Chiefs Player Quotes
June 15, 2016
LB JUSTIN MARCH
Karen Kornacki (KMBC): How did you handle the heat today?
MARCH: “I think all of us, we’re all pretty much used to being out there. And it’s even more hot in St. Joe. So we kind of just adapted to it and it was fine.”
Terez Paylor (Kansas City Star): What has it been like to work back into the flow after being injured last year?
MARCH: “It’s been great. The injury was last year, so I put it behind me. Rick (Burkholder) and those guys, they did a great job in the training room, helped me with everything I needed. With just that, that’s in the past – I’m just looking forward. So it’s been great.”
Paylor: Are you still hurt or is there no more pain?
MARCH: “No more pain. They did a great job.”
Paylor: No swelling, either? Completely good?
Paylor: What was the rehab process like? Had you ever been through anything like that?
MARCH: “No, I’ve never missed a season of football. The rehab process, I thought it was going to be a lot more difficult than it actually was. That’s a credit to Rick and Aaron (Borgmann) and everyone in the training room. They made it an easy process.”
BJ Kissel (Chiefs.com): Was there anything you learned about yourself going through that process?
MARCH: “I learned that sometimes we’re not as focused or as hungry as we may think. Just going through that and being away from football and everything like that, it made me realize that there’s still a lot of work I can do. Being in the film room, working on those little things of being in the NFL. Just working with film and everything like that, that made me better.”
Bob Gretz (Topeka Capital-Journal): When you got hurt last year, did you know immediately it was bad?
MARCH: “No, I actually didn’t. The adrenaline was going, that was my first NFL game. So my adrenaline was going and I just kind of played.”
Paylor: Once you played last year, did you get good feedback from coaches? Did they tell you that you played well in that game?
MARCH: “Yeah, they told me I played well. They also told me that there’s still a long way to go.”
Paylor: How can you best describe why you’ve played so well in pass coverage this offseason?
MARCH: “In college, I did a lot of it in college. Being man-on-man on tight ends, playing out in space, I played a SAM linebacker in the 4-3, so I was outside always in space. I’m kind of comfortable with that.”
Pete Sweeney (Chiefs.com): Last year during the season, you were one of the team’s biggest cheerleaders on social media. Why was it important for you to do that?
MARCH: “Just being around those guys in the locker room, there a lot of close people to me. Just being a support system for them. I think some of those guys really liked that. And they were a huge support system for me when I was rehabbing and everything like that. Those guys are my family.”
Sweeney: Is Derrick Johnson someone you look up to?
MARCH: “Yeah, a lot. He’s a great guy, on and off the field. Within the film room, he helps me out a lot with everything. He’s always there. If I need a question, I can text him just about anything. Off the field, he’s there – talking to me about my injury, making sure I’m focused on being in the film room.”
Paylor: What’s your weight at now?
MARCH: “I’m about 238.”
Paylor: In a 3-4 defense, could you play next to Johnson if he’s on the weak side?
MARCH: “Yeah, I think (the) coaches, they do great things coaching us to play both, either linebacker. I believe that I can do either one of them. Wherever Coach and those guys need me, I’m ready to go.”
Paylor: When it comes to taking on blocks, how do you best defeat them when you’re 5-11. Can you take them on?
MARCH: “I actually use that as an advantage. I’m lower than those guys, I’m shorter, so it’s easier to get underneath them. I also use my speed a lot, going back door and kind of learning from D.J. and learning from Josh (Mauga) when he takes on blockers. You get a little bit of both.”
Kornacki: Are you hungrier this offseason when you come off an injury?
MARCH: “How I think about it is I’m a year younger physically and a year older mentally. Like those guys said, I have fresh legs. When I’m out there, I’m running around and my legs feel great.”
Paylor: One of the things young inside linebackers say is that they can’t get away with going under guys like some of the veterans. How do you find that line, going under or deciding whether or not to go over?
MARCH: “You really can’t get too fancy as D.J. does. Everyone plays a little different style. Like D.J. says, if you think you can make the play – and coaches say if you think you can make the play – then you should try to make the play. And that’s how I’ve always been. If I feel like I can make a play, I’ll try to make that play. Nine times out of 10, I’m sticking with my assignment.”
Dave Stewart (Time Warner Cable Sports Channel): A lot of your teammates can be a linebacker or a defensive lineman. Does that speak to how intense it is? There may not be full pads, but it’s a competitive camp situation?
