1. So what's an Andy Reid training camp like?
Tough. Really tough. Everything I read indicates the KC Chiefs are going back to the 'ol days of those Todd Haley training camps, the ones that are very hard on the players. Pads and hitting as soon as the CBA allows. The more you work and the more you struggle now, the more doors you open the down the line ... that's the thinking here. Or at least I think it is.
Here's what Reid said in June of 2012, after the Eagles minicamp:
"This is going to be a tough training camp for them. I've talked to the team about that. It's going to be a demanding training camp, and from now until we get up there, they need to keep themselves in the shape that they're in right now."
I'm not sure why it would be any different for KC. Expect a tough camp.
2. Joel, will training camp be tough for you?
You're damn right it will. I've been training all summer for this.
I sit in the same chair for up to an hour at a time to prepare for the hour-long car ride up to St. Joe. Sometimes I walk around the block to prep myself for the near three block walk from the football complex parking lot to the practice fields. I have been eating junk food regularly, just like the stuff they have at that gas station right off I-29 in St. Joe. You can find me around town practicing taking pictures with my phone, tweeting while on the run and typing 100-plus words a minute.
It's a battle out there but ... well, I'll let Rudy finish that sentence.
3. What are the best position battles?
I'm not ready quite yet to pick my favorite or most anticipated position battle but the Chiefs do have a few good ones. Inside linebacker, of course, is one that features the vet (Akeem Jordan) against the rookie (Nico Johnson), which is always fun. Left guard should be a solid battle between Geoff Schwartz and Jeff Allen. Either way, the Chiefs are winners in that one because the other player will remain as a reserve. The competition at cornerback, between Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson, will be fun, too. I have no clue who will end up being the second safety next to Eric Berry. The second receiver battle is up there for the most important as is tight end.
There are some fun position battles to keep an eye on this camp. We will, of course, be covering those positions extra closely.
4. 8:15 a.m. practices vs. 3:30 p.m. practices
That's the key difference in training camp this year. Last year most of the practices were held in the afternoon; this year all but one will be held at 8:15 a.m.
From my perspective, as someone covering the team, I like this change. It's sooo much cooler in the mornings than the afternoon. (Even then, I just walked our dogs -- before 7:00 a.m. -- and I was sweating a little.) Practice will be over mid-morning and we'll have the rest of the day to report and talk about what we saw out there.
From the fans perspective, it kinda sucks. I know camp is not done for fans but last season I knew of a number of Chiefs fans would take an afternoon off to drive up to St. Joe and watch practice. Not this year. I suspect the fan attendance at camp will be down this year.
For those of you reading about camp here at AP, I think this is a good change for you. Previously our camp stories would be coming in around 7:00 p.m., after practice and the media sessions and all that in the afternoons. Now you can expect those stories before noon. The important part here is that you read us while you're at work. What, your boss expects you to work ALL day?
5. Don't expect Andy Reid to share lots of information
Everything we've seen and everything we've been told suggests Andy Reid likes to keep his information close to the vest. I don't expect daily updates on position battles and who's stock is up or down. I just don't see that happening. I expect a lot more generalities, lots of compliments and things like that.
There are always nuggets of information to glean but it won't be so obvious.
So before you get frustrated at Andy Reid a week into camp, just remember that we knew this. We knew he wouldn't be sharing lots of inside information.
6. Who's an exciting player to watch this camp? Who stands out?
Offensively, Dexter McCluster, obviously. Every year I fall in love with him during training camp. Same with Jon Baldwin. Prepare to see me declare Jon Baldwin the world's greatest receiver at some point in August. Training camp practices are also probably an ideal environment for Alex Smith to shine.
One offensive player I really want to see get some snaps is Devon Wylie.
Defensively, Eric Berry always looks sharp. Same with Brandon Flowers. Arguably the best part of camp is the receivers going up against the defensive backs in one-on-ones. So competitive, so fun. Flowers shines there, despite being just 5'9.
One defensive player I'm keeping my eye on is Sanders Commings. He may not start but there are so many undecided parts of that safety position that I wouldn't rule it out to see him have a role this season.
7. Will the Chiefs rookies be getting hazed at training camp?
I remember Dwayne Bowe's rookie year, 2007, the vets tied him up to the goal post along with a few others. This of course was the Hard Knocks year so it was all caught on camera.
A very funny moment.
Will that happen with this year's rookies?
No it will not. At least probably not. Based on Reid's past history, there won't be any rookie hazing going on. I was reading through this old piece from Bleeding Green Nation. Back in August 2012 Reid was quoted as saying:
"These guys are men. This is their profession. In today's football, those rookies need to play. I don't need them looking over their shoulder at things. They need to get in and learn football, not learn their song of their alma mater. I don't need that."
So there's that. Hazing probably not happening. And hazing seems to be a thing that's being phased out of the general public anyway so perhaps it's for the best...