QB PATRICK MAHOMES
Q: On having his son, Patrick Lavon “Bronze” Mahomes III.
MAHOMES: “Yeah, thank you. It’s cool, obviously. It’s awesome to bring in a son to add to my family. Everything went great and everything went smooth. Brittany’s (Mahomes) a champ, so it’s been really cool.”
Q: Can you give us an insight on the name Bronze? Is there a theme here?
MAHOMES: “Yeah, when me and Brittany – when we had Sterling, we didn’t know if it was a girl or boy at first, so we started thinking of girls and boys names. We wanted to obviously – them to have that connection and them to be brother and sister forever. Obviously, I always wanted to do ‘Patrick Lavon Mahomes III.’ I’ve thought about that since I was literally like I was five, six years old. I always thought it was going to be ‘Tre’ as the third because you hear a lot of people doing that and my brother Jackson (Mahomes), whenever we were trying to find something that was a little unique and different, he said, ‘What about Bronze? It fits perfectly with Sterling.’ And so, we went with that. I think it works out well and he can have his own thing now where he’s not Patrick, he’s Bronze even though he’s Patrick. And Sterling and Bronze can have that connection moving forward.”
Q: How much do you think it meant to your dad to keep the namesake going?
MAHOMES: “He was emotional, for sure. My dad as he’s gotten older has gotten a little bit more emotional, I think as all of us do. He was here this weekend, so it worked out perfectly that my family got to see him before they left and got back to Tyler (Texas). And so, it was cool to see him, and my grandpa was here and my grandma, (from) my mom’s side. I had a lot of family in, so it worked out perfectly that weekend.”
Q: What was it like to have your teammates meet your family and Bronze?
MAHOMES: “Yeah no, just to have – my family and my teammates have always got along perfectly. You would think when you saw Travis (Kelce) and my dad (that) they were best friends not me and him. It’s just the type of organization that we have here, the type of team that we have here – we’re all family in this building. And whenever I connect my family to that, it seems like it’s one big family. I think that’s what makes us such a good football team.”
Q: With how last year went, how much has this week’s game been circled on the calendar for you? Does it mean more than the other ones?
MAHOMES: “Yeah, I don’t know if it means more. I think you got to keep things in perspective, it’s a brand-new football season. Obviously, anytime somebody beats you the year before, you want to beat them, especially in game like they beat us in to go to the Super Bowl. And we understand it’s a great football team that’s playing great football right now. So, we’ll go out there and put our effort forward and play our best football and try to get that win because it’s a big win in the season to try to hold that number one seed and win our division.”
Q: How often does last year’s AFC Championship game enter your mind?
MAHOMES: “Not really a lot. Once the season ended and I wasn’t in the Super Bowl and I had to watch it from the couch in my house in Texas, I kind of just moved on knowing that you got to keep getting better, keep kind of moving forward. And if you want to have success that next season, you can’t dwell on what happened the last season, you have to learn from it and just get better from it.”
Q: You mentioned that one thing you learned from that game is that you have to finish. Is there anything else you learned from that game?
MAHOMES: “Yeah, just whenever stuff’s not going the perfect way – the way that we want it to go – just getting back to your fundamentals. I think that’s what I kind of look back (on) when, especially when I watch the tape this week, is I was really good in the first half with my fundamentals and as the game kind of – we weren’t having success as an offense – my fundamentals got worse and worse. And so, just whenever you get in those situations just trying to get back to that, getting back to your fundamentals and trusting in the game plan, that coaches are going to put us in the right position to succeed.”
Q: How much are you guys working on what the Bengals did to you in the second half?
MAHOMES: “Not a ton. We work on all different type of coverages, and it wasn’t like they did anything that was that much different from the first half than they did in the second half. They played a little bit more man-coverage than they did in the first half. They made some adjustments of trying to be in the right spots. But at the end of the day, we’ve got to execute at a high level. I trust that our guys are going to win against man-coverage and if I can execute and throw the ball in the right spot, we’ll find ways to have success. So just kind of like I said, getting back to the fundamentals and getting back to who I am.”
Q: Bengals WR Tyler Boyd compared the Mahomes-Burrow rivalry to the Brady-Manning rivalry. What do you see from Bengals QB Joe Burrow?
MAHOMES: “Yeah, I have a ton of respect for Joe (Burrow). He’s a great football player, but he’s a competitor, like you said. Those are the guys that win in this league are guys that compete. And so, I hate to compare it to (Tom) Brady and (Peyton) Manning because they’ve won so much and put up so many stats and I feel like that’s something that you do at the end of your career when they look back and see all the success that you had. I know – just like a lot of these guy – I know that I’m going to play this guy for a long time. He’s a great competitor, so he’s going to be on a great football team for a long time and then we’re going to have games like this. And so, I just try to go out there and win the week, and I know he does the same. We’ll see what happens at the end of the week and you move onto the next.”
Q: Earlier in the season you had commented on how you thought you would have to use your legs more later in the season. With this new receiving corps and how they’re playing, has your viewpoint changed on that? Do you anticipate using your legs a lot in the next upcoming games?
MAHOMES: “Yeah, I honestly don’t think about running until I have to. I think that’s a good thing and a bad thing, but I try to do whatever I can do to throw the ball down the field. But with all the coverages that we’re getting and they’re trying to take away guys and man coverages and putting people out there to stop all the receivers that we have, it’s kind of opened up those lanes. But yeah, I just try to use them whenever it’s there and not try to overdo it. I know that they have a good play last year where they were kind of spying me, the Bengals did, so I have to make sure I account for that as well. But, it’s just trusting your guys to – upfront to protect and then us making plays down field and I’ll give those guys chances too.”
