Chiefs Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo Quotes
July 31, 2023
OPENING STATEMENT: “Good to have gotten practice in outdoors, we thought we were going to be inside there for a little bit. Nothing to add; I’ll just open it up.”
Q: How does the versatility of Drue Tranquill help the defense?
SPAGNUOLO: “Yeah, it’s nice to have guys like that, that can do more than one thing. He’s played – right now he’s playing, he’s played all three base linebacker positions, and then he’s been in the sub-package when he’s been in with Nick (Bolton), plus he’s been in there with the mike with one of the other linebackers. That helps us a lot – listen it’s all new to him as far as the verbiage and the system so it tells you that he’s pretty intelligent if he’s playing in that many spots this early.”
Q: On the progress of Felix Anudike-Uzomah.
SPAGNUOLO: “I think Felix (Anudike-Uzomah) is climbing, I really do. I mean look (at) it, we all know he didn’t get a lot of – you know didn’t do anything in the offseason here and that set him back. I thought he was a little rusty and struggled early. (Chiefs Defensive Line Coach) Joe (Cullen) and I both, as you watch one-on-ones you watch the team periods, he’s flashing now which is a good thing. There’s a lot of – there’s still a curve there right, the learning curve, I think he’s doing pretty good right now yeah.”
Q: What have you seen from Malik Herring?
SPAGNUOLO: “Oh yeah today he played – you know he’s playing a number of positions, we talk about Drue (Tranquill) being in different spots, if you look out there Malik (Herring) is in a lot of different spots too in different packages. Here’s a guy that’s been here for a number of years, so he’s heard it, so from the mental part he’s much further ahead than some of the other guys.”
Q: Head Coach Andy Reid mentioned that the gaps in your zone coverage are shrinking. Do you feel that way as well?
SPAGNUOLO: “Yeah there’s tighter coverage. We’re a zone match team, I think our guys are doing a better job of that. That’s a credit to the guys in the middle that are leading it like Nick (Bolton) and Bryan Cook, they are kind of in the middle of the whole thing and then our corners are playing pretty tight. I think rep after rep after rep we get a lot of passes thrown at us here, so we better get good at it because we certainly get plenty of work.”
Chiefs Player Quotes
July 31, 2023
WR RASHEE RICE
Q: Last time we talked to you, you were with the rookies, but now you’re with the vets. How is that going for you?
RICE: “It’s going pretty good. I think OTAs have helped me be able to adjust just because you kind of have the same mentality at OTAs that we have now.”
Q: You guys recently put the pads on. How different is that for you going through this process?
RICE: “Not too much difference. I love football and you can’t play football without pads, so it’s just another part of the game.”
Q: How much does it add to your experience to be able to practice in front of fans?
RICE: “It’s pretty cool honestly. I know GEHA Field at Arrowhead, they have a huge fan base so just to see a little glimpse of it right now kind of gives me a head start to prepare for the games.”
Q: There are certain things that every quarterback prefers. What have you learned so far about Patrick Mahomes?
RICE: “He expects his receivers to be in a specific spot at a specific time. He’s going to bomb the ball so don’t look back and run, look up and run (laughter)”.
DE FELIX ANUDIKE-UZOMAH
Q: How much did not being able to participate physically in the OTAs affect you coming into training camp?
ANUDIKE-UZOMAH: “It affected me quite a bit, not going to lie. A lot of the rookies obviously had to learn technique wise and go on the field full speed and stuff like that and I had to jump back because of my injury, but now I’m in here, now I’m in training camp, training camps a great time to be – time to get your footwork down, get everything down to be ready for the preseason.”
Q: You come in as a first-round draft pick, are there expectations you feel you have to live up to?
ANUDIKE-UZOMAH: “I’m just blocking that out. At the end of the day, I’m just drafted here to play, I’m drafted here to learn, play, and learn the defense.”
Q: Is camp more a physical or mental challenge?
ANUDIKE-UZOMAH: “It’s a bit of both. Obviously, coming from college you’re not met with the same competition as people are in the NFL because those are the best of the best and are mental wise too. There’s a lot more things that I’ve learned jumping from Kansas State to here like technique wise. Plus, I was in the 3-4 (defense) and now we’re in the 4-down defense so there’s a lot more stuff, and I’m dropping back so there’s a lot of stuff that I have to learn.”
Q: Your former teammate at Kansas State, Deuce Vaughn, has been making some noise down in Dallas, have you stayed in contact with him?
ANUDIKE-UZOMAH: “Yeah, we talk almost every day. He (Cowboys RB Deuce Vaughn) just tells me about his experience with the Cowboys, I tell him my experience I have here. So yeah, we keep in contact a lot.”
LB DRUE TRANQUILL
Q: Within the new defensive system Coach Steve Spagnuolo said you are playing all three positions, how are you adjusting so far trying to get accustomed to this?
TRANQUILL: “Well man it’s an honor to be here and playing for (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Steve) Spags (Spagnuolo) and the defending champs. We just have so many great guys in that room that I’m trying to learn from each and every day. It’s certainly different from the defense I played in in LA, but football is football. You pick up on things as you go throughout your career and certainly there are things throughout my time at Notre Dame and throughout my time in the league that I have picked up on that have helped me translate and learn this defense, it’s a process nonetheless.”
Q: You said you felt valued when meeting with the Chiefs, is there something that you feel like you put on tape that the coaching staff thought you would fit well in this system?
TRANQUILL: “I mean I think my versatility as a linebacker, my ability to cover, my ability to rush, my ability to play the run and my instincts. That’s one thing you can’t teach physically, is instincts and out of any position on the defense maybe have to have the most of is linebacker when it comes to instincts. I think all of those things along with some intangibles, some leadership. I think they saw those; they affirmed those in me throughout the process. I certainly agreed with them, and it felt like this was the best place for me.”
Q: I’m sure you have had an impression of the Chiefs locker room having played them the last four years. How has that matched up to what you’ve seen now being here?
TRANQUILL: “It’s hyper competitive around here, like winning is absolutely everything. It’s kind of egos aside, winning is the ultimate goal. The picture of that Super Bowl ring is on the start of every single slide of every presentation. Whether it’s (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Steve) Spags (Spagnuolo) saying ‘hey let’s change this up schematically just to try and fool Patrick (Mahomes) to win this day of practice’ like winning is everything to them. You certainly see that with the amount of close games they win on a year in year out basis.”
Q: I know you said how difficult it was, but as a player is that something you appreciate that you are maximizing your time out here and you know you’re getting your work done so you guys can hit the ground running when the season starts?
TRANQUILL: “I think there’s something in us as human beings like when we do hard things and put that in our reservoir. We’re able to draw from that later and I think that’s what (Head Coach) Coach (Andy) Reid is all about, is about building this foundation at camp, so that when we’re in Jacksonville week two and it’s 90 degrees, 80% humidity. We’re able to draw from that well of difficult circumstances throughout training camp and apply it to those present situations.”