Chiefs Player Quotes
September 13, 2022
QB PATRICK MAHOMES
Q: What does it do for you guys to spend time on all the AFC West teams in OTAs? How does that help you?
MAHOMES: “Yeah, I mean it definitely helps for short weeks like this week that we spend some time on them (AFC West teams) in the offseason and that we kind of went over their defense and the rules of their defense and stuff like that, but you still have to jump into it. It’s a short week, a few late nights. A lot of time up at the building. (We have to) be prepared because they have a really good defense, and we have to go out there and execute if we want to find a way to win.”
Q: Were you surprised at the number of blitzes?
MAHOMES: “Not necessarily. I mean that’s what they’ve done. I mean (Cardinals Defensive Coordinator) Vance (Joseph) has had success doing that against us when he was in Denver. And that’s kind of their identity. So, you kind of get to some games sometimes where it’s ‘do they change their identity’ or ‘do they believe they can go out there and play the way they can play’ and they went out there and played and we were able to execute at a high enough level that we were able to go out there and score some points.”
Q: Why do you think that was the case?
MAHOMES: “I think we just had a good game plan going into it. We had a good protection plan. Even when guys were free, I thought guys did a great job of recognizing and kind of getting themselves open quickly. And then the offensive line did a great job of protecting. There were some spots where you could see guys like Orlando (Brown) kind of bouncing back out and getting guys they necessarily weren’t supposed to get just cause if they got that extra little hand on there, I was able to climb up in the pocket and make a throw.”
Q: Head Coach Andy Reid said that the way you prepare helps you get off to a fast start each season. Are there things you can point to specifically you can point to about training camp or OTAs that helps you get off to a fast start?
MAHOMES: “I think first off, it’s the amount of reps. I mean we get a lot of reps in training camp. We go up against a really good defense with a good scheme in (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Steve Spagnuolo) Spags. And then (Head) Coach (Andy) Reid puts us in a lot of game like situations where he puts us in situations where we’re having to run a two-minute drill or we’re having to drive down the field on a long drive drill and all these different situations so that whenever we get to the game you’re not surprised by stuff. And I think that’s why we kind of started fast in these last couple seasons. But we have to carry that momentum. I mean we have a tough schedule. So, we’re right on to the Chargers who are a great football team.”
Q: On his injury to his left wrist.
MAHOMES: “Yeah, it got a little sore yesterday but then today, it felt a lot better. So (I) kind of got in the training room (and) got a little work on it. (I) haven’t actually had any time today to even get any work on it but it’s already felt a lot better so I’m sure I’ll be good to go this week.”
Q: Has it been pretty extensive what you’ve had to do with it?
MAHOMES: “Not necessarily. I mean just normal stuff. Take care of it, kind of keep some stuff on it but other than that it feels great today so hopefully it keeps getting better like this and I’ll be good to go on Thursday.”
Q: What have you seen from the Los Angeles Chargers defense? Do you take a sense of pride that these teams are really just prepping for you?
MAHOMES: “I mean not just me. We have great quarterbacks in this division in general so you saw everybody in this division get pass rushers so they can get out there and get after the quarterback and make it hard on us. But (Chargers OLB) Khalil (Mack) is a great player. I mean obviously they have (Chargers OLB Joey) Bosa already with a lot of other guys that go out there and can rush the passer. They have a good defense everywhere. They have (Chargers S) Derwin (James Jr.) at safety. I know (Chargers CB) J.C. (Jackson), I don’t know if he’s playing or not, but he’s a great corner and they have other corners that can play as well and linebackers. So, this is a great defense, a great challenge for us early in the season. I’m just sad Khalil came back man. I though he was out of the AFC West but now he’s back getting sacks again.”
Q: What was firing you up to hold up your four fingers after your fourth passing touchdown (eventually fiving passing TDs) against the Cardinals?
MAHOMES: “I mean I don’t even remember doing it. I kind of just went out there and threw a touchdown. I was pretty hyped up, but I saw on the broadcast too. I don’t know exactly what I was thinking.”
