ANDY REID, July 28, 2015
Opening Statement: “Alright, it’s great to be back here in St. Joseph, Missouri Western State University. We’re very fired up that we have three years with the extension here with the new contract. We thoroughly enjoy it here, obviously – or the contract probably would have taken place. The people here are phenomenal. You’ll have a chance to see the fields and the updates that have taken place there with the extension of the fields and the new fields that have been put in, we appreciate everything that the president of the university (Dr. Robert Vartabedian) has done for us. Obviously, Mark (Donovan) working with them to get this deal done.
I’d like to put a quick statement out about Jack Steadman. What a great person he was, all of the things he did to build, along with the Hunt family, to build the Kansas City Chiefs. We enjoyed having him up at camp as (recently) as last year. Our heart goes out to his family. Again, what a great man he was. And he’ll live on, that’s the one great thing about the National Football League and the Kansas City Chiefs.
I brought Rick (Burkholder) up here to talk to you about Dontari Poe real quick and get you updated on that. The rest of the physicals, including Eric Berry, Eric’s going through some tests now. We should have an answer for you on Eric within a day here. So far everything’s positive, but we don’t want to give you anything until we have everything. But we do have information for you on Dontari that I want to make sure you guys have. Rick, why don’t you step up here real quick.”
BURKHOLDER: “Ok, thanks coach. If you guys remember back in the mini camp, Dontari hurt his back and that was back on the second of June. We shut him down for a few days. We went and he was referred to KU Medical to Dr. Camarata who then got him to have an epidural injection in his back. He had one on the fifth of June, we rested him, he made it through the end of mini camp and did fine, he was asymptomatic. We got him a second epidural injection right on the 19th of June before he left. He was home training, he was doing great and then he hurt his back again. We brought him back to Kansas City, he saw Dr. Camarata, he got another MRI. At that time it was determined he had a herniated disc in his back. Our team and his people decided to send him back to Memphis to Dr. Kevin Foley, who operated on his back on the 15th of July. He hurt his back on the eighth (of June), the second time he hurt it. He had a successful surgery, microdiscectomy, he had that disc removed. He’s in Memphis right now, he’s not doing a whole lot of rehab or treatment. He’s resting, but he’s doing great. He’s going to be up here with us on Friday. He’ll have extensive treatment and rehab. I’ve told the coaches that we won’t talk about any more activity with Dontari until after we get out of training camp. For training camp purposes, he’ll be with me. But he’ll be in meetings and all that kind of stuff and he’s recovering fine. I appreciate your time, thank you.”
REID: “Alright, so Jaye Howard will fill in for that spot once everybody gets back up here. Working there and take some reps at that spot. The positive is that Dontari is doing well and we’ll expect him back as we get closer to the beginning of the season here. I’ll leave it to you for any questions that you have.”
Q: Tyler Bray?
REID: “Tyler, they’re all going through these physicals right now. We’ll have that information for you tomorrow. You’ll see it firsthand tomorrow. Again, he has been doing well, we just have to go through the formality of this.”
Q: What’s the typical timeline for a herniated disc?
REID: “I think he stands a reasonable chance in the early part of the season. Whether that’s the beginning or somewhere early in the season for his return. You just have to see and see how things recover, how he recovers there. It’s a positive thing and it’s something that he needed to get done as opposed to having that other deal antagonize him throughout the year.”
Q: Was this something that bothered him towards the end of last year?
REID: “It popped up really during the mini camps here. It was kind of a crazy deal.”
Q: Will he be here?
REID: “Yeah, he’s getting tests done here.”
Q: Physical tests?
REID: “Yeah, he’s going through the physical and he has had some physical tests that they put him through just to see where he’s at. We haven’t finished all that. But we’ll get that to you, we’re not going to hide anything from you on this.”
Q: Has Eric Berry been trying to do any training at all?
REID: “He’s kept himself in good shape, believe it or not. He’s really done a good job there. But like I said, he’s got to go through all the formalities here.”
Q: Football aside, what would it mean to see him healthy enough to get him back?
REID: “Obviously that’s what we all want to see. We’re all fans of his in this situation. We want that and what he wants to do for his best interest.”
Q: Do you anticipate him coming to St. Joe?
REID: “Well he’s getting the tests done and we’ll take it from there. We’re going to get you all that. I know everybody is chomping at the bit – and probably Eric more than anybody – everybody’s chomping at the bit to get that. When we have the full package together for you, we’re going to get that to you.”
Q: Mike DeVito got a little work to replace Dontari Poe in mini camp as well, didn’t he?
REID: “DeVito would be the other one that also would work in there and is comfortable with it. I think both of them can do a nice job in there.”
Q: Did Rakeem Nunez-Roches get some work in there?
REID: “He got some work in there, yeah.”
Q: What are you looking to get done these first three days?
REID: “This isn’t only good for the players, it’s also good for the coaches. You get back into the swing of camp and then you get to spend time with the rookies. You have rookies, selected vets – in other words, guys that are coming back from some sort of an injury – and then you’ve got the quarterbacks here, that’s the group. You get to spend a lot of time with those rookies, and get them caught up to speed, so that once the vets get in there, they’re running and not quite thinking as much as they are playing.”
Q: How do you plan on addressing playing time with the Sean Smith situation?
REID: “Sean will take reps. We rotate guys in there anyways. And it really doesn’t matter the side. We’ve also got flexibility with (Ron) Parker, who’s played there – even though he’s playing at the safety position predominately right now. We’ve got enough guys there including the rookies, that can come in that we’ll work into that rotation, (like Phillip) Gaines. We’ve got plenty of guys to work through that.”
Q: Is cornerback a position where a guy could come in a rookie and start Week 1?
REID: “Yeah, sure. I’ve had that before. They have to put together a good camp. He (Marcus Peters) hasn’t been around here because of the quarter system situation at Washington. He has to get caught up on everything, but sure.”
Q: What about Demetrius Harris?
REID: “Again, he’s going through his physical right here. I would probably tell you he wouldn’t be quite ready to go. But we’ll see what goes on.”
Q: How is Derrick Johnson feeling?
REID: “DJ is doing well. He’s not up here for this, he showed us enough that he is good to go.”
Q: Does each camp have its own feel?
REID: “The base structure is the same. I will tell you every camp is different, though, because of the people – players. They all take on their own personality and it’s that first step of building a team. Every team ends up being different. Every camp presents its own certain flavor.”
Q: When you see the players come in, do you get the excitement that football is back and you’re ready to go for a championship?
REID: “Absolutely. That’s how you set your goals, you set it to win a championship, that’s how you come into camp. That’s the way our players feel. We got a lot of work to do right here to get ourselves to that level and get ready for that first game against the Texans. We have to make sure that we come in here with the right frame of mind, which I don’t question these guys will, that’s how they’re wired, how this team is wired. It’s exciting for sure.”
Q: When the schedule comes out, what do you do to prepare, how do you handle it? Do you talk to the team about it?
REID: “There’s so much parity in the National Football League right now, they can present you any schedule they want. You don’t know until you play those teams. There’s too much competition at this level. I get fired up for each one of them. I think we have a great schedule, it’s going to challenge you. That’s what we do, we want to play the best teams we possibly can and let’s see where we’re at, let’s go.”
Q: You play a lot of road games early, that’s a lot of games away from Arrowhead.
REID: “That’s okay. We keep it as consistent as you can. When you build this thing, that comradery that takes place up here, that’s what carries you through road games. You go in there as a business trip to get certain things done. You know everybody in that building is most likely against you, and that’s how you approach it, there’s nothing wrong with that.”
