Bob Sutton has been around football long enough to realize that every year brings turnover Edwin Encarnacion Jersey , even when a team is coming off back-to-back division championships for the first time in its history.
It didn’t stop him from marveling at how different the Kansas City Chiefs look this year.
The Chiefs’ defensive coordinator focused only on his side of the ball, and counted nearly two dozen new names among guys who could be fighting for a legitimate job.
That includes five of their six selections in the draft and Kendall Fuller, the cornerback they got in the trade of Alex Smith to Washington.
”We have a lot of new dudes,” Sutton said. ”They’re all different. They’re from young rookies to guys that came here as free agents. It really is a good group of guys. And it really is early in the process, but they seemed to have meshed really good.”
It’s not just new faces under helmets, either.
The Chiefs shook up coach Andy Reid’s staff after their debacle of a playoff loss to Tennessee and following the departure of offensive coordinator Matt Nagy to Chicago.
Eric Bieniemy was promoted to that job from running backs coach with Mike Kafka taking over the quarterback coaching, while on defense, the Chiefs replaced linebackers coach Gary Gibbs with Mark DeLeone and Mike Smith.
All those changes came on the heels of a couple of offseasons with very little turnover, both on the roster and among the coaching staff.
And that makes their three-day mandatory minicamp that began Tuesday one of the most important for Reid and Co. since he took over prior to the 2013 season.
”Whoever is in the building, you teach. That’s how I look at it,” Chiefs secondary coach Al Harris said. ”At the end of the day, their performance falls on me. I take that approach.”
Well, there’s already been plenty of coaching after several weeks of voluntary workouts, and there is plenty more getting packed into the next couple of days at the Chiefs’ practice facility.
The goal is to set up the team for a productive training camp beginning in late July in St. Joseph Brian Urlacher Jersey Youth , Missouri, where all those jobs that are up for grabs will get settled.
On defense, the Chiefs are trying to decide how best to fill the outside linebacker job now that Tamba Hali has been released. Justin Houston has one spot locked down, even though he’s been injury prone, while Dee Ford is expected to handle the other side despite a rough start to his career.
Then there’s Breeland Speaks, their top draft pick out of Ole Miss. He also fits in the mix.
On the inside, the Chiefs are seeking a replacement for longtime middle linebacker Derrick Johnson, who was released and then signed with AFC West rival Oakland. Reggie Ragland showed promise after arriving in a trade last season and Anthony Hitchen was signed as a free agent to stand next to him.
Justin Hamilton was signed to fill the middle of the defensive line, while the defensive backfield is a complete work in progress. Star safety Eric Berry is coming back from a season-ending injury, while top cornerback Marcus Peters was traded away as the Chiefs sought to establish a better locker room atmosphere and veterans Darrelle Revis and Terrance Mitchell are gone on the other side.
Fuller joins free-agent signing David Amerson and holdover Steven Nelson in competing for those jobs.
”They are all very attentive, working hard at it,” Sutton said. ”This is hard on anybody, but it is really hard on defensive players in this time frame. You can’t do a lot of things you want to do, but the guys have really embraced it and gotten as much out of it as we possibly can.”
On offense Odell Beckham Jr Jersey Youth , the biggest question is how well Patrick Mahomes II will fare now that he’s not only the starting quarterback but possibly the face of the franchise. Mahomes spent last season learning the ropes under Smith, but he’s the clear-cut starter for a team that has playoff aspirations.
So far, he’s lived up to the expectations.
”He’s put in a ton of hours. He’s going behind the scenes, working with guys individually. I’m really proud of where he’s at right now,” Kafka said.
The question is will he be where the Chiefs need him when the season rolls around?
Will the rest of the new faces be ready, too?
”Everything that we do now, we’re not going to take into the first game. It’s something that you can pull out and learn from, all the different schemes, fundamentals,” Reid said. ”We’re getting better every day and that’s the idea. We have a lot of new faces and we welcome new faces, and they’re learning.”
