Reid, Mahomes, Chiefs Quotes: Dec 31

Reid, Mahomes, Chiefs Quotes: Dec 31

Andy Reid

OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright, what a game and our fans were unbelievable – loud. They started the New Years (celebration) early, I think. It was impressive. Great win to get against a good football team. (Bengals Head Coach) Zac (Taylor) does a heck of a job with that team, and they were battling through some injuries early but you saw their quarterback (Jake Browning) was a good player and for a young guy to be able to step in for a great player like that (Joe Burrow) and do what he did is impressive. I was very proud of our coaches. The offense and defensive coaches, special teams. Everybody contributed in this thing which I think was great. As you saw, nobody gave up hope. It wasn’t the smoothest early but the guys battled through and they supported each other and so, that’s a positive. And then there were a bunch of individual plays. You’ve got to start with (Harrison) Butker, six field goals. Six field goals, that was incredible, and these weren’t just little chip shots, these were real field goals. And then Willie (Gay) had a huge play in there which was great to see. (Rashee) Rice with the big catch. The O-line and D-line just came with a certain attitude and took charge there. D-line had 6.0 sacks I think it was, had 6.0 sacks or 7.0, whatever it was it was a lot of sacks, mixed in there. They did great. Richie James with the punt return – did a heck of a job with that. Listen, I could get going through it but all in all it was a good game to get. It was great to have the guys have a championship with the AFC West. So, I mean that’s a positive, positive thing. I know how they are. They’re not going to rest on that but it is exciting for them to get a taste – especially the guys that haven’t had that experience. Again, proud of the whole situation. Anyways, time’s yours.”

Q: Is there a satisfaction in this since it’s been a bit of a grind?

REID: “Yeah, I think that’s a positive Vahe (Gregorian). Everyone’s been so positive through it and supporting each other. I mean you’ve seen it on the sidelines – guys supporting each other. The want to by Chris Jones, by Patrick (Mahomes), by (Travis) Kelce. I mean and then the guys follow them. When they bring that energy like they do every week guys believe that it’s going to get changed and so it allows me to stand up here and tell you that we’re about that close every week and so it’s just a matter of getting some things figured out and this is what happens. They keep pounding and that’s great.”

Q: What boost did Isiah Pacheco bring?

REID: “Yeah, I should’ve mentioned Isiah (Pacheco). A lot of energy. You know I look at Pacheco, I look at (L’Jarius) Sneed. These guys kind of came off the bed to play and they did a heck of a job with it. Pacheco brought great energy, (he) ran hard, aggressive, wanted it more and we had some young back ups behind him that had a chance to get in the game too so that was good.”

Q: One of the things you talked about last week was mechanics. How did that feel this week to come out and get down field?

REID: “It’s always good to start fast. That’s a positive. You want to do that every week. The guys, they executed well and that’s the most important thing – right now, this time of the year – that’s the most important thing. Kind of ironed out some things out there and make sure that we come out. Like I said our coordinators, (Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo) Spags and (Offensive Coordinator Matt Nagy) Nags had great game plans. They tapered it to the guys and then that was the result there.”

Q: On some of Patrick Mahomes’ long shots down the field.

REID: “Yeah that’s a positive. You want to do that. It cuts down on those long drives, right? You get a couple positive shots down the field that’s big. (Rashee) Rice had one. (Justin) Watson had one. (Isiah) Pacheco had the runs. That’s all good stuff.”

Q: Understanding that this is all new right now, but it looks like next week’s game will be meaningless for playoff implications. Do you have thoughts on how you might handle it in terms of starters?

REID: “I haven’t gotten there yet. You were right (laughter).”

Q: Can you go through Rashee Rice’s big play?

REID: “Yeah so, they pressed coverage, single safety, middle. (He) won that battle. Pat (Mahomes) laid it out there beautifully, Rashee (Rice) went and got it. He needs to score though (laughter). He did a great job with it though, that was strong, just a physically strong move that he made – impressive.”

Q: Is there concern about not punching it into the end zone?

REID: “Yeah, listen, I mean that happens. We’ll work through all that. I’m not worried about that right now.”

Q: You may have already said this a bit. This is a little later in the season that you may have gotten momentum in the past. Has there been a message to the team at all about resetting?

REID: “Yeah, I mean listen, the guys are excited. I don’t need to say much. They understand and like I said, I’ve got leaders that have been through this before and they enjoyed it but at the same time they’re going to want more but they were excited to answer your question. I didn’t need to say all that.”

