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What We Learned During Sunday's Media Availability at Training Camp

Head Coach Andy Reid, Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and Linebacker Dorian O'Daniel spoke with the media

OPENING STATEMENT:"Welcome back. It's great to be here in St. Joseph, Missouri Western State University. We love the hospitality here all the way from the president on down. They've rolled out the red carpet for us every year we've been here. As you know, we're back. We've liked what they've presented to us. We look forward to getting started. So the rookies and selected vets, quarterbacks, they'll all be in today. We'll meet this evening and then we'll get going tomorrow morning and the numbers are where we can put together basically an offense and a defense one deep, but most of all get some work done. Get kind of a jumpstart on things. Really it's an introductory period here for the first three days as we get going, so when the veterans get in and we're going a million miles an hour, these guys have a foundation to get themselves going and repeat, for the three days they can get adjusted and go. All-in-all it's a good situation. I mentioned before we're striving to win a championship and then to consistently be in a position where we can win a championship as the years go on. It starts today. I mentioned that in the offseason. We had a good offseason program, but really now we're able to get ourselves going and get pads on and we're secluded up here. You've got great fellowship that you can develop and a foundation that you can develop for a team, and that's the part I enjoy about going away."

Q: What have you been doing the last couple of weeks with yourself?

REID: "I've been all over the place. I was in California for a little bit and I was in Philadelphia for a quick wedding and then I was in Washington, D.C. to visit my daughter. Then I've been back here for a little bit, so moving fast and furious."

Q: What are you going to do differently this year working with your quarterbacks since you are going from a veteran like Alex Smith to a new guy?

REID: "They're all different, just like everybody here is different, so that's the way you handle it. Patrick (Mahomes) has been through this for a year now, not only training camp but also the season. He was lucky enough to be in a great room last year with not only great coaches but also great players. Alex Smith, you know how I feel about him. He absorbed, that's what he did and it showed during the OTAs. He was able to function at a high level and do what he needs. Are there going to be growing pains and all that stuff that go on? Sure, he's a young guy that's learning the game. We're here to teach him and that's what we'll do and he's here to learn and then go play and have fun doing it." 

Q: Is it oversimplifying to say that one of the most challenging parts with Patrick Mahomes is how to encourage his creativity and his boldness while also reeling him in a little bit?

REID: "We'll see how that goes. You surely don't want to stifle that at all. One thing that he is blessed with is he has good vision, so you don't ever want to stifle that and put him in a box with that. Allow him to see. Is there going to be a hiccup here or there? Yeah there's going to be a hiccup here or there, but you don't want to stifle that at all. We'll see how that goes and monitor as it goes. We don't miss much, but we'll continue to teach."

Q: Can you go over some of the guys who were injured?

REID: "Really the only two are (Ashton) Lampkin and De'Anthony Thomas right now. We're looking at all of them, you'll see them here. Most of the guys that were banged up are here. This will be kind of a jumpstart. We'll see how that goes too. We'll take it slow and see how they do. Really those two we are evaluating now. De'Anthony has made great progress, but we just have to see how that goes and Lampkin the same way. They're both right on the edge there. Rick's (Burkholder) actually meeting with them now and we'll see how all of that goes."

Q: How about everyone else?

REID: "Everybody else is good. I want to see them on the field and we'll kind of monitor as it goes, but they all should be ready to go."

Q: Over the last couple of days the anthem thing became big again with the President tweeting about it. What are you going to tell these guys?

REID: "I think they all know this, it's been so publicized. The league and the players' association are all meeting on this, which I think is good. I always mention during negotiations that anytime people are communicating I'm good with it, and that's what they're doing now. So really it's out of our hands and they're working through it which is a positive."

Q: When the policy first came out you said you wanted to take time to look at it and talk to Clark (Hunt) maybe a little bit more, but did you get a sense from players from now to then with where this is going that you could see friction from the player perspective on it?

REID: "There wasn't much said about it in the offseason, at least on our team. I'm sure there was on other teams but there wasn't a whole lot that went on that I can tell you about."

Q: What do you want to see guys do?

REID: "I'm just kind of going to let it play out here. Let's just see how it all rolls with the two parties communicating."

Q: When it comes to the expectations that you guys have for yourselves and then people on the outside think of this team, what's your message to the guys on how to embrace those high expectations?

REID: "There are high expectations, but the important thing is that there's high expectations within the building and within the team. They demand that from themselves and you felt that in the OTAs and I expect that to continue. I expect guys to challenge each other. That's the way you get better and we have great competition that we're going to play this year, starting with the Chargers. You get yourself ready to go and take that upon yourself as an individual. Let's start there. They've had this time here to work and get themselves in shape and now let's get ourselves in football shape and get ourselves ready for the season."

