It’s An Important Week For the 2013 Chiefs

The first five months of 2013 have been a whirlwind for the Chiefs franchise.

On New Year’s Eve, team chairman Clark Hunt fired head coach Romeo Crennel, or more appropriately, Hunt put Romeo out of his misery. A 2-14 season made it impossible for Crennel to keep his job, no matter the ugly circumstances surrounding those ugly results.

Within five days, Andy Reid was in the house and then John Dorsey came aboard and the Chiefs have been revamping and reshaping the team ever since. This week, that period of preparation ends, as the team holds a 3-day mini-camp starting on Tuesday.

Once the veterans walk off the field on Thursday afternoon, they will not be back together again with the coaches until July 25th at the earliest, and won’t be in pads until July 28th at the earliest.

That’s more than 7 weeks away, or more than enough time to take everything that happened in the last two months and flush it all down the football toilet.

And, that’s why this week is so important for the Chiefs. The mini-camp practices will be much the same as the 10 OTA sessions that finished up last Friday, so it will be three more days for the team, and especially the offense, to work on making the Reid scheme work.

They need every chance they have to do that, because the offense has been anywhere from ugly and awful, to mediocre at the best. There are a lot of explanations for what we’ve seen, or excuses to some people. Reid admits he’s dumped a lot on the offense; in fact it’s been pretty much the entire offensive playbook.

“It’s been positive; it’s a lot thrown at them,” Reid said. “I think it’s positive steps forward. We’re overloading them, but they’re handling it.”

The hope for Reid is that putting the offense from A to Z on their plates in May, will make things easier in August, when the team begins practicing and the regular season looms large on the horizon. That’s why the coach can see positives in putrid production and efficiency; in his view better to see that in May, than see it in August.

“You give it to them now; you get it in the computer and they’re able to spit it out having said they’ve done it,” Reid said. “Obviously you’re not going to go into a game with all the plays we have in now. But we want them to have a taste of what we’re doing offensively. We’ll pull in and pull out for this big file what we’ve given them for the season.”

The other factor/excuse is the changing face of the personnel, especially at quarterback where the top 2 are new to the team. Tight ends, right tackle, fullback, backup running back, likely at least one maybe two other backup offensive line positions will all be new.

If they walk out the door on Thursday and don’t walk back in until the last week of July, that’s hardly going to build any cohesion. That’s why this week is important for what happens in the locker room.

Starting quarterback Alex Smith needs to be the instigator here. He needs to spend the entire week talking in the ear of Dwayne Bowe, Dexter McCluster, Jamaal Charles, Davis, Alex Fasano, Travis Kelce, Jon Baldwin and any other offensive skill position players that want to listen.

The locker room needs to stand up and continue their work over the next seven weeks. As much as any other time of the year, this down time on the NFL calendar is very important to the immediate future of the Chiefs.

Smith admits that putting together some sort of extra offensive work has crossed his mind.

“That’s something we’ll take into account,” Smith said last week. “I’m thinking about it yeah, potentially (we could do something).”

There’s no “potentially” here – this must happen and the guy who has to make it happen is Smith. At this point in time there’s no question that Smith knows the offensive playbook better than any other player on the team; that’s part of his duties as the starting quarterback.

Part of the duties of the starting quarterback is to be a team leader, and team leaders are the guys that can convince teammates that this is not a seven-week vacation ahead starting on Thursday. Smith came into the team with more credibility than any quarterback that’s landed at Arrowhead Stadium since another guy that came over from San Francisco.

There’s plenty of time in those 50-plus days away to take trips to Las Vegas or South Beach, the Caribbean or Cabo. There’s time in the break to hold football camps, attend the wedding of friends and family and allow tired muscles to heal.

There’s also plenty of time for the offense to get together and work to become much better than they have been in the last month. Transition and change are tough, and there’s always an adjustment period.

That ends on Thursday.

Reid has dumped a lot of offense on their plates so they can be up and running when they unpack in St. Joe. Now, it’s up to the players to return not as an offense trying to continue to adjust, but as a group poised to become productive and efficient.

6 Responses to “It’s An Important Week For the 2013 Chiefs”

  • June 3, 2013  - milkman says:

    The NFL sold their soul when they agreed to these ridiculous practice schedules. Bob has a good point. The only way teams in transition like the Chiefs have to get better is to rely on players to do the extra work necessary on their own. And don’t forget we are still talking about young men with money in their pockets.

    There’s no doubt that these young players will get better at the new offensive and defensive schemes. Let’s just hope half of the regular season hasn’t went by before that happens.

  • June 3, 2013  - Bryon Day says:

    It is no surprise that the defense has made the offense look bad. The defense has blitzed and generally pressured the offense in every way at a time when their counterparts are learning a new scheme and are being overloaded with it. I wouldn’t panic about the offense right now. If they look inept in exhibition games, concern should go way up. NFL people talk a lot about how “exhibition games are meaningless.” Not so. Every season I look at what I see out of our starters, reserves, and special team players compared to their counterparts on other teams, then I predict wins and losses. I’m generally correct by 1 game +/- with last season being the exception (I thought 6-10 and was 4 games off).

  • June 3, 2013  - ChuckXX says:

    I echo what “Milkman” said. I had no idea that they all had the next 7 weeks off. Seems really stupid thinking on all of their parts if you stop and think about it. Seven weeks to get out of shape. Seven weeks to get bored and get into trouble. We will probably see some really sloppy football in the first few games. Kinda sad for a true fan.

  • June 3, 2013  - Tenand6 says:

    Great column, Bob. You’ve identified an opportunity and a test of the contention Alex Smith is a great leader and everything the Chiefs thought he would be.

    Actions will determine if these things are true.

    If they are here to win, the offense works together “off the clock.” If they are here to collect a paycheck, they don’t.

    Fantastic observation. We have a measuring stick.

  • June 3, 2013  - txchief says:

    As I’ve said before, all the players make full time money. It’s time for them to treat their work as a full time job. They don’t need to be involved in contact or even walk through drills all the time, but they do need to be present year round (with appropriate off time) for conditioning and study. As Milkman has pointed out, seven weeks off is asking for trouble and insures that the team will regress between mini-camp and training camp.

  • June 3, 2013  - R W says:

    Put another way, how many drivers would continue to adhere to traffic signs, speed limits and all other manner of adhering to the rules of the road if all the law enforcement cops went on a 7 week vacation? I’d be afraid to leave my driveway.

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