MARCH: “Yeah, all these guys, they understand that we have to get a lot of good work out there. With that being said, I think everyone knows how to practice without pads on. They do a great job of competing and running to the ball – that’s what Coach preaches.”
Kissel: What do you want to show at camp this week?
MARCH: “For me, I just want to show that I’m a year older mentally. Not making the same mistakes that I made last year. Continue just to play.”
Gretz: What do you view as your role with this team?
MARCH: “Anything that they want me to do. Special teams, that’s a huge part of the game. I feel like I can play special teams – all phases. My role is just whatever they want me to do.”
Darren Smith (KLKC): What are you plans between tomorrow and the beginning of training camp?
MARCH: “I’ll be in Cincinnati training there. And then I’ll be back here as well.”
Smith: Since you’ll be in Ohio, does that mean you’ve got the Cavaliers tomorrow in the NBA Finals?
MARCH: “Yeah, I guess I’ll go with Cleveland.”
Dani Welniek (KCTV5): How nice was it to have the fans out there today or did you even notice them?
MARCH: “Oh of course I notice when the fans are out there. It’s real great to have them out there being a positive support system – they always are. It was really great. I think it made a lot of guys up their tempo seeing them out there.”
WR TYREEK HILL
Stewart: How much ground do you feel like you’ve gained since rookie minicamp to now?
HILL: “I’m learning a lot from the veterans. Those guys are showing me the right way to do things and how to be a pro. I’m really excited (with) those guys just wanting to teach me and the other rookies. I came a long way from rookie camp. I’m just thankful.”
Kissel: Who are some of the veterans you feel comfortable asking questions to?
HILL: “Obviously Jeremy Maclin and Albert (Wilson) and Chris (Conley), some of those guys that have been in this offense. Those guys do a real good job just helping the rookies.”
Smith: Have you had a chance to go up against Marcus Peters in practice?
HILL: “I don’t think so.”
Herbie Teope (Topeka Capital-Journal): Where would you say you are right now with the playbook?
HILL: “I’m still learning. Every day is a learning process for me. I got it, but like I said, there’s still some learning to do.”
Gretz: Is your head not spinning as much?
HILL: “Oh yeah, most definitely. Coming in as a rookie, it’s supposed to be like that, you’re new to the system. Now, I’m coming along.”
TJ Carpenter (Sports Radio 810): How do those plays sound in the huddle?
HILL: “They sound pretty easy.”
Paylor: Would you say you feel comfortable knowing that you can play in this league? Have you gotten that sense?
HILL: “I just go out there and play. I try not to think about all that, I just go out there and play. Whatever the coaches want me to do, I just do it.”
Kornacki: What are you going to do to stay in shape until training camp?
HILL: “I’m just going to stay up here and train here at the facility.”
Teope: There was a play during OTAs where you pulled away from the corners and gave them a wave. Do you get a sense that cornerbacks sometimes underestimate your speed?
HILL: “I have no idea. I just don’t know. I don’t know how to answer that one.”
Gretz: Was there an NFL player you hoped to pattern yourself after?
HILL: “Oh yeah. Probably Tavon Austin and probably DeSean Jackson. I’m a really huge D-Jax fan ever since he’s been in the Coach Reid system. Him and Jeremy Maclin – I grew up watching those guys actually. It’s a real honor to be on the same field as Maclin. And then I get to line up beside him every day. So it’s crazy, mind-blowing.”
Gretz: Are you aware of the long history of returners in Kansas City? Noland Smith, Dante Hall, Dexter McCluster, De’Anthony Thomas.
HILL: “Oh yeah, I know a little bit about Dante Hall. Obviously, I know about DAT from Oregon. Dante Hall, he just made a name for all little guys. He gave us a name and he made us little guys believe. I’m just real thankful for him.”
Carpenter: How would you say you and De’Anthony Thomas are different?
HILL: “I have no idea. Everybody has their own skillset.”
Smith: How would you rate yourself since rookie minicamp?
HILL: “Probably no grade, I still have a lot to work on in this offense. I’d probably say a C. I still have to get better every day, whether it’s route running, whether it’s blocking, whether it’s catching, I still have to get better at those things.”
Smith: Have you talked with Alex Smith about doing some workouts with him?
HILL: “Not yet.”
Sam Mellinger (Kansas City Star): What have you heard are the differences between what you’ve had this week and what to expect at training camp?
