Chiefs GM John Dorsey Quotes
April 24, 2015
OPENING STATEMENT: “Good morning. I appreciate you all taking time out to come here today. As usual, it’s a very exciting part of the whole process of building a football team. The draft will be here next week and with that, we’ll take your questions, we’ll figure out stuff.”
Q: What is left between now and the beginning of the draft on Thursday?
DORSEY: “Well, from a procedural standpoint, we met with the offensive coaches yesterday. Actually had some meetings with Andy (Reid) and Mark Donovan this morning and Clark (Hunt). We’ll meet with the defensive staff with regards to the defensive staff’s perspective, and then we’ll meet with special teams coaches on Monday.”
Q: And what does that accomplish?
DORSEY: “Well, I think what it accomplishes is you want to get as much input as you possibly can with regards to how people see specific players, especially coaching staffs because they are going to have to coach them. What we do is then, you listen to everybody, you filter through everything and see if it best fits the interest of the organization. Then on Monday, Andy and I will sit down, we’ll talk where we are as a team, where we think these players in this draft can help us, and at the end of the day, we’ll have this thing wrapped up here. The hard part is making sure you are making the right choices of the players. That’s the hard part.”
Q: When you assign grades throughout the draft process do you base it solely on a player’s ability or do you also consider your depth chart and team needs?
DORSEY: “No, I think what you do is, I think you evaluate his talent with how he plays the game. And then I think you have to begin to filter through the processes of the makeup of the person. How do they fit schematically, that’s how you kind of go through the process. It’s not one simple grade that you can automatically place on one particular part of it. There’s a few filters that you have to filter down.”
Q: But you still have to stay true to the board?
DORSEY: “I agree with you on that.”
Q: So when you do that, how much does need play a role on where you are ranking guys?
DORSEY: “I don’t think that you have to base your grade solely on need. I don’t think you can do that, that’s not the best way to do this.”
Q: Does it play a role though?
DORSEY: “No, I think what you do is you evaluate the person of how he plays the game of football and how best he can help this organization.”
Q: How much do you focus on the first round where you can visualize how things are going to stack up versus the later rounds where it’s a crapshoot?
DORSEY: “I think the hard part is, as you go through this thing is, at different points of this draft making sure that you are doing what is best for the organization. And that is studying the first round all the way down to free agency and making sure that you have everything completed, and all of your facts, and you’ve had discussion points, and you’ve laid out, and you’ve turned over every stone to make sure that that top guy all the way down to the bottom guy, you have done all of your research with regards to those players.”
Q: When it comes to grading a player, how much do the intangibles, like a guy’s work ethic or his character, come into play?
DORSEY: “I think that’s important. All along, we as an organization have done a really nice job of saying, ‘you know what? You get guys that really like football that have a degree of character within their person.’ I think that goes a long way in terms of sustaining a high level of success.”
Q: You say you typically have 150-175 guys on the board in a normal draft. What is the high and low side in all your years of football on your board in a given draft?
DORSEY: “I would say 220 all the way down to 150, 130. No, actually they say if you really do it right and are any good, you can hit 140.”
Q: So the fewer the better?
DORSEY: “Well, it’s quality over quantity.”
Q: What is your overall assessment of the center position in the draft with only one center on this roster?
DORSEY: “There are centers to be there and they are at all levels of the draft. There are some at the top, some in the middle and there are some down at the bottom and there are some free agents in there too.”
Q: So do you plan on adding through the draft to bolster some competition for Eric Kush?
DORSEY: “Well, I think what you have to do is you have to research everything that is out there. Right now our efforts are focused on the draft. That’s what we’re going to do is we’re going to focus on the prospects within this draft and how they can help the Kansas City Chiefs. And if we deem that it’s one of the top guys, low guys, middle guys, we’ll make a push to get those guys.”
Q: How much does potentially drafting a player that is expected to make an immediate impact on the field factor into your decision-making process as opposed to a player that may take a few years to develop?
DORSEY: “That’s an interesting question because I think each position has their different degrees of how fast they can get up. What does the impact of a wide receiver have in his first year as opposed to an impact of a linebacker or an impact of a defensive lineman, as opposed to an impact of a tight end? I think the demands of each position vary. And it also comes to the person of what their makeup is in terms of how fast they can actually grasp the system. I think the hardest thing for young guys when they go from college to pro is grasping the playbook. I think that’s a really demanding thing and that’s hard to do. So that is one of the things that you kind of work through to understand.”
Q: Is there a way to determine that?
DORSEY: “I think one, you meet the people. I think it has to do with the coaching staff as well in terms of teaching. I think the teaching component is really important. I think that in this staff we have here, we have some really exceptional teachers. I think it’s a combination of the ability to grasp and the ability to teach.”
Q: Can you give us an assessment of your passing game with the pieces you’ve been able to bring in this offseason as compared to where you were last year at this time? There’s possibly more explosion with Jeremy Maclin. What are your thoughts on where the passing game stands?
DORSEY: “Well, considering this is the first week of OTAs, I haven’t seen them out on the practice field yet.”
Q: Of your pieces at wide receiver and how they work with Alex Smith and you signed Jeremy Maclin for a reason, what are some of your thoughts on your receivers and how they have grown?
DORSEY: “I think with Jeremy there’s a vertical threat. He’s a unique professional because he does know the offense. He has the ability to go inside and outside. That helps I think with the others. With Jason (Avant) and then with Albert (Wilson), these guys are getting to grow within this offense and you factor other players in as well. Here, I don’t know. I haven’t seen anybody on the practice field yet.”
Q: Looking at the attitude of this team, you have to consider a lot of things when you’re team building. Do you feel like at this point, this team has an edge to play with enough attitude and have some of the moves you’ve made this offseason kind of been made with an idea of improving that?
DORSEY: “Well, I like the energy that’s in the building this week. You know they’re around, that’s for sure. I think that the players that are here are truly professional in terms of the new guys that we’ve added. I’ve gotten a chance to meet them and watch them interact with their peers and they’ve naturally kind of gravitated towards their specific groups. I like the direction we’re headed as a team and if we can put some more players within that puzzle through the draft, then that’s even more exciting.”
Q: What is your philosophy on how many character guys you can have? Take us through that process.
DORSEY: “When you do your research, you vet every player that you bring in here and you try to get the best assessment you can. I’ve always taken that approach.”
Q: I know this hasn’t affected the process up to this point, having a number two draft pick that you haven’t had since you’ve been here and 10 picks, how will that change your approach?
DORSEY: “Well first off, the second round pick is included in the 10 picks. I don’t think it changes your approach on how you go about doing your business on draft day. I think the hard thing and the tough thing and the most stressful is making sure you’ve got the right player for the organization. That’s the hard thing. I don’t think it changes how you go about your business one way or another. I think you go about your business the same way you did the first year and the second year and now the third year. The only difference is we have more picks.”
Q: But more freedom and ability to move up if there’s a guy you like with 10 picks and a second round pick than maybe you had before?
DORSEY: “I think for the organization, you try to keep all of your options open. If you want to move up, let’s say move up in the first round, we’ll try to do that or try to move back. The hard part is when you move up are you making the right move up or if you move back? Those are the things that you sit and think about on a daily basis. When is the time to strategically take the player, move back or move up?”
Q: Do you think you would have traded for Ben Grubbs not knowing that those compensatory picks were coming up?
DORSEY: “Well I think if you do your research and if you do your analytical studies you can kind of sometimes see things that may or may not appear.”
Q: So I can take that as a yes?
DORSEY: “In terms of?”
Q: The Grubbs trade. If you had not known or at least weren’t expecting those extra comp picks, you would have made it anyway?
DORSEY: “Yeah. I like the guy. He’s a neat kid. Pretty good player.”
Q: Alex Smith was saying the other day as a player waiting to be drafted, you kind of just have fun with all the hoopla that goes into it. How do you handle it when you’re in the front office side of it? All the cameras, all the attention.
DORSEY: “To me, it’s business as usual. That’s kind of how I look at it. Right now, to me what you’re doing is, we as a group, and I’d be a miss if I didn’t take time to thank all those guys upstairs in the personnel department and the coaching staff for all the hard work that they truly have done, the efforts that they have done and the discussions that we’ve had with regards to this whole building process, but you have to sit and listen to this whole thing. I think you approach every draft, we go about the draft the same way year in and year out. It’s fun. It’s exciting. There is a degree of stress in it, but at the end of the day, once you’ve gotten all of your discussion points out of the way and it comes to draft day, for me personally it’s kind of boring because you sit there and watch it. It’s become factual now. The emotion’s out of it. You calculate the whole thing. That’s kind of the fun of this whole thing. When you start, okay is it the right player, do you move up, do you move down? That’s the little thing that kind of makes it fun.”
Q: You’re fond of saying it takes at least two years to have one draft class to develop. As you enter your third draft with the Chiefs, how would you asses the first draft class?
DORSEY: “As I look at it, early on we got some pretty good players. I think the one (T Eric Fisher), the two-threes (TE Travis Kelce and RB Knile Davis), turned out to be pretty good players. If I had to do it all over again, I think this is a quarterback driven league, you need a quarterback. I had no problem giving up a second round pick for QB Alex Smith.”
Q: Have you found that the number 18 pick in this draft has been an interesting one in the sense that teams are interested in moving up? Do exploratory talks begin now or later?
DORSEY: “Right now we have called around to express interest just to let everybody know we can talk and have an open line of communication. Whatever you have to offer, let’s sit and talk about it. I think the draft is a very fluid process in terms of how it unfolds. You kind of see there’s a lot of things that can happen between one and 18, it’s quite an interesting draft in that regard.”
Q: DE Mike Catapano and S Sanders Commings have lost a lot of time, what do they need to do in your eyes to have an impact?
DORSEY: “I think that they need to take the same attitude that they had this off season and continue it all the way into training camp. If you look at Mike Catapano right now, he’s 295 pounds, he looks wonderful. And then I look at Sanders and he’s diligently working. I just want those whole things to carry over into training camp and then we will see what happens.”
Q: So according to you, in the evaluation process, they aren’t that far behind the curve?
DORSEY: “I don’t think so, but I still think it’s a little bit incomplete.”
Q: With a possible suspension looming for CB Sean Smith, do you feel the need to address the corner position higher in the draft than you thought previously?
DORSEY: “No, we will see what happens in that regard. I think whatever does happen, we are prepared for it and I think we have enough flexibility in the draft to get the best player here.”
Q: Is it a coincidence that the last two years that your first-round draft pick has been at a position where you were basically planning ahead for a year or could have been planning ahead for a year?
DORSEY: “I think it has a little bit to do with coincidence at the time. We will see what happens this year and then you can probably say, ‘maybe it was.”
Q: How many first round players are actually in this draft? Just because there are 32 picks doesn’t mean there are 32 first round players.
DORSEY: “That’s a pretty good question. Overall, well of course there are going to be 32 players getting selected in this draft. From the total number of impact players in this draft, I would say there are probably 10-12 impact players in this draft.”
Q: So what factors in to trading up or trading down?
DORSEY: “Well you have to have a trading partner. That’s the first thing you have to do. I think what you do is when you get a chance to look at your board and you look at the players on that board and then you have to think of long term strategy like, what can happen if you do this trade? You have to begin to weigh those different options. That’s the judgement part, that’s the hard part of the judgement part of what is best for the organization. The simplest way to put it is this, never pass up a good player. Is the player that you are either going up or down for, is he a liked player? Or if you go back are you getting compensation in passing on a good player, if that makes sense. Or are you going up just for the sake of going up?”
Q: Where do you stand right now with Justin Houston and how does his future impact the draft?
DORSEY: “Justin is a great football, he really is. I foresee him not going anywhere in the future. If you want to ask me if I’ve had conversations with his representative, I have. I have had conversations with his representative, or we have, in the last three days.”
Q: Are you guys making headway?
DORSEY: “I mean we’ve had conversations.”
Q: How do you guys decide which prospects are shown and evaluated by the coaches?
DORSEY: “The best available player. For position coaches, I think it’s really important for them to get clarity because they are going to have to coach the guy. You give them usually a list of 10-15 guys by position. Have him rank those in order with a summary. With Coach Reid, I think you do a broader selection and to what his strengths are. Andy is a really good evaluator and he always has been. That’s what we always talk about in terms of, he and I see players very similar. That’s the uniqueness of having a head coach like Andy, in terms of preparing for the draft, because he truly does see players very well. I kind of give him, as well as the coordinators, a broader picture of who they should concentrate on.”
Q: How much film does it take for a good evaluator to see?
DORSEY: “I think it varies.”
Q: Can it be quick?
DORSEY: “It can be five plays. Seriously, it can be legitimately five plays. I bet if you talked to some of them old scouts and they looked at Emmitt Thomas, Willie Lanier, Len Dawson, it only took them a few snapshots there. Derrick Thomas.”
Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid & Player Quotes
April 20, 2015
OPENING STATEMENT: “Welcome back, it’s good to see everybody. It was good to see our players today. We’re excited that they are back in town and we are able to start phase one today of the three phases that we are given in the offseason program. Phase one consists of the opportunity for the players to lift and condition and then they can meet in the classrooms with the coaches. There is no on-field work for them with coaches. The receivers and quarterbacks do have the opportunity to go out and throw at this time. But again, only those positions. With that, I’ll turn it over to you folks.”
Q: Is everybody here?
REID: “We are missing a couple guys. Two of which are related towards their academics, S (Daniel) Sorensen and OL (Laurent) Duvernay-Tardif. Sorensen is graduating and Duvernay is finishing up his residency. LB Justin Houston isn’t here and S Eric Berry isn’t here for obvious reasons.”
Q: Do you expect Houston at all for the offseason stuff?
REID: “I would probably say it will probably be similar to last year until things get worked out. I think they’ll get worked out.”
Q: Where are the negotiations now? Do you have a good feeling that he will sign long term?
REID: “I think both sides want to be here, for whatever’s said, I know how the jockeying has been. I’ve been in this long enough to understand how it all works out when you’re dealing with negotiations, particularly with a good player. They will come to a number that’s good for both sides. It will all work out and he will be here for a long period of time.”
Q: There are certain options that can happen in this situation. Do you have to entertain all of the options or are you dead set on getting a deal signed?
REID: “That’s the one thing you have to start with. You have to see how all of that works and try to work in that direction. Then whatever option comes up there, I mean if something happens we will be ready for that too. We want him here and I think that’s been stated before. He’s a good person and a good player. He’s one of our team leaders. Sometimes these things just take time to get worked out.”
Q: Do you get antsy in these situations?
