Coordinators' Press Conferences 12/11

Offensive Coordinator Doug Pederson, Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton and Special Teams Coach Dave Toub speak with the media as the Chiefs prepare to face the Raiders in Week 15

Doug Pederson

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Q: Looking at that last drive in Arizona at what point do you tell Alex (Smith) to get the ball down field because you need yards?

PEDERSON:"That specific play is part of our last six-package that was actually a situation where had D-Bow (Dwayne Bowe) come open, we would complete it to him. It was a little bit of a misdirection, we had to keep the ball alive in that situation. It was fourth down, end of the game and we just misfired on the completion. It's something we can, obviously, learn from. It was the first time that's happened with that particular play in that situation. We work it every week, obviously. But we've got to do a better job at one, the route, completing the football, because the most important thing is completing the ball in that situation."

Q: I'm not talking about just that play, but the drive in general.

PEDERSON:"It goes without saying, it's the drive to win the game. You've got to complete the throws, you've got to get the ball down the field whether you throw it quick or you're taking five or seven foot drop. Protection is obviously key and then the receivers have got to be a little bit more pinpoint accuracy in that situation. Alex has to trust the guys and make nice accurate throws. That's just the bottom line in that situation when you're in a two minute in order to put yourself in a position to tie or win the game."

Q: Can Alex Smith stand to be aggressive in other parts of the game too?

PEDERSON:"If it dictates, yeah. Not every throw is designed to go 20 yards. If the situation arises and you get the right coverage and a certain look then, yeah he will take advantage of that and put our guys in positions to take advantage of certain looks and coverages.

Q: Seems like teams are covering you in very similar ways. How tired are you guys of seeing the same stuff?

PEDERSON:"Well, it's the National Football League every week you are going to get everybody's best. The past couple weeks we haven't been at our best and so you kind of take a step back, evaluate yourself and you move forward in the last three weeks of the regular season. It's sort of a one game season and you focus on the Oakland Raiders and this job. We didn't play well against them. That's a good football team. Execution and finish are things that you continue to strive for each and every week."

Q: When defenses are playing pressure there is a lot of responsibility on the offensive line for protection but how much of that is the quarterback?

PEDERSON:"Playing the quarterback positon obviously it ultimately lies on the quarterback with making calls and checks. But the offensive line is involved, receivers are involved, tight ends are involved, running backs are involved. When I say receivers, receivers have got to get open. They have to feel the sense of urgency when people begin to disappear and they need eyes back to the quarterback. So they are part of the protection process as well.  Then the quarterback, Alex being as sharp as he is, putting us in the right protection check or call. Not necessarily changing the protection but maybe just redirecting the line. So all of that and then bottom line is Alex completing the football to the guy who is either hot or quick in those situations."

Q: What does Albert Wilson give you out there?

PEDERSON:"Albert is a talented young player with speed. He's got some burst of quickness. You see him in those short to intermediate routes. A couple of opportunities to make a play down the field with him. We keep coming along there in that position and the more, with any young player, the more reps he gets in game situations, the better he's going to become."

Q: Speaking of pressure on the quarterback, 52 (Khalil Mack) for them, the rookie he's starting to really live up to the fifth pick in the draft. What have you seen out of him?

PEDERSON:"He and (Justin) Tuck both are playing well right now and Khalil Mack is going to be and is a tremendous pass rusher. I think Tuck feeds off of that or vice versa there, but this is another good defensive front. These guys can rush the passer and they're not doing a ton of stuff anymore really on defense. They've kind of toned it down. Those guys can play fast and that's something we've got to be aware of offensively and just have to know where those two guys are, just talk because you know those two guys line up inside, outside, all over that d-line."

Q: He didn't get a sack on you, but he did seem to be in Alex's (Smith) face all the time.

PEDERSON:"He's disruptive. Anytime when you're in a timing offense, like we are, that you can disrupt that quarterbacks timing and rhythm it effects your passing game."

Q: We're always bothering you about the use of Jamaal (Charles) and the ways that you could get him more involved. How do you continually push that? He's your best playing. I'm assuming you want to give him the ball as much as possible right now.

PEDERSON:"As often as you can whether you're throwing it to him or handing it to him and you saw early in the game last week how explosive he can be third play into that game and then being able to throw it to him out of the backfield and then he got help from Jason Avant with his two great blocks on two big plays. You can see the explosiveness there in 25 and even when you visit with other coaches. They understand. They know that your best player is number 25 and they try to do everything they can to try to take him out of the football game. Again, offensively and as the coordinator, I have to, my job is to get him in positions where we can take advantage of one on one matchups where he's not being doubled or where they're not blitzing him or keeping him in the backfield and coming up with schemes that allow him to touch the ball in these games."

