Here's What We Learned on Thursday as Chiefs Prep for Raiders

OC Doug Pederson, DC Bob Sutton and STs coach Dave Toub all spoke with the media

Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub

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**Q: At the end of the day, how do you define the success of special teams?
TOUB: "Field position. That's the first thing I look at when I get the stat sheet at the end. I want to see where our field position was compared to their field position. Those are the hidden yards that nobody really knows about, but it's so important."

Q: Does it make you feel good that the Chiefs are one of the best in the NFL for starting field position?
TOUB: "It does, but we've still got five weeks left and we've got to finish strong. We've got to push through this thing. We're off to a pretty good start, or past the starting point, but we're doing okay."

Q: What are the reasons behind the starting field position being so good?
TOUB: "The punter. The kicker. I mean, we're getting touchbacks on kickoffs, the punter's been pinning them down there inside the 20. He's having a great year. Coverage has been good. Defense has been playing great as well, enforcing punts and we're getting punt returns. Just everybody, we're kind of clicking right now. We just want to keep it rolling."

Q: What's Cairo's range in terms of field goals? It seems like he's been able to do quite a bit. He is at the top of the league in field goals.
TOUB: "Yeah, his leg has gotten stronger. At the end of a half, those kind of situations kind of push you a little further. His range might have been a little shorter than a 54 in that game, but we extended because there was only four seconds left. You know, you take a shot there. He was a half inch from making that thing. If it's a little higher, it's going to roll over. It was really a good kick and considering the rain and the cold and the wind, he did a nice job there."

Q: Is there a ratio you consider good for punts inside the 20 versus punts that go for touchbacks?
TOUB: "No, there's no ratio. He doesn't want one touchback, I mean, that's his mindset. Really ours, too. A touchback, he's losing all that yardage, that net. He doesn't, we don't want any, preferably. That's a great mindset to have because it's really helping us. The only ratio that we use is the hang time distance. That's the only ratio we look at. If a guy kicks a 45-yard kick, we'd like to see a 4.5 hang time. That's the only ratio we talk about with him as a punter."

Q: So what was going on in the Buffalo game?
TOUB: "Yeah, he had three punts in the game. It was a tough day. He's been playing at such a high level, he's showed that he's a little bit human. He'll be the first one to tell you he didn't have a great day, but I think his next punt, his fourth punt probably, would've been a great punt. That's just the way he is. I'm sure he's going to bounce back."

Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton

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**Q: Where have you seen the most growth from Marcus Peters?
SUTTON: "I think technique. He's been a steady climber in that area. I think to be able to maintain and keep elevating in that area as the season goes on is a real challenge, because practices get more condensed and you have less time in those individual areas. I think Marcus has done a real good job of that. Done a great job of taking coaching from Al (Harris) and Emmitt (Thomas) about 'hey, these are the things you need to work on.' And then I think he's done a really good job of understanding the opponent, the formations, the splits and that thing. He's got a really good football I.Q. in that regard, that's natural for him, he looks at things and sees things. He's done a really, really good job and if he keeps going, he's going to be a really good player here."

Q: There have been times where's he's been animated around officials. Have you felt the need to calm him down at any point?
SUTTON: "I just always tell him 'hey, you want to be the guy in control.' You want to make sure you're doing the things you want to do. And don't let – whether it's an opponent, an official, whatever – it affect how you play. He's a highly-competitive guy. Sometimes a penalty was a pretty good call there. I know you don't want to believe it, but it might have been. He gets it and as long as it doesn't affect how he plays, then I'm not too worried about it. If it affects you the next play, and I'm still into that last play, then I'm waiting to talk to the official again, then it's hurting you. That's what I tell him, I say 'you can't let that happen. Anybody you're playing against tries to do the same things to you.' No matter how competitive you are, you have to remember 'hey, the competition is for you to do your job as well as you possibly can, that's the real competition."

Q: What are your expectations for Dee Ford if he has to play for you on Sunday?
SUTTON: "To me, the people that go out on that field, that's the starting team. So you have expectations for starting players and he needs to perform at that level. That'd be true for Dee Ford, Josh Mauga last year – whoever it is, you can't lower your expectations because they don't give us any of those reduced things in the NFL. You have to perform, you're the starting player, the team on the field is the team. Our expectation is he's going to play well and we're expecting him to be productive there."

Q: What was your reaction to Eric Berry being nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award?
SUTTON: "I mean, it's awesome. Obviously, for all the right reasons, all the things he's done off the field over his career, that's number one. And then number two, I think added for everybody, you really appreciate all he's gone through and how he's dealt with it, how he's met the challenge. Whether he gets the award or not, I think the Eric Berry story is a great story. It shows what passion is, drive and determination. As he'd tell you, the value of support from all his family and friends. It's all the things you'd really like to see. To me, it's exciting, it's a great story."

