Chiefs TE Travis Kelce
Conference Call Quotes
January 29, 2016
Q: You’re in Hawaii, a new TV show coming out and a new contract, do you have anything else coming?
KELCE: “I believe I just got recognized as Role Model of the Year for the Greater Kansas City Boys & Girls Club. Other than that, I got to hug my mother today, so I guess things are getting better and better.”
Q: What’s next for you as a player?
KELCE: “First off, I just want to say thank you to everyone from the top of the list to the bottom. Clark Hunt, Coach Andy Reid, all the coaching staff that’s with me, John Dorsey. These guys believed in me enough when I got drafted and obviously still are behind me every step of the way. I can’t thank them enough, I can’t thank my coaches enough, I can’t thank the players that I play with enough. I’m a very thankful person right now, it’s hard to bring all this to reality. It’s a very thankful opportunity for me. With all of this comes a lot of responsibility and right now, I’m more motivated than ever to go out there and be a dominant performer on the field for the Chiefs for many years to come.”
Q: Entering the final year of your rookie deal, how important was it to get this long-term stability and how happy are you that you’re locked up for many more years?
KELCE: “I’m ecstatic, I’m ecstatic. Like I said, I can’t be more thankful, more happy of the situation that I’m in right now. I love Kansas City to death, I’ve embraced it ever since I got there, the community absolutely loves the Chiefs and the Royals. It’s a blue collar city just like I grew up in. I can’t be thankful enough for how they embraced me as a player. It’s an exciting day, it’s an exciting day.”
Q: Have you heard from any of your teammates?
KELCE: “Yes, one of the first people that gave me a shout today was Jeremy Maclin. I got J-Mac on the phone and saw him give me a call, so I had to make sure I called him back. Everyone’s happy for one another and it’s going to be fun working with him and everybody else in the locker room for years to come.”
Q: What was Coach Reid’s message to you after the contract was announced?
KELCE: “He’s going to stay on top of you. He said congrats, but obviously with that comes more responsibility. You just keep moving forward and keep getting better.”
Q: How did the reality TV show come about?
KELCE: “To be honest, right now I’m trying to stay focused on signing and keeping everything going in Kansas City. I’d rather not get into the whole TV show, I’m going to kind of let that play out and let it be what it is. I’m just happy right now to be out here with my family and my friends and some of my teammates and coaches to celebrate a moment like this.”
Q: What’s special about the connection you’ve made with the fan base and what you’ve been able to do with the community and everything you’ve done to be able to get the award you got today?
KELCE: “Man, it’s humbling. For a community as into the Chiefs as Kansas City is, they ride and they die for us every single week. I see them out there, I know it hurts when we lose and I know how ecstatic and how fun the city is when we’re winning. For me to be able to represent them for the next couple of years, it makes me proud and it makes me want to keep getting better every single day.”
Q: How excited are you about where things are heading on this team with Coach Reid and all the young talent?
KELCE: “It’s exciting. I had a friend relay it to me that we looked at this year as a disappointing year as a team, just because we didn’t reach all of our goals. Still, at the end of the year, we were in the playoffs, had players in the Pro Bowl. Looking back at it, you can think of it as a disappointing year, but at the same time, it’s motivation to get better and better every single day. It’s fun to see where we’re going with some of the moves and I’m just excited to be playing in Kansas City.”
Chiefs Conference Call Quotes
January 21, 2016
GENERAL MANAGER JOHN DORSEY
OPENING STATEMENT: “I want to thank all of you for taking the time here today. I just got back from three days of college all-star game review. I think right now this may give us a little bit of time to reflect on the season. I’m sure you guys will have questions about the future as well. Shoot away.”
Q: Where would you say De’Anthony Thomas is right now with his concussion situation?
DORSEY: “Well, what I would say is, before the Oakland game, he passed the concussion protocol that the NFL sets out here, and then after that was when we as a group decided to place him on Non-Football Illness status. And then with that being said, there are some things that really tie my hands to really go into detail about this. But I just want to reaffirm to you all that I love this kid, he’s a great kid and that’s how we’re going to stand and keep it at right now.”
Q: How would you anticipate his participation coming up here in OTAs or will he be available for OTAs?
DORSEY: “I would expect him to be. Right now, he’s still a Chief, so why wouldn’t he be?”
Q: Have you had any contact with him since he left the team in the last week of the season?
DORSEY: “I have. I’ve talked to him a couple times.”
Q: Do you get the sense that he still loves football and is in to being a football player?
DORSEY: “Yeah, all my conversations with him lead me to believe that.”
Q: Tamba Hali, Eric Berry and Derrick Johnson all have deals coming up. What are your thoughts on the season each of them had and will there be a concerted effort to bring all three back?
DORSEY: “I couldn’t be prouder of all three of the gentleman and what they have done this season. We start with Eric and what he has done. And I love that guy, there’s a guy right there that I don’t think any of us could have done what he overcame and I’m so proud of that – where he’s come from. And then when I watch a Derrick Johnson fight back – he and Michael DeVito fight back – from the Achilles injury and look at the season that they had and you just shake my hat off and go ‘those guys are Chiefs, man. That’s what that thing’s all about.’ And then when you look at Tamba, I mean the sacrifice that Tamba made because the Kansas City Chiefs are very important for him and I understand that. I couldn’t be prouder of those three gentlemen and the seasons that they had for this organization.”
Q: What are your thoughts on the season Jaye Howard had and how hard will it be to retain he and Dontari Poe?
DORSEY: “You know what, I think Jaye Howard he came and played – as they said – he played like a grown man. Jaye came out this year and said, ‘you know what, I’m a pretty good player, too.’ And again, I think it’s reflective of, you begin to mention not only those three guys, but then you mention Jaye. You know, our defense kind of played pretty good this year and those were parts of it. As we move forward here, we have decisions to make, we all know that – we’re still into the evaluation process, we’ll probably conclude that on Friday. And then we’ll get together as different groups and begin to discuss long-term planning situations.”
Q: There’s a report that Brad Childress is the new offensive coordinator. Can you confirm that?
DORSEY: “I know this, I know Andy is working through the coordinator thing as we speak. I had just gotten back this morning and briefly had a chance to talk to Andy, but we didn’t have a chance to talk about that component of it. I’m sure those guys will work through it and whatever comes up, I’ll have no problems with that because I think this coaching staff, as a group, is as solid as anybody in the National Football League. And then the relationship that they have with the personnel staff, it’s that family thing we talk about. We have an incredible working relationship between both departments.”
Q: So is it safe to say that Brad Childress is the offensive coordinator or are you still working through that?
DORSEY: “I think that’s a coaching component. And I think that’s something – that’s Andy’s component. We’ll see what happens there. I can’t give an affirmative answer one way or another.”
Q: As you reflect on the season, can you pinpoint a few things where you could have done better?
DORSEY: “I think when you reflect back on this team, from a personnel guy, maybe there were some moves that you could have made during the season that could have helped increase the depth of this roster. We laid out a plan early in 2015 and I thought we met a lot of the objectives that we had set out to meet. And then you move into the draft; I think we got a lot of the guys that we wanted in this draft. But as the season goes along, is there one or two moves that could have helped us? I think in hindsight, you could do that, but a team that goes 11-5, I think you did a pretty good job. I think we have made that progress that we talked about over a three-year period, we’ve made some positive steps in this thing. Of course we’re going to have to build off of that and I understand that. Where we were and where we are today, I’m very happy with that.”
Q: With the loss on Saturday, how much of that was the injuries to two key guys and how much of it was that there is a gap to close between you and New England?
DORSEY: “It could be a combination of both. I think any of us that aren’t working this week are a little disappointed because we didn’t reach our ultimate goal. From a personnel standpoint it’s going to make me work harder because until you hit that ultimate goal, it really doesn’t matter. I mean there is a lot to be proud about, but at the end of the day, we’re going to have to move forward and understand what it takes. We’re going to have to get better at that, I believe, in terms of moving forward. It was a challenging situation and I think guys played their hearts out in that game. They did everything they possibly could and at the end of the day, we came up a little bit short.”
Q: How close are you to being a team that can play in an AFC Championship game or play in a Super Bowl?
DORSEY: “I think we have the makings of a good team. I think we have a core team. I said early on (that) I thought this was a better team this year than it was the year before and I still believe that. And I think at the end of the year, those guys showed that they’re a pretty good team. When you’re in adverse situations like they were and you have the steady hand and leadership of Andy – but what I was most proud of was, I watched that core nucleus within the locker room, they all came together and they believed and they said ‘You know what, we’re pretty good, we’re going to move this thing forward.’ That’s to be applauded and the coaching staff is to be applauded of how they executed this thing.”
Q: Is it reasonable to think you could get there next season?
DORSEY: “Well, as you well know, every season is different. I’m a very optimistic individual and I believe that, you know what, every year we’re going to get better. So, I believe that.”
Q: With the money you have now this offseason, compared to last, how aggressive do you anticipate being come free agency?
DORSEY: “Well, what I want to do is I want to do what’s best for this organization in terms of long-term approach. With that being said, I think the first step is that we have to do a little self-evaluation with regards to the team and how we look moving forward. I think together, we have to sit down and develop our plan as we move forward. I don’t think right now is the time to say we’re going to be this, this or this. Right now, I’d like to say we’re going to do what’s in the best interest of the organization moving forward.”
Q: Is it at least accurate to say that the cap situation this offseason gives you a little more flexibility than last offseason?
DORSEY: “Well, you know what I like to always say about this kind of question. It’s, ‘that’s called the business of football.’ You know, I have a hard time talking about the business of football every once in a while.”
Q: What was your take on Steven Nelson as the season progressed, and what do you hope to see out of him in 2016?
DORSEY: “Well I thought the rookie class in itself played really well. Everybody has different learning curves and how they grow. I think towards the end of the season, I think Steven Nelson, he began to contribute. He began to contribute not only in nickel, dime situations, but on special teams. I like what he did when Marcus Peters blew out his shoe. He had to run on to the field and he makes a wonderful play in the end zone there against a very formidable receiver. I think late in the game what you saw is his ability to diagnose and read and drive on a play to break it up there in the fourth quarter. As I’ve always said, I believe that rookies take bigger steps from year one to year two, and I would expect this class to grow exponentially into year two, and I think they understand, culturally, what this organization is about.”
