The Kansas City Chiefs continued Training Camp at the team facility on Tuesday in preparation for the upcoming campaign, and in-between the action, Head Coach Andy Reid and several players spoke with the media to share their thoughts on camp so far and the 2020 season.
Here are five things that stood out.
1. Reid began by briefly explaining the current camp structure and the plan moving forward.
This camp is essentially Organized Team Activities (OTAs), minicamp and Training Camp all rolled together, so the Chiefs are taking things slow at the beginning to ensure that everybody is conditioned and ready to hit the field in the coming days.
Reid started by discussing how the Chiefs have been handling the rookie class, who have been working with the coaches virtually all offseason but are now experiencing their first physical introduction to the NFL.
"We've now had a chance for the rookies to go through this first phase of this Training Camp, and that's lifting and conditioning with a walkthrough," Reid said. "Then, they were able to start today with their padded shirt and helmet practice, and that went well…we were able to get some work done with them, which is great. If we're not having the time that we [usually have with rookies] before, to have it now is perfect."
Reid also explained the current plan for the veterans, who arrived at camp last week.
"The veterans continue to lift. They have four more days of that program and conditioning, and then they'll be back up and going through this same process that the rookies are with the padded shirts and we'll kind of mesh them together at that point and everybody will work together," Reid explained. "So, the rookies went this morning separate from the veterans, so they had a little bit earlier practice than what the veterans do. All has gone well."
Lastly, Reid shared his support for tailback Damien Williams' decision to opt out of the upcoming season in order to care for his mother, who is currently battling cancer.
"Most of all, we wish his mother the best as she has suffered right now, and for Damien to take the time to be with her. I think that kind of explains it right there," Reid said. "We're all with him as he works through that."
2. One new face at camp is veteran offensive guard Kelechi Osemele, who spoke on Tuesday about his decision to sign with Kansas City.
A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Osemele had an opportunity to be around the Chiefs' coaching staff and several players during the Pro Bowl following the 2016 season. Clearly, that experience made a lasting impression.
"What stood out to me the most was that they were so relaxed, so loose and they were just out there having fun - like cracking jokes and stuff in the huddle – so, I liked how loose they were," Osemele recalled. "Then they would just go out and make plays, so that was cool to see. I've come from places where everybody was just really serious all the time, so that was really cool and kind of tied into my decision coming here. Coach Reid's ability to draw up these crazy plays and seeing that firsthand was dope, so that was a big part of what brought me here."
Osemele, who won a title with the Baltimore Ravens during his rookie season in 2012, also saw Kansas City as a situation where he could win another ring before calling it a career.
"Instantly, the first thing I thought about was that this was a really good team," Osemele said. "We have a chance to win a championship - I haven't won one in eight seasons since my rookie year – so, I thought immediately that this should be a beautiful way to kind of cap off a long NFL career."
3. Speaking of new additions, tailback DeAndre Washington shared his thoughts on what this opportunity with the Chiefs means to him.
Washington, who spent the last four seasons with the rival Oakland Raiders, is a versatile player who tallied 679 yards from scrimmage in 2019 with contributions on the ground (387 yards) and through the air (292 yards).
Following Williams' decision to opt out of the season, he could mix in with a talented group of tailbacks that includes rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson to share the load.
"I felt like Kansas City was a great opportunity for me, even before they drafted the back, Clyde. I think he's a great back, but you know how this game goes - it's a long season – so, I feel like there's [room] for everybody to eat," Washington said. "I think Coach Reid and this offense, he's shown plenty of times that he knows how to get his playmakers the ball and I'm looking forward to making my plays when I get the opportunity."
4. On the other side of the ball, defensive end Frank Clark explained why he believes the Chiefs' defense can re-capture the success they found through the latter portion of the 2019 season.
Kansas City's defense was the best in the league by a number of statistical measures from Week 11 through the final six games of the campaign, and now with a new season on the horizon, Clark believes there's more of that to come.
"[Safety] Tyrann [Mathieu] and I's main thing is just staying in tune with each other. I feel like that's the biggest thing that happens when guys have success and win a Super Bowl. You have prima donnas, a guy wanting to go off and do this, guys coming into work with different mindsets that aren't focused on the one goal, which is to win a championship. I feel like [avoiding those things is] where our strength is, and we haven't waivered from that," Clark said. "We have that short-term memory. Yeah, we won the Super Bowl last year but that was last year. Some guys get cocky, they love that feeling and that emotion of winning and they carry that into the next year and it doesn't really do [anything] for them on the field. This year, after us being champions last year, nobody really cares about that. I know our coach doesn't care about that. It's nice and cute and all, but we have stuff to do this year and a whole new set of goals. We have to win the AFC Championship and that's where it starts."
5. Another key member of the Chiefs' success on defense last year was cornerback Charvarius Ward, who emerged as an every-down starter for Kansas City in his second season as a professional.
In fact, Ward – who tallied the second-most defensive snaps of any Chief last season – forced the fourth-lowest passer rating in his coverage among cornerbacks with at least 800 snaps in 2019 according to Pro Football Focus, trailing only Tre'Davious White, Richard Sherman and Stephon Gilmore.
That accomplishment is impressive enough on its own, but Ward is hungry for more.
"Honestly, I feel like I could be one of the best young corners in the game as long as I just keep believing in myself and having confidence in myself off the field and on the field," Ward said. "The sky is the limit. I feel like I'm going to be one of the best young corners in the game this season. I'm going to earn my respect this year."
That mentality of not being satisfied with last season's success seems to be prevalent up and down the roster - from players like Ward all the way up to Coach Reid – as the Chiefs prepare to defend their Super Bowl title in 2020.