Q: How is everything going out there in OTAs? Have you seen any progress from where you started to where you are leading up to Training Camp?
MORSE: "Yeah, I think that is predicated on the fact that all the guys are bringing maximum effort every day to every drill. The focus is at an all time high right now and we are not focusing too far ahead of ourselves. We are taking one day at a time, one rep at a time and that correlates to getting better everyday."
Q: Why are you so focused right now since it looks like the offensive line is settled in? Are you guys not changing roles right now?
MORSE: "Well, I think the nature of the beast is that is just going to happen anyways even if it isn't happening right now. Offensive lineman have to plug in and play, so we practice scenarios everyday. I think we are just taking it to a professional level. We are all professionals, and we all understand that and our job is to get better even if it's through some dings, and bruises and generally soreness. It's our job to come and compete and to get farther than last year. Last year was a great year, but that's behind us. We're focused on winning a championship."
Q: You have a rookie working next to you – what have you seen out of Parker (Ehinger)?
MORSE: "He's a good football player. I think it's really exciting to see. (John) Dorsey really knows what he is doing. He's a great guy – fits right into the offensive line. He's going to make some mistakes that's just part of the nature of the beast, but we're here to pick him up. He's really good at moving on to the next play. It shows maturity and that he's played a lot of football and that's really important and exciting to see. He's a great guy and we're looking forward to what he can contribute this year."
Q: What's it like being back?
THOMAS: "It's defiantly great to be back. I love just going out there and competing and just showing my ability that I belong in this league."
Q: What happened at the end of last year – the end of December?
THOMAS: "It's a new year. I don't even know what happened. We're just focusing on this 2016 year and like I said just showing my ability that I can play in this league and compete at this level."
Q: Was it the effects of the concussions?
THOMAS: "Not at all."
Q: It wasn't?
THOMAS: "It was just a time where, like I said, it's a new year and I'm not really focused on what happened last year. It's all about this 2016 year and how can I continue to stay healthy and just make plays and contribute to this offense and special teams."
Q: People were worried what was going on with you – did you get a lot of people wandering how you were doing?
THOMAS: "You know, I'm in the spot light all day, everyday. It's all about just patience. Like I said, it's a new year, new goals and I'm ready."
Q: How would you categorize what happened to the end of December to when you reported for the offseason workout program? Was it more understanding with your concussion or was it a concussion?
THOMAS: "Like I said, I don't want to go back to that time. It's all about focusing on these OTAs and going out there, and competing and working hard."
Q: Where are you health-wise now?
THOMAS: "I'm excellent."
Q: Was there ever a time you thought you wouldn't be back here? You would get traded or released?
THOMAS: "Like I said, I wasn't really focused on that. I was focused on just getting back to OTAs and being ready to work."
Q: Who's the fastest guy on this team?
THOMAS: "I'm not even sure. There is a lot of speed out there. It's a lot of great competition. It's been a blessing being back out there just running."
Q: Do you beat the rookie in a 40?
THOMAS: "I'm not even sure."
Q: When a guy looks a lot like you – you think you look different? Can you explain?
THOMAS: "It's just me. I'm De'Anthony. I'm a lot different than the rookie."
Q: How? In what way are you different than him?
THOMAS: "A lot of differences. Just look at me, just look at my film, look what I've done and look at my past."
Q Last year you worked with EB (Eric Bieniemy) with the running backs. This year you're working with (David) Culley and the receiver group. How much more comfortable do you feel this year compared to last year?
THOMAS: "Well, I came into the league a year early. I'm going into my third year. A lot of people my age are just getting into the league, so I feel like I'm ahead of a lot of guys. It's going to be a great year, like I said, for me to be healthy and show people my ability and what I do."
Q: What do you want people to know on how last year ended for you?
THOMAS: "I'm doing great. I'm out there working hard. I'm showing people what I can do. I feel like nothing has changed and I'm doing me. I've been doing me from day one and it's going to be a great year."
Q: You still love football?
THOMAS: "Do I love football? I'm from south central Los Angeles. Football is everything to me."
Q: What do you take from going through as a first year, rookie, adjustments, things that are private to you – what do you take from that that will help you be that person you want to be this year?
THOMAS: "It's all motivation to me. It's motivation. It makes me work harder."
THOMAS: "Always been hungry. Like I said, I'm from south central Los Angeles. Hungry is going to be with me till I die. I've always just wanted to separate myself from whether it was players – just from competition. I've felt like I'm in my own way and that's always been my goal and passion – just being different and making plays."
Q: Do you have anything to prove this year to yourself, to the coaching staff, to the league?
THOMAS: "I feel like I don't have anything to prove really. Like I said, just doing what I've been doing – just going out there and working hard and showing them what I can do. Just contribute in all fields. Whether it's in special teams, offense, anywhere."
Q: Was there ever a time when you questioned if you wanted to play football?
