Like the NFL's other 31 coaches, the Chiefs' Andy Reid participated in the coaches breakfast during the league's annual meeting Tuesday at the J.W. Marriott.
Here's a detailed recap of the highlights of his session with reporters, which included his thoughts on several of the Chiefs' free-agent signings, some of their free-agent losses, some promising members of his coaching staff and much more.
ON CHIEFS' OFFSEASON ACQUISITIONS
Reid made it clear that the addition of cornerback Kendall Fuller to the Alex Smith trade was a crucial component to getting a deal done with Washington. That would appear to be doubly true following the offseason trade of Marcus Peters, with talks surrounding that discussion appearing to begin approximately a week after the Smith trade was agreed upon.
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“That was a big part of the decision," Reid said. "We wanted to make sure Alex went to a place that was right. We wanted to make sure he went someplace he could win, where he was going to be well coached and in an offense that kind of fit what he does. On the other hand, we needed defensive secondary help, so I thought it was a win-win for both sides."
Reid noted that win-win trades are rare, but it's clear he couldn't be happier with the player and the pick the Chiefs got in return for Smith, a Pro Bowler the last two seasons.
“He's got a tremendous upside," Reid said of Fuller. "He’s just tapping into that. He ended up developing into the best inside pass defender in the league, and now he has an opportunity to step outside and do that also and add that to his repertoire. We’ll use him on the outside but on the inside, too, in nickel situations.”
Since the Chiefs snagged Sammy Watkins via free agency, Reid has gotten the distinct sense that Rams coach Sean McVay didn't want to lose Watkins.
"I don't think Sean necessarily wanted to get rid of him," Reid said. "They just couldn't keep him."
The Rams, indeed, are facing a massive payday for stud defensive lineman Aarond Donald, and an expensive receiver like Watkins — who is making $48 million over three years with the Chiefs — was not the priority, even though they wanted him back.
Nevertheless, the Chiefs are thrilled the Rams needed to spend their money elsewhere.
"He's one of those guys that can pluck it away from their body," Reid said. "Not all receivers are willing to do that in games or in traffic, but he’s willing to stick his hands out there and get the ball."
Reid really likes new running back Damien Williams, who recently agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million with the Chiefs.
"You see an explosive runner, you see somebody that can catch, both when flexed out and out of the backfield. You see a very good special teams player. He's got a (shoulder) injury, so we've just got to get that healed up."
*Reid also said the decision to sign veteran quarterback Chad Henne was related to his quality as a person and his ability to help tutor new starter Patrick Mahomes.
"I thought that was important, and when I talked to these veteran guys, I wanted a vet in there, and I thought Chad fit that well," Reid said. "He’s seen enough, been around this situation for the last few years. Other than that, he’s had the weight of the NFL and a franchise on his back with the Dolphins, and I thought that fit well with what we need him to do.”
Reid said he spoke to a few other veteran quarterbacks, but he liked the way Henne was wired, which bore out when he lost a competition for the starting quarterback job to Blake Bortles last preseason but, by all accounts, was a great teammate to Bortles.
“He’s got tremendous toughness — I just think he’ll understand his role with us and still be ready to compete and most of all, be ready in case something happens to Patrick," Reid said. "You’re not gonna ignore that, for sure. I thought how he handled that whole thing with Blake was unbelievable."
ON OTHER TOPICS
When asked about new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and the dearth of African-American offensive coordinators in the NFL, Reid had a great answer.
"I'm into good coaches — I don't get caught up on color," Reid said. "But Eric is a phenomenal football coach. I can't speak for other people on that, but you go out, open the door and talk to everybody. At the Senior Bowl, I talk to guys and say let’s talk some ball. As long as a guy loves ball, he’s got aptitude and is willing to work, I'm all in on it, man, and that's what Eric is."
Reid also singled out assistants quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka, receivers coach Greg Lewis and secondary coach Al Harris as "really sharp" up and comers, which to me sounds like they're the potential future coordinators in the Reid pipeline.
"These are young guys that are ambitious about their profession, that’s what I look at," Reid said.
The Chiefs stand to be much younger in 2018, but that doesn't bother Reid in the least bit.
"That’s the NFL today," he said. "Unfortunately, age fits into this thing. We’re all getting older, that’s how it works, and then you move on."
Reid lamented the loss of free-agent lineman Zach Fulton, who signed a deal worth $7 million a year with Houston.
“One of my favorite guys," Reid said. "Zach could play any position. Very smart, very consistent. Doesn't say much; that's not his deal. But you’ll just appreciate how he comes to work everyday."
Reid said the primary challenge for Tyreek Hill this year will be learning and mastering the intricacies of route running. In my opinion, he's already better than people think at this. But if he ever becomes a master, watch out.
Count Reid as a fan of the new, clarified rules surrounding what is a catch. "It sure seems like it will be easier for the officials to officiate; it seems more clean cut," Reid said. "The neat thing about the NFL is if there’s a problem, they normally address it. If they feel like they made a mistake somewhere, they always say, 'We’re gonna come back (and fix it).'
"Roger (Goodell's) strength is he doesn't shy away from things if there's an issue; he’s gonna do what’s best for the game. That’s a hard seat to sit in, obviously. I think he handles that well."