CHIEFS HEAD COACH ANDY REID
Q: How relevant do you find the Week 1 game from last year?
AR: Oh, I don’t know. I think every year is so different, different teams in particular. Bill’s [Belichick] got new guys, I’ve got new guys.
Q: So you’re not studying it too much in preparation for the Patriots?
AR: Well, listen, you look at everything, right? I mean, you’re going to look at everything, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be the same.
Q: How different is your team with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback instead of Alex Smith?
AR: I think you guys know how I feel about Alex. I think the world of him and I think he’s a heck of a quarterback. Obviously, he has more experience than what Patrick has, they’re both different, their games are different. And Patrick’s just beginning, right? Alex has been doing it a long time. I like Patrick, I like his game and what he’s presented so far and I like his willingness to try to get better, which is important for a young guy. He’s got plenty of room to grow.
Q: Was there a big point of growth for Patrick Mahomes this offseason? Was there a growth in scheme? How did you guys help him get to this point?
AR: I think that with the young guys, I think it’s just a matter of playing. So, all of a sudden now during training camp, your reps increase, for OTAs and training camp, your offseason program, all of a sudden your reps increase two-fold and you’re getting every rep there is where before you’re just getting a few. And then, how you handle those I think is important. I think he went about it professionally and worked hard at it.
Q: What have you seen from the Patriots on both sides of the ball the last two games?
AR: No, listen, I have the ultimate respect, they’re well-coached, they’ve got good players. I’ve known Bill a long time and I have a ton of respect for him and the way he goes about his business. They’ll continue to get better as the season goes on. That’s how he does it. It’s a tribute to him and how he goes about that. I think they’re playing really good football right now, so we’ve got to make sure we prep and go through the process that you have to do every week before you play a great football team.
Q: As someone who has known Bill Belichick for so long, are there any good stories you can share about him?
AR: You know, our media asked me the same thing. I don’t. We’ve played each other so much, you know, but that’s it. I don’t have anything revolutionary to tell you there.
Q: What about going back to when you made several trades with each other?
AR: Yeah, we had a lot of years of that going and then we broke the streak there somewhere – I don’t remember where it was. But, I think we had a ton of trades going there, even if we’d flip spots, even if it was a spot. We were both kind of picking at the bottom of the pile there, so even if it was flipping a seventh round pick, we kept it going for a number of years.
Q: What were your impressions of Sony Michel coming out of Georgia and what you’ve seen from him in his four games?
AR: Yeah, listen, I think it was a great pick. I think he runs hard, aggressive, he can catch the football, he’s a smart kid, with them when he came out, and he’s a good football player.
Q: Jimmy Murray is an offensive lineman on your practice squad and he played at Holy Cross up here. What do you like about him thus far?
AR: Yeah, so again, he’s smart. He came in and made our football team and that was a longshot, right? So, he wasn’t a high draft pick and he had to earn everything and he caught our attention by his play and he’s a tough kid. I think the future is going to be a real positive for him as we go forward here.
Q: What trait about Patrick Mahomes do you like most?
AR: Listen, I can’t pick one thing, but he’s smart, he’s a great kid and he’s willing to work. But, he hasn’t done it but for a few games here. He’s going through an NFL season - his first one - and there are all kind of challenges that come with that and no bigger one than this week. So, you get so caught up in it as coaches and players just going through the process of getting ready for a game, you don’t think much about all that other stuff.
Q: There’s been a lot of talk about RPOs and when they started coming to the NFL. When did you start incorporating RPOs into your offense?
AR: Well, if I go back and look at what we did with Donovan [McNabb] in Philly, he had come from an offense that did everything and it was complicated. They did a million different things with it and we weren’t calling them RPOs back then, but there were options involved with throwing the ball and running the ball. So, we looked at a couple things back then and then I did it again when Michael [Vick] took over for Donovan, did it there. I did it with Kevin Kolb actually before that because Kevin came from that scheme. Michael kind of came from that type of thing and then Alex – I went back and looked at Alex’s even though he had been out a long time. I kind of went back and looked at some of the stuff he did at Utah and we incorporated that and it started growing from there. These colleges and high schools have been doing it a lot longer than what we have. So, we’ve just kind of grown with it and these kids know how to do that.