REID: “I’ve been doing it a long time. I know the business and how it works. I’m not as close into working with the personnel side as what I used to be and having to deal with all the negotiations, but I was in enough of them to know, for 14 years there, how that works. I have complete trust in Dorsey and his guys, Trip (MacCracken) and Brandt (Tilis), they will get it done. That’s how it works. I know on the other side that Justin is going to work his tail off because that’s the way he’s wired. He’s going to make sure he’s ready to go when the time comes.”
Q: How many guys are limited because of medical issues?
REID: “I’ll have to get you that. I don’t have that with me just off the top of my tongue. I think we are pretty healthy right now and that’s a good thing.”
Q: What about specific guys like LB Derrick Johnson?
REID: “Yeah, I’ll get you all that. He’s been working out really since a couple months ago, actually. He should be ok doing everything.”
Q: (Mike) DeVito?
REID: “DeVito would be the other one, yes. Both of those two are ok.”
Q: What’s the latest on S (Eric) Berry?
REID: “Just from talking to him, Rick has kept in communication with his doctor, but he’s doing very well. He has a couple treatments left. Those treatments kind of knock the dog out of you, but he’s fought through it and he’s working out like a wild man. I know it was tweeted out, there were pictures of him at the Tennessee spring game. You could see where he lost that red hair he had, but that will be back.”
Q: Going back to Houston, you said he wants to be here, is that from recent conversations with him or just knowing the guy?
REID: “I think it’s probably knowing the guy. He knows that this is a good place for him. We know this is a good place for him. We just have to get it worked out. Both sides will do that, he has a good agent and we’ve got good representation here. Between Joel (Segal) and Trip, they will get it all worked out.”
Q: Talking about trusting the personnel side to get things done, I’m guessing with the upcoming draft you trust that John Dorsey has the right guys in mind?
REID: “The scouts came in this past Wednesday and they’ve been in lock down. They will do that for 14 days there. Before that I was able to sit in with John in the afternoons and go through the board and look at the players. I can tell you that he has a good grasp on it. He’s got good people around him who work with him. John is relentless, he is going to grind, grind, grind and I will put anybody up against him in that area. He makes sure every stone has been turned. He does a good job with that.”
Q: How much do you grind? How does Dorsey present players to you to watch? How many players do you watch?
REID: “Obviously the scouts, this is their third go-around on this. They narrow it down, John will give X numbers of players to each coach on the staff to get their evaluation back on return to them. I’ll have an opportunity to watch all of the guys at whatever pace I choose to watch it at. John keeps me abreast of it before I watch the players of what I am looking at and getting into. He’s doing the majority of this thing, it’s his deal and he does a great job at it.”
Q: How many games do you need to watch of a player before you have a good grasp on him as a player?
REID: “That’s where you have to be careful in this position. You watch four games on a guy whereas John has watched every game on a guy. I’m not the expert on these players, but it gives me a general feeling of the guy. But I’m definitely not near the expert that he is on those players.”
Q: If you had a general overall message that you wanted to give players today, what would it be?
REID: “It’s simple, we are in year three so you take it up a notch. You know what you are all about. You’ve walked in these moccasins. You know every step of the road. Now you just take everything up one notch and get ready to roll when it comes time to play.”
Q: How much more advanced are you guys now in year three?
REID: “Normally by year three you have most of your stuff installed and the players have a pretty good feel for it.”
Q: You mentioned the players you expect to participate, what about S Sanders Commings?
REID: “Yeah he’s out there working. I’m not going to let him practice the first day of training camp. You know why. He’s gotten hurt both years. I just told Dorsey, ‘we just won’t let him practice the first day and we will be ok.’ He’s been hurt the last two times we’ve done that. He’ll help us down the road here and he’s rehabbed like crazy. It’s just matter of getting him past that first little bit of training camp.”
Q: What about OL Jeff Allen?
REID: “Jeff is back and doing everything. Looks good, very good.”
Q: He’ll participate in OTAs?
REID: “Should be. I’ll get you more accurate information on that as we get closer.”
Q: OL (Donald) Stephenson will be back on the offensive line?
REID: “He will be back on the offensive line. I think he’s had a good offseason so far, to this point. I think he’s in the right frame of mind. He wants to prove to people that he deserves to be a starter so we should have a little competition in there as we go. It should be healthy.”
Q: What happened to him last year after the suspension?
REID: “What happened was other guys got in and did their job. One thing you learn in this league, especially when you have Dorsey bringing in players like he brings in, he’s going to try to create as much competition as possible. So if you allow another man into your spot, there is no guarantee, in particular if that guy does well. You want to make sure you capture that position when given the opportunity and there’s a lot that goes into that.”
Q: Do you anticipate a possible suspension for CB Sean Smith? Have you heard from the league on that?
REID: “We have not heard. That’s in their hands and we will be ready either way. If he is suspended we will handle it from there and if he’s not then he will be in there playing.”
Q: You’ve coached a lot of teams where you were the hunted. The Royals are kind of going through that. What are your thoughts on that and how you handle success?
REID: “Well when you are the hunted at time teams are going to shots at you. They have to know that you are willing to put your foot down. Looks like that’s what the Royals are doing. From what I understand, if teams throw at you, beware. Right? Beware. That looks like what they are doing. I had a chance to go watch some of their spring practice. They have a good team, virtually almost the same team they had before. They have a great manager and a great front office, so good things are going to happen for them. They have a great locker room. I was able to kind of walk around and meet some of the guys and you can tell it’s a tight group. So I’d say the things you are seeing the past few days, I mean I can talk about baseball, I’m like you are, I’m a fan. I would imagine that they are putting their foot down and saying, ‘hey if you want to mess around, we aren’t backing down.”
Q: As a coach, how do you feel about that?
REID: “I’ve got to say, I kind of like it. I’ve got a Royals hat, I’m wearing it.”
Q: How important is this time of year for guys to get some continuity?
REID: “Very important, if you’re in the room you’re a part of this football team. Dorsey spends a lot of hours looking at the guys, not only as players but as people. So if we’ve invited you into that room you are going to be accepted and be a part of it. Then you have to earn the respect. The playing part is if you go on and your work ethic, all of those things, you better toe the line the right way.”
Q: Why did you guys decide to release TE (Sean) McGrath? It seems like he wanted to come back and play.
REID: “I think at a point there he wanted to go a little different direction and he did that and then he wanted to come back, but by that time we had things kind of filled up. This gives him an opportunity to hook onto somebody else. He can play in the National Football League. He’s a good guy, a hard worker. I had a chance to talk to him. You never know in this league. You could be right back here, but for right now it gives him an opportunity to hook on with another team.”
Q: When you guys started talking about what your priorities where in the offseason, was the number one priority finding guys with more juice?
REID: “You’re always trying to find energy givers and guys who can help your football team. We’ve got a lot of those guys on this football team, which I’ve appreciated. We’ve got guys who like to play the game and I appreciate that part. I don’t know about the juice.”
Q: You’ve used the word Juice.
REID: “Yeah, I know what juice is.”
Q: All good football teams need guys who have some edge. Do you think you have enough edge? Are you happy with what you’ve done in the offseason to bring some of that here?
REID: “I thought we had enough edge last year and we’ve added to it. We have guys who, again, like to play the game. They’ve played hard, they’ve played aggressive. I’ve grown to appreciate that. Are you always looking to upgrade and create competition? Absolutely.”
Q: Especially on the offensive line, how much does it help to have one guy who is kind of mean?
REID: “Well, you hope they all do that. That’s what you’re hoping. A lot of times one guy can help bring out the best in other guys. You see that in all sports, but you certainly see it in that position.”
Q: Is QB Alex (Smith) cleared to take part in everything?
REID: “Yes. Alex Smith? Yes, he’s fine.”
Q: Where are we at with (QB) Tyler Bray?
REID: “He is rehabbing. He’s not doing it here on campus. He’s off campus doing it. But he is rehabbing.”
Q: Why not here?
REID: “I’ll get you that. He’s got a set up where he’s doing it at his place. It’s a good set-up. He’s getting good treatment. I don’t know if there are any league rules on that, Dorsey has all that stuff.”
QB ALEX SMITH
Q: So you are all cleared and ready to go?
SMITH: “Yeah, I think so, yeah. Full go. I feel good.”
Q: When did that come about? Can you take us through the process since the season ended?
SMITH: “Really, nothing. A few weeks after our season, that was kind of the timeline that they had given me that I would be fine. But at that point, really the only things I couldn’t do were heavy contact, sports. But with the season over, I didn’t do much else in that concern. So it really didn’t restrict me, so really it was kind of normal life. I could work out, I could run, I could do everything I needed to do. So I just kind of went about my business and at this point, it has felt great for a quite a while. I don’t know at some point if I am going to get it scanned again or not, so I don’t know.”
Q: What was your reaction when you found out the team had traded for Ben Grubbs and signed Paul Fanaika?
SMITH: “Yeah, I knew we were losing a bunch of guys that didn’t know if they were going to be back or not. It’s kind of the nature of the business now with the turnover and it’s time for that personnel department to try and make us better and that is their opportunity to do that. Obviously Ben, a player of his caliber is pretty special, and to get an opportunity to make that move, I was extremely excited to see that for sure. But then all of the additions, just seeing what they’re doing and keeping track and talking to them and looking to obviously upgrade everywhere.”
Q: Did you get a chance to throw with Jeremy Maclin today?
SMITH: “Yeah, a little bit. Got him out there.”
Q: Did you throw with him outside or inside?
SMITH: “We went inside, just stayed inside. Yeah, it was good. Good to kind of get going on the first day. I had met him a few times and been around him and talked to him on the phone since we signed him, but it was great to get face to face and throw a little bit.”
Q: Did you run routes with him and how was it?
SMITH: “Yeah, we did a little bit of work. It was tough, today was a special teams day. The rest of those guys are in there so it was kind of limited. We had a few of the guys out there, (Travis) Kelce, some of those guys that aren’t on special teams we grabbed and we were able to do a little bit of work. Tomorrow will be a bigger day.”
Q: How long do you think it will take you to develop chemistry between you and Jeremy Maclin?
SMITH: “Yeah, a little bit of it is a process and I think it’s different for everybody. I think some things click for some guys faster than others. It just depends. I think there will be a little more of smoother transition – he’s been in the system, he’s learned his terminology. None of this is brand new for either of us. So we can kind of come together and talk and I think just even from today, and obviously watching a lot of film. We watched a lot of film the last couple of years, obviously with him at the Eagles and smooth, smooth. Great body language, he’s easy to throw to.”
Q: How do you feel you performed looking back at last season?
SMITH: “The analysis of myself I don’t necessarily look at from that big of a scope. From the outset, it’s just not good enough because we obviously didn’t make the playoffs. We didn’t make a run at anything, didn’t win a championship. I mean from there, it was a failure. From everything else though, I think you’re trying to fine-tune everything. So everything is a much smaller hole than just how was the season. For me it’s just huddle up quickly, and let’s take a look at quick game and three-step drop and from the gun and under center and then I’m looking at my ball-handling, my footwork, I’m looking at my balance, I’m looking at a lot of things – let’s take deep balls. All that stuff you’re really trying to get better at. I think for me really pinpoint those things and how can I get better and what can I do differently. What are some areas that jump out: red flags, weaknesses that I really need to work on and why are they that way, things like that. Now for us coming back, coaches have kind of done the same thing. We’ve been talking this whole time and going and communicating, but a chance to really kind of, ‘alright, let’s put the plan together. How are we going to fix these things, how are we going to get better?’”
Q: How do you think Jeremy Maclin’s skillset of beating people deep compare with your abilities? Do you feel like you can take advantage of the deep ball more than you have in past years?
SMITH: “Absolutely. I think two things. For one, the deep ball for sure is something that gets a lot of attention. It’s a matter of time and striking when it’s right and being able to take advantage of those opportunities that are few and far between and when you get them, you’ve got to be able to hit them. That’s kind of the nature of it. They are a lower percentage just across the board. I think as far as Jeremy goes, I think he’s the type of receiver that excels in all the areas. I think that’s his biggest strength is just watching from afar. I don’t think you can kind of pigeon-hole him as just a speed guy or over-the-top guy. His game is way more complex than that and he can do a lot of different things.”
Q: It looks like the Chiefs are trying to ramp things up offensively this offseason. What is your role in that?
SMITH: “I’m the quarterback. Pretty central. You’ve got to get better. To be complacent or settled with where you are, you’ve got to continually be getting better and you need to be taking steps forward and I’m a part of that. And it wasn’t good enough last year. So the part is, yeah, how are we going to continue to take steps and what is the plan to do that. And some of that is new faces coming in like you said and you have to gel quickly and bring it together.”
Q: Did you sense that Jamaal Charles wasn’t 100% healthy last season?
SMITH: “You definitely saw it. You see him through the week in the treatment room, battling through things, a lot of the nicks and things like that. You see it out on the practice field through the week. You see him on Wednesday and you can tell obviously some weeks more than others. But yeah, he’s battling through some things or maybe he’s not out there. But a game, didn’t miss much action. He was out there it seemed like every single Sunday and making plays, the type of competitor that he is. But certainly when talking to him and you hear that, you knew he was battling through things.”
Q: Do you think him being banged up affected some of the games last year?
SMITH: “No, I don’t think so, no. It’s a natural part of the NFL. You’re used to it. As a running back in the NFL, you’re used to being able to try to work through things. And sometimes you don’t know and sometimes it is a game time decision and that’s real. You’ve got to be ready for everything and the next guy has got to be ready and you just don’t know and you hope to have him out there. I don’t think that affected anything though, no.”
Q: What do you remember about the draft when you were taken first overall?
SMITH: “Obviously, there’s a lot of stuff leading up to it. There’s a lot of hype, a lot of hoopla all the stuff that kind of comes with it. I was back there in New York, very surreal to be a part of that. It’s different, it’s foreign territory, you’re used to being on a field or in a locker room and all of a sudden you’re in a big hall in a suit and tie, and you’re on stage it’s a different atmosphere. Very surreal though, obviously it’s something as a football fan you’ve watched since you were a kid and to take part in it, it was pretty cool.”
Q: When did you know you might go first in the draft?
SMITH: “The week leading up I had a good idea, just based off of different scenarios. Back then they were trying to negotiate those contracts before the draft and the way that was going I felt good about it the week leading up.”
Q: Was it difficult to block out all of the hype and go about your daily life?
