There was an almost back-to-school feeling at One Arrowhead Drive on Monday as the Kansas City Chiefs returned to the team's practice facility to begin their offseason conditioning program. Following the morning workouts, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid addressed the media, discussing Eric Fisher's move to left tackle, new players on the roster and much more.
OPENING STATEMENT: "Alright, it's great to see everybody back in here; this obviously is a fun day, one of the better days of the year, when we can get everybody back together and move on to the 2014 season. This is day one of doing that as a team. These are obviously not mandatory camps here that we're in a practice, or whatever you want to look at them as. This is phase one of the non-mandatory workouts and really that's what it consists of. So, what you have in phase one, you're allowed to have the players in the building for X number of hours, for X number of days and they are allowed to lift with your strength coaches and condition with your strength coaches. The quarterbacks and the receivers are allowed to throw without coaches. So, the only coaching that takes place is in the classroom. Those are the rules that you're given for phase one. Phase two is a little bit different, but for a couple of weeks here, we're going to be in phase one. The bulk of the work will take place with (Chiefs strength and conditioning coach) Barry (Rubin) in the weight room and doing Barry's running activities. The guys seem to have great energy this morning, which is exciting. You like to see guys that are excited to get back to work and doing what they love to do and we've got a room full of those guys. Let me touch just briefly on injuries; I don't mention injuries until this point here, because things happen in the offseason at various times. I'm not going to go over times or when to expect these guys back or any of that; we're too close into this. Eric Fisher had his shoulder surgery and also had a sports hernia that he had repaired. He's doing very well. He's been here the whole offseason rehabbing and has made quite a bit of progress. He's doing all of his lower body work and has been rehabbing the shoulder and doing what he can with that part of it. (Chiefs head athletic trainer) Rick (Burkholder) and Barry (Rubin) are working close with him on that. Again, progress is being made. Knile Davis did not need surgery. I know that there were some things out there about him having surgery, but he did not have surgery and he's healed and doing everything. Sanders Commings is coming off of a January surgery and he's been cleared for all of the offseason program and he's doing well. Travis Kelce is progressing well and doing everything. Dezman Moses, he had some toe issues and he's progressing well. James-Michael Johnson, he had the high ankle and he's doing well. Demetrius Harris had the high ankle and he's doing well there. Those are the primary ones that have returned to us that have had some issues. We'll leave it at that and then as time goes on here, I'll give you more specifics, once we get closer to the mandatory camp and we can go through that. I stood in front of the team today, like I'm standing in front of you, and there are some new faces in there; there are some players that have moved on, but we're excited for the new players that we've added and at the same time we're pulling for the guys that aren't here that helped us get this thing started last year and have had an opportunity to move on to other teams. With that, I'll leave the time up to you."
Q: During Eric Fisher's rehab, has he made any strength gains or has it been all rehab?
REID: "Yeah, you know, his lower body, he's been doing really well with that. As far as his shoulder, he hasn't been able to do (that), other than the rehab part of it."
Q: Was everybody here or was anyone excused?
REID: "I said this last year; I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to say. I'll tell you that we had a good turnout. How is that?"
Q: What are you still looking to add this offseason?
REID: "That's (John) Dorsey's question. I'm happy with what we've got. I like our team. The thing I told them and it probably relates to that question is John and his staff are going to continue to increase the competition level within the room. I think that's important to grow as a football team and that's the way John has presented it this offseason and the people he has brought it will add some competition in certain spots. Then, with the addition of the draft and whatever happens with the remaining part of the free agency period and the people that you pick up, what you're trying to do is increase the competition level."
Q: How much did those injuries affect Eric Fisher last year? Now that he's rehabbed, how important is it for him to make strength gain before the season?
REID: "You want to make sure he maintains his weight and we thought at the end of the season, he could afford to add a few pounds. He's done that and he's put on another five, which is good weight. I think when he gets full capacity, with his upper-body, he'll put on another five or so and that's about an average for a lineman. You look at linemen that come in their rookie year, onto their second year, they normally add about ten pounds, on average."
Q: Did you talk to the team about what you want to accomplish as a football team?
REID: "I did. I'll keep that with the team. But yeah, I talked about that. I think that's important to let them know that right away. Mostly, guys returning from last year, they understand that. It doesn't matter what the expectations are outside of that room; if they're not high within that room, then there are problems. I've talked to enough of the kids this offseason to know what they feel and want. I think being around them today, you have a pretty good sense of that."
Q: Considering how the season ended, did you expect the players to come in enthused and ready to go?
REID: "I think there are great things you can learn from that game. (We were) a young football team. We were somewhere around the second-youngest team in the National Football League last year, in that area. To come into a playoff football game, to get this great lead, you learn right there that you have to keep your foot on the accelerator for four quarters. You can't let up an inch, not against a good football team. You can't do it in the National Football League, particularly in the playoffs. We can take some things out of that game that will make us better this year."
Q: What excites you most about the players coming back?
REID: "A lot of these guys you haven't seen for a few months, so you get to put your eyes on them and see if they've been working and you have a pretty good idea. You give them an opportunity to get in there and get busy. You can feel the energy and that's the best part. You can see that the guys can't wait to get started and get going and that's the part that excites you. Before we blink, we're going to be in training camp; that's how this thing works. It's important that when you hit this point, time flies. The next thing you know, you're in camp and then you're out of camp and you're in that first preseason game and then boom, you're right into the season and good; it's exciting."
