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Blaine Gabbert is getting used to being the old man on campus

The former Tampa Bay quarterback feels lucky to be playing for Andy Reid in Kansas City.

NFL: JUL 23 Kansas City Chiefs Training Camp Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Don’t tell that to Kansas City Chiefs’ backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who is playing for his sixth NFL team as he begins his 13th season as a pro. After stops with the Jacksonville Jaguars, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there isn’t a lot that he hasn’t seen — but head coach Andy Reid is always making sure Gabbert is up-to-speed on his scheme.

“It’s refreshing having to learn a new [system],” said Gabbert after Thursday’s training camp practice at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph. ”[Coach Reid] is always asking you questions, so it forces you to kind of get one step ahead.”

That pressure also comes from young receivers like Skyy Moore, Rashee Rice and Justyn Ross, who aren’t afraid of posing questions to a quarterback during his first year on the team.

“It’s fun to see a young group of guys like that,” observed Gabbert. “[They have] fresh legs; [they’re] eager to get out here each and every day. They try and get better.

“There’s always something they want to work on; they’re always asking questions [and] doing extra things [like] getting extra reps after practice. So having a young group of guys like that — [that] you can kind of mold... It’s a lot of fun to see.”

Being the oldhead in the quarterback room is a little bit of a shift in mindset for the 33-year-old veteran, who played behind 45-year-old Tom Brady in Tampa Bay last season.

“We were a very old team,” explained Gabbert. “I think we were the oldest team in the NFL the last few years. So coming to the Chiefs — where we’re a very young team — there’s definitely more of a leadership, old-guy type of role [for me].”

Thankfully for Gabbert, he’s not quite the oldest player on the team. That distinction belongs to long snapper James Winchester, who turns 34 this Sunday.

As an old guy, Gabbert likes to keep his personal routine — for example, how he prepares for practice or studies the playbook and game plans — as consistent as possible. But he’s noticed that different teams have their own ideas about it.

“Sometimes you have to tinker with the timing of things,” he observed, “but for the most part, every organization is dialed into the way they want to do it. You just have to come in and learn that routine.”

That’s especially true when playing for Reid, who is entering his 25th year as an NFL head coach. Some of the things Reid likes — such as actually leaving town for training camp and having the team live in dorms — are considered old school. Gabbert believes that while Reid’s methods are a throwback, they are also a welcome change of pace for him.

“It’s fun,” he declared, “kind of going back, getting away, going to Missouri Western and kind of getting away from the normal facility. It’s refreshing; It’s simple. You’ve just got football to deal with.”

Still, Reid’s training-camp practices are throwbacks in other ways, too.

“We put a lot of work in here,” noted Gabbert. “It’s three days [of] full straight pads. So when we’re on the grass here, it’s full-tilt.”

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