KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs provided updates on Tyreek Hill and Patrick Mahomes and discussed the upcoming game with the Raiders.
VICE PRESIDENT OF SPORTS MEDICINE AND PERFORMANCE RICK BURKHOLDER “The last time I met with you guys I had told you that we would give you an update on Tyreek Hill. At that time, he was in the Baptist Medical Center (Jacksonville) under Dr. (Brett) Frykberg’s care. Before we left Jacksonville, he had the dislocated sternoclavicular joint reduced. He had that reduced without surgery and had it reduced under anesthesia. All went well there. There is no damage to any of his vital organs or his vessels. He spent the night in Jacksonville at the hospital. My assistant, David Glover, was with him. They flew back here Monday. He started the rehab process on Monday night and is going through that now. He’ll be monitored throughout this period where he goes through the phases of rehab, like other injuries. We’ll do some testing with him to make sure that joint stays in the proper anatomical position. I know there is speculation out there about how long, but he has a week-to-week injury. He will be listed as ‘out’ this week. Thank you.”
CHIEFS HEAD COACH ANDY REID
OPENING STATEMENT: “The other injuries; Patrick (Mahomes), he is going to practice today, so there’s nothing there. Just a quick word. It’s September 11th. I think we all realize that, but again, our hearts go out to the responders and the victims’ families of the September 11th incidents that took place. We always keep that close to our hearts and close to our hearts at this time. We look forward to the challenge of playing the Raiders. We know they are a good football team, we saw that Monday night. We have to go through the process of getting ourselves ready to play them. Again, we look forward to that challenge. With that, time’s yours.”
Q: Does the Raiders rivalry mean as much today as it did in the past, or is it the divisional rivalry that is more important?
REID: “I think when you step into that stadium, when you’re out there you understand the rivalry. The guys that have been here, they get it. It has been a long-standing rivalry, probably as close are you’re going to have to a college atmosphere that way, as far as rivalries go. Likewise, when the Raiders come here, I think they realize that. I think it’s a neat thing. Our fans feel it and their fans feel it and the players feel it.”
Q: How long did it take you to really understand the Raider rivalry?
REID: “If you look at the history of the NFL, you realize it. I realized it when I came here. I mean, I knew about it. If you’ve been around the NFL or studied it at all, you kind of realize how important that is.”
Q: What is the best and worst part of playing a game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum?
REID: “Well the bathrooms flooded last year, so I won’t miss that (laughter). It’s a unique stadium. It has a little nostalgia to it. It’s still baseball season, we’ll be playing on the dirt, which doesn’t happen in this league anymore. That part will be kind of neat. Since I’ve been here, and over time, I know it’s that way – but since I’ve been here, we’ve had some great battles out there. I wouldn’t expect anything different this time.”
Q: What went into the decision to keep just four wide receivers on the active roster, at least for now?
REID: “We get DAT (De’Anthony Thomas) off of suspension. We should be OK there. We had worked (Tremon) Smith in there during camp, so he can also do some things for us there. I think we felt like we would be OK at that spot. However, we loved (Byron) Pringle. With that whole thing, it wasn’t anything on his performance for that.”
Q: Will you prepare the team any different this week in anticipation for playing on the dirt infield?
REID: “There is a low water table there, anyways. I think we know that, too. So, the turf is a bit slippery, even when you’re on the grass part. You’re aware of that. The guys that haven’t played on the dirt, they’ll get out there in pregame and have a chance to work with that.”
Q: Would your play-calling change in a certain situation because you are in the dirt?
REID: “We just call the dirty plays when we’re in the dirt (laughter). But no, we’re OK.”
Q: How much do you still have to monitor Mahomes with his ankle injury?
REID: “Our medical staff, Rick (Burkholder) and the doctors, they’re the ones really monitoring it. I haven’t had a chance to watch him practice and see if he can move around and play. Right now, he’s feeling pretty good, so he’ll practice.”
Q: How realistic are you that LeSean McCoy’s workload could reasonably increase this week?
REID: “I think we have a good blend there. I can’t tell you one way or the other, but I would tell you that we’re comfortable with both guys. And (Darwin) Thompson, same thing. He can get in there and do his thing, too. We’re good with all three of those guys.”
Q: Why was the offense more effective with McCoy running the ball than with (Damien) Williams last week? Was the blocking just better when McCoy was in?
REID: “It could be that. It could be the coverages and the fronts that were presented. A lot of things go into that.”
Q: What do you need to see out of Mecole Hardman to help fill the void of Tyreek Hill’s absence?