Coaches and rookies arrive at training camp and address the media

Q: With new and dynamic parts added to the roster, did you find yourself working on napkins throughout some of this down time?

REID: "I take everything with me. I am a hoarder. I am really not a hoarder. When it comes to my steak and when it comes to my playbook, I am a hoarder."

Q:Did you have some moments with some steak and your playbook?

REID:"Yes I did. I took it with me, I'll tell you that. It's all good. I normally do that. When you're away from it all and can look at it, it's not a bad thing."

Q:What is different about this year's team than in years past?

REID:"There's more 'new' on both sides of the ball. Some of the old guys that have been here aren't here. Whether it's a quarterback position, the inside linebacker position or outside linebacker position, you are missing a few of those guys and have new guys coming in that you have an opportunity to see perform. Some of them we haven't seen. That's exciting for me. I am looking forward to that. I know the players are too. There's a 'new' maybe more so than we have had since the first year when I was new. I am excited about that."

Q:Does having Patrick Mahomes here guide into the 'new' mentality more so than others?

REID:"I would never get into one over the other (Alex Smith or Patrick Mahomes) that's just not where I am at. Alex (Smith) was phenomenal and will continue to be phenomenal for the Redskins. We feel very lucky to have Pat and to be able to step in and watch him grow here. Let's see how he does. He can't be in any better place than with the Kansas City Chiefs and I know he's fired up about that."

Q:What are some of the most important things you are looking for specifically from a first-year starter at quarterback at training camp?

REID:"He had a learning period that took place during the OTAs. Let's not back up. Let's keep moving forward with that. Now in these live periods it will be a little bit faster than what you had in the OTAs because of that. With the pads on, which we weren't able to do, let's see what you can do. Let's work through it. Let's not be hesitant. If there's an interception here or there let's learn from it. Let's challenge the offense, not only the player, but challenge yourself within the offense and see what you can get away with. If there's an interception we will fix that, but don't hesitate. If you see it, let's shoot it and go."

Q:How much different is it for you five years ago as you were starting to build an offense with Alex (Smith) as the new quarterback here versus Pat (Mahomes) having a year under Alex and under your playbook in comparing the two different scenarios? 

REID: "Everything was new for Alex that first year. Patrick has a running start. He has been through it. He knows the verbiage. He knows the secondaries. He knows all the stuff, he's gone through that. It's different than with Alex having to start fresh with new verbiage, new scheme, everything was different."

Q:Do you pay attention to how Patrick carries himself in the public and how do you think he's handling that part of the job?"


"I think he handles all of that well. He did that same thing in college. He's a good person and carries himself the right way. He does that with his teammates. He is a humble guy who loves to play the game and plays it aggressively. Normally you appreciate those guys. I wouldn't expect that to change. I would encourage him not to change that part."

Q:How does having new players in key positions on the roster effect the high expectations for the season?

REID:"A few of these guys haven't been through this camp. There is a certain demand we have. Not that they weren't challenged at the places they came from, but whether you are a college player or coming from a different team it's new. We do it different as other teams do it different than us. The question is how they are going to handle that, and can they rise through the demands of camp and the high intensity level that is different from college." 

Q:Did you know Tony Sparano well?

REID:"I did, yes. I was going to mention that at the end here. Tony was a friend, heck of a coach and great man. I am very sorry to hear what went on. My prayers are with his family, that's a tough deal."


Q: What are you expecting out of training camp? What's this about for you?

MAHOMES: "First off, it's awesome to be back. Just sitting around waiting for football to get going, it's been exciting time but now we're here. For me it's expecting us to go in and work hard and get better every single day. As myself, and as a team, we just want to keep getting better and better every day we come out here."

Q: How do you feel being the starting quarterback knowing this is your team and going into your first camp in that capacity?

MAHOMES: "It's exciting to know that you're going to get the majority of the reps, you're going to get to really work on your game. It's something you dream of as a little kid. So, for me, this is the start of the new season. You really get to come here and work with the guys and just build that relationship and that bond."

Q: What advice do you give to rookies about their first camp here in St. Joe?

MAHOMES: "I would say just be prepared for the grind. The grind of training camp is really you have to come in every single day and get better. In this league, no matter who you are or where you came from, it's just all about the guys who go out there and just work and get better every single day."

Q: What have you been doing the last couple of weeks?

