QB ALEX SMITH
Adam Teicher (ESPN): Is it realistic to think you guys can kick out more offense than you did last year?
SMITH: "Yeah. I mean, it's April 18, so yeah, we're trying to be better on offense than we were last year. Yes."
Teicher: Is it realistic?
SMITH: "Yeah, absolutely. Trying to score more points, be more effective, be better in crunch time and even be better on third down. Yeah, all those things. You're looking at all of that for sure. I think, giving the coaches this big amount of time before we get back absolutely has given them the time to analyze all of us as a unit and our strengths and weaknesses, as a player, our strengths and weaknesses, and I think you come back now and you're kind of getting hit over the head with it. Absolutely, yeah, what are the points we need to get better at? What are we good at, and let's do it, and why, you know? Really kind of hitting those things, getting down to it, so no question. The goal, I think, is to be a better offensive unit. We've got a ton of guys coming back and I think we've added a couple new pieces. We have the draft coming up so we'll see what happens there. The big thing is, more so than any other year I can remember, especially on the offensive side of the ball, is the continuity. Having a big, big chunk of the guys coming back that have been in the system for a year or multiple years and we're really kind of building off what we did last year."
Teicher: Thinking back on last season and going through the video, do you feel like you left a lot out there?
SMITH: "Some games, yeah. For sure, yeah."
Teicher: Which ones stand out to you in that regard?
SMITH: "Certainly I think you look at the beginning of the year, (we were) just inconsistent, especially with the second half of football games, fourth quarter of football games. We'd play well in the first half and just weren't getting enough done, going into a shell in the second half with the lead, and lost some games that really would put ourselves in good situations. Certainly, I think you look at the playoff game (against New England), start right there in the fourth quarter, and it needed to be better. It can be better late in that game and putting ourselves in a better situation, I think, late. There are going to be games like that. I certainly think there are some things that we can correct and get better at, myself included. But a lot of that stuff, you're looking at it collectively, a whole year's full of—and multiple years in some cases—but last year as a chunk, you can take all the two minute, all the red zone, all that stuff and really break it down."
TJ Carpenter (WHB): How much have you dwelled on that last playoff game?
SMITH: "Yeah, I mean it's the last taste in your mouth, so I think it's something that's very correctable. I think it is easy to correct and we will from an efficiency standpoint and being better in that, communicating better, everything that kind of goes into that, but yeah it is what's lingering."
Carpenter: How much has being in this consistent situation helped you?
SMITH: "It's night and day. Just knowing what you're getting into, obviously all the relationships that you have with the guys in the locker room, all the coaches upstairs, knowing what we're getting into. To not miss a beat and go out there and throw with the guys today or in the weight room, you're just so far ahead of the game where to even compare to a few years ago when you're starting over and you're just trying to learn how we take snaps under center, how do we drop back, all those things, you're able to kind of be ahead of the game and try to take advantage of that. I think that's the key, to try to take advantage and not just sit on it."
Carpenter: Do you feel like your responsibilities at the line of scrimmage are going to change at all this year?
SMITH: "Yeah, we'll see. I mean day one. We'll see how this goes on and certainly I feel like already, Coach (Reid) has continued to give me more and more tools at the line of scrimmage, more and more of an ability to do different things, and certainly that changes week in and week out depending, but I think that's grown with each year and kind of the trust there. So, we'll see. As this offseason goes on, we'll see how that goes and then we head into camp."
Vahe Gregorian (Kansas City Star): What do you think of some of these younger retirements? And if I am remembering correctly, were you going to limit your son's time playing tackle football?
SMITH: "First, everybody's situation is different. Fortunately, I play quarterback and I don't really do any of that stuff on a daily basis, it's just different. Like I said, everybody deals with things their own way, so it's hard to kind of answer that. It's hard to get into that. I know it's very gray, that's just kind of the way it is. Certainly, as far as the kid thing, I know how I came up. I came up in a huge football family. My dad played, my uncle played, my uncle coached, my dad used to coach, I grew up watching my brother play. Football is definitely in my family and my blood. I didn't play tackle football until high school. That's just the way it was. Not until I got older. I certainly think you can develop all the things you need to develop as a kid and do that. That's what I know. Also, I answered that question, I think you're referring to that from before, and it's kind of the same way that I answered because that's how I was brought up and what I feel."
