Chiefs starting guard Trey Smith has no doubt what his goal is from “the exhibition.
“Just a clean game,” the right guard declared following Wednesday’s practice from the team’s training camp at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph. “Just getting in for the year. First real live action — I just want to be able to work my technique and just do well in it.”
Though Smith and the starting offensive line should only appear in the very early stages of the game, don’t question the merit of the contest with the third-year pro.
“It’s extremely important,” Smith countered. “Once it gets out of a controlled setting so just really going out there sort of on your own and figuring it out and building that chemistry against live opponents, against people we haven’t been going up against. So, just seeing how all the hard work we’re putting in now is going to pay off.”
Two goals will determine if enough work has gone in to pay off.
“Finish great and honestly just trying to finish,” Smith explained of his hopes for Sunday. You know my technique, am I doing the right thing, can I complete the job in the way my coaches instructed me to. Just how clean can I actually play?”
Smith enters his third season after the Chiefs selected the Tennessee product in the sixth round 2021 NFL Draft. While he is still early in his career, it has opened with deep playoff runs in his first two seasons. He admits that even his youthful body is feeling the toll of playing right guard.
“I’m still a young player,” he conceded, “but definitely I have some wear and tear on the body — but ultimately that’s what it takes to be a pro. Stretching [and] recover — being adamant and being very consistent with that has been something I’ve had to really step up this year.”
In his third stay in St. Joseph, Smith believes he knows how to approach head coach Andy Reid’s intense training camp.
“I just think more so it’s just like the mentality as a player coming into his third year,” he observed. “Just understanding what we are trying to do to the defense like you just stated earlier. Just different nuances and little bubbles are thrown. Our offense is a beautiful thing when its rolling.”
If that offense continues to be beautiful, a new left tackle will play a major role. Veteran Donovan Smith joined the Chiefs in April, following Orlando Brown Jr.’s departure for the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency. The right guard is happy with what he is seeing from his new teammate on the field, and what he is learning from the eight years of experience the left tackle brings.
“Donovan is awesome man,” Smith boasted. “Talk about a veteran player — a guy that you can look up to get advice from and really just the wisdom that he has from playing that long at left tackle. How well he’s done as well — it’s been a great addition to the offensive line, especially for the young tackles, too. [Smith’s] a great addition just really for all of us just to learn from and listen to. It’s really great having him on.”
In recent preseason openers, Reid has left the starting offensive line in the game for two series, even after the other offensive starters have been pulled after the first drive. Regardless of how long he is on the field, Smith will be ready.
“It doesn’t matter how many reps we get,” Smith stated, “we’re just going out there, and we’re trying to kick some butt. We’re just trying to go out there, do our thing, get our job done at the highest level we can, and just be consistent.
“I think the biggest thing once again comes into the growth factor. You’re not in a controlled environment [or] a controlled setting. You’re out there playing. So I think the biggest thing is no matter how many reps we get, we just play with good intensity every rep.”
As the reigning Super Bowl champs return to action, Chiefs fans likely feel even more connected to quarterback Patrick Mahomes than ever after watching the Netflix docu-series “Quarterback.” Smith believes a similar project should show the vantage point of those who protect the stars.
“The world’s not ready for that,” he joked of a hypothetical offensive line documentary. “It would be really cool to follow some of the top offensive linemen just to sort of show all that goes into the position. There’s a lot of stuff even beyond the field. Just as parents, as regular people, I think it’s really cool when you get a look in the players lives and what they go through.”