REID: “We’ve rotated him in. He’s played. He got to play during the OTAs. He got christened during that time. We feel comfortable that he can step in and play. I’m not going to sit here and compare him to Tyreek or anything. We just go in and we play. That’s what he’ll do. We feel comfortable that we can do the stuff we do. We don’t have to change what we do.”
Q: Has there been any thought toward putting McCoy and Williams on the field at the same time?
REID: “I hadn’t thought about that. You could. That’s a viable thought, for sure.”
Q: Does there need to be a little more emphasis up front put on keeping Mahomes a little cleaner?
REID: “You don’t want him to get hit at all. That’s the objective. In some cases, we have to just do better. I have to do a better job putting the guys in the right position. When there, they have to make sure that they pick them up. That’s how it goes. We try to keep him clean the whole game.”
Q: Sammy Watkins noted that he is more comfortable with the offense now in his second year here. With your experience, how long does it normally take a player to fully understand your offensive scheme?
REID: “He probably said it the best this year. Your second year, you’re familiar with everything, from the practices to the installs to whatever amount of plays you are putting into actually knowing the play. A lot of it comes off of knowing what the guy next to you is going to do; not just knowing your assignment, but knowing the guy next to you, what his assignment is so that you can play off of him. It takes a little bit of time to do that, but he is a smart kid and he works extremely hard. We probably didn’t cut him any breaks because we had him playing all three positions. That’s another load on there. But he works extremely hard and he learned everything. You saw him improve as the season went on, too.”
Q: Will there be a challenge in trying to contain Derek Carr, following his performance last Monday night?
REID: “Phenomenal game. I had him in the Pro Bowl before, so I got to know him as a kid. Smart guy with a lot of talent. He’s one heck of a player and we’re aware of that. It’s a great challenge for us when we play them.”
Q: When you look back at the play where Hill got hurt, was that a clean football play?
REID: “The stuff after I would probably question, but what happened initially was a good tackle.”
Q: Due to his experience with the team, is De’Anthony Thomas the best option to mimic or mirror the role that Hill plays?
REID: “He has done it before. Mecole has been kind of in that position. However, we feel good working both of them. We’re OK with that. They’ll all play. They are all going to play.”
Q: Would you say that filling the role that Hill had played will primarily fall on Hardman and Thomas?
REID: “Yeah, and D-Rob (Demarcus Robinson). D-Rob knows everything. He’s got the whole thing down, too. We’re not tied down into one thing or one person, really.”
Q: With the relationship that you have, how do you manage wanting Jon Gruden to have success, but at the same time, you’re up against each other?
REID: “Absolutely, I want him to have success. I love the competition. That’s why we’re in this. I know that team is going to be well-coached, I mean really well-coached. I love that. I think our coaches love that challenge because he has good coaches. They went through and re-tooled that team this offseason and they have good players. You love that part. That’s why you spend all of these hours doing what you do. You want all of their guys to be healthy. That’s how you want it. Then, you go play. That’s the great part about this thing.”
Q: What were your main takeaways from what you saw in the Raiders defense against Denver, considering that they’ve added new pieces such as Vontaze Burfict?
REID: “I think most of all, he (Vontaze Burfict) knows that defense inside and out. You give him different looks, he can be the adjuster on that and get guys lined up. From a coaching standpoint, he helps out in that way. He is like a coach on the field that way.”
Q: Do you prefer to let rookies gradually feel out the growing process, as opposed to throwing them in right away?
REID: “I’m OK if they play. You don’t have them very long in this day and age with free agency and all of that. If they can play, you exploit their talents, man. Get them in, cut them loose and let them go.”
Q: What do you remember feeling on 9/11?
REID: “I was right there. I was on the Eastern Seaboard there in Philadelphia. I remember it very well. I remember calling Mike Sherman, who was in Green Bay – or actually, he called me – and wanted to talk football while everything was going on. He wasn’t even aware that it was going on. I think everybody on the Eastern Seaboard was pretty locked in on where things were happening and how they were happening. Afterwards, I thought the country did a great job of rallying – I thought it was phenomenal.”
Q: Did you think that sports mattered during that time to help bond the country together?
REID: “Absolutely. Big part of it. Big part of getting everybody back. Something to jump in on and unite. I thought it was very important. In a very negative situation, that was a real positive, I thought.”
QB PATRICK MAHOMES
Q: What does the Raider rivalry mean to you?
