Kansas City Chiefs' Head Coach Andy Reid, quarterback Patrick Mahomes, safety Tyrann Mathieu and offensive guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif spoke with the media via web call on Friday morning as part of the on-going virtual offseason program.
Here are five things that stood out from the call.
1. The Chiefs have kept much of last season's Super Bowl Championship winning roster intact, which could prove to be a benefit as teams navigate the virtual offseason. Reid discussed that further during the web call.
"I think [General Manager Brett Veach] and his guys did a nice job of getting and retaining our players. That's not an easy thing to do with the way the salary cap is set up in today's world, but they balanced it out and we were able to bring our guys back," Reid said. "Listen, we've attacked this thing the best way we possibly can with virtual technology. We're still doing our installs, we're doing our scheme evaluations, we have two-hour meetings with the players Monday through Thursday, and we're going to start with the rookies [on Friday] and have a three-day virtual rookie minicamp. So, we're staying on top of all of it and using all the technology we possibly can to help communicate things to guys."
Reid elaborated on what the virtual rookie minicamp will look like on the call.
"We're going to jump right into it. We'll have a team meeting on [Friday] and I'll talk to them just a little about the format, I'll welcome them to the Chiefs and then a variety of people will talk to them and get them coached up on different areas, whether it's [Vice President of Communications Ted Crews] with the media side of it or [Vice President of Sports Medicine and Performance Rick Burkholder] with the training, health and well-being part. Then they'll get with their coaches and get ready to go. That includes introductions to the offense, defense and special teams – all three phases will be highlighted…we've got it pretty well organized…It should be a nice introduction for them."
According to Reid, veteran players will participate next week but there will be another rookies-only program the week after that.
2. Reid later went on to explain how the Chiefs aren't satisfied with reaching the mountaintop and how the team is still continuing to grow.
"You have to focus in on trying to be better and trying to challenge yourself to be even greater than what you were that previous year. It's a mindset and it starts now. Even though we're doing this thing virtually, it starts now. There's no time to waste," Reid explained. "We're not going to just go, 'OK, we have everybody coming back and we'll just run the same plays.' No, we're going to keep growing. I don't think we came near to what we could be last year."
Reid went on to discuss how the Chiefs' defensive coaching staff, not to mention many of the players, were brand-new last season and now have a full year under their belts together.
"Our defense was in their first year [together] as a staff with installations, so [I want us to] grow and continue to grow. [You need to] want that and cherish that as a player. We're giving you things to be even greater than what you are now," Reid said. "Likewise on offense, we're going to keep attacking that thing offensively and giving them things that they can benefit from as a player and as a team."
3. Mahomes spoke about Chiefs' first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire and how he believes the former LSU tailback will fit in Kansas City's offense.
As it turns out, Mahomes pegged Edwards-Helaire as the guy he preferred the Chiefs draft when Veach asked for his opinion prior to Kansas City's selection, and for good reason.
"The first thing that stood out about Clyde to me was when the competition and the games got bigger, he played better. I always love guys who can rise with the competition and play their best football on the biggest stage, so that was the first thing that stood out to me as I watched the College Football Playoff," Mahomes said. "[I also like] how he's able to catch the ball out of the backfield but also run tough between the tackles. You can tell that he's a high-character guy who loves football, too. So, for me, [Veach] asked me and I obviously wanted to add to the offense to help our team out, so Clyde was the first name that came to mind. We have a great running back room already, so he'll fit right in, he'll compete, and we'll be able to bring the best out of each other at every single position group."
Edwards-Helaire adds just another dynamic weapon to the Chiefs' already potent offense, but according to Mahomes, the Chiefs are mentally prepared to handle being the team to beat moving forward.
"I think with what [former quarterback] Alex [Smith] did with the back-to-back AFC West Championships before I came in, and then in my first year going to the AFC Championship Game, you realize that teams have really studied your game plans, studied how you attack the football field and try to have different ways to combat [you]," Mahomes said. "For us, it's kind of coming in with that mindset of being prepared for everything, making sure you really go into detail with the scouting reports and things like that because you know you're going to get the best effort and the best change-up from every single team."
4. Mathieu, meanwhile, discussed how he believes the Chiefs' defense can improve moving forward.
The Chiefs fielded one of the top statistical defenses in the NFL from Week 11 through the Super Bowl, but if you ask Mathieu, the group can get even better.
"We could've been so much better, especially the production at the ball. I think I dropped eight interceptions by myself," Mathieu said. "Just understanding that if you make certain plays, it would've completely changed how well we played. I thought we played well but we could've been great, so I think that's the motivation this year that we know we can really get better."
5. Lastly, Duvernay-Tardif spoke about his decision to assist other medical professionals combatting COVID-19 in his native Canada.
Duvernay-Tardif, who holds a doctorate in medicine, is currently working at a long-term care facility providing care to individuals fighting the virus. He explained his duties during Friday's call.
"Right now, I'm working as an orderly. It was the easiest status to give me because I'm kind of in a grey zone where I graduated with my doctorate in medicine but I'm not in the residency program, so it was hard to jump in as a physician," Duvernay-Tardif explained. "What the healthcare department needed was mostly orderlies, so that's what I'm doing. I'm doing a little bit of nurse tasks, handing out medication, making sure the patients are alright."
Duvernay-Tardif also spoke about his presence at the hospital and why he believes it was important to do what he could to help.
"There are so many precautionary measures in place in order to protect both you and the patient, it makes everything heavier in terms of tasks. That's why they need so many people," Duvernay-Tardif said. "Yes, there are a lot of medical professionals that have been sick from COVID-19 or are in quarantine right now, but there is also just more work to do on every floor. That's why they need people and that's why I'm here right now."
For more on Duvernay-Tardif's efforts to fight COVID-19, check out this story he wrote for Sports Illustrated.
As for additional Chiefs news, check back in the weeks to come as more players are made available to the media to discuss the virtual offseason program.