Q:** A.J. Jenkins isn't practicing today, (Anthony) Fasano, I don't know what (Donnie) Avery's situation is exactly, but who are you guys going to throw the ball to on Sunday?
PEDERSON:"I might have to suit up. No. I tell you it's kind of our thought process, our mentality, the way we've gone about our business all year and that's we're going to play everybody. If it's Frankie Hammond (Jr.) who's had some experience out there, Albert's (Wilson) had some snaps these last couple of weeks. Whoever we put out there has to go out there and play and we're going against a fine defense and then they've got to execute their game plan."
Q: If it's not (Donnie) Avery, would (Frankie) Hammond (Jr.) be the next guy up?
PEDERSON:"Well, the next guy would be Frankie. It would be Hammond and then we've also got Albert. Albert, again, increasingly has gotten a few more reps each week and we've got to continue to get, he's a young player, but keep him coming as well just like we did with Travis (Kelce)."
Q: Did you get your new tight end some work yesterday?
PEDERSON:"Got a few snaps, yeah. Got a few snaps and we'll see where it is at the end of the week, but got him a few touches yesterday."
Q: Is that realistic you think? He could be a part of the game plan on Sunday?
PEDERSON:"You know it could be. We've gone in every week with three tight ends and it should be no different this week. We'll just see where it is at the end of the week."
Q: How do you get Kelce more involved than last week?
PEDERSON:"Well first of all, you look at what Buffalo did and they were obviously very aware of where Travis was and is on the football field. We just kind of continued to dial up plays that directed for Travis. When we do call those plays, Travis has to execute and understand the coverage or his assignment in that particular situation, but we just have to call plays and get him the ball that way."
Q: Do you see this as a week where you can get him more involved?
PEDERSON:"Well the tight end position, I guess this group has been successful, but yet it's a defense that, not a very complicated defense, it's not a very complicated scheme. You kind of know what they're going to do. They're very good at what they do. They've got great personnel over there and so from that standpoint, it becomes just an execution game and all our guys have to understand their assignment, understand the game plan and go execute against a good defense."
Q: Looking back at what the Eagles did with Lane Johnson, he came right back in and started. With Stephenson, we're still trying to see what's going to happen with him. What's going on with Donald Stephenson? He was arguably your best offensive linemen coming into the season.
PEDERSON:"It was a situation obviously with the suspension, four games at the start of the year and moving Ryan Harris out there to tackle and Ryan's done a good job. He's done well and I guess at this stage in the season you don't want to disrupt that chemistry a little bit but yet at the same time, you want to continue to keep a guy like (Jeff) Linkenbach, a guy like Donald Stephenson involved with your system whether it be in short yardage at the goal line like we've done the last couple of weeks."
Q: Are Stephenson and (Eric) Kush getting any reps at guard?
PEDERSON:"Just kind of keeping them in their spots right now. Kush is still growing as a center and he's a fine center still keeping them right there in their spot."
Q: Do you think you guys have an advantage this week with Brandon Mebane out to run the football?
PEDERSON: "I don't know if there's much. I mean, this is a good group. These guys fly around. I tell you what, I think for them, it's obviously a guy they're going to miss, but we just have to execute. Bottom line is we have to execute. He's a big presence in there for sure"
Q: Dwayne (Bowe) at the game against Buffalo, his receptions are up compared to last year. He looks quicker, what changes do you see?
PEDERSON:"It's a mindset with Dwayne. I think he understands that he's kind of the guy for us on the perimeter. Alex (Smith) has a nice trust in him. Those two really work well together in practice and it shows in the game. Dwayne is different on Wednesday than he is on Sunday. When you get to Sunday, that's his time, he loves the lights and the big show. He's a gamer and it shows on Sunday."
Q: It seems like when you guys ran drags on Sunday Buffalo was really aware of that. Was that with everybody or was that a (Travis) Kelce thing?
PEDERSON:"Going into the Buffalo thing we anticipated from them what they have shown on film, a lot more man-to-man, single safety, middle type coverages. They actually presented as a little more zone and that takes away some of that stuff so we had to make those adjustments during the game."
Q: That four count play, the touchdown. Coach Reid said that's a short yardage play, when you called it against that particular defense did you kind of feel like it was going to be a lot more than one yard?
