Unlike most years, Andy Reid hasn’t had the chance to spend much, if any, time in-person with his incoming class.
Most of the NFL’s offseason was shut down as teams began hosting prospects at their facilities for visits, which left coaches and general managers to rely on what they saw at the combine and on tape during the 2020 NFL Draft.
There will be a feeling out process when coaches and players can reconvene and acquaint for the first time in-person. Knowing the hurdles that will come when teams hit the field, Reid isn’t taking it easy on his rookie class during the virtual offseason.
“I think if we can overemphasize the learning part of it now … there’s a chance that eliminates just an inch of that angst when they’re on the field where they can perform athletically or physically to the best of their ability,” Reid said during a Zoom interview with reporters Friday.
“We’re kind of putting the hammer down on that, working it and emphasizing it to the player. I’m getting good reports back from the coaches on the rookies. The guys are working their tails off right now.”
As the offseason progresses, so does the typical workload on the field. Facility workouts usually progress from strength and condition to on-field work and eventual scrimmages without pads. With those options not feasible or allowed, Kansas City’s coaching staff is still pounding the playbook.
“Because we can’t go on the field, the coaches have used unique tools with them as far as maybe calling on a player to do an install — to install a play — or whatever it might be,” Reid said. “For us, it’s given all our coaches an opportunity to do installs as we go, just to keep the focus of the player and to keep it fresh.”
With veterans allowed two-hour periods of coaching and rookies allotted five hours, according to Reid, the Chiefs have used that to their advantage with coaches breaking off into smaller groups with players.
“They get that time, and right now for those kids, that time is important and your attitude and approach to that is important,” Reid said.