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What We Learned From Wednesday's Media Availability

Chiefs assistant coaches spoke with the media on Wednesday


Q:What kind of push is 15 [Mike Williams] and 10 [Rod Streater] giving you? 

CULLEY:"Well, good push because they have been in the league before. Just like our young guys, they've had to learn our offense. Rod [Streater] and Mike [Williams] have started to pick it up pretty well. These next three preseason games will be very important in establishing whose who and what's what."

Q:Any pleasant surprises to you so far?

CULLEY:"Well, no surprises. I've expected what I've gotten from those guys. I knew when we drafted Tyreek Hill that we were drafting a guy that was fast. Since he's been here, he's probably a little bit faster than what I thought or seen on tape. He's been progressing very well. Other than that, basically, it's been good."

Q:How good do you feel about this group this year? 

CULLEY:"Well, the good thing about it is that there's quality there from top to bottom. In other words, the guys at the bottom of that list are guys that are quality guys that are basically making the other guys better because of the level that they are. Speaking of that, having two free agents – veteran free agents – and then two or three rookies coming in here, and the two veterans they're Mike [Williams] and Rod [Streater] both played in this league and both had good seasons in this league. So, basically, it pushes those guys, and competition just makes you better. Basically, when it gets down to the end, it always sorts itself out."

Q:Can you tell with the younger guys especially if they've been here two or three years that they understand the offense as a whole as opposed to listening to their specific route? 

CULLEY:"No question, because when you come into this offense, the one thing you've got to know, guys come and say, 'I'm an X receiver; I'm a Z receiver.' Well, when you get in this offense – you're an X and a Z, or you're an X, a Z or a zebra. You kind of have to know what everybody does. For the rookies coming in, that's a little bit tough for them because they have a hard enough time learning one position. Basically, when you get in the mix, you've got to know what everybody does, and they've done a good job of doing that. Having those guys here in the offseason, after the draft, was really important."

Q:On Chris Conley making huge strides from last season to now and even OTAs to training camp.

CULLEY:"No question. One of the big reasons, I think too is, he spent some quality time with Jeremy Maclin during the offseason. Jeremy being the veteran that he is and being the kind of player that he's been over the years, I think you can see that Chris [Conley] has picked up some things from him and has accelerated his process and getting better – same thing for Albert Wilson also."


Q: You guys were asking about Laurent Duvernay-Tardif's commitment to football, what did he say that indicated to you that he was really committed football?

HECK: "He talked about the amount of work that goes into his studies – in terms of his med school – his preparation for his next career after football. How much work to make that a reality, but at the same time, playing at a high level of football. So he said he has great focus, drive and intensity to get that work done – if anything shows his dedication to get that work done. He's such a believable, earnest guy and that rang true."

Q: More on Larry Duvernay-Tardif.

HECK: "Certainly. When you don't know the young man that is the question you ask. And that's the one question you have to ask in your own mind because there's no exact way to go about doing it. We had a good feel about what Larry [Duvernay-Tardif] is all about and he's been nothing but proving us right."

Q: What do you remember from his tape back in his college days?

HECK: "I remember his technique was very wrong – he had only been at it for a couple years. Saw he was an extremely tenacious, competitive and brutally strong player – very talented."

Q: How is Parker Ehinger doing?

HECK: "Parker [Ehinger] is doing a tremendous job. Every day he's picking something up new – a lot of offensive line play is time in the saddle. You know 'I see this' or 'I learn from that' and put it in your pocket and get a little bit better. He's got a great way about him, he's very professional – not fazed by much."

Q: Anything in particular you're looking for from him in Saturday's game [this weekend]?

HECK: "Just like all the guys we want to see great competitiveness and finish. And then they each have some things they're working on – technique wise – and he's got some things as well."


Q: There has been talk about all the depth for a while, you're deep aren't you guys?

BIENIEMY: "I'm very blessed and fortunate to have guys that understand what it takes to be a professional. You come out here and work every day and they do a great job on special teams – they do a great job of understanding all the rules of things that's going to help them be the best player that they can be. So obviously I am very blessed and fortunate with the great group that I have."

Q: Any pleasant surprises up to this point?

BIENIEMY: "The only surprise is we get the opportunity to come out here and have fun every single day. But other than that my guys have been working their tails off each and every day."

Q: What's your style of coaching? Some coaches are quiet, but I don't think they can call you quiet.

