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News and Notes from Day 1 of Chiefs Rookie Minicamp

The Chiefs’ 2017 draft class, along with 64 others, took the field on Saturday

It might not be actual football, and it might consist of a whole lot of tryout players, but there were 70 players running around the Kansas City Chiefs' practice fields on Saturday for the first day of rookie minicamp.

It might be a stretch to call it football, but after months of waiting, there's at least something resembling football happening right now with guys in Chiefs uniforms.

So, we'll take it.

Above all else, this was the first opportunity for the six members of the Chiefs' 2017 draft class to take the field together. They were joined by the 12 undrafted free agents who recently signed, along with five eligible players already on the Chiefs' roster.

There were also 47 tryout players on the field Saturday for the start of this three-day minicamp.

"It's an opportunity," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "That's what I told them. Listen, you're here. Not everybody does this. So, you get in here; you get the uniform, we're going to coach the dog out of you like you're one of the guys and we roll.

"For three days, they're Kansas City Chiefs, and that's the way that we approach it as coaches. I expect them to do the same as players. It gives them an opportunity." 

Considering these players have had the voluminous Chiefs' playbook for all of about 16 hours, as of the start of practice, there's a certain speed at which things take place on the field, and it's not quick.

But for Reid, who has always prided himself on being a teacher, there's a certain joy in the challenge of getting these guys up to speed as quickly as possible. 

"You're excited every time you come out for this," Reid added. "Not only are you just getting back into where you can put a helmet on, and come out and practice, but, you have new guys involved.

"So, from a teaching standpoint, it's always exciting."

As far as what a player can do to impress Reid over the next three days, particularly for guys trying out and not under contract, there's a lot a player can do to stand out by simply absorbing what's being thrown at them in a short period.

"Well, handling it mentally is part of it," Reid added. "Then, when given opportunities to make plays – you make plays. I don't need bodies on the ground. It's a non‐contact camp, so you can't have a fist fight out here and expect to get something done.

"That's not going to impress me, but handling whatever we throw at you the best you can, that's really what stands out to the coaches."

The players have morning walkthroughs on Saturday and Sunday, followed by afternoon practices on each of those days, and then one practice on Monday afternoon to conclude minicamp.

After Saturday morning's walkthrough, Reid, quarterback Patrick Mahomes, running back Kareem Hunt and defensive lineman Tanoh Kpassagnon all spoke with the media.

Here's the transcript of each of those pressers:




OPENING STATEMENT:"Alright, welcome back. We've got the rookies out for a couple days here. So, we'll go two practices today – the walkthrough is included in the practice. We'll go two tomorrow and one on Monday. The guys came out for their first walkthrough. It's hard to tell exactly where we're at right there, but it was good to get a little review in of the plays that were installed this morning. With that, time's yours."

Q:What are you trying to see from Patrick Mahomes today?

REID:"So, the main thing is that he [Patrick Mahomes] learns. It's the verbiage part. We know he can throw the football. It's a matter of getting in, getting the verbiage down, the formations, and making sure he's comfortable with that. It's a good period for him to learn. It will be a lot of that going on." 

Q:Are you going to do us all a favor and let him chuck a few down the field?

REID:"I'm sure he will. We'll see how that all goes."

Q:How is Patrick Mahomes' footwork? Does he need a lot of work there? Where is he at?

REID:"He has good feet – that's not the problem. It doesn't matter who it is, but it's learning the drops in this offense according to the coverages that you see. I'd tell you that about any quarterback. They're going to need to come in here and learn that. When Alex [Smith] got here, he was going to have to learn that for what we do offensively."

Q:I noticed how Patrick Mahomes moves side to side in the pocket. You guys were attracted to that? Just sometimes, when he's slinging it, he's getting the ball where he wants to go, but it's not like his feet are driving forward. Are you okay with that? Or, are you guys going to try and change that?

REID:"There is a fine line there. One of the strengths of his game is his creativity when he leaves the pocket. So, however he gets the ball out, he gets the ball out. We're going to give him some fundamentals that he can work on, and then, you go from there. The bottom line is that the ball is being completed. That's really the bottom line there."

Q:How much of the playbook do you guys try to give them and challenge them with?

REID:"We give them enough where we think that they can handle. He's [Patrick Mahomes] a smart kid, so it might be a couple more than what you might have if you didn't have that. You try to find a balance there where you're still challenging them, but he can function."

Q:Do you have tricks or processes that you tell the guys to try and absorb the playbook better?

