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What We Learned from Andy Reid and the Chiefs' Rookies on Saturday

Head Coach Andy Reid

OPENING STATEMENT:"We're glad to be back out here. We've got the rookies here, a couple select veterans – they're considered rookies, but they were with us for part of the time last year. We'll put them through practices, we had a walkthrough this morning, we'll do our practice this afternoon. They're able to put helmets on and their jerseys, no pads. It's a great opportunity for these guys. We've got a full team both offensively, defensively and special teams. So they'll get a lot of good work, good individual work and they have an opportunity. That's the best thing I can tell you. An opportunity to play in the National Football League, which about less than 1 percent of people have an opportunity to do."

Q: From your perspective what makes this a successful three days, other than nobody getting hurt?

REID: "Surely you don't want anybody to get hurt. You'd like them to be able to get out of the huddle and run the play that is called because it's new. We're asking them to learn a new language in a day. So you have to have a little bit of patience, more than you'd have with the normal crew. Then just watch them move around and who can retain some of the points that we throw at them and then still execute them."

Q: Is it a relief to see the guys you drafted on your own practice field and get that confirmation that they are who you thought?

REID: "Absolutely. It gives them a step to see who we are too on the other side of it. It's a win-win that way. We don't favor any position, whether you're drafted or undrafted, we just have you come out and we're going to coach the dog out of you if you're here and then watch you. They'll be watched every play. They'll be evaluated, graded every play. Every guy will be and we tape all of the practices."

Q: You and Brett Veach mentioned the physical size of some of the guys like Derrick Nnadi and Kahlil McKenzie. From what you've seen this morning how do they look physically and how impressive are they being here?

REID: "Those two have good size, big kids. A couple of them aren't necessarily as tall as you might think but they're tall enough, but stout. In today's world lean body mass means something and these guys have everything that kind of fits into the standards that Brett has for that. That's a positive. That's a start. So now we get to see them move around a little bit, which is the most important thing, more so than just looking at them."

Q: Besides the walkthrough and the practice what does a typical day look like for these guys?

REID: "This format is exactly like it will be for the vets when they come in for their minicamp. They got here early, we had meetings this morning. Now they come out they do their walkthrough. They'll go back for lunch. Then they'll come out for a special teams practice, the specialists will come out. Then we'll start our practice. There will be a special teams period within the practice, just like you guys normally see during the year. It will be an afternoon practice, will last a couple of hours and then they're out of here. They leave the field, go into meetings again and then they go sleep."

Q: You've got some new faces on the coaching staff, some guys in some new roles. Is this minicamp kind of their introduction too?

REID: "We've had a little bit of lead up with Phase 1 and then we're a week into Phase 2. Phase 2 we can actually get the guys on the field and coach them even though there's no offense versus defense. I guess you'd say this is the first time they've coached somebody with a helmet on and that's a plus. You can work out some of the kinks and things. So far so good. The walkthrough went well and I'm expecting the practice to go well this afternoon."

Q: Kahlil McKenzie, his dad obviously played pro football. When a guy whose dad played pro sports walks in the door do they have any advantage over the other guys?

REID: "He grew up in a locker room so he's not going to be intimidated by anything that he sees. He's got an uncle, Reggie's twin, that also played in the league. He probably played longer than Reggie did and he played center. So he grew up around this. A family deal. He's got a little brother that's a good football player too. I don't think he's going to be intimidated by anything. I think it's just a matter of getting him learning and working. No matter where you come from you have to work. That will be all the fellas here – their challenge – they've got to get out here and crank it."

Q: We've talked a little bit about this with Patrick Mahomes  before but how does that help a guy, just generally speaking, having that background of being in a locker room?

REID: "It's good. They can see that everybody dresses the same way. Doesn't matter if you're a first-round pick or second-round pick in our case, or if you're a free agent. It really doesn't matter. You go about your business the same way and it's what you do on the field. We're going to teach you the same way. The one nice thing is the guys that are coming back for Phase 2 in a week, they will have had an introduction to what we do. So that's very important. You don't want to throw them in with the veterans not knowing anything. It can be a bit chaotic for them, but this will at least give them an opportunity to go back and review after these couple days and then when they get back with the full group they'll be able to move around a little bit."

Q: How important is it that you teach these young guys how you want things done?

REID: "That's what we do. You come in the building, it doesn't matter if you're coming from college or pros, we're going to ask you to do certain things. We don't have a ton of rules but we're going to ask you to do certain things and we expect you to do it. I don't know if that is a culture – I'm not sure what that is – but that's how we roll and the guys have been pretty good with it. The veteran players believe in it most of all. So if somebody comes in and they're a little off, they're going to kind of kick them back into gear."

Q: Do you have a reaction to Derrick Johnson signing with Oakland?

REID: "I think it's great that Derrick has a chance. Derrick is one of my most favorite players that I have ever coached since I've been coaching. Every day he came out like he was 20 and I've said that before. The Raiders are getting a great person, a phenomenal person and leader and all those things, I mean just tremendous. I wish him the best. I texted him I wish him the best except for about two games, other than that I'm good."

Q: Could he come back here as a coach one day? 

REID: "Well I told him that if he decides he wants to go in that direction, I'm going to be hard on him. Probably harder on him than when he was a player. But he can come back, absolutely."

Q: These guys have to go away for a week, then they can come back? 

