QB PATRICK MAHOMES
Q: Have you studied other teams on how difficult it is to repeat as Super Bowl champions?
MAHOMES: “I haven’t necessarily studied other teams. I try to learn from what we did last time when we were trying to repeat, obviously getting to the Super Bowl and losing. Just trying to learn from that stuff, take the positives and learn from what we didn’t do to get us that second championship that year. Definitely looking at that, but not necessarily at other teams.”
Q: What have you learned from that experience?
MAHOMES: “I think just not being satisfied with getting wins or having some early success. You have to keep building. You learn that a lot in the NFL is you might have a great start to the season but as the season goes on, you have to keep building or other teams are going to catch you. You want to be the best team at the end of the season just as much as you want to be the best team at the beginning.”
Q: Last year you said, ‘Fantasy players are going to hate us because there will be a different featured receiver each week.’ How do you feel about going into the season? Do you feel like you could say the same thing for this year’s team?
MAHOMES: “Yeah, I mean you just add two more receivers to it. We have a lot of talented receivers, a lot of them can do a lot of things. We’re going to try and use that to our advantage – moving guys around, giving guys opportunities to make plays. That receiving room is taking pride with being a room they can go out there and excel no matter who the guy is getting the football.”
Q: How does Kadarius Toney look and how much of a positive is it that he could be available for Thursday’s game?
MAHOMES: “Obviously a positive. The talent that he has, the competitor that he is. To be able to go out there and have that weapon would definitely be a huge positive. He’s done a great job in the practices that he’s been in so far, and I’m looking forward to him continuing to step up and be even better and be more like his normal self. Honestly going out there the first few days and seeing him, he looks like KT (Kadarius Toney). I’m excited for that, he put a lot of time in that rehab process so that he can get himself ready, hopefully to play in this first week.”
Q: When you look at Detroit’s defense, what challenges have you seen on film that they present to you?
MAHOMES: “The obvious thing is they play hard, they play hard the entire game, no matter if it’s a good play, bad play, they’re going to come back that next snap and play extremely hard. Then they do a lot of great stuff scheme wise. They had a lot of young guys playing last year. You could see throughout the season how they grew and got better and better. Then they added talent, they added (CB Cam) Sutton from the Steelers, they add (DB C.J.) Gardner-Johnson, obviously I’ve played him a couple times, (a) great football player. They’ve added talent with young guys and veterans. They play hard, and they got better even last year. We know it’s going to be a heck of a football game, and if we don’t play our best football, we aren’t going to go out there and win.”
Q: On the growth of Skyy Moore.
MAHOMES: “Yeah, I think he just got more comfortable within the offense. It’s a hard offense to learn. We threw a lot at him because he had to play a lot of different spots last year. I thought he got more and more comfortable as the season went on. Then obviously coming to the OTA’s and the training camp it was even at another level. I’m excited for him to showcase where he’s at. I mean he’s always been talented but how comfortable he is within the offense, Getting more opportunity, I’m excited for him to go out there and show everybody kind of what I’ve been seeing.”
Q: What stands out when you see Jared Goff’s tape?
MAHOMES: “He’s a great football player. No matter if it was at the Rams or last year with the Lions. He’s always put-up stats, he’s always won games. That takes something, to be able to win a game when everything might not be going perfect. You have to have something inside of you that says, ‘I can go out there and find a way to win’ and he’s done that his entire career. Obviously, (he’s a) talented thrower, a big guy that can go around and make a lot of big-time throws. He’s won everywhere he’s been, so I know it’s going to be a great challenge for us.”
Q: What do you remember form the Chiefs at Rams Monday Night Football game in 2018 where Jared Goff was the quarterback and both teams scored over 50 points?
MAHOMES: “Like I said it was another game where – even though there was a lot of points scored, not everything went great for either side of the ball. We all battled, and they ended up coming out on top. What I remember is I think I had like four or five turnovers, so I had two fumbles (and) three picks, so that’s what I remember from that game. Everybody talks about the numbers and the stats, but that’s kind of what lost the game so that’s what will stick with me for a while.”