MAHOMES: “You definitely know the history of the Raider rivalry and you know they’re going to give their best effort and we’re going to give our best effort to win that game. It kind of just means more. You can feel it around the community and the facility. We’re excited to be able to go there and play in Oakland and get to have a great opportunity against a great team.”
Q: How is your ankle after being able to rest it?
MAHOMES: “It’s feeling better every single day. The biggest thing was the first day after it was a little sore but since then the swelling has gone down and I’m able to move a little bit better. I’m excited about getting on the practice field and go out there and still get all the reps I would usually get.”
Q: Is it any different feeling than a common ankle injury?
MAHOMES: “No. If you’ve played sports you’ve had ankle injuries before and right when it happened, I knew what it was, but I was glad I was able to get back out there and finish the game. I’m excited about the progress I’ve made so far.”
Q: You took a couple hits last weekend; do you feel like you could’ve avoided those if you had been more mobile?
MAHOMES: “Maybe at the end. That’s a good D-line, regardless. They were moving around and flying around. They have guys that can go at every single position on that D-line and they rotate well. I thought the O-line did a good job with the heat and everything they had and what they were bringing. That was a good D-line and I was excited we still had that success as an offense.”
Q: Why were you all more effective in the running game when LeSean McCoy was in compared to the other guys?
MAHOMES: “I didn’t really notice that. I think he hit it whenever he was in there. I think Damien did a good job as well catching the ball in the back field and running the ball. That’s how we have it as an offense, whoever gets an opportunity, they’re going to make the plays no matter who is in there.”
Q: What gives you the confidence in Sammy Watkins when you don’t have Tyreek Hill out there too?
MAHOMES: “I think Sammy (Watkins) is going to do his job regardless of if Tyreek (Hill) is there or not. He’s going to go out there and play hard. He’s going to go out there and execute whatever Coach Reid asks him to do. I think having Mecole (Hardman) and D-Rob (Demarcus Robinson) and these guys who have worked hard all training camp being able to do stuff as well will help out the whole team. That’s how we’ve always been, when you get your opportunity, you go out there and make plays.”
Q: Is there any comfort in the fact you guys have done practices and OTAs where Tyreek wasn’t present?
MAHOMES: “I think the training camp, OTAs and stuff that we had in general, Coach Reid rotates those guys. G-Lew (wide receivers coach Greg Lewis) does a good job rotating those guys. We run a lot of reps at practice, so guys are getting reps no matter who is there. Even last week with the heat and everything we had we made sure to rotate guys and give them reps and that’s why when Tyreek left the game, they were able to transition easy and we could still utilize the game plan and we didn’t have to worry about what we could and couldn’t use.”
Q: Did you watch the Raiders game Monday night or what have you seen from their defense?
MAHOMES: “I got through the first half on Monday night, but I fell asleep at halftime. I did watch the film and I mean those guys are playing with a ton of energy. Those young guys they had last year have elevated their game and the guys they brought in are playing with a ton of confidence. It’ll be a great test for us. They have a lot of different coverages and different blitzes, so for us it’s going to be an early test that we’re going to have to go out there and have a good game plan for.”
Q: After the injury did you feel like there was anything you couldn’t do that you normally could?
MAHOMES: “I feel like I could still throw the ball well. The only thing that was different was some of the scrambles you’re more accustomed to seeing me do, I was more in the pocket. During the whole game I was like that anyways so there might have been a time or two where I might have scrambled out instead of getting tackled or dumping it to the flat, but I felt pretty good with where I was at.”
Q: You know how crazy the fans can be in Oakland, what are some good things you remember about going there as an opponent?
MAHOMES: “I mean it’s going to be an awesome atmosphere, you know that, especially with the rivalry and the history the Chiefs and Raiders have. It’s going to be cool to go out and play on the exact field my dad played on at one point. It will be cool to have that experience and hopefully come out with a win.”
Q: It will look like a baseball field too…
MAHOMES: “Yeah, I’ll have the dirt and everything. I’ve played short(stop) sometimes, so hopefully I’ll be able to keep my feet there.”
Q: Do you have any memories with the fans on what they have said or done as you are on the bus ride in?
MAHOMES: “They’re definitely proud of where they’re from and who they’re representing. It’s always good when you have those games and you go in there and know it’s kind of us against the world type of mentality whenever you’re on that field and in that stadium but I’m sure we’ll have a few Chiefs fans there as well.”
Q: What have the conversations been like with your dad now that you get to play on the same exact field as him?
MAHOMES: “It’s really cool when you think about it and when we talk about it. It’s still just playing the sports that we love, and it’s just worked out to play on the same exact field.”
Q: How hard is it to play on a dirt infield?
