Coming off an electric win against the Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid will go up against his former player (and assistant) Doug Pederson — as well as Jacksonville defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell, who also played and coached under Reid. Reid also has a fondness for Jaguars senior defensive assistant Bob Sutton, who was his defensive coordinator in Kansas City from 2013 through 2018.
“Doug Pederson, we’re all familiar with, he’s a good friend,” praised Reid on Wednesday. “I think he’s doing a heck of a job down there. The players have bought into what he’s teaching.”
But despite the close connections, Reid understands there is an important game to be played against the Jaguars.
“We know [the Jaguars are] a very well-coached football team and they’re coming off a nice win against the Raiders,” explained Reid. “They’re well-coached — and you know what? They’ve got good players. These guys play very hard, our guys we’ve got to have a good week at practice.
“Even the games that they’ve lost, they’ve lost just by a few points. You can tell they like what they’re getting scheme-wise, and they’re playing fast, there’s nobody hanging their head, no poor body language. They’re excited when a good play happens.”
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is coming off a stellar performance against the Titans and looks to continue to play at that level against the Jaguars.
“We have a ton of respect for this team coming in,” he said. “And if you see them, even in the games they’ve lost, they’ve been in them. They’ve made a mistake here and there that’s cost them the game. If you watch the tape it doesn’t show what their record [3-6] looks like — and we’re going to have to play our best football in order to win.”
Mahomes will have to be aware of the Jacksonville version of Josh Allen, who has 3.0 sacks on the season.
“He’s so gifted as a pass rusher,” said Mahomes, “but also he’s athletic enough to drop into coverage — and you don’t see a lot of guys like that. He’s obviously a big, physical guy == but he’s fast. He does a good job with his hands and getting off blocks.
“[The Jaguars] kind of have guys like that on both sides of the ball with [outside linebacker Travon] Walker there now as well. It’ll be a great challenge for our guys to have and that whole entire defensive line.
“It seems like week-in and week-out, we’re playing a great defensive line, so our offensive line is battling. I thought they did a great job this last week — and I think we can hopefully carry that momentum into this next week.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Chiefs will face quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne Jr., who has had 100-plus yards in each of the last three games. Rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie made his season return against the Titans last week — and this week, he will face a completely different style of quarterback in the elusive Lawrence.
“[Lawrence] has a strong arm, he’s somebody who can put the ball anywhere — [and] he’s really good in the pocket,” applauded McDuffie. “He’s pretty elusive, so know you’re just going to have to bring him down.”
Rookie Chiefs’ defensive end George Karlaftis has a lot of respect for the Jaguars despite their losing record.
“You watch [the] tape, and we didn’t look at their record at all, I don’t even know what it is to be honest,” he admitted. “They’re a really solid football team, really good offense. [It] starts up front for them. They have a great o-line, they’re great at the skill, obviously their quarterback [was] the No. 1 pick a couple of years ago — and he’s a great player. So we have our hands full defensively — that’s for sure.”