Q: How important was it to keep composure even with some of the jawing back and forth?

REID: “Listen, I think these two teams like to play each other and compete and that’s what I saw. There’s going to be some chippy things that go on. That’s just part of – that’s the nature of the game. It was great for the fans to watch, great for the coaches on the sideline to watch. That’s great competition and you want to make sure that you don’t do anything stupid where you get flagged on it but at the same time, things are going to happen – the emotion. It’s an emotional game.”

Patrick Mahomes

Q: Is there a different sense of satisfaction winning this AFC West title feel since it took a different type of grind to get it?

MAHOMES: “It’s definitely special. I mean it always is though, it really always is. It’s cool to win the AFC West but obviously dealing with some adverse situations over these last few weeks and for guys to respond against a good football team and find a way to win even when the game wasn’t going in our way at the beginning of it. It was special, I told the guys (to) celebrate it, enjoy it, but I mean our goal is obviously to continue to win so we have to continue to build off of this momentum and get ready for the playoffs.”

Q: Does this give you a tangible feeling of another accomplishment and feel like a reset with momentum?

MAHOMES: “Yeah, I thought we did a lot of great things today. Offensively, I thought we did a good job of just letting the game come to us, not trying to force it, not trying to do too much. Obviously, we had the one fumble in the first half but other than that I thought the guys did a great job. We have to continue to get better in the redzone but Harrison Butker, he saved us man, he knocked through six field goals. When you have a defense like that shutting the door, I mean that’s how you have to win football games.”

Q: On Isiah Pacheco and Rashee Rice’s performance today.

MAHOMES: “Those guys stepping up and making plays happen. I thought the offensive line did a tremendous job in the run game and then obviously Isiah (Pacheco) when he gets through there, he’s gone and so he did a great job. Rashee (Rice) made a lot of big plays, especially in the second half and that’s what we’re going to need when they have that much attention on Travis (Kelce), for guys like that to step up and make plays happen. Like I said, I thought guys just continued with it, when stuff wasn’t going our way, they didn’t get down, they just continued with the process and we were able to get a win.”

Q: What did you see on the deep ball with Rashee Rice?

MAHOMES: “I think they busted a coverage. I think they were trying to get to two and they ended up having two guys playing on the same side as far as the safety and corner. I was looking that way thinking a possible hole shot and then it just opened wide open and I thought Rashee (Rice) did a great job of catching and getting vertical. I told him I’m going to teach him how to get those knees up man. He’s going to get in the endzone next time but he did a great job. We had a couple other opportunities and

we tried to take those shots today and back the defense off and once you do that, it helps out with all the other underneath stuff.”

Q: You’ve been in this spot every year since you’ve been here. Does winning this year feel different?

MAHOMES: “I mean obviously the season hasn’t been – we’re not winning this in Week 12 or Week 13 like we have before. We had to battle through adversity and find a way to win this game but it’s not over. We have to continue to get better and better, we understand that. Kind of the motto of this season at the end of it has been a good game and a bad game so how can we sustain and get stuff going and continue to build off this momentum and get that momentum going into the playoffs. Like I said, now you’re in the playoffs, it’s one game single elimination and I think we can go out there and compete with anybody.”

Q: Rashee Rice mentioned the different options you had on the deep ball with him. What do you think about his instincts on that play to spot that before the snap and at what point did you know he was going deep to that spot?

MAHOMES: “He definitely did. He did a great job recognizing coverage and converting the route and getting down the field. He does a great job with that, for the most part he’s pretty correct on reading coverages and not making the same mistake twice. We ran a play early in the game, the game before he ran in and I missed him, and I was talking to him about it. Then we ran another play where he caught it, got vertical, kind of towards the redzone it was the exact same play and he did a great job of recognizing the coverage and learning from the previous week. That just kind of how he’s been all year long and I think that’s why you see him continue to get better and better as the season goes.”

Q: What did it feel like for the offense to get some momentum and more productivity?

MAHOMES: “I think guys just did a great job of attacking the defense. I think at the end of the day it’s me trusting those guys to go out there and make plays happen and I put it out there and guys made a lot of plays happen. That’s just going to have to continue, to build trust that I can go and do that and I think that’ll help open Travis (Kelce) up because there’s so much attention on him in the middle of the field. I think if we can show that we can go over the top and hit these deep passes it’ll open up him and then we can kind of battle off that throughout the rest of the year.”

Q: Is it true that you guys went back to the basics on offense, and simplified it?