HILL: “It’s going to be physical. That’s the only thing I heard. I can’t wait.”
Adam Teicher (ESPN): A lot of your coaches and teammates have been surprised at how fast you are. Was that the same way in college? Was everyone surprised at how fast you were?
HILL: “Yeah, I would say that.”
Teicher: Is there a guy who can outrun you on this team?
HILL: “I have no idea. I try not to worry about all that.”
Paylor: In your past, when pads come on, do things ever change with the threat of a good hit coming?
HILL: “No, not really. Another one of my role models is probably Steve Smith.”
Paylor: Just because of his competitiveness?
HILL: “Yeah. Tough guy.”
Paylor: What kind of reaction have you gotten from people who notice you around town or on social media?
HILL: “When I go in town, the fans are great. They have arms open to me. They’re like ‘we’re so glad to have you.” It’s all love, people just showing all love out here. I’m thankful, they want me. As a player, that makes me feel good inside – like ‘hey, people are looking past all that stuff.’ I’m just happy people are accepting me.”
Kissel: What has it meant to you to come out and make the plays you have?
HILL: “It doesn’t mean anything because (there are) no pads. Any fast guy can do it. Everybody reads articles on fast guys making plays. You just have to wait until camp and see what’s up.”
Chiefs Player Quotes
June 9, 2016
DL JAYE HOWARD
Terez Paylor (Kansas City Star): What do you think about Chris Jones so far?
HOWARD: “He’s definitely coming along. I think this scheme definitely fits him. He’s able to get pressure on the quarterback, he’s beating guys. And that’s going to translate, I feel like, once we put on pads. He’s definitely staying after practice working with the coaches, working with us. He’s getting better.”
Herbie Teope (Topeka Capital-Journal): Did you see that Mike DeVito said he knew you were on the verge of a breakout season after he saw some good things out of you? What does it do for you when you see a guy like that say something about you?
HOWARD: “I’m definitely honored that he even puts me in that category and talks about me that way. Like I said, I learned from him, it wasn’t that I was trying to take his job. I went to him and asked him pointers and stuff he was able to help me with, and it was able to help me on the field.”
Nick Jacobs (Time Warner Cable Sports Channel): How has Britt (Reid) been able to help you over the past two years?
HOWARD: “He’s been someone I can talk to and he’s definitely helped me on the field. Just learning technique and how to play better technique. Like I said, I feel like he’s going to help Chris (Jones) coming along. We got a good coach in Coach (Britt) Reid, so it’s defiantly going to pay off.”
WR ALBERT WILSON
Terez Paylor (Kansas City Star): We know you’re trying to get better all around, but what is the main area of focus for you right now?
WILSON: “Definitely, I still feel like I’m kind of new to the offense. I really know the plays, but there’s always something you can get better at. Talking to Jason (Avant), he definitely preached knowing your stuff. So there’s always something you can learn in the playbook. And just getting on the same page as Alex (Smith) and working together with Chris (Conley) and J-Mac (Jeremy Maclin).”
Paylor: Did you have to make sight adjustments at Georgia State?
WILSON: “Yeah, mostly on the outside. It wasn’t as many as we have now, but you know, the hitches and the comeback routes, convert those to goes (routes) and what-not. But that’s mostly what we were doing.”
Herbie Teope (Topeka Capital-Journal): You spent a lot of time here in the offseason with Chris Conley and Jeremy Maclin. How beneficial was that for you?
WILSON: “Definitely, just us getting on the same page and knowing what kind of mentality we all have on the field. Being able to train in the offseason with J-Mac, just as the leader he is, to pick his brain outside of football and how he’s a pro was very helpful for me.”
TJ Carpenter (Sports Radio 810 WHB): How’s your timing with Alex Smith right now?
WILSON: “It’s way better than what it was. It wasn’t bad at the beginning, but we definitely have been working on it day-in and day-out. So I think it’s pretty much there.’
Teope: During the offseason your Twitter page showed that you bought your parents a home. How long was that in the works and was that a surprise for them or did they know you were doing it for them?
WILSON: “Definitely it is something that I’ve been working on since my rookie year. Just to move them out of the neighborhood they were in. It’s something that I always dreamed of growing up there in the house. It’s just something every kid that gets to this stage wants to do for their parents.”
Chiefs Player Quotes
June 8, 2016
C MITCH MORSE
Karen Kornacki (KMBC): 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.”
