In 2021, the NFL made an adjustment to the transition from the preseason to the regular season, adding a week between the final weekend of preseason games and the beginning of the regular season. This gives teams a little bit more time to make their final initial 53-man roster decisions — and once that is done, a little more time to prepare their full units (which are usually augmented by a player or two that are acquired immediately after the final roster cutdown) ready for the season opener.
Since there’s essentially a news blackout during much of this period, it seems like nothing is going on. But through it all, teams are conducting practices. And according to Kansas City Chiefs center Creed Humphrey, players have fully focused on their Week 1 game.
“I’m approaching it just like a game week,” the second-year player told reporters before Monday’s practice. “You know, we’ve got a lot of goals to hit this year; we’ve got a lot of things to accomplish and to prove.
“So we’re attacking this week with great motivation. [We’re] still learning a lot of new things [and] still building chemistry.”
Humprehy’s audience noted that the team had more success running the ball during the preseason finale against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday. While we’ve become accustomed to training camp practices that seem to be focused on the passing game, Humphrey claimed that head coach Andy Reid is making sure that the offensive line is getting enough practice time on the ground game.
“I think Coach Reid does a good job — throughout practice — of getting us a ton of reps in the running game,” he said. “We’ve gotten a ton of looks — a ton of reps — so it’s been really good for us.”
Humphrey acknowledged that he and his teammates in the offensive trenches are geared toward making the team’s running game work.
“It’s just a mindset for us,” he said. “We definitely have the guys up front to be physical and maul guys. That’s kind of our motto — our mission this year — to do that.”
But he also said they realize that it’s going to take more than just talk.
“Being able to get on the field and actually do it?” he asked. “That’s the biggest thing.”
And despite observations during the preseason that there is a big drop-off in talent from the team’s starting offensive line to its reserves, Humphrey remains unconcerned.
“Our room has a ton of depth; we’ve got a ton of talented players,” he insisted. “Everybody’s working really hard — working their tails off — this week. It promotes competition throughout the room — [and] that’s what makes people better. It’s really great having all these guys back and still having the depth that we have.”
Nor does Humphrey care about being snubbed from this season’s NFL.com top 100 list — or even being added to the similar ESPN ranking that was published on Monday.
“I try not to focus on rankings or things like that,” he said. “For me, it’s just coming in and making sure I’m doing my job every day — [and] helping my teammates the best I can. It’s all I really think about. So you know, that’s cool — that’s definitely awesome — [but] for me, it’s not my biggest priority.”
Even though Kansas City’s offensive line is already considered — at least in some quarters — to be among the league’s best, Humphrey says the only thing they’re focused on is to actually be the NFL’s best.
“We’ve got a ton of guys up front that are capable of getting that job done,” he said confidently. “So for us, it’s really about getting out there and showing the work we’ve put in, showing how we handle our business — things like that.
“So that’s very cool. It’s a big honor — getting that for preseason hype — but really, for us, it’s just about going out there and proving what we believe we can do.”