While the Chiefs actually prepared and did some game-planning for Saturday night's game by practicing against the Steelers' schemes, right down to the kicking game, it's still going to be basic football 101. Reid and defensive coordinator Bob Sutton will keep the frills and flourishes tucked inside the playbook until the Sept. 8 regular-season opener at Jacksonville.
"We're going to keep it as simple as we can, but still work on our execution," Reid said after the club wrapped up preparation on Thursday. "It's a long season ... I don't think anybody in the league goes out and shows everything they've got.
"But at the same time, you want to make sure you execute well, and I'm sure Pittsburgh feels the same way."
Chiefs Wrap Up Practice, Talk Steelers Game from The Mothership
The roughly two-hour practice was once again orchestrated on-cue, focused on error correction and overall improvement. Walking off the field, coach Reid later addressed the media with the latest injury updates, as well as an evaluation of the day's work.
"All in all, it was a good week in practice," coach Reid said. "The guys worked hard. We tried to keep it as much like in-season as we could, within the rules, as far as the format went. Again, they worked hard and did a nice job. Most of our prep is towards something relative to what Pittsburgh does, although we did a couple of things separately."
Chiefs' McCluster Leaves Practice Due To Illness from KC Star
NFL teams will have to cut their rosters from 90 players to 75 next Tuesday, and the Chiefs' brass is already huddling in anticipation of deciding who will be let go and who will survive for another week. The final cutdown to 53 players will be on Aug. 31.
Coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey evaluated players on Thursday afternoon, and Reid said, "as we get closer, we'll start narrowing it down. Games are important ... we'll see how players come out of this game ... how they execute. They're being evaluated every day, every play ... the games are a part of it.
KCChiefs.com Video: Andy Reid: 'Every Snap Is An Important Snap'
KCChiefs.com Video: Albert: 'Steelers Are A Good Test For Us'
KCChiefs.com Photo Gallery: A Look Into Wednesday's Practice
This was a play designed by new Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub, back in 2011 when he was with the Bears. It is a shame the return didn't count, nullified by a penalty, because it's a gorgeous mix of genius and guts and playfulness.
Whenever I think of Toub, as I did reading Randy Covitz's story the other day, I usually think of that play. I would LOVE to see Toub do something similar here in Kansas City, but we're also aware that opposing teams can also type "greatest punt return ever" into Google and will plan accordingly.
Those are usually the reasons that get the most attention. That's partly because those were the most obvious failures, and partly because the GM became a soap opera and we always tend to obsess over quarterbacks and coaches.
But if you close your eyes and imagine a world where the Chiefs were adequate in those three areas, your imagined world would still include a very bad Chiefs team because the defense stunk.
And inside that locker room is the core group of players left from a 2-14 debacle, surrounded by all that free agency, the trading block and the 2013 NFL Draft brought. And they are starving for some success.
"I believe we have added talent, depth," Dorsey told me. "We've added the belief system within that locker room."
The makeover isn't complete. But Kansas City likes where it's headed. Here are five things I learned in my day with the Chiefs:
Amid the chatter, Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton told his players to stop whining about player safety rules and adapt, USA Today.com reported.
"You can complain all you want, (but) you better adjust," the Kansas City Chiefs' defensive coordinator said on Wednesday, "because that's how the game's getting called."
Chiefs GM: 'It's Time' For A.J. Jenkins To 'Contribute' from USA Today
"I find it interesting in this whole paradigm - everyone goes, 'OK, who won this deal? Who won this deal?'" Dorsey said. "You know who won this deal? Both kids won this deal, OK? They got a fresh start. They're both 23, 24 years old. Sometimes change is good."
NFL 2013: Big Chief In Charge Andy Reid Sinks Teeth Into Rebuilding Kansas City from The Associated Press via FOX News
The big Chief with that familiar, bushy mustache leans over it in his office, clasping his hands in front of him. He thinks about the question hanging in the air - "What will it take to rebuild this once-proud franchise?" He then looks at the mess of paper, no doubt buried in there the blueprint that he's been following since arriving in Kansas City on a cold January day.
"I'd probably tell you this," the Chiefs coach says, pausing to choose his words carefully. "It's taken the same type of attitude we had in Philadelphia. The guys have worked hard, and the guys back then worked hard, too, at the Eagles. I would tell you that's a similarity."
That's not where the similarities end, though. That's only a start.
Chiefs Vs. Steelers Primer: Thanking Haley from Warpaint Illustrated
So as we come back to the present, Chiefs fans should always use the Haley era as a barometer of what can go wrong within an organization that doesn't have a strong presence on the sideline to calm the icy waters of running an NFL team on the field of battle.
To date though, Reid's team has lost both of its exhibition games but you can't tell me there isn't more talent, better coaching and at least a quiet expectation for optimism in 2013. And when you consider the apathy that settled in a year ago has completely run its course, it's quite remarkable, without playing a regular season game, what Reid has already accomplished in Kansas City.
After signing autographs for what seemed like an hour, Dwayne Bowe finally walked up the long grassy hill toward the locker room, still smiling after a hard, hot practice.
This is the wide receiver that everyone used to call "moody?" The guy branded as aloof, or worse, early in his career with the Kansas City Chiefs? The guy who became disgruntled when he didn't get the ball or was a distraction in the locker room, earning a reputation as an immature diva that certainly seemed to fit?
Nope, not anymore. These days, Bowe is all smiles.
Third Down: Steelers Storylines Vs. Chiefs from The Ellwood City Ledger
The Steelers return home Saturday night to face the 0-2 Kansas City Chiefs at Heinz Field. "We're still looking for our first victory and even though it's preseason, that's important to us and significant, obviously," coach Mike Tomlin said Thursday. "We step into stadiums with the intent of winning and we haven't done that yet, so there's a little edge to our preparation this week." Today, Times NFL correspondent Ron Musselman gives you his three biggest storylines:
Latest Mid-American Sports from The Associated Press via KMOV
Alex Smith might as well have been playing Paul Newman's part from the seminal 1967 film "Cool Hand Luke" after the Kansas City Chiefs struggled in a preseason loss to San Francisco.
You know the line where Newman says, "What we've got here is a failure to communicate."
Smith and his wide receivers weren't on the same page. The offensive line might just as well have been speaking another language given the seven sacks they allowed. The entire unit never put together a sustained drive, the Chiefs' lone touchdown coming on special teams.
Poe started all 16 games as a rookie in 2012, but he failed to register a single sack; he seemed to be more of a run stuffer than anything. This year, he's lost weight -- he stopped eating barbecue, which is a tough thing to do when you live in Memphis and work in Kansas City -- and looks much better. He's still 330 pounds, but it's a svelte-looking 330 pounds. I was with the Chiefs for two days this offseason, and I saw Poe show very good athletic ability, particularly on one play in which he snagged a batted ball like Bill Russell going up for a rebound. I think he finally found out how good he can be.