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10 need-to-knows from Wednesday’s Chiefs coordinator media session

A list of 10 good nuggets we can pull from Kansas City’s coordinators speaking on Wednesday.

The Kansas City Chiefs coordinators—Eric Bieniemy, Steve Spagnuolo and Dave Toub spoke to the media on Wednesday.

Here is what you need to know:

Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy

  • Patrick Mahomes mentioned he thought the offense felt a little “out of sync on Saturday night. Bieniemy on this Saturday vs. San Francisco: “I’m looking forward to our guys getting back in sync and in rhythm. I want to watch them handle the sudden change. I didn’t think we did a good job of handling the schedule of last week collectively as a group. One thing I think—with that happening, through some bad times, you can always find some good things. And by experience, that schedule being pushed back, having to start over, hit the reset button a few times, I think it’s taught us something. And so, we got to make sure that we’re living up to expectations by eliminating the distractions. Let’s make sure we stay focused, stay poised. The rest will take care of itself. But what I am anticipating is that we come out and play hard and play focused together.”
  • As Darwin Thompson’s stock continues to rise, Bieniemy explained what else he is looking for out of the rookie: “We want to see continual, gradual improvement. And he’ll tell you, there’s a lot of little things that he needs to clean up. It’s always the little minute things that can keep you from feeling as good as you want to. He’s a competitive kid. He comes out here; he grinds every day. He grinds in the classroom. He wants to be best he could possibly be. (Running backs) coach Deland (McCullough) is doing a heck of a job that he’s staying humble and staying focused, and at the end of the day, we want him to make the most of the opportunity or any opportunity that’s being presented—whether it’s in the backfield or being out there on special teams.”
  • Bieniemy commented on losing wide receiver Marcus Kemp for the season: “Marcus was having a hell of a camp. Obviously, you hate to see good kids get hurt. He brought a tremendous amount of value to our organization because of all the things he brought on special teams, but on top of that, he was developing into a hell of a receiver. And so the thing that you hate is when any player gets hurt. But one thing that we’re going to miss—we’re going to miss the production that Marcus Kemp provided for us.”

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo

  • The Chiefs may get there first look at cornerback Mo Claiborne this week against the 49ers. Claiborne signed with the Chiefs back on August 9. Spagnuolo: “We’re hopeful. I think that’s the plan. That’s [Andy Reid’s] plan. We’d like to see him get out there. He’s been great. He’s a pro. He’s been in it long enough. He knows how to handle things. Trying to get as many reps in there as he can. It’s a balancing act, right? Because he doesn’t play for the first four games. But he’s been a real pro about it.”
  • Spagnuolo was asked about what separates Derrick Nnadi and Xavier Williams, who were thought to be potentially battling it out for a tackle spot. It sounds like they may just rotate: “I don’t know that there’s a separation. I’ve been in this league long enough to know that you’re going to need a lot of big guys to rotate in there. And those guys are doing that right now. The only difference right now is that [Williams] dealt with that back injury for a little while, and so lost some reps. And Nnadi just continues to get better. Other than that, I think they’re both working hard.”
  • And speaking of tackles, the Chiefs are needing to push rookie Khalen Saunders. Spagnuolo: “There was a point there where he plateaued a little bit. (Defensive line coach) Brendan (Daly) and I talked about it, but I think he’s worked away at making some gains. It’s a little up and down and 50-50 right now. He’s got to find some consistency, but we like where he’s at right now.”
  • Between some injuries and general level of play, cornerback Herb Miller has been making a push to make the team’s final 53-man roster. Spagnuolo weighed in on Miller’s progress: “When he was here with just the rookies—so we had a few days with them, and then the vets came in. And at that time, I didn’t know all the faces. I remember I heard a loud voice in the back—it was kind of enthusiastic and assertive. And I look back, and it was Herb. And where I’m trying to go with it is it wasn’t too big for him right from the beginning. He didn’t have any problems stepping up in there and doing his job. He’s vocal. He’s not afraid to make a mistake. I recognized that right away. He’s got a long way to go, but I think he’s done some things. He’s an aggressive football player, which we like.”

Special teams coordinator Dave Toub

  • Potential kick and punt returner Mecole Hardman caught a lot of balls at training camp. Toub: “Hardman’s doing good. We figured it out. (Statistical analysis coordinator Mike) Frazier charts everything for us. We caught 1,003 balls this training camp. He caught 376 of them. He caught the majority of them, but rightly so—he was the one that needed the most work.”
  • And as far as the returner battle, if you could call it that, Toub said: “Tyreek is still number one (laughed). I’ll always say that. And we got a bunch of guys. Hardman’s really doing a nice job, and it was good to see [Darwin Thompson] get one—get him there. And Cody (Thompson)—we got him one. We try to get everybody one and see how they handle it.”
  • Kicker Harrison Butker missed a 58-yarder against the Steelers. Toub’s breakdown: “It was long enough for sure. He’s got a strong leg. He was mad at himself. He didn’t want to overkick it and kick it to the left, so he kind of finessed it a little bit. It’s unbelievable that he can finesse a 58-yarder. Think about that. But next time, he’ll be more aggressive with it. That would have been a record at Heinz Field, had he kicked it... He’s gotten a lot stronger. We tested him this year. We pushed him out a little bit more. We kicked a lot of kicks over 50, and he feels real confident beyond 50... He always had the strength and you see it in his kickoff leg strength. It was being able to transfer over that power that he had with kickoffs over to field goals. Because as soon as he got it past 50, he would overkick it and pull them. Now he’s taking a normal field goal kick technique, and he’s still able to be just as strong. He’s proving it to himself.”

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