OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright, as far as injuries go JuJu’s (Smith-Schuster) sick today, so he won’t be there. (Jerick) McKinnon has a hamstring strain; he won’t practice today. And then (Kadarius) Toney is getting better but won’t practice today. Everybody else will be out there rolling. (We) look forward to the challenge of playing Cincinnati, we know they’re a heck of a football team. And we’ll start today getting ready for them, so it’ll be good to get on the practice field. With that, time’s yours.”
Q: I know you try to put games away from the past, but you had two tough games against the Bengals last year. Chris Jones spoke earlier this season about how those games were the ones that drove him in the offseason. Do they drive you?
REID: “Well it was the last game of the year, so you remember the game and they did some good things. So, I’m not going to say it drives you, but you know you go back and you evaluate the game, yeah.”
Q: What do you see from them this year compared to last year? What have they done differently this year?
REID: “Well they’re doing a good job. It’s kind of the same stuff they’ve been doing. They’ve got most of their guys back, they’re playing at a high level. The games that they have lost, they lost by a few points with the exception of the Browns and so it’s very similar. Good, solid football (on) both sides of the ball and special teams.”
Q: When you look back at the second half of the AFC Championship, how much did you learn from that knowing that the defense they played is something that caught you off guard?
REID: “Yeah and you know they played (that defense) the first half too a little bit but they did a good job with it. I mean that’s what they did. They dropped eight and played man-coverage and had a thief player rolling around in there and they executed well – better than how we did. We didn’t do very well with it. So, they got us. But we’ve worked on it, I’m sure they’ve worked on new things, and we’ll see how it goes.”
Q: There were guys before and after the Tampa Bay game that made it very clear how much the previous game motivated them for that contest. It’s a similar situation here. How do you manage when guys are already motivated and emotional to not lose sight of the game?
REID: “So again it was the last game, so you love to have an opportunity to play them and do better than what we did – that’s for sure. If something motivates you that’s kind of it. But you also know you have to play within yourself and do the things that you know are right and be able to – don’t get so high that you can’t execute so that’s the trick there.”
Q: Patrick Mahomes said after Sunday’s game that the lesson he learned from the AFC Championship loss is to close out games. Throughout the season do you use a game like that as a reminder?
REID: “Well each one of these things is a learning lesson, right? Win or lose. You come out and you spend all these hours dissecting what you could’ve done better, and it doesn’t matter the game so you’re taking lessons out of each game. This one was – for Pat (Mahomes) that’s what it was, what he said. But we all, everybody’s got that. Chris (Jones) said, ‘I missed this sack.’ (Nick) Bolton said he had two interceptions that he dropped. I look in the mirror and I go, ‘There were some calls I would’ve liked to have had back.’ So everybody has that and as long as they’re willing to admit it there’s a chance to get better and that’s the kind of thing you’re wanting to do.”
Q: We hadn’t been able to see the catching ability of Isiah Pacheco up until this past game and that’s something you’ve emphasized for the running backs on your teams. How’s that catching ability coming along?
REID: “Yeah so, I mean, Soren (Petro), he’s got really good hands. He just hadn’t had a ton of opportunity, but he will as time goes on here, he’ll get more opportunities to catch the ball. He did a nice job on that one for sure.”
Q: You and Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy talked about Pacheco having patience, it’s easy to see how hard he wants to hit the hole. Is that magnified even more with the passing game with some of the option routes?
REID: “No he’s done good with that. He actually does well with the routes and his patience on that. The running is getting better. I mean he’s getting better at that. He’s extremely – he’s got some kind of energy now. If I had that energy I’d be 110 pounds (laughter). I want to borrow some. So he’s unbelievable that way, how he plays and he’s that way every day. I mean that’s how he’s out at practice and everything else. He’s got quite a motor.”
Q: On Melvin Gordon being signed to the practice squad. What are you hoping to get out of him down the stretch of the season?
REID: “We’ll just see. That’s kind of the way we explained it to him (Melvin Gordon). We’ll see where this thing goes and where he’s at and where the running back situation goes but he sure has been a heck of a player in the league. I mean one thing we do know is we know him – whether he’s with the Chargers or with Denver – so we know what kind of player he is and so you know maybe there’s a time here he can help us too. But we take all kinds. If you had some game left in you, we’d be bringing you over, Herbie (Teope) (laughter), that’s what I’m saying, yeah, we’d bring you over (laughter).”
Q: You briefly mentioned the Chris Jones ‘almost sack,’ maybe that’s the biggest difference for you guys defensively this year is the ability to finish sacks. How much confidence does that give you this year?
REID: “Yeah, we’ve done better in that area – finishing the sacks. This kid (Bengals QB Joe Burrow) is unique that we’re playing, he’s strong in the pocket so it presents another challenge, and you know our guys will work on that this week and make sure that they have a plan for that.”
Q: You also added Brandon Williams to the practice squad or are going to. Was there a need for a player like that or did you just see a good player and say let’s bring him in?
REID: “I’d tell you a good player. He and Defensive Line Coach Joe Cullen (have) history, so Joe speaks very highly of him and still thinks he can contribute so he’s been doing it a long time but we welcome that. He’s a great kid and good football player.”
Q: Mahomes welcomed a new addition to his family. I know it’s not his first so he’s probably a little more prepared, but does that take away preparation time this week?
REID: “Yeah, he seems pretty focused on the job at hand. He’s got a great wife (Brittany Mahomes) that gets all that. She’s an athlete too. But Bronze, I love it, Bronze. Patrick Mahomes III, right? Yeah, it’s good. So, Bronze I think is in good hands and you know the players all got on Patrick that you know, if they play long enough, they’ll have another quarterback here (laughter).”
Q: You got the news yesterday that you got flexed out of primetime in Denver. Is it safe to say there’s a part of you that is happy to then get home a little earlier?
REID: “Yeah. I was ok with it, yeah (laughter). I have no decision-making part of that or for that, but I’ll take it.”
Q: When the game is the last game of the year, I guess you don’t have the full next week to go over the things you’ve mentioned you struggled with so does it pop up this year or do you assume the lesson was ingrained last year to the players?
REID: “I come in and look at the tape and then I talk to them before they leave. Most of them saw it too somewhere there either on the plane ride back or soon after. With these iPads – they all have them, but we talked about it, yeah. It was an open conversation about it, and we knew what we needed to better ourselves for that situation. I mean every game is different so we’re going into this same team, but they’ll have something different for us. But if you use it to get better than that’s the objective. A lot of the guys weren’t here so they just watch the tape and see what we did.”