SMITH: “No, I think you take it all in and you have fun with it. It’s going to happen once and I don’t think there’s any harm with that. I think that what’s hard to wrap your head around is you were having this huge competition. It felt like, it’s this huge job interview, this huge competition on who’s going to be the best, and you want to be the best. You’re working hard and you do all the combine and the interviews and the individual workouts and all of that and then you get drafted and the crazy thing is you’ve been going, you had no offseason, you went straight from your college season to that and you think you’re going to get a chance to catch your breath but you’ve got minicamp next week. Then you’re job really started, that’s when it really counts. No one cares what you did at the combine or before that, all that stuff didn’t mean anything really, to be honest you thought it did at the time. It’s long, you go straight into minicamp, you go straight into OTA’s and before you know it the season’s here and obviously expectations come with being a draft pick, and a high draft pick so it’s a lot to deal with as a young guy and trying to balance all of that.”
Q: You’ve had a chance to watch Travis Kelce, what do you think this next season holds for him?
SMITH: “I think everybody is really excited about Travis (Kelce). I think we all saw last year what he’s capable of and what he can do. I think as a young player he’s building on that and continuing to have him put more tools in his tool belt so to speak and be able to do more things, let’s find different ways to use him. He’s a guy that can do a lot of different things as a tight end, he’s very versatile. How can we move him around, how can we get him the ball, he’s so good with the ball in his hands after the catch as well. All those things, it’s just continuing to fine tune that, type that all in, he’s well rounded, what are all the ways we can get better with him.”
Q: You’ve got a lot of guys like that, De’Anthony Thomas, guys that can move around, that’s got to make you feel excited as a quarterback.
SMITH: “Oh yes, it’s what you’re hoping for, for sure it’s an ideal situation. For Travis (Kelce) and a lot of these guys it was their first year playing last year. De’Anthony coming back for his second year, yes all of those guys you’re kind of looking to expand on that. Build on it, it’s their second year now to kind of catch their breath and get going and what are the different ways we can use them and get better.”
Q: Were you apart of the Pebble Beach program prior to this year and what is it like?
SMITH: “This is my second year. It was fun, it was very fun, it was a cool challenge. You’re so used to playing in front of a bunch of people with a lot of noise and it’s more of a reaction type of deal and this is very different. You’re in front of people but it’s dead quiet and you’ve got a lot of mental thoughts and it’s certainly not your area of expertise. It’s a fun challenge though mentally to do that, it’s just so different and foreign. The silence is like deafening almost, I got way to much self-talk going on, but yes it’s a great challenge, I enjoy golfing so it’s fun.”
LB DERRICK JOHNSON
Q: How are you feeling?
JOHNSON: “I’m feeling great, feeling great. I’ve been out for a while. Very excited to be back with the guys. It’s one thing to be really healthy and having all your strength, but the comradery that you have with the guys, your brothers, your teammates. That’s even better to be back with them, so it’s pretty cool.”
Q: How far along are you in your rehab?
JOHNSON: “If you see me run and do drills and stuff, I’m probably at 100 percent, but I’m harder on myself, so I’m probably 90-95 just because I haven’t played football yet. Football is different than doing drills and stuff, but do I have any limitations? Not at all. The ankle is very flexible, my Achilles is doing great. Don’t feel it at all doing strenuous workouts, weights, running fast, racing people, all that stuff is back, so I just can’t wait in a couple weeks to get out on the actual field and run around with the guys on the football field. That will be cool.”
Q: So all of the strength and conditioning that you are doing today will not be a problem for you?
JOHNSON: “No, that’s what I’ve been doing back in Austin. Working out with the guys – (Brian) Orakpo, Jamaal Charles and everybody. This is stuff I’ve been doing this whole time. I’m really going to be excited to see in a couple weeks to actually get out on the field, running plays and stuff like that.”
Q: Do you feel like the injury will be in the back of your mind right now?
JOHNSON: “No, it’s not in the back of my mind – the bigger difference will be in a couple weeks when I get on the field and see how I move out there. And mentally, it’s been a while since my injury. But the big part about having a big injury, part of that is mentally and that part has to go away for you to succeed and get back to where you left off. That’s my opportunity that I’m trying to get back to where I left off.”
Q: How challenging have the last seven months been for you?
JOHNSON: “It’s been hard, it’s been hard. But I’ve been through something harder than this and I think through my career, I was equipped for this. When I didn’t start that one year, my fifth season, that was harder than this. So it’s one of those things where it was really hard to deal with going to the games all the time, looking at the guys having fun. Of course I was in the locker room with them, high-fiving them and stuff. But at the same time I wanted to be out there too. It was very hard, very hard for me. But I knew I had to go through this time, get back to where I need to get to. My career later in my years has been like this. I haven’t been on the decline yet, so it’s going to be a great opportunity to show everyone I’ve still got it. So it’s a lot to prove this year, so it’ll be great.”
Q: What was behind posting your workout videos on the web?
JOHNSON: “I was just excited to just run again, that’s why I was letting everybody know how I was doing. Keeping everyone updated through Twitter and everything just because everybody wanted to know. I always get questions on how is your injury going. It’s a blessing to get back to form and I’m excited.”
Q: Did you give any thought to retiring or were you set on rehabbing and getting back out on the field?
JOHNSON: “I’m riding it out right now. I can go another three, four, five years. It’s a mentality that I have. It’s just the way my career has gone. In my later years, I’ve been better. If I can stay healthy, I’m going to ride it out. I got a little taste of not being out there on the field with the guys, not being in meeting rooms, that was a little bit of a taste of retirement and I’m not ready for that at all. At all.”
Q: What was so tough about being away from the game and not playing? It must be different being a part of the team and not playing.
JOHNSON: “It is different. I was in the locker room with the guys, but it’s different when you’re not out there with the blood, sweat and tears that they do on Sunday. That’s bigtime. That’s what I’m used to, that’s what I do. I may have missed a game here or there throughout my career, but never a season-ending injury, especially at the beginning of the season like that. It was tough; it was a big blow for me. But my body has held up. I used to have different problems with my shoulders, wrists and little stuff.”
Q: It looks like you lost some weight. What did you weigh in today?
JOHNSON: “I have. I’m about 230. I’m a little light right now, probably going to try to get back up to 235. But I’ve always focused on coming in to camp in shape already, light as I can be. I’m an older guy so gaining weight is not a problem for me.”
Q: As an older guy and with the injury, have you thought about carrying less weight?
JOHNSON: “Even before the injury, every year, I lost two or three pounds. When I first got in the league, I was 250-255, so it just started trickling down a little bit. Just less weight. I’m a smarter player. I don’t need all that weight. I need to be fast and quick and still have my strength.”
Q: How do you feel about Justin Houston coming back to this team?
JOHNSON: “I probably shouldn’t talk about guys that aren’t here. But when the season hits, we’ll have all of our bullets.”
Q: How important was it to be able to work out with Mike DeVito while you rehabbed your injury?
JOHNSON: “Big part of the reason why I’m here right now and my mindset. Mike DeVito was a guy I depended on a lot even before the injury. He’s a guy that kept the big guys off of me. You definitely don’t want to see another guy go down like that. Injuries are a big part of the game. But to have a guy of that caliber, mindset-wise, to actually be in an out of rehab with me every single day. I got even closer with him, his faith through God and everything that he brings to the table on and off the field. It wasn’t as hard as people thought it was being with Mike DeVito.”
DE MIKE DEVITO
Q: What was it like working out and rehabbing with Derrick Johnson?
DEVITO: “It made all the difference. That became our battle. Football was over and now it was about getting back. And to do that by yourself – I think I heard you guys talking to DJ about retirement – I think I would have considered retirement if I would’ve had to go through that by myself. But if you’re working out with a guy like DJ, who is one of the most athletic guys in the NFL, one of the most competitive guys in the NFL, day in and day out getting in there with him and going through this and challenging each other and working together. We were brothers before, but we really built that bond even more so. You really know the person that you’re with when you face adversity with them, so it was awesome. Somebody I’ve always had a ton of respect for. But again, I don’t know if I would’ve made it to this point right now had I not been working with DJ.”
Q: Are there any physical limitations for you right now or are you ready to go?
DEVITO: “I felt great, I felt great today. I think you’ve got to take it a day at a time. Obviously running around and lifting weights is a good sign, but you never know until you get out there. But I’m really confident, especially the way I felt running around these past couple months, running around today. And again, that was a product of when you go through these injuries, you kind of have got to start back at square one. So I’ve been focusing on my running form, focusing on the little things. That’s the best way to get back. And I could tell that today. I felt fast, I felt really good. So I’m hoping and praying that carries over to the field.”
Q: How tough was it being a part of the team, but on the outside and not being able to play?
DEVITO: “I always tried to be someone that said, ‘football doesn’t define who I am. I am a man of faith and that is first in my life until football got taken away and then I realized how much football actually means. It’s just so consuming and it’s every day you’re coming in here and you’re working with the guys and you’re grinding and you’re all working towards a certain goal. And when that gets taken away from you –this was the hardest thing that I’ve gone through in my career was to sit outside and watch this. To watch the games was killer; it was so hard. But it also helped me grow and learn and appreciate this even more. Being in here today – going into my ninth year, usually you come into OTA’s and you are excited to get back – but today I had butterflies like I was getting ready to play a game because it was full-time being back in this building and actually working with the team towards that goal. So it was a tough year, but I feel like it really helped me grow and I’ll never take a second in here for granted again.”
DT DONTARI POE
Q: What have you done this offseason? Did you change it or was it the same thing as in years past?
POE: “Same thing. Same eating habits. Nothing really changed from that aspect, but I intensified the workouts a little bit so it was pretty good.”
Q: Were you banged up a little towards the end of the year?
POE: “A little bit, but no more than the next guy. Towards the end of the year I need to do more stretching, more hot tub, stuff like that, no major injuries.”
Q: How good was your 2014 season compared to 2013?
POE: “I think it was good. I think I learned a lot more. I got a lot more in touch with it mentally, so that kind of made it easier for me, so I feel like if I keep progressing mentally, and everything keeps slowing down for me, it’ll be better and better.”
TE TRAVIS KELCE
Q: What were your thoughts when you found out about the release of Anthony Fasano?
KELCE: “It’s always been a high accountability on myself. When you see Fasano go, that’s a brother. That rips your heart out. But it’s a business and of course he knows that and everyone else in the room knows that. It just lets you know that it is a business and everybody’s spot is vulnerable. It just makes you want to be more accountable in terms of what you do for a living.”
Q: Where were you physically last season?
KELCE: “I had from about July on to get ready for the season, so in terms of that I was a step behind in my eyes and I never really got back to where I thought I should have been. Coach Reid and everybody gave me one heck of an opportunity. They eased me into it. The trainers, Rick Burkholder and David Glover, got me ready for the season. I can’t be anything but thankful for that. That’s in the past; I’m just working on being the best I can this year.”
Q: What do you feel like you can accomplish having a whole offseason to prepare for the season?
KELCE: “In my mind, the sky is the limit. That is just the confidence that I have in the players, the team that we’ve been able to put together, because I think we can go ahead and have one heck of an outstanding season, whether that is me putting up big numbers or average numbers or whatever statistics that you want to throw out there. I think this team is going to be one heck of a team going forward.”
DB RON PARKER
Q: Does this offseason feel different since you have a deal, you’ve been a starter and you’ve shown what you can do?
PARKER: “It doesn’t feel any different coming in. I take it as any other offseason phase. Come in ready to work, and just take it one week at a time. I think this part of being here is important for me and the other guys just so I can get to know my other teammates and we can create a better understanding on and off the field.”
Q: Considering what happened to you being shifted between practice squads and active rosters, does it give you that attitude?
PARKER: “Yes, after being through so much of what I’ve been through, my attitude kind of stays the same. I really don’t know any other way to approach this other than how I’ve been approaching it the last couple years. The feeling is still the same. So that’s how that is.”
Q: A lot of players would have given up after being cut eight times. But you never did, what was it about your situation where you had faith in your ability to make it in this league?
PARKER: “My situation was a little messed up at first because it wasn’t that I wasn’t good enough. My first part of the season I was cut because of my injuries. It was bad timing, I went down at the wrong part of the season. The past couple years, God has given me the strength and allowed me to stay healthy and let me show my talent. The last two years I’ve been good and healthy to do that.”
Q: How much of a leadership role do you see yourself taking on without S Eric Berry?
PARKER: “I’m going to try to pick up where we left off with Eric being gone last season. I’m going to try to pick up where I left off at with just communicating with guys and taking ownership of being a leader in the secondary.”
WR JEREMY MACLIN
Q: Have you had a chance to get out there with the quarterbacks yet?
MACLIN: “Yeah, we threw a little bit today. It was more so just catching, kind of seeing how the rotation comes out. Everything was smooth.”
Q: What do you think of Alex (Smith) so far?
MACLIN: “He’s a good guy. From our conversations so far, a standup guy, I understand he is a very intelligent quarterback. A guy who can do everything, so I’m really excited to be working with him.”
Q: You’ve played on some talented offensive teams throughout the years, how does this one match up?
MACLIN: “It’s talented. It’s extremely talented. Obviously starting with Alex (Smith), Jamaal (Charles), you’ve got Travis (Kelce), who I think is one of the bright tight ends in this league, up and coming. I’m excited to work with him. Obviously, Albert who showed flashes last year. He’s a guy who is going to come along and help us win. I’m just excited about having an opportunity to help some of the younger guys and shed some of my knowledge of the league and what I’ve experienced. Obviously, having (Jason) Avant here is something I really, really enjoy. I spent five years with him. If we can get it all together and get it on the right page, I think we will be pretty darn good.”
S TYVON BRANCH
Q: What brought you to the Chiefs? What interested you to them?
BRANCH: “(Justin) Houston and Tamba Hali. Whenever you can play behind pass rushers like that, you’re going to jump at the opportunity.”
Q: Did you talk to them about playing with them?
BRANCH: “Their play does the talking, not me. I didn’t have any conversations with really anybody before I came here, but when I got the opportunity, I was excited about it.”
Q: Where are you at physically the first day of offseason training?
BRANCH: “I’m feeling great, working hard and back where I want to be. I’m excited for this opportunity.”
P DUSTIN COLQUITT
Q: So you’re bringing in a new long snapper. What’s that process like?
COLQUITT: “Just getting acclimated, trying to figure out what the guy does when he’s in game situations, try to look back at his college film and try to figure out when it’s wet, windy, where are his tendencies when he errors. And then just acclimate him to where I’m expecting the ball as a holder. And also, Cairo (Santos), our thought process is, if he’s going to throw a bad snap, at least let it be visible to where Cairo is. Nothing behind me so that he’s second guessing if the ball is coming back there. But basically, it’s just working with him and trying to find his tendencies, and for me, I’m a taller guy, so I don’t like bending over and catching punt snaps. I like to keep my eyes out on the field, so if they can keep it high for me and Cairo’s visibility, then we’re going to be good.”