THOMAS: "Never. I'm going to say it again, I'm from south central Los Angeles. Either you were going to play football or you're going to end up down the wrong path. I chose football. My motivation to get somewhere, to (be) successful. I ended up going to Oregon – that's what pretty much changed my life. I made a name for myself there and now I'm coming to Kansas City and trying to do the same thing."
Q: How serious was your injury? This is the first time we have gotten to talk to you about it this week. Was it really bad? What was it?
THOMAS: "It wasn't even the hit. It was the ground."
Q: Have you felt an impact like that?
THOMAS: "I've really never been touched like that. In college, I didn't even really get tackled that much. I felt like in the pros' I didn't really even get tackled that much either. It's all about putting me in the right position, and just getting me a space and let my ability show."
Q: When the pads come on, are you going to have to get over that injury?
THOMAS: "Not at all. No, sir."
Q: You're really working on two-minute stuff – how's that going?
SMITH: "It's kind of been a little bit of a point of emphasis. I think after this season with Nags (Matt Nagy), Chilli (Brad Childress) and Coach (Andy) Reid kind of stepping in a little bit. I think they wanted to clean up some things. I think one of things towards the end of last season, our two-minute because we've been in this offense for a while kind of continued to grow. So, I think with that we kind of felt comfortable to grow – expanding that. All of a sudden, the package – menu so to speak – got really, really big. Then all of a sudden, you combine that with some injuries in the playoff game and you combine those two things together. There were some inefficiencies kind of showed – lack of communication error, breakdown and things like that. We've been in the system for so long that you kind of start stock pilling things on the menu so to speak and then you have four receivers and it got tough and those guys got gassed after the game. It was a long drive, so those guys put in a lot of effort. We're really trying to scale that all back with some core principles and the language a little bit – just cleaning it up so to speak in ways that we can cut off a couple seconds here, a couple seconds there."
Q: You've been in the league awhile now, have you ever seen anyone like Tyreek Hill and what he brings to an offense – his explosiveness, his speed?
SMITH: "Yeah, he's pretty fast. I don't know if I've seen –but yeah, he's certainly up there. I don't want to compare him, but he's certainly one of the fastest guys I've seen to come in. I think more than that – pure speed – I think more than that I've been impressed with how he's handled the playbook. Kid coming in and really done well. You know, done some different things with him and he seems to have handled it pretty well so far."
Q: There have been some plays where it looks like he is running the football?
SMITH: "Yeah, now running a lot of other guys out there too. He's made some plays so far. Certainly these last couple weeks have been a bright spot, so it's a good start for him. For all those rookies, a little bit here, and just adding things on and adding more layers to the offense, it's going to be the mental part of it. Can they stay up on it mentally, but certainly (he's) done a great job up to this point."
Q: Back to the two-minute thing, you talked a little bit about the New England game?
SMITH: "Yeah, it's a unique situation for sure. It's a little bit of dust fallen for us. No-huddle situation when you are down two scores. A little bit of the second half, fourth quarter there no-huddle mode or up-tempo so to speak."
Q: Generally, what's held you back from being a better team in those situations?
SMITH: "To be honest, I felt offensively we've done very well especially last year at times – end of half had done a great job sneaking in points into games and had done some things. The New England game certainly brought in some things like the building thing, like I said. We really got some volume in our two-minute package. That was a unique situation – down to scores with six minutes left. Little bit, you need to be operating like that. Like I said, I think the coaches already came back and the coaches had been on it. I think it was an area of focus and clean it all up. Like I said, clean up some language and communication as far as cutting words out and things like that – just operate a little faster."
Q: In general, you guys haven't been real successful in two-minutes. Do you feel like you guys are confident going in there to get it done?
SMITH: "I guess for me, a little bit of it, most of the NFL statistics are just based on volume. Whenever they are ranking them it's based off volume. So, for me, those stats can be deceiving a little bit. When the game is on the line and when they are meaningful drives at the end of the half or the end of the game, if you've been able to get it done. Little bit, is us as a team doing it. Unfortunately, in the last few years it has been our defense out there. We've been up in a game and our defense has been out there getting stops which isn't a bad thing, but I've seen these two minute stops so it's all based off volume and number of touchdowns. Fortunately for us, we hadn't really been losing, so we haven't really had as many opportunities as other teams."
Q: Have you guys slashed plays from the two-minute or just some verbiage?
SMITH: "Both. For sure, like I said, part cleaning up the package. In the end, I felt like we had a lot in there that we were getting to. In some ways it was an advantage, I really felt like there on the road, a playoff game, injuries, your numbers are down, young guys are in, it all just kind of piled up on us and in the end it all really came to light. Language, cut down and volume."
Q: There is only so much you can do during OTAs, how much has Mitch Morse's communication on the offensive line impacted so far?
