Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce only knows playing in the NFL under head coach Andy Reid — which he has been doing for going on eight seasons.
Reid is known for running one of the tougher training camps in the NFL. That continues into the regular season at weekly practices — regardless of the opponent. This week, that happens to be the top AFC contender: the Baltimore Ravens.
“There’s not a week that goes by where coach Reid isn’t going to get on you,” said the All-Pro tight end. “That’s his job. Sometimes you just have to be like, ‘Take it easy, rollercoaster tycoon.’ You know what I mean? Really get him to calm down because what he’s trying to do is make sure that everybody is on top of their game, especially in a big game like this. Great practices usually turn into great performances on Sunday — or Monday in this matter. That’s why we love Coach Reid: because he’s always on our tail, making sure that we’re doing the right things and trying to get better.”
The Chiefs have won the previous two matchups with the Ravens.
It took overtime in 2018, with the Chiefs winning 27-24. Last season, the Chiefs held on to beat the Ravens — then up-and-comers — 33-28. Kelce had seven catches in each win.
This offseason, Baltimore made moves to improve its defense, bringing aboard defensive lineman Calais Campbell and drafting LSU linebacker Patrick Queen, who was the apple-of- my-eye for many Chiefs fans during draft season.
“They’re no joke, man. They’re no joke,” Kelce admitted. “They’ve been flying around playing great football and I feel like a lot of the teams that they play, they present a bully mentality that kind of intimidates some of the guys that they’re playing. You have to attack that. You’ve got to be able to meet that and stand up to what they’re presenting out there knowing that they’re not going to do too much that tricks you, in terms of coverage.
“They’re going to do a lot of good stuff. A lot of the great stuff they do is in blitzes and getting to the quarterback. That puts a lot of pressure on the skilled guys and the guys out wide to get open in space. That’s where we’re ready for the challenge.”
Many project that by the end of the season, it will be the Chiefs and Ravens competing for the single AFC bye. Even though it’s happening early, this could be the game that swings the bye one way or another.
“It just amps it up on a whole other level,” Kelce said. “We try and take every single game that we play serious and there’s no one game more important than one that you have that week and it’s no more important than this week. We know that especially last year, we were in the hunt with them to try and get that home field advantage.
“We’re very similar teams with a lot of great players. You never know how things pan out, but you definitely want to put yourself in the best position, even early on in the season.
“I mean... you play the game to play against the best, man.”