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NFL camp preview: Reid's Chiefs seek peace, fast tempo

The SportsXchange

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Peace.

That should be an obvious sign of change when the Kansas City Chiefs open training camp Thursday and then take their new up-tempo offense on the field Friday to begin a new era under the leadership of head coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey.

Reid is the team's fourth head coach since the 2008 season and third in the last three seasons. Controversy, turmoil and organizational bickering were prominent during Scott Pioli's reign as general manager.

The first six months of the new regime has been relatively quiet and built on one factor - hard work. Reid says that's the fastest way to turn around what has been the worst stretch in Chiefs history.

"You have to work together; you have to build trust," Reid said. "I think we all know nothing good comes easy, so you have to work your tail off. You have to give up a little bit of something to get something."

And, a team has to have enough talent. That was Pioli's major downfall - his inability to significantly improve the talent level of the roster. The Chiefs may have sent six players to the Pro Bowl after the 2012 season, but only two were Pioli acquisitions -- strong safety Eric Berry and outside linebacker Justin Houston.

The new regime has made a lot of changes to the roster already, with more than half of the 90-man list including additions since January. Still, the guts of the Chiefs will be inherited players, including those half-dozen Pro Bowlers from last season -- linebackers Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and Houston, Berry, running back Jamaal Charles and punter Dustin Colquitt. Throw in wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, tackle Branden Albert, cornerback Brandon Flowers, guard Jon Asamoah and versatile Dexter McCluster and it's not a team that needs a completely new foundation.

Offensively, Reid and first-time coordinator Doug Pederson experimented with a lot of things in the offseason, and the addition of Chris Ault, who developed the pistol scheme at the University of Nevada, has falsely led folks to a conclusion that will be the Kansas City offense.

Right now, it's just another part of the toolbox for the offensive coaching staff, along with the no-huddle offense they showed through most of the spring practices.

"I think the more plays you run in a game, the better off you are," said Reid. "As long as you are fundamentally sound and you are making plays and scoring points, it's very helpful. That's not the only thing we do, but to be able to have that ability to go at different speeds I think is important. It gives us flexibility."

All this will be under the control of quarterback Alex Smith, who became dispensable in San Francisco after his concussion allowed Colin Kaepernick to show his versatility. Ironically, Kaepernick played under Ault at Reno.

Reid will also be watching the defense continue to adjust to the scheme being implemented by coordinator Bob Sutton. The classic 3-4 used by Romeo Crennel was more about read and react and bend-but-don't break. Sutton's playbook is more about attacking aggressively in the pass rush and coverage.

As always, the most important goal is to re-establish the habit of winning around the Chiefs. In the last two seasons, they had a 9-23 record, including last year's 2-14 that was bad enough to give them the first choice in the NFL Draft.

"We all have strengths and weaknesses and being a team is my strength," Reid said.

--Team correspondents for The Sports Xchange contributed material for this story.
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