Nuts and Bolts - Tuesday marked the first of 10 offseason organized team activities, or OTAs, for the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have OTA practices this week from May 24-26, next week from May 31 to June 2 and the following week from June 7-10.
- OTAs are voluntary, meaning technically, it's up to the players as to whether or not they will participate. Players at OTAs practice in helmets, jersey and shorts, meaning there is no tackling.
- Due to weather, the Chiefs held practice indoors.
- Eric Berry, Jamaal Charles, Tamba Hali, Vernon Harris, Justin Houston and Mike Williams were not in attendance at practice on Tuesday.
- Andy Reid said that Charles, Hali and Houston were working out in the building but were held from practice.
- Williams has a hamstring strain.
- Harris is a graduating senior at Dartmouth, which is a school on the NCAA quarter system. We've seen situations like this in the past with De'Anthony Thomas, who missed OTAs his first season due to his schooling at Oregon. Dartmouth seniors graduate June 12.
- Andy Reid addressed the media after practice.
A Look At Day One of OTAs**
A look into day one of phase three of the Chiefs offseason program at the University of Kansas Hospital Training Complex
What We Learned from Player Media Availability
Karen Kornacki (KMBC): Do you sense that everybody is in good shape besides the guys recovering from injury?
SMITH: "Yeah, I feel like we're good. Every situation is different, every guy, I don't totally know how everybody's doing. With the way things are structured, you have this long break – long break after the season and then when you come back, you have all these phases and steps until we finally get to today kind of building up to this. I think for everybody, it's so nice to be back out here playing football against each other, competing. Tired of throwing routes on air out here, so it's nice. These are really limited now – what do you get, like 10 OTAs and a minicamp? These are really precious days with each other to kind of get what you can out of it and enjoy it, this is really why we're out here. A lot of fun. I certainly think you see a lot of energy because of that, because there are so few of these."
Kornacki: What did you get out of today?
SMITH: "Oh, a lot. You're rolling, today's the first day. Certainly a chance to knock any rust off. It's our first time going 11-on-11 since the playoff game, really. None of us have gone against a defense or an offense since the New England game. A chance to come out here and certainly we've had a long time to look at last season – coaches as well – and make improvements and make corrections and changes to the playbook and technique. And us coming out here, we've been working on that for a while now and to come out and see how some of this stuff looks in real football against real guys. That's what this is, a chance to take a step and really kind of the kickoff to this season."
Terez Paylor (Kansas City Star): When Eric Berry's presence isn't here, does it affect anything?
SMITH: "He's missed, without a doubt he's missed. You can't have a guy like Eric and then not miss him. You can't help but not notice it when he's not here. He's definitely missed, I don't think there's a guy in the locker room – in fact, I know there's not – we know the deal, it's pretty common around the league with the franchise tag and these guys negotiating contracts, as far as staying away. For us, obviously we're – I know I am – I'm hoping it gets done as soon as possible and get him back here. That deal has to play out."
Paylor: What is Justin Houston's presence like when he's in the mix?
SMITH: "Just having him around, him and Tamba (Hali), even though those guys aren't out here taking the reps today, those guys mean too much to this locker room. And to have that veteran presence, these guys that have been through a lot, having them around – those two guys especially – all of them, they have great energy in the locker room, in the meeting rooms, in the hallways, that is a part of this."
Shawn Rooney (Dos Mundos): Do you feel like there are more distractions for this team going into OTAs?
SMITH: "I don't think so. I certainly haven't felt like there's been any. I feel like the focus has been on football. I can't really speak as far as defensively and special teams, but the offensive side of the ball, I think to this point we've had a great offseason. Guys have been locked in, there's been a bunch of great competition. So, no, in fact, I feel like it's been, for us, I really feel like we've been in it. We've had our head down and been through the details and aren't really paying attention to anything outside of this building."
TJ Carpenter (WHB): Is this the best collection of talent you've had around you on offense?
SMITH: "I don't want to get into comparing my years. It would be hard to even remember."
Carpenter: It's a lot of the same guys.
SMITH: "Yeah. I will say this, it kind of hit me day one of Phase I when we came out here and QBs and receivers and tight ends and running backs were throwing and there were only a couple of new faces. Definitely a rarity. So many years, there's just so much turnover, especially the bottom of the roster and a lot of guys in and out and different things and it just hasn't been the case here. There's a ton of consistency, a ton of continuity, especially at the skill positions. It's been nice. It was nice from day one, we came out, we weren't really having to re-teach anything, guys knew it. Granted, there are a couple new faces, but those guys jumped in and were able to get coached up by their position group. We've been moving fast since we all got back here, whenever it was, April (18)."