Q: What do you look for in a long snapper?
COLQUITT: “Obviously, accuracy is the biggest thing. If you have a guy that can keep it within a tight space most of the time, it makes my job easier, it makes Cairo’s job easier. That’s the most important thing I look at is accuracy. And if he moves his feet. I’m not expecting him to make any tackles or anything. Obviously it’s icing on the cake if he does, but his deal is to keep me clean, keep the ball high where I like it, and obviously, we’ll be good to go.”
Q: What are you doing to prepare for another season?
COLQUITT: “Crazy. I’ve got five kids, so it’s always getting them in a good place. We put two of them in school in the offseason. Just going from dad all the time to not there very much other than when we get off work. That becomes difficult. Really it’s just another season for me. I try to do a lot of stuff to keep myself in shape eating-wise and a lot of stuff with my wife. We do a lot of The Bar Method, yoga, anything you could imagine to keep me limber, flexible. I’m not getting any younger. We’ve got younger guys coming out. Then I just try to focus on my goals from last year and doing it better than what I’ve been able to attain. Keep on the rise. I always want people when they meet me or have me in a room, I’ve always said that I want our head coach to look over there at the special teams for a split second and they’re able to say ‘they’ve got it covered.’ So, that’s what Cairo, whoever our long snapper is going to be – I expect them to take care of business and keep us in games.”
WR JASON AVANT
Q: Did you consider leaving the Chiefs or was this a place you really wanted to be?
AVANT: “I always consider everything. I thought that this would be the best situation for me. Jeremy (Maclin) coming here had something to do with it, me talking with him and Coach Reid and everybody else. I definitely like the players, the organization and everybody who works here. It was a good thing for me.”
Q: You’ve played on some good offensive teams with the Eagles. What do you see in the Chiefs offensive team?
AVANT: “I think the biggest thing is within the offensive team there has to be stability and there has to be continuity. You can have great players, but if you don’t have a rapport with all the parts, it won’t be as successful. I think that’s the number one thing, to have some familiar faces around each other, knowing the body language and knowing peoples idiosyncrasies. I think that’s the number one thing. Then you have to have talent and we have some talent. We have a lot of nightmare problems with mismatches with a lot of different guys. A lot of guys that are healthy that were down. When you view it that way, another thing that the Chiefs have, we have some hard pieces to cover when you think of De’Anthony (Thomas) or when you think of other guys, (Travis) Kelce. Those players are hard. When you really think about it, in the National Football League, you pay a cornerback a lot of money and he shuts down one player. But when you can have a tight end or running backs that can get open in man coverage against lesser athletes, not that their bad athletes, they’re just not getting paid as much to cover people. We have that working for us.”
Q: What does Jeremy Maclin bring to the Chiefs that you guys didn’t have last year?
Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid Quotes
NFL Annual Meeting – Phoenix, Ariz.
March 24, 2015
Q: How do you make the decision on what color Hawaiian shirt you’re going to wear each day?
REID: “Chiefs colors. This one here is to keep things even-keeled.”
Q: What goes into your choice to steal WR Jeremy Maclin from the Eagles?
REID: “I don’t know if it’s a steal. It’s a part of free agency, that’s how it goes. We needed a receiver, in the simplest form. He’s somebody that was familiar with our offense and a very good player and a good guy. He’s a great locker room guy. He’s somebody I’m familiar with.”
Q: Has your philosophy on the evaluation of the position, has that changed in your career?
REID: “I don’t think so. Some of it is a bit of a need. John Dorsey could probably answer that even better. Some of it is a need and where you think you’re a bit deficient. So somebody’s free agency is a good hole-plugger. I don’t think you make a living from it, that part hasn’t changed. I don’t think the position necessarily matters. You know that you’re probably going to over-pay as you go into free agency. That’s just the name of the game. Then three years down the road you go, ‘you know what, that was a pretty good deal.’ So that’s how it is perceived, I think, what it looks like. It also gives you full freedom to go into the draft. It doesn’t back you into a corner going into the draft. You can go in and you can take the best player and that kind of sticks with your philosophy.”
Q: Was Maclin the top player you identified or were there others on the list?
REID: “There were a couple guys that we liked. I’d tell you he was the top one just because I know him. I know him as a person and as a player. So I’d tell you that he was the top of the list but there were other guys. You look at everybody, that’s what you do. John Dorsey does all that, I’m kind of out of that business. John, he does all of that and he obviously asked me what I thought of Maclin. I had nothing but good things to say. It’s hard to find a hole in Jeremy Maclin.”
Q: Speaking of you being out of that business, your successor has just jumped into that business. Was that a good idea? Why did you find it difficult?
REID: “I think every situation is different. I loved doing it when I did it. But where I’m at in my career, I’m glad I’m out of it. I’m lucky to have John Dorsey there, who I have full trust in. He does a phenomenal job with it. I think it just depends on where you’re at in the situation.”
Q: When you were doing personnel you thought it was a good thing?
REID: “Well, where I was in my career I felt that was a good thing. I enjoyed doing it. I enjoy coaching right now. I’m more involved in that than the personnel part of it.”
Q: Maclin said that during his first years in Philadelphia that because of (WR) DeSean’s (Jackson) skillset he had a certain role. That obviously changed when he became the number one guy this past year. Do you expect Maclin to be different in the Chiefs offense than he was in the Eagles offense?
REID: “Well we always knew that he was a great player. We felt that and we tried to divide it up a bit between those two and give them opportunities. I would imagine that he will probably catch more balls. He’s probably going to start at the Z position right now. That’s how we are looking at it. There will probably be a few more balls thrown in his direction.”
Q: Why do you think Maclin chose Kansas City rather than staying with the Eagles?
REID: “You probably need to ask him. That’s a decision that he made. I know it was a tough decision. I know he loved Chip’s offense and he really likes Chip Kelly, which he should. He’s a good football coach. And he loves the city of Philadelphia, but this is free agency. You look at the other end of that, he’s around his family, which is a great thing for where he’s at in his career. Sitting there at 26-27 years old, you have an opportunity to come back home and play. That’s kind of a special thing that neither you nor I could probably trump. At the same time, he’s making good money and he’s very close with (Chiefs WR Coach) David Culley and he knows the offense. I think it’s familiar territory for him.”
Q: How much do you miss Philadelphia?
REID: “I loved my stay in Philadelphia. I love the city of Philadelphia. I love the passion. There’s obviously a piece that you miss. That was 14 years of my life and a lot of things happened during that time, good and bad. I made a lot of friends and had a lot of fun with the Philadelphia Eagles and we won a couple games. So that was a great thing.”
Q: Do you miss getting criticized?
REID: “It happens everywhere. It’s all part of it and I get it. I love that part of it. I love the part that they care. So to criticize, you’ve got to care. The fans of Philadelphia care. Kind of a similarity there is, Arrowhead Stadium, they pack that place and it’s loud and exciting. In Philadelphia, they pack it and it’s loud and exciting. I love that part, you can’t ask for more than that.”
Q: At what point did it become apparent to you that Maclin would leave?
REID: “The way this thing is set up right now, the two or three days that you’re allowed to talk to the agent but you’re not allowed to do a deal, I think there’s a whole lot of anxiety on everybody’s part. You can’t talk to the player but then you can’t do a deal with the agent. It’s kind of dangled out there. To me, it’s like college football where they have to fax in the signing. There’s just great anticipation at that particular moment. So you’re never quite sure until Jeremy is there and signing on the dotted line.”
Q: It was probably easy recruitment on your part because you two knew each other.
REID: “Yeah, but I knew how much he loved Philly and Chip. I never felt comfortable until he was there and signing, that it was a done deal.”
Q: In that past couple weeks there’s been a lot of guys you drafted who are gone in Philadelphia. Is that something you anticipated?
REID: “Well, I know how the league works and the salary cap. There’s more to it. Chip isn’t sitting there going, ‘Andy Reid brought this guy in so I’m going to get rid of him.’ That’s not what Chip is doing. That’s not how he looks at this thing. It’s just the way this league works. There’s going to be change, guys are going to get older, things are going to happen, you’re going to like certain guys. That’s just how it goes. My thing is that I’m grateful that Philadelphia has a good football coach and good ownership. They made some moves that, I think, if you’d just give it time, will be very positive things.”
Q: When Sam Bradford was coming out how did you value him?
REID: “I think you can probably ask every coach, we loved him. He’s so accurate, just a good football player. A good person and a good football player.”
Q: Is he one of the best you’ve seen in your years as a football coach?
REID: “He’s one of the most accurate I’ve seen. There’s been some pretty good quarterbacks come out so I don’t want to break it down to being the best, but as far as accuracy goes at the college level, he was tremendous.”
Q: You saw Alex Smith, as a former number one overall pick, need to get a chance somewhere else. Do you see that being something beneficial for Bradford? Starting over?
REID: “Yeah, absolutely. I think it will be great for Nick Foles and I think it will be great for Bradford. It’s a chance to be a win-win for both guys. That’s what it’s all about. You want to see these guys make a living, be happy and win football games. It could end up being a win-win. Listen, I’m a big Alex Smith fan. I have been since he was in college, and we are lucky to have him.”
Q: Were you surprised to see Chip move on from Nick?
REID: “Nothing surprises me in this league at all. I think it can be good for both guys, that’s how I feel.”
Q: What kind of relationship did you have with Chuck Bednarik?
REID: “I loved Chuck Bednarik. He kind of epitomizes what the Eagles and football are all about, that toughness, competitiveness. He’s one of the greats of the game. I had him talk to the team my first year there just because of that. That respect factor. He came down to every training camp we had there. I mean, it was two blocks away. He came and visited. I enjoyed having him around. He was a tough guy, very loyal, tough guy and I appreciate that.”
Q: On Alex, how tough was it on you at the end of the year not scoring touchdowns?
REID: “We didn’t score them with receivers but we scored them with everybody else. So we were still pretty effective down the stretch. Alex played pretty good, his quarterback rating was pretty decent. We’ve got to get better in a couple spots and we are working on that. We made some moves in free agency that we think can help us out and solidify somethings. I think right now before the draft, we’ve got 10 draft picks, we’ve put ourselves in a pretty good position to be a good football team. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I’m excited about the picture there. I know the personalities and I’m fired up to get those guys out there for OTAs and training camp and make the climb into this ’15 season here.”
Q: Dorsey was saying that T (Eric) Fisher never had an offseason to just lift and work out and try to go in and be a strong guy out there.
REID: “Well, he had the shoulder surgery and so that affected him. He had to wear a brace and that whole deal. You see the athletic ability there and he made it through the season. He fought through some things that you have to do to survive in this league and be a good football player. So we are looking forward to him having the offseason and being able to lift. Like Dorsey said, adding a little weight. He was able to work his legs but not his upper body and that was all the way into training camp.”
Q: What about Ben Grubbs? What do you see for him?
REID: “Grubbs, he’s obviously a proven guy in the league, a two time Pro Bowler. He loves to play the game, so we will put him in there at the left guard position and let him go. That’s kind of home for him, that’s where he played. He’s smart, he’s physical. Everybody that I’ve talked to says he’s a phenomenal guy in the locker room.”
Q: Your offensive line should be ok next year.
REID: “Yeah, and we picked up Paul (Fanaika) from the Arizona Cardinals. He’s a kid we drafted in Philadelphia.”
Q: Who’s going to be your starting right tackle if you had to pick today?
REID: “Well, right now you have Donald Stephenson over there. He’s a pretty good player too. We have a few guys we can work in.”
Q: What impact are you looking for Jeremy Maclin to have this year?
REID: “He will work into the offense and go. He knows the offense, which is a positive. I think he’ll have a good year for us.”
Q: Is using TE Travis Kelce more a point of emphasis for next year?
REID: “Yeah, he and Dwayne (Bowe) ended up being our leading receivers this past year. That really was his rookie year. He didn’t play much his true rookie year. He was hurt. So you would think that the natural progression would be even more and better and he was pretty good this past year.”
Q: What’s your overall comfort level with your receivers now that you have Maclin?
REID: “I think we have some good young guys to go with Jeremy. We resigned (Jason) Avant to, to mix in there. Jason is a good inside receiver too and somebody the quarterback trust. I think we have a good nucleus there. I’m excited about the group.”
Q: How much did your familiarity with Maclin make you want to go out and get him?
REID: “Well, that had something to do with it. You know what you’re bringing into the locker room, it’s a positive, good person. Good player, tremendous in the locker room. So yeah that helped.”
Q: Can Kelce be elite? Does he have the potential to do that?
REID: “Yeah. Absolutely. He’s tremendously talented. Loves to play the game. He’s like a little kid out there, he just loves to play.”
Q: Would you have made the move with Anthony Fasano if you didn’t think Travis Kelce could step in and do some of the things he did last year?
REID: “Probably not. You obviously take that into consideration. I think when Dors (John Dorsey) looked at everything, that’s kind of how he felt.”
Q: You’ve got a lot of things going in your offense, where is Kelce at? Does he understand your entire offense?
REID: “You could see the progress every week, a positive direction and we kept adding to his menu there. So, the plays that we wanted to dial up in formations and motions, running backs and those tight ends, they have to know. They have to know what they’re doing. He continually got better I think with that as time went on.”
Q: He’s kind of a chip blocker too, one thing he is pretty good at. What did that give you guys?
REID: “It helps you in protection. That’s where you use most of your chips. He’s got a good feel for that and kind of a knack and he got better at the line of scrimmage. He had dropped some weight early, and he was able to gain some weight as we went on. He’s played as high as 265 at the college level, where I considered him a pretty good blocker at that level. He can function even with a little more weight added. He’s one of those guys that’s been working out. The players can come in and lift on their own, and he’s been in there every day. He lives in Kansas City. He’s been working his tail off.”
Q: What did he weigh like 250 last year?
REID: “Yeah, right around there. Yeah, 250.”
Q: What do you think the biggest difference is coming from the NFC east and going to the AFC division. Is there any specific thing?
REID: “I’ll tell you what, when I first went to the NFC East, that was one of the more competitive, physical (divisions), and the AFC West I feel is very similar. You’re seeing Denver our first year, they go to the Super Bowl. This past year they were headed to the playoffs. San Diego our first year goes to the playoffs. Mike (McCoy) did a nice job there. Oakland, even though their record wasn’t as good as they wanted, they brought in some good, young players. You can see this foundation starting to build there with the things Reggie (McKenzie) has done. He goes and hires Jack Del Rio, and I think that’s a pretty good situation. They have a ton of cap space and an opportunity to build. All of a sudden you look at the AFC West, and they’re kind of on the rise and you’re very familiar with the AFC West so you know. It’s very competitive.”