Q: What do you like about running those type of plays?
AR: I like them when they work, that’s what I like the most. When and if they work, I’m good with that. But listen, we’ve got to figure out how to do that against the Pats. I mean, they’re good with this stuff.
Q: Have you seen teams devoting more resources to try to stop those types of plays now?
AR: Yeah, I mean, listen, we all have to adjust to everything as coaches, whether it’s offensively or defensively, and I think defenses have done a pretty nice job of working different adjustments. Everybody does it a little different. I know Bill has something special for us there. So, we’ll have to try to figure it out.
Q: How much defensive attention does Josh Gordon demand?
AR: You know, Josh is a good football player. He’s big, he’s fast, he’s strong, all those things and he’s got a really good guy throwing to him. So, you’ve got to make sure that you do that. I wouldn’t say the other receivers – you know, you’ve got to cover them too and they’re good players. We’ve got to make sure we do a good job there.
Q: Going back to the streak of trades between you and Bill Belichick, do you remember when that evolved from just a few trades to when it became the streak?
AR: Yeah, I can’t remember which was the first, but we would talk during the draft. There’s a little bit of dead time during the draft, so we shoot the breeze during the draft and we start coming up with these trade things and I don’t remember – some of them were kind of silly just to get the trade done so we kept the streak going. But, I can’t tell you what the first one was.
Q: Any memorable picks or discussions from that streak?
AR: Not really. You’d have to ask Bill that one.
Q: What do you make of your 5-0 start?
AR: Yeah, so listen, we’re early in the season and so I haven’t really looked at that part of it as much as other when you guys ask me about it. But, we’re exhausting everything to get ready for that next team, and so that’s what we’re doing now. We’ve got to get ready for a good football team and you spend so much energy on that, you don’t have time to think about anything else. You’re happy for about a minute after a game, and then unfortunately as a head coach, you go back and you think of all the things you could have done better, right? So, then you move on, you go to sleep, wake up and boom, you’re moving onto the next team. You exhaust yourself that way.
Q: Stephon Gilmore watches a lot of film. Does any of that show up in his game?
AR: My teams have played against that kid for a long time. We had a whole streak going there with Buffalo and now at New England. We’ve played him several times, at least a couple times, two to three. I’ve seen him do nothing but get better and better and better and better and better. I don’t know his study habits, but you watch his game and you go, “OK, this kid here is sharp and spends time at his trade.” So, we’ve got to make sure that we play well against him. He’s a heck of a player.
Q: Does the versatility of these Patriots defenders at all complicate the quarterback’s read when you’re running an RPO play? Whether it’s Patrick Chung or Kyle Van Noy, trying to figure out what defense those guys are playing?
AR: Yeah, well, the one thing that Bill’s going to do is he’s going to bring in smart guys. I’m partial to Van Noy because he’s from BYU, so I know a little extra. I’ll tell you he’s the smartest one because he’s from BYU. He brings in smart guys so he can do a lot of things with them and he exhausts that. He’s got guys coming from everywhere and they play all different kinds of combination coverages and have the flexibility to do that because of the intelligence of his players. Chung plays everywhere and can do everything, whether it’s corner, safety, linebacker – I mean he does everything. He’s a heck of a player.
Q: We talk a lot about scheme, but how much do you feel when it comes to Sunday night, it’s out of your hands and up to the players?
AR: Yeah, it should be a great atmosphere for a football game. That stadium will be loud and rolling. So, this is why you go through the whole process of getting yourself ready as a player and as a coach. But, players go through a tremendous process of getting themselves ready to play in games like this.
CHIEFS QUARTERBACK PATRICK MAHOMES
Q: On the Monday Night Football broadcast the other night, one of the commentators said Travis Kelce is the best tight end in football. Where would you rank him on your list?
