Chiefs wrap up OTAs, head to minicamp
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Andy Reid wrapped up his third organized team activities Friday since becoming the Chiefs head coach in 2013.
Each year has built on the previous, especially during the first year when players went through a familiarization process of what Reid and the coaching staff expected on offense, defense and special teams.
Reid, one of the winningest coaches in the NFL while in Philadelphia, has high standards. The past three weeks of OTAs left him with a positive vibe of the team's progress despite the Midwest spring humidity.
''You want to see a third-year progression for the guys that have been here three years, and then what kind of shape they're in,'' Reid said. ''This gives you a pretty good idea. They're out here, the heat kind of jumped on us quickly and we were able practice in it I thought very well, and function very well. It looks like they're a pretty well-conditioned team.''
The players were in shorts and helmet with no contact, of course, and that leaves room for tempered enthusiasm surrounding conditioning before the team reports to training camp in late July.
''We'll see,'' Reid said. ''We got to get the pads on eventually in camp.''
Stability with quarterback Alex Smith, running back Jamaal Charles and tight end Travis Kelce, among others, has helped the Chiefs' growth on offense. And having experienced players meant there wouldn't be surprises during the OTA workouts.
''They understand the offense,'' offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said. ''That's kind of what we're seeing from our guys that have been around. There are a few guys like (wide receiver) Jeremy Maclin and (guard) Ben Grubbs and guys that we pulled in, and (guard) Paul Fanaika, they're just kind of plugging in and picking up where we left off. This spring has been really good that way because, now again, everybody understands what we're doing offensively. It allows us to play and practice faster.''
Maclin, who signed a five-year, $55 million free-agent contract in March, reunites not only with Reid, who previously coached Maclin in Philadelphia, but with wide receiver Jason Avant.
While Maclin and Avant provide two proven veterans in Reid's version of the West Coast offense, there is still room even for a 10-year pro like Avant to get reaccistomed to what Reid expects.
''When I was in Philly, Andy wasn't calling the plays,'' Avant said. ''Here he does a lot of that. It's seamless because I know what he expects, but at the same time, you have to get used to what he thinks about routes.''
The Chiefs should have a smooth transition on defense with the core players returning from last season's second-ranked pass defense (203.2 yards per game) and seventh-ranked defense in yards allowed (330.5 yards per game).
Coordinator Bob Sutton also welcomes the return of inside linebacker Derrick Johnson, who suffered a season-ending torn Achilles tendon in the 2014 season opener. Sutton also is identifying key backups.
''You're working with your first group, but you're also trying to develop your depth,'' Sutton said. ''You're trying to make sure the young guys - from guys that will come out here on their own, undrafted guys - you want to make sure you evaluate everyone and you haven't let anyone slip through the cracks.''
The Chiefs conclude the offseason program with a mandatory three-day minicamp next Tuesday-Thursday. While players are required to attend, Reid didn't appear optimistic star outside linebacker Justin Houston - who has yet to sign his franchise tender and missed all 10 OTA workouts - would be on hand.
''He probably won't be,'' Reid said. ''We just move on. I don't really get caught up in all that stuff.''
NOTES: Strong safety Eric Berry, battling lymphoma, finished his treatments and met with his doctors two weeks ago, but Reid didn't have an update. ''It's normally three weeks after that,'' Reid said of Berry. ''We're getting to right about that time.'' . Running back Jamaal Charles, who is holding a weekend football camp in Texas, was excused from Friday's practice . . Running back Charcandrick West sustained a stinger during Friday's practice. . Defensive tackle Dontari Poe (back), defensive lineman Vaughn Martin (ankle), and wide receiver Albert Wilson (hamstring) did not practice Friday.
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