Two things stand out from the Chiefs' offseason workouts under new Head Coach Andy Reid: He likes a brisk pace at practice, and he believes in the virtues of attention to detail.
Every decision made by Reid is backed with purpose.
“Little things are very important,” he said. “The little things add up if you don’t take care of them, and become big things. So, we’re going to make sure we focus on those and we’re not going to let those things slide.”
No detail is too small for Reid and his staff; they want their players to avoid distractions and focus on what will make the Chiefs a better team, now.
“It’s the work ethic right now – guys trying to get better,” Reid said. “There are a lot of little things that determine whether you’re going to be an average team or a good team, and are you going to be fundamentally sound against all the different looks, whether you’re on the defensive or offensive side.
“So you’ve got to spend time at it. It’s not good enough just to learn the play; let’s learn it inside and out. Let’s learn all the leverage positions you need to be in. And the guys are doing that, they’re working at it.”
Reid is committed to seeing his players succeed on a personal level, even if it means stopping a drill to ensure the player grasps what he’s trying to teach. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe said that whenever he or his teammates are corrected by Reid or his staff, it’s with good reason.
“It tells me everything about a coach with that caliber, who wants to be great himself and also his players,” Bowe said. “The extra time he takes out to make sure guys get it right – you have to respect him and know that he’s trying to get you better and not look at it as a punishment.”
As for the pace of practices, from the very first voluntary offseason workout Reid has had his players moving at speeds that would make Indianapolis 500 drivers proud.
“High energy, fast-paced,” quarterback Alex Smith said. “Never a dull moment out here; non-stop for sure. It’s full speed ahead. I’m working as hard as I can and pushing us as fast as we can go … that’s just what I’m trying to do.”
Fellow quarterback Chase Daniel agreed.
“I think right now, it’s just tempo,” Daniel said. “Get up and down, get on the ball. Completions, completions, completions. Run our plays; don’t worry about what the defense is doing, just really press them. We like to blitz the defense by getting a lot of formations and a lot of shifts and motions, our tempo.”
The players responsible for protecting the quarterbacks have noticed the change too, including Chiefs linemen Branden Albert and Geoff Schwartz.
“It’s fast-paced,” Albert said. “First of all, we’re going to be in shape. Second of all, when we push the tempo, it can get teams off balance. But we have to perfect it first.”
Schwartz knows that once the defense is tired, the Chiefs can take advantage.
“It’s great,” he said. “It keeps the defense on their toes, gets them tired and, offensively, we play better when the defense is tired and we can handle it better.”
The fun, up-tempo style of play isn’t just reserved for the Chiefs offense.
“It’s an aggressive-attack style defense,” linebacker Derrick Johnson said. “We love it. We’re doing a lot of different things, as far as blitzing, covering different receivers … It’s a new scheme; everybody has their thinking caps on right now.”
The team isn’t just practicing at an accelerated pace; the players also are trying to learn the new system in a similar fashion.
“As much as we can,” cornerback Brandon Flowers said. “Championships are won in the offseason. The quicker we can all get on the same page and go out there and fly around on all three aspects of the game, we’ll be good.”