MAHOMES: “I mean we still had a lot of similar plays, I think we just put guys out there and said we’re going to run the plays that we know – we’re going to let ya’ll go out there and play fast and then no thinking, let’s just be us. I think that helped guys play more free today and then when stuff went wrong, we could bounce back quickly. It wasn’t like we were trying to fix it and figure out different ways to do this it was, ‘Hey we know these plays, we run these plays and let’s let the guys go out there and play fast and use their talent,’ and I thought they did a great job of it.”

Q: Is there just a different energy when Isiah Pacheco is in the game?

MAHOMES: “I think he’s a different energy than any other player on the entire team. I mean the way he runs the football, the energy that he comes with, I don’t think I’ve seen – there’s like a small number of people that have that much intensity when they’re running the football, like (former NFL running back) Marshawn Lynch, (former Cowboys running back) Marion Barber – from my old Cowboys days – to be

able to run that hard all the time and have that much energy, it’s a special type of player. Hopefully we’ll be able to get Clyde (Edwards-Helaire) back this next week, I thought he was playing really good football as well. We can let those guys go out there and be them.”

Q: You’re locked into the three seed. You’ve been in both positions where you rest or play in the final week of the regular seasons. If you rest next week, would that benefit you?

MAHOMES: “I didn’t know that but I kind of just let (Head) Coach (Andy) Reid make all of those decisions and then I roll with it. If he wants us to get out there and kind of bid off this momentum that we have, I’ll be ready to go and if he wants to give us some rest then I’ll get that rest, prepare for whoever we’re going play, and be ready to go in the playoffs.”

Q: You mentioned Rashee Rice needs to get his knees up when he runs. Is he faster than you thought?

MAHOMES: “He’s (Rashee Rice) fast. I think people don’t understand that because we haven’t been able to utilize him downfield as much as we’ve wanted to. He definitely is fast, he’s explosive. I told him, if he’s in Dallas in the offseason, he’s going to workout with me. I’m going to teach him to get the knees up so can build as he goes. He’s very explosive through a 40, but if we’re going get 80-yard touchdowns we have to get those knees up and get down the field.”

Q: How has the defense motivated you when things aren’t going well on offense?

MAHOMES: “Personally for me, I feel like I let the defense down last week. They played their tail off and I think everybody knows that. The two turnovers were 14 points, I mean that changed the entire game obviously but I thought it just let the defense down. This week, I tried to do a great job – we had the fumble – (but) I tried to do a great job of just, when it wasn’t there deep, get it underneath, try to get the first down, if not, we can punt. I know it’s not how I’ve always rolled but we can punt, the defense gets us the ball back, and we’re going to find ways to win football games. I think if we execute in the redzone and put up more points than we did today, but other than that, it’s different to have this good of a defense that shuts the door on some great offensive players. It’s when we keep pushing every single game, it’s going to be on the offense to go out there and score enough points to win them.”


Q: How did it feel getting those two sacks on the last drive?

REID: “It was a big moment. All of it just came down to execution. We were executing really all game and in the biggest moments your biggest players – in every situation your players have to make plays. (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Steve) Spags dialed it up for me to get home, we practiced it all during the week, everyone played their role to give me enough time to get home and we were able to make things happen.”

Q: What did it take to turn things around after they scored on their first three drives?

REID: “It was just about sticking together, comradery, trusting in one another. We knew we had their number called. The quarterback was able to escape out of the pocket a couple of times, so it was just about containing him, taking away the threat of his legs. Once we forced him to stay in the pocket, we were able to make some plays as a defense.”

Q: How much pride do you take in this offense being able to slam the door on some of the games this season?

REID: “That’s what we want to be, that’s what we want our identity to be. A defense where when our number is called, we go out there no matter the situation and we play defense.”

Q: Can you put eight straight AFC West championships into prospective?

REID: “(It’s) not easy to do. We don’t take it for granted, every win, every championship is hard. Winning the west is not easy, it does not come by just being given, you have to go and earn it year in and year out. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication through the offseason, training camp, the pre-season and throughout the whole year relying on everyone to step up. Injuries, adversity, whatever comes being able to tackle it and being able to play as a team and come out on top. Not an easy task, and we’re really going to enjoy this – especially with the New Year’s celebration.”


Q: What was Head Coach Andy Reid’s message to the team today after winning the division?

BOLTON: “We are just happy we found a way to win the division. It’s been an up and down year. That was one of our first goals on our check list, winning the AFC West setting ourselves up for the playoffs, we did that. We had an opportunity to come out and execute. We couldn’t do it last week, we came in and finished the job. Great team win today.”