Q: The Raiders have a lot of money to spend.
REID: “Yeah they have a good quarterback.”
Q: They hit on some young players last year.
REID: “The outside linebackers that’s a good point. Yeah they’re alright.”
Q: The problem is two of those teams don’t know where they are going to be playing in the future.
REID: “Yeah, well I don’t think it matters. They’re pretty good. They’ve got some pretty good players.”
Q: The success you’ve had running the three-four, is that personnel driven or is that a direction that you had been moving philosophically?
REID: “Listen. There’s some good and there’s some bad in everything in whatever you run. There’s positives and negatives. They had invested; Scott Pioli had invested in the 34. He had Romeo (Crennel) there who knew it like the back of his hand. I just thought that was easy. That was an easy decision. I had the opportunity to get Bob Sutton to come over who was familiar with the 34. It all just seemed to fit. I didn’t see a reason, why change it? I didn’t think the defense was necessarily the problem.”
Q: When you see some of the moves that Chip Kelly has made in the last few weeks, let some free agent veterans go, what are you making out that he’s planning?
REID: “I think that’s the NFL today. I think the guys he brought in are good football players. I would just say, let him do his thing and don’t evaluate him now. I think the moves have been good moves, and it’s also been good for the guys that have left. It’s worked out well for them. It could be a win-win on both sides.”
Q: How long do you think, you said let him do his thing? People aren’t very patient.
REID: “Yeah, but listen, let him play some games with these guys. I mean, he’s got a plan. He’s a pretty smart guy. Give him an opportunity to do his thing.”
Q: What role did you have in LeSean’s (McCoy) development? You had him when he was 20.
REID: “You just said it. He’s a young guy. He and Jeremy (Maclin) were the youngest guys in the draft at that time. He’s a good kid, and we were able to kind of raise him up from a young guy and I think things will work out well for him. You know Rex (Ryan) will use him and give him an opportunity and that’s what running backs like to do. When I say win-win, that’s what I’m saying. Both of the running backs that the Eagles brought in, Chip likes to run the football too. They’re going to have a nice opportunity with LeSean, he’s going to have a nice opportunity. It should be a win-win on both ends there.”
Q: He’s gone out of this way the past two years to point you out and explain how much you meant to him. Do you keep in touch with him?
REID: “We can’t keep in touch with them. It’s one of those things, but when you have a guy that’s 20 years old coming into the National Football League and all of a sudden he’s making money and you end up sort of being a father figure there where you have to help these guys through those early years. That’s just how it works. That’s all the young guys. That’s what happens.”
Q: What was different with Jeremy Maclin on film last year as opposed to when you coached him?
REID: “He was the go-to guy. He went for it and did well. Chip used him and did a great job. Both of them, that was a nice little fit right there – Chip’s offense and his play calling with Jeremy and his abilities.”
Q: Were you surprised Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy and Nick Foles were your guys drafted, were you surprised with what happened with those guys in one offseason?
REID: “Listen, that’s how this thing works. It’s the National Football League. It wasn’t that they were my guys or not my guys. I didn’t see any of that or feel any of that. That’s just not how it works. The league is about change. You see that going on right now on every team. Chip did what he felt was right and he’s balancing the salary and a bunch of different things there. I’ll tell you, he came back and made some, what I think, some pretty nice moves. I told these guys, let him do his thing. Let it play out. It could be a nice picture.”
Q: What do you think Jeremy Maclin is going to be able to give you guys?
REID: “The obvious is he can go get the deep ball, but he’s also good with the short-intermediate game. He knows the offense very well, and that’s not taking anything away from the receivers that we had there. They were productive. I know the touchdown thing, that doesn’t happen very often like the last fifty years, but they were still very productive. Dwayne (Bowe) goes down as one of the leading receivers in Chiefs history, and by the way is a phenomenal team guy and a good person. He is one of the most misconstrued guys I’ve been around. I love Dwayne Bowe. I’m happy for him. It worked out well for him in Cleveland.”
Q: It sounded like Jeremy Maclin originally wanted to stay in Philadelphia. At what point did you think he would become available?
REID: “Yeah, I got asked that earlier. The way things are set up right now, you don’t know. There’s a whole lot of what-ifs going on there. You’ve got like a two or three day window there where you can talk to the agent, but you can’t do a deal. It’s crazy. It’s like dangling like a filet mignon in front of you and then you can’t talk to the kid. You’re sitting here going, ‘okay’. I just left the room and let Dorsey do all the rest and said have at it. He talked with Tom (Condon) and they did their thing and I’m going, I knew Jeremy loved it there. He came out publically and said that and he had his most productive year. I wasn’t thinking that he was going to be a member of the Chiefs. That’s just the way things work out. Again, that’s this league right now. I held my breath all the way until he was in that building and signing that paper right there.”
Q: Is his knee still a concern to you?
REID: “No, actually normally, knock on wood here, normally that second year after is a better year. That’s normally how it works. He’s young.”
Q: How has the change in life been from Philadelphia to Kansas City, different media basis, different city.
REID: “It’s really not different. The life of a coach, you’re spending most of your time at the office doing your thing and coaching it’s the same thing there. As far as the media goes, they do the same thing you guys do. That’s no different. There’s just not as many, but it’s still the same, same questions. T (Terez Paylor) questions me on everything. He’s as rough on me as you guys were.”
Q: In Philly, you had total power and control of personnel and at various points not, not the same situation. For Chip getting that power and control, how much more of a responsibility, time and all the other things that go into it is there?
REID: “Listen, I enjoyed doing it when I did it. I really didn’t want to do it after that. I had already done that and I enjoyed doing it when I did it. I think you have to look at the individual. I think Chip will be good at it. I like the moves he’s made. He’s got Ed (Marynowitz) there to help him. He’s got Howie (Roseman) there also to work with him. He’s got good people around him. I don’t see why it doesn’t work.”
Q: You said you did it and then had enough of it. What kind of drove you to not want to do it?
REID: “I’m late in my career.”
Q: Did you not enjoy it as much as you thought you were going to?
REID: “It was kind of like you guys. I was a little tired of it. It was just... I want to get back into fulltime coaching and not worrying about that. I know that I am on the latter part of my career. Right? I’m not getting any younger. I wanted to get back in on the offensive part of the game and do my thing there.”
Q: How do you look at your time doing that? Do you feel like you’ve learned a lot?
REID: “I enjoyed it when I did it. I just wanted to go a different direction.”
Q: Did it take more of your time doing it that it became kind of a battle or maybe made you rearrange your schedule?
REID: “Depends on how you go about it. Every situation’s a little different. Bill’s (Belichick) been doing it and has four Super Bowls. Who’s here to critique how it is done and who does it? I think it’s just in the choice of the person doing it.”
Q: What did you think when Chris Borland decided to walk away from football at his young age? Do you think that could be the start of others to rethink how they are injuring their bodies?
REID: “I don’t know that. I don’t think so. Everybody has to make their own decision and he did. He’s a good football player, but if that’s his concern then do what you have to do and move on. I think the league has done a great job on trying to make this thing as safe as they can and they’re not going to slow down with that with the rules, regulations and equipment, all these things and efforts that are being put into it. I think it was just a personal decision on his part. I don’t know if that’s contagious or not. I don’t think it will be.”
Q: Does that mean you respect his decision?
REID: “Yeah. He has to do what he has to do. He’s a tough kid, competitive kid, but he made a decision.”
Q: What rule changes do you like or do not want to see changes to?
REID: “Where the head coach has to meet with the media four times a week, I’m a little disappointed (laughing). I think if maybe they cut that down to once a week. Really, with the rules you go in and you debate them. Once they’re made you’re kind of one for all, all for one. Probably not going to comment on that.”
Q: What about the extra point?
REID: “I’m okay with where it’s at and just leaving it where it’s at. I don’t know if that’s going to happen. That’s my own feeling on that. Whatever happens, happens.”
Q: Any challenges with that?
REID: “There are some things that go into that. That’s easier said than done. You have to work through those complications and there are some.”
Q: Did free agency go as expected or did you not have a plan at that point?
REID: “Normally you put together a plan and it’s going to deviate just a little bit. Normally it doesn’t just fall right into place or the way your wish list is. I would tell you that you have to be flexible and move. Not everything works the way you expect.”
Q: Did you ever have an understanding where you’re going to have to move on from certain free agents such as Rodney Hudson after the conclusion of the season?
REID: “Yeah, and that’s a challenge for John (Dorsey). When he drafts people, we try to draft for depth. You don’t draft for backup players, you draft for guys that can be starters, so we drafted (Eric) Kush and we said, ‘Well, listen. Maybe in a year or two this guy has an opportunity to be a starter if he continues to progress’ and now he has that opportunity. Not that we weren’t going to try to sign Rodney back. And Rodney, by the way, is a phenomenal football player and person. But he hit it right, now. There weren’t a lot of centers out there (in free agency). So you go back to business 101, cost and demand. He was the man out there, and he got paid like the man, so more power to him. He made that move and we’re lucky that Dors had a plan with Kush stepping in there.”
Q: What do you think of Eagles Executive Vice President of Football Operations Howie Roseman is becoming now that he is being pushed back into contract negotiations with less responsibility on pro personnel decision-making? Do you feel for him?
REID: “I’ve had a chance to talk to him. He’s been so positive about everything. I haven’t really felt that at all. The guy with the money has a lot of pull and they (Roseman and Chip Kelly) seem to be working well together. I think it’s positive.”
Q: Where do you see the future of the quarterback read option headed?
REID: “Donovan (McNabb) was doing that back in college so we did a little bit of that early with Donovan and then we pulled away from it. And now with Alex (Smith), he did that in college, so we’re doing a little bit of that with him. And you look at all of the colleges, you look at all of the high schools, everybody is doing this thing, so these quarterbacks come in and it’s just so natural. Kevin Kolb, (we) did some of it with him and Chip has even taken it to another level here and it’s beautiful. Spreading people out, throwing the ball, being able to run the ball and it’s good.”
Q: Do you think it is going anywhere?
REID: “No, I don’t think it’s going anywhere. The quarterbacks don’t run that much. You’re not asking him to run a ton here. But the threat is there.”
Q: Do you think the read option was overhyped when it first emerged and was effective in this league?
REID: “Well, you’ve seen it with Chip. He’s blended the West Coast with (Eagles Offensive Coordinator) Pat (Shurmur) there and the things that he did at Oregon. He’s blended those things together, and so I think it’s a good combination.”
Q: What are your thoughts on Eagles Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik passing away?
REID: “I’ll miss him just because of what he stood for. He was one of just those old-school, all-NFL, Hall of Fame, tough guys. Last two-way player, all of that. I loved him for that. I love the gruff, tough, getting to the point like there were no hidden agendas that he presented. I had him talk to the team my first year there (in Philadelphia) and he would always come by every year and it was always good to have him.”
Q: What did you see in Ben Grubbs that made you trade for him?
REID: “Good football player. And we felt like we needed to buff up the offensive line just a little bit. And here you bring in a two-time Pro Bowler. And Dors (John Dorsey) kind of had his eyes on that. It was just a matter of being able to work through the trade and they were able to work that out.”
Q: Were you looking at Eagles guard Evan Mathis as well when you were looking to upgrade the offensive line?
REID: “We looked at everybody, yeah. I know Mathis, but we ended up going in that (other) direction.”
Q: What did you like about Paul Fanaika?
REID: “Big, strong. I know him because I brought him to Philadelphia. You’re dealing with a big, strong tough guy that plays physical football.”
Q: He is good at picking up stunts as well. Is that something you were looking for from the guard position?
REID: “We always talk about some guys can play the game out here with their hands and other guys aren’t quite as secure and they play in here. What you play in here, give the defender an opportunity to attack the shoulders and once that happens, they can control you. And all of the stunts are tough to pick up. He is able to do everything out here, and he does that very well.”
Q: So Fanaika is competing with Zach Fulton at left guard. Where does that leave Jeff Allen?
REID: “Well, Jeff Allen is going to get in there too. I mentioned (Donald) Stephenson, Jeff Allen can also play that (right) tackle spot. Tackle might be his best position. By the way, Jeff is coming off that injury, so we’ve just got to see a little bit.”
Q: Is Grubbs somebody you have targeted for a while?
REID: “John Dorsey did all that. He worked it out and the GM’s, they talk to each other all the time. They just call around and there is mass communications going on. Through that, they decided that there was a trade possibility. You’ve got to have two to do that.”
Q: There is a lot of talk about Marcus Mariota and his personality. How much does a quarterback’s personality go into the equation when you evaluate a quarterback?
REID: “I didn’t have an opportunity to visit with him. I’ll tell you, he’s a pretty good player. That part I can tell you. I don’t know about the personality and all of that, but he’s a pretty good football player.”
Q: But are you looking for more in a quarterback than just talent? Does the quarterback also have to be a good leader and have a good personality as well?
REID: “Just from afar, I listen to what his teammates say. I’ve got one on my team (De’Anthony Thomas) and I talked to him about him, I asked him about him. And he goes, ‘This guy is unbelievable. Great leader, great person.’ Again, this is from afar. I didn’t see any red flags. I’m going, ‘This guys here, you better take a serious look at him because he sounds like a pretty good player.’”
Q: Is that enough for you when former teammates vouch for a guy?
REID: “Well, listen, if I’m in a position to draft him – which I’m not; he’s going to go much higher than where I’m at (number 18 overall) – I would try and spend as much time with him as I possibly could to see if he fits into what I’m doing. That’s the name of the game.”
Q: What is your opinion on playing in London and losing a home game to do so?
REID: “Yeah, I’m excited to try a crumpet. I’ve never had one. It’s exciting. I think from a coaching standpoint, you’re so tunneled in that you’re going to try and keep yourself in the best routine you possibly can. I don’t think you’re going to worry too much about all the surroundings and history and all that stuff that you would on a vacation.”
Q: Have you sought any advice from coaches that have done the trip before?
REID: “Yeah, we’ve done that. I actually was sitting right next to (Jim) Caldwell yesterday and we play them over there and they’ve been there, they went there this past year. And so, he said it was a pretty good trip actually. They were able to stay focused; the players were good with it.”
Q: Why didn’t Donald Stephenson fit into the mix last year? What does he have to do to earn the staff’s trust again?
REID: “Listen, he was suspended early, and he gave another guy an opportunity. You see that over and over in this league. And once you give another guy an opportunity to be successful, you don’t want to mess with that, especially on that position on the offensive line. So, you add in Jeff Allen to the mix, and Donald, there should be great competition along the board there. I’m kind of looking forward to seeing it.”
