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Coordinators' Press Conferences 12/18

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 Steelers in Week 16

Doug Pederson



Q: Do you have more of those 40-yard plus pass plays for us this week?

PEDERSON:"I'd like to say yes, every play is designed to go 40-plus. These past couple weeks it's good to see that one, Alex (Smith) is seeing that well. The fact that maybe we are calling them at the right time, we are getting the right look from the defense that's presenting us with that opportunity. And it's just a matter of the guys executing that play at that particular time and just throwing the ball and completing the ball down the field. It's been kind of a bright spot for us the past couple weeks."

Q: Is it possible for young receivers to develop without veteran presence?

PEDERSON:"I think it helps to have a veteran presence, whether it's at the quarterback position or it's at his position of wide receiver, tight end, running back. You lean on that veteran guy because of the wealth of experience out on that field. As coaches we sit there and watch it on tape all day but they are actually out there between the lines executing the offense or defense, special teams. Then you put in six, seven, eight, nine years of that, you're able to kind of relate that to a younger player. If the younger player is in tune to that and he's asking the right questions then he can grow at his position and eventually see the field a lot sooner than later."

Q: How rare is it to add a guy like (Jason) Avant midseason who has the experience that he has in your system?

PEDERSON:"You mentioned it right there, the fact that he's familiar with our system. You can take a guy who's only been removed a couple years and then bring him back and plug him in. It takes a couple weeks to kind of get everything back in shape mentally and hearing the play calls and all that. A guy like that is valuable, like Richard Gordon who's been in camp with us, now he's back with us. It didn't take him long to get caught up to speed."

Q: Is Avant feeling up to speed now?

PEDERSON:"Yeah, he's doing well, real well."

Q: When did he start to feel that way?

PEDERSON:"It took him probably that first week. We've changed; we're not the same offense, as you look at us, than when he was with us in Philly. We've changed a little bit, so there was a little bit of learning for him, some of the terminology but yeah, he's definitely caught up."

Q: What are the characteristics of a Dick LeBeau defense? What are you going to see?

PEDERSON:"The biggest thing is probably the fire zone, the blitz. He's done it for years, he's not going to change it. It's a tenacious defense. It's a fast flow defense. They are a defense that is typically a good tackling defense. Fundamentally, they are sound. He's got guys like (Troy) Polamalu that can make plays all over the field, sort of a free roamer, free reign type of guy that plays within the system. He's not hurting their defense by what he does, he's actually making more plays than not. Those things you see from this defense. Big, physical defensive line. Athletic, mobile linebackers. Then, secondary guys who can cover and those have always been characteristics of his style of play and his defense."

Q: I think he was the first guy who had 11 guys standing as a defense, with Jamaal (Charles) you aren't likely to see that are you?

PEDERSON:"You never know. But you start standing guys up, they still have to wear a 90-number and a 50-number and a 20-number and you just have to sort it out offensively. They are going to rush four, they are going to rush five, three, six. But with a guy like Jamaal, maybe having guys stand up can cause a little confusion. They can flash into gaps in the run game, things like that can stymie you a little bit on offense."

Bob Sutton



Q: Did you ever call defenses against Todd Haley when he was with Arizona?

SUTTON:"Yeah, we've seen him there and of course I didn't call the defense when we played him at the Jets when he was here at Kansas City and that, so we've dealt with Todd before when he was the offensive coordinator at Arizona and once I think, maybe twice, when he was here at Kansas City. So he's obviously done a great job because they've got a really high-powered offense that is really moving right now and they have tremendous balance between the running and passing game and you've got (Le'veon) Bell, (Antonio) Brown and Ben (Roethlisberger) – all of the B's. They're a problem. They are all individually very talented and collectively they are working really well together and complementing each other very well."

Q: With Antonio Brown who is so good with one move and Ben Roethlisberger who can pump-fake with one arm, is that a unique problem that you will have to deal with?

SUTTON:"Well, I think a lot of teams do that. Like anything, I think when you have outstanding players doing a particular play or whatever it is, it becomes even more trouble-some on defense and your margin for error is very minimal. One, this is obviously from being the most targeted to the most catches in the NFL to a quarterback that is close to 70% completion, you just can't make very many mistakes without paying a very heavy price. So we're going to have to be on top of our game. It's going to demand a lot of different people to work on these guys and if it was only one thing we had to worry about, it would be a lot easier, but unfortunately we have several things here that are going on at once."

Q: What are some of Jamell Fleming's strengths?

SUTTON:"I think he is a very physical player. He is very strong, aggressive; he can battle you in the air and maintain his presence on the receiver. I think those are probably the things that impress me right now about him."

Q: Did you get a look at him before John Dorsey brought him in?

SUTTON:"No, I did not personally."

Q: So your first experience with him was here?

SUTTON:"Right, it was here."

Q: Did it take a while for you to see what flashes he could show?

SUTTON:"You know from his body type, what he looks like, you think he might be a physical guy. He is strong, fairly thick guy, but still has good movements. That has proven out over the course of time."

Q: How competitive is Fleming?

SUTTON:"I hope very. I thought he went in and did a great job. He did the first time and got nicked up with a hamstring but I thought he did a really good job and I thought he had some really outstanding finishes the other day against Oakland. We had two or three right in front of our bench that we got to see up close and I thought he did a really great job of playing all the way until the end, play it to the ground. He did a great job; he got the ball out there and did a nice job."

 Q: You used a lot of different looks against the Raiders, how much of that is based on the quarterback and his experience and how much is just personnel?

SUTTON:"It's probably a combination of all things. It's trying to get as many of our top players on the field at once as we can. Some of it is situational, and that. It's really no different than, I guess a comparison would be multiple defensive backs in there to handle a particular grouping that the offense puts out there. We did the same thing up front this past game and kind of the last couple games."