REID:"Then they can come back, yeah. Mother's Day will be travel day for them, then they'll be able to start that week."

Q: In past years you had some draft picks that couldn't participate until a little later – none of those guys this year, right?

REID: "Yeah, we're good with all that." 

Q: With so many guys starting from scratch this week, is this exciting for you, kind of fun for you to start from scratch?

REID: "Yeah. Anytime I can get out here, I'm loving every minute of it. This is what it's all about. Opportunity in the classroom, opportunity to teach. Our coaches get excited about it. We have a couple of coaches here now that we've been coaching for a couple of years and I love seeing the enthusiasm in everybody. I think the players feel that. You may have some gray hairs but you're going to bring it every day. That's important."

Q: Has there been a guy through the years that showed up during rookie minicamp that you really thought they had something when you got to see them on the field?

REID: "Albert Wilson just made about $8 million and he was one of those guys that we all got to see. I would tell you that there are a few guys that have come in and you weren't sure what they had, then they come out and they just keep getting better and better and showing, I guess is the word you would use. They catch your attention. You invite them to the next phase and the next phase and eventually they make the team for you. But I would tell you most recently, somebody would be Albert (Wilson)."

Linebacker Breeland Speaks

Q:What expectations do you have for yourself for this weekend?

SPEAKS: "Basically get down whatever they have for us. They've got a few defenses in and I just want to make sure I own those and be productive with that during camp."

Q: What was your first reaction looking at the playbook?

SPEAKS: "I did get the playbook and my first reaction had to be, I could do this. I looked at a few defenses that we install for the day and pretty much went over those and know those by heart already. Feeling pretty good about the playbook so far."

Q: Move you around a little on third-down compared to second-down to outside or inside?

SPEAKS: "Right now, outside linebacker. That's where we're headed. I think as more time goes we'll get some different stuff and sub-packages but for right now I'm just at the outside linebacker spot." 

Q: What's it been like getting here and checking everything out?

SPEAKS: "It's been fun. I think yesterday we came in on the other side of the Royals stadium so I finally got to see what that looked like, it's pretty big. But I'm getting used to it. I'm loving the whole layout of the city, love the people here. Just taking every day, day-by-day. So far I'm loving the scenery, loving coming to work already so let's just keep it going." 

Defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi

Q: What expectations do you have for yourself in this camp?

NNADI: "Honestly, my expectation is to do the best I can to the best of my abilities. Help out my teammates with anything they need and learn the system as fast as I can and produce."

Q: How much pride do you take in run stuffing?

NNADI: "When it comes to stopping the run, I take it as my bread and butter. I take a lot of pride in that. It comes with a lot of technique. When it comes to pass rushing, that is something I am still working to improve on so I can be a good overall defensive player."

Q: What is the biggest difference from college to now?

NNADI: "Playing wise, there is just a lot more experience across the board. In a sense it's a lot less strict because everyone knows what they are doing. You don't have to be on their shoulder saying, 'Be careful of this, be careful of this, be careful of that.' Everyone knows what kind of things they have to do, the techniques they have to do. Everything is like this is what we have to do and just get it done and say no more."

Q: What is it like to be a part of this unique draft class that is primarily defense?

NNADI: "Honestly, I am grateful that they selected me to be part of this organization. How I see it, as a defense, we have work to do. They drafted me for a reason, to be here for a reason to improve the defense. All the defensive players that got drafted, we kind of clicked as soon as we met each other. That just adds to the bond since we are already cool with each other we can really better ourselves that much more."

Q: Did you talk to any of the guys before today started?

NNADI: "Yeah, I met Kahlil McKenzie at the combine. When I got here I met up with Chris Jones. He was pretty much just telling me I have a great opportunity here and it is up to me to really take hold of it."

Linebacker Dorian O'Daniel

Q: At Clemson you're used to big-time football. What's been the differences you've been told about the NFL?

O'DANIEL: "Obviously going to be a transition, going to take some getting used to. The speed of the game, coaching, but I think Clemson definitely prepared me for this opportunity going forward because I've been in situations, big games, bright lights. I've faced adversity at the highest level and I'm thankful for the coaching staff at Clemson for preparing me to get to this point because right now a lot of the things I'm hearing in meetings are very similar to what I heard at Clemson so that's very encouraging." 

Q: Draft night was special because of your relationship with Kendall (Fuller) – how much have you guys communicated about starting anew together?

O'DANIEL: "Very comfortable. He's been able to keep it real with me and just keep it very transparent. We're excited, obviously being together in high school and playing at a high level together, I hope it translates well here. He hit me up yesterday on FaceTime asking how the first meetings went, everything like that. He's not here right now but he said he'll be here on Monday. So he said he'll be able to be out there and see us in action. Just having a guy that I'm familiar with and being able to work with him and continue to compete and be great."

Q: How do you try to have a bond knowing that five defensive players were taken in your draft class?

O'DANIEL: "I think it's a credit to Kansas City for drafting the right kind of guys. Me and Breeland (Speaks) we're rooming together and sitting in that hotel room we're like alright, 'What's your deal? Who are you? What are you about?' I think that's the way it should be with teammates. Bringing in a group of rookies that are all defensive we have to stick together and we have to form a relationship. Because if we form a relationship off the field it will definitely show on the field and being able to communicate. Even today, me and Breeland being able to communicate because we're on the same side on some plays. So just having that chemistry off the field definitely will translate well."

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