The Colts were the preseason favorites to win the AFC South, but have stumbled out of the gate after an opening week tie against the Houston Texans and a devastating 24-0 shutout loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Despite the Chiefs and Colts trending in opposite directions, head coach Andy Reid stuck with tradition on Wednesday afternoon, calling the Colts’ roster “talented” and “well-coached” as he prepares his team for the upcoming matchup.
“We look forward to the challenge of playing the Colts,” Reid told reporters. “We know they’re a good football team and in this thing, record aside, I mean they’re talented, they’re well coached (and a) well organized organization. We’ve got to make sure we have a good week of practice and that’s starting today.”
Reid added that the team must stay focused on their matchup with the Colts and not look ahead to next week when they get a primetime Sunday night game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Well you saw the other day — I mean Sunday — you can’t skip over anybody, not that our guys would. There’s so much parity in this league, its’ crazy. Every game you’ve got to be spot on. So, I don’t think anybody’s looking at that game. I sense that there’s a big focus on this game. This team is very talented, so you have to stay on top of that.”
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes echoed his coach’s words, emphasizing that the team must stay focused on this matchup despite what the records may say about each team.
“The Colts are a great football team; I think all of us understand that,” Mahomes made clear to reporters. “When you look at their roster, they’ve got playmakers everywhere, guys that have made plays in this league for a long time. We understand how tough of an opponent they’re going to be. So, we’re not looking ahead at anything. We’re looking straight at the Colts and know it’s going to be a tough matchup for us to go to Indy in their home opener and try to find a way to get a win.”
Mahomes expanded on the matchup as he highlighted the plethora of talented players residing at each level of the Colts defense.
“Yeah, it’s another defense that’s great at all levels,” Mahomes explained. “You said it, (Colts CB) Stephon Gilmore, (Colts LB) Shaquille Leonard will, I think, probably be back, so he’s a great linebacker, one of the best (if) not the best linebacker in the league. Their defensive line, all four guys – (Colts DE) Yannick Ngakoue, (Colts DE) Kwity Paye, (Colts DT) Grover (Stewart), (Colts DT DeForest) Buckner of course, I’ve played against before. They’re great players, so when you have that many great playmakers on a defense, you understand how hard it’s going to be to get points, so we have to execute at a high level if we want to go out there and win a football game.”
As far as quarterback situations go, the two teams could not be any more different. Over the past five seasons, the Chiefs had, arguably, the best starting quarterback in the NFL running their offense. In contrast, the Colts have had five different starting quarterbacks to open the season during that span. Reid, who is friends with Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich, gave his fellow coaching peer credit for working with the hand he was dealt.
“He (Reich) does a heck of a job with it,” said Reid. “It’s tough but he’s got some good guys that have stepped in, so they’ve done ok for him. (It’s) still early in the year here, so we’ve got to make sure that we’re right and not concerned about all of that. Just making sure that we do our jobs.”
The Colts are hoping they finally found the answer to their quarterback woes with the 14-year pro, Matt Ryan. Reid went on to say that the team should not take the veteran quarterback lightly as he has a proven track record of success over the course of his career.
“Yeah so, this time of the year you have to prepare yourself for anything and everything,” Reid explained. “Obviously, (Matt) Ryan’s proven to be a good player, so we don’t get caught up in all that. We know what he’s capable of doing, so we don’t mess around with that. We’ll just get ourselves ready to go against their scheme.”
Despite their records, it’s clear that the Chiefs are approaching this matchup against the Colts with the right mentality. Kansas City has started off the season hot, so hopefully, they will be able to carry that momentum to another win against a sneaky good team in Indianapolis.