The Pittsburgh Pirates had what looked like an out turn into a home run. They made a couple of questionable decisions, endured some nerve-wracking moments in the ninth inning.
But they’re leaving Arizona with a win, which is all that really matters. Everything else can wait.
Jordy Mercer homered and had three RBIs, Jameson Taillon pitched seven effective innings and the Pirates avoided a sweep with a 5-4 victory over the Diamondbacks on Wednesday.
”We won. Let’s get on a plane and go home http://www.cowboysauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jihad-ward-jersey ,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. ”We can peel back the layers later.”
The Pirates blew a five-run lead in the opener and were knocked for 13 runs in the second game. Pittsburgh ended Arizona’s sweep bid with a four-run second inning against Zack Greinke (5-5) and a sterling performance by Taillon (4-5).
Taillon gave up a two-run homer to David Peralta in the first inning when the ball popped out of left fielder Austin Meadows‘ glove and over the wall. Taillon got better as the game went along, working out of a jam in the second inning and allowing two runs on six hits to help end Arizona’s five-game winning streak.
Felipe Vazquez gave up a two-run single to pinch-hitter Jon Jay in the ninth before striking out Jake Lamb with the bases loaded for his 12th save.
”When you run into a team that’s pesky with two strikes, they’re tough to put away,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. ”You’re going to run into some situations when you make mistakes.”
Taillon has enjoyed pitching in the afternoon, entering Wednesday’s game 8-2, including 3-0 on the road before the sun goes down. He got an unfortunate break in the first inning, when Peralta’s deep shot caromed out of Meadows’ glove as he leaped near the wall.
Taillon struck out Paul Goldschmidt with the bases loaded to end the second inning and struck out four.
”It was a weird start, but I felt really good,” Taillon said. ”I kind of had that mindset, like let’s see if I could get my pitch count right through six.”
Greinke has been dominant at Chase Field the past two seasons, going 16-1 with 2.53 ERA at Chase Field since 2017.
Arizona’s ace struggled with his command against the Pirates, walking four while striking out seven. Greinke walked two in Pittsburgh’s four-run second inning, giving up a two-run double to Mercer and a run-scoring double to Josh Bell. Mercer hit a solo homer in the fourth to put Pittsburgh up 5-2.
Greinke was lifted after walking two in the fifth to load the bases with two outs. He allowed five runs on five hits and struck out seven.
”I felt good, but every time I put a pitch over the plate Baker Mayfield Browns Jersey , they hit it good,” said Greinke, who had not lost at Chase Field since last Aug. 9 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. ”As long as I’m able to make good pitches it’s fine, but I wasn’t able to do that every time.”
One of the things the Pirates will look at when they get home is Meadows’ miscue that led to Peralta’s home run. He leaped to catch the ball just before colliding with the wall, but the ball appeared to carom out before contact was made.
”I haven’t said anything to him; we’ll show him the video,” Hurdle said. ”There’s room to go get the ball and it kind of looked like it was the fence or he drifted on the ball, there was hesitation. He had time to get under that ball or at least get to it quicker.”
Arizona reinstated C Jeff Mathis from paternity leave and optioned RHP Braden Shipley to Triple-A Reno. Mathis’ wife, Jenna, gave birth to their second daughter on Sunday.
Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli returned to the lineup after missing three games while being monitored for post-concussion symptoms. He was struck on the mask by a foul ball Saturday against the Chicago Cubs.
Diamondbacks: LHP Robbie Ray (strained right oblique) is expected to throw about 50 pitches in his rehab start with Single-A Visalia on Thursday.
The Pirates have a day off before right-hander Chad Kuhl the Cincinnati Reds Friday at home. Kuhl is 1-1 with a 2.78 ERA in four career starts against the Reds.
Arizona RHP Matt Koch is 2-0 with a 5.29 ERA his past three starts heading into Thursday’s game against the New York Mets.