Q: What does the Senior Bowl signify for you in your offseason?
DORSEY: “Well, it is a fun process. Last week, or this week, I’m sorry, I went to the NFLPA All-Star Game, but I think when you go to the Senior Bowl, you get to see the level of talent is a little bit bigger. It’s the best of the senior class within this year’s draft, so it gives you a chance to really put your hands on these players, watch them move around, watch them compete. It also gives you a chance to kind of, for the first time, really to see who they are as people as well. So it signifies to me that it’s the beginning of the process of how we do our season. Our season of personnel starts now. That’s what we’re going to do. This is the beginning part of our season.”
Q: Are you planning on Jamaal Charles being healthy and playing for the Chiefs next season?
DORSEY: “Well, as I look at it right now, Jamaal is, I think he may be ahead of schedule in terms of his rehabilitation. The guy is an extremely talented player. Love him to death. Love how dirty-tough he is. Yeah, he’s a Chief.”
Q: You say ahead of schedule. What is that schedule, and could we assume he’ll be participating in any way in training camp?
DORSEY: “Well, as I was told he’s ahead of schedule. That’s more of a medical assessment. What I have to do if they say they’re ahead of schedule, then I believe that he’s ahead of schedule, which is very positive for this organization.”
Q: With Donald Stephenson, what does his ability to be ready throughout this season say about his ability as a player?
DORSEY: “It means he’s probably growing up. He’s matured, he understands what it takes to fulfill his role with the offense. It allows him to mature and nurture and develop. I think when he stepped in at various roles, either at guard or at tackle, he played very well. I mean, he did what he was expected to do, and that’s what we talk about, the next man up. When it was time for him to step up when he was needed, he stepped up and fulfilled his job.”
Q: Did the hit De’Anthony took make him evaluate his situation or something? There is a lot out there about him and we are just looking for some clarity.
DORSEY: “All I know, and this is how I deal with it, this is the reality of how I look at it: he has passed the protocol, the NFL protocol of the concussion thing. That’s good enough with me because that protocol thing is the best there is in sports. I mean, they take every delicate step because they care about player safety.”
Q: How would you categorize the early talks with Eric Berry’s agent?
DORSEY: “Well, I’ve had various discussions with his representatives, and we will continue to have conversations with his representatives.”
Q: Do you anticipate utilizing the franchise tag this year?
DORSEY: “You know what, I would like to assess every situation. I haven’t played the assessment game, where I can go and assess every different option available yet, so I haven’t really done that yet. I will do that here within the next five to seven days, and I can give you a more concrete answer on that.”
Q: What is the generally accepted timeframe for a guy who tears an ACL?
DORSEY: “You know what, I have always thought it was in that nine to 10 month window, but with surgical procedures and the way they are today, guys have come back a lot faster than they have in years past. I think it’s a case-by-case basis. It’s the human body, it’s got to be a case-by-case basis.”
HEAD COACH ANDY REID
OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright, so you had an opportunity to take a peek at the press release, so I won’t reiterate all that. I’m fired up about the opportunity to have both these guys in that position and maintaining continuity and stability within the offense there. Go ahead and fire away your questions if you have some.”
Q: Who’s going to call the plays?
REID: “I’ll call the plays.”
Q: In the first half or the second half or the whole game?
REID: “They’ll call all the good ones, I’ll call all the bad ones.”
Q: During the week, how are you going to split the duties and how are the two going to coexist on game days?
REID: “We’ll keep Brad in the box and then Matt will go ahead and come down on the field – he’ll do the coach-to-quarterback headset. As far as the duties go, we’ll just see how all that plays out. Right now, they’re just splitting them up and we’re working through that. There’s plenty there to work with.”
Q: So Matt is the one in Alex Smith’s ear?
REID: “Yeah, he’ll have the coach-to-quarterback, yes.”
Q: Can you talk about both of these guys and their involvement in the offense and gameplans the last three years?
REID: “Doug (Pederson) and I, predominantly, did the gameplans the last three years. But we take input from everybody on that on the offensive staff. Brad’s situation, he had a different title, obviously, and a different responsibility than that with his title – but still had input. But again, most of it was Doug and I. and then Matt was in the room when we met with the quarterbacks, obviously, and presenting things. Matt being the quarterbacks coach at that time was also involved from that standpoint – neither as much as Doug, but that will increase and both of them will work with me on the gameplan.”
Q: Matt Nagy doesn’t have a lot of experience, how have you seen him grow that let you know that he’s ready for this?
REID: “Matt’s got a nice feel for the game. He was a player, obviously, in the Arena League. And then we brought him on board – some guys have a knack for it and he’s one of those guys. I’ve noticed with his participation that he’s got a pretty good grasp of the offense and defenses in this league. I think that presents a nice addition to that position.”
Q: With Eugene Chung in Philadelphia, do you anticipate bringing on an assistant offensive line coach?
REID: “I’m going to kind of slow play that just a little bit, we’ll see how that rolls. I wanted to get this knocked out first – I’m not in a big hurry on that other side. I know (Andy) Heck can do it by himself, if needed. So I’m just going to take it from there.”
Q: Is it correct that you have to replace Dino Vasso as well? Do you have to make two or three more hires?
REID: “It just depends on what I do. I will replace Dino at that position. That’s a position of need, so we’ll do that. It’s a lower-entry position, but yet, an important position.”
CO-OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR BRAD CHILDRESS
Q: Back in the saddle again, huh?
CHILDRESS: “Thanks, yeah, felt like I never left.”
Q: Do you think there will be anything that you learned while working with Andy Reid back in the Philly days that will be a benefit to you now?
CHILDRESS: “Yeah, I at least feel like I’ve at least seen this thing back from its infancy back when I was coaching Doug (Pederson) as a quarterback, how we grew this thing. It always has a way of, as they say, ‘West Coast Offenses,’ everybody puts a little something different on it, whether it’s Mike Shanahan or Jon Gruden with his own run game. We’ve kind of gone our own way as well.”
Q: Going back to when you were Andy’s offensive coordinator in Philadelphia, how did you split the duties then with play calling?
CHILDRESS: “You know what, Coach (Reid) did most of it. There were times, obviously, where he’d say, ‘Hey, Brad, put a series together,’ and I’d do it. He loves to do that. That’s one of his passions, that’s one of his joys, and I know that’s what he’s enjoying about doing it the way he’s been doing it here.”
Q: During the week, how will you and Matt Nagy split up duties as offensive coordinators?
CHILDRESS: “Yeah, we typically all get in the pile on Monday and Tuesday. Monday is kind of a ‘work by yourself day’ as you’re familiarizing yourself with an opponent. Then, we usually get together later Monday night. Players come back, we present a couple ideas to them on Tuesday, at least that’s the way it was this year. Finish the last week’s game, put that to bed, show the tape to them. Then, go back about our work and get together later Tuesday afternoon and share thoughts. Some of the thoughts are exactly the same, some are a little bit out of the box. Matt’s got a great mind, and obviously Andy’s got a fertile mind, and I’ll be able to add to that.”
Q: Just to be clear, when Doug Pederson was calling the plays in the last half of games, was Andy still running the install meetings?
CHILDRESS: “Yeah. Again, he’s run every one since I’ve been here, and that’s the one thing that I would say is different. When I was coordinating for him in Philadelphia, he let me have my own voice and put me in charge of those things. He had other responsibilities and obviously trusted me with it. He enjoys doing that, he enjoys presenting in front of the team. Guys like Jason Avant and Jeremy Maclin really don’t know him in that regard, and that’s something when they came in and saw that, obviously they got to see a different side of Coach (Reid), because he wasn’t doing that in Philadelphia.”
Q: What’s going to be the key to making sure you’re all on the same page and making this thing roll?
CHILDRESS: “Yeah, I really don’t think that that’s a big issue. It’s not like it’s a three-man, everybody speaking in the microphone at once when the play comes up. I mean all that stuff kind of gets worked out beforehand, you know. Situationally, it’s on your game plan that way. You have choices on that menu, but we’re going to spend enough time together that we’re probably going to be able to finish each other’s sentences.”
Q: Can you remind us some of the things you’d been working on with your previous role, and were you eager to get back to a more hands-on, traditional role?
CHILDRESS: “You know what, I think you’re always anxious to do that, but it kind of opened up some new horizons and being able to look at the whole league and trends around the whole league. I think it helped coach particularly when we had a Monday night game and you’re still having to stay on that opponent on that Monday night, so the week is going to be short for you, so you’re able to look ahead at the next opponent. I know it does on Thursday night, which we had early in the season, to be able to present a game plan as I see it. It’s nice to have somebody to figure that stuff out. Those are a couple things that I was able to do for him here in the last three years.”
Q: Any idea who’s going to handle the two-minute drill?
CHILDRESS: “No, I think that will all get hammered out as we go down the road here, Terez. Coach (Reid) has already told you that Matt is going to be the coach-to-quarterback. That is something that I did with Donovan (McNabb) back in Philadelphia. It’s important that he hears one voice in that earpiece and I’ve been upstairs, so there’s no sense in fooling with that. Sometimes you’ve got a better perspective up there.”
CO-OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR MATT NAGY
Q: If I had told you a few years ago when you began coaching that you’d be a co-offensive coordinator of an NFL team, would you have believed it?
NAGY: “Well, you know, Coach (Reid) gave me that opportunity in 2008 as an intern, and when I went there, it was a big deal for me because I was going there, and really at the time I was playing quarterback, so it was a big thing to me. But once we got going and I did an internship, I ended up being fortunate enough to have a coaching assistant job with Coach, everything just goes by so fast, so you take it day-by-day, year-by-year, and you never really think about, you know, you never put a timeline on yourself as of when things will happen, but now as I look back and see things, I just feel very fortunate that I’ve had a great six years with Coach and really being able to learn from him and help it make me a better coach.”
Q: How did you get to know Andy?