Kornacki: 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.”
Herbie Teope (Topeka Capital-Journal): 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.”
WR DE’ANTHONY THOMAS
Terez Paylor (Kansas City Star): 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.”
Paylor: 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.”
Paylor: Was it the effects of the concussions?
THOMAS: “Not at all.”
Paylor: 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.”
Paylor: 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.”
Herbie Teope (Topeka Capital-Journal): 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.”
Teope: Where are you health-wise now?
THOMAS: “I’m excellent.”
Adam Teicher (ESPN): 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.”
Teicher: 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.”
Teicher: Do you beat the rookie in a 40?
THOMAS: “I’m not even sure.”
Paylor: 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.”
Teicher: 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.”
B.J. Kissel (Chiefs.com): Last year you worked with EB (Eric Bieniemy). This year how much more comfortable do you feel with working with (David) Culley? How much more comfortable do you feel this year compared to last year on what they want on the outside?
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.”
Paylor: 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.”
Paylor: You still love football?
THOMAS: “Do I love football? I’m from south central Los Angeles. Football is everything to me.”
Karen Kornacki (KMBC): 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.”
Kornacki: 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.”
Paylor: 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.”
Paylor: 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.”
Paylor: 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.”
Paylor: When the pads come on, are you going to have to get over that injury?
THOMAS: “Not at all. No, sir.”
QB ALEX SMITH
Terez Paylor (Kansas City Star): 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 awhile 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.”
Herbie Teope (Topeka Capital-Journal): 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.”
Adam Teicher (ESPN): 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.”
Teicher: 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.”
Teicher: 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.”
Teicher: 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.”
Paylor: 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.”
B.J. Kissel (Chiefs.com): 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.”
Karen Kornacki (KMBC): 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 hadMitchell 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.”
Kornacki: 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.”
Teope: 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.”
Teicher: 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.”
Nick: 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.”
Kissel: 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.”
Teicher: 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.”
Teicher: 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.”
Chiefs Player Quotes
June 7, 2016
RB SPENCER WARE
Adam Teicher (ESPN): Do you think about how much things have changed for you from this time last year?
WARE: “Yeah, they believed in me, honestly. I have to rise to the occasion. It’s a good feeling when you have that support and that faith – (not only) by the coaching staff, but by the players. I’m still learning and picking up things and still trying to get better.”
Terez Paylor (Kansas City Star): What’s the one area you’re looking to improve?
WARE: “Really trying to just be an all-purpose back. Do more things out of the backfield and also in the passing game – like the short-yardage or goal line situations. Being able to be used throughout the entire field.”
TJ Carpenter (Sports Radio 810 WHB): What would you envision a backfield with you, Charcandrick West and Jamaal Charles looks like? Is it taking turns or can you be used at the same time?
WARE: “I feel like we really feed off each other. It’s a big family, we’re brothers in that room and we prepare for war together. There’s competition, but it’s not competition individually, it’s reflectively as a group, saying ‘Let’s do our job and let’s score touchdowns and get over 150 yards on the ground. It doesn’t matter how it’s done, let’s just get it done and on top of that, get the W.’”
Herbie Teope (Topeka Capital-Journal): At full strength, is this the top running back trio in the NFL?
WARE: “I believe so. I think we’re pretty good. I’ll leave all the ratings and all that to you guys, but I know what we can control. And how we are, we’re going to go out there and we’re going to battle, we’re going to make big plays and we’re going to try to win games.”
RB CHARCANDRICK WEST
Terez Paylor (Kansas City Star): Looks like you got a little faster – what have you done to prepare for this year knowing you have more responsibility?
WEST: “I just went home and I forgot about last year. I tried to get better and work for the Super Bowl next year.”
Adam Teicher (ESPN): How’s Jamaal (Charles) doing?
WEST: “He’s doing great.”
Teicher: How much does he really want to be out here? He probably needs a whole bunch of work in this environment – how much do you think he misses being out with the rest of you?
WEST: “It’s football. We’re all out there, and it’s competitive and that’s what we’re going to do. I don’t think a soul on this planet is worried about Jamaal (Charles) being ready for football. We all know what he’s capable of doing.”
TJ Carpenter (Sports Radio 810 WHB): What would you say your comprehension of the offense is?
WEST: “The thing about this offense is that you just can’t listen to certain thing. We have a lot of plays that run together, so we just have to listen and hear one thing, you might mess around and do the wrong thing. You really have to listen to the whole play call and understand the whole scheme.”
