The Chiefs meet Frank Reich’s Indianapolis Colts for the first time this season in a divisional playoff game that will send the winner to play either the New England Patriots or the Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC championship.
The AP staff has shared their thoughts and predictions going into Saturday’s game, now let’s hear what Reich had to say this week about the highly-anticipated playoff match:
On how much he thinks the game will come down to his talented OL and the Chiefs’ front four, front seven and, if they Chiefs have to use more than four guys, will it be a win?
“Yeah that’s definitely an interesting storyline. You’ve got the team that leads the NFL in sacks and the OL that leads the league in fewest stats,” Reich noted. “I’m just like any head coach, you feel like games are won or lost at the line of scrimmage. They do get a lot of pressure with just four and I’ve gone up against coach Sutton enough to know that even though they haven’t blitzed a lot this year, they have a full arsenal of that in their background. We prepare for it all and we try to be smart about our preparation. Every week when we’re preparing for a team in protection we’re finding all the different ways we can protect the quarterback.”
On Patrick Mahomes’ growth:
“I just think for a guy who is such a dynamic playmaker you don’t see him making many big mistakes,” Reich said. “Sometimes when you get a young guy who’s a dynamic playmaker, you‘ve got to balance that off with the big misses that they have. But you just don’t see that with Mahomes, he just doesn’t make many bad mistakes. I think that’s a credit to the way that he’s been able to challenge himself to make those unscripted plays without hurting the team by making those big mistakes.”
On former Chiefs Director of Player Personnel and Director of Football Operations, Chris Ballard:
“For me, as a first-time head coach, the relationship has been natural and I’ve got a lot of respect for Chris,” Reich said of his general manager at the Colts. “I just think he’s a straight shooter, doesn’t pull any punches and just a football guy through and through. The good thing was right up front that we both agreed, day one, in the interview that we wanted to build this team from the inside out and that’s what we’re both committed to doing.”
On his young impact players from the draft class, and Chris Ballard’s vision:
“They’ve been very instrumental — not just in how they’re playing on the field but they’ve been playmakers, they’ve been leaders off the field, and that’s really important,” Reich said of his young guys. “One of the things early on, when we looked at the draft board, and Chris was going through how he sets things up, certain players had certain designations. For lack of a better term, these are our “Colts Character” guys. These are the guys who have the character traits that we really want in our players for what we’re trying to build and we were fortunate enough to not only get a few great players but also fit that mold as well.”
On Tyreek Hill:
“There’s elite speed then there’s probably Tyreek Hill speed, and it’s probably a notch up from that,” Reich said. “The thing that impresses me is that he still tracks the ball very well he just seems to make all the catches. Then obviously as a returner and the stuff from him running the football — he’s such a threat in every way.”