SMITH: "Yeah, I think especially going against our defense. They present you with so many different fronts. The volume of the different fronts that they present to you as a center, getting all the calls when you are doing that, there is a lot on your plate, especially as a rookie. So going into the second year, you have to know every single protection, run, player and all that stuff. You've got to know that, plus every single front you can get. Our defense does some of those unorthodox things. A little bit, you have to be able to think on the fly up there, be fast, make good decisions, communicate clear – those are the things in your second year I see from Mitch. He's up there, he makes a decision, he's loud, he's clear. You're not worried about being perfect. I think in this day of age, you're going to avoid the negative play. Something positive is going to happen. The really bad plays happen when guys are indecisive, the running backs don't know what the line is doing, I don't know what the line is doing and you think you're picked up but you're not. When we're all on the same page, more often than not, it's going to be some good stuff."
Q: Do you see this focus that Mitch Morse was talking about in the offensive line?
SMITH: "Yeah, we got a good group. I think there is a sense of urgency. I think all of these guys have gotten older. You had Mitchell Schwartz on the right side – he's got a great sense of urgency, always talking, always trying to get better, figuring his stuff out, ironing his stuff out. All of those guys take a lot of responsibility as a unit – no matter who is in there a little bit – that pride that they can go out there and get it done."
Q: Do you like the feeling of knowing that those guys are not going to let anyone touch you?
SMITH: "I do think it is a collective attitude. Those five guys they are operating as one and there is a fine edge to it. Make no mistake, it's a violent game. When you get out there on game day, it does start with those guys and a lot of that is a mentality and you know certainly when you are stepping into the huddle, we go as they go, so to have those guys embrace that is a good thing."
Q: What are your impressions with Rod Streater and what's he bringing you?
SMITH: "I mean the one thing, especially for how big he is, how versatile he is. A guy that can move inside and outside. He can move around and do different things with that. Just stepping in and knowing the playbook. When he is in there, no matter what we're doing – he doesn't blink, he's prepared, he does his studying, he does his preparation and then going out there. He's certainly done a great job when he's had his one-on-one. You can see he separates and he wins."
Q: You guys were working against the scout team a little bit – is that valuable?
SMITH: "Yeah, it is. I think so. That is something that we've done over these past few years and it's just a little bit. There is a little bit of focus there each day here in OTAs on different stuff. I do think it's a good time to teach and get to practice, but at the same time, we still have those other periods where we are competitive with the defense."
Q: What does it mean to you to have this much consistency in your career, scheme and coaches?
SMITH: "Yeah, not only scheme but just the environment that Coach Reid and the other coaching staff have coming in and you know what the atmosphere is going to be like and what is expected and demanded of you. I think a little bit with Coach Reid, you're never going to be running the same old stuff. It's just the way he operates. There are new faces in, we're constantly changing and evolving. He's trying to figure out new stuff and how he can put new people in a good situation. So, that's what I love. I love this time of year. You're trying to get better. You're trying new stuff and figure things out. I don't think it's ever been done. You test it and this is the time to do it. So part of that stuff is enjoyable to go out and see it."
Q: What have you seen from Ross Travis? What does he bring?
SMITH: "He's really shined the last year against our defense against the look team stuff. You know, I think the hard part for some of those guys is kind of that potential thing and then you get them over and we're running our plays and they're not doing the cards anymore. A lot of the time, it's hard for those guys to transition. I think the one thing that Ross (Travis) has done well is playing fast. He is continuing to play fast. You do have your coaching points – those can overload you and be too rigid, but the one thing I see from Ross is that he's still going out there and playing fast and making plays. Certainly, mentally and physically, he's a really gifted guy - a matchup guy for us. It's been nice to get those three tight ends on the field and do stuff with them, especially in the passing game. Once we can get the pads on and run out of that personnel, I think they will be a weapon for us."
Q: Can you tell that Demetrius Harris and Ross Travis was once a basketball player?
SMITH: "Well, I just know from all the guys' history. The crazy thing is that even with Dee (Demetrius Harris) when he was kind of that guy and hadn't played football in a while, now just to watch him play, he's so savvy, so good. Even down in his hands, and feet and all the little things. I've been really impressed with Dee this spring and just how far he's come from a few years ago when he was trying to make the transition. He's really done it. A lot of the time, the physical part of the game is what is challenging for those guys. They kind of get stereotyped for being finesse guys. Demetrius, I think one of his strengths is his physicality, being able to use his length and we ask him to do a lot of different stuff and he's embraced that."
Q: What tells you, if you didn't know that these guys played basketball?
SMITH: "Besides them shooting hoops in the locker room? They're pretty good at it. I think certainly all of them are good with the ball in the air and that shows up on the field. With all of those guys, you want to put the ball up – no matter what kind of throw or route they are running. They have great hands, great catchers, their footwork is really great and I think that kind of comes from a background in basketball."