MAHOMES: "The first week or two I went on a little vacation with some of my family. These last two weeks just has been about making sure I'm ready for this. I'm from Texas, so I'm used to heat but you come out here and it's a hundred degrees and humid, you have to make sure your body is ready to endure that when you're throwing 100 to 200 balls a day."

Q: Where'd you go?

MAHOMES: "I went to Hawaii with my family and I went to Florida with my little sister. I promised her at Christmas I'd take her there so I ended up taking her there. We didn't go by Disney. She wanted to stay at the beach, so we did that and then I got to be back in Texas for a few weeks for training and then back to Kansas City for this last week.

Q: What about last year's Training Camp prepares you for this, given the new role?

MAHOMES: "I think being through the process of an entire season. I mean, you came in this last season and you didn't necessarily know what to expect. You just kind of came in with your college and what you did in college but not knowing how NFL training camp works. Being through the whole entire process, I know what to expect so I'm excited to just kind of go out there and utilize that knowledge and to get better. "

Q: Are you going to be comfortable? I mean, obviously you were the face of Texas Tech football as a quarterback there. How comfortable are you going to be in the role that you take? It's not going to be Alex Smith that we're all hounding. You're the guy making the headlines, you're the guy that gets hounded by the media.

MAHOMES: "For me, it's all about football. You want to be in this position, you want to be able to go out and play every single day and play a sport you love. So for me, the media is a part of the NFL, it's a part of being a professional athlete. I saw my dad go through it whenever he was going through the MLB. So, I know what it's sort of like but at the same time it'll be a new experience and I'm excited for it."

Q: What few ways would you say Alex influenced you most and made an imprint on you going into this year?

MAHOMES: I would say just the process of having a lot of success in the NFL. He had a process of how he did things, how he made sure he was prepared for every situation in the game as well as every practice. So, for me just being able to watch that and understand what's needed in order to have success in the NFL is probably the biggest thing he did for me."

Q: Have you had contact with him since he left?

MAHOMES: "Yeah, I've talked to him through text and stuff. Just kind of seeing how he has enjoyed Washington and everything like that and he enjoys it. We still have a good relationship, we're still friends. When you're quarterbacks in this league, you have kind of a special thing where you know what each other are going through."

Q: How's your approach or preparation changed going into this camp knowing that, obviously, more reps going in as a starter. What's different?

MAHOMES: "Not much. At the same point last year, I was really trying to prepare for every single rep I had. Last year when I was coming in as the third quarterback, you don't get a lot of reps so you want to make sure you make every one of them count. At the same time when you come in now, as the starter, you want to make sure you make every single rep count so when you get to the season you're prepared for everything."

Q: When you hear comparisons to Brett Favre and Randall Cunningham, how do you handle that pressure?

MAHOMES: "Hearing those comparisons are awesome. Guys that you grew up seeing highlight tapes of, all of that stuff is really cool. But at the same time, getting to start training camp, it is all about the grind. All that stuff is over now. It is about getting ready for the season. So I am going to make sure I grind out and hopefully have a lot of success this year in the NFL."

Q: What are your expectations for yourself and the team?

MAHOMES: "For me, it is to go out there and win. For me and myself, it doesn't matter what it takes. Whatever we can do to win a ton of football games and get to different steps that we haven't been to in a long time, that is the goal for the entire season."

Q: How important was it to get that Denver game under your belt?

MAHOMES: "I mean it was important just to give me a confidence booster going into this year. That last game was kind of that thing where all that hard work that I had been doing, I knew that I could have some success in the NFL. That game was huge on just getting the win. Just getting to go out there and go through the process of the huddle and making the plays and having positive plays happen. Now it is just about doing that for an entire season and just kind of grinding through."

Q: Matt Nagy and Alex Smith are out of that QB room, how different is that going to be?

MAHOMES: "It is different. Those are two guys that are really good friends and good mentors for me. But at the same time we have Coach Kafka who was in that room with us last year who I have a ton of respect for and who helped me a ton last year as well as guys like Chad Henne who have been in the NFL and have a ton of experience to help teach me a lot of things."

Q: How do you handle expectations going into this season?

MAHOMES: "For me it is all about playing and winning football games. All the expectations, all the stats, all that stuff doesn't really matter. If you win football games in this league, you will stay around for a long time and have a ton of success."

Q: How important is it to get this time away up at training camp?

MAHOMES: "I remember last year not knowing how this situation would go. Just the bond and the friendships I built just being here by ourselves. No outside attention. Just really building those relationships into something that is truly special and I am just excited to get here and build on those relationships I already built and at the same time meet some of those young guys and build relationships with them."

