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What We Learned from Monday's Media Availability

Dave Toub, Bob Sutton, Mitch Schwartz, Ramik Wilson and Josh Mauga spoke with the media on Monday




Q: What do you like about De'Anthony Thomas as your primary kick returner?

TOUB: "I am so happy. I mean last year De'Anthony ended up becoming one of my best special teams players. He ended up making a whole bunch of tackles. He is a solid catcher. He is tough. Pound for pound he is the toughest player we got."

Q: What have you seen to make you say that?

TOUB: "He is not afraid. He is 176 pounds. He plays like a 200 pounder. He is not afraid to stick his head in there on kickoff and make tackles. He is real tough as a gunner. He has quickness and top speed so he makes plays there. Then he brings a lot in the return game, both kick return and punt return."

Q: Will Tyreek (Hill) still jump in on punt return?

TOUB: "When you have a guy like Tyreek, you can line him up anywhere and it is such a huge threat. We are so fortunate to have a number of guys that can do it, Tyreek being a cut above everybody else."

Q: Who else do like for kick return?

TOUB: "I like (Demarcus) Robinson. He is looking good. (Jehu) Chesson is coming along as a rookie. I like (Chris) Conley, I have always liked Conley. He is really looking good. And (Kareem) Hunt, we are going to keep working him. Just like the same thing we did with Knile (Davis). Knile did not do a lot of kick returns when he got here until we started training him and he came along. Hunt has that ability as well."

Q: How much of an advantage does Tyreek give to you over anybody else?

TOUB: "When you line them up and everybody you play knows that he can go the distance anytime he touches the ball, so teams will try to kick away from him. When that happens, you gain field position if the ball is out of bounds. You gain field position so you can set up your offense. Anytime he touches the ball he is dynamic and he can score anytime. If the punter makes a mistake or gets a line drive kick or a kick that does not have a lot of hang time or miss hits one, you know we have a chance. Our guys work hard. They are going to get in the end zone."

Q: I watch a lot of these guys on returns and kicks. It looks like you have a Porsche and a bunch of Jeeps?

TOUB: "No, that is not the case. We have a lot of good players. Every team in this league would like to have a guy like De'Anthony Thomas. We are fortunate that we have a number of guys that can do it, some up and coming guys. We have a good stable number of returners."

Q: How hard was it to lose a Pro Bowler in D.J. Alexander?

TOUB: "He is a Pro Bowler. He is a good player, but at the end of the day I think both teams are going to get better. I think Seattle is getting better because they got D.J. We are getting better because we have Pierre-Louis."

Q: What have you seen in the short time with (Kevin) Pierre-Louis?

TOUB: "He is a hitter. He is really good on defense. He is an instinctive guy and you can see that. He has a motor that is unbelievable. He plays hard and he plays fast. He has looked good so far. He has only practiced one day really."

Q: What young guys have stood out that could be the next guy?

TOUB: "(Ukeme) Eligwe is a linebacker. No question. I have already got him started on punting, so that says a lot about him. I really see a bright future for him. He may not be with me for a long time because he may be on defense because he is that good."

Q: Do you think teams will kick away from Tyreek more because of last year?

TOUB: "I mean I think that is fair to say. I think lining up is a big threat, just lining him up in there. If they want to kick to him, they should. If they kick it out of bounds, we gain field position like I said earlier. It is definitely an advantage for us to have him as a punt returner."

Q: Any other young guys? TOUB: "Chesson is coming along. He had a real good day today. He did a good job on that last punt return. He jumped over a couple of guys and fielded that ball that was a high kick with pressure coming down on him. I was excited to see that and he did a good job yesterday in the first day with pads. I love all of the guys, but the young guys, in particular those two, are the guys that stand out right now."




Q:How's camp going for you?

SUTTON:"It's been good. It's been competitive. We have had really great effort out there from everybody. I think that is one of the real challenges of camp is being able to sustain that over a long period of time. Keep going on and on and on, but I think that's the key to this whole drill is you have to sustain it and maintain a level of intensity. There's a lot of repetitive things, drills and that. You have to attack each of them with a new enthusiasm and energy."

Q:Why was it an issue to get the pass rush going last year?

