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Chiefs’ Andy Reid roundup: Patrick Mahomes, Sammy Watkins and defensive woes

Here are our big takeaways from Andy Reid’s Monday media session.

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid took the podium Monday afternoon following his team’s 42-37 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Let’s round up the big takeaways from Reid.

Reid is not concerned that the national notoriety will go to Patrick Mahomes’ head.

Patrick Mahomes had an outstanding game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, going 23 for 28 for 326 yards and six touchdowns, capturing the attention of the nation.

Mahomes may have turned only 23 on Monday, but Reid isn’t worried about how his quarterback will deal with the success.

“I think just the fact that he’s grown up around this type of thing with his dad,” Reid said of Mahomes, whose dad was a major league pitcher. “He’s been in that locker room, you see the pictures with Alex Rodriguez and that, so I don’t think any of that phases him. He understands that you’ve got to show up. I’m not as concerned about that as much as him becoming a better player, working on that.

“He’s focused and he’s always here, a bit of a gym rat type of guy. I mean, he grew up around it so you’ve got to kick him out of here and go home and get some rest. He handles it pretty well. I think he’ll continue to do that, that part I think he’ll continue to do, I’m projecting, but I feel pretty good about that.”

One of the things that has stood out was just how good Mahomes has been with just three regular-season games under his belt.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

As he’s done in the past, Reid pointed to Alex Smith as a reason for the ease of Mahomes’ transition to Chiefs starter.

“I will come back to last year and being in that room with Alex, having that opportunity to see how he worked,” Reid said. “That’s invaluable. Alex was not one who was going to hide anything or play games with him or anything like that. He kept it all out in the open and was secure enough, that wasn’t a problem.”

Reid also mentioned members of his coaching staff that helped Mahomes along when he was a rookie.

“Eric Bieniemy is probably another dimension to it for him for protection and the toughness it takes to play that position in this league,” Reid said. “(Quarterbacks coach) Mike Kafka has played the position in the offense, so he knows and is another good guy to spend hours with. Mike (Kafka) was his personal coach last year. He did everything with him, now he is his coach in this spot. Nagy was working with Alex. Mike was working heavy with Patrick. He came into a good situation with Alex and I said that was priceless for him. There’s no way he could repay Alex with having that experience. That was phenomenal.”

For the first time in the preseason or regular season, Sammy Watkins looked like the player the Chiefs were expecting when they signed him as a free agent.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Watkins had six receptions for 100 yards in the win; Reid was not surprised.

“It was just a matter of time,” Reid said. “That’s going to happen. We have a lot of guys out there so the quarterback is spreading it around. Somewhere, he’s going to be the one that’s open and not have as many people on him. That was the case, he took advantage of it.

“You saw how physical he is, I mentioned that when we first got him, it’s hard to press cover him because he’s a strong kid. Then you see him with the ball in his hands after the catch and he’s pretty good with that. He’s strong there too, he’s a physical player.”

There is no denying the Chiefs left something to be desired on defense on Sunday.

The Chiefs defense blew a 21-point lead during the first half.

“Defensively, there was a maturation that took place there, we just started off slow, actually we started off fast and then we went through a slow period there,” Reid said. “Then the second half I thought was beautiful. There were some real good things that took place there. But again, we have plenty of room. We have got to get better at tackling, we’ve got to get rid of the penalties, both sides of the ball and do a better job.”

The Chiefs defense played a large number of snaps for the second week in a row, and Reid was asked if there was anything the offense could do to ease the pressure on the defense.

“We tried to do that in the second half,” Reid said. “One of the real positives, and I give credit to the guys, the players, for this. That second half, our guys did not get weaker on defense. They had 54 snaps in the first half and then the second half they came out and I thought we were strong through the second half. Coverage was tighter. We did a couple more things up front with some things and were able to get some pressure on him.

“Again, too many penalties. But still there were some good things that took place and I was impressed by that. Especially with the number of snaps. That is a concern, number of snaps. Offensively, we kind of spread things out and did some things there. We were able to sustain drives a little bit better.”

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