KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs’ Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes, and Travis Kelce spoke with the media during a Wednesday presser. Following are their comments.
Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid
OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright, the guys that won’t practice today. Fish (Eric Fisher) won’t practice. Chris Jones won’t practice with a groin strain. Dorian O’Daniel isn’t ready yet with a hamstring. Sammy (Watkins) has a hamstring, he won’t practice. And then (Andrew) Wylie, with an ankle sprain, won’t practice. Everybody else will go. Look forward to the challenge of playing the Texans. They’re a good football team. We’ve had a few games against them here over the years. They’re well coached and they have good players. Again, we look forward to that challenge. We’ll start all of our work for them today and go through the process of getting ourselves ready. With that, time’s yours.”
Q: How much has Deshaun Watson progressed over the past few years?
REID: “He’s a heck of a player. We had him in here before the draft and sure thought the world of him. He was a heck of a player in college and he has carried that over. He is playing real good football.”
Q: Has Watson improved in his decision-making as he has gotten older?
REID: “Yeah, I mean he’s just playing good football. That’s all of the way around. I don’t know exactly what they’re asking him and not asking him to do, but whatever they’re asking him to do, he is doing well right now.”
Q: If someone would have jumped in front of you guys to draft Patrick Mahomes, is Deshaun Watson a guy that you would have been happy with having?
REID: “I thought he was a heck of a player. I don’t even know if we can talk about those things, but I will tell you that he’s a heck of a player.”
Q: When you look at Patrick’s situation with his ankle, do you ever weigh the long-term option of potentially sitting him and letting him recover, even if he could go?
REID: “We’re not going to put him in harm’s way there. That’s not how we roll here. I don’t do it. I let the doctors and our trainers take care of it. If we thought that it was going to hurt him down the road, he wouldn’t be in there.”
Q: Does everybody that evaluates Mahomes have the same understanding of that?
REID: “The main thing was that he got stepped on. That’s what happened in the game. Then it kind of settled down after that. That happens.”
Q: Is Stefen Wisniewski a guy that could potentially slide right in at left guard?
REID: “Well he’s capable of doing that, yeah. It’s just a matter of getting in and learning it right now. But he’s played a long time in the league. He’s been a starter at guard, been a starter at center.”
Q: Is it feasible for him to be ready to play after just three days of practice?
REID: “Yeah, he’ll be ready if needed. But I think we’ll just give him a chance to learn right now.”
Q: Does coming from Doug Pederson’s system help Wisniewski at all in his transition right now?
REID: “Yeah, some of it carries over. He’s a real smart guy. He was that coming out and he’s had that reputation since he’s been in the league. Whatever is new, he will learn it. He’s good with all of that.”
Q: How difficult of a transition will it be for Terrell McClain on this defensive line?
REID: “He’s been around for a while. I think he’ll pick it up fast. He’s a sharp kid and he’s seen a lot of things. I think both of those guys are guys that can help you.”
Q: Tracing back to the 2017 Draft, what was it that you liked about Deshaun Watson?
REID: “Well he was a good player, great player. Like I said, it looks like he’s carried that over to what he’s doing now. Different offense. Bill (O’Brien) is one heck of an offensive mind, so he’s in good hands and doing good things there.”
Q: What is the next hurdle that Tyreek Hill has to get over in his recovery process?
REID: “I think this is just a time thing. We’ll see. He’s going to work this week and we’ll see how he feels. It’s one of those things.”
Q: Was the decision to activate Sammy Watkins last week a close call?
REID: “Well he felt good, yeah. He felt good going into the game. Then when he planted, it grabbed on him. But he went through all of the warmups, he did everything and he felt really good. Felt good on Saturday. It was just one of those things. Sometimes that happens.”
Q: How much does Mahomes, the offensive line and the coaching staff impact the QB getting sacked?
