Kansas City Chiefs’ Head Coach Andy Reid met with the media on Monday afternoon.
Here are five things that stood out.
1. Reid opened his presser by thanking the fans for their support on Saturday before turning the page to this Sunday’s opponent in the New England Patriots.
“[We] look forward to the challenge of playing the Patriots this week. We know the Patriots. They are very well coached and they have good players. This isn’t their first rodeo here - they have done this a few times. [They’re] arguably one of the - if not the - greatest dynasties in the history of the game,” Reid said. “Our players will go through the process this week of getting ready to play a good football team. We’ll focus in on what we need to do so that we can do that and get going. It will be a team effort and take a team effort. It always starts up front with the offensive and defensive line. As you go through the playoffs, that’s magnified every level you [reach].”
Indeed, the Patriots are familiar with this stage. In fact, Sunday’s contest will mark New England’s eighth-consecutive trip to the AFC Championship Game. It’s worth mentioning that the bulk of those appearances have been at home, however, and the Patriots are 0-3 since 2006 when playing for the conference title on the road.
Saturday’s matchup, of course, will take place at Arrowhead Stadium, where Kansas City is 8-1 on the season.
And, when the Patriots come to town, the Chiefs could potentially have some reinforcements. Reid provided a brief update on the Chiefs’ injured players in his opening statement.
“As far as the injuries go, the guys that have been day-to-day are still day-to-day,” Reid said. “[Safety Eric Berry], Larry [offensive guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif], Spence [tailback Spencer Ware] and [linebacker] Dorian [O’Daniel] - these guys are still day-to-day as we go. We will just see how it goes as we work through the next couple days.”
Reid later mentioned that wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who played in his first game since late November last week after working his way back to a field from a foot injury, felt good following the game.
2. It was a snowy day at Arrowhead on Saturday and the temperatures are projected to be low once again this Sunday as the Chiefs return to action, but Reid isn’t concerned with the weather.
“It will be a little chilly and that’s OK. We’re at that time of the year. You go play,” Reid said. “I don’t think it will be an issue, [and] I didn’t think it was really an issue [on Saturday]. I thought people took care of the stadium and did a great job with it, whether it was the grounds crew taking care of the field itself or the people working to make sure they got the majority of the snow out of there so the fans could sit if they wanted to sit. They didn’t do much sitting, but if they wanted to, they had a chance to.”
Reid was later asked if the cold weather could affect the game itself and the players’ ability to grip the football.
“I think it’s just the focus you [have]- whether you’re throwing the ball, carrying the ball or all of those things - you just have to make sure you focus and take care of it. Then, you go. We’ve had enough practice - we continue to practice outside where it’s cold. It’s all part of it. You just have to adapt.”
3. The Chiefs went for it on fourth down on four occasions in Saturday’s victory, converting three times. Reid was asked about that aggressiveness on Monday and if the advanced analytics have changed his approach at all.
“I’m sure it does. I meet with [Statistical Analysis Coordinator] Mike Frazier and we talk through different things,” Reid explained. “He gives me reports every week that are extensive - not that I remember every one of them. I joke with him all the time about that, there’s only so much capacity right here that I can hold. But he does a great job with narrowing it down and making it usable, which becomes important. There are some things that you look at and use.”
4. Reid was also asked about the performance of Kansas City’s defense, which held Indianapolis to just seven offensive points in Saturday’s game.
“I think it’s the young guys - the guys that are new in there - that are improving every week,” Reid said. “[Safety Daniel] Sorensen is back in the mix and he’s been kind of getting his feet under him as we’ve gone here. They’re challenging and they’re communicating. You’ve heard comments from the guys and the things that they’ve said about communication and I think that’s so important. I mentioned that early in the year when players [were] talking about that. [Linebacker] Justin Houston mentioned [it after the game]. You hear these comments coming from the guys [and] that becomes very important.”
Houston referenced the Chiefs’ communication on defense following Saturday’s victory and suggested that the “sky is the limit” for their group when they’re all talking and on the same page. That was certainly the case throughout the game against Indianapolis, as the Chiefs held the Colts to just 266 yards of total offense and without a third-down conversion in the contest.
Rookie cornerback Charvarius Ward was right in the middle of that performance with a team-high four passes defensed. Reid went on to speak more about Ward on Monday.
“I think he’s one of the kids that’s been improving every week,” Reid said. “He had some big plays for us against the Colts and you’ve seen that. He’s just continually increasing productivity there and comfort. [There’s] no bigger test than what he’ll have this week. He has a good way about him, he works hard and he gets ready to play.”
5. Finally, Reid was asked about the opportunity to bring the Lamar Hunt Trophy – whose namesake founded the Chiefs – to Kansas City and what he believes such an accomplishment would mean to the Hunt family.
“I’m sure that’s a big thing. Who wouldn’t think it would be? I think it’s good for our fans and, obviously, good for the family,” Reid said. “I think they’re not going to throw that on you as a coach or on the team or anything like that. They know that we’re all going to give our best effort to get that here. [But,] when you have something named after your dad, that’s a pretty big deal. That’s pretty neat. It would be great to have it here at Arrowhead, but there are a lot of things that go into that from a coaches’ and players’ standpoint. There are going to be all kinds of little distractions as you go on here. But, you focus in on the job at hand - working through the process – and it’s no more important than now to be able to do that. We [will] try to eliminate some of the distractions there, but I would say yes, that’s a neat deal.”