WR ROD STREATER
Adam Teicher (ESPN): How’s offseason practice going for you?
STREATER: “It’s been awesome. Coming in here the guys welcomed me coming from the Raiders as a rival team. It’s been really good. I’ve fit right in, getting into the offense and just try and go out there and make plays when I can.”
Teicher: You are one of the rare new guys in the wide receiver group – you feel like you came in that far behind everybody else?
STREATER: “Not really. I got in a little bit early and got with the guys and learned a little bit of plays early on. They really brought me in and got the playbook and really jumped into it. I’ve been in the league for four years, so it wasn’t too hard to fit in and start making plays.”
Herbie Teope (Topeka Capital-Journal): What is the difference when working with different quarterbacks like Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray from day-to-day during practice?
STREATER: “Not really any difference right now. We are still all trying to connect. When you have different receivers being with different quarterbacks you have to learn the speed and how the throw the ball, so it really is no different right now. They are competing and looking really good.”
Terez Paylor (Kansas City Star): How does this offense fit with what you do best?
STREATER: “Like I said before, lining up on the slot. Going up against nickels, I feel like I can beat nickels. It’s a mismatch. I’m 6’3”, guys probably won’t think I can get open like I can. However, I can fight in and where coach wants to put me that’s where I’m going to make plays.”
QB AARON MURRAY
Adam Teicher (ESPN): You were the first in today. When did they tell you that they were going to make that change?
MURRAY: “This morning. Just wanted to flip things around and mix it up a bit. We knew going into this offseason and this OTAs, camp and everything that it’s going to be an open competition, so we just kind of show up and whoever coach says we just go out there and execute whether we are with the twos or the threes. Really every opportunity, every rep is an opportunity for us to go out there and show these coaches what we can do.”
Teicher: In the bigger picture, like you said, this has a long way to play out. Is it a big deal that you are now in front of the line?
MURRAY: “No, we have a long way to go. We have a long way to go. We have another six practices now, a bunch of preseason stuff, so it’s going to be a long road and it’s going to be fun. This is what football is about. It’s about competition against other teams and your team and that’s what makes everyone better – competition and going out there and having fun. I am looking forward to it and I know Tyler (Bray) is looking forward to it.”
Teicher: When you are out there in 11-on-11 or 7-on-7, you can still hear the play call in your helmet, correct? So you know what’s coming?
MURRAY: “Yes. I know what’s coming.”
Teicher: What do you feel like is the main benefit with football like this – no contact? What do you get out of it?
MURRAY: “It’s really a passing camp. It’s kind of tough to run when there are no pads. Sometimes there are linemen moving guys when you are going full speed up there and being able to hit. It’s huge for us as quarterbacks, tight ends and receivers as far as timing. A lot of the twos, because they can’t tuck and run, so a lot of it is us learning or working on footwork and timing up our feet with different receivers, understanding how each guy may come out of a break a little different or run a route a little differently. So, learning the timing right now for quarterbacks is pretty huge."
Chiefs Assistant Coach Quotes
June 1, 2016
CO-OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR BRAD CHILDRESS
Sam McDowell (Kansas City Star): What are your thoughts on Kevin Hogan?
CHILDRESS: “Quick study, there’s a lot of carryover from the system he ran at Stanford to what we’re doing here. He can quickly kind of transpose those into our language. You can see him, he’s with you, he’s agile minded, he can hang with you all the way.”
McDowell: With Matt being in the headset and Coach Reid as well, how do you guys determine selecting the plays in practice and things like that?
CHILDRESS: “Well Matt (Nagy) and I kind of set up the practices through Coach Reid and make sure different guys are getting different turns, you don’t want the same guy doing the same play every time. We kind of set it up where the ones take the most, the twos take the second most and the threes take the least. For a guy like (Kevin) Hogan or a guy that’s operating as the third quarterback, it’s what being a backup is all about, being able to take few reps and stay up to speed.”
Mick Shaffer (Time Warner Cable Sports Channel): Tyler (Bray) is a guy who’s been here a few years now, have you seen strides?
CHILDRESS: “Yes I have. Just as I was mentioning before, you really want to see bodies around him. He’s a big, tall, physical presence with a big arm. You want to see that decision making when there’s a bunch of push in the pocket or someone comes free and whacks him and he’s got to get up and make the play next time. “
Shaffer: Is there one thing or a couple things that you’re working on with Alex Smith at this point?