NAGY: “Well, I actually, Brett Veach was my college teammate at the University of Delaware, and at the time, he was a coaching assistant for Coach Reid in Philadelphia. Like I said, I was playing Arena Football, and Brett and I had a good relationship at Delaware, and he just thought it would be a good opportunity for me to experience the NFL level really as a coach. That was what was important to me at the time and it just kind of went from there. I did it a second year, the Arena League had folded, and I was actually selling houses, and they asked me to come back and do a second internship and I ended up doing it. That’s when Kevin Kolb went down with an injury and we ran into that whole funny situation in regards to the player thing and the internship. I got to meet Coach through that, and we built a good relationship and took it from there.
Q: What will the adjustment be like for Alex Smith with a new guy in his ear, not just on gameday but during the week as well?
NAGY: “Well, I think it’s going to be pretty smooth. I’m fortunate enough to be with him every day in the season and when they’re here in the offseason, obviously I’m here with all the quarterbacks as well. Doug (Pederson) did a fabulous job with relaying everything to him all season long and the past three years. I’ve been able to witness that and kind of learn from Doug and see how he does it. I think the transition is going to be really smooth. Coach obviously will do a great job at leading us in regards to how to do it and how it’s going to go. Being in here with Alex and the rest of the quarterbacks for three years is a huge advantage and I think it’s going to be a really good thing.”
Q: What are the primary duties of a quarterbacks coach on an Andy Reid coaching staff?
NAGY: “Well, the biggest thing, I think, is you have to be able to teach the offense to the quarterback after Coach installs the plays, and Doug installs the plays. You need to be able to take that play that they’re installing and you become a teacher in your classroom per se. When we’re in here, I need to be my best at giving them another set of eyes to the see the field, another perspective. I was fortunate enough to play the quarterback position, really all my life, so I have the ability to know certain situations they’re in when they’re in the pocket sliding to the left, sliding to the right. The vision that you see is a little bit different than what you get with the bird’s eye view up in the box, so I think for me, my biggest role is to give them another set of eyes and ears to listen to what they see, and then be able to put it all together and be able to fix any corrections and continue to build on their strengths.”
Q: Have you and Brad received a set of clearly-defined duties or a clear division of labor?
NAGY: “It’s been talked about, but we’ll leave that up to Coach and Coach will end up putting us in the best situation possible. Coach Childress and I have a fabulous relationship – we think alike, we work well together, we’ve done it the last three years. Once Coach came to us and talked to us about this, it was really exciting. It was exciting for me because I know how well I get along with Coach Childress. It is a little bit different, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Coach Reid has the plan and the vision for us and I think we’re all going to work well together.”
Q: Is it accurate to say that Brad worked more with other positions – tight ends or wide receivers – because of his title, than you did the last three years?
NAGY: “When we’re at practice, we’re out on the practice field, I’m able to be more interactive with the different positions. I would say you’re correct in the fact that him being able to oversee more of the positions just because I was hands-on with the quarterbacks. So my focus was the quarterbacks – only worrying about the quarterbacks – where he was able to kind of oversee all positions and be able to chime in when needed and give his advice, and that’s what he did. For me, like I said, I was more hands-on with the quarterbacks, but when we’re out in practice, there might be some routes that we see and I just want to make sure that I relay to, for instance, the receivers, what we see in the quarterback room and how we can make sure we’re on the same page.”
Q: Is there an understanding that there’s an opportunity to earn more play-calling responsibilities like Doug Pederson did over the last three years?
NAGY: “We haven’t gotten into that. It’s so new to me right now that my biggest role is just doing whatever Coach says he needs us to do. So the play-calling thing, Coach has done a great job with that ever since we got here, he has a history of being a great play-caller. We just really focus on what he tells us to do. And to tell you the truth, we really haven’t gotten into that part.”
Q: What do you guys lose with Doug Pederson?
NAGY: “He’s really a good people’s guy. He has a great relationship with all the players, everyone got along really well with him. Being a former player in this league is very advantageous. A guy like Alex Smith and Chase Daniel, guys that have been in this league for the amount of years that they have, they automatically respect a guy like that, just because they know he’s been there, done that. And then Doug, his history with Coach Reid is another great aspect that he had working here with the team. Again, he’s a quarterback, so when he’s in here with the guys, from what I saw with the quarterbacks, just the tremendous amount of respect they had for him and they still have for him. It’s a big loss for us, but at the same time, we’re all happy for Doug and he’s going to do a great job in Philadelphia.”
Q: What about the loss of Eugene Chung? What did he bring to the table?
NAGY: “Well again, I’m going to go to the experience as a player. You’re talking about a guy that was a first-round draft pick, so he has a lot of ballgames behind his belt, so he’s been there, done that - and I think guys respect that. Being able to hear a second voice, along with Coach Heck, is good for these younger guys. It doesn’t surprise me to say that they really got a lot of help and advice from Eugene. He’s a great coach and he’s going to do well in Philadelphia as well.”
Q: Have you talked with Alex Smith at all since this became a possibility?
NAGY: “You know what, I haven’t. It’s such a crazy deal when the season ends. The guys come in here the following day and you have your talks, kind of rehash the entire season, what went on, things you can get better at, strengths and weaknesses and then before you know it, they’re meeting with Coach and the next day you come in here and it’s like no one’s around. I haven’t had the chance to talk to him yet, I’ll end up getting in contact with him, we’ll talk a little bit. He’s probably sick of hearing my voice for the past six months, so I’ll at least give him a week off.”
Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid
Press Conference Quotes
January 17, 2016
OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright, always a little bittersweet if you're not winning the Super Bowl. That's how this thing works out. We weren't able to advance to that next level, but I'm proud of the team and the effort that they put forward. Even to be put in this position to be able to play against New England. New England did a better job. My hat's off to them; wish them the best of luck for the remaining part of the postseason here, so - a good football team.
Again, there are some things that we did well in this game, there are some things we need to continue to work on. We'll be a better team in the future for this, like I said, it's a good learning experience to understand the intensity level and the magnitude of a game once you reach that second round of the playoffs, things go up a notch and particularly when you're playing against the reigning Super Bowl champs.
We've got an off season here that we've got to handle. Which takes place every year. We've got some free agents that we'll be going in to the off season with that we'll know more in the future on. Time will tell on that. We've got a draft coming up that we've got to get ready for and we'll do that. We'll take a little deep breath here for a little bit and then get ourselves back and ready to roll as a staff and as players. But with that, again, I'm proud of the effort, we just didn't do well enough and I take full responsibility for that. The time is yours.”
Q: On clock management.
REID: “No, I could tell the Philly media was up in the booth (laughing). And I saw Adam (Teicher)'s - his article, so - the thinking behind it was that at 2:20 we had an opportunity to get a play in and run a play. We thought it was a good play and an opportunity to possibly score and so now you're sitting at the two minute warning with a touchdown and an opportunity to kick an onside kick. We worked those situations all the time so we wanted to maintain our timeouts the best we could, we didn't want to give the ball back to - at any point - back to New England after we go ahead and score that next touchdown. As it was said and done, we had a penalty involved there so it wasn't a perfect world, didn't work out quite the way we wanted it. So it took a couple shots to get it in and we still had 1:15 or 1:13 right in there that we potentially would've had three timeouts and an opportunity to drive the field, which I thought was huge. It put us in a perfect position to do that, we work, again on that every week. And so I thought that part was handled right. Actually, when Adam asked the question I thought he was talking about the timeouts in the first half, that's what I thought he was referring to. The one play with the 2:20 on the clock we didn't get it run, that was the bottom line, we needed to be able to get that done. And there are things that go into that, I think Alex (Smith) probably explained it the best, we had 89 plays on tape, 89 - 83 official plays. And listen, we were a bit tired at that point and so I put the big fellas in and we didn't get that play off.”
Q: Did you have another play call ready to go after that one?
REID: “Yeah, we had another play. Well, we didn't get it off - that was kind of where the problem came in. But those things happen. When it was all said and done, when it was all said and done, we were still in a position where we had plenty of clock to take care of business and that's the bottom line. I thought that part was executed fairly well.”
Q: Even after the Jason Avant play where he was tackled short?
REID: “Yeah, I still think we were fine.”
Q: On play calling near the end zone.
REID: “Yeah, so when you're down there on the plus five, Randy (Covitz), you want to score - that's what you want to do. It's easy to say 'why not have another play called?' We had another play, absolutely, but you want to give it your best shot - your best plays down in there. Not necessarily a two-minute play, but your best play that you've got on the game plan sheet. You've got to get that one score. If you have anywhere from a minute on - you've got time to execute and win the time - or at least time the game in that situation. So it wasn't - you better give them your best shot down in there. I can tell you that the stepping back there with the penalty - that hurt a little bit. But still, all said and done, we gave it our best shots and we were able to score, we still had plenty of time on the clock that we felt and we were ready to roll.”
Q: Where is the threshold at for when you feel like you have to onside kick it?
REID: “Well, again, it depends on who you’re playing and how you’re moving the football. The one thing you’ve got to keep in consideration is you do not want to give the ball back, and then you want to be able to get the ball back. If you don’t think you’re going to get the ball back, then you use your onside kick and you go with it. That’s an evaluation you have to make on the field. Now, they were doing some pretty good things offensively at that time, but those are considerations you take in there. Listen, the thing that bothered me the most were the timeouts early in the game. That clock was moving fast, baby, so we need to do a little better job there.”
Q: Did you experience any headset communication issues?
REID: “Just a little bit from coach to quarterback. The coach to quarterback headset was cutting in and out just a little bit, not much though. It wasn’t bad, but a couple of those first half ones, couple of those.”
Q: How soon do you anticipate getting with John Dorsey on your free agents?
REID: “Yeah, Dorse is already, he gets on top of all that stuff and we’ll talk here after we do all the player evaluations and that stuff, but he’s got a pretty good feel on all of that and how that rolls right there.”
Q: With the pending announcement, can you reflect on what Doug Pederson has meant to you as an assistant?
REID: “Yeah, you know what, I still have to talk to him about the whole thing, but he’s been very good for me as an assistant.”
Q: Can you expand on what has made him so valuable as an assistant?
REID: “Yeah, well he’s been with me a long time now, right? So, he’s been with me as a player when he was a player. Had an opportunity to coach him there. Then as an assistant coach and then as a head coach, I brought him to Philadelphia and then brought him back as a quality control coach, so a young coach. Just kind of learning the game there from the coaching side, and then watch him grow and develop into what he is now with a potential opportunity to be a head football coach. I mean, how great is that?”
