Speaking before Wednesday’s practice, head coach Andy Reid recalled seeing his squad focus on their next opponent, the New England Patriots, in the locker room following the narrow defeat.
“I felt that way even towards the end of their little bit the locker room,” the coach revealed. “When I got done with [the media] and came back, they’re going forward.”
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes spoke after Reid and explained what he has seen from his teammates since the loss.
“I think once the game was over,” Mahomes explained, “and you got to sleep and came back on Monday and Tuesday, I think everyone’s mind was in the right spot. In this league, you have to move past that stuff, and we’re going to play a great football team that plays extremely hard and is playing better football right now than they’ve played all season long. It’s going to be a great test for us and a great challenge, so I think guys’ heads are in the right place.”
In years past, former Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy — now with the Washington Commanders — seemed to take charge in resetting the team through rough stretches. Mahomes believes it is now up to the players and coaches who worked with him, including this season’s offensive coordinator Matt Nagy, to take up that mantle.
“It’s a combination of a lot of guys,” the league’s biggest star stated. “I think Coach Bieniemy set that standard when he was here, and I think you can see those lingering effects of the other coaches who have coached under EB. Coach Nagy obviously has coached with EB – been the offensive coordinator before and QB coach last year.
“We hold each other accountable; the coaches hold us accountable. Obviously, we have made some mistakes that we don’t typically make, and we are going to correct those as quickly as possible.”
On the other side of the ball, defensive tackle Chris Jones recognizes that the Chiefs roster a number of players on rookie contracts who have known only success in Kansas CIty.
“We’ve got a young group,” Kansas City’s longest tenured defensive player observed to reporters Wednesday. “We’ve got a lot of young guys, and if they were on the team last year, they didn’t have to go through this adversity that we are going through now. I always say, ‘Adversity builds character and prevails teams. Tough times make tough people.’
“We’re in a tough situation right now coming off back-to-back [losses]...I haven’t been here for [many] back-to-back losses.”
His young teammates are ready to put this bitter taste behind them.
“Turn the page,” cornerback Trent McDuffie said of his mindset Wednesday in the locker room. “The past is the past — can’t change it, can’t do anything about it now. The only thing we can do is look forward. Look ahead to the next game that we’ve got, so not letting anything affect your overall practice and energy and taking it day by day.”
Rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice agreed with the second-year defender.
“Focus on the Patriots,” the SMU product said of his plans, “and not focus on the past.”
Reid expects Patriots coach Bill Belichick to have a top game plan in place coming off of his squad’s 21-18 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“Listen, he’s the best,” Reid declared of his longtime colleague. “I mean he’s a phenomenal coach, you know his guys are going to be ready. They’re well coached and they play hard, you know that. That’s a tribute to him for how he goes about his business.”
Previous experience has shown Mahomes not to take New England lightly, no matter their disappointing 3-10 record.
“[Belichick’s] going to really break it down,” he predicted. “[Find] what you do well and try to take that away. Even if they play a coverage and the rules say you might need to play it this way, he’s going to adjust it just enough to affect where you want to go as a quarterback. It’s a great challenge for you.
“I think that’s why you see the young quarterbacks — especially like I was early in my career — have trouble. Even veteran quarterbacks [do]. You think you know where to go with the ball before the snap, but he makes those adjustments week in and week out to take those away and make you get through your progressions and be perfect every play. It will be a great challenge, obviously, for the offense — but for me especially.”