PEDERSON:"Well you hope that every play is that. But obviously in that situation, yes that definitely has a play and you see it, everybody runs that play. It's just a chance to get 25 with the ball in space on the perimeter with the hope of scoring and it worked. Guys executed the play extremely well. There was a sense of urgency being that it was a fourth down situation. It was just a well-executed play."
Q: Is it hard to sit on that for the right moment?
PEDERSON:"Those plays like that are definitely game specific, certain situations. That one happened to be a fourth-and-one, could have been a third-and-one. But it's those short yardage situations like that, and then there are obviously plays in the red zone or on third down that you've got to pick the right spot and pull it out. It may be a play that you've rep'd for two or three weeks and haven't the chance to call it until that particular time."
Q: So that's in your playbook every week?
PEDERSON:"Not necessarily, because every defense will play that particular formation different. So it's not in every single week.
Q: When you do your film study every week and you see a defensive end or outside back who's prone to crash, does that move it up the playlist a little bit?
PEDERSON:"Yeah, there are certain things you look for with defenses. One, is defensive ends and linebackers and how they contain or scrape, or whatever. You look for those things as you game plan. Coach (Andy) Heck does a nice job of putting the run game together that way."
Q: All the talk coming into the season about officiating and secondary physical play, and contact was about the Seattle Seahawks. But when you look at the first nine games, they have very few of those penalties. Why is that?
PEDERSON:"It's a great fundamental football team. Some of the best corners you are going to see in the league and they play it well. Is there grabbing going on? Yeah, there's going to be some grabbing and pushing and shoving, that's just a part of the game. These guys do an exceptional job at the line of scrimmage and are able to quick jam receivers during the game at the line. Our guys have got to be aware of that and execute their fundamentals.
Q: You guys have had a number of guys fill a spot and play well for injured players. Do you see the whole next man up philosophy working especially well this year?
SUTTON:"I do and I think one of the things we've tried to do over the past two years is that no matter where you are at on the roster, I use the look team all the time, we talk to the look team all the time about, 'this is your chance to get ready. You don't get a lot of reps and the way the NFL is set up with the first group, because there aren't enough reps to do that. So you've really got to push yourself to become a better player in those situations.' Last year that was (Marcus) Cooper and (Ron) Parker out there taking a lot of look reps. That's their games and if you'll embrace that as player and not just say, 'hey, I'm out here doing this for the offense.' I always try to tell them, 'hey, you've got an NFL offense that's training you. They are working for you if you want them to be.' You've got to do what's on that card but if you take the mindset that this is my chance to get better. Hey, I'm working against Alex Smith today, that's what I get to work against. That's a fantastic opportunity. That's how you have to get ready because in this league, you may have gotten five reps this week in practice but if somebody goes down, you're playing the rest of the game and need to play like a starter. That's important. I think the other thing that Andy's done a great job of is that you don't lower your expectations when somebody goes in. The team on the field is the team; they have to perform at that level. You were a second guy, you're a first guy now and you've got to play. Those other 10 guys are counting on you to play. We know there are skill differentials and all that, but you've got to be able to perform, there are no trap doors, you've got to play right now. Obviously, I think we are all really proud of the guys that have embraced that, have stepped up and taken advantage of their opportunity. And like all players, the key part is to get better as you go forward. But I would agree we've certainly had some guys that have done a marvelous job. Unfortunately, we've had a lot of guys who have had to do it. I wish we didn't but that's just the way it is and we just have to keep banging away. We talked about this a week ago with our defense, there's going to be somebody else before this is over who's going to be called up and you've got to be ready."
Q: How much does it help you as a defensive coordinator when you have players that have versatility and can play on multiple positions like Ron Parker and Eric Berry?
SUTTON:"That's a huge deal. When you're setting that final game roster that's going to be ready sometimes injuries at different positions, sometimes offensively demand, 'hey, they have an extra guy'. Well if they have an extra guy then we need somebody who can be a swing guy and it helps you make those positions and know that we have it covered. We have a lot of guys who have done that, Husain Abdullah has done it, he plays different positions. Ron's played inside and outside, he's done a really good job. (Josh) Mauga was trained that way when he first started, he was going to be a guy to play multiple positions. The more players you have like that, the easier it is to put your roster together, that's one factor. The other thing it gives you is you can move these guys around a little bit. Like I always say, 'sometimes you can't get the license plates; you don't really know what they are doing.' So that's helpful too."