SUTTON:"There are all kinds of things. League wide, sacks are down. Teams are doing a really good job of getting rid of the football. That is part of it. You try to adjust and adapt within reason to any of that. I think that, obviously, we missed Justin (Houston) for quite a while. Obviously, he is a really good rusher. We had some nicks and knacks with injuries and that, but that's kind of the NFL. It's what everybody goes through."

Q:Do you feel good about the outside and inside rushers?

SUTTON:"Yeah. I think Chris Jones did a really good job last year being a disruptive guy. Like we talk about all the time here, it isn't always about the sacks. It is about effecting the quarterback. And you do that in a multitude of ways. Not all of them are rush. It is moving the pocket, getting him out of his comfort zone, making him throw a step early into coverage, you make him hold it for another click. There's a lot of things going forward. I think we got a couple good guys. I think getting Tamba (Hali) back will be a big help in there. Another guy that does a great job of executing the defense is Frank Zombo."

Q:Do you see any possibility with Kpassagnon as an inside guy?

SUTTON:"Yeah, and edge. We are working him both places right now. He has done a good job. He has a knack for rushing. He is long. Just like Chris (Jones), Chris does a great job of getting his hands up and affecting throws. I think KP would be the same there."

Q:Can Josh Mauga pick up where he left off?

SUTTON:"Yeah, he just, through the injury, didn't play last year. So it is just getting your legs back. I'm not talking about conditioning, but the ability to react and see that. He has played a lot of football and I think he has done a really good job here. I think he will be back to where he's at. He has come in in great shape and I think, from the health standpoint, he is as good as he has ever been."

Q:Do you have so much rotation at inside linebacker because you have so many numbers at that position?

SUTTON:"Yeah, the thing you want to do is get guys up at different groups to see how they are going to play against really good competition. But, also, how they respond to the other guys around them. We have some good competition at that position. We obviously have a long way to go in camp. So we are going to get a lot of guys reps in here. I think that it will be good for us. But, yeah, we are rolling all those guys through there right now.

Q:Is that why Ukeme Eligwe is in there?

SUTTON:"Yeah, and plus Derrick (Johnson) was out today. That allowed us to rotate everybody through and got them with different groups and different players. It kind of gives a chance to see how they are going to fair against the top guys, too."

Q:What have you seen from Ukeme Eligwe so far?

SUTTON:"I think he is going to be a really good player. Since he has been in here, he's worked really hard at it, diligently. He studies hard. He loves to play. I think he has a physical presence in there. He studies. He knows the game. He is just going to get better and better. I think he has a bright future."

Q:What about Kevin Pierre-Louis?

SUTTON:"I think Kevin has done a great job. I remember he was an explosive guy coming out of college, I remember him well. In the time he has been here, he has demonstrated he has really good suddenness and quickness. Good instincts, I think he is going to be a physical guy. He is not the biggest guy in the world, but he plays very physical and we are excited to have him."

Q:Does he have a better chance of getting on the field than D.J. Alexander did?

SUTTON:"Obviously, I think so. We made that trade. I hope that's it. He is a good football player. I remember evaluating him when he came out. I think he is going to be fine and he is going to be a good addition for us if he keeps going."

Q:Can you talk about the way Andy Reid runs his practice?

SUTTON:"Well, Andy, I can say from my standpoint, this guy has been doing this for a long time. There is really hardly anything he hasn't seen. The first thing, I think, he brings to the whole program is a steadying hand. After working with him, you really appreciate that, he has a great feel and sense for the situations, for the players, for what we need to do, if we need to go harder, if we need to cut back. He has a great instinct about that. That is a valuable trait. You have to know the pulse of your team. He tries to let coaches coach, which is nice. But he is the head coach and you know who is running the program and he does a great job with it. He wants feedback, he wants that. Of all the things, he has a great feel for our team, I can say that for Kansas City since I have been with him, and I'm sure it was the same in Philadelphia. That is a trait not everyone has. That's probably why he has done it as long as he has done it."




Q:You got a chance to look at Tanoh Kpassagnon during pass rush drills. What did you see from the kid?

SCHWARTZ:"He looks good. He's definitely got ability. He's a big kid. He's long, he has really long arms. He's got a kind of slipperiness about him and he's got good power with the length. He's got a little bit of wiggle, so it's definitely impressive. I think with those guys you're learning stuff. I'm sure Justin [Houston] and Allen [Bailey] are teaching him and making sure he can focus on his technique while also doing what the defense is called in. That's usually the hard part for those young guys."