Q: Do you expect him to take some of your staff with him to Philadelphia?
REID: “I don’t think so. Starting back with Mike Holmgren, and Mike Holmgren with Bill Walsh, you always kind of check with the head coach on those things. Normally, what you want to do is start and take your own guys and go build a program. That’s kind of how you roll. It was a little different in my situation coming here because we were all released. If the staff is intact, normally you talk with the head coach, and we’ll do all that, but I don’t foresee that. I don’t foresee a lot of guys leaving to do that.”
Q: With the big names you’ve got heading into free agency, how does this measure up to what you have to do with your guys, versus what you’ll do with guys who are elsewhere in the league? Is this more big-time contributors than you’ve had in past years?
REID: “Well, listen, I’ve probably seen it all somewhere in here, so I can’t tell you I look at the list and it completely shocks me. That’s not where I’m at with it. I know some of these guys are going to return. That’s how it rolls. Which ones, and how it works into the cap and all that, that’s Dorse’s baby there. But, I wouldn’t say that it just jumps out at me that, ‘woah, I’ve never seen this before.’”
Q: How do you prioritize free agents in the offseason? Where does Eric Berry rank on your list?
REID: “I don’t want to get into ranking the guys, but you can figure all that out. He’s a good football player. But they’ve got to work all that out – I think he wants to be here and we probably want him to be here and all that. But that’s all (with) the agents, our people need to get with him and they deal all that and work through all that stuff. I think it’s probably premature here. Do I like Eric Berry? I can tell you I love Eric Berry, I could tell you that, right.”
Q: Do you miss the personnel side of it or are you glad to only focus on coaching?
REID: “I like being the head coach. I like being the head coach.”
Q: Is it safe to say that your new offensive coordinator is already in the building?
REID: “Yeah, I would probably say that.”
Q: Is there ever a point where you tell the quarterback to take the five-yard penalty instead of burning a timeout?
REID: “Yeah, there are times when you do that. Again, I thought the situation we were in, I thought we were handling that the right way – we were on top of it, we had the right plays, we knew what we wanted. We came up a little short on the one. Bottom line is we can’t forget we scored and we had time to go score again and not give them the ball back. There were some great things that took place up there to get us into that position.”
Q: When you look back at this team, what do you think you’re going to remember most about this group of players?
REID: “I think that they were tough, resilient, fighters. We had guys that were playing that people probably didn’t think could play and contributed big. I’m proud of those guys and the job that they did. I think you say Alex, say whatever he was as a game manager, I think you say he’s a game changer. He’s 30-years-old and I would think everybody can feel pretty good about saying that. And he did that – you talk about the last drive, you think of the runs that he did and the hits that he took out of bounds that you had an opportunity to add a little yardage onto the play here and there and got back up and kept fighting.”
Q: Are you surprised you didn’t get as much out of Justin Houston yesterday?
REID: “This is what I thought Justin was able to do – I thought he could hold the point okay. But being able to push off and run with speed, he was going to struggle with that a little bit. When it was all said and done, we probably got just what we thought we would out of him right there.”
Q: What message do you have for the fans as far as where you guys are going?
REID: “Every year is different, I got it. And I’ll be the first to tell you that, every team is different. But you build foundations, and that’s where you have to start. The foundation of the team is just what that question was – there’s some toughness, resiliency there, there are some things that they know they can overcome when their back’s to the wall. We got the best fans in the National Football League, man. So you work like crazy to bring as many games as you can right in here to Arrowhead and let that 12th man be a part of that – and that’s our fans. Our players believe in that. I think that’s something that our fans have to look forward to. I think that’s a positive. There’s a foundation being built – every year is different – there’s a foundation being built and good things lie ahead.”
Q: If you won the Denver or Chicago game in the regular season, you’re the home team.
REID: “That’s right, as many games as you can bring to Arrowhead. Home-field advantage, that’s not a bad thing. That bye week’s not a bad thing. Look at the players that got to play yesterday for the Patriots, the Gronkowskis, Edelmans – these are guys that contributed big in that game and gave Tom (Brady) back his full bunch – a couple of guys on the defensive side that were able to play. That’s big. You want to shoot for that, you want to stay and keep yourself in position right from the beginning of the year. Now it’s got to drive you, that’s the feel. I talked to the players on the plane coming back, individually and they understand that.”
Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid Quotes
January 14, 2016
OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright, so let’s talk about injuries here. (Laurent Duvernay-) Tardif did not practice today, has not passed the protocol for concussion, nor has Mitch (Morse). Tamba (Hali) did not practice today – again, he’s got a little bit of swelling in his knee. (Jeremy) Maclin came out and did a little bit during the stretch period and that was about it. And then Justin Houston went through the warmups and is making progress.
I look forward to the challenge of playing New England. The guys had a good week of practice. We were able to get outside here a couple of days, which is unusual for this time of year, I thought that was a good thing. And now we have an opportunity to play the world champions, that’s a great thing. Time’s yours.”
Q: Did you get a report on how Jeremy Maclin or Justin Houston felt?
REID: “Yeah, they did okay for what they did. And then we took them in and look at the next day.”
Q: Neither Maclin nor Houston were in the team periods?
REID: “Neither in the team periods.”
Q: Game-time decision for both?
Q: On Bill Belichick Xeroxing a copy of the gameplan and plans for Chandler Jones and sending it to Kansas City:
REID: “Well Chandler, he’s a pretty good football player and he’s coached by a pretty good coach. So I’m sure they’ll have a variety of things that they do with him.”
Q: How confident are you with your sense of what New England has planned to slow down your offense and your pass rush?
REID: “They do a nice job with the pass rush as far as chip-and-goes or ball-out-quick. And notoriously, that’s what they’ve done over the years. Bill’s always going to give you something different. We’ve prepped for a little bit of two-deep zone, that’s where his roots are – you go back to the New York Giants – so they do a nice job with that. And they play a little bit of man coverage, that’s how they roll. We’ll be ready for all of the above.”
Q: Did you talk to Jeffrey Lurie about Doug Pederson before he went to interview with the Eagles?
REID: “I believe I did, yeah.”
Q: What were some of the things you had to say about Doug and his candidacy as a head coach?
REID: “Listen, Doug’s so focused in on this right now – that’s where his vision is. It was a great opportunity, I thought, for him to visit with a great organization – phenomenal organization. And I think it was an honor for him to have that opportunity. Whatever happens, happens, that’s not my business. But I’m happy that he had that opportunity to speak with him.”
Q: Did you reach out to Jeffrey or did he reach out to you?
REID: “Well he told me you were coming here, so I better watch out what I said.”
Q: You’ve said you like to let the guys be themselves, what made you let them put the basketball hoop up in the locker room?
REID: “Well they kept telling me they had talent and I wanted to see if it was true. In case a basketball team comes to Kansas City, we’ll be ready.”
January 13, 2016
CHIEFS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR DOUG PEDERSON
Q: What comes to your mind when you think about the New England defense?
PEDERSON: “Multiple fronts, multiple coverages. A group that plays well within their scheme. They don’t go overboard with anything, they’re very confident in what they do. Attack-style, aggressive up front, they have another tremendous front six, front seven guys in there. And they’ll mix their fronts. It’s a week-by-week gameplan for them.”
Q: Last year against the Patriots, did you execute that gameplan as perfectly as possible?
PEDERSON: “We did, we executed our gameplan pretty well that day. Of course it takes three phases, as you know – the defense played extremely well against Tom (Brady). But offensively, yeah, we executed ours well. We also showed them some different looks, I think, than what they had seen from us or from any other team earlier in the season. But yeah, those are things that you kind of have to do against a team like this – because they’re going to keep it mixed up. I think offensively, it’s a challenge for us to keep it mixed up as well.”
Q: How did your interview go with the Eagles?
PEDERSON: “Gosh, it went great. It was a great opportunity to see (Eagles Executive Vice President of Football Operations) Howie (Roseman) again and Mr. Lurie and the chance to talk with them and sit down with them. I have a lot of respect for the organization and what they’re doing there. Now we’re focused on New England, that’s behind me and moving forward.”
Q: Was it easy for you to compartmentalize that while you’re preparing for the Texans and Patriots?
PEDERSON: “It is because we have a big game this week and you never know what’s going to happen in those situations. It’s an honor, obviously, to be in the running with something like that. But I was also sitting there towards the end of the interview going ‘I’ve got the New England Patriots to look at.’ So it was a lot easier to come back and start gameplanning.”
Q: Where did they leave things with you?
PEDERSON: “Still open. They’re still in the process of – from what I’m hearing they’ve stopped all interviews and now it’s just a matter of them getting together collectively and making a decision.”
Q: Did they schedule a second interview with you?
PEDERSON: “Not yet.”
Q: How much has your time with Andy Reid helped you prepare for a head coaching job?
PEDERSON: “Tremendous. He’s a great mentor of mine, obviously as you know. We worked together, I worked for him in Philadelphia, so I understand that market and that climate and that structure there. The things I’ve learned from Coach Reid, wherever, if it’s in my future to become a head coach, then there’s a lot of great examples of him leading a team and an organization that I can use in my future as well.”
Q: How do you prepare without Jeremy Maclin?
PEDERSON: “It’s like any other position, the next guy steps up. We did it in the second half of the game the other day and our young receivers did an outstanding job. And we just go forward that way. We’ll see what happens later in the week. Next man has to step up, we’ll be leaning on Chris Conley a little bit more and ask him to fulfill that role.”
Q: For young guys, is it better if they’re thrown into it as opposed to having all week to think about it?
PEDERSON: “Well Chris has played a lot for us, too. He’s got some valuable experience. And we’ve moved him around in certain packages during the week, so he’s comfortable that way. I think it is better sometimes to just go, go play. You’re not worried about everything that’s out there, you’re kind of focused in on your job and I think sometimes it can help and benefit a player that way.”
Q: What are the differences between running the offense as a quarterback and running it from the sidelines?