CHILDRESS: “We always identify things that he can get better on. He can get better in some ways with his eyes. He does a great job with his feet in the pocket, but being able to lie with your eyes is a huge deal as a quarterback and so we talk a little bit about that.”
CO-OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR MATT NAGY
Mick Shaffer (Time Warner Cable Sports Channel): On OTAs:
NAGY: “It’s been really good. First of all, we got great weather, so that helps, the fields are great. Being in year four now, guys are playing fast. It’s so nice to be able to come out here and play some football, get back out against a defense and get competitive.”
Shaffer: Is the backup quarterback position going to be a competition throughout the summer?
NAGY: “Yeah, absolutely. Going into this camp, you have to slate guys in certain positions just for reps. The biggest thing is letting them know that it is an open competition. Those guys, that’s how they want it. They’re not going to look at it any other way, that’s how it was the last three years when Chase (Daniel) was here. Even though our roles were all set, they were always competing. They’re all that way, they all have a great relationship with one another. I think if you asked all three of them right now, I think they all understand that it’s an open competition and they’re going to battle.”
Shaffer: Kevin Hogan is a smart guy who played a lot of college football. Does he seem like he’s ahead of the curve?
NAGY: “Absolutely. The first day we met and got together and we went through the playbook, we actually started crossing off the plays that he did know because he was so familiar with the verbiage that we have. Having a rookie that comes in here who knows the verbiage is a huge benefit. But the game is still going to be fast to him out here just because of the level of play. And again, some of the play concepts are totally different.”
Shaffer: Do Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray realize how big of an opportunity is in front of them right now?
NAGY: “Yeah they certainly know that, they’re well aware of it, we talk about it. We’ve talked about it for years now. Even with Chase in previous years, you never know what could happen with Alex (Smith) then Chase, you’re one or two plays away. They’re going into it with their mindset that ‘hey, I’m going to do everything I possibly can to earn that position, earn that spot.’ But there’s no hard feelings towards one another, they’re helping each other out. We all help each other out and Alex does the same thing.”
SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR DAVE TOUB
Adam Teicher (ESPN): Previously you compared Tyreek Hill to Devin Hester. What did you mean by that?
TOUB: “When you evaluate players, you always compare them to other people. He is a dynamic returner, you can see that clearly on tape. His speed, and I probably said a couple things, he’s Devin Hester-ish. But to compare him directly to Devin Hester, that’s not fair to Devin, that’s not fair to the kid. It’s a conversation we had in the draft rooms.”
Teicher: Other than speed, what makes him Devin Hester-ish?
TOUB: “He’s a really good catcher. He makes people miss. He’s got that great agility, great quickness, great first-step quickness. His top speed is second to none. That 4.25 speed is real. That’s one thing we’ve learned over the last month. He’s got legitimate speed. It doesn’t take much for you to see it.”
Ashley Scobey (Kansas City Star): How sure-handed is he?
TOUB: “He’s very good. He’s a solid catcher. He did both at Oklahoma State and Western Alabama, so he’s got a lot of experience. Over the last month, he’s really shown that he is a really good solid catcher.”
Scobey: Do you think he will do both for you?
TOUB: “No question. He has the ability to do both.”
Teicher: Do you think he’s more established as a punt returner?
TOUB: “I think he’s more advanced as a punt returner for a rookie. He’s really coming in at a high level.”
Teicher: Is that hard to find?
TOUB: “It’s very hard. Those guys are usually second round, sometimes top of the third round picks. We’re fortunate to get him.”
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR BOB SUTTON
Mick Shaffer (Time Warner Cable Sports Channel): Are you happy to get back on the field?
SUTTON: “Yeah, when you get to this phase, Phase III where we get OTAs where we can really kind of practice and do everything, is always exciting for everybody. Of course the weather is great right now, that’s been good. Anytime we can get out on the field and groom, it really makes a big difference. We’re excited, players are working hard. Just like every year, you have to keep improving at this time. This is when you set your foundation and you kind of takeoff from here.”
Shaffer: What have you seen from the rookies on defense?
