The Kansas City Chiefs completed their three-day rookie minicamp over the weekend.
The team had virtual media availability each day, with head coach Andy Reid and several new players taking the (Zoom) podium. On this week’s episode of the Arrowhead Pride Editors Show, John Dixon and I highlighted five quotes that stood out.
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Andy Reid on the importance of rookie minicamp
“I just think you want to go into training camp with an understanding of the new things you’re able to study and experiment as coaches and then on the field as players to make yourself better this next year. That’s what this did. This gave them an opportunity now to hit Phase Two with the veterans here with an understanding, a base understanding of what’s going on. They’re going to have to strap it on when the veterans get in. It’s gone fast. We’re already four installs into it, and they’re going to have to catch up and the number of plays, they’ll have to catch up. But at least they have a foundation. And I’d say the same with the veterans when they’re able to get on the field. Now, they’ve done this in the classroom now. Now it’s an opportunity to walk through it and then jog through it and then run it. Those steps become important when you go into training camp. It gives you an opportunity to be better.”
There has been a lot of league-wide chatter this year about the importance of the offseason, considering the success of the 2020 season when it was all virtual before a ramp-up period and the beginning of the regular season. Several teams’ players have committed to skipping voluntary workouts. I think Reid used a question about rookie minicamp as a message to the entire league — teams need offseason programs to be better prepared for training camp and thus have better quality of play when the regular season begins.
OL Creed Humphrey on his first look at the Chiefs’ playbook
“I’m excited about the playbook. There’s a lot of stuff that I like. Great run schemes, great passing plays, everything like that. I’m excited to dive into it deep and really get everything down... [I’m hoping to show] that I’m coachable, that I’m going to take coaching well. I’m going to work my butt off making sure I’m doing all of the right things, showing them that I’m a loyal guy, I’m a team-first guy and just getting out there and competing.”
Of all the rookies, I see Humphrey as a top candidate to land a day-one starting position, as he should compete at center with veteran candidates Austin Blythe and Nick Allegretti. Humphrey’s enthusiasm in learning Andy Reid’s playbook will be key, as it can typically be considered an obstacle for newcomers.
LB Nick Bolton on communicating with veteran LB Anthony Hitchens
“Yes, I talked to Hitch (Anthony Hitchens), that’s one of my guys. He was actually down there in Dallas when I was down there so texted with him quite a bit, we talked quite a lot, so just looking forward to building that relationship.”
From the second Bolton was taken as Kansas City’s top pick in the second round of the NFL Draft, it seemed as though the team’s personnel staff viewed him as the MIKE linebacker-in-training. Like Tyrann Mathieu, Anthony Hitchens is a locker room leader, so it is no surprise that they had already been in touch prior to Bolton’s rookie camp weekend.
WR Cornell Powell on going from a college program such as Clemson to a pro team like the Chiefs
“I come from a winning program and this is a winning program as well, so I feel like that transition is going to be smooth. I know what to expect. They expect championships and that’s where I’m coming from being at Clemson. Then, being coached by coach (Dabo) Swinney, he’s a very God-fearing man, someone who believes in family, atmosphere and all about culture, and being here for the past couple days I feel the same vibe. It’s all about culture, it’s all about the little things, shirts tucked in and just doing all the little things, so it’s going to be great. Then, going from Trevor (Lawrence) to Patrick Mahomes, it’s just a blessing. I couldn’t ask for anything better, I fell into the perfect situation, so I’ve just got to make the most of every opportunity that I get.”
It might be a stretch to think Powell will push Demarcus Robinson, Mecole Hardman and Byron Pringle for a starter-level number of snaps in 2021, but I think that playing for a program like Clemson helps. As noted in my Powell writeup from this past weekend, he is coming off an eight-catch, 100-plus-yard, two-touchdown game in the Sugar Bowl. That is as big a stage as it gets at the college level. And his good fortune in the players throwing him the ball does not hurt, either.
OL Trey Smith on making peace with his fall to day three of the draft
“Those three days were pretty grueling, just being quite honest with you. I have a certain standard, expectations that I have for myself and for my life, and not meeting that, I was disappointed. But ultimately, God has a plan for me and my life and I think right now I’m at the best place I could actually be at. I’m super excited to be here, super excited to get to work with (offensive line) coach (Andy) Heck every day, so ultimately it ended up well.”
Smith has admitted that he was not happy he fell in the NFL Draft due to possible medical reasons, but it seems he has already turned the page to the silver lining of the experience. That fall led him to Kansas City, where he clearly believes he can excel as a pro player. Smith projects to compete for a starting interior role in 2022.
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