Q: Even with your fundamentals, is it more fun to throw out of the pocket or the traditional three-step, five-step, get it out of your hands?
MAHOMES: “I don’t know. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started liking throwing from the pocket more. So, I don’t know if it’s just I’ve gotten a little bit older and understand a little bit more, but when I was younger, I liked to scramble around and make a ton of different throws. And I can still do it, but if I can throw it from the pocket these days, I’m just going to throw it from there.”
Q: You talked about not dwelling on the past. Was it your idea to go straight to Skyy Moore on offense after he muffed the punt?
MAHOMES: “I think it just worked out that way, but I think EB (Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy) and (Head) Coach (Andy) Reid do a good job of whenever stuff like that happens, scheming up stuff or calling those plays that might have him as one of the primary options. I just go through my reads and throw it to the guys that are open. But, that’s the thing (about) this team is we’re not dwelling on that. We know the guys here are competing, they’re doing whatever they can to put everything on the line and if something happens bad, we know the next time you get the chance, you’re going to make a play happen. And that’s what great teams do, and that’s what great players do.”
Q: You mentioned maybe losing some fundamentals in the second half of last year’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Is that something that you feel while it’s happening or something that you see on tape?
MAHOMES: “I think it’s something that I’ve gotten better at recognizing as my career’s gone on. As I get into – I don’t want to say slumps – but in some spots in games where my fundamentals go bad, I try to be better at fixing them quicker. Because those are things that I’ve taught myself now of how to recognize and how to get back to ‘what do I think of to get back to the right fundamentals?’ Having guys like Chad Henne, (Senior Offensive Assistant/Quarterbacks Coach Matt) Nagy and all these guys that have kind of been around me for a while now they can kind of give me stuff and they can – I don’t want to say critique me – but they can tell me when I’m not doing something the right way so I can get back to what we’ve practiced on all week and that’s something that I try to recognize as quickly as possible.”
Q: Is that kind of like a mound visit in baseball?
MAHOMES: “That’s exactly right. Just having someone that can come out that you trust and knows that they want you to play the best football possible and they can just give you those little tidbits that can get you back into the rhythm of the offense.”
Q: This year with the Cincinnati Bengals is there anything different or is it more of the same with their defense?
MAHOMES: “I think it’s a really good defense. It’s a really good entire unit of defense. They’re well coached, they have good players at every level, and they’ve played together now for a long time, so they do a great job of passing off stuff in zone coverages and man coverages and knowing where the other guy is to help. So, they’re a well-coached unit. We know it’s a great challenge for us, and we’re just going go out there and try to execute at a high level. It’ll probably be a lot of tight window throws and guys are going to have to make plays and that’s what happens when you play a great football team. It’s going to be a tightly contested game.”
Q: What has the experience been like watching film from the last matchup? Does it differ based on how you played in that particular game?
MAHOMES: “You learn from it in good and bad ways. You learn from the stuff you did good, and you want to execute and do that stuff again. Then you see the stuff that you miss and obviously you’re mad because you missed it, but you learn from that so then you can hit it the next time. The thing about us is we prefer to play these teams a lot now with all these young quarterbacks from the league, you start playing the same teams. So you learn from it, you make adjustments, they make adjustments and then you go out there and make adjustments on the field. It’s a great challenge for both teams and I’m excited for it.”
Q: With a lot of new faces in the receiver room, what are the most important things for you to do to help them get acclimated and help them feel welcomed here?
MAHOMES: “I think it’s just – you just talk. You just talk to each other. You learn that relationship with the guys off the field, and then on the field you talk to them about how you like things ran (and) they talk about how they’ve ran them before. You learn from each other, then you go out there and execute at a high level, and I think that’s what we’ve done. As the season’s gone on, you see we’re getting more and more chemistry because we’ve talked through the stuff, we’ve talked through the mistake, we’ve talked through the positives, and we’ve learned how to keep evolving as an offense.”
DT CHRIS JONES
Q: It was a couple sacks that you mentioned that you missed out on in the playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Is that still something that’s on your mind or is that just in the offseason?
JONES: “It was a driving force for this offseason. You know, you always can look back and push yourself to do something better and it was definitely a driving force of a lot of plays that I left on the field that I think could have sealed the game and put us in a better position to win. But right now, our focus is on this year, winning this game (and) putting ourselves into position to where we can go out and compete.”
Q: Statistically speaking, you’re at your second-best sack total already and as a team you guys have already eclipsed your sack total from last year. What was the driving force for you and the unit as a whole?
JONES: “One person man – well actually two people, (Assistant Defensive Line Coach) Terry Bradden and (Defensive Line Coach) Joe Cullen. We’ve got some of the best coaches in the building, and we’re just very fortunate. We’ve got a very good group, a very young group (and) a lot of hungry guys in our room, starting with the leadership of Frank Clark (and) Carlos Dunlap. Then the younger guys like Khalen Saunders stepping up this year, Derrick Nnadi who has been in this system for four to five years and Mike Danna, Tershawn Wharton. A lot of guys who are hungry to show that they belong in this league.”
Q: There are points in games where you really start cooking and you are hard to defend. How do you challenge yourself to get to that point as fast as possible?
JONES: “More so being decisive. I understand that every play of the game is not meant for me to make. Sometimes it’s meant for me to take on the double team in order for the blitz to get there. Schematically, me and (Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo) Spags talk about it along the week, how he plans on calling the game and how he plans on using me and when I get my opportunity to get a one-on-one or I see something (that’s on) film where I can take advantage of it, that’s what I try to capitalize on.”