Q: Josh Mauga said yesterday there is an opportunity here for the Chiefs to prove they are the toughest team in the NFL if you get a win. Has that been a message?
SUTTON:"Well, certainly I think Seattle's calling card is being physical, tough. They lead the National Football League in rushing, they are high in run defense, which are two staples if you are going to put that toughness card out there. They mirror each other in that regard, I think to win the game we are going to have to play a physical game. Everybody knows Marshawn Lynch, he's probably the most physical back in the National Football League. It's going to take a great effort by a lot of players to take care of him. This isn't a one man show where you get him down, he runs physical, he runs hard and we have to get multiple people to the ball and get ready to play. It's going to demand us to play at a very high level from the physical stand point."
Q: Is there an added mental preparedness that goes into stopping a guy like Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson?
SUTTON:"Yeah you've got to. Russell Wilson I think has got three 100 yard rushing games which is more than most of the (running) backs in the NFL. He's a dynamic player. A lot them are designed runs and then you add in the scrambles which are very difficult, but you'd like to be able to focus in on one of them, but you can't neglect this other guy. This quarterback is a dangerous guy in the run game and not just like I saw drop back scrambles and that. We've got to play great team defense and there's no real easy answer to that, but we've got to play our tails off and get a lot of guys to the football, got to win the line of scrimmage. That's a big part of stopping the running game. You've got to win that battle up front there."
Q: When you see four touchdowns on the ground for one player, what do you tell your team when you're watching that in the film room?
SUTTON: "In between those 150 yards they had, there's a lot of commas. You get to see a lot of runs. That's one thing you see. It's a really good offensive football team that I think plays to its strengths of their individual players. They're not just one dimensional. Wilson is really an accurate passer. He has the ability to extend the play which makes it really dangerous and then he can take off and run. That challenges you and everything that you want to do on defense. Anytime that you've got a guy, like we always talk, there's a play and then there's a play within the play. That's when he takes off and extends it and takes off and runs and you've got to be able to defend both the original play and this next play that just happens."
Q: Does going up against a quarterback like Alex Smith in practice prepare you for a guy like Russell Wilson?
SUTTON: "Well, no we don't really see Alex at all when we work against that. I think the experience we've dealt with (Colin) Kaepernick and that. That's a good calling card for us and we've had a couple of other mobile guys. I just don't know if we've played anybody quite as quick as Russell Wilson. He's got really really good speed, but he has tremendous quickness. He can shake you and he makes it really challenging. He's done that the entire year."
Q: I know that one of the things that drives coaches crazy is pre-snap penalties. Defensively, you guys have had an amazing year. Knock on wood with that. I bring this up because last Sunday you had (Kevin) Vickerson jump up on fourth down and you go 'oh my god, you never see that'. Then you turn around and he had a reason to jump. How have you guys limited that?
SUTTON: "Well I think that's a tribute to the players' focus and concentration and you understand snap counts. You try to understand that and the situations you're in and just like that situation there, that's a classic example of what we call a no brainer. You're anticipating that they're going to hard count you to try to get you to jump offsides. The balls on the other side of the 50, still quite a bit of time left and we talk about that a lot. Talk about that when you're backed up and into the goal line. Any of that stuff, I think the players have done a great job of taking that in and internalizing because we don't get to go out on the field with them in those situations. They have to know how to do those things and talk to each other you know?"
Q: What are the challenges you've faced with Seattle's read options?
SUTTON: "Yeah, there's a lot of problems. 24 (Marshawn Lynch) and their quarterback are problems no matter who keeps the ball. It demands you be disciplined, aggressive, all those things you have to do and the hard part is, you can be doing the right thing and you still have to tackle these guys both 24 and Russell when he comes out there. He's a hard guy. There's been several examples of him being out there and there's a guy ready to take him, but again, he makes a mess and that. I think collectively it's going to take a great team effort. We understand the play, the players understand the play. They execute that play at a very high level. Just like any of their zone runs they do a great job. Their line is very well schooled in zone blocking. Tom Cable has been one of the best line coaches in our league and pass schemes. They know what they're doing and we've just got to play a great game. We've got to be very physical and do a great job of tackling."