PEDERSON: “Obviously, as a play caller, you kind of put yourself in that quarterback position. You obviously understand what the defense is trying to do and some of their tendencies and all of that. As you get into the flow of the game, that’s just how you end up calling – it’s all based on situational football. But for me as a former quarterback, I put myself in Alex’s shoes and see what he’s seeing and call plays based on what we’re all collectively seeing during that time of the game.”
Q: Do you feel like you would be where you are without the depth at offensive line and running back?
PEDERSON: “It’s hard to say, but we were fortunate to have the depth. I think those guys were great on special teams throughout training camp and earlier in the season – I know Coach Toub likes that running back position and tight end position on special teams quite a bit. Obviously to lose a player like Jamaal (Charles), you never know what’s going to happen behind you. Now Knile Davis was the only sort of veteran guy that we had with any game experience and we didn’t really understand what we had in Charcandrick (West) and Spencer (Ware). Those two guys – really those three guys, because Knile’s played here recently, too – it’s a great, collaborative effort by all of those guys. Great job by Eric Bieniemy of getting them coached up each week. We’re just fortunate that we kept all those guys.”
Q: Coming out of camp, did you feel pretty good about those spots if you were going to have injuries?
PEDERSON: “No, we felt comfortable. Obviously when you get down to your 53 – and John Dorsey and Coach, they do the final roster cuts – you see who’s on your team, you’re very comfortable with those positions. You’re going to coach up whoever’s there, but we were fortunate to have guys that had a great preseason and were worthy of the opportunity.”
SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR DAVE TOUB
Q: With Knile’s return, did something just click or was that something special you analyzed with the Texans?
TOUB: “Any time you get a return for a touchdown, everything clicks. Everything has to go right. The guys did a good job blocking. Jason Avant got the corner, in the back end, got those guys knocked down, had some knock down blocks, Spencer (Ware). And then Knile (Davis) hit it, I mean, he hit it hard and fast and does what he does. He hit it north and south, and as soon as he broke the line, there was nobody (who) was going to catch him.”
Q: How have you guys been so good at preventing it?
TOUB: “We work hard at covering. We work hard at practice. We study tape. It depends on who you’re playing a lot of times. We’ve been fortunate, the guys play hard and it’s all about effort.”
Q: On the kick coverage in Houston.
TOUB: “Right. No question. We talk about it every huddle. We say, ‘hey, they’re coming out with this one.’ We remind them that you can’t let up. Cairo (Santos) was in the groove in that game. He was getting the ball, hanging them high and deep. Sometimes, it’s not always like that. You get out in the cold weather like this weekend, we’re going to have to cover every kick and we know that they’re going to challenge us.”
Q: How important is it to know where the kicker is on a kickoff return, like in Knile’s case last weekend?
TOUB: “(Nick) Novak is a tackler. That’s why. When he was at San Diego, there was a couple times we busted some returns against them and he made the tackle like three or four times against us, so we’re going to have a blocker on him. That’s exactly what happened. We had a blocker on him, and fortunately when he broke the line, he was being blocked.”
Q: How often does that happen in the league?
TOUB: “Not very often. You don’t want to account for the kicker. Usually you take a guy and you’ll double-team somebody, one of their most dangerous guys. In this case with Nick, we had a blocker on him.”
Q: What do you see out of the Patriots special teams unit?
TOUB: “Well, they’re outstanding. Last year when we played them, they got the best of us last year. Even though we won the game, they got us on special teams. We showed that tape a bunch this week already. We could play a lot better against them and we’re using that for motivation this week.”
Q: Have you ever had a better special teams game than you did last week?
TOUB: “We had some good ones in Chicago with Devin Hester, so it’s hard to compare. I have never really thought about it, but it was a solid performance all around and a big game. We were happy to have that.”
Q: Andy Reid reminded us that the Bears had started the Super Bowl with a kick return touchdown and lost.
TOUB: “It was, when he was running down the field, it was like deja-vu. It felt like the same thing, you know, big game, playoff game. Obviously the Super Bowl would be a little different. We did, we scored right away, and I reminded Andy, I said, ‘hey, that doesn’t mean we’re going to win the game or whatever, and he looked at me like that. He said, ‘let’s keep our foot on the gas pedal.’ I didn’t want that. I was really reminding myself, more than him.”
Q: When it comes to field goals and PATs, do you ever work on kicking with laces?
TOUB: “Yes. Every day. And especially after what we just saw in that other game. We did it, in fact, we did it yesterday. We also do wet ball drills. We kick wet ball, we snap wet ball, we try to mimic every possible and crazy thing that could happen. Fast field goal, whatever that might be, we try to practice those daily.”
Q: How does the temperature or even snow affect kicking the football?
TOUB: “We say, I mean, depends on what the temperature is, obviously, but anything below freezing, 30 degrees, 25 degrees, it’s going to take about five yards off the ball. If you’re hitting it five deep in a normal kicking situation, it’s going to end up on the goal line, which means returnable kicks. We just kind of take off minus five yards. And that’s the same thing with field goals, too. Same thing.”
Q: What happened with Cairo’s last kick in Houston?
TOUB: “He just hit the ball high. It was him. Snap was good, hold was good, he just caught the ball a little bit high on that one. Fortunately, it went through.”
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR BOB SUTTON
Q: Do you feel like there's more to prepare for with the New England Patriots than your average opponent?
SUTTON: “Well, I think New England has been a really highly efficient offense for a number of years. And one of the great things they do - you hear the phrase all the time, but 'game plan specific.' They can kind of morph in and out of things I think as well as anybody in the league, so you really have a menu of things that they could do to you and you kind of have to choose - obviously you don't have very long to practice these times so you try to figure out what you think they might do based on things that have worked against you and things they've done. But in the end, you have to rely on your fundamentals, you've got to rely on the core principles of your defense and then adjust as the game goes along. Which is really not much different than any game, they just probably take it to a higher level I think. You have to give them a lot of credit because they've done it, like I said, for a number of years as well as anybody in our league and they make it challenging, but I think in the end you've got to make sure you play good football, cleats in the ground ready to roll and go forward. And know you've got to adjust sometimes, there's a lot of flow in these games and you've got to figure out on the run what's happening to you.”
Q: Do you think you guys executed as well as you can last year?
SUTTON: “Well, I think every game is different and from any previous game, the things you want to take, regardless if you're playing New England or anybody else is you want to be able to look at it honestly and say 'these are things we did well, these were things we didn't do well.' Some of them didn't hurt us, but they could hurt us in the future and that's when I think your team can see that - that's when you've got a chance to keep improving. So I don't really know that, there's a lot of things that happened in that game and every game is so unique to itself. The circumstances that happen, things that surround every series, so I think you have to be a little careful just saying 'hey, that game was this.' The game was this because of a lot of factors and that's the challenge of any game. You've got to adjust to what's happening not only on your side, but all sides of the game. And that's one of the strengths New England has, they do great a job of that.”
Q: How did Sean Smith impact your defense in his return?
SUTTON: “Well, I just think Sean's a really good football player, he's played well for us so I think he provided us a veteran presence. At the same time, Marcus (Peters) was developing so I think those two things coming together really helped this and of course it was offset a little bit by the loss of Phillip Gaines in there. But I thought he came back and he and Marcus have played really steady, good, solid football for most of the season. So that was a big help to us, it's no question.”
Q: How do you affect a quarterback who gets rid of the ball so quickly?
SUTTON: “It's really hard. I mean, one, he's one of those guys that is brilliant on the field - he knows what to do with the football. You're not going to trick Tom Brady very many times, so you just try to maybe cause a little confusion in his mind and that's very hard to do because he's seen every single thing you can do. Unless you guys have got something that we don't have yet, but he's a really challenging guy so you just try to make it as difficult for him as you possibly can. But in the end, all of these things happening, the only thing I think you have to fall back on is you have to be able to play fast, you have to be able to stick your feet in the ground, you have to be able to plant, drive and go so you try to eliminate as many of the concerns that you think you might have. And just say ' hey fellas, we've been doing this for however many weeks.' You know what we're doing, and you know how we do it and let's make sure that in the end we play the way that we want to play. And you can only take that so far on defense because you've got to adjust somewhat to what they do. But that's the important point I think - you want to be able to play fast and hard. They're going to make some plays, every team does and it's really how you handle those swings, particularly on the road and go - and on defense, that's when the crowd really gets rolling so we've got to do a great job of that.”
Q: Why has Andy Reid been so successful in the postseason?
SUTTON: “I've only been there for one of them so I probably couldn't give you a lot of insight on that. I think Coach Reid is an excellent coach, one of the great things in my view of him is that he has a great feel about our team. He has a great pulse on our team and he kind of knows what to do. Back off, increase, whatever it is. And I think that's part of his makeup, that's probably part of the number of games he's been in, probably postseason or not. But he's got a great feel, probably as good as anybody I've been around and so I think that's it and I think he's got a great way to keep the team on the tracks.”
Q: Does he change from the regular season to the postseason?
SUTTON: “No, I think that's one of his beauties, he's the same guy. The message is always the same, he's always got energy with it, he's got excitement with it and I think the players respond because there's no gamesmanship in how he does it, it's just 'hey, fellas, this is what we've got to do, this is where we're at, this is what we could do if we really play this thing out the way we want to,' and go like that. Anytime you're in a leadership position, I think the number one thing you have to have from the people that are following you is trust. Without trust, it's hard to lead and there's rank and file, you're going to say yes and do it, but if you want to really follow somebody you're going to really trust him and I think our team and our coaches trust Andy.”
Q: How tough is it to develop the pulse of the team?
SUTTON: “I think a little bit of it is innate. I think it's just some people have that, other people don't. It doesn't mean they're not good coaches, but I think to me this is still a people's game and you've got to want to keep track of your people and you want to understand the people around you and I think Andy does a great job of that and he's just got a great feel for that. So that's a real plus I think for us.”
Q: Do you sense an extra bit of juice from your guys heading into this game?
SUTTON: “No, I think it's just - I don't know if there's any more juice, you get to advance - that makes it more exciting I think. Last week was as big of a game as you could be in. And we're in those true - to coin the phrase, those 'one-game seasons.' And so all of your emotions and all of your energy is here, nothing looking past or backwards so I think that brings out a lot from everybody. Just to know 'hey, this is what we're down to, we're down to these 60 minutes, this many plays and it's one of those games where you need every player, every play. That's what it comes down to.”