BIENIEMY: "I have a tendency to be a little loud, but it's just because I enjoy to have fun. I coach like I played the game – I played with a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm. That's one thing with this sport – whether you're playing or coaching – everybody is different and you've got to bring something to the table. One thing I pride myself on is making sure my guys understand the importance of being energized and understanding the enthusiasm that's going to help get you through this. We have to enjoy what we're doing."

Q: How much flexibility do you have with No. 32 [Spencer Ware], No. 35 [Charcandrick West], No. 25 [Jamaal Charles], and No. 34 [Knile Davis]?

BIENIEMY: "I wish I could put them all out on the field. We come out with a personnel group and call it 'Cadillac' or 'Jet' personnel and get them all out there. Let's just go line up and play ball."

Q: Is Jamaal [Charles] about where you want him right now?

BIENIEMY: "He's done a great job this entire offseason. Working in that training room with Rick Burkholder and his staff and he's right where he needs to be. Like I said he came out earlier, did a few things – did a few things yesterday. I know one thing is he's excited about being out there and we're excited about having him back."


Q:How has Dee Ford performed during camp playing with the 'ones' in Justin Houston's absence? GIBBS:"He's had a good camp. He's a better player now than he was at the end of last year. He's more physical and has a better grasp of the defense. We've got a few more preseason games for these guys to get out there and continue to improve. That's what he needs to do, but he's had a good camp so far."

Q:What areas does he need to improve in?GIBBS:"He really needs to improve in everything as do all of these players. This is the building of the foundation. He has good get-off in terms of pass rush, but he has to get more physical in that area. He's got to be better in coverage. If you asked me about Frank Zombo I would say the same thing. Again, it's a process and he just needs to continue to build on the foundation that he has right now and continue to get better."

Q:How much work has he done on his flexibility? * GIBBS:*"He's more flexible. He's better in coverage. I think he's done a better job in man coverage. Again, it's an ongoing process for all of those guys. Especially those who were defensive ends in college that are coming into the NFL and trying to be outside linebackers. Coverage is new and it's always new. It's new to Tamba [Hali] every day. Dee Ford is no different in that regard."

Q:Is there any benefit to a two-point vs. three-point stance for him when getting up field? GIBBS:"He's got good get-off. It doesn't matter if it's from a two-point or three-point stance."

Q:Do the guys have the option to line up however they want to?GIBBS:"Sure. There are situations where they want to be up for obvious reasons. But for the most part, when they're rushing the quarterback, they can line up however they want. They can stand on their heads for all I'm concerned as long as they're getting to the quarterback."

Q:What have you seen from Dadi Nicolas at OTAs and rookie camp to now as we wrap up training camp? GIBBS:"He's gotten better. But again, it's a process. He's one that started at ground zero and we made progress at OTAs and our sessions back in Kansas City. He's also made progress here in training camp. He's a long ways from where he wants to be but he's worked hard at it. He's a better player now than he was when he came to St. Joseph."


Q:Has Ross Travis' basketball skillset transitioned into a football skillset at this point?MELVIN:"To look at a process for a rookie, it's a three-year deal before you're fully immersed into a position coming from having played pop warner, high school or college. Since he doesn't have that, he's not going to be there regardless of how much experience he has. He's ahead of where I expected him to be. That goes to him. He spent more hours this offseason watching tape and studying defenses, not so much what we're doing, but what opponents do to help his recognition on the field. He's ahead of where we expected him to be."

Q:Is there a road map at all with both your side and his side with how Demetrius [Harris] was able to make that transition?MELVIN:"It was somewhat there. He had someone to go to there that dealt with the same thing. Demetrius' had a little bit more football experience. [Ross] was able to go to Demetrius with some of that. I believe this is my fourth or fifth tight end I've dealt with in this respect. He's spent extra time on his own doing it and he's further ahead for it. That credit goes to him and he's doing a good job with it." 

Q: *Looking back at guys like Tony Gonzalez, is it easy for everyday fans to over emphasize a basketball player's ability to transition to football?MELVIN:*"There's a skillset to it. There's a reason Tony was good at basketball. And there's a reason some of these basketball players can relate to football. Now with the way the game is played today, where middle linebackers are a little smaller and have to play more in space, tight ends are a little bigger-bodied guys for an advantage and that's become the flow of the game. Those guys' basketball skillsets translate toward the way the game is going today."

"It's seldom guys can make it work. There's only been one -- Antonio Gates -- that's really been the guy that didn't play college football, but did great in the NFL. We still have some work to put in before we get to that point. These guys have the skills to do it, and where they develop is what we'll see over time."