Q: Has your opinion or philosophy changed over the years on how much the quarterback can change at the line of scrimmage? Even Brett Favre was somewhat limited in his best years as to what he could change.
REID: “Not much. Brett (Favre) still had the keys to the car. Given whatever situation, he can check into things. He didn’t have to (check into other plays) much. Some of it, (former Packers Head Coach) Mike Holmgren I thought did a great job of calling plays. And so, within that, you have certain plays that are good versus certain coverages and you have other plays that are good versus this coverage here and this coverage here and Mike was able to dial things up for him where he didn’t have to change a ton. Maybe the biggest play of his career, that throw in the Super Bowl (XXXI) that we won, he made a check on that to (Andre) Rison. But I think this is where the difference is. It’s not so much checking a play because of whatever coverage that’s shown is a problem. I think what we’re doing more now than what we did back then is giving the player a couple things – giving him three calls that they can go in and go, ‘Ok, we’re going to do this or this or this’ and making that part of the play. And then, whether it’s three runs, two runs and a pass, whatever combination you want. Or maybe it’s just two plays. Two runs, a run and a pass, two passes. And I think we’re doing more of that now than maybe what we did before.”
Q: Do you think that is an evolution of offenses or a reaction to multiple different looks that the defense can now show?
REID: “Yeah, I think defenses have gotten way more complicated than when I first came into the league. I remember four off of the edge, fire zone was a big thing when I first got in – Whoa! They had been doing them a bit at the college level but in the NFL, that wasn’t big. Now they’re bringing everybody including the popcorn vendor sometimes I think. They bring a lot of folks.”
Q: Is that evolution of offense that you’re talking about where you give the quarterback multiple calls a league-wide phenomenon?
REID: “I think around the league teams are doing that, yeah.”
Q: Coming with three or four plays?
REID: “Well, not four. You get past three and it becomes an issue for the coach calling the play.”
Q: You must have to have a lot of trust in your quarterback, then? He must be an extension of you.
REID: “Yeah, he does. And every quarterback is different. You try and play to everybody’s strength is what you’re trying to do.”
Q: What kind of player do you see in new Bears WR Eddie Royal? You’ve played against him twice in a season the last few years.
REID: “Tremendous competitor. Fast, quick, try not to let him have the ball in his hands from a defensive standpoint.”
Q: How do you characterize the stakes for the entire team by having stability from the quarterback position?
REID: “Well, it’s good to have stability there at this level. We’re fortunate that we do and thankful for that every day.”
Q: You can have a lot of things right, but if that position isn’t stable, the trap door can open up quickly as new Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio was saying.
REID: “Well, it can. Jack’s got a good situation. That kid (Derek Carr) can play. Like really play. He knows that because he played against him.”
Q: How happy were you to hear that Ron Parker was going to be back?
REID: “Yeah, I think that’s a positive for both sides. Because I thought he fit into the defense well and he’s got a home. When you kind of find your niche and groove and all of that – and he’s not young, he’s like 28 years old. So we forget about that. So where he’s at in his career, he was able to make a little money and still be able to fit in.”
Q: He is a safety, right?
REID: “He’s a safety that can do both.”
Q: You guys are going to make safety his primary positon, correct?
REID: “Yeah, I would say so. Give him a shot there first.”
Q: What is your take on the idea that the running back position is being devalued but then you see them getting some big contracts?
REID: “Yeah, I never felt that way. I think it’s one of the top positions on your team. He’s a pressure-releaser for your quarterback and for your offensive line.”
Q: And you’ve got a pretty good one too.
REID: “Yeah, a very good one.”
Q: How do you prepare for a pregame speech?
REID: “Listen, I’m just saying this probably from when I played that the pregame speech lasts about five minutes. So, I just don’t spend a lot of time on it. I try to make sure I give them something that they can use, but if you can get into the rah rah part of that, I don’t think that lasts past that first hit. I think you better have done your work throughout the week and that kind of is what counts more than the pregame speech.”
Q: Have you ever in the past prepared for that speech?
REID: “Well, yeah. You’ve always got to think before you speak. I’m always going to try and think of what I can give the guys, what’s real that can help them in the game. And because we only play 16 games, you need to make sure you think through each one of those. It’s not baseball where you have to do it 160 times. So you try and make sure you give them something that they can use.”
Q: Have you reached out or heard from Eric Berry in recent weeks?
REID: “I did. Probably the week before I left.”
Q: How is he doing?
REID: “He’s doing well. Positive and upbeat.”
Q: With Tamba Hali back, how are you going to split up his reps between him and Dee Ford?
REID: “I think more of what you saw towards the end of the season (with regards to Dee Ford). And Dee will just take another step forward; he’s more familiar with everything. We moved positions for him where he had to be a linebacker instead of a defensive end, so there was a lot of learning that goes on there and it takes a young guy some time to digest all of that. I think it’ll be a win-win for everybody.”
Q: What does Dee Ford need to do to become a complete player? Obviously the run defense is one aspect.
REID: “Yeah, I’ll tell you that’s the primary thing. He got better in the coverage part of it. We know he can rush the passer. It’s always now going to be a challenge because offensive coaches have an opportunity to study him and see what moves he’s got, so you’ve got to keep adding to that repertoire of pass rush moves and hone those in even better than what you’re doing.”
Q: The Colts added Trent Cole and Todd Herremans this offseason. What was your impression of them during your time in Philadelphia when you coached them?
REID: “Unbelievable guys. You’ll love them. Good football players, both relentless. I always tell people if they told me that you can take one guy and the world was going to potentially end tomorrow and you needed somebody to survive, I’m taking Trent Cole for me because that son of a gun – he’s a phenomenal hunter. You can stick him out in nowhere and he’s going to make it. And he’s relentless – practice, games. And then Todd Herremans, he’s been doing this a long time. He’s dirty tough. You got two good ones.”
Q: How much smarter do you think you are as a head coach compared to when you started in Philadelphia?
REID: “I guess you can’t put a price on experience. But at the same time, sometimes it’s not good to know the whole story. And you just hit it head on and you get a nice purity there of what you really want. You’re able to hang your head up against that wall a few times and maybe you do when you’re a little older. So I think it can be a positive either way.”
Q: You added an intriguing athlete in the offseason…what are you going to do with Terrelle Pryor?
REID: “Well, we’re going to give him an opportunity to play quarterback and see how he does. I don’t think it’ll be a matter of work. He’s been in lifting every day and doing his thing. We can’t meet with him, but he’s there, he shows up every day and does what he can do.”
Q: He has an unusual skill set, have you thought of other ways to use him?
REID: “Listen, in today’s football those skill sets are ok to have. It’s just a matter of when we can kind of crank on him as coaches, and get to football and get him to know the offense. Right now you can’t do that, so there’s that part that’s kind of unknown.”
Q: Would you line him up at another position?
REID: “No, not right now we haven’t [discussed it]. We’re thinking quarterback and I think that’s what he wants to do.”
Q: You addressed the (Chris) Borland thing earlier, but do you see this becoming a trend in the future or is it hard to say?
REID: “I don’t think it will be. It’s still a great way to make a living. The league is trying to work their tail off. It’s a physical game, that’s not going to change, but they’re trying to keep it as clean as possible. They’re always trying to improve the injury factor and the danger of the game. I think there’s great effort put forward to that.”
Q: You mentioned (Eric) Fisher’s weight and strength, but what about the technique? How do you fix this?
REID: “Well it’s reps. You just have to keep playing and some of that, when (John) Dorsey talks about his strength and weight, some of that comes with that. You think you’ve got to deliver this blow from way down low and knock the guy backwards and that’s really not what you have to do. Some added strength gives you a little confidence in that area.”
Q: Was part of (Eric) Fisher playing 16 games important so that he could learn to play through some of that stuff and getting that full season in uninterrupted?
REID: “I think that was a big thing. There’s a whole mental side to the game and he came from a bit of a smaller school and all of the sudden now, you’re the number one pick in the National Football League and the expectation level is out of the roof. For him to pound through all of those things that you need to do mentally to get through a season, I just thought that was big, and to do it in a positive manner.”
Q: Have you had an experience with a player that retired early? Have you counselled them one way or the other?
REID: “Well I had a tight end this past year do it, (Sean) McGrath. I think it’s all individual. However you want to go about it, it’s [the decision] too personal to make anything of it. Everybody is different. It has nothing to do with toughness, that’s out of the equation. It’s just how you perceive what you think is going to happen in the future, is really where I think it comes in. He made the decision, he’s a tough kid, a good football player, but he made that decision.”
Q: Has there been any discussion in the coaching sessions about that topic? Is there anything that you can kind of globalize?
REID: “Not really, because you know the league has put so much emphasis on the injury part of it and cleaning things up. When I say cleaning things up, it wasn’t dirty, more like rule changes to protect the players. Then the guys are trying to do that. Tackling is better, you don’t have as many hits to the head, all of those things are better. We know what the league is trying to do and what we’re trying to do as coaches, that’s one guy out of a whole bunch of them, I don’ t think that starts trends, you have to have more than one.”
Q: If a player perhaps has doubts, does he actually become more of a risk if his heart’s not in it?
REID: “If your heart is not in it, I don’t think you want to do it, I don’t think you want to be a writer if your heart is not in it. It’s not going to be a good story. I think your heart has to be in everything you do from my standpoint or else it’s going to be average.”
Q: If you were taking a young quarterback and developing an action plan to get him ready, what would be the model?
REID: “I tell you, the awesome part is they’re throwing the football today. That to me was the biggest hurdle. Getting over the blitzes, the panic of when guys would come at you and being able to see the field going from number one to two in your progression. Now I think the challenge is, a lot of these kids haven’t had to call a play in the huddle, so everyone is going ‘well he may not be a leader, he might be a leader.’ I’m thinking most of these kids are pretty good leaders I would imagine and most of them can call a play in the huddle, it’s just a matter of doing it. Give them all of this verbiage and can they spit it out, it’s a different dynami
Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid & Players Quotes
December 23, 2014
HEAD COACH ANDY REID
OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright, on the injury front the people that will not practice today, Anthony Fasano with a knee contusion, Dwayne Bowe has a shoulder sprain and Zach Fulton with a foot strain. Those players will not (practice), everyone (else) will go out today and do it. We look forward to the challenge of playing the Chargers. We understand the significance of the game for both teams. Our guys will have a good week of practice. We’ll get started today and make sure we focus in and detail our work here. Time’s yours. ”
Q: Andy, does Bob Sutton get enough credit for what he has been able to do with that defense this year?
REID: “Well, I don’t read the paper so I can’t tell you, but I know from my standpoint he’s got good players and he puts them in good positions and they play hard aggressive football. So he is well appreciated in this building.”
Q: With all those injuries he’s had on defense, how have they been able to do what they have on defense and not allow a 30 point score yet this year even?
REID: “He has had some guys step up for the guys that were injured. As I mentioned before (Josh) Mauga having had been in the defense I think helped him be able to adjust as quick as he did and get to start in there. I think everyone just picked their game up, is what I think really happened. And Bob has taken their talents and utilized their talents and put them in good positions and they have responded.”
Q: You obviously have to win your game but is it any type of distraction or difficulty when the things that you have to have happen to make the playoffs, are happening simultaneously with your game?
REID: “I’ll tell you just the same thing I told the team, you can’t worry about all that. Some of us have been through it where we had to have those things happen, and sometimes they happen and sometimes they don’t. But you can’t control any of it. The one thing you can control is your preparation for this game and how you play on Sunday. So that’s where you put all your energy and don’t worry about the things you can’t control.”
Q: What did you think in looking at what the Chargers did against the 49ers and how they came back in that game, what did you see there? Were you surprised at all that they were able to come back in that fashion?
REID: “Well we knew coming into our first game, from the year before against the Chargers, you have got to play four quarters when you play against Philip (Rivers), they are never out of the game. We learned that last year when they came back and tied us up in that second game. You have to come in with that frame of mind that you are going to play all four quarters and play good football.”
Q: If Fulton can’t go, what kind of changes does that mean for the offensive line?
REID: “I think he is going to be able to go when it is all said and done.”
Q: Justin needs only two more sacks to tie Derrick (Thomas) is that even more remarkable given that sacks are down league wide?
REID: “Yeah, they are down league wide, I know that was written about a lot last week. He’s well deserving of this by effort and how much time he spends at it. You guys aren’t out there after practice but he stays out another half hour after practice just working different moves and the pass game. Him and Tamba (Hali) anytime the offense is up, the one offense is up and they are on the sideline working all their hand games. The two and a half hours that he’s out there, he’s out there practicing his trade. So you respect that. The end result is this, I mean that’s what people see but there’s a ton of hours that went into those sacks. We are all pulling for him that he can finish up. I know that’s not the most important thing for him, he wants to win the game. But at the same time, he sure has done a nice job with it.”
Q: How much better is your team with Jeff Allen healthy all year?
REID: “Well, Jeff (Allen) is a good player. At the same time, I don’t want to take anything away from the guys who are playing right now. They did the same thing we talked about when there were injuries on the defensive side. Some of the offensive guys have stepped up and done a nice job. I mentioned before, even with Jeff, it’s not always pretty but they will battle you. The end result normally is a positive.”
Q: You seemed pretty optimistic that Bowe would play on Sunday, do you still feel that way?
REID: “I do, yeah. I think he will. I just know his makeup, he hates to miss anything. I mean he’s one of those guys who comes out if he’s a little nicked up and goes about it. During the walk through he was walking around and making sure he was in his position and doing all that. He’s in that frame of mind where he wants to make sure he’s out there.”
Q: For a guy who didn’t practice last week, how did he handle his assignments?
REID: “I thought he did a decent job. Every game you’re going to come back with a couple plays that you wish you had back. But, I thought, for the most part he did a nice job.”
Q: I hate to refer to Christmas as a distraction, but to have a holiday in the middle of a huge week for you guys with so much at stake and the help that you need and all. How do you handle that with the team?
REID: “Well you set a schedule and then you get busy. We won’t let that be a distraction at all. You go about your business and make sure you take care of things. It’s also Christmas in California, and we know that.”
Q: For you and your players there is so much going on to fully enjoy the holiday?
REID: “That part of it you are probably right there. You don’t get the full Christmas month, to go look at lights and all those things, that’s not what we’re doing. That’s just part of it, we enjoy what we are doing, so at least from a coach’s stand point you give that part up.”
Q: Do you put up Christmas lights at your house?
REID: “My wife does a great job with all of that.”
Q: When your team won seven out of eight games, their attention was so good, during this time when it hasn’t gone so well, you’re getting a lot of guys on your team who haven’t played as much football. Do you think that maybe there has been any physical or mental slippage?