TE TRAVIS KELCE
Q: The Patriots take away the opponent’s top option. If Jeremy Maclin can’t play, how do you approach that?
KELCE: “You approach it every single day like you would. They’re also notorious for throwing anything at you – whether it be a certain type of coverage, a certain type of blitz. Going into this game, it’s all around matchups. So you have to make sure that you have your answers for everything they throw at you. There’s going to be arguably four to five other guys out there on the field that can make plays. I know I am, and Coach and everybody else on this team has 100 percent confidence that those guys or myself are going to make the plays when needed.”
Q: Is it anything extra for you knowing that you’re going up against Rob Gronkowski?
KELCE: “No, not necessarily. I have no control over what that guy does and he has no control over what I do. Hats off to him. Rob has been an outstanding tight end, needless to say, all the stuff that he’s been able to do in the league. It’s one of those things where we’re in a single elimination game, so I have no focus or no care for anything that that offense does while I’m not on the field or what that team does while I’m not on the field. It’s one of those things where you just prepare for you and go out and do everything you can for your team.”
Q: What kind of excitement do you have for the opportunity to go to New England and beat the defending champs?
KELCE: “Yeah, it’s a statement game for us. It’s a statement game for anybody that would come into the world champs’ stadium and take on the Patriots and who they are. It’s a challenge, but at the same time, we’re excited for it and we’re ready for it.”
Q: Did you ever pattern your game after Rob Gronkowski?
KELCE: “No, I haven’t patterned my game after anybody. It’s just one of those things where I know who I am and I know what works for me. I’ve taken bits and pieces from a lot of guys over the amount of film that I’ve watched in my career. That being said, I feel like you can always take bits and pieces from everybody’s game.”
Q: What makes Doug Pederson a guy that could make the jump to becoming a head coach?
KELCE: “One, he’s relatable. Two, the guy is brilliant. In terms of offensive minds, I don’t know how much better they get. He understands what defensive coaches want to present, he understands strategy and things like that. For the most part, he’s a relatable guy, guys want to play for him. It’s hard to kind of describe that, his character makes it easy to be yourself and go out there and do the things you have to do.”
Q: If Jeremy Maclin can’t play, do you feel like you have to do more?
KELCE: “Not necessarily. I feel like if you have that on your shoulders, you don’t go out there and be yourself. It’s one of those things where I’m going to put in all the work that I have to out here on this field during the week and go out there and play my tail off for the guys next to me.”
Q: You had your two biggest games against Houston. Do you look at those games and try to figure out what you did well?
KELCE: “The Patriots are a completely different team. They’re probably going to try to come at me at a completely different way. It makes sense. From there, it’s going out and doing everything I can to keep our drives going and get the ball in the end zone.”
Q: How similar is their defense to the one you saw here last year?
KELCE: “Very similar in terms of the guys that they have. The scheme has changed a little bit from strategy – well at least in the recent games. Like I said, they’re notorious for throwing anything at you. It’s just one of those things where you have to be ready.”
Q: When he first got here, did Andy Reid talk to you about the vision he had?
KELCE: “Ever since the day I walked in the building and from my first team meeting with him in our first year here, he made it clear that we’re chasing the title. And that first year, we were chasing the title, that’s why we came out with the 9-0 start in his first year in KC. It’s one of those things where our vision has never dropped. We want the Lombardi (Trophy), we want the big dog. And right now, we’re in a hunt to chase that thing down.”
LB JUSTIN HOUSTON
Q: How’s your knee doing?
HOUSTON: “It’s doing good. A little sore from that brace. I think the brace beat me up more than anything.”
Q: Was that what was going on when you came out of the game there for a little while?
HOUSTON: “Yeah, I kept banging my leg against the brace. If I felt comfortable playing without it, I’d go out there without it, but I feel safe with it.”
Q: Are you going to practice today?
HOUSTON: “We’re going to see when that time comes. I’ve got a couple minutes and the trainer will make that decision.”
Q: Did you feel by the end of the game, you had that brace where you wanted it and that it was comfortable?
HOUSTON: “Playing with that thing is never comfortable. It’s just something I’ve got to get used to.”
Q: Had you ever played with a brace before?
HOUSTON: “My first time ever playing with a brace. Never had to.”
Q: How do you feel you played on your first time back?
HOUSTON: “I feel like I played good on the run. On the pass rush, I felt rusty. I definitely had to knock some rust off. As the game went on, I definitely felt like I was doing better, but they did a great job blocking, especially with the chips.”
Q: Was that what you experienced last time with the playoff game?
HOUSTON: “No, my biggest focus was conditioning. I felt like last time when I came back, my conditioning wasn’t as good at it was supposed to be. This time, I felt like my conditioning was pretty good.”
Q: With your knee injury, what kind of things did you do to stay in shape?
HOUSTON: “Ride the bike. Yeah, riding the bike can kind of help take pressure off, but you’re still getting cardio in. Also, running in the pool, that helps with a lot.”
Q: Are you licking your chops to go after Tom Brady?
HOUSTON: “I’m licking my chops at whatever quarterback is back there. It doesn’t matter if it’s Tom Brady back there or not. We, as a whole, we’ve got a goal in mind and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Q: How much harder does Tom Brady make your job, in terms of his ability to get rid of the ball so quick?
HOUSTON: “It makes my job very hard, but I trust the guys behind me that they’re going to make him hold the ball and give us time to get there.”
S ERIC BERRY
Q: How's the week gone?
BERRY: “It's going pretty good."
Q: How many hours have you spent looking at tape?
BERRY: “I can't really tell you. To me, I just look at it until I can't look anymore. If I feel like I'm not being productive, then I just stop and refresh. So I don't really know how much I've watched."
Q: So if you're at home watching film and start nodding off you just turn it off?
BERRY: “Yeah, that's with anything though. Like if I feel like I'm not being productive while I'm doing it I just stop and just wait until I'm ready to do it."
Q: Is there anything about that offense that makes you spend extra time preparing?
BERRY: “I think you have to be aware of who's over there, more so of just watching film and just understand what type of team they are, so I think that helps out a lot.”
Q: What type of team do you think they are?
BERRY: “They're a smart team. They try to take advantage of your weaknesses and they're going to be watching a lot of film and they understand football. They have a great staff, so you just have to understand that they're going to bring their A-game and they've been down this road a few times. So you've just got to be aware of that.”
Q: Is there any extra significance or excitement heading into this game?
BERRY: “No. All of this is exciting to me. We could be playing anybody, so I'm just happy to be here, happy to be here with my teammates and we're going to make the most out of this situation and just prepare like we've been preparing and move forward like that.”
Q: How much of the defense's success has been because of the guys up front?
BERRY: “None of this stuff on defense - it doesn't move without them. So everything started up front, their intensity, their work ethic, the things that they bring to the table. We feed off of them and this is the time of the year where they've been stepping up and we're going to need them more. Even more this week.”
Q: What kind of season is Sean Smith having?
BERRY: “He's having a great season, man. I think he's been playing very well, very smart, a lot of the plays that we make on the field don't show up as far as from a physical standpoint, but just him having his IQ out there on the field, I think it helps us out a lot in the secondary.”
Q: What did his addition do for the defense once he came back?
BERRY: “I mean, it gave us a lot. Just like I said, his IQ is very high. I think a lot of people don't realize that and a lot of people don't know that, but I think it's just good having him out there. He has a lot of experience, he's played a lot of different types of wide receivers, a lot of different caliber of wide receivers. So it's just good having all of our pieces out there.”
Q: What makes Rob Gronkowski such a tough matchup?
BERRY: “He's a competitor. And that alone with his size and just his ability as well, but at the end of the day, I feel like he's a big time competitor, so he's going to compete every chance he gets.
Q: Do you see any differences between the Tom Brady you saw last year and the one you're seeing this week?
BERRY: “I can't even remember. I just know he's going to bring his A-game so that's all I'm concerned about.”
Q: Does it ever blow your mind that you're going up against a guy who you were watching win Super Bowls as a kid?
BERRY: “I mean, not really. I haven't' been really caught up into that. Like I said, he's going to bring his A-game ad he's a very good quarterback and I'm just focused on making sure our guys are ready to go and we're focused on our game plan and just understand that he's just a top-notch quarterback and just be ready to go.”
Q: On Andy Reid.
BERRY: “Coach Reid, he's a heck of a coach, I couldn't say enough good things about him. A lot of the things that he taught me on the field, a lot of the values and little nuggets he gives throughout the day, those are a lot of the things that help me out in life. Like that 'fear nothing, attack everything,' - I got that from him. So that's where I got that from. It's just little things like that that he talks about and football and you can carry that stuff over into life. I pay attention to everything he says because he's been through all of the battles. I would say on and off the field. So it's truly a blessing to have him as a head coach.”
January 12, 2016
HEAD COACH ANDY REID
OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright, as far as the injuries go, Tamba (Hali) will not practice today. Justin (Houston) will not practice today, more precautionary measures than anything. (Laurent Duvernay) Tardif and Mitch Morse still have not passed the concussion protocol, so they will not practice today. Jeremy (Maclin) has got the ankle sprain, so he won’t practice today, although he’s making good progress day-to-day. Spencer Ware came in with an ankle sprain too, so again, he is not going to go today, but he’s making progress from yesterday to today. Other than that, everybody is getting ready to roll. Look forward to the challenge of playing New England. We know they’re the World Champions and we’re going to prepare ourselves to play a great football team, and that starts today. Our guys will have a good week of practice. Time’s yours.”
Q: How relieved were you when you found out Maclin’s injury wasn’t the worst possible case?
REID: “I was happy for the kid, you know, that’s a tough deal. I’ve got to tell you, it looked the part. He felt like there was, you know he’s been through a couple of those before, so he thought that was what it was. It looked that way on the test, but it all worked out. As we made our way back, he didn’t have any swelling in it. The docs and Jeremy all started going, whoa, maybe it’s something different. The pain started to go down more towards the ankle, so positive thing.”
Q: Is Jeremy the kind of player you feel comfortable with going a week not practicing and still feel comfortable with him playing?