Q: With a veteran quarterback like Roethlisberger, do you react the same way with a multitude of possibilities or do you try to keep it simple?

SUTTON:"No, I think you've got to be able to change things up, obviously. The best change ups are always the ones that look like something else, that look like something you've done. Because they are preparing and training just like we do based on what they do. So everybody tries to dress things up a little bit. You try to keep doing the same thing as many times as you can because that's advantageous for you. I don't think it's necessarily experience or non-experience that would drive whether we did that or not."

Q: Is it remarkable to you what you've been able to accomplish with so little takeaways?

SUTTON:"Yeah, you just keep thinking that they are going to come to you. But for whatever reason, we haven't finished some of those plays off. We've been fortunate, we've done a better job on the explosive plays. That's helped us. For most of the year we've done a pretty good job on third down. Anything you can do on defense to get the ball back, to me, is the most important thing that you are doing, whether you take it away in the sense of a turnover, takeaway or whether you take it back by downs. That's really what our ultimate job is, allow as few points as possible and get the ball back to the offense as fast as we possibly can. That's when, I think, you're playing really good complimentary football. I think also the fact that we've had games here where our offense has kept the ball for a significant amount of time. Obviously, we play pretty good defense over on the bench, we are pretty damn good. Any time they can do that there, that's really a positive for us. But yeah it's really unusual, I agree with you. I can't explain it; it's just one of those things."

Dave Toub

Q: You called the shot on De'Anthony (Thomas).

TOUB:"They did a nice job blocking him. It was really blocked well and De'Anthony did what he had to do. He turned on the jets right up the sideline. It was nice to see."

Q: That wall was set up nice, four or five guys.

TOUB: "Yep and then Junior (Hemingway) with the touchdown block on the punter. That was critical. I don't know if you remember last time the punter tackled Frankie (Hammond Jr.). He was the last guy to tackle Frankie and it was pretty much the same return."

Q: How hard is it for a rookie to kind of figure that out?

TOUB: "Which one? De'Anthony?"

Q: Yeah on the return. When do they figure it out? How hard is it to figure it out and make adjustments?

TOUB: "For him, he's got a lot of natural instincts. He was a really good returner in college. It's a matter of keeping him clean early and letting him catch the ball and get out and let his instincts go. He's come a long way as far as catching the ball and getting forward, coming forward with it and catching the tough catches and understanding exactly what we've got going. Other than that, he's got a lot of natural instincts."

Q: Andy Reid talked yesterday on the whole snap, hold, kick thing not working on Sunday. What was the problem there?

TOUB: "(Thomas) Gafford will be the first one to tell you, we had a couple inside snaps, but it all starts there. It starts with the snap and the hold. The hold was good and then that just throws it off a little bit. Just the time and the time he has to slow down a little bit. Sometimes when he feels like he needs to speed it up and he doesn't see a perfect snap and it just throws the timing off a little bit and he hits the ball not how he wants to hit it. We have to make sure that everything is perfect especially with a rookie kicker and we have to be consistent. The snap and the hold have to be perfect."

Q: As Andy said, you're dealing with human beings here. It's not always going to be perfect and at some point it's not going to be exactly where you need it.

TOUB: "We held him accountable as well. We didn't make an excuse for him that he missed because of the snap. He still was able to see the ball and he just needs to get in there and he has to make that kick too. An NFL kicker has to make that kick. Being that it is his rookie year, we need to give him every opportunity to be successful. The veterans do that."

Q: Any chance you'll promote the practice squad guy (Charley Hughlett)?

TOUB: "The long snapper?"

Q: Yeah.

TOUB: "No."

Q: It's a tough time to go with an untested guy.

TOUB: "The timing of it seems like we're trying to put the pressure on Gafford, but really, I think Andy touched on this too and it's true, we are looking at a future guy. We're looking at a possible guy that we're going to have for training camp during the offseason and he's certainly one of them. We brought him in early about two months ago, worked him out. It gives us the situation to look at him again."

Q: What happened on the punt?

TOUB: "Funny that you asked. Without getting into the details, I don't want to tell you exactly what we are trying to do there, but it was a look. We felt we had a look, not everybody felt like we had the look. It was one of those deals. Obviously Dustin (Colquitt) thought we had the look, comes up knowing."

Q: The guys he was going to throw to didn't have the look?

TOUB: "Exactly. To make a long story short, but I'm going to tell you one thing, he's experienced. He was able to see it, boom, get the ball down and get it out and still get the ball on the six yard line. Pretty impressive."

Q: In your mind, what makes for a good return whether it's kick or punt? What is the key?

TOUB: "The key is everybody being on the same page. It's like an offensive play. I say it all the time. One guy breaks down, you have another. You have to have 11 guys all on the same page and trust. They have to trust the block, the returner has to trust that the blockers are going to be in a certain spot, they can't abort it, they can't start one way. So if it's not there then come back to the other. It takes guys playing with 100% effort finishing their blocks and being smart.  Being smart with their blocks, not blocking guys in the back when the guy has their back to them. Hit by when we need to hit by and finishing the play. A lot of times guys get on blocks and don't finish blocks. It's about getting that last touchdown block whether he's the kicker or punter. You have to make all the blocks in order down the field to be successful in the NFL."

Q: How much of it is the discipline of the returner? You talk about the guys blocking and the returner going where he needs to go.

TOUB: "Yeah absolutely. That's the trust factor. He catches it, he's setting it up. He has to know that the blocks are going to be, or for De'Anthony gunners know that we are blocking gunners so he's able to catch those tough catches, the high hang time kicks. He's got to trust those guys."

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