Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid closed out offseason workouts Thursday afternoon by speaking with the media.
Here are eight takeaways from Reid’s press conference:
1. Reid explained the plan for quarterback Patrick Mahomes over the next few weeks.
It does not appear the reigning NFL MVP will be taking much of a break this offseason.
“He’ll take a deep breath, but not much,” Reid said. “He’ll end up throwing quite a little bit and he’ll get the guys together and do that. He’s got a little blend going on where you need to step back and rest up and then you got to crank it up and get yourself ready for camp.”
Perhaps one of the receivers Mahomes will get together with is veteran Sammy Watkins. Reid explained that he liked what he saw between Mahomes and Watkins so far.
“[Watkins] was here the whole offseason, and then used to the offense,” he said. “He was able to play faster. He’s in great shape. He did a heck of a job. He had a nice camp. He got a lot of reps, obviously, and he wanted those. I thought overall he did a really nice job.”
2. Reid felt good about his first look at Steve Spagnuolo’s new-look 4-3 defense.
The Chiefs head coach said that he checked in with Spagnuolo every day to see if the defense was getting enough reps.
“We felt pretty comfortable with where we’re at offensively, defensively and special teams for camp coming up,” he said. “For where we’re at and the time allotted, I think [Spagnuolo’s] pretty comfortable with where we’re at right now knowing that there’s a lot of work ahead for camp. I thought the guys did a nice job picking it up. That defense is tough. It all fits together but it’s a tough defense and it’s been an effective defense, so I thought it was good.”
Asked about defensive leaders on the team, Reid provided names you might expect in Tyrann Mathieu and Frank Clark, but he also added a new one to the mix.
“(Anthony) Hitchens is unbelievable,” he said. “Hitchens kind of keeps everybody intact. You like to have that guy, just like we were talking about with Austin (Reiter), he’s your transmitter from the back end to the front end. Those guys become important. We have other guys that are pretty good leaders too. I’d probably tell you those are more of the bigger personalities.”
Reid added that while the defense has a good foundation, he is eager to see how the unit looks in padded reps up in St. Joseph.
3. Reid says the Chiefs are “OK” with their tight end depth.
As we noted early on Thursday, starting tight end Travis Kelce should be 100 percent for training camp. Reid will use training camp as a means to identify a second tight end.
“I think we’re going to be OK,” he said. “I would have liked (Deon) Yelder not to have been hurt, but he was. I think he’s a good young prospect. He wanted to be out there more than anybody, but he strained his hamstring. It will be good to get him out and see what he can do here. We had him a little bit last season and we kind of liked what we saw there. I think that group, again, saw progress. I think putting the pads on, who’s going to be able to play on the line of scrimmage and do what Demetrius (Harris) did there. Who’s going to be able to do that is hard to tell that right now, but we’ll find out.”
The Chiefs signed yet another tight end on Thursday.
4. Reid wouldn’t name undrafted wide receivers he favored by name, but he explained that he felt positively about the group as a whole.
“We throw a ton at those guys, and we’re not backing up to go forward,” he explained. “We’re just kind of picking up where we left off, so when you get the free agents in they have to learn all of this and a lot of them are coming from the college level where they’re not asked to do everything, everything is kind of from the sideline.
“I thought they all collectively did a pretty good job without picking somebody out. I like that group. We have the big guys, then you have some medium guys and smaller guys and they’ve all got things that you can utilize talent-wise.”
5. Reid is going to the beach and suggested that the players have “small ears.”
Let me explain.
One of the more interesting questions of the press conference was what will keep Reid up at night heading into training camp. What the media received back was a classic Reid answer.
“I’m not sure if it will keep me up at night—I’m gonna go to the beach first,” he said. “So that’s what I say to that. That ocean breeze and water is all good. I don’t worry about things I can’t control. I try to take care of business, work hard and understand that there’s a human element to everything and so I go from there. You do the best you can and you roll with it.”
Reid also recommended that the team have “small ears” over the five weeks or so.
“We know expectations are high and we appreciate that and the guys have worked hard to put themselves in that position. However, you have to take care of what you can take care of and that’s getting yourself right so that these next five to six weeks are important weeks for you. Then you have to have small ears. You don’t need to listen to a lot other than getting out and doing your job and working.”
6. Reid provided a few injury updates.
Reid confirmed that both Kelce and Yelder should be good to go by training camp. My impression was that the Chiefs also expect safety Juan Thornhill to be ready to go by camp.
“I like what I’ve seen,” Reid said of Thornhill. “I think he has a chance to be a really good football player. He’s another who you would’ve liked to have seen be healthy throughout, but he was doing some nice things for us. You can tell he’s got good instincts and understands the game with making plays on the ball. I liked what I saw.”
7. Reid had no real update on the talks with defensive lineman Chris Jones.
“[Brett Veach and staff] have talked to Chris’ people and that’s kind of where it’s at. There’s nothing more to say.”
8. Reid had no further comment on the Tyreek Hill situation.
More on that here.