REID: “We all take responsibility for it. Offensive team deal. We have to do better. I have to put the guys into better positions, and then if you’re put into that position, then we have to execute. It doesn’t matter what position it is; it could be a receiver running a route and not getting his work done fast enough, it could be the quarterback, it could be the O-line, it could be the play call. So, we all have a responsibility there. We have to go back and make sure that we correct it.”
Q: Do you anticipate Tyreek being a full participant in practice today?
REID: “He’s out there working. Whether it’s on scout team or with the guys, he kind of did a little bit of everything last week. This is purely on how he feels. This isn’t a real common injury in the NFL, so we’re just trying to make sure that it’s right – our medical people are.”
Q: But if you leave it up to Tyreek, will he tell you that he’s ready to play on Sunday?
REID: “Yeah, but they do all of the MRI’s and all of that stuff, so they’re looking at that. I’m not. Thank goodness, right?”
Q: The contact to Tyreek will be the big key of that, right? Will there be a bit of apprehension the first time that he takes a hit in a game?
REID: “You’re not going to put him in that situation if he’s apprehensive.”
Q: We know that he won’t have apprehension. I’m talking about apprehension on your part to put him in, is it there?
REID: “You make sure that it’s good and then he can go do it. You can’t play this game like that, and you can’t coach it that way. If the guy’s ready, then he goes and does his thing and plays.”
Q: How much of what Byron Pringle showed last week impacts his chances of playing a more prominent role in the offense, even when the injured receivers return?
REID: “He’s big and strong. He has a good feel inside, where he is playing there. He has made some plays outside. Big, fast and strong – and the quarterback has trust in him, which is important. That means that he is running the right routes and getting to the right spots. That’s great for his career going forward for us. As a team, for us, that’s great.”
Q: Do you have a real feel for what constitutes as a roughing the passer call in today’s NFL?
REID: “Listen, I think that there is a human element that comes to officiating. They try to make it as consistent as they can, but everybody, on game day, is probably going to see it a little bit different, depending on when they want to throw it and not throw it. But, it’s subjective on their part – the officials, I’m saying. But I have a pretty good idea of what it is, yeah, by rule. But it depends on how they see it, and that’s the human element. That’s all part of the game.”
Q: Knowing that teams are playing man coverage more and more against your offense, how does that impact your game-planning and call selection?
REID: “We have the guys that can do it. I have to make sure that I get them into the right position, call-wise, and then you have to defeat it. It’s truly man-on-man. You’re not working in space, you’re trying to defeat the guy over you. There are certain ways to do that. Collectively, we all have to get better at that.”
Q: How much goes into going over contact with the wide receivers within the first five yards of the line of scrimmage with the officials before the game?
REID: “It doesn’t really matter. You’re not going to change that. Early in the season they were calling it real close, and then there were too many, so they’ve let the guys get in and play and work. So, you have to go in, and from an offensive standpoint, you have to be physical and challenge. Then, it’s important that there’s a balance there. Like (Travis) Kelce’s last week. They were getting into it and he got called for a push. Well, that’s a subjective decision. It might be different, the way I see it compared to the way they see it. But they’ll get a balance on it. You have to get both sides. If one side is going to grab, the other side has to be able to play physical too.”
QB PATRICK MAHOMES
Q: Can you describe how close you are to where you need to be with the ankle?
MAHOMES: “I actually feel pretty good today. It was sore after the game but it’s feeling pretty good today so I’m glad to be able to practice on it and move it around. I feel like I’ll be fine playing and moving around and still doing what I need to do to win.”
Q: When you say pretty good, does that mean as good as it’s been since before the original injury?
MAHOMES: “It’s not perfect I guess you could say that. It’s good enough that I feel like I can still run, cut and cut off of it and do all that type of stuff.”
Q: You’ve had games where teams have slowed this offense down but do you feel like this team was the longest someone has slowed you down?
MAHOMES: “I mean obviously we only put up 13 points. That’s not a good enough effort to win in this league. For us they had a good game plan. They had stops when they needed to get stops. I thought we moved the ball a little bit but we couldn’t get it in the red zone to get those scores. They played good as a defense and we have to be better. We can’t have penalties and turn the ball over whenever we get our chances.”