PM: Yeah, I mean, on my list, I would rank Kelce the best tight end in football. I know Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] has been a great tight end for a long time. But, I mean, I haven't gotten to play with Gronk. I've gotten to play with Kelce, and I've never seen anyone be able to do the things that he's done.
Q: How would you sum up your experience so far this year with starting, winning all five games and being able to execute at a high level?
PM: Yeah, it's been awesome. I mean, just to kind of go out and execute everything that we've been working on all offseason at a high level, you want to do those things and we're going to try to keep building on it and keep getting better every single week.
Q: Do people give you a hard time or talk down to you? Sometimes when a young player starts well, a coach might keep trying to motivate him.
PM: Yeah, I mean, Coach [Andy] Reid motivates me every single day. I mean, he wants me to keep working on my fundamentals, keep working on just getting better as a quarterback in general. I mean, when you play teams like the Patriots and like we've played this year, I mean, you have to play better every single week in order to keep getting wins.
Q: What are you expecting from the Patriots defense?
PM: I mean, they're going to have a great game plan. They're going to have ways to take away the stuff that we've had success with so far this season, and I expect them to throw some stuff out there that's unscouted. But, at the same time, we're going to keep just working on our game plan and keep doing things that we do well in order to have success.
Q: Are you someone who watches other quarterbacks? Is Tom Brady someone you have watched?
PM: Yeah, I actually watched Tom Brady a good amount in college. My coach in college was Kliff Kingsbury, and he actually was a backup for Brady at one point, and so he showed me things that he liked with Tom and his pocket movements and stuff he did within the pocket that I've tried to put in my game a little bit. And, he's someone that's had a ton of success in this league and is someone that you do take stuff from.
Q: What do you think has been effective about the way you guys have used jet sweeps and jet motion?
PM: Yeah, I mean, I think it puts a stretch in the defense, especially with the speed that we have. It makes the ends have to slow down. They can't rush as fast up field at the same time because they know that we can hand it off to them and that we can fake it and run other plays off of them, as well.
Q: What have you noticed from Stephon Gilmore this year?
PM: Yeah, he's someone that gets his hands on receivers and he can make plays. He gets his eyes on the backfield and tries to make breaks on some plays, and so he's someone who's had a ton of success in this league, as well. So, he'll have a good idea of some of my tendencies and try to exploit them.
Q: Were you comfortable running RPO plays at Kansas City from doing it in college?
PM: Yeah, from doing it in college and then watching the guys do it last year. That's something that we executed at a high level last year, so I got to watch how Alex [Smith] did it and learn how he kind of read it, as well as from how I did it in college and kind of mix the two and make it my own thing.
Q: What do you like about those type of plays?
PM: Yeah, it's kind of the same with the jet sweeps. It makes the defense have to account for one more thing in the run game and in the pass game and so forth. For us, the linebackers have to make a decision if they want to go out to the run or if they want to stay back for the pass, and I just have to make the right decision if I'm handing it or throwing it.
Q: When it comes to making those reads of the defense, does it complicate things at all for you when there are guys like Patrick Chung or Kyle Van Noy that seem to play in different roles from snap-to-snap?
PM: Yeah, I mean, I feel like with the whole defense that the Patriots have - I mean, guys that can just kind of intermix and play each other's roles because they know their defense and their scheme so well. So, they're going to put up definitely a challenge, and it's something that I'm excited just to have the opportunity to play against a great team on Sunday Night.
Q: When you were watching Tom Brady film in college, what were you trying to take away from it?
PM: Just the way he can move within the pocket and still find lanes to throw the ball is something that I find is truly special. I mean, I try to do that, but I mean, you have to keep working on that. He's done that his whole entire career, and it's something that bought him a lot of extra time in the pocket to make a lot of great throws.
Q: When you saw Tyreek Hill run for the first time, what was your reaction?
PM: I've played with a lot of fast guys, and he was by far the fastest guy I'd ever seen. He never slows down. He has like 12 different gears.