REID:"They all learn different. There's no easy way though. You have to get in the playbook, and then, get in front of the mirror and call the stuff. You have no chance to repeat when you're out here. So, if you're having to repeat in front of the mirror, you're probably going to have a problem when you get out there, it's one of those. There's no easy way around that. It doesn't matter who it is – you have to get the verbiage down."

Q:How many rookies have you seen come in and function well for you and your offense?

REID:"Since I've been in the league and I've had young quarterbacks, it's the same thing. You know that they're intelligent, you know they're good athletes. It's just a matter of getting it down, and once they get it down, they take off. Everything won't be pretty today, but he'll [Patrick Mahomes] do alright. You'll get an idea of what he's all about."

Q:What's the message for the veteran tryout guys?

REID:"It's an opportunity. That's what I told them. Listen, you're here. Not everybody does this. So, you get in here, you get the uniform, we're going to coach the dog out of you like you're one of the guys and we roll. For three days, they're Kansas City Chiefs, and that's the way that we approach it as coaches. I expect them to do the same as players. It gives them an opportunity."

Q:Is this camp a little bit more exciting than years past knowing that there is some development, some looking into the future? Is there something different about this class that made you move up for some guys?

REID:"Yeah, we did that. You're excited every time you come out for this. Not only are you just getting back in to where you can put a helmet on, and come out and practice. Then, you have new guys involved. So, from a teaching standpoint, it's always exciting. I'm sure this won't be any different." 

Q:What can those tryout guys do to stand out to you?

REID:"Well, handling it mentally is part of it. Then, when given opportunities to make plays – you make plays. I don't need bodies on the ground. It's a non-contact camp, so you can't have a fist fight out here and expect to get something done. That's not going to impress me, but handling whatever we throw at you the best you can, that's really what stands out to the coaches."

Q:Did you have an install period this morning or yesterday?

REID:"You couldn't do football yesterday, but we did it this morning."

Q:How was Patrick Mahomes in that this morning? 

REID:"He did a nice job. He was good."

Q:Some coaches will adjust the plays or they will put some of the verbiage on the other teammates to make it easier. Is that something you do?  

REID:"No, that's not the way we roll."

Q:Why is your philosophy that way?

REID:"He's got to learn. There is only one way to learn. We're going to give it you, and that's how we go about it."

Q:What do you need to see over the next three days for it to be considered a success?

REID:"I think it's just going to be a success just from where they're at and where they're going to end up at. I can already tell you that's going to be part of it. They'll be better than when they came in with what we're trying to do offensively, defensively and special teams wise. So, it's hard to do that type of thing when they're just learning."


Q:What's your first reaction to everything you've seen today?

MAHOMES:"It's definitely learning. More so just going through the process and making the mike ID, calling the play and making sure everyone is in the right position. It's a lot more than I had at Texas Tech but we're learning as we go and we're getting better every single rep." 

Q:What do you see as the challenge with the verbiage?

MAHOMES:"The words are pretty difficult but you get those down. It's about knowing what's happening when you say the words. You can't just say them and not know what's going on. For me, it's all about knowing what's going on the entire play and knowing why coach is calling this play." 

Q:What was the most interesting or surprising thing about install this morning?

MAHOMES:"The biggest thing was just getting in that huddle, calling the play and knowing it. I've studied all of the installs that we did this morning. But whenever I got out there and called it, I had to look out, see the guys and make sure everyone was in the right position. That was the process which was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be."

Q:Do you anticipate the coaches working on your footwork or do you think they like the delivery?

MAHOMES:"I think it'll be a little bit of both. I think they're going to make my footwork better because there's a lot of timing routes and a lot of stuff I have to be real crisp on. But at the same time, they want me to play and they want me to do what's gotten me to this point so far. I think Coach [Matt] Nagy and Coach [Andy] Reid have gotten me working on both of those things."

Q:Did you have any surreal moments this morning realizing you were in the NFL?

MAHOMES:"Yeah sort of. When you're getting in there and listening to Andy Reid discuss installs, it's a pretty surreal moment. Getting used to that is going to be cool."

Q:Is there some meaning to the number 15? 

MAHOMES:"Yeah, but not really. It still has the number five in it a little bit. At the same time, I was number 15 during my freshman year of basketball so I went back to that. I wanted to make my own number and do a new thing in this next chapter in life." 

Q:When's the last time you felt all of this information coming on as a quarterback?

MAHOMES:"Probably my freshman year at college. It's a whole new experience when you come in and you're trying to learn a new playbook. At the same time, you have to be reading the defenses. You have to really make sure you know what's going on so you can read defenses and make the right plays."