Q: Is there anything you want to improve on a personal level this training camp?

MAHOMES: "I think I always say just being efficient. I want to get in and out of the huddle fast so we can make the right checks and just really have a lot of positive plays. Not necessarily the huge plays, but just have the positive plays and move the chains. That is how you have success in the NFL. You keep taking those yards and then when you have guys that can stretch the field, you make those big plays and those come within the flow of the game."

Q: Do you have a better sense of how good your offense can be after OTAs?

MAHOMES: "Adding those pieces, getting to see Sammy (Watkins) work along with all of those other guys we already knew had a ton of talent with Tyreek (Hill), (Travis) Kelce, Kareem (Hunt) and Chris Conley. We have a ton of guys that have a ton of talent and just adding those pieces in with the running backs room we have and the competition there, the receivers room and the competition, we will have a chance to be a really special offense."

Q: What stood out to you about Sammy Watkins and what he brings to the team?

MAHOMES: "I think just that work ethic and the hard work that he puts in every day. You know the talent, and all the talent he has and he is a guy that will be really special. But the work ethic and the stuff that he puts into the game every single day is something that is truly special to see." 

Q: What excites you most about what Coach Reid is going to present to you now that you are the starter?

MAHOMES: "Just being able to expose me to every single situation. Coach Reid really exposes us and makes sure we are ready for everything. That's something where last year I didn't get to go through some of those situations when Alex (Smith) was going through them, but now I will get to go through and make sure I am prepared for everything."

Q: Do you think it is a big challenge for you to want to go for the big play, but also need to reel it in and be careful to not make mistakes?

MAHOMES: "I think that is the challenge for all quarterbacks though. You want to make the big play. You want to throw a touchdown every single play, but at the same time you have to know it is a process. These defenses are good. You have to make sure you take what they give you and don't go for the homerun every time."

Q: Psychologically have you had to work on that?

MAHOMES: "I think it just comes with practice. You go out and practice and we have a good defense. You go out and practice and those guys can break on some balls. If I throw an interception in practice I have to learn from that and know I can't do that again. With this training camp it will help me with that, learning when and when not I can take chances."

Q: How much as a person has the experience in the NFL changed you?

MAHOMES: "I definitely have matured a lot in this last year. Coming from college where they tell you exactly what you have to do and they tell you that you have to be at this at this time and you kind of get punishment for that. Now you're in the NFL and you have to do it on your own. For me just having a full year of that and having to really just learn how to do everything on my own and make sure I am prepared for every situation and watch whatever film I need to watch at home has really matured me as a person."

Q: Did your dad give you any last words as you went up to training camp?

MAHOMES: "He just told me to be myself and play the way I have always played. That is just kind of how he has always treated me as I have grown up. He has never really tried to over coach me. He has just said play your game and everything will work out."

Q: Are you getting advice for how to handle yourself in public or what to wear?

MAHOMES: "I think that is more of my own decisions. I might ask a buddy or two if they like what I am wearing or something like that. It is more me just picking out what I want to wear and being myself."

Q: Did you bring the jorts to training camp?

MAHOMES: "I didn't bring the jorts to training camp. It might have been a bad mistake on my part."


Q: What was your reaction when you found out that the Chiefs had drafted you?

O'DANIEL: "I was ecstatic. I didn't really know where I was going to go. In a process like this you don't really have any idea. To share that moment with Kendall (Fuller) and to have that relationship and the kind of the organization the Chiefs are, it was definitely exciting."

Q: What do you know about how they're going to use you and how they're going to utilize you. I know it's early in the process, but what have they told you about they're going to use this in this defense?

O'DANIEL"To be a guy to cover tight ends and running backs. Also to blitz and in sub packages, things like that." 

Q: How does that compare to what you did in college?

O'DANIEL"It's very similar. That's why I'm thankful going forward because they have a plan for me. Before the process I didn't really know if a team was going to have a plan for me because I was an undersized linebacker per say. They have a plan and I'm excited going forward." 

Q: Do you welcome the challenge of moving to the NFL and having to win over your teammates and impress people?

O'DANIEL: "Absolutely, respect is earned not given. As a rookie, it doesn't matter if you were drafted or undrafted, at the end of the day you have to compete and prove yourself and show your worth. That's what it's all about. It was the same thing in high school, the same thing in college and I'm sure it's going to be the same thing now. You have to earn your stripes and that's what I'm here to do."