Shawn Rooney (Dos Mundos): Do you plan to follow the draft and see who John Dorsey will add to this team and enhance this offense?
SMITH: "Yeah, certainly we'll follow it. Absolutely. Part of this team, anxious to see who we add to help us out. The team is incomplete right now. There are going to be a bunch of young faces and that's part of the game. Rookies have to be a part of this. It's the nature of it. They have to come in and help right away. I'm anxious to see it. It's drawn out now over three days so it's hard to keep track and stay glued for three days, especially with little kids. But I will be following for sure."
Terez Paylor (Kansas City Star): For a quarterback to not play tackle football until high school, how long did it take you to understand football concepts?
SMITH: "I certainly learned all the time, and high school is different. I played New Wing-T. I wasn't doing a lot of pro-style concepts so I learned a lot when I went to college because it was very different and I learned a lot when I got to the NFL because all the sudden I was learning spread. So yeah, kind of specialty things. I think you can learn different things, especially at the quarterback position. I think you could learn playing flag and doing some of that stuff."
Paylor: What I really mean is, in retrospect, would it have helped playing quarterback at age seven?
SMITH: "No, I don't think so. I played baseball, I threw. I played catch all the time with a football. I knew how to throw. I think that would be the one thing that would be exclusive to it, as far as physical development, is to throw a football. Certainly, throwing a baseball is obviously very similar and I did that. I think blocking and tackling would be the only fundamental physical things to learn, playing tackle football, and as a quarterback you're obviously not doing a lot of that."
Paylor: With the receivers, if you're Andy and have Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware who do what they do, does that open the option up to having Jamaal Charles do a bit of the split-out wide receiver stuff we saw more of his first year here?
SMITH: "Yeah, certainly a different tool set from a running back perspective, sure. I think Jamaal is a very unique guy, unique talent, unique tool set and I think to pigeon-hole him, I think, would be wrong. One of the special things is that he does a lot, so yeah it's a little different, but I think all those guys have their own strengths. I do think that's an advantage from a strategy standpoint to be able to take advantage of those guys' strengths when they're in, plugging them in and having them doing different things."
Paylor: When the Chiefs signed Mitchell Schwartz, I thought of one guy who might be happy about that. In this division especially, with guys coming off the right side, what do you like about him and what was your reaction when you saw the team signed him?
SMITH: "It's hard from afar, I mean, obviously I didn't know him. I played with his brother, so obviously you know that. I think the thing that jumped out at you with all the physical stuff aside, was the dependability. I don't know how many games he's missed in four years, not many, right? Zero. A guy that's going to be there week in and week out playing, who has that kind of history, that's rare in this league. Those guys that can come in and do that and be able to hold that week in and week out and that kind of dependability, like I said, I think that's really attractive."
Pete Sweeney (Chiefs.com): How do you anticipate the transition now going from Doug Pederson to two offensive coordinators?
SMITH: "Yeah, two brains now, not one. I think it's going to be great. Obviously, Andy is heavily involved in the offensive side and is still spearheading it. I think it's great. Honestly, I like it. Those two, I think, have a great relationship and I have a great relationship with both of them, so I'm really excited about it. I think they both have strengths, they both bring something to the table. I think one of the only reason this is able to work is because of the environment here and the lack of egos. The guys just checking in, coming in, starting at the top with Andy and certainly with these guys, with (Brad) Childress and (Matt) Nagy, being able to do that and putting it all aside and just work, work to get us better. It doesn't matter whose idea it is or what if it can help us. I think it's going to be great. Honestly."
Sweeney: With the quarterback room changing a little bit, how do you evaluate Aaron Murray and Tyler Bray and what the guys can do?