Q:What's your process for learning the playbook? 

MAHOMES:"It's a ton of writing down. I'll write the same play down three or four times until it sticks in my head. That's the biggest thing for me. I will use notecards and go through the formations and stuff like that. For the most part, it's a matter of writing it down a ton."

Q:What's the biggest thing you want to accomplish by the end of the day on Monday?

MAHOMES:"Just operating at a high level. Being able to call the play, know what's going on, make the right checks, etc. Whatever you have to do, I want to be able to do that and get better every single rep every single day. That's the biggest thing for me. I feel like you can study the stuff and say the right things in front of the coaches but unless you're out there making the right checks and making the plays, it doesn't mean that much." 

Q:Is there anything about the numbers 4 and 7 that had you thinking about those as well?

MAHOMES:"Not necessarily. I'd just talked with my family and we decided it was good to start a new chapter and I felt 15 was a good number to go with."

Q:Have you gotten in front of the mirror and started practicing calls? 

MAHOMES:"Yeah for sure. I've voice recorded myself, gotten in front of the mirror and all of that stuff. I feel like I make the calls and say the stuff the right way but it's about operation and making it go smooth."

Q:How soon did you get the playbook? 

MAHOMES:"Last night. I've been really trying to get through it and I studied it all night."

Q:So you got it and you're just into it now? 

MAHOMES:"Yeah exactly. I'm trying to stay on it. We've got three practices over the next three days and three different installs so I'm trying to stay on it and make sure I get it going."

Q:How do you handle the pressure of being such a high draft pick? 

MAHOMES:"For me, it's about getting better every single day and doing whatever I can to contribute to the team. I come in with a little bit of pressure but this is Alex's [Smith] team. Alex is the starting quarterback so I have time to work on my game, become ready and be available whenever coach needs me."  

Q:How much has your game improved since the beginning of the draft process?

MAHOMES:"A ton. When I look back at all the stuff I've learned just in this draft process and even at install today, I look back at the stuff I did at Texas Tech and I understand why I'm doing it more. Even more than I did when I was running that offense. My understanding of the game has improved a ton." 

Q:What did it mean to put on an NFL jersey and uniform for the first time?

MAHOMES:"It meant the world to me. The dream is coming true. It's just the start but at the same time, you're in the NFL. It's hard to believe but you're here and that's something that not a lot of people get to experience."


Q:Do you have a nickname you prefer that we call you?

KPASSAGNON:"I just got 'Special K' from the coaches and stuff today, so that's pretty cool. I have a couple – 'Big T,' 'TK,' – there's a lot. I don't care."

Q:It took a while, but we think we got your name down. It took a little practice, it is [pass-EN-yo], right?

KPASSAGNON:"Yeah, there you go."

Q:What has this experience been like for you?

KPASSAGNON:"It's really cool. It's awesome. I've never been to Missouri. Funny thing was I actually thought Kansas City was in Kansas. It's nice to be here now. I even got welcomed at the airport by a couple people. People here seem really friendly, so I'm liking it."

Q:Have you texted or talked much with Patrick Mahomes at all?

KPASSAGNON:"I saw him at the Combine and then I saw (Kareem) Hunt at the Senior Bowl. I've seen a lot of these guys – and I actually saw Pat at one of my visits. So we've talked a couple times and he seems like a cool dude."

Q:As an edge rusher/outside linebacker, how excited are you to get in here and learn from some of the guys on the roster like LB Justin Houston?

KPASSAGNON:"Yeah, I'm just excited, especially to learn off of guys like him (Houston) and (Tamba) Hali. There are so many people that I can just grow off of and I feel like it's just going to be awesome, an awesome year."

Q:Do you think you get up the field well out of a three-point stance or are you better off in a two-point stance?

KPASSAGNON:"I'm just more used to a three-point stance. I feel like the more I practice a two-point stance I'll be able to get out like that."

Q:How much two-gapping did you do in college?

KPASSAGNON:"Two-gapping? A lot. A lot."

Q:Do you like that more or do you like getting up the field?

KPASSAGNON:"Getting up the field is more fun. But two-gapping is kind of like you're showing, 'Yeah, I'm a man. I can be right here. This is my gap.' So I love that too."

Q:It's really early, but do you get a sense that you'll be able to do some of the same things you did in college as far as the scheme?

KPASSAGNON:"No, it's probably going to be real different from college because in college I was in a 4i always between the tackle and the guard and now I'm more head-up on the tackle or outside. It's going to be a little different, but I'm ready for it."