Q: Is it a little harder to prepare for a team in week one or two since you don’t have tape on them from this season?
MAHOMES: Yeah, I think especially with this coordinator with (Defensive Coordinator Aaron) Glenn, I mean he does a lot of different stuff, he’s very gameplan specific. Even throughout the season it would be a little bit more wrinkles and stuff like that. You can tell when he has time to study the team, he does a good job of scheming them up and putting out different coverages that they might not have shown before that he thinks will work against the team he’s playing. We have to have a good understanding of that – obviously we want to start fast. Being able to recognize the wrinkles as fast as we can on the sidelines (and) make those adjustments and continue to play. It’s going to be a fight, and I’ve said that to all the guys, this team is coming in and they expect to win, and we expect to win so that’s when you get the great football games.”
Q: Detroit’s defensive line with Aidan Hutchinson there, have you seen progress from his last year’s tape to now and how much of a threat that defensive line?
MAHOMES: “Yeah, I think he was one of the guys that I was talking about. You could see at the beginning of the year he played hard; he was trying to figure everything out but as the season went on, he really started coming into his own. He’s a great football player, there’s a reason he was drafted where he was drafted and a reason he had success in college where he did. He’s a great football player, has the physical talent but also a smart football player. He had three interceptions last year so you know he can do a little bit of everything. We’ll have to account for him every snap because you know he’s a gamechanger type of player and we can’t let him affect the game on some of those big moments.”
Q: You didn’t get hit at all in the preseason. Does that leave you feeling really confident in your offensive line going into the regular season?
MAHOMES: “Yeah, I’m always confident in my guys, offensive line, everybody I’m confident in them. I know they’ve been working their tail off and they’re excited to showcase what they have and what they’ve been doing. I think it’s just taking that next step obviously preseason is one thing but taking that next step into the regular season will be big and it’s not always going to be perfect by how are you going to battle the entire game to find a way to win.”
Q: Last year it seemed like your connection with Marquez Valdes-Scantling got better as the season went on. How confident are you in that connection starting the season off this year?
MAHOMES: “I think you saw – kind of similar to Skyy (Moore) – as the season went on, we were always having some success, but we missed a couple shots here and there, but as the season went on, we started to hit those shots. I think it just kind of continued through OTAs and through training camp. That just comes with the quarterback-receiver relationship. He knows where I want him to be, and I know what he’s great at and how I can excel in that. That just comes with time and reps, so I’m excited to kind of showcase that Thursday and the rest of the season is that we’ve kind of worked on that type of stuff and we can hit those ones we missed at the beginning of last year.”
Q: What are your thoughts on now preparing for week one without Chris Jones?
MAHOMES: “At this point you just prepare to play the game with the guys that are in the building and let the front office handle that. We got a tough test with the Detroit Lions and we’re going to focus on how we can win with the guys that are here.”
Q: There has been a lot of talk on your contract that you structured it in a team-friendly way. Was there ever an expectation that other players might do that?
MAHOMES: “I know how special it is here and I know how special of a thing we’ve got going. I stay out of contract stuff, but I know I’m lucky to be in this place and I want to go out and win as many championships as I can.”
Q: What have you learned about Chris Oladokun in his time here?
MAHOMES: “He’s been – people talk about him, he’s like a sponge. He’s been soaking in everything as far as learning from Chad (Henne), learning from Shane (Buechele) last year and learning from Blaine (Gabbert) now. He’s always had talent. I think he (has) showcased that every time he’s played, but being able to become an NFL quarterback is different – I had to go through that process. I think he’s done a great job of learning, he showcased that in the preseason of how he’s evolved and taken that next step. I’m excited for him to continue to learn, he’s (got) a ton of talent and hopefully he’s not taking my spot (laughter) but hopefully he’ll have a spot in the NFL somewhere at some point.”