SMITH: "Yeah, it will be different for sure. Chase (Daniel) and I were very close and to have a guy that had played a long time in the league to bounce things off of, it was valuable for me to be able to have that tool there, to constantly ask, 'Hey, what do you think about this,' on a Wednesday, Thursday night, 'Am I thinking about this right? What do you think here?' Just a guy who's a sounding board to kind of bounce things off of was a great tool. I have a great relationship with these other guys as well and they're younger and learning and coming up, but it will be different. We'll see. There's just three of us right now and I don't know if there will be a fourth. Just have to adjust."
Carpenter: Last year as a quarterback, could you tell a difference in the first half of games when Andy Reid was calling the plays and the second half when Doug Pederson was calling them?
SMITH: "You know, it had gone on for a few weeks until I found out that it was happening, so no, I didn't know. I was just out there running the plays, so I had no idea. Certainly, coming in at halftime, I'd give my two (cents) and hear what we're thinking moving forward. I forget how many it was, but it was a chunk of games that I had no idea that that had even been going on. Yeah, when you're out there in the middle of it, it's hard to tell when it went on. It was a collaboration, maybe in the first half and the second half if either of those guys had a thought. They certainly would share that."
BJ Kissel (Chiefs.com): What are your thoughts on the 2016 season schedule?
SMITH: "As soon as it came out, I looked at it, and yeah, there are certain things you're checking and you're obviously looking at your opener. That's a big one. Where the bye week is, and later in the year. Certainly that Christmas Day game and the Thursday night game jump out. Where you are ending the year. Things like that. Kind of checking the whole thing out."
Kissel: Are you looking forward to playing on Christmas?
SMITH: "Yeah, it will be fun. We were talking about it today, I mean, Christmas night, I think it will be unique. I don't think I've ever played on Christmas. It will be fun. I'm sure we're the only show on that night, but to get to play Denver in that kind of atmosphere will be very cool."
Teicher: How do you think the backup quarterback thing will play out?
SMITH: "It's going to come down to the field. Those guys have different strengths, different guys. Both, though, have been here and been in the system and have learned a lot. Both have grown a lot I think. I'm excited to see how that plays out. They are both very good guys and I'm close with both of them, and I think they'll handle it the right way, too. They're both close with each other, so I think it will be a thing that will be healthy. I don't think it's bad for the quarterback room at all. We'll see."
RB JAMAAL CHARLES
Adam Teicher (ESPN):Has the process been any different for this injury as it was the last time around?
CHARLES: "No, just still trying to get my leg stronger again."
TJ Carpenter (WHB):Do you feel more confident that you can bounce back from this injury since you've done it before?
CHARLES: "Yeah. I feel very blessed that I feel like I can come back stronger. There's more new technology than there was back then. I'm (really) looking forward to the future and what it holds for me."
Tod Palmer (Kansas City Star):How frustrating was it to watch the team in the playoffs and not being able to contribute?
CHARLES: "I was happy for them. It just motivated me. Nothing but positive things came out of it for me from that experience. I was just excited for my teammates, excited for the people that stepped up. Hopefully we can take that momentum and take it to this year coming up."
Palmer:Do you think much will change since Doug Pederson has moved on or will there be continuity since Andy Reid is still here?
CHARLES: "Oh no, I still think Andy will still have his touch and the new offensive coordinators (Brad Childress and Matt Nagy). We still have our people here, I don't think anything's changed. Our philosophy hasn't changed, it's not like we have somebody new coming in. I think as long as we stay with the same system, we feel comfortable with where we're heading."
Herbie Teope (Topeka Capital-Journal):Where are you in your rehab right now?
CHARLES: "I'm in the stage (where I'm) back running right now. Basically just trying to get my right leg caught up to my left leg and get that strength back into it. Hopefully I can be cutting coming up soon."
Q: How strong will the backfield be with you, Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware?* *
CHARLES: "I'm just excited they could sign West and Ware and still have Knile (Davis) here. That's something blessed to be a part of. That group of guys, they all want to be successful and I'm happy and I want all of them to be successful, too. Having a backfield like that, I don't think any other team in the NFL has a running back group like that. If either one of us goes down, we know one of the guys out of that group is very fortunate coming in and stepping up."
Teope:From your understanding, is the timetable still for you to be ready by the start of training camp?