Q: The start that the team got off to early last year, is that any way attributable to what the team did in training camp?
REID: “I mentioned this that first game. Last year, I didn’t think I did a very good job. That’s where I started and I don’t think I got the guys prepared properly, and I necessarily didn’t do a very good job calling that football game from an offensive standpoint. We’ll make sure we have that covered. And hopefully we do a better job for you.”
Q: What do you think of the excitement that the Royals have generated?
REID: “Listen, our players and the Royals players are very, very close. I had an opportunity to go out to their spring practice out in Arizona while we were out there for the meetings and watch how they do things. They do a great job, we are pulling for them like crazy. This is their time of the year right here, man and they’re cranking this thing up and they’re going to go get a championship. We’re pulling for them and I know it’s reciprocated the other way. They’re big fans of ours and that’s what it’s all about. I think the people of Kansas City are very fortunate to have two great organizations like that. That’s a beautiful thing from a fan standpoint.”
Q: What is it about these three days that is good for the quarterbacks?
REID: “You get to knock a little of that rust off that took place maybe the last five weeks, although they’ve been throwing like crazy. They can get back into the swing of things, get the verbiage back down. So when the veterans come in, they’re ready to go and they just jump right in it and they’re ripping it. I think it’s a nice little lead-in for them.”
Q: How important is it to avoid a tough start out of the gate in the regular season?
REID: “We don’t think about that. You’re going into every game saying you’re going to win the game and you’re preparing yourself that way. The only thing you can control is to get yourself ready to play. If things don’t go right, erase it, and then you’re on to the next one. That’s how you go.”
Chiefs Player Quotes
QB ALEX SMITH
Q: What do you look to get out of these three days before you really get it started?
SMITH: “It is a good question. I actually love it, but part of you hates it because you have to report early as a quarterback especially as a veteran. I think it is a no brainer. For us, you get this huge chunk of time off and as hard as guys have been working, working out and for us throwing, you just cannot simulate the 11-on-11 and 7-on-7. I think it is so nice for us to come in with the rookies and get a couple days to get really ramped up. When the veterans do come in here, we are getting the most out of every practice. I also think from an arm health point, it is the same thing. It is tough to simulate. You can go throw as much as you want, but it is different when you are in a practice. I think the few days of ramping up are healthy as well. All the way around I think it is a really good thing.”
Q: How much throwing have you done?
SMITH: “Everyday you are doing something. It fluctuates and you make it work. We have families and for a lot of us we are traveling quite a bit so you make it work. You are going everyday. You put in so much work in the offseason, but sometimes it’s hard to simulate to know what practice is like and what throws are like, especially when we start putting pads on.”
Q: How critical are these next three weeks to try and get on the same page with the receivers?
SMITH: “Everyday is critical – every single day. Once the vets get here it is about two weeks until our first preseason game. Things are going to change from there and all of a sudden we will be playing the opener. Every single day is critical and you are trying to get better each day. You try and take advantage of every rep you can get. You make the most of them.”
Q: What is your message to the young guys?
SMITH: “I think just exactly that. You try and come in and make the most of every rep. The chances you do get, you have to come out prepared and try and make the most of it. You cannot dwell on it. Do not be looking too far down the road, do not be dreading camp, how long it is and do not be thinking about preseason games at this point. For us, you basically get one practice a day now with the rules and a walk through, but you just really have to go out there and take advantage of it.”
Q: When you say you love it, what is the “it” part?
SMITH: “I mean I think it’s just coming up and practicing. It is here and it is camp. This experience is rare I think in the working world. It’s like boys camp. We are going away for three to four weeks; staying together, depend on each other and around each other 24-7. Where else do you get to experience anything like this? It is special. Obviously, with the heat it can be tough at times, but everything around from the meetings, to the practice and all the time in between in the cold tubs, training room or locker room. It’s a really special time. I think it’s where teams become teams.”
Q: You sort of like being away from home and in a different atmosphere? A lot of teams stay at home now.
SMITH: “I do very much so. I think more stay at home now then go away. I certainly am an advocate of it. I have done both. I like this though for all of those reasons. I think the team coming together and spending time with each other is valuable.”
Q: How do you understand the football mentality of it? You worry about today, the play and this practice, but at the same time, the schedule comes out and you see you have three home games in the first three months; do you at least take note of that?
SMITH: “Without a doubt, you see it. I have been thinking about it since the schedule came out. You do know it, but it is easier to think about it when I am on my own and you have time. That is the nice thing about camp – you are going. You have short yardage period and you are trying to convert short yardage periods, we are in 7-on-7 and converting there and all of those things in the middle of practice. It is everything. That is the nice thing about camp – it is all right in front of you.”
Q: Do NFL coaches address the schedule with you guys before the season when it comes out?
SMITH: “I am not really sure what other coaches are doing. Certainly for us, the opener has a ton of focus and the division. I would say those are the two areas of focus for us. We know who we are playing and how important it is for us to get out to a good start. Obviously, you know the teams that you are playing twice, those division games are unique. Certainly those are the areas of focus for us right now.”
Q: You never know how good teams are going to be, but playing on the road may be a little harder. One thing you do not want to do in this league is lose a bunch of games in a row because things go poorly. You want to get a good start in general, but how hard is it to dig yourself out of that kind of hole?
SMITH: “Every single week is such a battle. You can go off of last year’s records, but it does not really matter. I think the NFL has proven that year in and year out with the parity so you do know that. You expect a battle each and every week. When you do get in a hole, it is tough. It is really tough to dig your way back out. That is why it is so important to get out to a good start. For us, it is the opener, try to get that first one.”
Q: Compared to past seasons, can you rank your optimism coming into this season?
SMITH: “It is hard for me to compare. It is hard for me to remember them. There is so much that goes into that. I am pumped that football is back around, we are reporting, this day has come and we will be practicing soon enough here in a few days. I am happy for it to be season time again. The off-season time has been cut down so short that we do not get as much as we used to. I am excited to get the pads on here and get back to football.”
Q: When you come on the field tomorrow, are you on a throwing program here at camp – a pitch count so to speak?
SMITH: “They keep track of it daily. It is certainly not like towards the end of practice that they say, ‘Shut it down.’ It’s more like that night we are looking at, ‘hey you threw this many balls today’ or that it was high or it was low. I think you are kind of helping it as the days move along. It is really kind of general on the edges. There are really no hard lines.”
Q: Now there are three quarterbacks, does that increase the workload?
SMITH: “I do not know what is going on medically with Tyler (Bray). As of OTAs (Organized Team Activities) it was the same. We should have the same number that we did in OTAs if that is the case.”
Q: You have been throwing pretty much everyday since the end of OTAs, who have you been throwing to? None of these guys, right?
SMITH: “I mean anyone that you can – high school kids, friends and anyone in between. You just play catch. There are a lot of things that you can do to simulate throwing. It is tough to get a bunch of guys together especially NFL receivers, you do get it here and there. You throw to anyone you can.”
Q: What can you do to simulate throwing?
SMITH: “Just that, you get better at it as you get older. I think the older you get you don’t necessarily need that, for me it’s just throwing. I think I have gotten a lot better by just visualizing. I can go out and spot somebody up and I think I can get a lot out of it a lot of times. Certainly you are doing it with other quarterbacks most of the times.”
Q: If you do not do that, do you feel like you miss something when you get back to it?