SUTTON: “They’ve done a great job because they’re caught in that ‘We have to catch up’ mode because we’ve moved ahead with the varsity guys, so to speak, before they got in. so they’re catching up at a pretty rapid pace here. They had the rookie minicamp, which was good, because that helps them be by themselves and learn the system. And I think the older guys have done a great job of bringing them along. We’re going to count on those guys like every year. Everybody on your roster, you have to believe, is going to try to help your team and you have to find a role for them, find a spot. There’s no redshirting here, you have to be ready to play. So we’re excited about the effort and the energy. We have a ton of distance to go to get where we want to go. But if they keep working like that, we’re going to be fine.”
Shaffer: Is having such a young cornerback group necessarily a bad thing?
SUTTON: “No, I think, really, all this is about is you have to be able to do a great job executing the defense, executing the defense, executing the system. There’s a learning curve that goes on, but you don’t have to be a 10-year veteran to do this. Everybody’s different, you just have to get yourself ready to play. You see, Marcus (Peters) came in and did that last year and we need other guys to come in this year and do the same thing. Maybe it’s not a starting role, maybe it’s a backup, but as we all know, almost everybody ends up getting on the field – through injuries and all the things that occur. We’re looking forward to those guys. And again, their energy has been great, they’ve worked hard and we just have to keep building.”
OFFENSIVE LINE COACH ANDY HECK
Terez Paylor (Kansas City Star): What do you want opposing defensive lines to think about after they’ve faced this offensive line?
HECK: “One of the things we talk about all the time, as an offensive line, is we want to be great finishers. What does that mean – it means playing to the echo of the whistle, playing physical football, getting after people in the run and the pass game. When we look on that tape, we want to be proud of our effort.”
Karen Kornacki (KMBC): How are you using these OTAs for your group?
HECK: “This is a great time of year for us to really hone in on the fundamentals. We’ve got some individual drills where we’re drilling specific things that we want to be better at. And a lot of it relates to the passing game and protection and how we want to put our guys in position to have the most success as pass protectors. Even though we don’t have the pads on, it’s not a very physical camp, we can get a lot done fundamentally.”
Kornacki: Do you see more stability on the line this year?
HECK: “Changeover, turnover in this league, that’s part of the deal. Every year there’s new guys to add and bring in. it is our fourth year now in this offense with Coach Reid, so there is a certain amount of stability that comes with that. Guys are picking up where they left off to learn, move forward, learn more of the intricacies of the game. And then adding guys in, we always have and always will cross train guys, because it’s a long season. At the end of the day, there’s going to be people that have to play in new positions or step up and do something that otherwise would be uncomfortable.”
LINEBACKERS COACH GARY GIBBS
Herbie Teope (Topeka Capital-Journal): What have you seen from Dee Ford from last year to this year?
GIBBS: “Well he made some improvements last year and he made some big plays for us down the stretch. This is obviously a new year, we’re early in the OTA sessions. He’s come back stronger and I think he’s got better stamina, got better strength. It’s just a matter of continuing to mature and develop his skillset. As he indicated to you yesterday, be more consistent.”
Teope: How much confidence does it give you having Ford when you don’t have Justin Houston to start off OTAs?
GIBBS: “We had confidence in Dee last year. He had a big game against San Diego. He’s a guy that can affect the quarterback, needs to affect the quarterback, needs to continue to improve in all facets of the game – he knows that. He’s got a good attitude, he’s working hard and time will tell.”
Pete Sweeney (Chiefs.com): What type of role do you see for Tamba Hali this year?
GIBBS: “I expect him to go out there and play and be a warrior and play like he always plays.”
Sweeney: How has he helped the guys while he hasn’t been able to practice?
GIBBS: “He’s a very giving player and he wants to help those guys any way he can. And he’s done a good job of that, helping those guys in pass rush.”
RUNNING BACKS COACH ERIC BIENIEMY
Michael Coleman (KCTV): Do you think that Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware’s improvements from last year have translated to offseason workouts?
BIENIEMY: “Oh absolutely. Those guys are doing a heck of a job. Like I said, they’re a hardworking group. They do a great job. One thing – and I want this to get out there – Jamaal Charles, even though he’s not out here, he does a great job with those guys in the meeting room. Jamaal does a great job. They do a great job communicating in the meeting rooms. They do a great job talking about all the little things that need to be done on a day-to-day basis. And then we have Knile (Davis), and he’s doing his thing as well.”
Coleman: Talk about the benefit of having Jamaal Charles teach those guys because he was in their boat not long ago.
BIENIEMY: “Leadership. He brings a tremendous wealth of leadership, knowledge. The way he conducts and carries himself on a day-to-day basis. All those things, they go hand in hand into why he’s had the success he’s had, and those guys are learning from what he’s done.”
