Football is back.
Well, kinda, as the Kansas City Chiefs’ players and coaches reported on Monday for Phase 1 of the NFL’s offseason program, which consists of strength and conditioning work, along with some film review.
It’s not exactly football, but it is the unofficial start of the 2019 season as the work begins now.
Before taking questions from the media on Monday at his press conference, Chiefs’ coach Andy Reid had a couple of statements to make—starting with sending his condolences after the passing of former Chiefs’ great Walter White.
“I just want to put our prayers out to Walter White and his family. One of the original Ambassadors and tight end here—big personality and a great guy. He was at training camp every year. We will miss him for sure, and prayers to his family.”
Reid then summed up what’s important for his team over the next few weeks.
“We have a lot of new faces with our football team,” he said. “A lot of new faces on the football side, not only as players but as coaches. So, this is a good time to get to know each other. We are all lucky to be here as Chiefs and have an opportunity here to build on what we built on the last few years, but particularly last year and take it up a notch.
“We came up a step short, we understand that. This is the first day to start taking care of growth there.
Here are eight other things we learned from Reid on Monday:
“Tyreek [Hill] is here. I don’t have anything further to tell you than the statement we put out. There has been no new news on it. I’m going to leave it at that. I have had a chance to say hello to him. I have done that and again, I’ll see him in the meeting.”
Q: What kind of growth period is this for a guy going from year one as the starter to year two as the starter [Patrick Mahomes]?
“I think there’s a great challenge for you coming out there. We are going to continue to add and build the offense. That is one thing. But then you have these great minds in the NFL, these defensive coordinators who have opportunities to study us. How are they going to stop Patrick (Mahomes) and this offense? What are they going to do? You’re not going to sneak up on anybody, you know that. That is staying true to what you built, being able to add on to it. The tape that he has, the cutups that have been done for him this offseason will be tremendous for him. To see himself do it, not to watch Alex (Smith) do it, which was a help, but now you get to see yourself do it. How can you make yourself better in these situations? ‘Well, what did I do good? What did I do bad?’ Evaluate it. I think that will be priceless.”
Q: What’s it like being with Brett Veach getting ready for the Draft?
“Brett (Veach) is passionate about his job. I think he has done phenomenal. Anything is possible with Brett. He doesn’t put any limits on where he will do or where he will go. He is very aggressive. We appreciate that. He has met with all of the coaches. He’s had a big offseason project finding exactly what we need on the defensive side to help make that defensive new scheme effective. He is dug in on that. At the same time, he has had the guys in wearing him out with the Draft. He is relentless.”
Q: Do you recall ever having this radical of change on a defensive staff and players so far? How do you process all this?
“I’ve had changes before. I don’t know how to compare. I am very confident in (Steve Spagnuolo). I’ve been around him for a long time. He knows how I role and I know how he operates. That part has been easy. The guys we brought in are all workers. They have some affiliation to the defensive scheme and have been successful with it. I just think it has been a positive. What is new to the players today we have been doing for a few months. We are kind of in the grind and going.”
Q: Does it feel like a full rest for you on that side of that ball?
“It’s pretty different that way. It is a different defense. It is going to be relatively drastic that way. It is a great challenge for the players that are coming back to learn. It is a four-man front as opposed to a three-man front. We had great success with the three-man front for the first few years. This four-man front I have had success with around Philadelphia. The one thing that probably needs to be noted is that over 75 percent of that time now you are in a four-man front. Bob (Sutton) was presented that and (Steve Spagnuolo) was presented that in the subgroups.”
Q: How do you replace guys like Mitch Morse and Chris Conley?
“We lost some guys, guys that we have counted on the last few years and are good football players. We wish them the best. On both sides of that ball. But the two you asked me about for sure, they are going to do a great job. It was good to see Nick (Foles) and (Chris) Conley get back together. Mitch (Morse) went up with a close friend of mine. They are all in good hands and they are all going to do well. We have to fill in those players. We were lucky enough to have Austin (Reiter) here to work some at center and did a nice job when he was in there. And we have good competition at that spot. I’m not worried about that. Finding that third receiver, we have to make sure we get that worked out, but (Demarcus Robinson) did a nice job with that. Keeping Sammy (Watkins) in there working is good, too. He can play anywhere in there. I think we are good inside and outside. And then with Tyreek (Hill) also. That is a pretty good core there.”
Kansas City Chiefs players arrive at The University of Kansas Health System Training Complex for the start of the 2019 offseason.
Q: What do you think about pass interference being reviewable?
“So, it can reviewable on either side, offensive and defensive PI. I think we will work through that. We actually had the officials in here today to go around and visit all the teams that are here today. We will have a chance for the staff to meet with him and talk with them. It will be a big challenge. There is going to be a little bit of strategy involved I’m sure. We will see how it goes. I think it might be able to clean some things up, though, in a positive way.”
Q: What are you hoping to see from Chris Jones this year?
“The one neat thing that Chris (Jones) did last year was move around a little bit, which I think will help him, because he can play outside, or he can play inside. I think he is going to be OK there. It was 70 or 75 percent of the time he was asked to do that four-man front. I think he will be OK.”