SMITH: “I do not think so. I have been doing it long enough now that no, I don’t feel like that’s the case. Certainly, when I was younger, I felt like that. Year eleven, I do not know how many reps I have had throughout my life with throwing slants and stuff like that. I guess that is why I said I like these first few days because after that I feel like after a couple practices and you are ready to roll.”
Q: Did you get a sense of what you are going to be getting out of your receivers from OTAs?
SMITH: “You do get a good sense of it. I think the position groups that gets the most out of not having pads on is certainly the skilled positions – receivers are a big part of that. You do get a good sense of the passing game. There will be a little change when we get the pads on and defensive backs can really get physical and you can work releases, that’s kind of the next step of it. I certainly think that we had a great off-season. It’s just a matter of, like I said, you get this time off and hopefully you take off where we left off.”
Q: Do you see guys change from OTAs to the pads on?
SMITH: “Yes, no question – especially the rookies. That is their first exposure and it is such a whirlwind of workouts, combine and draft. They, then come in and they do not have time to catch their breath and really digest anything. Hopefully during this time off, they did get that and come back rejuvenated and let that stuff sink in as far as the offense and really come out ahead of it”
Q: You have been in St. Joseph a few years now for Training Camp, do you see Missouri Western making it a point to make the field look more like Kansas City training facilities and more like what you see there?
SMITH: “I think the facilities here are great. That is part of the reason why I love coming here obviously if the fields are bad, I would not like coming here. The facilities are great, the indoor is awesome, the weight room is great, the dorms are not too bad and the food is good. Food is a big part of it. I mean I have no complaints. I think overall everything is great.”
Q: Is it easier to deal with the heat with facilities like this?
SMITH: “Yes for sure. Coach (Andy Reid) usually sets up a good schedule for us to come out and practice in the morning. It is fun to get up and practice in the morning.”
Q: With Albert Wilson hurt for a little bit this summer, you get to see a little bit more out of Chris Conley. Do you think he is someone who can contribute early on?
SMITH: “Absolutely. I think everything that we saw in OTAs encourages that idea.”
LS ANDREW EAST
Q: Are you prepared for this heat at camp?
EAST: “I am prepared. I was not sure quite what to expect, but I am excited to be here. It is certainly a fun time.”
Q: What do you have to accomplish and get done at this camp?
EAST: “Well, I have good competition for the long snapper job. I’m just really hoping to go out there and put my best foot forward and hopefully that ends up with winning the job.”
Q: How much pressure is this for a guy like you?
EAST: “From an outsider’s perspective, it seems like there could be quite a lot. Having done this all of my life, you kind of get used to it.”
Q: What would it mean to make this team?
EAST: “It would be a dream come true for sure. It is fun to be here, but obviously, you want to be here and work to win the job. That is my goal.”
Q: We saw the video of you proposing to Shawn (Johnson), but how nervous were you to go out there and actually do it?
EAST: “The funny thing is, she was nervous to throw the first pitch. The last time she threw a first pitch, she threw it right in the dirt. She was really nervous to go out there for that. It was a great first pitch and she turned around after she threw it, but I did not even see it because I was so nervous. I had to get ready for it and actually do it. Luckily, Brady Quinn, quarterback, he was actually up here with the Chiefs for a little bit. He kind of gave me the pregame speech and motivation. I went out there and it worked out all right. It was fun.”
C MITCH MORSE
Q: What have you been up to since you left the building?
MORSE: “I’ve actually been in Kansas City most of the time. I’ve been here and there for a few days but most of the time in Kansas City. I was able to go home for a few days this last week to hang out with the family and to get my mind right for this upcoming season.”
Q: So were you in Kansas City working at the facility or other places?
MORSE: “No, I’ve been working out at the facility, trying to get acclimated to the guys. I just want my face to be around the facility a little bit and I was fortunate to hang out with some really good guys and really get some good work in.”
Q: Aside from snapping the ball, how different is playing center than playing guard as far as the challenge in Andy’s offense?
MORSE: “Coach Reid’s offense is very interesting. It’s very complex, but if you get it down and you really work at it, it’s amazing. The challenge for me during the last two months we were there was really just trying to get myself acclimated to the playbook. The center is an integral part of the offensive line and that’s very much apparent in Coach Reid’s offense.”
Q: If you’re the center, you’re going to have to make some calls, when do you think you’ll get to the point where you’ll be able to handle that?
MORSE: “I’ve been fortunate to have really good guys help me out and not be afraid to tell me what to do, sometimes they have to point me in the right direction. Even if you’re wrong it’s important to make calls because that way coach knows where you’re at, that way we can work forward from there. If you’re quiet, which was a problem of mine at first – being too quiet, too to myself, and you don’t know where you’re at so coach can’t really push you forward.”
Q: It seems like you’ve taken to your teammates quickly, are you getting along with those guys pretty well in the interior?
MORSE: “Those guys were nice enough, they could have pushed me away as a rookie but they decided not to. They were very generous with their time, especially when I needed it and (Eric) Kush is very good about hanging out outside the football locker room and all of the other guys are as well.”
QB CHASE DANIEL
Q: What do you get out of these three days?
DANIEL: “Alex (Smith) and I were talking yesterday, I think it’s good for us quarterbacks to get in and sort of get in the groove of things. Not only mentally, but physically as well. We usually go two or three days here and it just gets us ready for the vets. When they get here, we get a dose of the install again for the second time and it just gets our mind and brain moving.”
Q: In the third year of the offense, you can handle the playbook, right?
DANIEL: “Absolutely. Coach Reid does an excellent job of getting us mentally and physically ready for what the season entails. It’s a long season, you’re only guaranteed 20 games, 23 or 24 if you get the bye week in the first week (of the playoffs). It’s a long season and we’re just now starting our uphill battle to go and get the Lombardi trophy. That’s the number one goal and that’s what Coach Reid would say as well.”
Q: What do you tell the rookies about camp?
DANIEL: “It’s tough, it is. Coach Reid runs a very tough, physical camp. (I tell them) just to be ready. The heat up here, it’s feeling a little hotter than normal, I know we have a heat wave coming through. Just be ready, physically and mentally it’s going to be taxing. He wants it to be a difficult camp because he wants it to be more difficult than the actual game itself. Some of us veterans get it and understand it. Some of the rookies are going to have a hard time picking it up and picking up the pace.”
Q: You’re wearing a Royals hat, how much have you been keeping up with them?
DANIEL: “A lot. I saw we just got our 60th win yesterday and I actually just saw we traded for another guy, (Ben) Zobrist. We’re looking forward to seeing Johnny (Cueto) pitch on Friday. We definitely, in our family, keep track of them. My wife is a Kansas City native, so she’s been going to games since she was six, seven-years old, so we definitely keep up with them.”
Q: What are your thoughts on coming back to Missouri Western for another year?
DANIEL: “It’s great. They put on a first-class camp, I think our setup up here is the best in the nation. You have amazing dorms, we have our own rooms, we’re a short drive to the practice facility. They’ve done a lot of work on the field – I’ve seen them and they look in excellent shape. We have our indoor for walkthroughs, the weight room is outstanding. I really love it. The good thing about being 45 minutes from my doorstep, I was literally 45 minutes from my doorstep – I was going the speed limit for all you guys out there – so on off days, guys can get back to their families and it really breaks up the monotony of camp.”
WR CHRIS CONLEY
Q: What have you been up to since you left?
CONLEY: “Really it’s just been a non-stop grind just preparing for your first camp. I think I got told about 100 times to be in shape, run, it’s going to be hot and it’s like a track meet out there. We’ve been told that every day since we left. I think ever since I’ve gone home, I’ve been lifting, running, running routes, catching. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Aaron (Murray), to train at the place he’s been. I’ve been going non-stop.”