REID: “I came out of that game, and one, I thought we played hard and aggressive football this past game. You have got to take care of business in the red zone, you have to win the turnover battle and that is what it really came down to. Two good teams are playing each other and if you get off a hair with that, then you are not going to come out on the right end of the stick there. The attention to detail, I haven’t felt that that hasn’t been there; I haven’t felt that the effort of these guys slip. These guys come to work, that’s one thing that they have always done, and they come to work, to work. You don’t have to continuously tell them ‘let’s go, let’s go’ that’s not where you are at with this team.”
QB ALEX SMITH
Q: What does Christmas mean to you? Do you feel like you are missing out when you have so much going on in your schedule?
SMITH: “No, it’s part of the deal with football. You’re always playing through the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It used to be, back in the day, if you were playing football still, it was a good sign – it was always a positive. You know what you’re getting into.”
Q: How do you approach this game when so many other meaningful games are going on at the same time?
SMITH: “The approach is no different as far as the week goes. We need to have a good week of preparation. There’s a lot going on, it’s Christmas this week, it’s easy to get distracted. We don’t necessarily control our own destiny with the what-ifs and what we need to happen, it’s easy to get distracted. The thing will be to focus in on the Chargers – it’s a division game with them coming in. We need to take care of our business.”
Q: Will you be paying attention to the other games going on?
SMITH: “We’re all playing at the same time, so we’re going to be focused on playing. Certainly if (the scores) come up on (the scoreboard), I’m sure we’ll be looking. It’s not going to change anything. Regardless of the fact, it’s a division game with the Chargers coming to town. That in and of itself is enough.”
Q: How do you shake off the disappointment of knowing you lost control of your destiny and even if you do win, you still need help?
SMITH: “You just find a way to do it. We’re all professionals, we’re all playing, we have another game this week. We have a chance and we have to take care of our business. In order to do that, we need to have a good week, we need to focus in on our stuff and not be distracted by some of these other things.”
Q: How glad are you that Justin Houston is not coming after you?
SMITH: “Yeah, certainly to be sitting there watching from the sidelines and seeing what he’s doing. He’s just relentless, he plays such good football in all situations. That’s the thing that I see. Those guys only get noticed for sacks – and deservedly so for some of that – but certainly how he plays on first and second down, how he plays the run. He’s really an all-down player.”
Q: How about your defense overall? They have yet to give up 30 points to an opponent.
SMITH: “They’re playing really, really good football. It’s a team game, it’s all three phases and those guys are such a big part of it, as we all are. For a while now they’ve been playing really good football and are making a lot of big plays.”
Q: How would you describe Justin Houston?
SMITH: “Certainly, I think it starts physically. He’s a guy who is extremely physically talented. I think the thing with Justin is how smart he is. He knows situations, he sees tendencies, splits, things like that. He has a good understanding of the game when something weird is up. We constantly go against him in camp, and he sniffs out things. He’s a pretty heady player.”
Q: What does it say about Houston when he might not have gotten the contract he wanted but still had the year he had?
SMITH: “Hats off to him that he’s been able to zero in to have that distraction hanging over your head and sitting in the back of your mind and (be able to) focus in. I think the biggest thing that everybody in this locker room would say is what a team-first guy Justin is. What a leader he is for this team. He’s really selfless, he puts the team first. He hasn’t let it become a distraction at all. I think everybody respects him for that.”
Q: If you don’t make the playoffs, will you look at this year as a wasted opportunity?
SMITH: “I don’t know what word you want to use, certainly we’re not thinking that right now, we still have life. The goal is to make the dance, the goal is to get to the playoffs. I don’t care how, just to get a ticket in there. Once you’re in the tournament, you go from there. That’s the first step and that’s what we’re still fighting for.”
Q: When you look at Philip Rivers, what do you see?
SMITH: “I think you know that and the history of playing against him, everybody knows he’s a guy that’s never going to quit, he’s going to keep firing, keep fighting. Obviously he’s really, really talented. He does a great job in the pocket, standing in there.”
QB CHASE DANIEL
Q: With your schedule, do you feel like you miss out on some things sometimes?
DANIEL: “You make sacrifices for this game, you definitely do. But also, you’re only working half the year. You get the other half off to be with your family and do other things that people might not get to do. During the holiday season, it’s definitely a sacrifice. That’s what you signed up for, that’s what you get paid for. It’s part of the game.”
Q: Is it especially difficult to enjoy the holidays when it is in the middle of such an important week?
DANIEL: “I think you find a balance between the two, no doubt about it. You definitely want to enjoy the holiday with your family and the family time. But also realize there is a job to do, there’s work to do. We still have a shot at this thing, so you want to give everything towards that.”
Q: As a quarterback, what are your thoughts on a guy like Philip Rivers?
DANIEL: “He’s a warrior. He’s been battling through injuries as long as I can remember. When he’s your quarterback, you’re never out of a football game. We have to finish strong and start fast. You saw it last week against the 49ers. It was a pretty unbelievable comeback, gutty comeback for them with the playoffs on the line. We’re expecting his all this game.”
DT KEVIN VICKERSON
Q: If you don’t make the playoffs, are you going to play the what-if game more than normal after the season?
VICKERSON: “I don’t think you want to play that what-if game. Sometimes you have to do self-scouting, go back and look at the good and the bad and just take it with a grain of salt and live with it. At the end of the day, we’re still fighting for a chance to get into the playoffs; we still can control our own destiny by going out and beating San Diego. We need some help from some other teams, but at the same time, if we handle our business, who knows what can happen.”
Q: How good have you guys been defensively, has enough been said about how the defense has been playing?
VICKERSON: “No, what it is, is we try to be consistent. We have a band of brothers in this locker room, everybody wants to play for each other. I think that’s the most important part. Win, lose or draw, you’re playing for the guy next to you. I think everybody in this locker room is doing that.”
Q: How difficult is it to play while at the same time, there are things that you need to have happen; is that a distraction?
VICKERSON: “Not at all. Sometimes you have to keep the main thing – beating San Diego is the main goal right now. Last week it was Pittsburgh, we fell short in that. The only thing we can do now is come back to the drawing board, try to attack this game and get the W.”
Q: Will you be scoreboard watching at all?
VICKERSON: “You try not to. I’m pretty sure they will flash it across the stadium every now and then on the scoreboard. It is what it is, you just handle business right now. That’s all it is. It’s just one game, we need a win, we have to have a win and that’s it.”
DT DONTARI POE
Q: Defensively you have been solid all year with all the injuries, what do you attribute that do?
POE: “Just working, man. Next man up mentality. Working hard, keep fighting. Trying to go against the grain, no easy route and just keep pushing.”
Q: How have you been able to hold it together with all the injuries and everything that has gone on?
POE: “(Bob) Sutton has been a big part of that. He pushes the guys that are on the field, he works their strengths, puts everybody in a position to make plays.”
Q: Talk about the kind of year Justin Houston has had. He didn’t get the contract he wanted and to have the year he had, what does that say about him?
POE: “Huge. It tells what type of player he is, the type of character he has. He keeps fighting, he knows how good he can be and he’s proven it.”
Q: Do you think Houston has what it takes already to be a Hall of Famer?
POE: “Definitely. If he keeps going on the road he’s going, keeps working hard like I know he’s going to do, he’ll probably be there.”
Q: What can you take from the first game against the Chargers?
POE: “They’re a real good team. They have a couple of different pieces. Still, they’re not a different team, you have Philip Rivers back there, you can never count those guys out, he’s a competitor. The offensive line is really good, they have good, patient runners. Too much won’t be different, but at the same time, we have to go out there and play.”
Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid Quotes
December 22, 2014
OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright, as far as the injuries go, Dwayne Bowe has a shoulder sprain, it’s a bit tender today. Zach Fulton has a foot strain and he is limping around a little bit. Phillip Gaines, I mentioned he had an illness, flu-type symptoms and still doesn’t feel very good, we’ll just see how he does. Josh Martin hurt his hand, it’s not broken, but he has a contusion in his hand there. As far as the game goes yesterday, I felt it was two good teams playing each other; we obviously came up on the short end of it. There were some positives in the mix there of the game. Positive plays on both sides of the ball and special teams. Again, when you have two good teams playing each other, it comes down to just a few things – red zone being one of them, being 0-4 in the red zone wasn’t good enough. The turnover, there was one turnover in the game that ended up costing us seven points after that turnover, those things get magnified in a game like this. You look at the third down differential, the time of possession and those types of things – they’re fairly equal or we were on the positive side of it. There are some things we can take out of it and become a better football team. The other positive is that we’re still in the hunt. There is obviously a lot of hard work that goes into a season and you hope you’re one of the teams at the end there that has an opportunity. Even though we need help now, we’re right in position there to take care of business. We have to make sure we do our part and get ourselves ready for San Diego. It’ll be a great weekend at Arrowhead, it’s Fan Appreciation Day. It gives us an opportunity to give back to our fans for their loyalty. We love seeing that stadium full of red and giving these teams an opportunity to come in there and play against that. There are some things that we can hold our head up here, continue to work hard and go through the preparation that you do for a game – that is to study your opponent and make sure you go out and practice and practice aggressively and do those things you need to do to play against a good football team. Time’s yours.”
Q: Was there some commonality in your red zone struggles, did you see a pattern there?
REID: “The simple part is we weren’t efficient, we weren’t getting the things accomplished that we needed to for one reason or another. The reasons weren’t the same. That’s my responsibility, to make sure I’m dialing up the right things so we can get ourselves in there. We were pretty good with the run game and positive on that. There were a couple of runs we had down there that weren’t as positive yardage as they normally are. Our pass game, we were off just a hair there. We have to make sure we dial up better plays there and execute them better.”
Q: Is it too early to tell about (Dwayne) Bowe’s status for Sunday?
REID: “I think (he probably will go). Knowing Dwayne, he doesn’t miss much. I think he’ll be ok once it’s all said and done here. We have a little different schedule because of Christmas, so we’ll practice tomorrow. It’ll be a stretch for him to be able to do that tomorrow. I think, as the week goes on, he’ll be there.”
Q: Talk about your general feelings about your playoff possibilities right now?
REID: “Like I said, you’re sitting here at the end of a long season with an opportunity. We need help now. Not only do we need to take care of business this weekend, but we need some other people to do the same thing for us to get in. If you get in, then anything goes, you’ve seen that year-in and year-out for many years here. When teams get in the playoffs, you can throw the records out and you go play. We have to take care of business here first this week. We have a good San Diego team coming in here, we have to prep ourselves and make sure we go through that whole process here so we’re ready to go.”
Q: What did you think about Alex Smith’s performance in Pittsburgh?
REID: “I thought Alex did some good things, he had a lot of quality plays I thought. But he would be the first one to sit up here and tell you that we’ve all got to do better and it’s not about one guy it’s about everybody. I would tell you, he played a pretty good football game.”
Q: How much of getting the six and not the three in the red zone rests on his shoulders as the quarterback?
REID: “We all had a piece of that. We’ve all got a responsibility to get it down there, and I’ve got a responsibility to make sure I am dialing the right things up for him though. The pass game, he’s got people there and if he does then he’s got to make the throw and people have to catch the ball, that’s how it works. We’ve all got a little piece of it.”
Q: What’s your assessment of Bob Sutton’s game plan against Pittsburgh?
REID: “Well you are talking about the number once offense in the National Football League and they were leading the league in time of possession and all these categories, they were very important categories, they were right up at the top. I thought we did a good job there and that Bob’s plan was very good. They’ve got a good runner and we held that runner to minimum yards, they’ve got a good quarterback he was under 300 yards. One receiver, he got going there a little bit towards the end there. The turnover thing, Bob would say something about that, he would say something about getting off the field maybe a little bit sooner but I thought that over all it was a pretty good game plan.”
Q: What do you hope your offense learns from the fourth and inches play?
REID: “There are some things there that obviously the tendency is leaning in your direction as far as coming out on the positive end of that. I’m always going to stay aggressive within reason and I thought that was in reason. I have so much trust in my guys and in my offensive line and my runners, and everybody there and that’s how we are going to roll. I like touchdowns and not field goals and we were in a position where we had enough time and opportunities to take shots in the end zone to score a touchdown, the guys understand that and they understand how I’m wired as a play caller and the trust that I have, and that is the most important and that will pay off for us down the road.”
Q: What happened on the 4th and 1? Did Pittsburgh make a play on that or did you miss someone?
REID: “Yeah, we probably missed the guy that made the tackle. That was what we thought they were going to play and they ended up pinching a guy and one of the lineman tripped. Those things happen. That’s the human element of it. When that happens normally bad things happen so that’s what happened.”
Q: Have you ever had a playoff run where you weren’t roaring towards the end of the season and then once you got in, you made things happen?
REID: “Yeah, I was just telling Ted (Crews) before we came down. I don’t remember the year, I was there too many years, but it was at Philadelphia and I remember sitting in the locker room there before the game and we needed somebody to lose that was a pretty good team and they were playing a team that didn’t have the best record at that time. And they had it on the scoreboard out in the stadium before the game and I heard the place kind of erupt before we went out and that put it back in our hands to make sure we had to take care of business and then we went on and did pretty good. I don’t remember the year; you can probably look that up. So I have had those experiences to answer your question. And you see that over the history here, you just take recent history you see that teams get in that had to really fight and claw like crazy to get in and then good things happen. Anything is possible.”
Q: How do you think the offensive line has performed late in the year after having to piece things together at the beginning of the season?
REID: “Well, we have. We’ve had some injuries and so on there and over the time, nobody has made excuses. Guys have come in, they battle you. It’s not always pretty. That’s not what it is, but they claw and scratch and get the most out of their abilities and that is how they roll. Some games have been better than others but it is not from a lack of effort or toughness or any of that. They are going to give you everything they’ve got.”
Q: What has Albert Wilson brought to the offense over these last few games?
REID: “Well, he’s a good young player, good route runner, he’s got good strength; even though he’s not really tall, he’s got really good strength and quickness. And then you see him after the catch and he was a good punt returner and kick returner in college, and you see that. You see his ability to kind of work in space and set up his moves. I think he is just a good football player is what he is, all the way around.”
Chiefs Offensive Coordinator Doug Pederson, Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub, Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton & Players Quotes
December 18, 2014
Q: Do you have more of those 40-yard plus pass plays for us this week?
PEDERSON: “I’d like to say yes, every play is designed to go 40-plus. These past couple weeks it’s good to see that one, Alex (Smith) is seeing that well. The fact that maybe we are calling them at the right time, we are getting the right look from the defense that’s presenting us with that opportunity. And it’s just a matter of the guys executing that play at that particular time and just throwing the ball and completing the ball down the field. It’s been kind of a bright spot for us the past couple weeks.”
