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Rapid reaction: five takeaways from Monday’s Chiefs press conferences

Andy Reid, Breeland Speaks, Dee Ford and Chad Henne spoke to media members at training camp in St. Joseph.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs-Minicamp Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve made it folks! We have new quotes to talk about to go along with five-second clips of your new quarterback slinging the ball around.

Expect 1,000 words on this clip shortly.

There were five things that really stood out to me about today’s press conference.

1. The rookies getting a head start

It sounds like the rookies are getting a dress rehearsal for the first few days of training camp. I love this approach. The mental grind of training camp is equally, if not more difficult than the physical aspect (all the former offensive linemen are like, “A quarterback would say that”).

Being able to get a head start on installs is important for a group who could use an extra seven or eight days head start on everything that’s going to be thrown at them. I’m sure the players and coaches will take what they can get. Hopefully, this will help the young players stay ahead.

2. What Andy Reid would like to see from Breeland Speaks

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

“When you’re young, you might have one move that’s your favorite move. In the NFL they take that away from you. How are you going to counter that? Are you going to work on those things that help counter that move and add to the repertoire that you can throw at an offensive lineman? Work on your fundamentals in the run game.”

Sometimes you’ll see a rookie come out of the gates strong at the beginning of the season. The real test is when there’s enough tape on a player that opponents figure them out.

Occasionally, a player’s raw ability can lead to production. Sometimes there’s a strong trait that just stands out. What happens when those are taken away? A player’s success can be short-lived if he isn’t continually working to build off the foundation that has already been established. Speaks will need to be capable of adjusting multiple times this season and moving forward. Getting better every day is a cliché, but in the NFL you can’t rest on what you’ve done in the past.

Hopefully, Speaks can close the gap between the raw prospect playing a new position that he is now and the consistent three-down edge that the Chiefs hopes he can become quickly. He should have success relatively quickly in the run game, but his value could be significant if he can continue to develop as a complete pass rusher by the end of the season. Speaking of building off a foundation...

3. What Chad Henne thinks makes Andy Reid a creative offensive mind

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

“You have a foundation and you base it off the foundation and off of that you can tweak different routes off those combinations that keeps the defense thinking it’s the same route, but then you switch it up a little bit and I think he’s great with that switching it week in and week out.”

This is a perfect encapsulation of one of Reid’s biggest strengths. Reid is phenomenal at making things look like his basic staples and flipping them on their head. Reid is able to build plays that lead to easy completions for his quarterback based off the tendencies of his offense and defensive scheme and personnel tendencies. Be it disguising a basic look with shifts and formations, changing the responsibility of the players running a basic concept or running different routes that start off looking as a basic concept, Reid is continually one step ahead of the defense.

I can’t wait to see what small adjustments he makes for big returns. As I did last year, I’ll be breaking down those intricacies every week during the season with my series, “45 seconds.”

4. Henne on Mahomes’ arm

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

“For Pat’s size I haven’t seen anything like it so it’s a lot of fun to be around but at the same time it’s ‘take what they give you.’ Not always pumping that thing, it’s obviously a threat to have, but also make smart decisions with it as well.”

The line that’s going to get the most attention is about Mahomes’ arm. The most important piece of this quote is the second part of that sentence on.

Henne got to the core of what this season should be all about for Mahomes and that’s being patient, taking what the defense gives him and not putting the ball in unnecessary risk. If I were a defensive coordinator, I would force Mahomes to fight off the urge to be special all the time. He doesn’t have to, but it’s always in there. The key to Mahomes’ success will be in his restraint of the abilities he has.

5. Dee Ford on consistency

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

“Being consistent is almost like another skill. As you grow and mature you understand that in order to be a great player you can’t just do it for ten games, you have to do it for 16 games.”

The old line, “Your best ability is availability,” is absolutely true in football. I agree with Ford that consistency should fall in a similar line of thinking as well. Coaches don’t like high variance players. I would argue one of their biggest jobs is to reduce the variance. Having talent that can consistently do what they’re asked is half the battle. Things open up more when you can trust the 11 players out on the field to execute as designed. You can’t tap into the brilliant minds of a coaching staff without having players who can carry out the vision.

I think some of the issues the Chiefs experienced on defense were that they had too many high variance kind of players (or...just bad). Hopefully, there is more trust built with this unit because that could allow Bob Sutton to unleash some things he may have had to hold back last year.

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