After Wednesday’s media appearances at Arrowhead Stadium, much was made about how certain players talk.
But going into Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars — likely the most important test the Kansas City Chiefs have faced this season — a more important story was how players and coaches listen. That was what we heard from Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who was asked about his sideline meetings with head coach Andy Reid.
“First off, he always asks me what I am seeing out there and what is going on out there,” said Mahomes. “Then he asks what I am thinking and shows me what he is thinking, and we get on the same page. That goes with Coach Reid, Kafka, Bieniemy — and Chad Henne — all those guys are giving me what they are thinking. At the same time, we are all trying to get on the same page to go out there and run a tight unit.”
Reid confirmed Mahomes’ side of the story.
“I do a lot of listening when I’m over there, and just see where he is at, see what he is seeing, which is real important,” he said. “He’s got great vision, but just so we’re on the same page is important. He knows what I’m thinking, I know what he’s thinking, he’s got great feedback. Mike Kafka’s right there so he’ll talk with him — and Chad Henne is a big part of that too. I’m able to give him a little bit of a heads up on maybe what I’m thinking going forward. He gives me an idea of what he likes or sees and we’ve just got to put it together and go with that.”
Mahomes said that the group approach to the offense is not only different than what he experienced in college at Texas Tech, but also better.
“I had Coach Kingsbury and we were always trying to be on the same page with what was going on, but I didn’t have the different voices of Coach Bieniemy, Kafka, Reid and Chad. You get different things from each person that you can build into one thing and get things going from there.”
For Reid, it’s much like the experience he’s had with other successful quarterbacks in his career.
“I did that with Donovan McNabb when he was young, early,” Reid said. “Really even Alex Smith when he first came here, because it was important — he was new to the offense. But Alex had the game experience. I enjoy that part. He gives you great feedback so if you’re going over there and it’s just, ‘Call what you want to call,’ then you don’t need to do that, but having that open communication I think is good.”
Mahomes credited the exchange of ideas as being one of the contributing factors in the win against Denver on Monday night.
“Just getting on the same page and figuring out what we can do that works. Coach Kafka, Bieniemy, Reid — all of us are giving ideas to each other and getting on the same page of what we all like against the defense they are showing out there. I feel like it paid off this last week in figuring out what we needed to do to go into the fourth quarter strong.”
Speaking about their upcoming opponent, you could see that the head coach and his quarterback were on the same page days before the game is to begin.
“We look forward to playing Jacksonville,” Reid said. “We know they are a good football team. They have done a heck of a job down there with the whole organization and with the team in particular.
“We have played some good defenses here and Jacksonville is a good defense and arguably the best in the NFL,” Reid continued. “That is why you do that. You love that challenge of playing against good players.”
“[Jacksonville has] a great scheme,” said Mahomes. “They do a lot of things really well. They do a lot of the same stuff, but they do it to a very high pristine type of thing. They have a ton of talent over there. We have to utilize our offense and our weapons and try to do what we can to attack them.”
Mahomes was then asked about making offensive adjustments — as the Chiefs were forced to do while playing Denver on Monday night.
“I am still learning, but trying to make adjustments on the fly is something I didn’t have to do as much in college, and here you have to make them because defenses throw unscouted looks out there. Kind of like the first half of this last game, they threw us a lot of different blitzes and things we hadn’t seen before from that defense so far this year. For us, we just have to get on the same page and figure out those looks and make adjustments to make our plays work.”
But Mahomes said that finding success against the Denver Broncos was a confidence-builder for him.
“Being able to go up against stuff you are not necessarily sure of because it’s a blitz you haven’t seen before and you’re able to have success against it — that is how football works” he explained. “You are going to see unscouted stuff. You are going to have adverse situations in games and have to find ways to come out with wins in them.”
Other notes from Wednesday’s media appearances
Reid (unsurprisingly) said that Eric Berry is still being evaluated day to day. “One thing you know about Eric, you have no questions that he wants to be there and go. He is trying everything he can to get himself out there. We just take it day-by-day, and keep doing that. We have great communication with him and we know his desire is to be there. We want him to be smart, we want to be smart with it. It is a long season.”
Reid also said the team isn’t putting pressure on Berry. “We would never put our guys in a spot like that. We have always been good with this part. We have always said, ‘If you are hurt, go get healed up. We are not going to sit there and pressure you to come back. That is not how we roll.’ But we expect the next guy to jump up and play and play well. That is how we have gone about it. And so that is what we are doing. Eric Murray is getting better every week and doing a nice job for us.”
Mahomes spoke about his college teammate Keke Coutee, who had 11 catches in his rookie debut for the Houston Texans against the Indianapolis Colts. “I have known Keke was a special player since he was in ninth grade. I remember him being in Lufkin, which is East Texas, and playing against Robert E. Lee High School as a sophomore in high school and dominating. I remember I ended up going back to Texas Tech that year and I was talking to Coach Kingsbury about him and we ended up getting him there. He has always had a great feel for the game and knows how to find his way open. He has the athleticism to make a lot of plays.”