Bob Gretz (Topeka Capital-Journal): I know an offense isn't chiseled in rock, how much can you really change that?
SMITH: "For sure, especially with Coach Reid, nothing's chiseled in rock. We are constantly changing and constantly trying to get better. He grinds over using the talent we have and how can we make it better and put guys in good situations and take advantage of strengths. We're always changing. I think they spent a lot of time after the season, looking back at the entire collection of last season, all the snaps and really (thinking) what is our identity, where do we need to go from here, what are we good at, what do we need to maybe kick out of the offense, what do we need to add on, build on, things like that. I feel like it's constantly changing. I know today we stuck on a little tape from last year's first OTA just to kind of take a peek. Very, very different the install that went in today, very different than last year's install. And then obviously there's going to be a big change when you add (Matt) Nagy and (Brad Childress) in there. They've spent a lot of time this offseason, really, I think, trying to clean that stuff up with Coach Reid. You're always changing."
Michael Coleman (KCTV5): Could you talk about the bonding process during the offseason workouts?
SMITH: "Certainly the locker room is a special place when it comes down to trust. Trust and accountability. A lot of that goes on, like I said, like the day we reported back April (18) starting off. Guys coming in, seeing guys every day, putting in the work. It's joking around in the locker room, it's joking around in the training room, ice tubs, in the weight room. Running out here, competing when we run and then carried over to this, competing when we practice, talking and hanging out. That's all a big, big part of it. Coming together as a team. We're all here now and this will slowly get narrowed down to the final roster. But definitely, that's a part of this, any team sport. It's not just on the field, there is a big portion that takes place in the locker room and off the field."
Darren Smith (KLKC): Talk about the new rookies on offense.
SMITH: "Yeah, I thought those guys did a great job. For rookies, really stepping in – especially the skill guys – of knowing their stuff out here and being ready to go. There's a lot of little details, it's not just coming out here and running fast. There's a lot that goes into splits and the formations and motions and all the stuff we have in the offense. And it can be a lot for the young guys. I think those guys have done a good job, really paying attention and watching the older guys, especially those wideouts. Watching what those guys do, how they work with (Jeremy) Maclin and Albert (Wilson), those guys are really, really good at it. Really, really good about the details."
BJ Kissel (Chiefs.com): What have you see from Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray as far as how prepared and ready they are this year compared to a year ago?
SMITH: "Yeah, they've both grown up a bunch in these few years. Both have changed a lot. Really, really matured, both different kind of routes. It's been fun to watch up to this point and here we kind of really get going. This is the start of it, 11-on-11. Those guys are great guys, they work really hard, they're really motivated, they're handling it the right way. They're good friends, we have a great QB room, but those guys come out here and compete on the field. Anxious to watch it as it goes along with those guys. But like I said, they're both great teammates who put in a lot of time and a lot of work, they sacrifice a lot, you know it means a lot to them. Fortunate to have both of them here."
Karen Kornacki (KMBC):What do you get out of the first day of OTAs and what is this day like for you?
JOHNSON: "Well it's always good to get back into form and get on the field. We've been running cone drills and lifting weights, doing a bunch of things that aren't football related. So when you get the chance to get out on the field you can always work on your craft, you never get complacent or you never get too old to not work on your craft."
Carpenter: When guys like Eric Berry and Tamba Hali aren't out there at practice, how does that affect practice?
JOHNSON: "Well we're trying to focus on who's here, that's always the focus. We have confidence that when those guys get here they'll be plugged right in. You're talking about high-character, veteran guys that we'll depend on during the season. Right now we have a lot of young guys that are trying to learn some new positions and new schemes and some of the older guys like myself are trying to coach the young guys up."
Carpenter: Maybe for some of those younger guys this is an added benefit that they get more opportunities?
JOHNSON: "Always. Regardless of the situation, who's here and who's not, when you get the chance to play you've got to show the coaches that you can produce."
Kissel: As you get a little older and you take care of your body in the offseason, do you do anything different or do you do the same things to get ready to go?
JOHNSON: "For myself, you kind of do the same thing. It's been working, so what is it, if it's not broke, don't fix it? It's one of those things where I take care of my body all the time as far as getting chiropractic work or massages, making sure I'm in shape. When you get out here on the field, that's when injuries start happening if you're not in shape and you're trying to stretch and do something that you're body's not ready for. My body's ready for this pounding of football."