REID: “Yeah. No, he could do that. He might not have to do that, but he could do that.”
Q: Is it specifically a high-ankle sprain?
REID: “Yeah, it’s a mild high-ankle sprain.”
Q: With Tamba Hali, how much did the turf in Houston have to do with the number of snaps he saw, and what will it mean going into New England?
REID: “Yeah, we’ll just see how it goes, how he’s feeling and work it from there. He wants to play, that’s not the situation. We’ll just see how the third down situations go, or if we decide to play him on first or second downs, it all depends on how his knee is rolling there.”
Q: How do you feel about your depth at wide receiver if Jeremy can’t play on Saturday?
REID: “I think we’re going to be okay. I’m not worried about it.”
Q: Not just the guys you have, but do you have enough bodies there to get through a game? Four guys enough?
REID: “Yeah, we should be okay. Yeah, should be alright.”
Q: Do you have to have backup plans in case any strange things come up, when it comes to headset communication or any sort of weird stuff?
REID: “Listen, I don’t worry about all that stuff. I don’t get into all that. I’ve played over there so many times and we used to play up there every year in the preseason, during the season. I mean, sometimes there’s a problem. When I was in Green Bay, we had a problem with it there. We had it at home, and the away team had it. Played New York, it was the same way both sides, and sometimes that stuff happens. We’ve just got to get ready to play a good football team.”
Q: What have your previous experiences been like at Gillette Stadium?
REID: “They’ve been good. I haven’t had any issues there. I mean, I’ve heard of things happening, but I haven’t had any of those problems.”
Q: Nothing’s different this week, then?
REID: “No, we go play. You go play. You worry about all that, that’s not how you win the game, right? You concentrate on getting better at your fundamentals, techniques and those great players you’ve got to play against. All that other stuff—distraction.”
Q: On Marcus Peters’ ability to play like a seasoned veteran in the playoffs.
REID: “He’s a competitive kid. He’s got it pretty well-focused down to, ‘I’ve got to win that battle against that guy each play, and there are certain things I have to do.’ It starts in his preparation each week, he’s willing to do that. He comes out, he practices, prepares himself that way, and then when he gets in the game, he challenges. If he gets beat, he has a short memory. That’s how he rolls. He keeps it pretty simple, doesn’t complicate it a lot.”
Q: Of all the guys you coach against, does Belichick have a better ability to be creative offensively?
REID: “He’s a Hall of Fame football coach. When it’s all said and done, that’s where he’s going to be. He does a heck of a job. He could coach either side of the ball, he’s good all the way around. Special teams, he’s done that. Good football coach.
Q: Does he have an ability to adapt?
REID: “Yeah, he does a great job of that. You don’t win as many games as he does without being able to adapt.”
Q: With five guys having started at multiple positions on the offensive line, what does it say about the job Andy Heck and Eugene Chung have done?
REID: “I give a lot of credit to them. And then, you take the run game and add it in there, too. Andy Heck does the run game. So, between he and Eugene, as far as coaching, your question there, coaching the techniques and fundamentals, they do as well as anybody. There’s another side to that, and that’s putting your guys in good positions. They do that too.”
Q: What led to your decision to giving Demetrius Harris a three-year extension last week?
REID: “That’s who you need to ask (John Dorsey). I probably knew at the same time you did. I was happy for the kid, though. He’s a good football player, and he’s going to do nothing but get better. Every year, he’s made improvements, going to continue to do that. Loves to play. Been a good addition.”
Q: Considering the injuries the Patriots have had on the offense, do you think this has been one of Tom Brady’s greatest years?
REID: “He’s had a lot of great years. He’s another one that’s a future Hall of Famer. It looks like he’s going to get some of those guys back. I’m sure he’s happy about that. He’s done it with all different types of receivers. Great player. That’s what they do.”
Q: What led to the decision with captains, and will the captains from last week’s game be your permanent captains throughout the postseason? Where did you pick up that system?
REID: “Yeah. Mike Holmgren did it that way, and I liked it. It gave everybody else an opportunity to be a captain throughout the year. It gave the team an opportunity in the playoffs to pick six captains—two on offense, two on defense, two on special teams—that will represent us throughout the whole tourney here, so that’s how it rolls.”
Q: Daniel Sorensen was one of your special teams guys, what have you seen in him the last two years that would make you feel comfortable giving him that designation?
REID: “He went to the right school (laughing). He’s a good football player. Good football player, continues to improve not only as a special teamer, but also as a defensive back.”
Q: Going back to 2011’s labor agreement, there have been limitations on how much players can practice, yet there has been no effect on injuries. Does that surprise you?
REID: “I once knew a boxer in Philadelphia—boxing was big in Philadelphia—so I talked to this long-time boxer, and he says, “listen, if you don’t practice being a boxer, you are probably going to get hurt.’ I always thought about that with football. That’s why we tackle during camp and do the things you do to play football. I thought when the restrictions were put out, probably there wouldn’t be a lot of change. I still think you have to block, you have to tackle and do those things that are important to the game.”
Q: How encouraging is it that you were able to score in the second half of the Texans game, being that most of this season, you’ve scored in the first half of the game?
REID: “We got stalled in a couple games in the second half. Kind of shot ourselves in the foot on a couple of those games, so that was a good thing to see. You want to score every drive, right? I mean, that’s the objective. To be able to do that in the second half, I thought, was a good thing, positive thing.”
Q: As the team has advanced to this level, have you had to adjust the team’s mindset of the stakes, or is it just another game?
REID: “Don’t worry about winning. Concentrate on your fundamentals. Those things, you can control, fundamentals and techniques, start it right here today and do it fast and furious. Do it again tomorrow. Make sure you learn the game plan. That’s what you can control. All the other stuff, don’t worry about that.”
Q: How did Justin Houston’s body respond to the game last week?
REID: “He did good. He, actually the brace gave him more positives—it was getting the right tension on it. Bruised up his leg a little bit, but that’s just getting used to it. It’s not that big of a deal. I thought he did a good job, first time out in six weeks or so. I thought he did a pretty good job there. Is he a little sore? Yeah, he’s a little sore from playing but it’s not the knee. That’s a good thing.”
Q: How do you feel now about Alex Smith’s ability to go into a game against a good opponent?
REID: “I think he’s top notch. For what we want to do offensively, he’s phenomenal. He’s got the whole package. Very, very intelligent, he’s got a good arm, great leadership ability with his teammates. He gets it. He knows how to do this thing.”
QB ALEX SMITH
Q: How excited are you for the game on Saturday?
SMITH: “Yeah, we’re still here. This is what you talked about all last week, was ‘let’s not make this the last week.’ You want to be here getting ready for the next challenge. The mentality doesn’t change, it’s ‘there is no tomorrow,’ it’s win or go home and it’s what you want - that’s why you’re playing the game.”
Q: How has Chris Conley’s game evolved?
SMITH: “Yeah, I think it’s tough as a young guy – you’re only getting limited reps this time of year and at his position you’re not getting all of those. You mix in here and there and a lot of that has to get done mentally, get done on the side kind of visualizing things and working through things and talking and walking them. And sometimes that can be hard as a young player and I think it’s just understanding that, being prepared for all of those scenarios and knowing all of that stuff. Obviously, he’s incredibly smart and I just think you get good at understanding how to prepare for these games and what a week of preparation looks like and I think he’s done a good job of that all year.”
Q: What does his touchdown catch say about your trust in him?
SMITH: “Actually, it was a little different than we talked all week. I thought he made a great adjustment and a heck of a catch, strong-hand catch there in the end zone. If that ball moves at all now they rule those incompletions and he was really strong with it and securing it.”
Q: Is there more pressure to score against New England or will you just continue to play your game?
SMITH: “Yeah, you’re always trying to score. Every time you get the football you’re trying to go out there and score. For us, we’re getting ready to play their defense, we’re not playing their offense. No, so I don’t think the mentality changes at all.”
Q: If Jeremy Maclin is limited or unavailable, how creative do you have to get on offense?
SMITH: “I don’t know as far as creative. Next guy up and we’ve all got to step our game up, it’s not on any one person. We’ve all got to find a way to get it done.”
Q: What enabled Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware to be able to step into the offense so easily?
SMITH: “Ultimately, it comes down to those two guys. I think not only physically, their talents, but mentally, being prepared. That’s probably the biggest factor. Obviously, I think everybody knew it was a big deal when Jamaal (Charles) went down and rightfully so. But Charcandrick (West) was not even blinking when he got his opportunity and staying ready and then jumping in and going. And then, yeah, obviously making the plays. Ultimately, coming down to that – making the plays in the game and then building off of that, getting the confidence that you know you can do it at this level.”
Q: How does Andy Reid take advantage of what Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware do best as he has been able to do with you?
SMITH: “Yeah, I don’t think that’s only with me, I think that’s with all of us – they do a great job of seeing our strengths and trying to put us in those situations and put us in good situations, absolutely.”
Q: Do you ever hear Eric Bieniemy yelling at the running backs?
SMITH: “Yeah, you can’t help but hear EB. That’s just the way he coaches, it’s hard. But yeah, you know – and all of us and then I think certainly, strength we all do – all of the coaches included and all of the guys here being on the same page. There’s so much carryover, obviously we do a lot of work with the backs, whether it be ball handling, routes, protection and all of that stuff, so we’ve got to know what they’re getting taught and vice versa. Certainly, I think a strength is kind of open communication, everybody being on the same page.”
Q: What do you take away from last year’s game against the Patriots?
SMITH: “I think that’s been talked about a lot. Both sides are looking at it and it was a long time ago, a lot has happened in between then. Yeah, some of the guys are the same, some aren’t. I’m sure there’s the chess match of adjustments off of it, both sides and what are they going to do? That’s always going to be there so yeah, you look at it and it’s there but at the same time, like I said, there’s been a ton of football since then. They’ve changed, we’ve changed. They’ve had two weeks, do they have new stuff? All of that’s there and that’s always going to be there a little bit. Both sides are going to have to be ready for anything.”
Q: Do you feel like the Patriots show you more new things come game time as opposed to other teams?