BJ Kissel (Chiefs.com): What’s the difference between the personalities in that room? How do you work with that as a coach?
BIENIEMY: “You enjoy it because you wouldn’t want everybody the same. Obviously, we’d probably be butting heads, but you’ve got your quiet types, your outgoing types, you’ve got your loud types. I’ve got guys that can’t be quiet. I enjoy it. I’m blessed and fortunate, I have a good group of people. I should say a good group of men that understand the importance of being a professional, and they show up to work every single day.”
SECONDARY/CORNERBACKS COACH AL HARRIS
Terez Paylor (Kansas City Star): The fact that you got the promotion, what did you think about that?
HARRIS: “It was great to get the title. As far as responsibility, nothing has changed. Nothing has changed at all, I’m still doing the same things I’ve been doing since I got here. It’s just a changed title. I thank Coach Reid and everybody that had something to do with it.”
Paylor (Kansas City Star): How do you and Emmitt (Thomas) split these duties, how do you make it work?
HARRIS: “Emmitt has been great as far as helping me along as a young coach. I was coached by Emmitt when he was in Philly. He’s done a great job of trying to help coach a young coach, if I get stuck on something he explains it to me and we just go from there.”
Paylor (Kansas City Star): How did Andy (Reid) tell you about the title?
HARRIS: “He just called me in and said hey Al we are going to give you a different title, but like I said responsibility wise, nothing has changed since I’ve been here.”
Paylor: Can you bring your aggressive playing nature into coaching these guys and do guys still respond to the aggressive style that your generation did?
HARRIS: “Definitely, I think so, I don’t know about anybody else’s room but in our room you want to have likeminded guys. You can’t be an aggressive coach if your guys are timid so that is all we preach is aggression, aggression, aggression.”
DEFENSIVE LINE COACH BRITT REID
Mick Shaffer (Time Warner Cable Sports Channel): What are the challenges of teaching defensive linemen a 3-4 as opposed to other styles of defense?
REID: “It’s different, and our defense is a hybrid, so we have to coach both 4-3 and 3-4. It creates unique challenges but we have a great group of guys and they handle it real well. So it’s good.”
Nick Jacobs (Time Warner Cable Sports Channel): What do you like most about this group of defensive linemen?
REID: “They’re not afraid to work. They come out here every day and they want to get better, they want to be the best. They are a really, really close group of guys – they’re best friends outside of here and I think that really helps them on the field.”
Terez Paylor (Kansas City Star): How much did it mean to you to get this promotion from your dad here with the Chiefs?
REID: “He called me in and we went through the whole process – did the interviews and we did all that. When he did call me in and told me he was going to hire me, it was special. It meant a lot. To get my first position-coaching job from him, and also in the NFL, it was really exciting.”
Paylor: Was there any doubt in your mind as to whether or not you’d get hired or not? Was it up in the air?
REID: “Yeah, from my standpoint I didn’t know if I was going to get the job or not. Obviously I was hoping. It’s a dream job, especially with the guys that we have. But I didn’t know, I was just hoping.”
Paylor: When you found out they drafted Chris Jones, what were you thinking? That they were testing you early? You have to mold him now. What was your reaction?
REID: “I was just excited to get him. So much talent, big, young, smart guy that can move well. I was excited. I looked at it as more of an opportunity or a blessing than a challenge, just because of the talent. He’s really talented and he’s going to help our room.”
Paylor: How would you describe your coaching style? Are you trying to relate to them, are you trying to push them, are you hard on them? How do you try to get through to them?
REID: “I think each guy is an individual and you’ve got to treat them as that. What might work for Allen Bailey might not work for Dontari (Poe). So I just try to feel them out. For the most part I just treat them like men. I’m not going to embarrass them, I’m not going to yell at them in front of everybody. If I have a problem with them I’ll pull them to the side and tell them I have a problem. For the most part it’s a coach-player relationship and we keep it like that.”
Paylor: How do you determine how to treat those guys – which guys react to certain things?
REID: “I try to talk to these guys. Chris Ballard, he is our pro personnel guy, he told me something that really resonated with me and he learned it from Rod Marinelli. Rod believes that you’ve got to coach the man first before you coach the player. That really resonated with me. You’ve got to get to know these guys and once you get to know them as people it will help you a lot as a coach.”