LB NICK BOLTON
Q: Is there a difference between an opening game versus a game later on in the season?
BOLTON: “I think it’s – I mean obviously it’s a little bit different, (it’s the) first time you get to go out there with your teammates when it really counts. Again, as regular season versus preseason, training camp, the level of anticipation, opponents (are) going to be a little better, playing a little bit harder, all the things kind of factor into it. But again, it’s game-by-game, it’s a long season. Right now, we have a great opportunity ahead of us opening up the season at home in front of a home crowd and kind of get going for the season.”
Q: Advice to the rookies and their leap from college to the pros and from training camp to the season?
BOLTON: “Yeah, the first couple of games – but I can speak for my own self – is kind of just dialing (in) on fundamentals. Those things, individual things you’ve been doing from training camp all of a sudden you get tired and bullets are flying, those are the things you rely on so, I rely on those things, rely on your teammates to kind of help you if you don’t know the answers or if you don’t know exactly what to do on the call, not being hesitant to ask questions and so as the game progresses and we keep going throughout the game, those guys get more comfortable and we just kind of settle in after that.”
Q: Did you have a “Welcome to the NFL” moment in your first few weeks as a rookie?
BOLTON: “I can’t remember his name, but I remember we played week one, I think it was here versus the Browns I believe, and a guard pulled up on me and I hit him with my right shoulder and stalemated him for about two seconds and then I got put on my back pretty quick. That was probably my ‘Welcome to NFL moment.’ That was the first time I think I’ve ever been put on my back like that in my whole life so definitely was an eye opener for me.”
Q: Do you feel pressure coming into the season as reigning Super Bowl champions?
BOLTON: “I wouldn’t necessarily say pressure, but we understand being world champs and winning the Super Bowl you are going to get everybody’s best shot. It is what it is, that’s the competitive part of football, I mean that’s why we all love sports. You’re a part of another champion, everybody came at them at 100%, everything they had, so again, it’s just kind of the cost of winning, just got to go out there and execute. Again, who loves competition? I know I do.”
S JUSTIN REID
Q: Are you ready to get the season started?
REID: “Oh yeah, excited about it. It feels like we just blinked and now we’re right into the middle of the football season so (I’m) excited to get back on the field and get to it.”
Q: Is there a difference between an opening game versus a game later on in the season?
REID: “I think there’s something special about it in the sense that you’re kicking off the entire season. Everyone is excited for the football season to start, but you know we get a three-day head start in front of everybody else. We’ll be the only game on TV, you know all eyes on us. (We’re) Playing a very good Detroit Lions team that finished the season strong last year, so it’ll be a good game. We’re really excited about playing at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium anytime we get the chance to because our fans are unbelievable.”
Q: What is the defensive unit’s goal throughout the entire season?
REID: “Man, just be physical, I want guys to remember that. You know, I want them (the other team) to see – look at their bodies on Monday and see a couple bruises on it and be like ‘Man those guys hit hard. They played fast, felt like they were coming at us (from) a hundred different directions’ – and that we’re just a hard-fought team, well coached, very disciplined, all those things, good tacklers. You want to make the big plays when you have the opportunities to, so a lot of experience coming back this year, (we) should be able to brush past some of those growing pains early in the season last year and a couple of new faces that we’re bringing along, Mike Edwards, Chamarri (Conner), couple of other rookies that are going to have their opportunity to shine too.”
Q: With the banner being raised, and it essentially being the last hoorah before turning the page on last season, what is it going to feel like to see it and know that you helped contribute to that Super Bowl win?
REID: “I mean the page is already turned on it. I honestly probably won’t even see the banner go up, I’m going to be focused on getting prepared for playing a football game against the Detroit Lions and focusing on this season. What we did last year was great, but that’s last year and that won’t help us win a football game this year. It just paints a bigger target on our back, and we know we’re going to get everybody’s best shot so we’re going to have to play our best ball and be prepared for it.”