Q: Is it possible for young receivers to develop without veteran presence?
PEDERSON: “I think it helps to have a veteran presence, whether it’s at the quarterback position or it’s at his position of wide receiver, tight end, running back. You lean on that veteran guy because of the wealth of experience out on that field. As coaches we sit there and watch it on tape all day but they are actually out there between the lines executing the offense or defense, special teams. Then you put in six, seven, eight, nine years of that, you’re able to kind of relate that to a younger player. If the younger player is in tune to that and he’s asking the right questions then he can grow at his position and eventually see the field a lot sooner than later.”
Q: How rare is it to add a guy like (Jason) Avant midseason who has the experience that he has in your system?
PEDERSON: “You mentioned it right there, the fact that he’s familiar with our system. You can take a guy who’s only been removed a couple years and then bring him back and plug him in. It takes a couple weeks to kind of get everything back in shape mentally and hearing the play calls and all that. A guy like that is valuable, like Richard Gordon who’s been in camp with us, now he’s back with us. It didn’t take him long to get caught up to speed.”
Q: Is Avant feeling up to speed now?
PEDERSON: “Yeah, he’s doing well, real well.”
Q: When did he start to feel that way?
PEDERSON: “It took him probably that first week. We’ve changed; we’re not the same offense, as you look at us, than when he was with us in Philly. We’ve changed a little bit, so there was a little bit of learning for him, some of the terminology but yeah, he’s definitely caught up.”
Q: What are the characteristics of a Dick LeBeau defense? What are you going to see?
PEDERSON: “The biggest thing is probably the fire zone, the blitz. He’s done it for years, he’s not going to change it. It’s a tenacious defense. It’s a fast flow defense. They are a defense that is typically a good tackling defense. Fundamentally, they are sound. He’s got guys like (Troy) Polamalu that can make plays all over the field, sort of a free roamer, free reign type of guy that plays within the system. He’s not hurting their defense by what he does, he’s actually making more plays than not. Those things you see from this defense. Big, physical defensive line. Athletic, mobile linebackers. Then, secondary guys who can cover and those have always been characteristics of his style of play and his defense.”
Q: I think he was the first guy who had 11 guys standing as a defense, with Jamaal (Charles) you aren’t likely to see that are you?
PEDERSON: “You never know. But you start standing guys up, they still have to wear a 90-number and a 50-number and a 20-number and you just have to sort it out offensively. They are going to rush four, they are going to rush five, three, six. But with a guy like Jamaal, maybe having guys stand up can cause a little confusion. They can flash into gaps in the run game, things like that can stymie you a little bit on offense.”
SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR DAVE TOUB
Q: You called the shot on De’Anthony (Thomas).
TOUB: “They did a nice job blocking him. It was really blocked well and De’Anthony did what he had to do. He turned on the jets right up the sideline. It was nice to see.”
Q: That wall was set up nice, four or five guys.
TOUB: “Yep and then Junior (Hemingway) with the touchdown block on the punter. That was critical. I don’t know if you remember last time the punter tackled Frankie (Hammond Jr.). He was the last guy to tackle Frankie and it was pretty much the same return.”
Q: How hard is it for a rookie to kind of figure that out?
TOUB: “Which one? De’Anthony?”
Q: Yeah on the return. When do they figure it out? How hard is it to figure it out and make adjustments?
TOUB: “For him, he’s got a lot of natural instincts. He was a really good returner in college. It’s a matter of keeping him clean early and letting him catch the ball and get out and let his instincts go. He’s come a long way as far as catching the ball and getting forward, coming forward with it and catching the tough catches and understanding exactly what we’ve got going. Other than that, he’s got a lot of natural instincts.”
Q: Andy Reid talked yesterday on the whole snap, hold, kick thing not working on Sunday. What was the problem there?
TOUB: “(Thomas) Gafford will be the first one to tell you, we had a couple inside snaps, but it all starts there. It starts with the snap and the hold. The hold was good and then that just throws it off a little bit. Just the time and the time he has to slow down a little bit. Sometimes when he feels like he needs to speed it up and he doesn’t see a perfect snap and it just throws the timing off a little bit and he hits the ball not how he wants to hit it. We have to make sure that everything is perfect especially with a rookie kicker and we have to be consistent. The snap and the hold have to be perfect.”
Q: As Andy said, you’re dealing with human beings here. It’s not always going to be perfect and at some point it’s not going to be exactly where you need it.
TOUB: “We held him accountable as well. We didn’t make an excuse for him that he missed because of the snap. He still was able to see the ball and he just needs to get in there and he has to make that kick too. An NFL kicker has to make that kick. Being that it is his rookie year, we need to give him every opportunity to be successful. The veterans do that.”
Q: Any chance you’ll promote the practice squad guy (Charley Hughlett)?
TOUB: “The long snapper?”
Q: It’s a tough time to go with an untested guy.
TOUB: “The timing of it seems like we’re trying to put the pressure on Gafford, but really, I think Andy touched on this too and it’s true, we are looking at a future guy. We’re looking at a possible guy that we’re going to have for training camp during the offseason and he’s certainly one of them. We brought him in early about two months ago, worked him out. It gives us the situation to look at him again.”
Q: What happened on the punt?
TOUB: “Funny that you asked. Without getting into the details, I don’t want to tell you exactly what we are trying to do there, but it was a look. We felt we had a look, not everybody felt like we had the look. It was one of those deals. Obviously Dustin (Colquitt) thought we had the look, comes up knowing.”
Q: The guys he was going to throw to didn’t have the look?
TOUB: “Exactly. To make a long story short, but I’m going to tell you one thing, he’s experienced. He was able to see it, boom, get the ball down and get it out and still get the ball on the six yard line. Pretty impressive.”
Q: In your mind, what makes for a good return whether it’s kick or punt? What is the key?
TOUB: “The key is everybody being on the same page. It’s like an offensive play. I say it all the time. One guy breaks down, you have another. You have to have 11 guys all on the same page and trust. They have to trust the block, the returner has to trust that the blockers are going to be in a certain spot, they can’t abort it, they can’t start one way. So if it’s not there then come back to the other. It takes guys playing with 100% effort finishing their blocks and being smart. Being smart with their blocks, not blocking guys in the back when the guy has their back to them. Hit by when we need to hit by and finishing the play. A lot of times guys get on blocks and don’t finish blocks. It’s about getting that last touchdown block whether he’s the kicker or punter. You have to make all the blocks in order down the field to be successful in the NFL.”
Q: How much of it is the discipline of the returner? You talk about the guys blocking and the returner going where he needs to go.
TOUB: “Yeah absolutely. That’s the trust factor. He catches it, he’s setting it up. He has to know that the blocks are going to be, or for De’Anthony gunners know that we are blocking gunners so he’s able to catch those tough catches, the high hang time kicks. He’s got to trust those guys.”
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR BOB SUTTON
Q: Did you ever call defenses against Todd Haley when he was with Arizona?
SUTTON: “Yeah, we’ve seen him there and of course I didn’t call the defense when we played him at the Jets when he was here at Kansas City and that, so we’ve dealt with Todd before when he was the offensive coordinator at Arizona and once I think, maybe twice, when he was here at Kansas City. So he’s obviously done a great job because they’ve got a really high-powered offense that is really moving right now and they have tremendous balance between the running and passing game and you’ve got (Le’veon) Bell, (Antonio) Brown and Ben (Roethlisberger) – all of the B’s. They’re a problem. They are all individually very talented and collectively they are working really well together and complementing each other very well.”
Q: With Antonio Brown who is so good with one move and Ben Roethlisberger who can pump-fake with one arm, is that a unique problem that you will have to deal with?
SUTTON: “Well, I think a lot of teams do that. Like anything, I think when you have outstanding players doing a particular play or whatever it is, it becomes even more trouble-some on defense and your margin for error is very minimal. One, this is obviously from being the most targeted to the most catches in the NFL to a quarterback that is close to 70% completion, you just can’t make very many mistakes without paying a very heavy price. So we’re going to have to be on top of our game. It’s going to demand a lot of different people to work on these guys and if it was only one thing we had to worry about, it would be a lot easier, but unfortunately we have several things here that are going on at once.”
Q: What are some of Jamell Fleming’s strengths?
SUTTON: “I think he is a very physical player. He is very strong, aggressive; he can battle you in the air and maintain his presence on the receiver. I think those are probably the things that impress me right now about him.”
Q: Did you get a look at him before John Dorsey brought him in?
SUTTON: “No, I did not personally.”
Q: So your first experience with him was here?
SUTTON: “Right, it was here.”
Q: Did it take a while for you to see what flashes he could show?
SUTTON: “You know from his body type, what he looks like, you think he might be a physical guy. He is strong, fairly thick guy, but still has good movements. That has proven out over the course of time.”
Q: How competitive is Fleming?
SUTTON: “I hope very. I thought he went in and did a great job. He did the first time and got nicked up with a hamstring but I thought he did a really good job and I thought he had some really outstanding finishes the other day against Oakland. We had two or three right in front of our bench that we got to see up close and I thought he did a really great job of playing all the way until the end, play it to the ground. He did a great job; he got the ball out there and did a nice job.”
Q: You used a lot of different looks against the Raiders, how much of that is based on the quarterback and his experience and how much is just personnel?
SUTTON: “It’s probably a combination of all things. It’s trying to get as many of our top players on the field at once as we can. Some of it is situational, and that. It’s really no different than, I guess a comparison would be multiple defensive backs in there to handle a particular grouping that the offense puts out there. We did the same thing up front this past game and kind of the last couple games.”
Q: With a veteran quarterback like Roethlisberger, do you react the same way with a multitude of possibilities or do you try to keep it simple?
SUTTON: “No, I think you’ve got to be able to change things up, obviously. The best change ups are always the ones that look like something else, that look like something you’ve done. Because they are preparing and training just like we do based on what they do. So everybody tries to dress things up a little bit. You try to keep doing the same thing as many times as you can because that’s advantageous for you. I don’t think it’s necessarily experience or non-experience that would drive whether we did that or not.”
Q: Is it remarkable to you what you’ve been able to accomplish with so little takeaways?
SUTTON: “Yeah, you just keep thinking that they are going to come to you. But for whatever reason, we haven’t finished some of those plays off. We’ve been fortunate, we’ve done a better job on the explosive plays. That’s helped us. For most of the year we’ve done a pretty good job on third down. Anything you can do on defense to get the ball back, to me, is the most important thing that you are doing, whether you take it away in the sense of a turnover, takeaway or whether you take it back by downs. That’s really what our ultimate job is, allow as few points as possible and get the ball back to the offense as fast as we possibly can. That’s when, I think, you’re playing really good complimentary football. I think also the fact that we’ve had games here where our offense has kept the ball for a significant amount of time. Obviously, we play pretty good defense over on the bench, we are pretty damn good. Any time they can do that there, that’s really a positive for us. But yeah it’s really unusual, I agree with you. I can’t explain it; it’s just one of those things.”
WR ALBERT WILSON
Q: Its playoff-mode starting right now, isn’t it?
WILSON: “Yeah, we just have got to go in there and be calm and play our game and be physical with them. They are a very physical defense and we’ve got to bring the same physical aggression that they are going to bring.”
Q: Are you guys confident as a team right now that you are going in the right direction?
WILSON: “Yeah, we’ve gained a lot of confidence and that is where it starts of course. And we’re just building to grow as a team. Even though it is later on in the season, I feel like we are growing and we’re finally clicking.”
Q: So do you kind of see it as all 11 guys working together like Coach Toub was talking about on De’Anthony Thomas’ punt return?
WILSON: “Most definitely. Its 11 guys out there and we need everybody to do everything they can but it’s a team effort. Special teams is a group effort and that is how you get things done when you play together.”
Q: So is it more of a trust thing? Everyone trusts that they will get their blocks for him to spring it for six?
WILSON: “Of course. He (De’Anthony Thomas) has to trust his gunners because he knows we are playing some very fast and very good gunners these past couple weeks. He has to trust them and in his head he has to trust them to be able to get those blocks to be able to field the balls he does.”
LB FRANK ZOMBO
Q: What steps do you guys take with this big match-up coming up on Sunday?
ZOMBO: “It’s a playoff game. That’s the fact that it is and the winners are going to be able to go on. That’s how we’re looking at it. And they’ve got a heck of an offense from a defensive point of view and good special teams unit and we are going to have to be on our A-game.”
Q: What about their offense makes them so special?
ZOMBO: “They have a great running back, a great quarterback and they have great receivers. So they have the whole package and a great O-line. So I think we’ve got to definitely stop the run, make them one-dimensional. And then we can try to blitz Big Ben and try to get him to the ground.”
Q: Do you have to approach Roethlisberger differently given his skillset of keeping plays alive?
ZOMBO: “Yeah, I remember back in 2010 we (Packers) played them in the Super Bowl and that was our huge emphasis because even though you get hits on him or you get your arms around him, you’ve got to pin his arm because he can still get rid of the ball. He is a big, strong human being, that is for sure.”
Q: Andy Reid has talked about letting his team’s personality show. What does that mean to you?
ZOMBO: “Guys don’t go out there and freak out a little bit; you just go out there and be yourself and play your style of football.”
K CAIRO SANTOS
Q: The snap, hold and kick all need to come together on a field goal, don’t they?
SANTOS: “Yeah, it’s not just a one-job unit. We need a good snap, a good hold and a good kick. Last game we just kind of fell of a rhythm. I take the blame too. I need to have a little slower operation time so it’s not so rushed and ultimately just hit the ball better.”
Q: Is it about rhythm when they snap it? What is going through your mind when you see it is not the perfect snap?
SANTOS: “Yeah, there is a little second of your body just thinking you have to hurry up to the ball because it might be a slower operation time. But it is something that we just have to trust. I have to trust Dustin (Colquitt) better. Those are makeable kicks.”
Q: It must really be something you have to continually do every single day, right?
SANTOS: “Yeah, and when you get great snaps from a great snapper here every day, when you get a little off-snap it is kind of a little bit of a surprise because it is usually so consistent so it’s not something we are really worried about. Tom (Thomas Gafford) is a great snapper and we’ve just got to keep working.”
Q: How do you guys keep from pressing these last few games and not think about them as the magnitude that they are?
SANTOS: “I think we just need to take it a game at a time, a play at a time and the rest will take care of itself. Thinking about the (other) teams and what needs to happen if we lose this – no, it’s winning this game and the next week we will think about next week.”