KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid spoke Monday about the team's win Sunday and upcoming AFC Championship game this week. Following are his comments.
OPENING STATEMENT: “I don't have any injuries for you. We came out, I think, fairly healthy. That's a plus. I want to thank our fans. We appreciate them hanging in the cold there and cheering us on. They make a difference. Glad we have another home game here. No fans deserve it more than ours, so we appreciate them. I thought it was a great team win. I love the mindset of the team. Have another big challenge this week with Tennessee where mindset will be very important in how you go about this week's practice. We started off a little slow, obviously. Shot ourselves in the foot. But nobody flinched. Everybody hung in there. Got the problems answered and solved and turned things around, which was important. There was no panic. When you get two good teams against each other, not everything is going to go right. You have to make sure that you have a good locker room and coaches that can withstand that and continue to teach. There were some real good individual performances. Frank Clark, with the three sacks, I thought that was unbelievable – especially the one where he chased (Watson) around, missed him twice, then came back and got him. That was pretty amazing. (Travis) Kelce, Pat (Mahomes) and Tyrann (Mathieu), they all played good football. Pat's energy and leadership really showed in that game. Then, he played lights out. There were a number of people – the offensive and defensive line – I thought played well. I thought the back end had good communication. When I mention Tyrann, I mention that. He had another chance for another interception there, but I mean he was right in position. Most of those he is going to haul in there. The fact that he was there and made some big plays down the stretch, I thought that was big. With that, time's yours."
Q: What chance does Chris Jones have for playing this Sunday?
REID: "I don't know that right now. We'll just have to see how he does. This is a day-to-day thing. It was that way after it happened the other day. We'll see how he does."
Q: When Jones was testing the calf injury in pregame, it didn't look like he was anywhere close, did it?
REID: "Yeah, he was struggling."
Q: Was it a difficult decision to sit him down, in that regard?
REID: "Well no. He couldn't push off and go. Pretty easy decision right there."
Q: With a player like Jones, how do you get him to see the bigger picture of the injury? How also do you get him mentally ready for Sunday, whether he plays or needs to be another assistant coach for you?
REID: "I don't know about the last part. Just to be honest, that's the main thing. He has done that. As long as he is honest with it. That's what most of our guys do. They shoot us straight. The doctors do a nice job. (Vice President of Sports Medicine and Performance) Rick (Burkholder) does a nice job."
Q: We talked in the first half of the season about playing against man-to-man defense. What has it taken out of the coaches and players to get the play of the team to materialize the way it did yesterday?
REID: "They played quite a bit of man, almost every snap. Our guys have battled through it. I think we've gotten better at releases. We've gotten better at working off of each other and working with each other in certain situations, which ends up being important in that. I think we've done a better job coaching it. I'll take responsibility for that. We've spent a lot of time at that. The faults were my problem. It really wasn't necessarily the players' problem or the coaches' problem. Changed some things up and got it straightened out. This team is similar. They mix it. (Titans Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Dean) Pees will throw a few different looks at you, so you have to be ready to go."
Q: How well are the Titans playing right now?
REID: "They're playing real good football right now. They're strong. They're well-coached. (Titans Head Coach) Mike (Vrabel) does a nice job with them. That running back (Derrick Henry) isn't a bad player. He brings it every snap. He's a big fella that can really move. Did it in college. Does it now. Has a good offensive line and good receivers. Quarterback is playing well. You always like those stories when a guy didn't have as much success as he probably would have liked at one place, but then he comes here and has the guys in the championship game. Their defense is playing good football and flying around. Their special teams are good. All the way around, it's a well-deserved team to be in this position. We have to make sure that we have a good week of practice."
Q: Do you remember a game where your team's stadium has run out of fireworks?
REID: "I didn't know that until this morning. As a matter of fact, (Chiefs Vice President of Communications) Ted (Crews) just told me about it. I guess that's a good thing, one way or another."
Q: What did you learn about Frank Clark as he was battling through injuries in the first half of this season?
REID: "He's relentless. That one sack kind of tells you the whole story. He was running around chasing him, missed him twice, got back up and sacked him. That's how he is wired. Then, he works at it. Every day in practice he is that way."
Q: It seemed like at one point in the second half, Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy was calling the plays. Am I right about that?
REID: "Eric and I talk through all of the plays. He is the one that gives them to the quarterback through the headset. But we go through every series and talk through it and make sure that we are on the same page, which ends up being very important."
Q: How do you feel like the experience from last year's AFC Championship Game will help the players this year?
REID: "For the guys that were here, I think that they understand that it's different at every level that you go up in the playoffs. There's a certain preparation that you need. They were happy about the result of the game, but not to the point to where they didn't realize that there is another week coming up here against a real good football team. Nobody was in there doing backflips over this last game. They understand what they have ahead of them."
