Mon, 01 Jun 2020

The media had an opportunity to speak with the Kansas City Chiefs' coordinators via web call on Tuesday as the team continued the virtual offseason program.

Here are five things that stood out from the call.

1. Special Teams Coordinator / Assistant Head Coach Dave Toub kicked things off by speaking about the Chiefs' incoming rookie class.

"[Our front office] did a great job, first of all, getting those players, and not only those players, but the free agents we got, too. There's a lot of good players there in that group," Toub said. "We evaluate each one of them - [running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire], [linebacker Willie Gay], [defensive back L'Jarius Sneed], [cornerback BoPete Keyes] - we had special teams' grades on each one of those players."

Toub went on to explain how special teams' ability was taken into consideration during the draft process and what he likes about this group.

"We work with [General Manager Brett] Veach and if we have two players that are close, we'll take the guy that has the higher special teams' grade than the other. All of these guys had good special teams' grades, so I'm real excited about every one of them," Toub said. "They've all got speed and they've all got good height. Clyde's not the tallest guy in the world, but he's so elusive, I just picture him playing [personal protector] for us on the punt team where he could get a direct snap and take off and he can do a lot of things in that area. Plus, we're also going to find out if he can tackle, too. He's never done it before. We've talked a couple times virtually, he's never done it, but he's looking forward to it. They're all excited and I'm excited to have all of them."

2. Speaking of Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs' Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy was asked how he envisions utilizing the former LSU tailback and the rest of Kansas City's talented backfield.

Edwards-Helaire joins a dynamic group that includes tailbacks Damien Williams, Darrel Williams, Darwin Thompson, DeAndre Washington and Elijah McGuire, presenting Bieniemy and the rest of the coaching staff with plenty of options in the running game.

"We know one thing that kid is going to do is he's going to come in and work his tail off. Now, he's just going to be a piece of the puzzle," Bieniemy said. "You've got Damien Williams who did a hell of a job for us last year. He's also going to have an opportunity to play with one of his former teammates [in Darrel Williams) and then we have Darwin. We've got the young kid that played with the Oakland Raiders, DeAndre Washington, [too]. We have a unique situation where he can come in and have an opportunity to learn from a collective group, but also, we want to make sure we're utilizing him in the right ways and making sure he's mentally prepared to go when it's time to go."

3. Bieniemy went on to speak specifically about Edwards-Helaire and what he brings to the Chiefs' backfield.

"I think the kid is just a special kid. You've seen some of the things he's done on tape as far as running the ball, having the ability to get outside in the open field and make some plays as a receiver," Bieniemy said. "You can create matchups with him. He's one of those ideal kids that fits in with what we do."

Edwards-Helaire was indeed a special player on the National Champion LSU Tigers, tallying 1,414 rushing yards, an SEC-leading 16 rushing touchdowns and 55 receptions for 453 yards. He already has the ability to do a little bit of everything offensively, but Bieniemy believes the Chiefs' locker room can make him even better.

"Having him as part of the puzzle - I mean think about it - he gets to go out there and play with [quarterback] Patrick Mahomes and [tight end] Travis Kelce. He gets the opportunity to learn from Damien Williams and DeAndre Washington. He's gets an opportunity to play with [wide receiver] Sammy Watkins and all those guys," Bieniemy said. "I think with his talent, his attitude, his determined mindset and the professionalism that he brings to the organization, I think that's going to help him to be even better. I think the kid's got some special traits, but I also believe that our players are going to help him to grow to become even more of a special contributor when it's all said and done with."

4. On the other side of the ball, Chiefs' Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was asked how the defense - which ranked among the best in the NFL in the second half of last season - can get even better in 2020.

"Well first and foremost, we need to begin the season better in my opinion. [Linebacker Anthony Hitchens] and I talked about this yesterday...we knew there were going to be bumps in the road early in regard to feeling out coaches, players and what we had, what they could do, the new system and the whole thing," Spagnuolo said. "We went through some rough patches, but really because of the assistant coaches we have, we just kept pounding the details over and over and over and over and the guys [kept] embracing it and [didn't get] frustrated with all the walkthroughs we had and all the reps that we took."

That persistence certainly paid off in 2019 as the Chiefs posted the best scoring defense in the NFL from Week 11 through the end of the regular season. Now a year later, Spagnuolo is counting on that trend to continue as the 2020 season gets underway.

"My hope is that we're past [the early struggles] and it would be really nice if we could come out of the blocks and play good defense at the beginning of the season and not wait," Spagnuolo added. "I think we maybe felt like it was seven or eight games before we really got in the groove."

5. Lastly, Spagnuolo spoke about new defensive end Taco Charlton, who signed with the Chiefs a few weeks ago.

Charlton, a former first round pick back in 2017, led the Miami Dolphins with five sacks and two forced fumbles in 2019. The six-foot-six, 270-pound Charlton has shown flashes during his young career, but Spagnuolo is hopeful that he can reach his full potential in Kansas City.

"We were really fortunate last year when we got [defensive end] Emmanuel Ogbah. He surfaced in the system, played good football and now he's at Miami. Emmanuel and I have talked about this a lot and a change of scenery for him was really good. So, I think the hope, certainly, is that maybe Taco can do the same thing," Spagnuolo said. "Now, we don't know that. Unfortunately, [Defensive Line Coach Brendan Daly] and I don't have the chance to get to know him quite as well through a computer, but I've heard really good things about him and we're hopeful. He gets thrown in the mix with everybody else and hopefully we can find a guy on the edge to help us going forward. We'll find that out. We've got a long way to go I guess before we can determine that."

Check back soon for additional comments from coaches and players as the Chiefs continue to work through their virtual offseason program.

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