Q: You know what it takes to be successful on Thursday night games. Because this one is so early in the year, how much do you weigh what you’ve done in the past that’s led to success on Thursday night and how much is a balance or getting extra sleep or maybe sacrificing sleep so that you are prepared?
MAHOMES: “I think usually I sacrifice the sleep earlier in the week and then as you get closer to the game trying to get back on your sleep schedule and getting your recovery back up there. I mean they’re tough. They’re always tough because your body’s not necessarily all the way back to where you want it to be, but you have to find ways to battle through it. Early in the season’s kind of good and bad because when you play a division game, we’ve studied the Chargers a lot in the offseason, so you still have that fresh in your mind but it seems like in the hits that you take early in the season you’re a little bit more sore because you’re not used to them again. There’s positives and negatives to it but you try to go in there and play your best football when it comes down to it at the end of the day.”
Q: On Jody Fortson being a red zone target.
MAHOMES: “Yeah, we do a good job of scheming stuff to get him in the one-on-one matchups. He’s such an athlete and he can go out there and make those catches and so whenever we get down to the redzone he makes those catches and gets those touchdowns. I think I said it to someone yesterday or the day before where I was just like, ‘We’ve got to get him more involved in the field,’ because he can make the plays happen in the field as well and I think you saw that in training camp. Hopefully as the season goes on (we’ll) get him involved more in the field and then he keeps catching those touchdowns.”
Q: How do you make sure during a short week that you guys don’t miss a beat and keep the momentum?
MAHOMES: “It’s finding that line of where we can go out there and put in new plays that go against this defense and this scheme but still run the plays that our guys know and that we can play fast and so I think Coach Reid does a great job of that, of still putting in new plays and putting us ready to go, but not overwhelming us. We have a lot of smart guys. I think that’s the biggest thing and it helps when you have those guys in the receiving room especially.”
Q: Is there something that you need to do at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium more correct to make sure these games against the Chargers don’t get away from you?
MAHOMES: “Yeah, they came in last year and beat us. I mean it’s Week 2 as well so that’s something you’ve got to learn from and know that they’re going to be ready to go. I mean, they’ve won here so they’re not going to be scared to come in here and play. So, we’ve got to come out here with a better mindset. We have to go out there and play better from the start and I think last year we got down 14-0, quick and had to battle back. And then the year before I don’t think I even played. It was the one last year. I think it was big for us to know that they’re going to come in with the mindset of kind of jumping on us early and trying to carry that momentum, so we’ve got to kind of match that with our momentum.”
Q: Are you intrigued to see how your offseason changes and adjustments are going to play against a defense like that?
MAHOMES: “Yeah, for sure. Their defensive coaching staff is great. I mean, (Chargers Head) Coach (Brandon) Staley’s the defensive coach, obviously and has done a lot of great things but I mean all the way down through it. And so, they’ll have a good gameplan, they do a good job of not only playing the same coverages but kind of through their scheme eval(uation), kind of being in the right spots. So, it’s about us kind of counteracting that and then going out there and executing. And so, they’re going to play, I mean obviously, probably more zone – not as much pressure – but they’ll come out there and play man too. They got a lot of great players that they believe in that they’ve brought in and I’m sure they’ll give us our chances in man, and we have to win whenever we get our chance.”
Q: On what he saw on his 35-yard pass to Travis Kelce.
MAHOMES: “Yeah, it was a play where it was designed where you kind of look at Mecole (Hardman) and reset to (Travis) Kelce and he was running to the spot and I’ve run that play a lot, throwing those balls to Kelce. So, I kind of just trusted him and threw it to the spot and I think it was 47 (Cardinals ILB Ezekiel Turner), the linebackers head was turned so I knew it was going to be tough for him to make that play. And luckily, he didn’t turn around fast enough, and Kelce made a great catch.
Q: With JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, how do you feel they did adjusting post-snap?