Q: After being passed over for a head coaching position on other teams, what was your advice to Bieniemy?
REID: "Really, keep being you. We all know what he is all about and how good he is. I'm saying that just as much as the coaches were disappointed for him, the players were, too. I think that probably says everything. The players, they know. They're around him every day and know what he is all about. They have that kind of respect for him."
Q: Since you've been here, it seems like the question is always about who is calling plays. At some point, does it all seem a little goofy to you?
REID: "Everybody has an opportunity for input that is in that position. That's how we roll. We all check our egos at the door. If you have a good idea, we're rolling with it. That's helped with our success here. Whether it was (former Chiefs Offensive Coordinator and Eagles Head Coach) Doug (Pederson) or (former Chiefs Offensive Coordinator and Bears Head Coach) Matt (Nagy) or any of the other guys that have been here, they have all had input and have been able to put their name on a play. E.B. has done that just like the other guys have done it. I can use myself as an example. I never called a play until I got to here (head coaching position). But, (former Packers Head) Coach (Mike) Holmgren would leave it open and ask you for an idea. You're talking about a future Hall of Fame coach here. I know (Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach) Bill Walsh did it the same way, likewise. That part hasn't changed here."
Q: Is Damien Williams' production just a sign of being healthy, or is there something else going on there that has allowed him to be more productive?
REID: "It was just a health thing. He was banged up and now he is healthy and ready to go."
Q: Was suffering the injury and having the time off maybe a blessing in disguise for Williams?
REID: "I don't know about that. He’s a strong kid. He would've been OK either way."
Q: Now being in the week of the AFC Championship, what's the key to keeping the team grounded?
REID: "You understand that there is going to be more of this (media). We all know that. Then, you just stay focused. You eliminate distractions and stay focused on the job at hand. You know that you're playing a good football team. We try to keep the schedules the same at times. When they have media obligations, they do it, but get back and get on to the football part of it."
Q: When you face a team in the playoffs that you have lost to in the regular season, do you want your players to use that as motivation or just have them focus on the game that day?
REID: “I want them to be real about what happened. I mean we lost the game. And then why? Let’s figure that part out and work to fix that problem. We do that every week. It’s no different than when we played Tennessee before. They beat us. They beat us in three different phases. They’re a good football team and we have to do a better job than that.”
Q: When you mention Patrick Mahomes’ leadership, did you see that before you drafted him?
REID: “Yeah, I mean I know his head coach (former Texas Tech Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury), so I was able to talk to him and I had (former assistant defensive line coach) Mike Smith on the staff, who was their defensive coordinator, so I talked to him. Brett Veach started watching him from his first play on and when you to the games, you would see during warm ups how he handled the guys and during the game how he handled the guys. You have a pretty good idea that he’s a good leader. Those are the things he showed in college. You’re hoping it carries over and you could kind of see that in his rookie year, the way he worked with Alex (Smith). Easily, here’s our first-round draft pick and he could have tried to get in there and grind on it and ‘I’m better than he is,’ but he never did that. As a matter of fact, he took the things and took the backseat and learned from Alex. That doesn’t always happen. There’s some leadership that’s involved in being able to do that and being confident in yourself. The players saw that.”
Q: What made Daniel Sorensen’s play so great?
REID: “Dave (Toub) does a heck of a job coaching. You just saw two of the best special teams’ coaches in however many years, going against each other. That was a unique situation there. I thought Dave did a nice job of coaching them. It’s different when your juices are going, you’re on the field and now you have to pull back and make that play, and you’re the only one. When it’s man-on-man right there, it’s a little different deal, in space. That’s why I complimented him for it. Listen, I see why Bill (O’Brien) did what he did. I said that too, yesterday. They stay aggressive. That’s one of their things and they have so much success with it. That play was about that far from being a big hitter and it was all on Dan. He made a nice play.”
Q: Now that Patrick has been going for a while, whenever you’re in a game like last night, do you ever take a step back and think that you have something really special with Patrick?
REID: “I’m just looking for the next thing that will let him be pretty good. I’m trying to find what’s on the game plan. I don’t have enough time to think about that, but I do afterwards. Afterwards, I say ‘you did a heck of a job.’ He’s a special guy. We’re all lucky to have him. Kansas City is lucky to have him.”
Q: Over the last month, Daniel Sorensen’s snap count increased, how much of that was opponent driven and how important is it to have a guy like that who can be a hybrid linebacker but maintain his responsibilities as a defensive back?
REID: “Yeah, I think that’s big. It gives Spags (defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo) some flexibility working his scheme. He’s got confidence in Dan, I think all the guys do. He’s a tough kid and there’s nothing real flashy. He’s solid. I think it gives Spags flexibility and he is inside the majority of the time in the linebacker spot. It’s a tough position to be in and he does it well.”