Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes met with the media on Wednesday morning before the team’s practice session. Here are the key takeaways from their interaction with the media:
Reid said that five players — Eric Berry, Cam Erving, Anthony Hitchens, Mitch Morse and Sammy Watkins — would not practice on Wednesday afternoon.
Reid said that Erving wasn’t injured; he’s been sick “for a couple of days.” Morse remains in concussion protocol, and Hitchens is still nursing his rib injury. Berry, of course, is still day to day with his heel issue — along with Watkins. Previously, Reid had referred to Watkins’ injury as an ankle problem, but on Wednesday, Reid said Watkins had “hurt his foot.” Reid said both Berry and Watkins are making progress.
Reid was asked for more details about Morse’s progress in the concussion protocol.
“He still has symptoms,” said Reid. “Everybody can look at it however they look at it. The important thing is he gets himself right. That’s all we care about. He is making progress. We know he likes to play football. But at the same time, you have to make sure that that’s right. The football can wait here till it is right for him. When he gets the OK, he can get back there and go.”
Reid said that he still isn’t sure when Daniel Sorensen — who was moved from injured reserve to the active roster on Monday and has been practicing with the team for a couple of weeks — will be able to play.
“[Sorensen] has done well with it,“ Reid said. “We will just see. We will see how he goes. We will see how he does during practice here. I’ll tell you the same thing with Justin [Houston]. We will just see how they do in practice and take it from there. I can’t tell you that it is one snap or 50 snaps. I can’t tell you that.”
Reid said he was glad to have Sorensen back on the practice field.
“It is good to have him back out there in whatever capacity he can go at,” he said. “It is good to get him back in there. He is a good football player. I don’t know how much he can play or not play right now. We are looking at it just like you are looking at it. We are just seeing where he is at. He looked good when he was at practice this past week.”
Reporters asked Reid no questions about the Arizona Cardinals, but in his opening statement, Reid said the Chiefs are treating their upcoming opponent with respect, and praised new Cardinals offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.
“We look forward to the challenge of playing the Cardinals. We know they are a good football team and we have had a chance to look at their tape. They have made a couple changes there with Byron. We have the utmost respect for Byron. I do personally. I think he is an up-and-coming coach there that someday will be a head coach.
“Defensively, they are as good as anybody in the National Football League,” Reid continued. “We have to make sure that we get ourselves ready on both sides of the ball. On special teams, they have tremendous talent there on special teams. You have to make sure you solidify and get down there scheme and are able to adjust to their speed there. Our guys will go through this week of preparation — which is the most important thing — and stick with the process and get themselves ready to play a good team.”
In his turn before the press, quarterback Patrick Mahomes didn’t talk as if the Chiefs are going to be facing a 2-6 team.
“The D-line is really really good, they can rush the passer, they can stop the run game and they stop balls really well. For me, you have to know those things. They’ve got some tall guys on the D-line, but at the same time, they are good everywhere. They have Patrick Peterson at corner. They have dudes everywhere on that defense. For me it’s going to be a great test to get to go up against these guys. We are going to try to be ourselves and keep what we have going... going.”
Reid was asked if the Chiefs are “immune from being upset.”
“Guys are going to be asked that question a lot,” Reid responded. “That is just part of this game. You always hear that. You can let [point] spreads and all these things — ‘trap game,’ all these terms that pop up — and things that happen come into it. But if you can honestly focus on the process and discipline yourself to do that, that normally takes care of things. At least, it makes it an even game in that area, where you are not going to let distractions get in the way.”
Reid was then asked if his team was good at avoiding distractions.
“Well, we will find out,” he said. “Time tells you that, right? It is important that you focus on the things that you can control. Part of it is getting ready to play a good football team and not listen — well, you asked the question — but not listen to the questions. You have to have small ears on that.”
With Len Dawson’s Chiefs single-season touchdown record on the line on Sunday, both Reid and Mahomes were asked about the Hall of Fame quarterback.
“I did all those post-games with him and I think the world of him,” Reid said of Dawson. “He was so in tuned when we were doing those with the game. He still has that feel. He has been there, he has done it, it doesn’t matter the age gap or the time away from being in the huddle. He just gets it. I love that part of it. He is a Hall of Famer all the way around. Person, player... obviously. How many guys can be Hall of Fame caliber at two things? And he did it as a player and as a commentator. Amazing guy.”
Mahomes has 29 touchdown passes on the season, which ties Dawson’s 1962 record but is still one short of the Dawson’s franchise record of 30 set in 1964’s 14-game season.
“Len has had a ton of success in the NFL and was kind of ahead of his time,” said Mahomes. ”Throwing all those touchdowns, I think the record has stood for a very long time. It would be awesome to pass that, but hopefully we can just keep building on that and getting more and more wins.”
Mahomes said he isn’t focused on Dawson’s record any more than any of the other records he’s been surpassing.
“I don’t think there’s any time for that,” he said. “When you are trying to focus on a NFL team — if you want to make sure you’re prepared — you can’t focus on the statistics and everything like that. For me, it’s all about the wins. That’s all I want to do. I feel like the first thing I said when I came here was that I just want to win football games.”
Other notes from Reid and Mahomes at Wednesday’s press appearances:
Reid was asked about Mitchell Schwartz, who is approaching 7,000 consecutive snaps. “You go back to the Denver game where I sat a bunch of the guys. and he wanted to be out there. If sat him down, he would have done that, too — but he wanted to be out there. He wants to play — [that’s] what he wants to do.” Reid said that Schwartz’s presence on the line has been helpful to Mahomes, too. “Not only is he a good player, but very intelligent and he helped everybody there with his presence and calls.”
Mahomes spoke about Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen, with whom he roomed when both participated in the Manning Passing Academy. “I know he throws a beautiful ball. Every single time it leaves his hand it’s a perfect spiral. I know he’s a very smart guy, so I know he’ll have a lot of success in this league.” Mahomes said Rosen loves the game. “He was a guy that was up with me early, working with all those kids and just loving the experience. I know that he loves football and loves being able to just go out there and [be] a quarterback. and those are the guys that have success.”
Mahomes was asked if the Chiefs team has a collegiate feel to it. “It’s awesome to be able to be really good friends with your teammates. We all hang out with each other — it seems like all the time. I know a lot of guys still play video games with each other like every single day. I don’t have that time right now, but it’s cool you can just relate to each other. I feel like it builds chemistry — and that way you can get on the field and just kind of know what guys are thinking [because] you know how that guy thinks. That’s a big thing I think that’s helped build success on this team.”