Q: How tough was the offense the Bengals presented today?

BOLTON: “Like I said earlier in the week, they have great wideouts, a great coach, a quarterback who gets the ball out on time, and they are able to run the football as well. They had everyone on offense today, and they presented some challenges for us. We came into the second half, locked in on our assignments, (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Steve Spagnuolo) dialed up the game plan, made it simple for us and we came in and flew around.”

Q: How good did it feel to close the game with the pressure the defense was able to get?

BOLTON: “I think our D-line – I’ve said it all year, we have one of the best D-lines in this league, we just have to get them to third down-and-longs, let them pin their ears back and go to work. Chirs (Jones) is going to get two guys blocking him and everyone else is going to get one-on-ones and we’re going to feast off of that.”


Q: How can you take this momentum into the postseason?

SNEED: “Going into the postseason, we’re going in with the energy that we have, everyone has energy out there. We were flying around, offense, defense, special teams all of us playing together. That’s what it’s going to take.”

Q: How big was the play of the defensive line especially on that last drive?

SNEED: “Oh man, George (Karlaftis), Chris (Jones), getting sacks back-to-back plays. I was just chilling back there watching them (laughter).”

Q: Do you feel like this team can make a run to the Super Bowl?

SNEED: “Yes. I don’t think anyone can mess with us; we have that mindset. Shout out to our coaches, they are some great coaches.”


Q: What switch for the defense after the first three drives?

KARLAFTIS: “(Defensive Coordinator Steve) Spags just thought that we had to be a little more disciplined, execute on what our coaches are giving us and talked to us about all week. That’s what we did.”

Q: What did it take on the last drive to keep applying that pressure?

KARLAFTIS: “It was hard. We just wanted it, as a D-line, as a front, as a defense – we talked about putting the game in our hands. That’s what we wanted, that’s what we did.”

Q: What’s it been like this season being able to reach double digit sacks?

KARLAFTIS: “It’s been great, just coming off of year one, winning the Super Bowl, doing a lot of good things but also having a lot of things I need to improve on. I’m a big on – I believe in just reflecting, so I went back and I watched all the tape, every single practice tape, every single game tape and I was like, ‘Alright, I’ve got to do these things better.’ I came up with a plan of how to attack the offseason, and that’s what I did. (Former Chiefs DE) Tamba (Hali) was a great help this offseason, and I’m going to continue to work on myself.”


Q: When this defense comes together it looks like the best in the league.

MCDUFFIE: “I agree. Man, D-line, linebackers, safeties – I feel like last year with the same kind of guys we were really building and building and building. This year, I don’t know what to tell you, everyone is doing their job correctly, everyone is playing fast, and I think the trust is just there. That brings so much more confidence to everybody.”

Q: The defense has been able to play fast despite a traditionally difficult scheme to learn. How have you been able to achieve that?

MCDUFFIE: “I think everyone knows (Defensive Coordinator Steve) Spags likes to throw a lot of things out there and puts a lot on our plate on the back end – on the whole defense. I feel like guys do a great job throughout the week at communicating, saying, ‘When I see this, this is what I’m doing.’ Linebackers talking to safeties, safeties talking to corners. I feel like I know exactly what’s happening on the other side of the field every down and I feel like that’s huge.”

Q: Was it a breath of fresh air to come into the locker room having won the division?

MCDUFFIE: “I don’t know about a breath of fresh air. Everybody around here always had the confidence that we could do it as you guys saw coming back in here just the energy, I think that’s what we missed. After a loss we’re not going to be playing music, we’re going to be a little more subtle. After a win

banging music, dancing, guys are jumping on their phones excited calling their family. That’s what you love about the game, that was my favorite part about tonight.”


Q: Did you feel a different energy today helping to score on 7 drives?

PACHECO: “Absolutely, you could feel the intensity and the look in each other’s eyes. You just give each other that look, and everybody is on-time. You can tell we have a goal, and we are trying to go get it.”

Q: What was last week like and when did you know you were going to play today?

PACHECO: “Last week was a little bit different. The concussion protocol had me five days out. I had to step-by-step five steps. Saturday I got cleared. That was the last step, so I had one day of practice, which was Friday. It has been a tough week for me, installing, writing, detailing my notes and making sure I am ready to go on gameday. Like I said, just taking my time and locking in on notes and leaning on my brothers and knowing we can lean on each other.”

