfield, and then at the receiver spot. He’s really good with the quarterbacks too. It’s been pretty laid back for me, just helping the guys get to know the playbook and get things going. It’s good for me, and it’s good for the other teammates in the room with me because I can help them out.”

Right tackle Eric Winston on adapting to Daboll’s new offensive system:

“I’m about right where everyone else is (in learning the offense). The good part is there are a lot of outside zone (blocking) schemes, and obviously I’m familiar with those from my days in Houston. But at the end of the day,it’s not complicated. You just need to know how to block the guy in front of you.”

Quarterback Matt Cassel on how he’s refocused during OTAs after an injury-shortened 2011:

“I think every season for me, my approach is the same. I work hard. I work hard in the film room, and the study room, and in the weight room. At the same time, when you miss a little football like I did last year, it makes you that more eager to get out there. You never take any day for granted.”

Wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin on how he’s started his second NFL season by studying more film in OTAs:

“(Since last season) you watch a lot of film, study the defenses and what the teams like to do. Like how the cornerbacks play off the linebackers and what different zones and drops they do. So knowing all those things is a lot better than last year.”

First round pick Dontari Poe on what he can learn from contact-free OTA drills:

“You can work on a lot, actually. You worry about hands and steps and exploding through with your hips. Once you get that down, it’s pretty easy. I’m just trying to take it day-by-day, step-by-step.”

Defensive back Tysyn Hartman about his first OTAs as a rookie free agent pickup out of Kansas State:

“It was fun. You’re just glad the Kansas City organization gave you the opportunity to come out here. Of course you have to keep working hard to improve. They threw us in the fire during rookie minicamp and fortunately, I came out of that alive. Now things are sinking in.”

Left tackle Branden Albert on how he feels like the grizzled veteran among a younger offensive line group at this year’s OTAs:

“I just realized how old I am, being in my fifth season.  It seems like yesterday I just came in and Brian Waters was here and Damien McIntosh. Now, I’m the elder on the offensive line so I try and help guys out. I was taught by guys like Brian Waters that you help the young guys out.”

Third-round pick Donald Stephenson about learning from veteran offensive linemen like Albert during his first OTAs:

“We have a lot of experienced guys. They’re all athletic, smart guys that can play. I soak up everything I can when I’m around them. In the film room, I’m listening and paying attention. I know I can learn a lot, so I’m just enjoying it right now.”

Tight end Martin Rucker on what it’ll take to stick with his newest team:

“It’s still just football. It’s all about the same, and being with a couple different teams, it’s just old hat. There’s an urgency to make a mark, but you need patience. When you try to force things, you make mistakes.”

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