Q: What has allowed Jason Avant to be effective right away? 

PEDERSON:"Well number one, he's the veteran guy. He understands our system. He's a guy that when we brought him in, we had some injury at that spot and we had Junior (Hemingway) down for the last couple weeks. It gave us a presence there, run and pass that Alex (Smith) feels comfortable with and we feel comfortable with as a staff on offense. You've seen him I think these last couple of weeks, we've put him in positions to give even Dwayne (Bowe) a blow so that Dwayne is fresh in the second half and third quarters of games and he's just a versatile receiver that we can move. He can be a blocker, pass-receiver and he gives us a multitude of skills that we can take advantage of as an offense."

Q: Avant's block might have been the best of the day.

PEDERSON:"Both of them. On the run and on the pass to Jamaal were both sprung by Jason. He knows it. He gets it. He understands his role and that's key. I think the other thing is the young players on our team see Jason and how he works and his work habits and they're asking questions of him. He's going to make those younger guys better as well."

Bob Sutton

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Q: What did you learn about Latavius Murray last time you played him?

SUTTON:"Well, we saw him go by us for about 90 yards so we got a long, long look at him as he went down the field. He is a big man that runs fast and that is not always a great combination if you are on defense. But he's a good back and of course (Darren) McFadden has been a really good back. They have some good football players there, but I think both those guys are really good football players and I think the young guy (Murray) as it appears just from what we've seen of him, he's really got a high upside in my opinion. Fast and big, it's a good place to start with."

Q: Do you think the season is taking a toll mentally and physically on the players at this point of the season?

SUTTON:"I don't know. It's what all of us do. I don't think any more than at any other time of the year or any other season I should say. Any time you do something week after week after week, you've got to recharge and reenergize and that is really on each of us: coaches, players or whatever – you've got to plug back in, you've got to get all those bars back up if you want to operate at the highest capacity. So I think that's a challenge for everybody, and it's just part of the game I think."

Q: The personnel has changed around Dontari Poe. How much do you think that has impacted how he has played this year?

SUTTON:"We'd love to have Mike DeVito in there but that wasn't meant to be right now. Allen Bailey came in, did a great job so I don't think significantly. We'd like to have all of our guys but that's kind of what the NFL is. You've got to live with those things, next guy has got to play and step up in there. And the truth is the other players have to keep getting better. Every player is still responsible for himself in that regard."

Q:Have other teams done things differently based on how they have played against Dontari Poe?

SUTTON:"No, his world hasn't changed ever; I don't think it will. He is always going to be involved in some kind of zone block or double-team I would say 95 percent of the time. He is a hard guy to block individually, very strong and very quick. So I think most of the time there is some kind of scheme that is set to try to take care of him or help on him."

Q: The last three games your run defense has hurt and they really gashed away at in the fourth quarter. Is there a common denominator in what's been happening?

SUTTON:"I think kind of what we talked about last week. I think we have to play better and play better technique, all of those things. I think they got a little better last week for us. I think if we keep working and keep pushing forward we will improve in that area. I think the other part of it always comes down, I told you a week ago, when teams are going to be patient and run the ball one of the real important facets of the game becomes third down. Because you need to get off the field otherwise you just start back over, it's a ball control thing. Arizona really wasn't totally like that; they were a little different in the game. If that's going to be the play calling mentality then you can live with some body blows, as long as you get off the field on third down."

Q: Where are we at with Dee Ford's development? He got a lot more playing time last week. How much of that has to do with how much he's been gotten and then with (Allen) Bailey getting hurt?

SUTTON:"Well I think probably a combination. Same thing with anybody who gets injured, one of our objectives is to always get the best group we can on the field. No different than anybody else. Certainly with Allen being out that created a spot there. We said, 'ok, who's our next best rusher for these third downs'. Well, obviously it was Dee so we tried to create something's to get him on the field in those situations. I think he's been steadily improving and just keeps coming along. Hopefully the more he plays the better he is going to get."

Q: People understand how complicated it can be going from a 4-3 defensive end with your hand on the run all the time to playing up-right.

SUTTON:"Yeah, there's a lot of things that happen when you're in the outside linebacker role. From coverage, to drop, to run force, it's a little bit more multiple than what he did. We think he has a real upside as far as rushing the passer. This is giving him an opportunity to kind of do that and get comfortable with the other things. I think hopefully the whole deal is the more he's out there, the better he's going to get, the more comfortable he's going to get and he's still got to work hard developing in some of those areas."

Q: I know a lot was made of that San Francisco play. Now its two months later, how do you think he took that? Do you think he's used it as a positive motivator?