Q: Is there anxiety as a rookie coming into your first camp?
CONLEY: “If you really let yourself get to that point, you can have some anxiety, you can be uncomfortable, but when you really get down to the bare bones of it, like I said before, football is football, you have to constantly remind yourself of that. You’re here for a reason. You were brought into this team to do something, you weren’t brought here just to sit and watch. When you realize that and you realize the potential and the talent that you do have, it takes some of that weight off your shoulders.”
Q: How much of an advantage does it give you to work out with Aaron Murray?
CONLEY: “It gives me a ton. Just constant reinforcement of this offense. Much like in days past when we were at Georgia, we can constantly work on the playbook, we can constantly work on the routes that are going to be run here. I can constantly tweak the little things. And that is what is so important in this league, that’s what makes this team different – the little things.”
Q: How close do you feel to thinking you have a good grasp of these concepts in the playbook?
CONLEY: “I feel really good right now. The beautiful thing about camp is that it’s another install. When you go through OTAs, when you go through rookie minicamp, you install twice, sometimes three times. For camp, for many of us, it’s going to be our third or fourth install. Going into this install, it’s about reinforcing those ideas, reinforcing those concepts and going out there and playing better.”
OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright, first of all, our thoughts and prayers go out to Sanders Commings and his family. His cousin was a preacher in South Carolina, Charleston there, that was shot and killed, so we’re grieving for him and his family.
On the injury side of this, De’Vante Bausby is having surgery today on his clavicle to repair that. There’s really no update on Eric Berry. He’s having, like I mentioned, some testing done and the doctors will meet and talk it over along with Eric and his family. Tyler Bray has been here this week. We brought him back just to evaluate him and to give him a physical. We did our physicals this past week, so he was a part of that and it kept him in tune. He sat in the meetings and it kept him in tune and updated him a little bit on the offensive stuff. Cyrus Gray has continued to improve, Demetrius Harris has continued to improve. Other than that, I imagine Justin Houston will be a topic that I will be asked about. They’re continuing to talk and whether he is here or not, it just depends on how things go. So we’ll continue to move on and hope that he is here at the beginning of camp. The time is yours.”
Q:How is Sanders Commings dealing with all of this? How is he doing?
REID: “Yeah, he’s doing okay. As expected. That’s a pretty big shock. That’s all I can probably say to you.”
Q:It just takes a lot to go out and practice the next day.
REID: “Yeah, it does. He’ll be able to head back and take care of business.”
Q:How do you feel about the offensive line heading into training camp?
REID: “Yeah, listen, I think they competed like crazy. They’ll continue to do that through training camp and then we’ll see. I’ve said it before, we’ll play the five best and we’ll see how it works out through camp.”
Q:Is there any legitimacy to John Clayton’s report that the Chiefs are interested in Evan Mathis?
REID: “No, we’re not.”
Q:Do you think all of the injured guys will start the season on the physically unable to perform list?
REID: “Possibly. Dorse (John Dorsey) will take care of all of that. He is evaluating all of that now.”
Q:Now that the offseason practices are over, do you feel like you know this team’s identity?
REID: “I think you’ll know more once you get in pads and you just go through the process. You’ve got to let that play out. We’d all like to stand up and say, ‘this is it right now,’ but that’s not how this thing works. You let it go through the process. One thing I can tell you is they worked their tail off and there is some talent there.”
Q:When do you need Justin Houston here?
REID: “When they get it done. I don’t get caught up in all of that, never have. I let the business side take care of itself and then you move one and (if) a man misses, it’s another man’s reps. That’s how we go, so there’s a lot of rules and regulations, but I don’t get caught up in that. That’s what Dorse does; he’s got to deal with all of that. I don’t worry about that. I have trust in both sides that they’ll get something done.”
Q:Does the fact that he missed all of the offseason last year and still had the season he did give you confidence?
REID: “I think he’s working out, absolutely. That’s just him by nature, so he’s not going to let things slide on his side.”
Q:Where was Sean Smith today?
REID: “Sean had a personal matter that he had to deal with and he was excused for that.”
Q:What do you ask from guys from a physical standpoint during these five weeks away from the facility?
REID: “They have a program that they stay on. They’ll take a week here and do a recovery program and get right back into their intense workout and then there’s another recover program at the end of that three and a half weeks that they’ll go through and then you’re in camp, so it’s all laid out for them. They just need to follow that.”
Q:But it’s different based on your positon, correct?
Q:What about a guy like Jamaal Charles? He indicated he was going to take a few days off and then hit it pretty hard.
REID: “Yeah, that’s normally what happens. You go through a recovery period here for a week. These guys have been grinding here, so you step back, go through the recovery period and you get back on it and gradually build yourself up towards training camp to another quick recovery period and you’re right into it.”
Q:Do you have any idea when there will be another update on Eric Berry?
REID: “No, I don’t. When we get it, we’ll get it to you.”
Q:Last year the message was finish. Is there a different message this year?
REID: “We understand that we need to take it up a level from last year, so that’s what all of the guys are striving to do. They have all challenged themselves with that, coaches likewise. And we’re fortunate here to have good talent and guys that work hard, so they take upon themselves that responsibility to do that and the coaches do the same.”
Q:How do you evaluate the offensive line when they don’t have pads on?
REID: “That’s why you need that training camp part of it. Some guys look okay in shorts and then you put pads on and vice versa. We want to try and get as close to a game speed and tempo as you possibly can.”
Q:While you’re out there, what do you have them working on, what can they improve?
REID: “They can still work technique, fundamentals, hand placement, foot placement. First and second steps are important as you’re an offensive lineman, so you can still do that. We’re fortunate that our guys know how to work in conditions like this with the rules that we’re given and they can still improve themselves.”
Q:You mentioned you liked Eric Kush’s energy, what does it do when your center is a guy who tries to vocally get people going?
REID: “That’s his personality, you want to let your personality show. He brings energy every day, he’s done a nice job with it. It’s when you get in those dog days of camp, when it’s hot and you’re mentally and physically about ready to become extinct and you just kind of push yourself through and (to) have a guy that helps generate a little bit. Whether you’re laughing at him or listening to him, it works either way. He’s got that ability there to do that.”
Q:Are you encouraged because this is the best your offense has looked the two previous years?
REID: “We know we’re going against a good secondary. One nice thing with these camps is you get to do ones versus ones more than maybe you do during training camp. It gives you an opportunity to get your best against best and then challenge each other. I think it’s gone back and forth just depending on the day and just the practice itself. You can split it in the middle, the defense will make plays, the offense will make plays. I think the competition has been phenomenal, that’s the way you improve on both sides of the ball.”
Q:How have Marcus Peters and Steven Nelson looked to you after missed OTAs?
REID: “I thought they did a pretty nice job, actually. Are they rusty? Yeah, they’ve got to get caught up. I say rusty, they haven’t had a chance to get rusty because they haven’t been in the place to get rusty yet. They’re getting caught up with the speed of the game, which looks like they adjusted to very well.”
Q:Is this the camp where you got to install a lot of your playbook since you’re in your third year?
REID: “The natural progression is you do that, you add a little bit more. You evaluate what you did, you’re coming off a season where your taking your scheme evaluation, then you make some tweaks and you add a little bit here, a little bit there, you might take away a few plays you weren’t real happy with. I think we’re kind of on course of where you (should) be in the third year.”