Q: What can Carlos Hyde do from what you saw in training camp?
MAHOMES: “He’s a great running back and a great player. He’s had a great start to the season there in Houston. For us we will have to make sure to find a way to hopefully neutralize him a little bit and get the stops when we need to.”
Q: If you could back track to before your draft, what was your interaction like with Deshaun Watson?
MAHOMES: “Yeah I actually got to meet him in college. I think we were going into our junior year and we went to a QB camp out in California. I got to meet him and talk to him and talked back and forth about how he did his stuff at Clemson and how I did my stuff at Texas Tech. We stayed in touch a little bit. He’s a great player and he’s been a great player for a long time. He’s had success at every level he’s played at and it will be a great challenge for us as a team to go up against a team of that caliber.”
Q: Were you at all interacting with him on he could go here or you could go here?
MAHOMES: “Not necessarily that. We took a lot of the visits and we all went to a lot of the same places with the teams that were looking at quarterbacks then. We kind of got the same visits and got to see each other at different places and talk about what we went through as far as the different visits and stuff like that. But not necessarily picking on where we were going to go because you never know when you’re in that process.”
Q: Travis (Kelce) was talking about having a whole new mentality going into this week and being more aggressive, can you elaborate on that?
MAHOMES: “You have to be prepared. You have to be prepared as a team about teams coming out playing man and pressing it up and trying to be physical with you. You have to have a counter to that. Obviously, we’re going to prepare for that because of the last two teams we played but we also have to prepare for the zone coverages and stuff like that. I think just having that mentality that you could get that physical type game and you have to find a way to get yourself open and be on time with the football is something we’re going to focus on all week.”
Q: Travis said you weren’t anticipating as much man to man coverage and had to adjust in the game, does that happen more often now than before?
MAHOMES: “Yes, definitely. People are trying different stuff than they have been all season long as far as coverages and looking for ways to play different coverages and stuff like that and different disguises. I think last game with them playing as much man as they did and they hadn’t really shown that so it was different but you always have to be prepared for that. We will be prepared for hopefully everything we get this week.”
Q: With adjustments like that, does that happen on the sideline between drives?
MAHOMES: “Yes it happens on the sideline. I feel like you can make adjustments on the sideline. When you go to the sideline you get to look at those tablets and see what they’re doing and explain to guys what you want. You have to find ways to make those adjustments, run the plays that you have and have success with them.”
Q: Kelce looked like he was a little frustrated at times the other night, did you feel a need to redirect him during the game at all?
MAHOMES: “Not necessarily. He’s a guy that he’s played this game for a long time and he understands how to have success. He’s had success for a very long time. Obviously, I’m going to try to pump him up and get him ready to go on every play because he can get open on every single play. He knows how to handle this game to have success so I’m going to let him go through what he goes through in order to do that.”
Q: How critical is it to be aware of J.J. Watt is? I know (Whitney) Mercilus is another force but just Watt in general with 13 quarterback hits this season and being aware of where he is at?
MAHOMES: “You definitely have to. He’s a guy that’s had success in this league for a long time and he knows how to get to the quarterback. As far as power and speed or whatever it is, he can really do it all. He’s a very intelligent player as well. They have a couple guys on the D-line like that so we have to make sure that we have a good game plan going in and knowing I need to be on top of my throws and take what’s there and not necessarily hold onto the ball extra long and put our team in a bad position.”
Q: It seemed like you were holding the ball longer last game. Has that been a point of direction for you to prepare for the Texans?
MAHOMES: “Yeah, for sure. Whenever you play a defensive line of this caliber like the Texans, you have to make sure you get the ball out of your hands and into your playmakers’ hands. That’s stuff I’ve tried to work on all season. I didn’t do as good a job of it this last week so I’m going to make sure I keep getting better at that as the season goes.”
Q: What do you like about the in-game adjustments when you see something new as far as coverage?
