On Tuesday’s Arrowhead Pride Editors Show podcast, Pete Sweeney and John Dixon discussed the most interesting quotes from Week 1 of the Kansas City Chiefs’ voluntary OTAs — including a comment from head coach Andy Reid about the signing of defensive tackle Jarran Reed.
“We’re always talking about the offensive line, but that signing right there was a really good get and I think will pay off for us in a real big way this season. It gives us some flexibility with what we can do with Chris (Jones), so I like that addition. You’re talking about a Pro Bowl-caliber player and just plugging him in, and not much has been said about it. I’m excited to see him once we kick this thing off.”
Pete: This is a clear-cut confirmation from the Chiefs head coach that the team indeed intends to use Chris Jones on the edge a bit more this season. It may not be every down, but the idea of Jones opposite Frank Clark at defensive end has to make fans feel better about the depth of the position — with Taco Charlton, Mike Danna and rookie Joshua Kaindoh also in the mix. A base line of Jones, Reed, Derrick Nnadi and Frank Clark would stand to rival many in the conference.
Then John reported on ESPN’s Mike Clay ranking the Chiefs’ trade for their new left tackle among the offseason’s best.
We have to acknowledge that part of the reason Clay ranks this move so highly is that it was so visible. It’s not every season that a team experiences such a spectacular failure on its offensive line during the Super Bowl.
But what strikes me as most interesting is that Clay ignores the fact that Fisher was injured during the postseason — and that in early March, his availability to play in 2021 was unknown. Instead, Clay looks at it as simply replacing one player with another.
And if we’re being totally honest, that was likely going to happen anyway. Without Fisher’s injury, the Chiefs likely would have used their 31st pick to select a tackle who could be ready to start in 2022. But faced with the prospect of starting one of this year’s rookie tackles to protect Mahomes’ blind side, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach went a different direction, using only a somewhat greater amount of draft capital to acquire a proven player young enough to be signed to additional seasons after 2021.
During Wednesday’s Out of Structure podcast, Matt Stagner and Ron Kopp discussed the less-obvious players the Chiefs can’t afford to lose.
Matt: Travis Kelce
On offense, it’s Travis Kelce. Hopefully Noah Gray might change this in the long run, but until proven otherwise. The drop-off from Kelce — a top-five player in the league, and the most reliable pass-catcher for this offense — to the next tight end is arguably more than any other position. Losing Kelce would be catastrophic for this team.
Ron: Tyreek Hill
When you take away the All-Pro pass-catcher from this wide receiver corps, it becomes a mostly young, unproven group with the most experience coming from Demarcus Robinson. You would have to bank on young players taking enormous steps forwards in their careers this season, but even then, it may be one of the least talented in the league.
Then we reported on what happened when word of Kansas City’s good attendance at Week 1 of voluntary OTAs reached Cleveland — and the team the Chiefs will face in a rematch of last season’s Divisional Round game.
Word of the Chiefs’ good attendance apparently spread to the Cleveland Browns media, who asked defensive end Myles Garrett if the team was falling behind, given the 55 Browns on hand for their voluntary work. The Chiefs host the Browns Week 1 at Arrowhead Stadium.
“Not at all,’’ said Garrett, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “I’m glad they have attendance, but just because they’re getting work in at their facility doesn’t mean that we’re not working just because we’re away.
“Our defense is getting the work in, our guys [on offense] are working on their craft, just working from home. We have that freedom and that liberty. When we get to game one, we will see who has been jelling better and who’s got the upper hand.”
It’s worth noting that Cabot also reported that quarterback Baker Mayfield, wide receiver Jarvis Landry and edge rushers Jadeveon Clowney and Takk McKinley were not in attendance.
After select reporters were allowed to observe Week 2’s final OTA session, the Kansas City Star’s Sam McDowell reported that a number of Kansas City veterans were not present.
According to McDowell, running backs Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams did not participate, along with offensive linemen Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Martinas Rankin, defensive linemen Jarran Reed, Frank Clark, Chris Jones and Taco Charlton — and defensive backs Mike Hughes, Charvarius Ward and Armani Watts.
It’s important to remember that the absence of these players during Thursday’s voluntary session tells us nothing about whether they participated on Tuesday and Wednesday’s workouts. However, Edwards-Helaire, Duvernay-Tardif, Clark and Ward were also among the eight players reported absent from last Thursday’s voluntary session. The rest of the players who were absent a week ago participated in Thursday’s workout — including quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce.
The Chiefs’ quarterback had made national headlines when he talked of his team going undefeated in 2021. On Thursday, reporters asked both Mahomes and his head coach about it.
“I believe the question I was asked was what record that I would want to break,” clarified Mahomes. “To me, records don’t mean anything unless you’re winning that last game at the end of the season. To me, it’s about going in every single week with the mindset that we’re trying to win, we’re going to win. At the end of the day, whatever the record is, whether it’s 20-0 or whatever it is, you’re winning the last game of the season, then you’re going to be happy with whatever happened earlier in the season.”
Head coach Andy Reid, usually not one for season-long predictions or even weekly guarantees, admitted he caught wind of the quote.
“I saw the whole thing just by chance,” said Reid. “I normally don’t see those things, but I did see that one, and he was asked what would be a great challenge for him to work for, so 20-0 made sense. I mean, he wasn’t boasting about it, that’s not what he was doing. But he just said that would be a great challenge, which it would be. We’ve got a pretty stiff schedule and some great competition that we’re going to play against, so I felt like he was really saying, ‘Listen, we all need to get busy and work our tail off because of that.’”
The team’s defensive coordinator also met with the press. We reported what he had to say about the possibility of moving cornerback L’Jarius Sneed from the slot to the outside — and using star defensive tackle Chris Jones more often on the edge.
Spagnuolo mentioned the issues the team still needs to address to make that happen — and acknowledged they are moving in that direction.
“[Jones] is an imposing player inside. We all know that,“ he said. “If we move him outside on a number of the snaps — and he’s going to have to be flexible to do both — we’ll miss that. Hopefully we’ll gain something on the edge. When somebody changes a position, obviously the first hurdle is the mental part of it.
“Chris is working through that — and he’s been great. He’s been here and been part of the whole thing. I think that’s important: when you change a position, it’s just not that easy to pick up a whole new spot — and we do some different things with the defensive ends. So he’ll play out there a little bit — and you know, we’ll move him back inside when we have to.”
But Spagnuolo also admitted that the precise plan for how to use Jones — just as it is with Sneed — is a work in progress.
Late on Friday, we learned that the free-agent cornerback would not be returning to the Chiefs in 2021.
Over his two seasons with Kansas City, Breeland started 26 games, collecting 86 tackles (67 solo, two for loss), four interceptions, a sack, a forced fumble and 17 passes defensed.
Breeland issued a statement for Kansas City fans and teammates on Twitter.
This was a tough decision when heart was sold on kc and the brotherhood that I’ve made over the last two years when one door close another always open it’s been my life story but I will always love the Kansas City chiefs organization. I wanna thank the Hunt family, Coach Reid— Bashaud Breeland (@Bree2Land6) June 4, 2021
After the Chiefs decided not sign Breeland to a new deal after 2020, Breeland and the team continued to have discussions about him returning to the team for 2021. But Kansas City now has two defensive backs who were first-round picks for their former teams — Deandre Baker and new addition Mike Hughes — along with returning starter Charvarius Ward and second-year player L’Jarius Sneed.