The Kansas City Chiefs covered a lot of ground during their time with the media on Sunday. Let’s catch up on some of the points that didn’t grab the big headlines.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid spoke about the backup quarterbacks. The team now has three on the roster behind Patrick Mahomes: Chad Henne, who was the team’s primary backup before he was injured in preseason a year ago; Matt Moore, who took Henne’s place and performed admirably when Mahomes was injured; and finally, second-year player Jordan Ta’amu, who spent the last offseason with the Houston Texans — and then turned some heads with the XFL’s St. Louis Battlehawks.
Reid confirmed that Henne is back to being the primary backup — and then said that the other quarterbacks are having trouble getting reps under the unusual circumstances of this training camp.
“Well, Chad is the number two,” said Reid, “so we want to make sure that we get him enough reps. This is where we’re in a time period now — kind of a time crunch with the way the ramp-up is set — so you want to make sure the guys get enough reps in there within that time constraint. So, the threes get short-changed just a little bit.”
Training camp superstars
Reid also addressed observations that have been coming out from the few reporters who are being allowed to observe training camp sessions: that second-year wide receiver Jody Fortson and longtime fringe wideout Gehrig Dieter are making plays.
“He feels more comfortable out there and he’s learning,” said Reid about Fortson. “Dieter has every position down and knows them all. Not that they’re in competition necessarily, but they’re all just trying to do the best that they can do. We’re getting good work out of them, great reps to get on tape so we can evaluate them. [For] Jody, this is new. As of last year for him, we started him off as a tight end, if you remember. Now we’ve moved him out to wide receiver, so every rep is a great rep for him.”
Update on Breeland Speaks
Defensive end Breeland Speaks also took a turn with reporters on Sunday. This is a critical season for Speaks, who played in every game of 2018 — even starting four of them — but has been regarded as a disappointment given he was drafted out of Mississippi in the second round.
It didn’t help that a year ago, he was perceived as coming into camp overweight — and then missed the whole season after suffering an MCL injury, thereby missing the opportunity to prove his worth in new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme.
“I’m feeling pretty good out here,” Speaks told reporters. “I’m just trying to get adjusted back into the game. I was away for about a year now, so I’m just trying to get re-acclimated to all of the things; get those small things down.”
Speaks said that this was the first time he’d ever had a significant injury.
“I just learned a lot about myself,” he said. “Of course, guys go through different things; it was just a constant deal of wanting to get back. It was my first time being hurt, so of course it hurt not being out there with the guys — not being in the locker room with them, and not being able to chop it up with everyone. That’s motivated me to want to work harder and get back.”
Camp observers have already noted that Speaks appears to have returned in better shape than he did last season — which the big man was happy to confirm.
“This offseason, I basically went back to doing what I used to do,” he explained. “I got back with my old trainer from seventh grade and we hit it like we used to back then. I wound up losing a lot of weight from it. So, I’d say I had a pretty good offseason.”