Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid met with reporters via Zoom after the team’s workout on Sunday morning.
As part of phase two and the NFL’s ramp-up period unique to this offseason, Chiefs players wore helmets and padded shirts but still have yet to partake in offense-against-defense drills. That will come later this week.
At that point, Reid will begin getting his team into game shape.
“We’ll get them in pads first,” explained Reid. “There’s a ramp-up portion of that, too, where we’ll keep them in pads short, and then we’ll keep building there to our normal two-and-a-half hours on the field, which is in the CBA rules. And then we’ll hit every situation that we can think of — I’m sure there will something to pop up that you don’t think of, but for the most part, we’ll have everything taken cared of situationally, and we’ll roll from there. We do some other drills that work into your team-type thinking; we normally do that, too.”
In a regular year — without a COVID-19 pandemic — the Chiefs would be gearing up for their first preseason game. The Chiefs were originally scheduled to host the Cincinnati Bengals this Saturday before the NFL and NFLPA agreed to nix the preseason.
They won’t have that game — or any practice game for that matter. But Reid noted that there are some positives to the slower transition.
“You’re able to teach,” Reid said. “You can walk through it. Now, we’re able to run through it, and then eventually, we’ll get into pads. And there’s no lull in the action — there hasn’t been that month off where guys have put it aside and then they come back and they’re right in the mix, so I look at that, for right now, as a positive thing. Everybody would love to have the offseason, but that’s not what it is. The positive is we’re getting all that work in. The guys have been so receptive.
“You can tell that they paid attention on the Zoom, which can be tough when you’re at home, and some of these guys have children, so you got the little ones running around and you’re juggling that. But their retention’s been great and they’ve been working, so we appreciate that.”
Camp schedule (more here)
• July 31 — August 8: Acclimation period. 60 minutes in the weight room and 60 minutes of on-field conditioning are allowed. Teams may also conduct 60-minute walk-throughs during the first four days and 75-minute walk-throughs during the last four days. August 5 will be a mandated off day.
• August 9 — August 13: Gradual ramp-up period. Practices begin with a 90-minute session on August 9, and may increase by 15 minutes per day up to a maximum of 120 minutes. The rest of the team’s allowed 3.5 hours of on-field time may be used for walkthroughs. Helmets will be allowed — and beginning on August 11, shells may be worn — but no live contact will be permitted. August 12 will be a mandated off day.
• August 14 — September 3: Padded practices. A total of 14 padded practices will be allowed during this 21-day period.
• August 16: Deadline for cutting the roster to 80. Regardless of the number of players on the roster before then, the Chiefs will be allowed to have only 80 in the facility at one time.
• Saturday, September 5: Final cutdown. All teams must get their rosters down to 53 players. As usual, Top 51 rules will no longer apply; the salaries of all players on the roster will count against the salary cap. 16 players will be allowed on team practice squads, which will be named after the cutdown. Four players on each practice squad may be protected from poaching on a week-by-week basis.
The Chiefs are currently reviewing all that they have done through virtual meetings.
“We’ve got four practices here without pads and we should be OK,” assured Reid. “We should be able cover all the situations that we normally cover, which is important in this day and age of football — situational football because margin between wins and losses is very important, so we’re focusing in on that, making sure we get that taken care of, but at the same time, we got the guys in football condition, where they can sustain four quarters.
“You’re probably behind by reps you’ve had in the offseason, but other than that, we should be able to catch up on some of that.”
For Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the most difficult part is not knowing what comes next.
“I think it’s just the uncertainty — the uncertainty of every single day, coming in and not knowing exactly the routine you always have been accustomed to,” explained Mahomes. “I think it’s a good challenge to have — dealing with adversity early in the season, early even in the offseason, trying to accept that and trying to come out better on the other side.
“I think it’s going to be challenging for everybody in this league, but I’m excited for the challenge to try to go out there and show the world that we can do this right way if we do it the safe way.”
While the Chiefs missed out on offseason reps without organized team activities (OTAs), that afforded Mahomes time for more film review — something Reid said he took full advantage of.
“This has been a great offseason for that, where we could go team by team and look at the different ways that they’re trying to work against you, take things out from the year before when you had an opportunity to play and look at those different looks teams are giving you,” said Reid. “I thought that review process, where you couldn’t do anything else, we could kind of do that — what was beneficial to him.
“You know how he’s wired. He focuses in on things and you give him a task, he digs in on it and works through it. I think that helped him. Again, we’ve got great defensive minds in this league, so these guys are putting together these unique looks for him, and he’s able to look through that as it’s slowed down here a little bit with the offseason and power through it. At the same time, he knows he’s going to get some more new looks. But that’s kind of how you build your quarterback resume as you go. It takes a couple three-four years there to get everything down, and then you roll.”
The challenges of 2020 are abundant, but the Chiefs are taking them in stride.