Minicamp Notebook: Coaching staff settling into new roles

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Head coach Andy Reid shuffled his coaching staff during the offseason, and rookie minicamp marked the new staff’s first time coaching as a group on the field.

Former Kansas State wide receiver Byron Pringle takes part in special teams drills during the first day of the Chiefs’ rookie minicamp at the club’s training facility in Kansas City, Mo., on May 5, 2018. (Photo by Matt Derrick, ChiefsDigest.com)

“I guess you’d say this is the first time they’ve coached somebody with a helmet on and that’s a plus,” Reid said.

Gone are offensive coordinator Matt Nagy, assistant head coach Brad Childress, linebacker coach Gary Gibbs and special projects coach Tommy Brasher. Reid promoted Eric Bieniemy to offensive coordinator and hired former USC coach Deland McCullough to fill Bieniemy’s old role as running backs coach. The team also promoted seven other coaches to new roles.

Minicamp gives the coaching staff an opportunity to work with players in a traditional practice environment before OTAs begin later this month.

“You can work out some of the kinks and things,” Reid said. “So far so good. The walkthrough went well and I’m expecting the practice to go well this afternoon.”

Final farewell to DJ

Former Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson signed a one-year deal with Oakland on Friday, and Reid wished the future Ring of Honor recipient good tidings with the Raiders, mostly.

“I wish him the best,” Reid said. “I texted him I wish him the best except for about two games, other than that I’m good.”

Reid emphasized that the Raiders picked up a phenomenal person and a great leader.

“Derrick is one of my most favorite players that I have ever coached since I’ve been coaching,” Reid said. “Every day he came out like he was 20.”

Reid also reiterated that when Johnson closes his career, he holds an open invitation to coach in Kansas City.

“I told him that if he decides he wants to go in that direction, I’m going to be hard on him,” Reid said. “Probably harder on him than when he was a player. But he can come back, absolutely.”

Defense rules day one

A defensive loaded with five draft picks against an offense consisting almost entirely of undrafted players created a bit of a mismatch on day one of minicamp. The offense led by first-team quarterback Chase Litton of Marshall had its moments, but defense carried the day.

Linebacker Breeland Speaks showed an ability to breeze past several different left tackles. A quick first step gave the second-round pick all the advantage he needed setting the edge. Several defensive players stood out, but Speaks had a dominating first day of practice.

Notes: Former Michigan cornerback Channing Stribling turned in two turnovers in as many plays in one sequence, jumping a short out route for an interception and following it up with a leaping interception on the next play. … Assumption wide receiver Ashton Grant turned in the catch of the day. Grant went skyward in traffic pulling down a long pass from Occidental quarterback Bryan Scott. Grant maintained possession of the ball after crashing to the ground in the end zone. … Kansas State wide receiver Bryon Pringle found himself a frequent target during practice and made several nice catches in traffic. … Litton appears the most likely of the three quarterbacks to make an impact during training camp. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Litton has the look of a quarterback and displayed a strong arm. Some errant throws peppered the his day, but Litton showed promise. … Several running backs in camp also caught attention with their speed, most notably LSU back Darrel Williams and TCU back Kyle Hicks.

Quotes of the day

“I will say Kansas City barbecue probably puts it to shame. Don’t tweet that out or anything.”  — linebacker Dorian O’Daniel on the barbecue at Clemson, S.C., versus Kansas City barbecue

“Honestly I feel like when it comes to defensive line that’s where in a sense the big dogs take place because I always felt like the D-line always controlled, any top of lineman, controls how a game goes. So I feel like the D-line’s one of most – not only the most but one of the most important spots on the field.” — defensive lineman Derrick Nnadi on how his skills fit in with Kansas City’s emphasis on getting tougher on defense.

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Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.

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