Q: You've lost some starters. How do you plan to fill those spots right now?
REID: "I'm good with the tackle position. The guard position – I think the thing that isn't as obvious to people, it is to our team, but not quite as obvious to people outside of the building here – is we kept a load of offensive linemen on the roster, knowing that something like this could happen. A lot of them are young guys, but knowing that something like this could happen, they were able to get experience and have an opportunity to compete in there and that's where we're at."
Q: Is there a player in particular you're looking at to fill the guard position?
REID: "We'll open it up and let them go. We signed a kid (Jeff Linkenbach) in the offseason and he'll get into the mix and compete there and then we've got some guys we've kept that were with us last year. We'll let them all get in and mix it up and let's come up with one that we feel that can step in there and go."
Q: Who gets the first try at it?
REID: "It will probably be Rishaw (Johnson) getting in there and doing his thing."
Q: What about free safety?
REID: "We'll see on that. We'll see. Right now, (Husain) Abdullah is the obvious one and deserving of that opportunity. He'll be in there, too."
Q: How do you feel about Sanders Commings? Is he healthy enough?
REID: "Sanders will have an opportunity too; he'll be healthy enough."
Q: Learning from the San Diego game, how much did that have a factor in offseason decisions on second-string players?
REID: "That was a great opportunity for those guys to get experience and for us to take a look at them against a good-caliber football team. That plays into it, sure."
Q: Which guys jump out?
REID: "Chase Daniel had the opportunity to start for the first time in his career; that's a big thing in that position. What a great experience that is."
Q: Will you mix it up with Eric Berry at free safety?
REID: "To me, safeties are interchangeable. You have to find the right guys. Eric is a Pro Bowl football player, a very good football player. He's flexible. He can easily go back there and play deep, he can easily play up at the line of scrimmage and he's a heck of a player. It's important that we get everything around him the way we need to get it around him. We have some people there that we think are pretty good football players that can do that."
Q: Dwayne Bowe's court case got settled last week. Do you think there is still a chance he can get disciplined by the league?
REID: "I don't know that. I don't know where that will go. That's not something that I'm privy to until they tell me. I don't have any influence on that."
Q: Did Dwayne Bowe come in lighter this year?
REID: "He looked good. I didn't jump on the scale with him, but he looks pretty good."
Q: Do you have enough weapons around Alex Smith right now?
REID: "Yeah. I think the guys here are good quality players."
Q: What about A.J. Jenkins in San Diego?
REID: "I think you saw what he can do there. You saw it again in the playoff game. He's a capable player. I thought he made big strides last year."
Q: Did you get much of a chance to evaluate Kyle Williams?
REID: "One practice, but I saw enough of him before. He's a good player. He's an exciting player. (He's) quick and fast."
Q: Is he more of a slot player or does he bounce out?
REID: "He can do both. When he was with us here for that short period of time (last season), we were looking at him inside and doing some things there."
Q: Is Travis Kelce medically cleared?
REID: "I mean, he's right there. He can do what we're doing, right now."
Q: How important was it to have Travis Kelce here recuperating, during the season, after the surgery?
REID: "That was a big thing. Once the season was over, you're done until today with the football part."
Q: How does not having players here until now change how you can develop as a football team?
REID: "You'd love to have the young guys, and Travis (Kelce) would be an example, the first-year kids, you'd love to be able to do the football things with them in that dead period. Those are the rules you're given though."
Q: Do you look at Kyle Williams as a returner or a receiver?
REID: "I think he can do both. I like some of the things he can do as a receiver."
Q: How much does it concern you if a guy doesn't show up for these voluntary workouts?
REID: "This is how I look at it, it gives people a better opportunity that are already here to do their thing; that's what I'd tell you about anyone who were to miss. You just open it up for that next guy to get themselves better at what you're doing. We've been lucky to have pretty good attendance though. That's a good thing."
Q: Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson put in extra work this offseason training with the same guy that Geoff Schwartz did last season; what do you think of that?
REID: "One thing they did was stayed here and worked here and got themselves a nice base and then went out with LeCharles (Bentley). I know that Charles was a player, I know that part of him and he's good with the offensive linemen. He played that position and does a nice job with them."
Q: Can Travis Kelce catch passes right now?
REID: "Yeah, now he can with the quarterbacks."
Q: Having the draft so late, does it change the way you do your offseason?
REID: "From my standpoint, no. (John) Dorsey's, he gains a couple of extra weeks there. The one thing that's a bit different is the rookies; unless they're on the quarter system, the rookies can come in before that rookie minicamp and almost get two extra weeks in there of work, before we hit minicamp. That's a bit different, with it being pushed back."
Q: How do you see Weston Dressler fitting in and transitioning to American football?
REID: "I've got to see how he does on the field, when we have that opportunity with him. He's been an inside slot receiver and he's been a heck of a player in Canada, one of the top players there; how that translates, I've got to kind of see him do our stuff to have a better feel of that. He's had a heck of a career in Canada, for sure."