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The Kansas City Chiefs’ perfect preseason was headlined by stellar play by several young players that has set the table for the team to pursue another championship. Guys like Trey Smith, Creed Humphrey, Lucas Niang and Willie Gay Jr. have brought a new vitality to Kansas City, as their identity has shifted following their Super Bowl loss in February.
First and second-year talent is supremely valuable for teams on the cusp of a ring because of the lower salaries associated with rookie contracts. For Andy Reid, the shift toward a youth movement, especially on the offensive line and across the defense is a break from tradition from his first seven years with the Chiefs. Usually, one to lean on veterans, notoriously wary of relying on younger players to carry his teams, Reid seems to have embraced the greener crowd in 2021.
Following the Chiefs’ win against Minnesota, Reid spoke to the media post-game, telling reporters that the front office had their work cut out for them after a solid team showing in all three preseason games.
“I thought both sides of the ball and special teams did well,” Reid said of his team, “It was good to get the young guys in—they had some extended play there and I thought that was good for them. It gives Brett (Veach) an opportunity to go back and evaluate one more time some of those guys that he’s got tough decisions on. But I sure appreciated their effort.”
For now, Reid said the team will spend some time away from the facilities as they assemble the final roster. It’ll be a short respite before preparation begins for the Week 1 tilt with the Cleveland Browns, it will certainly be a crucial couple of days.
“We’ll take a couple of days off here for the players,” Reid told reporters, “It will give Brett (Veach) time to organize and get ready. We’ll come back in a couple days and have a short practice, a lift and a workout. Then, we’ll have three practices and they get three days off at the end of it—everybody in the league does—so that’s kind of the format of it.”
Asked if he was concerned about the effect on Kansas City’s preparation with the extra bye before the regular season officially starts, Reid seemed hopeful that the Chiefs would be able to carry the momentum gained from their preseason victories through the next couple of weeks.
“We’ll be all right,” Reid said of the extra break. “The guys will have good energy. They finished here with that and they know they’ve got a good football team coming in here in Cleveland, so you don’t have to say a whole lot. They know what’s ahead of them.”
His supreme optimism in the team points to a level of trust in his players that feels somewhat unnatural for such a young group. With two rookies on an offensive line featuring new starters at all five positions and young players scattered throughout the defense, all eyes are on Reid to bring the whole squad together to get off to a hot start in September. If he can harness the talent of players still coming into their prime on cheap rookie or minimum contracts, Kansas City’s ascension to dynasty status could be on a fast track with good results this season.