Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid met with the media over a Zoom conference call on Monday, two days after the team’s final regular-season game — a 28-24 win over the Denver Broncos.
(Listen to the full presser above or by clicking here.)
During the press conference, Reid provided injury updates on running backs Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams, as well as wide receiver Tyreek Hill (more on that here).
Reid also took questions, which we have rounded up in four takeaways:
With the regular season in the books, Reid examined Patrick Mahomes’ growth in Year 4 as the team’s starter.
Mahomes finished the season with 4,839 yards, 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
“He’s done a nice job with it,” said Reid. “In that fifth year, sixth year, you’ve got a pretty good grasp of the defenses you’re going to see and it’s a matter of fine-tuning it and staying fresh on the new things you put in each week. I think he’s handled that against a lot of looks whether it’s zone or man so it’s important.
“You’re always learning as a football player, period, and coach, so it’s been a good year for him that way. He’s really turned out some pretty good numbers and wins and all those things, so he’s had a good year.”
Reid then focused on the Chiefs’ first playoff opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Chiefs will play the Steelers in the Wild Card round on Sunday night. They project to be much healthier than they were when they came into Arrowhead Stadium two weeks ago. The player to watch is outside linebacker — and likely defensive player of the year — T.J. Watt, who was battling a rib injury and was limited in the first game against Kansas City.
“He sure looked healthy yesterday,” said Reid of Watt, before shifting his attention. “I wouldn’t slight 56 (Alex Highsmith) on the other side either. They’ve got good rushers, number 97 (Cameron Heyward) is a Pro-Bowler too and big-time players.
“That’s a healthy defensive front that can bring it — and Watt is one of the best in the business at it — so yes, I would tell you that we need to be aware of them.”
He also believes the Steelers are playing better than they were two weeks ago. After the embarrassing 36-10 loss to Kansas City, the Steelers rattled off division wins against the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens.
“I think they’re playing well together,” said Reid of the Steelers as a whole. “I think they’re doing a nice job with that. Ben’s [Roethlisberger] playing well. The runner’s running well. The offensive line’s doing a nice job — and Pittsburgh’s always good on that defensive side. They fly around. They’ve got some all-star players on that side of the ball that do really well. Their wide receivers are very good too on the offensive side. They’re a good football team. They’re well-coached and the organization with the Rooney family is strong. It’s been strong for so many years.”
Melvin Ingram has a chance to knock his former team out of the playoffs.
The Chiefs traded a sixth-rounder to the Steelers for Ingram in early November, and the move coincided with the team’s defense playing much better.
“He brought a positive attitude to our already positive group and that senior leadership you hear about,” said Reid of the 32-year-old. “He’s been doing it for a long time at a very high level. He and (defensive line coach) Brendan Daly matching up together, I think, was just a perfect fit — so I don’t want to slight Brendan on all of this.
“He’s a fine football coach and does a really good job with that group. We’ve brought guys in that come from little different situations — when you got to make sure they all dance the same dance and he’s done good with that. Then, Ingram fit right in there. He’s very smart and his attitude is phenomenal — and all the guys respect him.”
When it came to Sunday Night Football’s almost-tie, Reid was watching just as if he any other Chiefs fan in Kansas City.
Knowing a tie was improbable, the Chiefs coaches began preparing for the Steelers early in the day (a Los Angeles Chargers-Las Vegas Raiders tie would have meant the Raiders coming to Arrowhead instead).
Then the tie almost happened.
“We were down to the last two minutes going, ‘We might be playing the Raiders,’” explained Reid, “but we did most of our focus on Pittsburgh. The chances of it being a tie we felt were slim to none, but we got down there and it was something.
“It was quite a game.”