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Chiefs Continue Offseason Preparation with Another Week of OTAs

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By Matt McMullen, Cheifs Reporter

 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up their third and final round of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) this week as the team continued their preparation for the upcoming season.

OTA practices – which mark “Phase Three” of the NFL offseason training program – are significant because they permit for 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills to take place at the team facility for the first time since last season ended. These aren’t padded practices and no live contact is allowed, but these voluntary workouts are crucial when it comes to laying the groundwork for the next few months.

“The guys are working hard, and they’re challenging each other within the rules that you’re confined to [right now],” said Head Coach Andy Reid. “It’s a good foundation for them as we work into the veteran minicamp [next week] and then into training camp [later this summer]. They’ll at least have a foundation there going up to St. Joseph.”

As Reid indicated, the Chiefs will hold a three-day, mandatory minicamp at the team facility next week. The rules for those practices are identical to that of OTAs, but unlike the workouts that have been taking place over the last three weeks, every member of the roster is required to attend veteran minicamp.

With all of that being said, here are a few notes from Thursday’s OTA session, which marked the third offseason practice that was open to the media.

– Wide receiver Skyy Moore had a busy day with several catches during both 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 periods. A few of his highlights included a forward-diving grab on a low throw and a deep catch over the middle for a would-be touchdown just one snap later.

– Rookie tailback Deneric Prince made a tremendous catch on a wheel route deep down the sideline during a 7-on-7 period. Prince – who was being covered by a cornerback on the play – went up and got the football despite solid coverage for a 20-yard gain.

– Defensive back Nazeeh Johnson recorded a pass-breakup with a perfectly-timed punchout on a short pass during 11-on-11 drills. Johnson was one of the standouts of OTAs as a whole.

– Rookie wide receiver Nikko Remigio made a strong catch over the middle despite good coverage during 11-on-11 drills.

– Rookie defensive back Isaiah Norman tallied an interception over the muddle during an 11-on-11 period.

– Linebacker Willie Gay Jr. batted away a pass at the line of scrimmage during 11-on-11 drills.

– Wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling had a busy day with several catches throughout practice. Valdes-Scantling is another player who has consistently impressed during OTAs.

– Safety Deon Bush hauled in an interception deep down the sideline toward the end of practice. It was essentially a jump ball that Bush came down with.

– Rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice made a tremendous, over-the-shoulder grab on a pass about 40 yards downfield during 11-on-11 drills despite solid coverage by the defensive back.

Following practice, Coach Reid and a handful of players met with the media to discuss the Chiefs’ progress heading into mandatory minicamp next week.

Here are a few things that stood out from those press conferences.

1) Coach Reid provided some insight into what exactly the Chiefs worked on this past week.

Every team utilizes this period of the offseason differently, but one defining characteristic of Coach Reid’s offseason schedule is that he devotes entire OTA practice periods to specific opponents. In other words, the Chiefs spent this past week broadly game-planning for the Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders and Detroit Lions.

“This week has been all [focused on] opponents, so the AFC West and then our first opponent, the Lions,” Reid said. “So, we’ve got some work [done]. We’ve got the Lions [on Friday]. We’ve had the AFC West the last three days.”

These opponent-specific sessions are general, big-picture practices because there’s only so much that they can do, but still, the fact that the Chiefs are spending time focused on specific teams in June is an example of Coach Reid’s genius.

Additionally, Reid provided an injury update on rookie defensive end and first-round pick Felix Anudike-Uzomah, who was limited in previous OTA practices due to thumb and hamstring injuries.

“Yeah, he is [back to fully participating in practice],” Reid said. “He had that surgery – that thumb surgery – and had a hamstring [injury] too, so he’s worked through all that, but he’s back in the swing [of things] and looks like he’s feeling better every day, which is a good thing.”

2) Safety Justin Reid spoke about the Chiefs’ ability to turn the page to next season after an offseason of celebrating a championship.

“Honestly, the page is already turned. We’re out there working and we’re out there chasing another championship,” Reid said. “We’re starting to build a new culture. Every year is different, and it’s a new team. We know nothing is going to be given to us, and we’ve got an even bigger target on our back than we did last year. We get to take a moment every once in a while to go back in the history book – or the yearbook – and enjoy that moment…but as far as the mentality in the room, we’re working to continue this dynasty and continue to build on what we did last year, not just rest on our laurels of what we did.”

Reid went on to explain that the Chiefs’ defense is “lightyears” ahead of where they were at this time last year in terms of their on-field communication.

3) Lastly, offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor was asked about his readiness to play either right or left tackle this upcoming season.

Coach Reid stated last month that heading into the offseason training program, Taylor would handle right tackle duties while veteran Donovan Smith played left tackle. Regardless, Taylor is ready to play wherever he’s needed.

“I’m just here to help the team win [and play] wherever the team needs me,” Taylor said. “I told Coach Reid, if they need me at left, I’ll play the left. If they need me on the right, I’ll play the right. I feel that I’m athletic [enough] to do either one. So, wherever the team needs me, I’m there.”

Taylor, who played right tackle for the Jacksonville Jaguars before signing with Kansas City this offseason, also said that he believes he could make the switch in the middle of a game if necessary. Versatility is critical over the course of a long, 17-game season, and it appears that the Chiefs have plenty of it along their offensive line.

Taylor, Smith and the rest of the Chiefs’ roster will now turn their attention to mandatory minicamp next week as Kansas City takes another step toward the 2023 season.

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