Gretz: This is your fourth year with Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton. When you started your offseason meetings this year, how much has it changed? JOHNSON:"It's changed a little bit, but it hasn't changed that much. We have the same defensive coordinator but there are always new wrinkles that he's going to put in. The best thing about football is it's never perfect, so you can do the same thing but have different reactions all the time. There are so many adjustments and movements that go on when you're playing football, especially when you're going against Alex Smith and Coach Andy Reid's offense. There's a lot of stuff going on, so we're steadily adjusting."
Karen Kornacki (KMBC): What do you think the expectations are for you, from yourself and from this coaching staff?* *
BRAY: "Just getting back out there. I haven't taken a rep in a while so just going out there, commanding the huddle, getting in and out with enough time to run a play and just trying to execute a play."
Bob Gretz (Topeka Capital-Journal):Can you improve as a quarterback without playing a game?
BRAY: "You can take mental reps. You can sit there and say, I throw it here, I throw it there, but when you have five or six guys rushing at you it's a little different."
Herbie Teope (Topeka Capital-Journal): Coach says for right now you are the number two quarterback, when did you find out that you would open OTAs as the number two?
BRAY: "Last week I think, but nothing is locked in. We still have a lot of time to go before preseason, so we have to come in everyday and compete."
Teope: How much does that change or alter your preparation knowing that for right now you are the number two quarterback?
BRAY: "I mean number two, three or four, you're still going to prepare as if you're the number one guy. As they say you're always one snap away, so you always want to be ready at all times."
Bob Gretz (Topeka Capital-Journal): Does it feel good to be out there going against a defense and closer to real football?* *
MURRAY: "Oh yeah, it's great to go out there competing and have some fun. There are some new faces, but definitely going against the defense it's great, it's fun. These past few weeks doing a little team work offensively. To get out there and compete, get those juices flowing again is a good thing. "
Gretz:What's your goal for this year, personally?
MURRAY: "Just keep getting better. I want to keep showing these coaches that I've really taken the past two years to learn from Alex, learn from Chase, from the coaching staff and go out there on the field and demonstrate it with my knowledge of the plays, protections and defenses. Every day is really an audition to demonstrate that I've taken full advantage of these redshirt years, I guess you can say."
Darren Smith (KLKC): How much pressure are you putting on yourself to try and get that backup spot, number two?
MURRAY: "Oh, you've got to, we're all competitors. You can't be in the NFL if you're not a competitor. This is a competitive league whether it's with veterans, whether it's' with rookies coming in, everyone's pushing each other, that's what makes teams better, that's what makes players better when you have guys push each other, get better day in and day out. You can never relax, you can never have that bad day, it makes it fun and you've got to bring your "A" game every day."
Bob Gretz (Topeka Capital-Journal): How did it feel to be with the whole team to go through an almost real football practice?
SCHWARTZ: "It feels good. The first day is always kind of a feel-it-out, especially in my situation – kind of getting thrown in with guys that are more established here. In phase two you can do some stuff on the field but it's pretty limited, so the majority of the day you kind of spend with your position groups getting used to Coach (Andy) Heck and how he runs things, the tempo of stuff and obviously getting used to team stuff with the offense. It was good, there's a lot of stuff to get better and to correct. So I'm excited to come out tomorrow."
BJ Kissel (Chiefs.com): What's your impression of the playbook now that you've had a little time to get into it?
SCHWARTZ: "It's pretty cool because this is now my fifth playbook in five years but for these guys it's the same one for the last four years. So you can tell that it's not just installing the base play, they're getting into the finer details of it, you're able to do more stuff off of it, you don't have to start from day one like you're teaching a bunch of guys in high school. So it's been really cool to kind of integrate into that. Luckily I've had a lot of playbooks so I kind of have a grasp of a little bit of all of it, just trying to piece it all together to get on their level because like I said, it's more detail-oriented than I'm used to in this time of year."
Gretz: It's only been one practice, but has Larry Duvernay-Tardif been able to help you adjust?
SCHWARTZ: "I think so. He's a guy, just based on his intelligence level, he can pick up those things pretty easy and kind of remember stuff from a year or two ago. They've all been really great in terms of questions. Fish (Eric Fisher) has played both sides and having been a tackle I can ask him more tackle-oriented questions, Mitch (Morse) seems like he's got a great understanding and is kind of the one leading the show in the center there so being able to ask him stuff like 'what are you seeing on certain plays,' who he's going to point to, things like that. They've all been great."