MAHOMES: “Yeah, I think they did a great job and especially against a defense like that where there’s pressure. I mean, a lot of times those adjustments come when you have to get yourself open, quickly. I think you saw there were certain times where I got the ball out of my hands fast and got it to those guys and they were able to get the ball and get up field. They’ll continue to get better and better. It’ll be another great challenge for us this week so I’m excited to just get out there and play again against a division opponent.”
Q: What was your message to Smith-Schuster in-game after his fumbles?
MAHOMES: “Yeah, I mean, those things happen. Obviously, we don’t want them to but he’s playing hard. Both times he fumbled he was trying to get extra yards. So, I mean all you can say is just try to keep it high and tight and keep two hands on it when you get in traffic. But I loved how hard he was playing, trying to run through tackles (and) get those extra yards. I think if he kind of keeps it high and tight, he’ll start breaking some of those tackles when they’re going in for their strips and he’ll get a few extra yards for us.”
Q: Did you make it a point to say, “Alright, I’m going back to you no matter what?”
MAHOMES: “I think those guys know it. That’s just kind of who I am. I’m going to give those guys chances. I believe in the guys that we have in this locker room. There’s never going to be a time where I kind of turn away from somebody. If their number gets called, I’m going to give them a chance and their going to go out there and make a play.”
Q: Is the Kelce play that you described earlier something that popped in the film room or did you just move on to the next play?
MAHOMES: “Move on to the next play. I was more upset that I missed Mecole on both of those touchdowns than anything. So, I’ll have to make sure that I get back and hit those next time and not leave those on the board.”
DE GEORGE KARLAFTIS
Q: Are you excited to play at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium for ‘real’ for the first time?
KARLAFTIS: “Yeah. I’m really excited. I mean preseason was awesome just seeing the fans, so (I’m) excited to see the intensity that everybody’s talking about and how it’s going to escalate from the preseason.”
Q: How much different did Sunday feel to even preseason?
KARLAFTIS: “It was definitely fast. It was a lot faster. But we practice at a certain level that prepares you for that game speed. So, I think as our coaches and my veterans and the guys around me in the D-line room did a great job in helping me prepare and be ready for the speed change because there is one.”
Q: What stands out to you on film about Chargers QB Justin Herbert?
KARLAFTIS: “Yeah, I mean you play in the NFL and everyone, it seems like almost everyone can run and throw and do it at a very high level. You know this guy’s one of the best that we’re going to play. We have a lot of respect for him on the defensive side. He’s going to bring a lot of challenges but we’re going to be ready I think. Just excited to go against a divisional rival.”
Q: How would you grade your performance against the Cardinals?
KARLAFTIS: “You watch the game tape and you want some plays back, but I think I was proud of myself for kind of getting out there and playing. (I) made a couple mistakes here and there but not letting it affect me. Having a goldfish memory and just forgetting and moving on to the next snap, so I was proud of myself for that too. Obviously, a lot to improve on in terms of technique, in terms of just everything about the game. (I) felt like I did some good, some bad and just a lot to improve nonetheless.”
T ORLANDO BROWN
Q: What are some of the ways that you can stop the combination of Chargers OLB Khalil Mack and OLB Joey Bosa?
BROWN: “Yeah, they’re two very special talents, both in their own way. Both have been doing it for a long time as well and they’re very consistent while doing it. I think they both play with a ton of power; you know they have – I don’t want to say a lot of different moves – but they have a lot of successful moves and different styles in the way that they set up their moves. They’re both really good pass-rushers, we’ll have our hands full this week.”
Q: How do you look at the ‘beefed up’ defenses this year as you go through the division?
BROWN: “It’s the NFL, we’re all excited for the challenge, you know what I mean? I didn’t sign up to do this to necessarily go against guys who weren’t elite at what they do. So, I look forward to the competition and being able to get out there and compete against that type of talent.”
Q: Do you do anything extra to get pumped up knowing that you’re going to be going up against a guy like Mack or Bosa?
BROWN: “Regardless, man, you kind of have to study who you’re playing and study their tendencies and all those different things. As far as extra, just with the short week, man, taking care of my body.”