CHARLES: "Yeah, I'll be ready, hopefully I'll be ready – I'm not going to tell you when, I'm not God, I can't tell you this. In my time, I can't wait. I'm very fortunate to still be able to walk and now I'm running – so I'm very fortunate to look forward to what I'll be able to do when that time comes."
Teicher:Do you feel like you'll be able to do anything in OTAs?
CHARLES: "Not OTAs, I'm still just looking. It's too fast, that's too fast to do something five months out of surgery. Just able to get a mental look of what the team is doing, still getting my rehab in, still getting my upper body lift in. That's more important right now."
Teicher:You don't have any doubts about the first day of camp?
CHARLES: "Oh yeah, just looking forward. Like I said, I'm not God, I don't know the timeline, I'm going to wait until that time comes and hopefully I'll be ready when training camp (comes) – it's here already, four more months, you never know."
Teicher:When the Chefs re-signed West and Ware, what did that mean for you?
CHARLES: "It didn't mean anything for me. I loved it. I'm just happy to be a part of this organization and I'm happy for them that their family can be a part of this experience that I've experienced my whole career here. I'm excited for those guys. It's been a long time. I know their path, what they've been going (through), but to be able to see somebody like that, Ware and (West) to be able to get an opportunity to get an extended contract – I know all the troubles they've been going through in their whole career, it's a blessing towards them and they have to cherish this moment."
Teicher:Do you feel like the Chiefs are preparing for the day when you're not here?
CHARLES: "I'm just able to say the Chiefs gave me a chance to start my career here. I'm not worrying about when I'm leaving. Just able to be a part of this organization is more important than telling what the future (is). I don't know, all I know is I'm still here and I'm excited and I'm going to cherish these moments (until) I'm ready to hang up my cleats."
Vahe Gregorian (Kansas City Star):How conscious are you of guys retiring early and how much do you think about your future health?
CHARLES: "That's those guys, whatever they were going through, that's what they were going through. We're all individuals, (I can only) go through what Jamaal can go through and right now, my future is about my legs, so my future is about trying to get my health back. I don't know when that time comes to see when I'm going to hang it up, that's when it's going to come. I don't look at everybody the same way, we all – in this room – we're all different in our own image."
Neal Jones (KCTV5):When the team gets together, what is your expectation for the season?
CHARLES: "We've been here going on with Coach Reid about four years now. He mentions and talks about time and hopefully it's our year and hopefully we can take that momentum and what they did this playoff season and take it onto this upcoming season. That's the goal this year. We have a great team and great brothers and as long as we stay together, it's going to be hard to break us."
Terez Paylor (Kansas City Star):Does the presence of West and Ware open you up to do more receiving stuff? Is there enough room for all three of you to flourish?
CHARLES: "I'm looking in the room and it's a beautiful room to be a part of. Hopefully Coach can put a four-running back package together and we all will be there together. Wherever coach wants me to be at, I'm going to be dedicated to that."
Paylor:Have you given any thought to how much longer you want to play? Are you still there where you want to keep playing?
CHARLES: "Yeah, I want to play more. I don't know – I'm just going to take it one day, enjoy this one day, one day and a time, enjoy it one season at a time and continue to enjoy this life on and off the field with my friends and my teammates."
Shawn Rooney (Dos Mundos):How much longer are you going to be able to enjoy the moment and not worry about getting enough touches and all that other stuff? Where does that attitude come from?
CHARLES: "Jesus Christ, my lord and savior. To be able to say that I got baptized and just trying to be positive and open up to people and inspiring people that my dreams came true, because of God. I didn't get here by myself and I can't do this by myself, and continuing to inspire other people. That's where my heart is at. To worry about the wicked things, the wrong things, that's not going to be in my confidence, it's not going to build me up. Me, where I'm at, is trying to build my brothers up and help people out."
TE TRAVIS KELCE
Paylor:Have you gotten used to your new wealth yet?
KELCE: "It feels good, it feels good to have a home for the next couple of years and be in Kansas City. I love this city just because they've embraced me and this organization has been every bit of exceptional for me ever since I've been here in terms of my growth and just being a football player."
Paylor:Where do you want to improve as a player?
