When he’s preparing to play another team, Kansas City Chiefs always (and somewhat famously) says that his team is “excited for the challenge” to play its upcoming opponent.
But with the team’s season opener against the Arizona Cardinals just two days away, that might be a bit of an understatement.
“[It’s] the best part of the year for me,” tight end Travis Kelce told Kansas City reporters after the team’s Friday practice. “[We] just get to go out there [with] new expectations [and] a new team with no identity. We’re fired up because of it. [It’s] just another hack at another year. It’s exciting, man.”
“[We’re] very fired up, man,” said left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., “especially up front. The regular season is always exciting. We all dream about having the opportunity. Going into my fifth year, it seems just as exciting as ever to get out here in this first regular-season game.”
“They’re ready to go,” observed Reid, “to just go play. And play against somebody else besides themselves. I think it’ll be good to get out there and get going.”
But putting the excitement aside, Reid said the team will have to do a lot of things right to leave Arizona with a “W.”
“Both sides [of the ball] are going to need to play well,” said Reid, “and then special teams. They’ve got a good special-teams coordinator. He tried an onside kick against us the last time, so he’s got all that stuff in his package. I’m sure they’ll work through that. Offensively, you know how explosive they are — and defensively, they’re a sound football team.”
Reids gives Arizona defensive coordinator Vance Joseph a lot of the credit for that.
“He does a nice job,” noted the head coach. “He gives you a lot of different looks. He’s sound. There will be a time or two he gets you. You’ve just got to work it out — and make sure you fix it.”
Kelce called the Cardinals’ defense a “jump-ball team.”
“They’ll throw everything at you,“ said the tight end. “A lot of blitzes, a lot of different variations of coverages — and you can’t really get a good ‘tell.’ There’s not a lot of scheme to it, right? They just have a lot of good players that can do different things.
“So it’s just understanding that you’ve got the whole game of coverages that could get thrown out [at you]. [You remain] being true to your indicators and play fast; you can’t let it slow you down. That’s the biggest thing that they’re trying to do when they throw so many different types of coverages at you.”
Brown said that from his perspective, it was going to come down to focusing on doing his job.
“I think the challenge is just going to be making sure that we take care of our part of execution,” he predicted, “making sure that as the plays are called and everything’s coming into the flow of the game [with] highs and lows, [we are] making sure that we maintain our composure and go out and execute.”
All of that is part of being a professional football player. But as Reid noted, sometimes it’s important just to get back to your roots.
“You go play the game that you’ve been playing since you were a little kid,” he said. “You go play — and don’t let yourself get in the way of you playing good; sometimes, you can worry so much about it that you freeze yourself. Go ahead and relax — and go play the game.”