Q: Can you feel the energy change around you as you are making a big play?

PACHECO: “I am not really sure I feel it. I am just going out there and leaving it all on the field and bringing one another along. When I know my teammates are there to pick me up, I know we are rolling.”

Q: How are you feeling with your shoulder after mid-season surgery?

PACHECO: “I’m feeling great. The great training staff we have here, I am thankful for them, Julie [Frymyer] and Glove [David Glover] and everybody in there just taking care of me and making sure I am able to go full speed, 100 percent. Two weeks surgery is a little bit difficult. You don’t expect to play two weeks out

of surgery, but my story is a little bit different. Nothing was too serious so I was able to compete. Coach Ried took care of me last week. I’ve missed two games, now I’m here and am just taking it day by day.”


Q: You’ve been able to win the division every year that you’ve been in the league. What does it mean to be a part of that?

JONES: “I think it’s tough. We make these goals every year at the beginning of the year, and I think the most important goal is to win the AFC West. You can build off of that into the year. I think this is a huge milestone for the organization. We’re going to continue to build off of this. As Pat said, we’re going to try to stay consistent with this.”

Q: Does it mean a little more this year after the ups and downs you guys have had?

JONES: “I think anytime you’re able to win a division where we have so many good, competitive teams in our division, the Raiders who we lost to last week, the Broncos who we lost to earlier this year. We’ve got so many competitive groups in this division. To be able to win it eight consecutive times, that tells you about the leadership we have in this building, the coaches and the individuals that we have on this team.”

Q: Do you think this achievement will do something for you guys mentally moving forward in the season and postseason?

JONES: “I think you get momentum anytime you get a win and beat a tough team. I think the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback leads the league in passing percentage as a player in his first 5 games. He’s been on the road, that team has been on the road for us to beat a high, good quality team. There’s a lot of momentum coming from that.”

Q: You held them scoreless in the second half. What kind of adjustments did you guys make at halftime?

JONES: “I think it was mainly stopping the run. They came out early in the first half and ran the ball, play-action pass, opening up with the tight end play-action pass, ran the ball again and had the running back wide open in the red zone. I think we once we homed in on that and eliminated the big run plays, we got after it.”


Q: Which off your kicks was the most difficult?

BUTKER: “Probably the last one. It is always tough when you make a field goal, and you are excited about it and then it is a quick turnaround and you are up again. I do have a routine I like to go through, so sometimes it is shorter than I would like. For that last kick, I had to get ready really fast, but also going that direction is pretty difficult. The other direction was a lot easier. The last two were probably the hardest kicks.”

Q: Have you ever outscored another team by yourself?

BUTKER: “I don’t know. I have had five field goals before. Six was the first time, but this might be first time.”

Q: Not even in high school or college?

BUTKER: “In college, we ran a triple option, so not a lot of field goals.”

Q: Does the 50+ yard field goals differ much from your 60+ in warmups?

BUTKER: “We made a 63 in warmup. I hit a 57 off the crossbar in warmup, but I didn’t really swing that hard. For the 54 yard one, I knew I didn’t have to swing that hard and should be able to make it. The wind was going in that direction. As long as it was on target, it had the distance.”

Q: What changes mentally and physically when you have to do more kicks than you are used to?

BUTKER: “Going into any game I say, you know there is going to be 10 possessions and there is going to be an extra point of field goal in every possession. I get my mind ready for a lot of kicks whether you get that many kicks or not. You have to stay ready and locked in. It has been easy for me in the past to make fields goals and then relax and think I have had a good game and I probably won’t get anymore. I thought I did a good job this game staying locked in and focused for any opportunity that came.”

Q: Did your confidence get shaken missing a kick last week and how does it feel to get them all today?

BUTKER: “It felt great. You know you make 13 in a row, and you are feeling on top of the world. You feel like you are in a great rhythm. You miss a makeable easy kick in New England and another makeable kick. I am sure you could see in my emotions last week against Las Vegas. Those are just gimme kicks that unfortunately you miss. I just pray for God’s will to be done on every kick. So sometimes on kicks you say, ‘Alright God, you wanted me to miss for some reason.’ Even today those last two, I don’t know how they went in, but they did. I work very hard, but when you get the opportunity in front of 80,000 fans, you are playing in front of a big international audience and the kick happens in 1.3 seconds. It just happens so fast. I am so grateful for the successes and also misses and losses. I am just thankful to be in this position and the six kicks to be going through. Not me, God taking care of it.”