KELCE: "You're nonstop trying to develop your game and become better. It's a team aspect type of deal, I'm trying to be more accountable. I feel like I left a lot of plays out there on the field for the team. It sucks looking back on it, it leaves a real sour taste in your mouth, but at the same time, it's all moving forward. This is a new year and we're ready to go."
Teicher:Is it realistic to expect that you guys can squeeze out more on offense than you did last year?
KELCE: "Not just squeeze it out, we're going to unleash it. I'm confident in where our personnel is right now. Where we're headed as a team is awesome and it's exciting. Yeah, I feel like, offensively, we can definitely improve from last year."
Palmer:Do* *you expect much to change now that Doug Pederson has moved on?
KELCE: "Yeah, I mean he was our O-Coordinator last year, so I do feel like things are going to change. But at the same time, it's Andy Reid's offense and I think Brad Childress and Coach Nagy are both going to come in and be those coaches that they were for us last year and kind of step up to the occasion now that they're in a different position."
P DUSTIN COLQUITT
Paylor:How's the knee?
COLQUITT: "Feels great, ready to roll. I've been working out for about two months now. I'm glad everybody is back, the building gets kind of empty during the offseason. It's good to have everybody back."
Paylor:Was your knee affecting you on the field last year?
COLQUITT: "My position, just with the repetition stuff that we do – just like a pitcher – every few years I have get stuff kind of cleaned up and stuff like that. It's more of a cleanup thing and I'm feeling great. I'm kicking a little bit, running, doing stuff, I'm ready to roll. I'm glad we're working out again, that's for sure. I feel great."
Teicher:Was Andy Reid's message to the team any different than it has been?
COLQUITT: "No, because he's Mr. Consistent – you know how he is. He expects us to come in and work. His message was it's time, we've got the same guys in here. Core guys that have been here in the fourth year of his time here and we're excited to all be back. We got to retain a lot of veteran guys here, you saw this past offseason. We're excited about the draft coming up. Just ready to work, ready to get back in these doors. I know these coaches kind of get antsy. It's a long offseason. I know they start becoming scouts instead of coaches. They're excited about having everybody back and getting back to the game we love."
Q:What's the family dynamic between you, your brother and your dad? How does that manifest itself in the offseason and has it played a role in your success?
COLQUITT: "Oh yeah, definitely. Anytime I have any kind of question, I obviously go to my dad. He's kind of experienced everything in his life. So it's nice to have that kind of a resource and somebody that I can just call and have on speed dial and call. With Britton now, he has an experience that I hope to experience this year – going to a Super Bowl and winning. He punted really well in the game. I think, if Von Miller didn't win MVP, (Britton) could have won MVP if that ever happens. No, it's cool that he got to experience that and watch that game. Because he really did, he kept that return game at bay and hit some balls out of bounds that were pretty great punts. Now if I need somebody I can call, call little brother for advice. I'm going to have to in this situation."
DB RON PARKER
Paylor:If you have to play nickel and safety this year again, where can you take some strides forward? How can you improve at both of those positions?
PARKER: "With me playing both of the positions, I got a year under my belt playing both positions. So I think I can take strides and am getting better at both positions. If they want me to play corner, safety or nickel, either or, I feel like I can get better and progress and either or every year."
Paylor:Did playing safety the first couple of months help you understand the concepts that teams were going to throw at you as the nickel?
PARKER: "By me playing safety, it kind of helped me out with knowing the defense a little bit. So I kind of knew where my help was at. So that helped me out a lot with moving and changing to that nickel position. I was just blessed to be able to be versatile and play any position that the coaches asked me to do."
Palmer:Would you rather have one position that you can focus on and try to perfect or do you like being a Jack of all trades?
PARKER: "At this point in time, it really does matter to me. I kind of like being a Jack of all trades because a lot of guys aren't able to do that. I feel kind of special just to be able to move around and do different things."
Palmer:Is there something that allows you to be that flexible?
PARKER: "Like I say, I was just blessed with versatility. God gave me the talent to be able to run and catch and move around. I've got good size. So with all that being said, I kind of can fit anywhere."