Q:Have the quarterbacks graded out higher this offseason than they have in past years at this time?
REID: “They’re about right on the spot. I thought they did a decent job. Like I said, they don’t want to grade out too high, because then your defense isn’t very good. I look at the balance there even though I work with the offense. I have to see how that thing balances out when you’re going ones versus ones, twos versus twos, threes versus three, you hope it’s right in the middle. I think it’s been well done.”
Q:Alex Smith said he thinks the passing game is in a better place than it was last year, do you agree with that?
REID: “I do, I think he is obviously in full command of it. He understands it and gets it, he has a lot of trust in the guys around him, which is a good thing – with some of the guys he’s played with. Then the other guys, like Jeremy (Maclin), comes in. Jeremy’s got experience in the offense, Jason Avant has experience in the offense. It just took them a short period of time to blend with Alex. That transition seems easy, they’ve really handled it right. They’ve got good communication between them. They’re willing to talk and get on the same page, then come back and make it an even better play the next time we run it.”
Q:Father’s Day is coming up Sunday, what does the day mean to you and do you have any special plans?
REID: “Yeah, my kids are going to take me to a buffet. I’m pretty excited. Listen, I’m obviously more into Mother’s Day because I know who really runs the house. I got it, I understand. But I appreciate the pat on the back from the kids. The girls love on you and the boys tell you to get off your tail and go get whatever you want to get, I got that, too. Sometimes on Father’s Day they take care of you, all of them.”
WR FRANKIE HAMMOND JR.
Q:In what ways are you a better player than you were before you got here?
HAMMOND JR.: “Just diving into the playbook and understanding the concepts and just kind of learning all of the positions and where I need to be when I need to be on the quarterback’s timing. So it’s just little details. It’s just taking it to another level and just taking the playbook to another level as a whole.”
Q:Are you ready to help out now that you know what it takes to be an NFL receiver?
HAMMOND JR.: “Definitely. I’m busting my tail to wherever they need me to be, whether it’s on special team or anywhere on the offense whether it be slot or the outside. I’m just trying to be available, that’s the best thing I can say.”
Q: You played a little bit last season. Why do you think you weren’t as productive as you wanted to be?
HAMMOND JR.: “Just work, I just needed to work. Just details, little things, just getting better.”
Q:Do you have any new responsibilities on special teams?
HAMMOND JR.: “There are always news responsibilities. You never know what’s going to pop up or where they may need you, so like I said before, I’m just trying to be available whether they need me to play gunner or inside on punt team, returner, wherever they need me, I’m just trying to learn a little bit of everything because you never know somewhere down the line, you may need to play that role, so I’m just making sure I’m available so when they need me I’ll be ready to go.”
Q:How valuable was the experience you got last year?
HAMMOND JR.: “The experience last year was really valuable. To just get that year under my belt and kind of see what it’s like and to just see how the game is and how fast the game is, and how things move Sundays. It was a great experience and now it’s just detailing it and making sure I do things the right way.”
Q:How fierce is the competition right now at wide receiver?
HAMMOND JR.: “It’s competition. Like I said, it’s going to bring the best out of us, each and every one of us. So that’s why we’re out here for OTA’s just putting in work and just competing.”
Q:What is it like working with the new wide receivers in the group as opposed to last year?
HAMMOND JR.: “There’s really isn’t any difference. We all come in and we all treat everybody like family. If somebody needs help or there is a little nuance that can help somebody get better, whether if it’s a rookie to Kenny Cook to (Jeremy) Maclin. We’re all here to help each other out, we’re on the sidelines, we see this, we see that, can we do this, can we do that, so just trying to help each other out and keep being a competitor at the same time.”
Q:Does Maclin answer questions or is he the one asking questions?
HAMMOND JR.: “I would probably say he is doing a little more answering because he has been in this offense before. With him being in it (before), he knows a little bit more and can get a little deeper into the offense so he’s helped out pretty much all of us as far as little detail.”
S SANDERS COMMINGS
Q:How did you deal with the mental part after getting injured in two consecutive seasons?
COMMINGS: “It’s tough, but God has a plan for everybody. I guess that was just part of his plan for me.”
Q:What do you feel you can still bring this football team?
COMMINGS: “I’m here to just contribute, give my all and help wherever I can. I’m here to fight my way onto this team and, like I said, just help wherever I can.”
Q:When you got hurt in camp last year, did you know immediately that it was bad?
COMMINGS: “You never know until the doctors tell you what it is.”
Q:Did you hear a pop or anything when it happened?
COMMINGS: “I really don’t even remember it. I forgot all about that.”
Q:What kind of words did Al Harris and Emmitt Thomas give you when you were put on IR?
COMMINGS: “They were very helpful, very positive. They just told me to stay up, keep my head in the game and be a part of the team as much as I can.”
Q:How close do you feel you are to being full strength?
COMMINGS: “I’m feeling great and I’m ready to go.”
Q:Have you gone back and watched the video of the play you got hurt on?
COMMINGS: “Yeah, I saw it last year. It wasn’t that bad, I’m fine now.”
Q:I don’t mean to make light of an injury, but that was a heck of a move by Jamaal Charles on that play.
COMMINGS: “Yeah, yeah it was. He’s one of the top running backs in the league.”
Q:Did he say anything to you?
COMMINGS: “Everybody was encouraging. Jamaal, kickers, long-snappers, everybody.”
Q:How hard is it to get the mental trust back after getting hurt in two consecutive preseasons, do you trust your body?
COMMINGS: “Yeah; you know, I’m not holding back. My position, DBs have to have a short memory. Those injuries are things of the past.”
Q:Do you feel like you still have that range in you?
COMMINGS: “Yeah, definitely. I honestly feel faster now than I was. I’ve lost about 10-15 pounds this past offseason just changing my diet. I’m feeling pretty good out there now.”
Q:Did you every think you would get down to 206 or 207 pounds again?
COMMINGS: “I didn’t. But, like I said, I just changed my diet.”
Q:What keeps you going when you have that much downtime with injuries?
COMMINGS: “It’s been a dream of mine to be a professional athlete since I was a little boy. That’s really what keeps me going, trying to live out this dream.”
Q:How do you think playing at 206 is going to benefit you as a football player?
COMMINGS: “I think I’ll be quicker, faster and more agile.”
Q:Were you working out with Strength and Conditioning Coach Barry Rubin in the offseason, is that how you got your weight down?
COMMINGS: “Really, the main thing was my diet. I’ve always worked out.”
Q:Since you’ve been injured, how have you been mentally maintaining the playbook?
COMMINGS: “Even though I’m hurt, I still went to meetings, I still went over all the plays and prepared as if I was playing in the game.”
Q:What do you feel like you’re out here trying to prove, do you feel like you have a lot to prove?
COMMINGS: “I feel like I had as much to prove as I did my rookie year. I’m just out here to compete and fight my way on the team and on the field.”
TE JAMES O’SHAUGHNESSY
Q:How has your first month of NFL life been?
O’SHAUGHNESSY: “It’s going pretty well so far. It seems things are progressing in the right direction. Still have got a lot to learn, a lot to do, but it’s very exciting and I’m enjoying every second of it.”
Q:Are you surprised at how much work you are getting with that first group?
O’SHAUGHNESSY: “I guess you can say surprised or more very happy with the fact that I get the opportunity to work with the number ones. Going against the number one defense really gives you a clear idea of what you’re going to face every Sunday, so I guess you could say surprised.”
Q:Do you have any idea of what you think a good role for you would be or what you can handle at least early in the season?