Q:With Cyrus Gray out, does it look like Albert Wilson will now be the personal protector? That's a lot of responsibility for a young kid.
TOUB:"Yeah, yeah. He came in in the last game in an important situation. We had two situations there where they went all-out rushes on us and he was able to handle that stuff, so we feel really good about Albert. For a rookie to be in that spot, in that situation, to come in without any reps the way he handled it, he did a really good job."
Q: It seems like on that Anthony Sherman fumble he really hustled to get down there.
TOUB:"Yeah, that was his very first play. He makes the right call up front; he makes the right block, gets out; and goes down and makes the tackle, I mean that was impressive."
Q: Was he getting any reps in practice there?
TOUB:"He got reps during training camp but during the week you don't get reps. It's kind of like the quarterback. He's the quarterback of your punt team, Cyrus, you've got to let him get all the reps."
Q: So that is an indication that he is paying attention in meetings?
TOUB:"Yeah, it says something about him, it says a lot about him as far as being a football instinct guy and being able to step up and it wasn't too big for him as a rookie. You never know until you put him in there and we had to put him in and he rose to the challenge."
Q: Is Albert Wilson going to take over all of Cyrus Gray's special teams duties?
TOUB:"Not all of them. You asked about the PP (personal protector), I'm telling you he'll be the PP. We have a lot of other guys that can do other spots."
Q: Does that mean Frank Zombo is kind of the special teams ace now with Cyrus Gray out?
TOUB:"Well I'll tell you we have a great leader in Anthony Sherman too. Anthony Sherman is obviously AFC (Special Teams) Player of the Week and everything. We're really proud of him too. He's done a really good job this year – leading tackler and everything else. He's one of our leaders as well."
Q: How did you feel about the decision De'Anthony Thomas made to catch the punt near the goal line on Sunday?
TOUB:"I want him to stay aggressive. I'm not going to rip him for being aggressive. We want him to keep doing that. He just needs to check. If he's down there inside the five and he has blue jerseys on him, let it go back for a touchback. So he's going to continue to get better, but we don't want to take away his aggressiveness the way he's been going after balls and that stuff. He's right on track. He's going to be a dynamic playmaker for us down the road."
Q: So that was your message to him this week?
TOUB:"Yeah, I didn't rip him or anything like that. We looked at the tape and saw the situation and he knows what he needs to do."
Q: Joe Mays recorded a special teams tackle this week too. Was it good awareness to get back into his lane and make the tackle?
TOUB:"Yeah, on the very first punt return they got outside of us and they tried to do that again and our guys – both him and McCray – stayed outside and forced him back inside and he was able to shed the block and make the tackle – him and Cyrus both. He did a nice job. Now he was a four-phase player for us in that game, Joe, so it was good to have him back on the field."
Q: Is that a role you continue to envision him in going forward?
TOUB:"Yeah, if he's not a starter on defense, we're going to use him on special teams. If he's up, if he's one of the 46, we need everybody we can to help us."
Q: Is he pretty humble about it?
TOUB:"Oh yeah, our guys are all bought into special teams. They know how important special teams are and Andy (Reid) puts a good emphasis on it and our guys take pride in playing on special teams. So it's not like a demotion; that's not the mindset for us."
Q: You really swarmed to the ball on that fumble recovery. What happened there?
TOUB:"What happened there? That's the way it's supposed to look. And I think kickoff coverage we did a better job too as well. We only gave up 21 yards in that game and I thought we improved in that area."
Q: When you are against a talented returner, is that the only way to slow him down by squeezing him?
TOUB:"Yeah, when you have a talented returner you have to have all your lanes filled. There can't be a gaping hole, there can't be a double team where it's not filled with somebody else. And the guys played downhill and physical and that's what you're looking for."
Q: How much of an impact do you think it is to have Anthony Sherman willing to do anything?
TOUB:"Yeah, he's another guy who really takes pride on special teams. Every time he steps on the field, whatever play it is – offense or special teams – he is going full speed all the time. And we're just so pleased to have him. I think he's the best fullback special teams player in the NFL."