The Kansas City Chiefs' first preseason game of the year is this Sunday afternoon against the New Orleans Saints in the Caesars Superdome — and it’s a moment that rookie offensive tackle Wanya Morris has fantasized about since he was a kid.
“You dream about days like this,” he declared to reporters after Saturday’s training camp practice at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph. “And to actually go out with them and actually do it? This is a dream come true ...”
He stopped himself, searching for the word that could adequately describe the awe and wonder he feels as his first NFL game draws near.
“It’s very ... breathtaking,” he concluded with a smile.
That wasn’t unusual — because pretty much everything Morris says is with a smile.
Who wouldn’t be smiling? In Sunday’s matchup, he’ll have the opportunity to begin justifying the team’s faith in him when they traded up to select him in the third round (92nd overall) in April’s NFL Draft.
He knows he’ll have to show “everything he’s got” as he plays with his new brothers.
“It’s not done until it’s done,” he noted. “I ain’t made the 53 yet, so I got to go out there and ball.”
But even if he takes some lumps along the way, Morris is ready for that.
“If I lose, I get back out there and do it again and see what I did wrong,” he said. “Watch the film, correct it and be a better me — each and every day.”
The former Oklahoma Sooner said that ever since he joined his new team, this is precisely what offensive line coach Andy Heck has been stressing.
“[You] Just continue to push to learn,” he shared. “[because] you never can know too much.”
But Heck doesn’t stop there.
“[He’s] always harping on technique,” added Morris, “because that’s the big thing. People are going to have talent in this day and age in the NFL. [But] it’s not about talent. It’s about how hard you work — and how consistent you can be. So that’s my thing: just being consistent, working hard and just keeping things firm.”
He’s done that well enough to make a good impression with Heck and head coach Andy Reid, who put Morris in as the swing tackle during Saturday’s practice.
Wanya Morris’ 10–10-10 work involves 2 snaps at first-team right tackle, moves for 2 reps at first-team left tackle, then works at third-team left tackle.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 5, 2023
Morris believes that just being on the field with players like quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce brings out the best in you.
“Those are leaders of men,” he remarked. “So every time you’re in that huddle they expect the best.”
As far as Morris is concerned, it doesn’t stop there. Playing against the Kansas City defense is also a challenging exercise.
“You’ve got to get off the ball,” he laughed, “[because] they get off the ball.”
But in the end, it’s just another thing that a rookie has to absorb.
“That’s one thing I [have] learned,” said Morris. “Just really being prepared — and [knowing] what’s going to come — [and] being able to get off the ball. Because that’s one of the biggest things. If you [can] just get off the ball, that’s half the fight right there.”