O’SHAUGHNESSY: “Currently I try not to think of that. I think I need to take it day by day. Like I said, I think I’ve got a lot to learn and we haven’t even put the pads on. It’s not really clear what I’m going to be able to handle just yet but my main focus right now is to learn the offense to the best of my ability, try to find a role. I know that I will do my best on special teams and I will do whatever they ask me on offense, so I’m just trying to make sure I take everything day by day.”
Q:Did you expect to get drafted?
O’SHAUGHNESSY: “To be honest, no. Going into my senior year, I didn’t have much preseason recognition and I think when the season ended I was listed as a tryout guy, but I was very fortunate that I worked my butt off to finish up the year properly with the whole team and made sure I did well at the pro day.”
Q:What is your impression of this offense?
O’SHAUGHNESSY: “It’s really interesting to learn. You think you know football, but to be honest I didn’t know anything about football. Now leaning all of the complexities of this offense, you really get to learn the game inside and out from every position, learning every defense and how it changes with what play you’re running. It’s pretty interesting.”
Q:Do you have to comprehend everything that the defense is doing as a tight end?
O’SHAUGHNESSY: “Without a doubt. It’s difficult to tell you the truth. That has been the most difficult thing, recognizing defensive fronts and coverages and being able to handle that, but it is extremely interesting to learn. I love going back and telling people who I played college football with and talking ball with them and knowing that now I know all of this little extra stuff. It’s fun.”
Q:What is it like knowing that if you and the quarterback aren’t on the same page then it could lead to an easy interception?
O’SHAUGHNESSY: “It’s the game of football. Now it’s just on a little bit of a higher level, but it’s not necessarily something that I haven’t faced, but now it’s just a little bit more upscale. I’m not overthinking it or anything like that. You’ve just got to come out here and do your assignment to the best of your ability and make sure you make the play when the opportunity comes.”
Q:Does the way the National Championship Game (Division I-AA) ended last year still sting a little bit for you?
O’SHAUGHNESSY: “Yeah, it’s something that I’ll never forget. I’ve got to give the opposing team a lot of credit. They won the game; they beat us in the last 1:30. We did a heck of a job to get there and had a chance to win, but we didn’t because we didn’t execute at the end. It’s something that stings, but now it’s come to pass and now I’m on a new team. I kind of look back at it as a fond memory to what that season meant to our school and our program. I’m not necessarily passed the whole loss yet, but I’m getting there.”
Q:Has it hit you at all how far you’ve come and that you’re on the field with players like Travis Kelce and Jamaal Charles?
O’SHAUGHNESSY: “Yeah, after the first two weeks. The first couple days it kind of hit me smack in the face. But the last two weeks it’s started to really sink it in that I’m a part of this team and I can compete at this level and play with some of the great guys that I’ve been watching the past six, seven years. To play on the same field as Travis Kelce and Jamaal Charles and Alex Smith is unbelievable to me. It’s even more unbelievable the fact that I’ve got to block Tamba Hali, (Allen) Bailey, and getting covered by DJ (Derrick Johnson), so it’s been a lot of fun and it’s something that I’ve really enjoyed the fact that I got this opportunity.”
HEAD ATHLETIC TRAINER RICK BURKHOLDER
BURKHOLDER: “I just wanted to give you an update from yesterday. You guys saw De’Vante Bausby go down yesterday down here in one of the corners. He unfortunately fractured his clavicle. We did x-rays, CT scans, and that’s been diagnosed. He’ll see Dr. (Cris) Barnthouse on Monday and we’ll decide what his course of treatment is then. For right now, for the rest of the OTAs and minicamp, he’ll just be inside with me. Probably when we get to training camp, we’ll give you an update.”
LB JOSH MAUGA
Q:Where did you spend this offseason working out?
MAUGA: “Back home in Reno, Nevada.”
Q:Was there anything specific you were concentrating on during your workouts this offseason?
MAUGA: “Yeah, my strength and my speed. I didn’t really get that last year coming off the injury. I focused on my strength, mostly.”
Q:How much did you pay attention to the conditioning aspect this offseason as opposed to weight lifting?
MAUGA: “A lot, actually. Just having the experience from last year coming straight into training camp, it was a little tough trying to get through those practices. This past year I was healthy, so I was able to focus on the conditioning and the strength training to prepare me for this year.”
Q:How important was that, going through last season without any major injuries?
MAUGA: “Very important, I’ve been plagued by injuries the last couple years. It’s just awesome that I can finally get over that hump and start playing.”
Q:What about playing next to Derrick Johnson the first week you were out there with him during OTAs?
MAUGA: “It’s great to have DJ, he’s like that big brother in our room. To have him out there, he’s our leader, a great player who makes plays all over the field. He brings a lot of energy to that defense.”
Q:Can you get an idea of what the potential of the team is this early and how things are coming together?
MAUGA: “It’s coming together great, it’s a great atmosphere right now. A lot of competition going on on both sides of the ball. Guys are just having fun, there hasn’t been many mistakes out there, guys are learning quickly. We’re excited for this year.”
Q:Is this where chemistry is built before camp?
MAUGA: “Absolutely, these are the tough times right here when you have to grind. We just lean on one another to push through it and that’s how we build our team.”
Q:The second time around, do you feel more comfortable now than a year ago?
MAUGA: “Absolutely, I feel like I got the rust off from last year. This year I was able to come in and have a smooth flow going into the offseason.”
Q:What makes it more comfortable?
MAUGA: “Just knowing my assignments and having the feel out there. It’s a lot different when you know the playbook and then when you get out there and the bullets are flying, it’s a lot tougher with the speed of the game added to it. That part of it has helped me out a lot.”
Q:What has the road been like from getting the call during training camp and now being one of the veterans?
MAUGA: “I’m just really excited that I get to have an offseason. I didn’t get a chance to work with these guys last year and I have this opportunity to work with them now. It’s been going great and I’m looking forward to it.”
Q:What’s the added benefit that comes from that?
MAUGA: “Just the feel of being around the team, that chemistry, I didn’t really get that last year until the season started. Being around these guys, I get to know them better and communicate with them better.”
Q:What are some of your early impressions on the rookies, Ramik Wilson and D.J. Alexander?
MAUGA: “They look great, these guys come in and work hard every day, asking a lot of questions which is great – because we don’t want them out there not knowing what they’re doing. They’ve been flying around making plays for us.”
WR CHRIS CONLEY
Q:Is this hot, even for you?
CONLEY: “I think there’s an acclimation period for everyone. I’m from the south, so we have hot days like this. It’s just a little bit different being in Kansas City.”
Q:What has the experience been like on the field?
CONLEY: “It’s a learning experience, a huge learning experience. Things are flying at 100 miles an hour. Once again, the rookies, we haven’t had a moment to think and rest since last July, really. Now it’s just a whirlwind of information. Right now we’re having to compete, having to show what we can do and make good impressions. It’s been great, it’s been fun, loving it here in Kansas City, just continuing to work to try and get better.”
Q:Have you been able to show a little more than you may have anticipated?
CONLEY: “I hope so. I have high expectations for myself. Every rep is important here, every single thing counts. Everything is a job interview, it doesn’t matter if it’s a run play that’s going away from you, what you do on the backside is important. There’s a lot of attention to detail here.”
Q:Are you enjoying that part?
CONLEY: “I’m really enjoying working with Coach (Dave) Toub on special teams, returning kicks has been exhilarating. I didn’t get the chance to do that at Georgia – that’s also a huge learning experience and learning curve. After you catch the ball, it just comes down to being an athlete. I’m really enjoying it and hoping to get better at that as well.”
