KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the rookies on the Kansas City Chiefs, they’ve got experience in the preseason but nothing compares to the real thing.
Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, they’ll get their first taste of regular-season action and Arrowhead Stadium.
“Listen, there’s nothing like the real thing. That’s a good point,” said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. “We’ve talked about it, it’s loud especially if you’re on the defensive side. You really got to focus in and make sure you get all the calls and that you hear them and/or see the signals. That becomes important. On the offensive side, obviously, it’s going to be louder than normal so you got to be sharp, be focused in and can’t let that affect your game in any negative way at all.”
There’s been plenty of discussion about the five new starters on the offensive line, three of which are rookies.
Center Creed Humphrey, right guard Trey Smith and right tackle Lucas Niang are all making their first career starts. Orlando Brown, who is also making his first start as a member of the Chiefs, is very confident the new O-Line is ready for the challenge.
“My message to them is continue to do what got you here and keep the mentality that you’ve kept,” Brown said. Focus every day to get better and approach every day to work hard and these young guys are ready to go. It’s not too much I necessarily need to tell them they don’t know already. The speed of the game is the speed of the game. The players they’re playing against are the players they’re playing against. These guys dominated top tier college players anyway. It’s exactly what they expect, that’s my message to them and you know, have no fear. Approach this as you would in college, that’s been my mentality on every level. I’m going to go out and dominate my opponent on every level, so it doesn’t matter who they line up across from.”
And without Willie Gay, there’s a next man up mentality at linebacker, veteran Anthony Hitchens said if rookie Nick Bolton is pressed into action, he has no doubt the former Missouri Tiger will make plays.
“He’s ready. You guys have seen it in preseason and throughout camp,” Hitchens said. “The guy, he’s a ballplayer, he’s a natural, he’s smart, he doesn’t make the same mistakes twice, he owns up to his mistakes. So, a guy like that, you can count on. With him and Ben Niemann and the guys we’ve got in there, we’ve just got to communicate with each other and get it rolling. We’ve got Willie Gay out for a couple weeks, so we’ve got a next man up mentality and keep it moving.”
It will be very important the defense communicates as they may be without one of their defensive leaders in Tyrann Mathieu, who is still on the NFL’s COVID-19 list.