Q:Have you heard from any veterans yet, or at least the guys at your spot?

KPASSAGNON:"No, not yet. Not yet."

Q:On defense, does this seem like this is something that's going to be easy to grasp? Are you looking at what the Chiefs do and how you might fit in?

KPASSAGNON:"Yeah, I definitely watched film on the Chiefs. The defenses we're running right now are definitely a little easier. I know it's going to pick up more, but you just try and kind of match things, try and see similarities, try to simplify stuff."

Q:It doesn't seem overwhelming?

KPASSAGNON:"No, not too much. I mean this playbook is already bigger than what I had at Nova my whole career. But it hasn't gotten overwhelming yet."

Q:There is always a jump from college to the NFL. Is there more of a jump coming from Villanova than there would be for other players?

KPASSAGNON:"I don't know. I don't know how it feels for other players. I do feel the jump. Going from high school to college there was a jump. Yeah, I think so."

Q:You weighed in at 289 pounds at the Combine. Do you think you'll be 10-15 pounds more than that or where do you think you'll get to?

KPASSAGNON:"Yeah, I think I can comfortably get to 300, at least. It was funny, my strength coach back at Nova was telling me my whole career, 'Yeah, you're going to lose your abs, I'm going to get you to 300, and then we're going to get them back.' But I've progressively gained weight and held it well."




Q:Easy day?

HUNT:"For the most part, right now. We have to come out for another one."

Q:Was it shocking looking at the plays and just hearing everything? Is there anything where you think you have to process it differently?

HUNT:"A little bit. I'm just trying to take it all in, and if I see anything similar to my old playbook, I'll try and compare those things together, so I can lock it in in my head."

Q:You seemed genuinely excited to be here during your conference call. How much does this mean to you personally?

HUNT:"It means a lot. I've been working all my life to get to this point. I'm very excited to be a part of this program, and I'm just ready to take it day-by-day and keep on learning."

Q:What's it like with the adjustment with the offense that you ran in college to what Andy Reid runs?

HUNT:"I was pretty much a hurry-up guy. No huddle, signals. You have to learn a lot of words in a huddle, and I'm just taking it in, listening to my job, and going out and doing the best that I can."

Q:What are your thoughts on Coach Eric Bieniemy?

HUNT:"He's a great coach. He has energy and juice. I feel like he's definitely going to help me in the long run."

Q:Why did you chose number 27?

HUNT:"I had a few numbers to pick from, and 27, I feel like looks like me a little bit. I'm okay with it."

Q:What were the other ones you were considering?

HUNT:"30 or 34. Honestly, it really doesn't matter about the number. It's just going out there and playing ball."

Q:What did it mean to you in the locker room to put on a NFL jersey and walk out on the field?

HUNT:"It's a great feeling. Like I said, I wouldn't want to be doing anything else. I've been dreaming of putting on a NFL jersey since I was probably in sixth grade. Honestly, it's finally here, and I'm going to take advantage of it and make the most of my opportunity."

Q:How excited are you to show this offense that you have both facets of running and catching the ball?

HUNT:"Honestly, I feel like my offense didn't really utilize me in the passing game early on in my career. Just working hard, and doing seven-on-seven, doing summer workouts and winning my one-on-one battles, the routes and stuff like that. My coach decided to utilize me more out of the backfield and get me some space. I just want to be a guy who can be able to do it all. I don't want to come off the field if I don't have to. Just trying to take it in and do what I can."

Q:What do you think about these six draft picks and some of the names that are hard to pronounce?

HUNT:"I think it's a real good group. Pat [Patrick Mahomes] and I have been texting a lot. I feel like we have a good defensive end. We're a good group."

Q:Can you say his name?

HUNT:"'Special K.' That's what I'm going to say."

Q:What do you like about Patrick Mahomes so far?

HUNT:"He is a good leader it seems like for the most part as I've known him. Good personality, definitely a strong arm and just a guy who looks like he could be a good leader."

Q:Did you text him first or did he text you first?

HUNT:"We both followed each other on Twitter and Instagram. Then, he got my number and texted me."

Q:Does that mean something to you?

HUNT:"Yeah, it means something. We're going to be working together down the road."

Q:Before the draft, how much did you know about him?

HUNT:"I didn't know very much about him, but I knew he was a good quarterback at Texas Tech, strong arm and he opened up eyes this draft, I believe."

Q:You watch any video of him since the draft?

HUNT:"Actually, yeah. I watched videos after I knew we were all coming to KC."

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