MAHOMES: “I haven’t gotten to actually do it yet, but I’ve seen how other teams have attacked it but until you actually get out there, we will just go with the flow until then.”
Q: And it’s the last one you’ll ever see…
MAHOMES: “I think it’s the last one they have, and this is supposed to be the last one this year (Oakland home game with dirt infield). It could be the last time to play on something like that, but it will be a great experience to have.”
Q: Sammy (Watkins) said that he was excited Jalen Ramsey rotated over to guard him, how did you gauge where you were at with the Jaguars defense?
MAHOMES: “I just try to make progress every week. I think that’s the biggest thing with me is to keep getting better. There’s still so much for me to learn. I want to make sure I can dissect defenses before the snap and during the snap and get us into the best play possible. Last week I feel like I did a good job getting the ball out of my hands and just letting the guys make plays and not trying to force anything when it’s not there. I’m going to try to keep getting better at that and keep trying to attack downfield as well.”
Q: Did you feel good with your protection last week, it seemed like you were getting hit a lot?
MAHOMES: “I was sitting in there and making throws. When you’re playing you’re going to get hit. My job is to stand in there and make throws into those windows and so for me I’m going to trust the O-line that they are going to protect me and make those throws when I’m in there.”
Q: The no-look play to Kelce, did you miss it or was it a decision to do a no look pass that wasn’t necessary?
MAHOMES: “I thought I did a good job moving the flat defender. I don’t think I necessarily needed to go full no-look, I could’ve looked after. I got him inside and he was trying to get to the place I wanted to throw the ball, it’s just right before I threw the ball I could’ve given a glance to get him get out of his route.”
Q: What do you do when you watch football and a commercial comes on and it’s you?
MAHOMES: “It’s still surreal. It’s still weird whenever I’m just talking to my girlfriend and I hear my voice in the background. It’s a cool deal and it seems like all those commercials came out at the same time, but it’s cool to see yourself in that place on TV.”
Q: Any new ones coming soon?
MAHOMES: “I don’t think so. Not for a while at least. Hopefully we can keep it where it’s at for a while and maybe some will come out a little later.”
Q: You had the 1st and goal after Anthony Sherman caught that pass down by the goal line and you tried that flip pass to Damien Williams. Do you feel the Jaguars were a little bit more ready for that stuff whereas it took the league a little while to catch up to that last year?
MAHOMES: “I think they did a good job of stretching that play out and making a good play on it. Obviously, we were trying to execute better when we do stuff like that. The good thing when you do a play like that, we come back later and run the ball down the middle and we get in there. You have to be able to do both. You have to run the ball up the middle when you need to and be able to stretch out wide. The fact they have to prepare for both of those will help either one of them out.”
Q: You seem more comfortable in those commercials now, is it the experience you’ve gotten?
MAHOMES: “I didn’t take any lessons, just the more experience and as you get to doing something you understand how to go about your business.”
LB ANTHONY HITCHENS
Q: What do you think about the Raiders rivalry with the Chiefs?
HITCHENS: “It’s blatantly clear they don’t like each other. It’s awesome to be a part of it. I’ve seen some videos of it in the past. We actually watched an old video today that Coach Spags (Spagnuolo) showed. It’s a great rivalry. They don’t like us and we don’t like them. At the end of the day, we’re out here trying to win a football game – by any means – we’re trying to win a football game.”
Q: Should more people be talking about Oakland TE Darren Waller?
HITCHENS: “Yeah, we have in our room. I’m not sure who else has been talking about him, but we have. He’s a good player. He can be out as a receiver, as a tight end. He’s a long lanky guy so we have some things for him, and it should be interesting. Just like every week, he’s a good football player and we have some stuff for him.”
Q: Now that it’s live, how comfortable were you with the communication and the game plan with getting everyone lined up in this new system?
HITCHENS: “I want to say there was 58 snaps, we got everyone lined up on every one. There was one where they blew up the formation and went empty and we had a massive check and didn’t get to it but other than that everyone was on the same page for the most part for the whole game. My coach didn’t come to me and say I closed this front wrong or anything like that. I think we’re all getting it and I’m sure every week we’re going to add more to our plate and it’s my job to get everybody lined up.”
Q: With Coach Spagnuolo showing you old film, what’s the underlying message of that?
HITCHENS: “It’s about being physical. The most physical team wins. And you can see guys talking smack on the field and off the field. Just being ready, keep your head on and just play ball. It’s going to be a physical match, going to be some bumps and bruises. I’m looking forward to it.”