Q:First time in your career, and you've had success, with the same system back-to-back years. How much easier is it to not have to be thinking about that anymore?  * *

SCHWARTZ:"It's awesome you can remember what you did last year running the same play. It's a lot of fun. It's cool to be able to do that. You're getting to understand the base play, understand the adjustments to it if the defense can adjust and then how you adjust to them. Like you said, you don't have to think about 'Oh man what do I have to do on this one?' it definitely helps. It's been fun having the same system.

Q:Is there someone that has been particularly impressive to you that you've been going against in the one-on-one drills that you feel like is making you better?

SCHWARTZ:"Really all of our rush guys have been pretty impressive so far. We are five or six deep out there. They're all doing a really good job. They all do something a little bit different, but they're really good with their first move and then all of them have the ability to counter which really is the big thing in the NFL. It's pretty rare to beat a guy clean. You're probably going to get stopped a little bit, you have to reset your feet. What are you going to do when that happens? Earl's [Okine] done a great job, [Marcus] Rush has done a great job for some of the other guys, I always see Dee [Ford] and Justin [Houston] everyone knows about them. I think [Frank] Zombo is consistently underrated, he's a really good player. Those guys have done a great job."

Q:You have an old offensive lineman as a head coach. How often does he interact with you guys?

SCHWARTZ:"A good amount. We're definitely held to our personal standard, the offensive line coach's standard and then Coach Reid's standard so pretty lofty goals there. A lot of expectation. It's great. The good thing is he understands our position, so if it's something where he knows we should have been able to do a better job, we know that he knows and there's a good line of communication. Like I said, the expectations are very high. You have a really good quarterback, really good runners and you have to keep them clean and protected. It's a good thing."




Q:How does it feel coming into this season, being the guy, starting right there?

WILSON: "I've got some confidence. We got a lot of depth and a lot of great players. It's some good competition out there and it's going to raise the level for all of us so we're all getting better."

Q: To the player you were last year and where you are now this year, what would you say is the biggest area of growth?

WILSON: "Player recognition. Playing a lot faster now. My formations, I'm getting from there and that allows me to tackle more and a lot of film study too."

Q:Who are the guys who have helped you the most? Is DJ (Derrick Johnson) the guy that can help coach with his eyes?

WILSON: "Most definitely. He always knows where the ball is at and it's great to have him in our room. And now we got Josh (Mauga) back and that even helps out more because he definitely knows the playbook. It's been great."

Q: Last year up the middle the run game defense was a bit of a struggle for this team. Coming into it, do you look back and feel like you could have done better in that role or think you could have done better on run defense in that spot?

WISLON: "We've watched film on it. Talked about it where we could improve. We've got some new guys in now, more competition. We're all getting better. Most importantly our communication is better. There were times where we weren't all on the same page in the defensive front but it's much better now."

Q: You were drafted alongside D.J. Alexander, how tough was it to see that go?

WILSON: "It was tough, he's always been my roommate. But he's going to be just fine. (He's) a pro-bowler, he'll be in good hands."




Q:How does it feel to be back?

MAUGA:"It feels great. I'm excited. Kansas is my home now and I definitely wanted to come back and play for the Chiefs."

Q: Take us through the process of the offseason – how did you end up back here?

MAUGA:"Spent most of my time out at home. Spending most of my time with my family and my kids, working out. Training and just waiting for the phone call. Right after the fourth (of July) I got a phone call from our new GM (Brett) Veach and he said that he wanted to bring me back."

Q: How tough was last year? Being off the field?

MAUGA: "It was very tough. I've dealt with injuries in the past and I thought I've moved on from that. Ending the season so early, it was rough. It was rough watching the team play but just being able to stay in the game and stay in the room with the guys, I felt like I was still part of the team."

Q: You said you got a call from (Brett) Veach who took over being the GM at that time, do you think that's the reason you're here?

MAUGA: "Absolutely. I know the coaches were talking, trying to bring me back. We just didn't know when that was going to happen. It just so happened when Veach got hired."

Q: You've missed some time being injured. Is everything the same or is there some new wrinkles? MAUGA: "There's definitely some new wrinkles going on this season. Been trying to spend some extra time, trying to learn the new things that are going on. But most of it has been just the same."

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