Wednesday marked the first full squad practice for the 2021 Kansas City Chiefs — and the first training camp session with fans present since 2019. Following practice, Chiefs coach Andy Reid talked with the media — drawing chuckles from reporters when he gave a surprising choice for his favorite thing to start camp.
“I always get fired up with the seven-man sled,” replied the former offensive lineman — whose reputation is tied to a complex, technical passing attack. “Breaking it out the first day of pads. A little old-school football — and then we go from there.”
But then he got down to business, discussing his most important goals of the first few practices.
“Defense, offense, as a team, we’ve got to come together — that’s why we’re up here,” said Reid of the first few days. “We’ve got new faces. That’s what’s so unique about the National Football League: I think every year is different. So you build this thing — this is a foundation of it and you kind of work from here. So I expect to see that from the defensive side — just like the offensive side. Let’s get to know each other, know the man next to you, know his job and responsibility, everyone else’s job and responsibility — and most of all, your job and responsibility — and let’s go play.”
Reid also highlighted fundamentals that his staff monitors in the early portion of camp — even from the first practice.
“You want to see execution — especially before you get pads on,” he noted. “One install is in. Let’s see the execution. Whether it’s the shifts, the motions, the snap count — let’s see that. Let’s make sure we’re not going backward — that we’re going forward. Let’s stay onside on the defensive side when the snap count’s a little bit longer than the first sound. And then assignment football on the back end.”
Safety Tyrann Mathieu also met with reporters, wearing a shirt reading “My Job Plus” — echoing Reid on the importance of knowing responsibilities beyond one’s own — and reiterating that concept.
“We all have to work off each other,” he said. “Help each other. Some of us have to do the dirty work for other guys to make plays — and vice versa.”
He also said the team’s fast starts in recent seasons have been because of the coaching it has had.
“I think it’s our leadership that we have from all our coaches, our coordinators and the position coaches,” said the three-time All-Pro. “I think all of them really straighten us, they stretch us, they require us to put in a lot of work — before we actually get to that first game. I think all those things pay off — the meetings, coaches being hands-on, details — I think all those things work well for us. And we’re one of the best-conditioned teams in the league, too; we run around a lot. And I think all those things kind of help us get off to a quick start.”