Q:Did you work on that at all in practice at college?
CONLEY: “I did work on it in college, I just really didn’t do it that much in games.”
Q:Why did you not do it in games?
CONLEY: “We had some really talented guys back there. And they tended to like to go with the smaller scat back types.”
Q:Is the terminology the hard part so far as a rookie?
CONLEY: “That’s not difficult when you’re inside and it’s the first play on a drive and there’s air conditioning. Once you get out here and bullets are flying, it’s hot and it’s hard to think, then it becomes difficult, you have to pay attention. It gets really hard when there’s a long play being called and there is certain tags and words that speak to you, you have to pay attention a lot. Most definitely the most difficult part is translating those things into the plays. Every single play moves and changes after the defense does.”
Q:Do you think this offense is going to highlight what you do well?
CONLEY: “Yeah, I think so. I think that I’m made for an offense like this. I believe that the coaching I’m getting from Coach (David) Culley, I’m getting better as a player. That’s really one of the important things in this offense, you have to be able to do everything as a receiver. I’m feeling like I’m getting better at that. Right now I’m trying to keep my head down and keep grinding.”
Q: Is this the time where you form the connection with the quarterback, or does that come in training camp?
CONLEY: “(It starts) day one. As soon as you come in and you meet the quarterback, that’s when the connection really starts to live. You have to show that you’re a professional, you have to show that you’re here to work, you have to show that you’re about business and that you’re going to get things right. If the quarterback comes back and has a correction, you fix it that day. You don’t make that mistake again. There’s a lot going on, so you might make mistakes multiple times, but every time you get told about it, you fix it. It’s just creating that rapport with the quarterback to the point where he can trust you.”
Q:At this point do you tell him what you do well or does he tell you what he wants?
CONLEY: “At this point, they’re telling you what they want. That’s why you come here. You’re in the National Football League, you do what you’re asked to do. If you’re not that good at it, you work on it until you’re great at it. That’s really what being a receiver in this league is about, it’s being well-rounded and being a player who can make all of those plays.”
Q:What have you learned from watching Avant and Maclin?
CONLEY: “How to be a professional. How to go about your business, how to be efficient with your reps. That’s a really big deal here, because being healthy is very important. You take a lot of reps, you run a lot. Taking care of your legs while also being explosive and clean in and out of your breaks is really hard to do. Being able to learn from those guys has been invaluable. Every single rep that they take, I watch.”
Q:How much does it help having Aaron Murray here?
CONLEY: “It helps tremendously. It helps because Aaron knows how I work, Aaron knows how I think, he’s able to ease that transition a little more. If there’s a question I can’t get answered by Coach Culley or by someone else who’s in that huddle, then I can go after practice and sit with Aaron and ask those questions. He’s been here, he knows the answers. Being able to work with somebody like that – there’s constant information coming everywhere – but having someone who knows you eases the transfer of information.”
Q:Is Aaron Murray different than he was at Georgia?
CONLEY: “For sure, there’s more maturity from him. Even Aaron is still learning things about this offense. When Aaron was at Georgia, he knew everything there was. This offense is so big and grand and every year wrinkles are added. Aaron is still evolving as a quarterback and I think he’s light-years better than he was.”
Q:Does this remind you at all of your transition into college?
CONLEY: “To an extent it reminds you of coming into college. But this is completely different. Going into college, you don’t know if you can play football or not. Coming here, you know that you can play football. It’s learning how to play football on a different stage, on a different level with more pressure and learning how to play and be adaptive in different ways. There’s another tier of learning, and it comes at you so much faster. In college, they kind of ease you into things and they allow you to accept the transition as it comes. Here, they throw you in the fire, they throw you straight in there and they want to see who rises up.”
OL LAURENT DUVERNAY-TARDIF
Q:What is it like being back in the swing of things?
DUVERNAY-TARDIF: “I love it. It’s good to be back.”
Q:Is this a time where team chemistry is built?
DUVERNAY-TARDIF: “I think we’re building a lot of chemistry right now actually. With the new guys we learn to get to know each other, we learn how to play with each other, and there is a lot of rotation in the lineup, so you get to play with a bunch of different guys. It’s good to learn how to play with those guys and build team spirit.”
Q:What do you think of the potential for the offensive line this year?
DUVERNAY-TARDIF: “There are a bunch of new guys in and the competition is going to be really high this year. I think when you have competition, everyone is getting better and everyone is improving. I am looking forward for training camp to compete against my teammates and against everybody.”
Q:Could it be the most competitive group in training camp?
DUVERNAY-TARDIF: “I think everybody is going to work as hard as they can and everyone is going to try and compete for a job. I’m not playing any other position, so I cannot tell.”
Q:What do you think you have improved upon the most since last season?
DUVERNAY-TARDIF: “I think just my fundamental learning against this type of front, how to step up, how to make the proper adjustment, how to do the proper footwork. I think after watching a lot of film, I improved a lot on that side.”
Q:What can you learn playing alongside Ben Grubbs?
DUVERNAY-TARDIF: “Everything, everything. And he is a great guy. It is easy to talk to him and to get some (questions). It’s really helpful for me to go to him and ask him little tricks, little detail and he is always willing to share that knowledge, so that’s pretty cool from him.”
Q:Is it hard to build chemistry along that offensive line when you are moving guys in and out so often?
DUVERNAY-TARDIF: “Yeah, of course, but I think this is the time of year where you need to work on that and to get used to playing with a bunch of different guys and to learn the little detail of everybody’s footwork and everybody’s play.”
Q:Do we call you doctor now?
DUVERNAY-TARDIF: “Not yet, but almost. I was back in Montreal during the offseason. I did four months of medical school back there, and I have four months left before getting my M.D.”
Q:It seems like you like a lot of training whether it comes to football or medicine. How hard is that?
DUVERNAY-TARDIF: “When you have two passions, you don’t count the hours and you just work as hard as you need to. I love being in med school, I love being here and playing, and the good thing now is I when I am here, I can focus 100% on football and I don’t care about med school. When I was back in college, I had to do both at the same time, so I think it’s a good thing now that I am able to focus on football and I really enjoy it.”
RB KNILE DAVIS
Q:What’s the biggest thing you’ve seen from Charcandrick West from this year to last year?
DAVIS: “He’s learning the playbook. You can tell it’s slowing down for him. Kind of like myself in my year two, he’s more confident with the playbook. He’s playing faster, he’s looking good.”
Q:How much are you in his ear helping to develop him?
DAVIS: “All the time, we help each other. Cyrus (Gray), he’s rehabbing right now but he’s doing more of the talking, helping us out. We help each other, all through practice, all through the season.”
Q:What do you set as personal goals for yourself heading into the season?
DAVIS: “We have one goal, that’s to win a Super Bowl. For myself, it’s really just to stay healthy and when I get in, to take advantage of the opportunity.”
Q:What do you feel like, a veteran even though you are 23?
DAVIS: “I feel like a vet, this is going on my third year, so everything is kind of slowing down. I know what to expect, I’m comfortable, I’m having fun and enjoying my NFL career.”
WR JASON AVANT
Q:How is practice going so far?
AVANT: “Everything is going well. Getting chemistry, getting better – that’s the purpose of being out here – getting camaraderie, learning the guys, learning the system in and out.”
Q:There are a lot of familiar guys in this camp for you, right?
