Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid opened up the regular season on Monday (Labor Day) with his first press conference, as the Chiefs prepare to take on the Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday at 3:05 p.m. Arrowhead Time.
Let’s round up the big takeaways from Reid.
Reid is OK with the Chiefs beginning the season with an especially young cornerback room.
The Chiefs are going with Kendall Fuller (23), Steve Nelson (25), Orlando Scandrick (31), Tremon Smith (22) and Charvarius Ward (22) in the cornerback room to start the season.
Take out the elder statesman in Scandrick and that is a median age of 23.
“We do have a couple new, younger guys,” Reid said. “I do like them. I like what I saw from them with the addition of Tremon Smith, [it’s] a good, young nucleus with that group. Again, a lot of confidence in Al (Harris) and Emmitt (Thomas) to give them an opportunity to grow. I’m good with the whole cornerback situation.
“I like what we’ve got there.”
Reid acknowledged during the presser that in today’s NFL, defenses have three cornerbacks on the field “73-plus percent” of the time, and at least for now, that means Fuller, Nelson and Scandrick for the Chiefs.
September 3, 2018
After calling starting safety Eric Berry day to day (more on that here), Reid detailed the thought process of bringing Ron Parker back after a quick stint with the Atlanta Falcons.
Ron Parker played with the Chiefs from 2013-17 but was cut this past offseason due to his contract number. He’s back in Kansas City after it didn’t work out in Atlanta.
Pro Football Focus rated Parker the No. 76 safety in the league last season.
“I thought Ron really actually had a good camp,” Reid said. “You know, he had that high-ankle sprain last year with us and I thought it slowed him down a little bit. He powered through it because that’s Ron. I thought that you could see that he wasn’t as limited during the preseason (Remember, the Chiefs played in Atlanta) as he labored through that thing last year.
“He knows the system, the scheme—he can come in, he’s a good communicator. We’ve got a lot of trust in him.”
I liked the Chiefs’ move to bring in Parker, as they desperately need some veteran consistency at the safety position with Berry’s status up in the air. Parker is familiar with Bob Sutton, and the Chiefs obviously think Sutton can get the most out of him.
In a surprise move, especially for Reid, the Chiefs kept only two quarterbacks on their initial roster—Patrick Mahomes and Chad Henne.
Reid is very much a routine guy, so it was a bit surprising to see him make the move to cut Matt McGloin on Sunday, keeping just two quarterbacks on the active roster.
“We had some good, young players that we wanted to keep, and so we made a decision there,” Reid said. “Brett (Veach) and I talked about it. It is a first time. First time for everything. We looked at the percentages—I think there is 17 or 18 teams somewhere, you could double-check, but there’s something like that in there that are doing it and have done it, and so we thought we’d do that and see how it worked, but it was in order to keep some of the young guys.”
Cutting McGloin made room for offensive guard Ike Boettger, who the Chiefs claimed from the Buffalo Bills.
“I like [him], I know he’s big. A big guy,” Reid said of Boettger. “If you have the chance to meet him, you’ll see what I’m saying. He’s got huge hands on him and a big body. He was a two-time team captain. He’s got good leadership. I know (Buffalo Bills offensive line coach) Juan Castillo well, so I know he’s been coached well.”
Boettger’s addition makes 10 total offensive linemen on the Chiefs roster.
TEN OFFENSIVE LINEMAN.— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) September 2, 2018
“We kind of like the guys that we got there,” Reid said. “We’ve kept 10 before. You can’t have enough of those guys, but again, everything in this thing is fluid, so I mean, right now, everybody’s feeling everybody out and going, so I can’t tell you what is there today is there tomorrow. I can’t say that, but I like the guys that we have.”
I anticipate the Chiefs cutting one of the 10 offensive linemen after watching them during this week of practice—the Chiefs kept only two tight ends and will need a free roster spot when Demetrius Harris returns from his one-week suspension next Monday.
“We’re OK with [two tight ends],” Reid said. “We kept an extra runner, too, than we normally do. We’re with Demetrius in this situation that he’s got. When he comes back next week, we’ll have our three and feel pretty good with that. Right now, we’re good enough to get through a game, I think.”
The extra runner the Chiefs kept was Darrel Williams, who they have under club control until 2022.
23-year-old Darrel Williams joins the Chiefs’ five-man running back room, also made up of Kareem Hunt, Spencer Ware, Damien Williams and Anthony Sherman.
Similar to two quarterbacks being low for Reid, four running backs plus Sherman is high.
“He’s one of those guys who came up through and showed us that he can play at this level and be a good running back,” Reid said. “He’s got room to grow. He's a tough runner—a little bit in Ware’s mode in that he’s strong in the core, he’s got good hands. He's smart. Those are things you think you know but until you get him here and see, it’s not for sure.
“We tell them to make our decision as tough as they possibly can make it, and he did that, so when Brett was sorting everything out, that was something he had to think about because we normally don’t keep that many backs. He deserves to be there and that’s how he went about making that decision.”
I am a big supporter of the move to keep Darrel Williams, but I don’t expect him to be active much in 2018 unless there is an injury. That being said, injuries happen to running backs all the time, so Darrel Williams will be expected to prepare like a starter should that happen.