Some random thoughts and references to help keep you in the right state of mind while the NFL goes through the quietest time of year, then into training camp:
1) Say goodbye to the 2017 Chiefs, and hello to the new version.
I’ve made the case in the past that we have to think about each year’s team as its own entity. They may have some of the same players as 2017, but it’s not simply a continuation of last year. Enough change happens in the NFL every year that you can forget most of what you think you know about every team at the end of each season. This is especially true of the 2018 Chiefs.
This team will now feature a new franchise QB, a new offensive coordinator, and probably six or seven new defensive starters. Enjoy the memories of 2017, give them one last watch if you want, but start thinking about the 2018 Chiefs as a story that is yet to be written.
Don’t expect the 2018 Chiefs to be anything like the 2017 Chiefs.
2) Read up on the rules, dates and deadlines.
- The PUP (physically unable to perform) list is only an option if a player hasn’t practiced in training camp yet. Once they practice, it’s off the table, and the only option is active roster or Injured Reserve (or cut with an injury designation, etc.).
- There’s an active (preseason) and reserve (regular season) PUP. Active PUP players can be activated any time during camp and join practice immediately. Reserve PUP players are shut down for six weeks of the regular season, then have three weeks to be activated or they miss the remainder of the season.
- Players can return from IR, but they no longer have to be designated to return in advance. New for this year, the minimum they’ll miss on IR is 8 games, not 8 weeks.
- Waivers rules
- Practice squad rules
- Rules changes
- Important dates - Remember, there’s only 1 roster cutdown day, September 1st.
- Training camp schedule
3) Enjoy life away from football.
Spend time with your family, ignore twitter, get outdoors and enjoy your summer. Keep up on Arrowhead Pride, of course... But, otherwise, look your spouse in the eye when he or she talks, play with your kids, call your parents.
Life is short, and nothing is more important than family and friends. When training camp updates and roster moves are flying in, we may get distracted from everything else. But, eventually, we’ll regret the time we missed or ignored our family more than the time we miss or ignore Chiefs updates. Buy a hammock and relax with your family.
4) Make plans to visit St. Joe if you can.
There will be great coverage of training camp to follow. Be prepared for numerous tweets about the size of Khalil McKenzie’s legs, or Allen Bailey’s arms, or Tanoh Kpassagnon’s reach. You’ll hear about how fast Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins are, about the individual battles between linemen in drills.
But there’s nothing like being there in person. You can’t really appreciate the size and speed of some of these guys on TV or via reports. Training camp is a great experience, and I hope to see many of you there this year.
5) Remember, once camp starts, actions speak louder than words.
We hear a lot about guys being in the “best shape of their lives” and “everyone is here and working.” But, watch who gets reps and in what order. Reps are the currency of the offseason-training camp process, as the team will invest them in players they want to get a better look at or in players they expect to be a big part of their plans.
6) Watch the injury reports and who is held out of practice.
It’s all about the team getting and staying healthy. Enjoy the highlight plays, but they don’t mean as much as the development, recovery and health of the men on the roster. New Arrowhead Pride contributor Aaron Borgmann will keep us in the know going forward.
7) Watch Uncle Dave and company.
Special teams is going to be key to making the roster for somewhere north of one-third of the guys in camp. Both returner jobs are up for grabs, along with the coverage and blocking units. As camp goes along, we’ll find out who is on all four special teams units. These “core-four” guys are near locks for the final roster, even if they don’t contribute on offense or defense.
8) Beware the ‘camp conundrum’.
For every good play in practice, there’s an equal and opposite bad play. For every completed pass by Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs receivers, there is a Chiefs cornerback getting burned. Each side should win some and lose some. Don’t overreact on either side, unless the highlights are too one-sided for an extended period of time.
9) Arrowhead Pride has you covered.
Check out Arrowhead Pride Radio. Marvel in the expertise and entertainment added with a former Chief, a new editor and new (and returning) contributors. New Chiefs, new AP, it’s going to be a fun year.
10) Prepare for the Upside Down
This team could be the opposite (upside down) version of prior Chiefs teams: the run defense could be the strength, they could turn the ball over more than average, they might fall behind early in games and be adept at coming back, they might have elite wide receivers, but struggle at getting turnovers from the secondary and the offensive line could appear elite with Mahomes under center.