AVANT: “Some, with Jeremy (Maclin) and a couple other guys. Again, we’re just trying to build teamwork and camaraderie together. It’s a good time for teaching, where the coaches can teach you why we do certain things. Knowing the why behind it makes you a lot smarter player and a better player.”
Q:Is it an easier transition coming back with Coach Reid?
AVANT: “Yes and no; because, when I was in Philly, Andy wasn’t calling the plays. Here he does a lot of that. It’s seamless because I know what he expects, but at the same time, you have to get used to what he thinks about routes – it was different from (former Eagles) Coach (Marty) Mornhinweg. Both of them are great, so you just have to learn his philosophy behind things. I can basically tell you what Marty would say, every word, in a meeting. But Coach, I’m still learning.”
Q:How much do you take it upon yourself to become a mentor with the younger receivers?
AVANT: “First of all, I come out to play and lead by example. That’s the biggest thing. Again, if you are a guy that just talks and your play doesn’t back it up, guys won’t listen to you. First of all, you have to lead by example. What happens is, when you lead by example, it gives you the ability and the right and the platform to speak. A lot of times, the guys just come up and ask me stuff, most of the time, because you do it right all the time. Coach will say this is how you do it, or a guy is turned around while you’re running a route and they will say ‘how did you do that?’ We have a lot of guys that are hungry to learn and that’s good and those guys listen and take advice. We don’t have any arrogant guys, so it’s always good. If you’re humble, you’ll be able to learn.”
Q:What’s the biggest difference you see in Alex Smith as opposed to other quarterbacks you have played with in the past?
AVANT: “I would say timing. Alex is always trying to get the ball out of his hands quicker, so you have to be on his time. That’s one of the biggest things, the timing is a lot different. Every quarterback is different, but Alex is one of those guys that wants it out at a certain time. If you have man-to-man and the route normally times out at 10-yards, he’s still going to throw it like it’s in the air, so you have to know that you can only get eight (yards) now. All of those little things, so I’d say that’s the biggest thing, which is a good thing.”
Q:How long does it take you to pick up on things like that?
AVANT: “You just have to get hit in the back of the head one time with the football and you should be good. One thing that is different for Alex is he has a great receiver-quarterback relationship, where he gives the receivers a platform to speak to him and tell him what they like. It’s a constant dialogue about what each guy is thinking – that’s always good. There’s no ambiguity when you go out on the field, you know what you have to do. He cuts out all the gray area so you can go and execute your job.”
Q:What’s your initial impression of Chris Conley?
AVANT: “He can play, he can play some football. Real fast guy, he has to learn the little small things at this stage. Those are the big things from graduating to the next level. He has the potential to be really, really good.”
Q:What’s the difference between Jeremy Maclin when he was learning the little small things and now?
AVANT: “It’s the same thing. Learning (route) stems, learning releases, when to burst, when not to burst, when to do an outside release and when not to do a release move. All of those little things, those things are the difference between first downs and touchdowns and all of those types of things. Being on the quarterback’s time, because they’re getting a group of plays and the play says run 20 yards and make a left on a sheet of paper, but it’s not always that simple – sometimes it’s 16, sometimes it 18, sometimes you can delay in the middle of it. All of those types of things to get open.”
CB PHILLIP GAINES
Q:How much of a difference do you see from last year to this year?
GAINES: “It’s a big difference. Just from pure confidence. Last year, you’re coming in and seeing all these players you’ve never seen before, never played with before. You’re not playing as fast as you usually do. Now that I got some playing time and saw how things move, I have a lot more confidence so I can play a lot faster.”
Q:Where is your weight at now?
GAINES: “I was 182 (last year), I’m right around 190, I’m about 188.”
Q:Where did you work out during the offseason?
GAINES: “I was here, I came back and (strength and conditioning) Coach (Barry) Rubin did a great job – he and the strength staff. I just grinded it out here so I could get ready for offseason workouts.”
Q:How much time did you spend in the film room?
GAINES: “A whole lot. Anytime you can watch film and learn tendencies and stuff like that, you’re going to increase your play speed. Once you focus on that and get everything working, you could be a good player.”
Q:There were games you missed last year with an injury or illness, how frustrating was that for you?
GAINES: “It was very frustrating because you always want to be out on the field. It sucked to be on the sideline, but I was helping out the teammates, telling them, when they came to the sideline, anything I saw. The next man up mentality, we have a great set of DBs, anybody can come in and play.”
Q:When the team drafts somebody at your position, is that an extra offseason motivator?
GAINES: “Not really, anytime you’re out there, you’re trying to solidify your position anyway, regardless of it’s a first-rounder or seventh-rounder. If the seventh-rounder beats me out, then the best player is going to play. It’s all about putting your best work out there and seeing what happens.”
Q:Without the pads being on, as a defensive back, how much work can you get done out here?
GAINES: “Really a lot. Pads for the outside guys are just protection because we can’t be too physical, but for five yards. It’s really about getting your feet in the right position, your hands, eyes and just playing the ball when it’s in the air.”
Q:How big is it for the young guys to show they can help out and make an impact on special teams?
GAINES: “It’s huge. Coming from college, usually the guys aren’t on special teams any more after their freshman year, so you kind of forget about how important it is. Then when you’re out there, Coach Toub does a really good job of getting everyone going and making them realize that it is important. One of the biggest plays in my short career so far is special teams and that’s what got me going. It’s definitely a big thing.”
Q:How much pride do you take in playing the nickel?
GAINES: “It’s definitely a lot different from corner, but if the coaches ask me to play it, then I’m going to have to pick it up and play it. There aren’t a lot of opportunities to get on the field, it’s hard to get out there, so any chance that you can.”
Q:When you’re in the box shedding blocks, what is it like having those big guys coming at you at times?
GAINES: “You have to have your head on a swivel, you have to attack them in ways that can work to your advantage. I’m not going in there trying to blow up any linemen or anything, but I’m going to do my job and hope for the best.”
Q:Is 188 where you want to stay, or do you see yourself putting on more?
GAINES: “I’ll probably stay in between 188 up to 193.”
Q:Who has been your favorite receiver to match up against?
GAINES: “I really like Albert (Wilson). He’s a really hard cover. He’s short but he’s really fast and explosive. He can get in and out of his breaks really quick. You have a little bit of everything when you cover him. I really like guarding him.”
Q:Now that you have been in the system for a year, how much responsibility do you take in helping the younger guys are in the same position you were in last year?
GAINES: “It’s a big responsibility. When you’re coming in trying to learn, the coaches might explain it one way, but the players might be able to simplify it even more. I’ll always try to make it as simple as possible and let them know you don’t have to overthink it, it’s just this instead of making it something that’s really big. I’ll definitely be ready to help them out.”
Q:How much is Sean Smith in your ear?
GAINES: “He’s huge. He’s an amazing player, he’s one of the best corners in the league. His frame, his intellect on the field is really, really good, it allows him to excel. He can play off and read the quarterback. When he’s up pressing, his arms are really long, so it’s hard to get around him. And he’s a really big body, so he brings a lot to the table.”
KANSAS CITY, MO (June 8, 2015)— The Kansas City Royals have selected Ashe Russell, a right-handed pitcher from Cathedral Catholic High School in Indianapolis, with the 21st overall pick of the June Free Agent Draft. Russell was one of four prospects invited to attend the draft this evening.
Russell, 18, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound hurler, was 5-1 with a 1.02 ERA and 67 strikeouts to just nine walks in 41.0 innings as a senior. The two-time Gatorade Player of the Year in Indiana has committed collegiately to Texas A&M University.