CB PHILLIP GAINES
Teicher:How's the knee?
GAINES: "It's getting there, it's getting there. Training staff has done an unbelievable job with me. I fought through a tough time. Anytime you get away from football, it's hard. They kept with me, they kept a positive mindset, I kept a positive mindset. I'm confident where I'm at right now."
Teope:Where are you right now, what's your timetable as far as being able to run full speed?
GAINES: "I'm running full speed right now. I can always get stronger and faster. In my mind, I'm running full speed. I'm cutting pretty well, it's just a matter of reps and getting back out there, getting the feel of it and getting my wind back."
Teope:Will you be ready for OTAs or are you eyeing more toward training camp?
GAINES: "We'll see about that. There's really no timetable right now. What they want to do with me is, like I said, is get out there, get reps and see where I'm at."
Teope:Who assumes the leadership role now that Sean Smith left after he took the young guys under his wing the last few years?
GAINES: "I say we all are. There's always a time for anybody to step up. Of course we're always going to look to E.B. (Eric Berry), those people who are proven, people who are battle-tested. It's a time for all of us to step up and make plays."
LB TAMBA HALI
Teicher:How was your trip home to Liberia?
HALI: "It was good. Very productive. I was able to meet with the president, see some family members I haven't seen in years – cousins and aunts. It was almost restoring their faith because we haven't had any contact with one another. They tell other people oh, that's our nephew, that's our cousin. And they say if that's your cousin or nephew, how come you're living in this condition? People didn't believe them. Just to pop up on them the way that I did, they were rejoicing and thanking God. It was really pleasing."
Gregorian:What inspired you to do this now?
HALI: "I'm very sporadic. Sometimes I just get up and do things. I've been traveling – I love traveling. The year before, I went to Dubai, Tokyo, saw the world a little bit. This year, after a few trips I just thought maybe I'll go back home – because the Chiefs gave me some time off because I've been rehabbing – maybe I'll go home for a few days and just see how the country is and be there, (physically), just to see because I haven't been back. When I got there, I was able to do way more than I anticipated."
Gregorian:What was your biggest takeaway from being there?
HALI: "There's roads. Before, it was all dusty-type of roads. Now we have real roads that can get you to places. Where I live is about three hours on the real good road, but it would take you six hours before with the type of roads that we used to have."
Pete Sweeney (Chiefs.com):What's going through your mind when you see the house you grew up in?* *
HALI: "It's still standing. With all the war and everything that's happened, it's still there. I remember where I used to take my bath on the side of the house and where I was at the time when the fighting started. It was reminiscing. It felt good, especially having the people related to me there also be able to remember what I remember. It's not like I'm making it up, so they remember what I remember. We're kind of reminiscing the entire time. It felt good. They're living, I'm living, it felt good."
Palmer:How is your rehab going?
HALI: "It's been going well. I was able to do more today than I've done the entire time I rehabbing. The time they gave me off, I think, helped because the knee is unstable and with the scope, it's still sore. They gave me about two weeks off, I came back and I was able to run on it. I think I'm progressing the way I would like."
T ERIC FISHER
Paylor:How optimistic are you about what you can do this year and what are the goals for you this year?
FISHER: "Like you said, I see myself on a steady incline. I'm looking to pick up where I left off, continue to grow and stay on a steady rise throughout my career. If I can do that 10 more years, however many more years, I'm looking forward to it and really looking forward to a great season this year."
Paylor:Let's hear about your offseason workout, what did you get into?
FISHER: "I was training back in Michigan. I think I only took a week or two off after that Patriots game and got back to work. Trying to build some more strength – I guess that's the goal for everybody, to take advantage of the time you've got off and do what you've got to do to improve yourself in the areas you need to improve."
Palmer:Was it nice to be able to be healthy going into an offseason and not having to worry about recovering from surgery?
FISHER: "Definitely. I kind of had that opportunity last year also, so it was nice. That shoulder surgery is quite a long recovery. This year felt that much better. I feel great right now, I feel real strong, nothing's holding me back. Really looking forward to the next 10 months."
Teicher:Do you feel like the Houston playoff game gave you a boost in your career, the way you played in that game?