SUTTON:"Yeah, like I told you after that play, 'you don't want to know how many plays are misdiagnosed by other players and you don't see or think about'. That one stood out and I'm sure for him that was a 'hey, that's not something I really was proud of or happy with'.  But I think he took it well and learned from it and said, 'hey, I've got to learn keys, eyes'. That's kind of what you were talking about before. That's a whole different world when you're up there and you're looking and you've got this key, that happens, that happens, it's a pass but no it isn't a pass. There's a lot of processing going on there and until you're comfortable with that you might misread, that's one part of it. The other part is you don't get to play as fast as you'd like to play, that's the biggest part of it."

Q:  How can you work on pass rush in practice? I know you guys don't go at it 100%, but kind of get a feeling. Is that why playing in games is important for him?

SUTTON:"Well yeah. One, we do go 100% rushing the passer. No, I mean we try to rush the passer. The only thing we don't do in the pass rush is go for the quarterback, but the actual blocking that's taking place, but there's no question that to see it live in a game. That's every guy that starts in this league has got to get out there and play and the more he's out there, the more he's going to learn. Instead of just doing something he's going to start to, there's certain parts where knowledge is power. You start to see whether it's a set, how a guy's stance is before the snap, all those things that really help a player and until you get out there and do it that's one part. The other part is you have to learn how to study and do that. That's a big part of the thing is what you do off the field and if you take Justin (Houston) and Tamba (Hali), those guys have great capacity to study."

Q: Speaking of just in the Arizona game, how effective was he?

SUTTON: "I thought he did a really good job. Like we say, he had no sacks but there's other things that are going on in life there. The key word for us is effect the quarterback, get him off his spot, make him throw when he's not ready to throw and there were some real positives I thought he did in there."

Q: You guys have had some opportunities to get some turnovers the last couple of games and just haven't had them happen. Andy Reid said sometimes it's because guys are trying too hard to get the big play. What do you think is going on there?

SUTTON: "One, I think we mentioned this a week ago, anytime you are, in theory, trying to create turnovers I don't really think that happens. They come to you as you're in position, you're hustling, and there's certainly I think what you're alluding to finish a play. You have to take advantage of opportunities. You've got to be able to snap that ball off and go and I don't think anybody's pressing from that standpoint. There may be a desire to 'hey I want to get this play', but you don't go out and say I want to get a takeaway but when you show up you've got to make those plays. If you make enough of them you're in good shape. Then I think you start on that roll. There's a lot of factors that go into turnovers. The most important one is take advantage of your opportunities. For us on defense I know that."

Dave Toub

Q: What is the state of the special teams right now?

TOUB:"The state of the special teams? Well, I like our kickoff returner right now. We gave up a bad one on kickoff, the return in the first one; we had a guy out of position. Other than that, I think our punter is doing well. (Dustin) Colquitt is having a good season I believe and the cover unit is doing pretty well. Punt return, we're still waiting to get a big one really is what we're waiting on. We just need to do a better job blocking the gunners and we take care of the gunners, I think we're going to pop one."

Q: Cairo Santos saved the day on that opening kickoff.

TOUB:"Yeah, he did. I'm glad he didn't go in there with his legs. He hit him with his shoulder and knocked him out of bounds against a good returner so that was good to see. He improved on that but there was no excuse for us being out of position like that."

Q: How do you counsel Cairo Santos in those situations? You don't want to see your kicker get blasted out of the game.

TOUB:"No, we don't want him making tackles. Obviously that is not something we want.  But he is the last line of defense. A lot of time he is the middle safety and he's got to try and slow him down and try to get him out of bounds and do what he did. You can't ask for anything better than that. If he has to make a tackle, he's got to try and stick his head in there and try and do something."

Q: After watching, how often do you have Cairo Santos punt and Dustin Colquitt kick?

TOUB:"Cairo can punt. We used him during the preseason for practice and stuff like that. I feel comfortable with him coming in and being a punter. I'm not sure about Dustin as a kicker. We haven't really worked at that. He assures me that he could do it and kick extra points and get kickoffs if we needed it. But I just don't want to change his swing during the week or practice something that probably will never happen. But he assures me that he would be able to do it if he needed it."

Q: What do you think Cairo Santos range would have been had he gotten in position to kick the game-tying field goal? TOUB:"It changes game to game, but down there indoors, we felt like 35-yard line, a 53-yarder, we felt he could make on both ends. Obviously it didn't matter. But the way his pregame was, we needed to get to the 35. In that game though, obviously you are trying to tie it up. If we're at the 38, you've got to try for it anyway if that's what we get to. So he might have been able to bang one of those."

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