MAHOMES: “It’s the challenge. You always love a challenge of getting to play in this league every single week. When you get a different coverage or a different look, you get to go to your teammates and find a way to beat it and try to have success doing that. I feel like we have done a good job of that the whole time I’ve been playing and we didn’t do a good enough job this last week. We’re going to try to get back on track with that.”
Q: It seems like every week we see clips of calls where people are amazed they’re getting called for roughing the passer, do you have a real firm grasp on what is roughing the passer and do you have a feel for when there’s going to be a flag or not?
MAHOMES: “Yes in a sense. They come and talk to us, the NFL referees do and they explain to us what is and what isn’t. Obviously, it’s their judgement on what the hit is like and you go with that. It’s not necessarily me worried about the flag, I’m going to worry about having success on the play. If a flag comes out, it comes out. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”
Q: (Byron) Pringle looked great in this last game, where is your trust level at with him?
MAHOMES: “You saw him. He’s a guy that can make plays when his name is called. For us, him being able to go out there and keep learning this offense each and every week and getting more success on the field, you start building that confidence. I know he’s building a lot of confidence right now and I’m excited to keep him moving forward.”
Q: How much have you been able to throw to him?
MAHOMES: “I’ve been able to throw to him a lot. Since he was here in his rookie season and in the preseason before he got hurt I was able to get reps with him then. And then he was here all during OTAs and training camp and different stuff, he was getting reps then, mixing in with the ones and doing that different type of stuff. The best luxury I have in that receiver room is that guys can step in and still play and have success on the field.”
Q: This was the first time you guys have been held down offensively, what’s the confidence level you guys have right now that you can shake it off and move forward?
MAHOMES: “You have to have that confidence in this league. You have to have the confidence that you are going to go out there and have success every single week. We know we’re playing a very good defense with a very good defensive line and a very good team in general with a good game plan. For us we’re just going to have the confidence to do what we do and find a way in the end to win the football game.”
Q: How does this past game rank in frustration that you have had in your career so far?
MAHOMES: “I mean every loss doesn’t feel good. Regardless if we score a lot or we don’t, it feels bad and motivates that next week to do whatever you can the next week to get better in order to try not to lose again.”
TE TRAVIS KELCE
Q: First off, take us through the sideline issue between you and Eric Bieniemy that was on TV?
KELCE: “We’re good. We’ve moved on as a team from last game. You have to understand me and Coach Bieniemy have a very close relationship. I love him. He’s helped me out tremendously as a person and as a professional and I’m sure he’ll keep doing that throughout the rest of my career. Just what happened on the sideline, sometimes in football you get a little heated with your brothers or your coaches. Sometimes you just have to rally the family together and let everybody know we’re in this together to win a game and sure enough we were able to bring it together there. I mean you guys saw me hug him afterwards. I love that guy and that will never change. I appreciate him being on my team and able to get me going.”
Q: What can you see from your teammates that everyone has moved on from the last game and working on practicing for the next game?
KELCE: “The focus. You can feel the building was kind of drained yesterday. It means everybody cares but that’s all it is. We have to light a torch, get a little angry and attack the next game with more aggression and more purpose than we did the last one.”
Q: This is the first game you lost where the offense didn’t score a bunch of points, does that feel different for you guys?
KELCE: “It’s disappointing for sure. We know what our offense is capable of and a lot of it is on us. I mean the penalties. You can’t go forward when you’re kicking yourself going backwards. Those are tough things to overcome. So to clean up the penalties and from there and make plays when the ball is in the air, no matter what the coverage is.”
Q: What is it about your connection with Eric Bieniemy that allows you to go back to him so quickly even after an emotional game?
KELCE: “I think it’s just built over the years in how much we come together as almost brothers or a family. He’s almost a father figure in terms of being there for me on the field. Like I said, we’re wired a little bit the same when it comes to our competitive edge. With that being said I’ve learned a lot from him and how he handles that stuff. I’ll just leave it at that. It’s something that I immediately regretted, and I wanted to make it good and let him know I’m ready to rock and roll for you.”