Q:Is Travis Kelce in a position where he can take care of business on his own?MELVIN:"He's one of the more instinctual players I've coached. He understands the game, it makes sense to him, it comes quickly, and he has a great mind. His biggest thing is being able to play all 16 games and have his body in shape to handle it. Last year he was able to do that. It was his first full season not coming off an injury or anything like that. He's healthy right now, playing well, and we hope that continues."


Q:Is there something about the fact that he [Chris Jones] came to football kind of late in his life, he didn't grow up playing football, he was kind of a basketball guy, do guys like that need some time to develop? He has all of the physical gifts, but maybe just the technique and the technical parts of football?

REID: "I think Chris is learning some of the old school run stuff more so than he had in college. The college game these days is all about spread and zone read stuff. He has all of the physical tools, we've just tried to clean up his run game. His pass game stuff has been pretty good since he got here. We've been working a lot on his run game."

Q:We all saw how big he was and we all saw on draft night just how happy he was. Does that passion show up here as well? He has a smile away from the field, does he play with a passion on the field?

REID:"He does. He's got a good way about him and he came into a room that had some established guys and that's not always the easiest thing to come into. It helps that he's a good football player, but he has a good way about him and he does show that on the field.  He likes to have fun when he's out there and as coach, I always enjoy that. I want to see those guys have fun on the field as well as off the field."

Q:Anyone pleasantly surprise you at this point?

REID:"None that I can think off of the top of my head. I would say I thought all of these guys could do it and I think they knew they could do it. They just had to go out there and show it on the field. Some of the newer guys Nick Williams, Nacho or Rakeem Nunez-Roches, we call him Nacho, they knew that they could do it, they just needed to show it on the field. No guys that have really jumped out and surprised me in their abilities."

Q:It was limited, but how do you feel like the group performed on Saturday?

REID:"I thought they did well for the snaps they were out there. It was nice to see them versus somebody else. It was good."

Q:Run defense, where do you feel like you're at, at this point, in terms of stopping the run?

REID:"We weren't great at stopping the run on Saturday and we'll get that cleaned up. It was good to see those guys coming off and attacking and playing on the other side of the ball. The more we can get that going, the better off we'll be in the run game."

Q:Do you feel good about this group because in particular you've been consistent, you've had the same group for a couple of years now?

REID:"Yeah I feel good about them and the new guys we've added, Chris Jones and some of the younger guys that have been here but will contribute more. I feel good about the chemistry that they've all built with the veteran guys."


Q:Marcus Cooper has been around for a couple of years. You're kind of giving him a new role here, he tried to play a little safety, how's he looking so far?

THOMAS: "He's our juggernaut. He plays a little corner, he plays a little nickel, he can play safety and also special teams. He came in his rookie year and had a great year for us turning the ball over. He's probably our best next turnover guy back there except for [Marcus] Peters. We're looking forward for him to come in and contribute and be a spot play when we need him."

Q:What'd you think about Steven [Nelson] in his first game?

THOMAS:"He started off slow a little bit, played a little cautious, didn't want to get beat deep, he had a couple quick slants. But as the game went along he got better at it. He's been practicing well in training camp we just hope that he can stay healthy and get a lot of reps in and get ready for the opener."

Q:How is life going to change for Marcus Peters this year based on what he did last year? Are opponents going to be looking at him a little differently?

THOMAS:"We've told him and he knows what they're going to try to do to him. He'll step up to the occasion. We're not worried about him. He's our guy back there that can get the ball, turn the ball over and he's our best cover guy on this team. He'll be ready."

Q:What are the other teams going to try to do to him? What are you preparing him for?

THOMAS:"Everything that's possible. Basically double moves. He has to control his eyes a little bit better. But if they throw it up there now he's going to get his share of them."

Q:Since you're around them the most, what's impressed you about the young corners and young DBs?

THOMAS:"The one that really is sticking out right now is number 24 [D.J.] White from Georgia Tech. He's doing a fantastic job running, playing inside and outside. He's picking it up mentally and physically, he is coming along. In the safety position we have 21 [Eric] Murray from Minnesota. I think he's going to be able to play there if he stays healthy. I've been really impressed with him."

Q:Phillip [Gaines] is having to come back slowly, what's the expectation for him?

THOMAS:"We hope he's ready for the opener, but the trainers and Coach Reid will monitor that and tell us when he's ready. He's having limited practice right now and he didn't play last week. He might get some reps this week, but he might not. Mentally he's ready, physically they'll let us know."

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