New Kansas City Chiefs safety Justin Reid passed a milestone on Wednesday morning, taking in his first full training camp practice under head coach Andy Reid.
Speaking afterward to reporters at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri, the fifth-year defensive back said he had learned one thing: nobody on the team is likely to complain that they didn’t get enough practice reps.
“When we got out there today, guys weren’t lying to me when they said, ‘We’re going to run a lot of plays here,’” smiled Reid, “so I’ve seen that first hand — and I know we’re only going to run more of them.”
But as one of the team’s defensive leaders, Reid said he understands the rationale for the team’s fast-paced training camp sessions: so that defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will have his full playbook available to him on game day.
“The more we can handle right now — and prove that we have an understanding of the playbook and we’re able to execute without the mental errors and mistakes — the more we’re going to be able to take into each game week, so that coach Spags doesn’t have to cut it down so we’re not making mistakes,” he explained. “So [if] we’re able to carry more plays into the game week, [he’ll be] able to switch more things up on an opposing offense and make it more difficult for them.”
This isn’t always easy to do — especially with so many new faces on the team. But Reid said that third-year cornerback L’Jarius Sneed is doing a great job with rookies Trent McDuffie and Joshua Williams — not to mention his former Houston Texans teammate Lonnie Johnson Jr.
“I’ve played in four different defensive systems,” noted Reid, “and this is definitely one of the deepest playbooks defensively. But the young guys have been doing a great job, taking it in stride and listening to the older guys — being ‘learners’ and not being combative, being open to coaching both from coaches and older veterans. So they’re coming along well. We’ve been putting a lot on their plates — and they’re up to the challenge.”
Reid said it’s all geared to making the defensive unit ready to do its best work right from the beginning of the season.
“From Game 1, [we want to] come out and start strong,” he declared. “We don’t want to have to take a couple of games to get into it; we want to come out from Day 1 and be a dominant defense.”
Two weeks ago, Reid made headlines for telling NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” that the Kansas City offense was ‘going to put up 100 points a game.’ And on Wednesday, he didn’t back down, referring to Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce as Hall of Fame players.
“[I] still have all the faith in the world on offense,” he said, “but at the same time, I’ve got more faith — especially being a defensive player — in our defense. We’re not going to make it easy for them. We’re here to compete every day — me and Trav are going to go against each other, Pat and Juan [Thornhill], everybody — every day, there’s going to be matchups. And the guys are going to get better from it.”
If anyone thought that his previous claims about the Kansas City offense suggested that the defense wouldn’t have to take much responsibility for the team’s success, Reid wanted to set the record straight.
“We want to be an ‘attitude’ defense,” he said. “One that will come out and set the tempo. We want to be physical, We want to be dominant. When it comes down to the end of the game — and we have the lead — we want to be the ones that finish it.”