FISHER: "Well it seems to have done that with the media. But yeah, I thought that was a real fun game for me. It almost seemed like a little bit of a turning point in my career. It was nice to get going – especially in the playoffs, round one. And then (winning) the first playoff game in quite some time around here, I thought that was a big accomplishment."
LB DERRICK JOHNSON
Terez Paylor (Kansas City Star): Are you about as optimistic as you've been with where this team is headed right now?
JOHNSON: "Every year, I'm optimistic. Every year, but particularly this year when you can come off a season like we had and win your first playoff game. When it's been years since we've done that, you're even more optimistic. At the same time, every year it's optimistic because everybody sets out plans and goals to win it all. This will be no different, but do we have a little bit of confidence coming off last year? Of course."
Paylor: How did you feel when you heard about Mike DeVito retiring?
JOHNSON: "I was surprised. Even though he started getting injuries here and there and he felt like he needed to get out, I'm always rooting for my big man to stay, especially good guys like that because he keeps the offensive linemen off the inside guys. Mike DeVito is one of the best at it. He is one of the better defensive linemen I've played with throughout my career and just his technique is flawless. Big, strong guy. Selfless guy. Man, he just wants to do things that help the team out, and to lose a guy like that, that's big. He taught the guys around him a lot, a lot. Those young guys, Jaye Howard, (Allen) Bailey, (Dontari) Poe, they learned from the best, so they'll be in good hands."
TJ Carpenter (WHB): In your experience, has it been helpful having consistency in the group and with coaching staff for several years?
JOHNSON: "Definitely. Looking back, I've never been a part of four years straight, so this is pretty cool just to get the consistency down in a winning atmosphere every year since Andy Reid has been here. I'm just a part of a heck of a deal here on and off the field. These guys – the coaching staff, the guys we have in the locker room – are high character guys, a lot of leaders on this team and a lot of expectations this year. Hopefully we can meet them."
WR JEREMY MACLIN
Terez Paylor (Kansas City Star): What areas do you think you can improve on this year?
MACLIN: "Just being reliable, that's what I preach year in and year out. I think with (Jason) Avant not being here right now or at least this year, I'm the oldest guy in that room right now. It's my job to kind of lead by example and show the other guys, 'Hey, this is how you do it, this is how you're a true professional,' and that's the one thing that Avant did. I think if I can do that, I think I'm doing my job and I'm helping these guys come along."
Neal Jones (KCTV5): What kind of expectations do you have this year for this team?
MACLIN: "We want to get there. We want to win it all. I think we have the talent to do so. I think we have the type of guys in this building, the type of coaches in this building and the type of organization in general to get that done, so it's our job to go out there and do it."
TJ Carpenter (WHB): What do you think the potential is for this young receiving corps?
MACLIN: "Just be reliable. It's kind of a loaded question. It's just going out there and being accountable. Being accountable to each other, being accountable with Alex (Smith), to this offense and to this team, and just making plays when the ball comes our way."
DT DONTARI POE
Herbie Teope (Topeka Capital-Journal): What is the dynamic now for the defensive line, especially missing that veteran presence you had with Mike DeVito?
POE: "It's tough to see him go, but it's the same for us. We've got to keep pushing, we've got to be stronger. All the new guys coming in, we've got to pull them along and just be one brotherhood and get ready."
Neal Jones (KCTV5): When you look back on last season, at what point do you think you were 100 percent?
POE: "I don't know. I don't know if I was. It was tough, it was kind of a crash-course last year missing all of training camp and just coming through it. But at the same time, man, these strength and conditioning people and these trainers did a great job with me so towards the end of the year, I felt like I got better and better as the year went on. At the end of the year, I think I played pretty well, so I'm trying to pick up where I left off."
Bob Gretz (Topeka Capital-Journal): How much was the limited time on the field last year compared to past years where you played nearly every down a factor in that? POE: "Like I said, it was a testament to the guys that we had in the room, guys that come in and step up and play, so I wasn't needing to do that. If it's needed this year, I know what the problem was in the past and I feel like I'm stronger and more in shape so I'll be ready for whatever."