SMITH: “I think just even watching film you can see that. They’re so multiple, they have a lot of different personnel, they’ve played every different front and coverage there is. You can tell how well-coached they are that they can do all of that, that they’re that multiple and those guys can all handle it. Yeah, and you can see that it changes week to week. They certainly have game plans and what they’re trying to take away and who they’re trying to take away, strengths of your team and that changes week to week. And then depending on what front they’re in, coverages they’re playing, leverage, things like that. So they make you prepare for a lot, absolutely.”
Q: How were you guys able to overcome that last year?
SMITH: “Yeah, to a certain extent it’s you going out and executing your plays. You’ve got to go out and make them work and be ready for it all, prepare for it all – prepare for a lot, and they require you to do that.”
Q: How much more important is Travis Kelce to the offense?
SMITH: “I don’t think it’s just Travis, like I said, I think it’s everybody. We’ll see as the week goes on but certainly, if you lose a guy like (Jeremy Maclin), we all have to step it up.”
Q: How impressed have you been with the offensive line considering all of the changes?
SMITH: “Yeah, I think certainly, yeah, that’s been a strength of ours here in the second half of the season and is really a huge part of why we’re even here. It’s part of the game – those guys at such a physical position, those guys end up getting hurt. But having the depth that we have and all of those guys playing and being able to move around and play different positions and they’ve all done it and played at a high level I think says a lot. Moving Jah (Reid) in there this last week and having him play the way he did and our group as a unit against a really good front certainly was a huge reason why we ended up winning the game.”
Q: On Zach Fulton:
SMITH: “I think exactly that, just those guys paying attention to the details and being ready for all of that. Being ready to move around, it’s part of the game here with the limited roster and you’re only dressing seven guys, those guys have to be ready to play multiple positions. Zach’s obviously a great example of that, being able to move around; Mitch (Morse) goes down and he jumps in at center and does a great job for us.”
Q: Do you ever wonder what it’s like to be involved in so many playoff games like Tom Brady has been throughout his career?
SMITH: “To be honest, I haven’t given it a ton of thought. Certainly, I think I did see it was like his 30th postseason start and obviously that’s a big, big number. I think he leads every quarterback category there is in the postseason, including touchdowns and wins and things like that. So yeah, everybody’s chasing. And to be doing it as long as he has, it’s tough to put into words.”
LB DERRICK JOHNSON
Q: As the guy who’s been here the longest, is that any kind of burden to get off your back to finally win your first playoff game?
JOHNSON: “I wouldn’t say it’s a burden. It’s something that’s a sense of urgency that you want to do when you have a chance to do it. I’ve been to the playoffs four times, it took me 11 years to get one playoff win. But I’ll tell you what, it’s been worth it. Something about this team is very special. We’re just seizing the moment. There were a lot of high-fives after the game – not any hugs yet because we’re saving that for the end.”
Q: During some down years, were there times when you felt like a playoff win wasn’t going to happen for you?
JOHNSON: “No, I never go into a season or offseason with that mindset. That’s why you strap on the pads, because you have that confidence, that belief knowing that my team can win it all. Every year is an optimistic year, but this year we’re just seizing the moment, doing the little things right – it’s more of a reality this year.”
Q: So you know what Tony Gonzalez finally felt like?
JOHNSON: “Yeah, that’s a hard deal. Tony’s one of the best tight ends to ever play the game and he fell into that trap. That doesn’t take anything away from him, just unfortunate.”
Q: With all the injuries New England has had, has this been Tom Brady’s most impressive performance?
JOHNSON: “He’s pretty consistent each year, regardless of if he has players doing it on the outside or the inside. It goes through Brady, he’s the guy.”
Q: Is Tom Brady the best quarterback you’ve faced?
JOHNSON: “He ranks up at the top, for sure and arguably, he’s probably the best. He’s playing at a high level once again, he’s an older player and at the same time, you could play tight coverage, but he’s still going to stick it in there. We’re going to have tight coverages, but we’re going to have to make a play at some point in the game.”
Q: Did you hear from any of the guys who couldn’t win a playoff game when they were here, Gonzalez, Trent Green, Brian Waters?
JOHNSON: “No. I played with those guys, so we were in it together. But no, I haven’t talked to anybody. I was dealing with it myself. It’s one of those things where this is why you strap on the pads, to win it all. Even though I got my first playoff win, there’s more to be done.”
Q: What do you mean when you say you’re dealing with it yourself?
JOHNSON: “Going into the offseason, regretting certain stuff or saying ‘man, I wish I could have done this or I wish we would have won this game.’ Right now, I don’t have that mindset because we’re still in it.”
Q: When you’re watching tape of Brady, is he one of those guys who you stop the tape because you’re shocked by what he just did?
JOHNSON: “Yeah, I was watching a play today – I don’t know who they were playing – but one of the running backs did a wheel route, perfect coverage by the linebacker – inside leverage, pushing to the sideline – and he just threw him open. It was just a perfect ball. Great coverage, even greater throw. That’s what we’re going to have to deal with on Saturday. If you want to do anything great, you have to beat one of the great ones.”
Q: So it’s more of an execution thing as opposed to how he reads defenses and play-calling?
JOHNSON: “It’s definitely execution. If you give him something, he’s going to take it. He’s not throwing tight coverages every time. We have to be on our Ps and Qs the whole game, we can’t give him anything. When that happens, he’s going to find an open guy. The great ones like that, you have to make them work for it.”
Q: Do you expect Gillette Stadium to present any unique challenges?
JOHNSON: “The stadium is going to be loud, it’s going to be a hostile environment. They don’t lose much up there, we know that, tradition-wise. We’re going into a pit fight – we’ll be ready though.”
Q: Is there anything you can take from the 2014 game against the Patriots?
JOHNSON: “The confidence knowing that we did beat the Patriots. But that was last year – I was sitting in the stands – that was a great game, we were hitting on all cylinders. So hopefully we can have some of that luck fold over to this year. Again, we’re going to have to do the little things right to give ourselves a chance to win. This is going to come down to the fourth quarter.”
Q: Was there anything extra special after the win between you and Mike DeVito?
JOHNSON: “Before the game, they had both of our lockers together. Usually, (he’s) by defensive linemen, but somehow I got paired lockers with Mike DeVito. It’s a special moment, everything we’ve been through the last year, just sitting in the stands watching the team go through ups and downs and we just couldn’t wait to get back and help our team win. And after the game, we gave each other big man hugs.”
Q: What were your initial impressions of Andy Reid when he was hired?
JOHNSON: “Andy Reid’s one of the best coaches ever. His confidence and his standard of play bleeds through the whole team. When he first got hired here, that was a good look. Everybody respects Andy, he’s a proven coach in this league, and we were blessed to have him a few years ago.”
Q: How has he been able to change the culture?
JOHNSON: “Each year is different. You go through ups and downs on the field and off the field and we definitely have been though that being in this Chiefs organization. We’re tough-minded here, tough character and it’s coming out now.”
Q: You mentioned high fives, but no hugs yet. Is that a veteran mentality?
JOHNSON: “Yeah, definitely. We have a lot of veteran leadership on this team. Don’t get me wrong, we are celebrating the playoff win, the high fives and smiles and all that. But at the same time, we know the main mission.”
OL JEFF ALLEN
Q: Is it remarkable at all what you guys have been able to achieve as an offensive line with the guys going in and coming out of the lineup?
ALLEN: “I would say so. I would say it’s pretty rare to have as many guys as we have that are versatile, that are able to switch spots and able to get the job done.”
Q: What’s been your biggest challenge this year?
ALLEN: “Just being consistent for the entire group. Coming out each and every week and putting our best foot forward. That’s what you want to do with championship teams.”
Q: For somebody who hasn’t played those positions, how difficult is it for offensive linemen to play different positions?
ALLEN: “It presents a challenge, especially switching a total position – going from guard to tackle – because they’re two different monsters. On the outside, you have more athletic guys; inside, you have bigger, stronger guys, the fight starts sooner. And also switching sides is a challenge. But we have a lot of guys that can do it.”
Q: Did you have any snaps in practice at tackle?
ALLEN: “No, I didn’t.”
Q: How much have you seen Eric Fisher develop an edge?
ALLEN: “I’ve seen him grow a lot as a player, mentally and physically. He’s definitely becoming more edgy. I wouldn’t say he’s becoming more tough, he’s always been tough. As you grow and you get older, you play fast and that comes along with it.”
Q: On Saturday, did you notice the camera was focused on Fisher and he was getting booed?
ALLEN: “I noticed it. I actually liked it. I saw the play and a lot of people were saying it’s dirty – I didn’t think it was dirty. I think he was just finishing the play. (J.J.) Watt’s a great player and he makes a lot of plays by giving that extra effort. And if you’re not giving extra effort, he’s going to beat you. I liked it.”
Q: Is it fair to say he has a mean streak that he didn’t have when he first came to the Chiefs?
ALLEN: “I don’t know. I do think he’s developing that a little more. I think he’s always had it in him.”
Q: How far have you seen Zach Fulton come?
ALLEN: “I think he’s given more to this group, more than any of us. Playing center, that’s a tough role. Mitch (Morse) has done a great job for us in there. For someone who wasn’t a center from day one, to come in and get all of us on the same page, that’s big time.”
Q: You seem like you play with that edge, is that something you want guys around you to feel from you?
ALLEN: “Yeah, I want it to permeate throughout the group. I come out each and every week with that attitude that I’m going to win. And that’s what I want each one of us to have. A winner’s attitude.”
Q: How do you approach the game now that the stakes are higher?
ALLEN: “You just have to keep everything the same. We understand what’s at stake, we understand it’s a big time game and it’s going to be a big time atmosphere. We just have to do our best to try to keep it the same. We’ve been taking it one week at a time the entire season and it’s been working for us and we have to keep our same approach.”
Q: Could you talk about how to adapt without having Jamaal Charles?
ALLEN: “I think our running game changed a little bit with Jamaal out. He’s such a special guy that he can do some things that others can’t. Charcandrick (West), Spencer (Ware), Knile (Davis), they’ve all done it a great job. No matter who’s back there, we’re going to do our job and they’re going to do theirs and they’re going to make us look great.”
There are no games scheduled for today.
There are no games scheduled for today.
There are no games scheduled for today.