Offensive Coordinator Doug Pederson

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**Q: What have you learned about Spencer Ware now that he has been the feature running back?
PEDERSON: "Aggressive. Fierce. Downhill. Powerful running back that you see out of Spencer. He runs very violently if you can figure that out, but he just runs hard. And he's done a nice job in the last couple of weeks coming in and then getting the bulk of the load last week. Again, two young guys (Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware) have really picked up our offense and our scheme. And again, repetition in the run game, so we're not changing a bunch of things in the run game, has really helped these two excel on the field."

Q: Were you always aware that Spencer Ware was the type of runner that you're describing?
PEDERSON: "Yeah, you kind of go back to his LSU days and you watch him run there and it's the same style and same aggression. He's a powerful guy and you see it on Sundays when he can break tackles and drag tacklers down the field, you see that from him. So that was something that we saw when we picked him up way back in the spring."

Q: What does it say about your offense that you have had three different running backs go for 100 yards in a game?
PEDERSON: "Well, it's great to have your running backs – and three different guys do that. But I think that speaks volumes for your offensive line. With the injury situations that we had with Ben Grubbs and guys kind of playing different spots, now those guys are focused in, they're tuned in and we've got the same five every week and you're rolling. And it's a credit to Coach (Andy) Heck and the offensive line, really, because that's where it starts, run or pass. It starts with those guys and they've done a really good job."

Q: How much has the versatility of the offensive line been tested this year?
PEDERSON: "It's been tested. And it's going to be tested week in and week out, that's the nature of the National Football League. Again, it goes back to Coach (Andy) Heck in just getting his guys ready to play. Even the sixth and seventh guys, who are going to dress on Sunday, to give those guys reps during the week and have them mentally prepared when they have to go in the football game, which we had to use all of them last week. And then shift some guys around by position, I thought Zach (Fulton) did a great job at Center last week filling in for Mitch (Morse). Again, it's the fact that you're repeating plays each week - scheme stays the same and just teaching fundamentals and detail and the guys are doing a fine job."

Q: So Zach Fulton was getting reps at center and guard during practice?
PEDERSON: "He only gets it in like pre-practice where we work with the quarterback for quarterback-center exchanges. Zach will get a couple reps with Chase (Daniel) and then he always gets the service team reps, so he's getting practice snaps there. And then he got it in preseason, so it's not unfamiliar to Zach."

Q: With Charcandrick West being back, how do you plan to balance carries given to him and Spencer Ware?
PEDERSON: "I don't think it is a challenge, I think it goes without saying - I think it's still that running back by committee. And I think you have to use them both, and here's two young running backs that are playing a lot and we're getting to that time of the season now where bodies are really getting sore and nicked up and banged up. To use two different guys – you see Charcandrick is more of that slasher, quick-cutting guy and here comes 32, a big physical fullback-type, halfback-type guy that can hit you downhill so it's a little bit of a change of pace I think for a defense. And it's great to give both of those guys equal opportunity."

Q: How do you teach your players what an NFL catch is?
PEDERSON: "Hey, just secure the football, focus it in all the way – catch, tuck, take it to the ground. I mean you've just got to catch the ball. Just catch the ball, maintain possession and there's just a few isolated incidents a year that kind of bring up that question and sometimes it's in a crucial part of the game. I don't think you can really fully define it outside of just the receiver possessing the football and maintaining the catch all the way to the ground."

Q: So is it safe to say that the way the rule is written causes confusion?
PEDERSON: "Just catch the ball. It can be, but again, it's a discretion, it's up to the official at the time. We just teach our guys to just maintain possession all the way to the ground and if you just do it right the first time you take that rule out of play."

Q: Is there an explanation for Alex Smith being able to make plays while taking care of the football better than he has done in the past?
PEDERSON: "I just think where we are in the season, he's really kind of dialed in with what we're doing offensively, what we're asking him to do offensively. And it's probably not noticeable to the outside world, but we're giving him actually more things to do at the line of scrimmage and kind of spread the ball around a little bit, which you're seeing. And he's always been that way, he's always had the knack of taking care of the football. Now the exciting part it is the fact that we've been able to take advantage of the chunk plays – the 21-plus air-yard plays. And that's been helping us to not only stay on the field, but generate points here in the last couple of weeks. He's really starting to come into his own and I would say peaking at the right time during the season."

Q: Does it take time to learn everything that comes with the west coast offense?
PEDERSON: "It does. And you always say in that three or four year range for anybody, and he's a veteran guy and he's a smart guy, he studies well and prepares well every week. And part of it is yeah, he's probably getting comfortable now, which I think he is, with what we're doing. And again, we're not reinventing the wheel every week. Our offense is what our offense is and we're staying consistent with that, run and pass. And moving our guys around and trying to present different pictures of the same plays for the defense."

Q: What more can you ask of Alex Smith?
PEDERSON: "Specifically, it would be what the defense is presenting that week, each defense is different. It could be a simple sight adjustment, it could be a protection check, and it could be 'let's get from this play to that play,' run to run, run to pass. It just depends on the opponent that you're playing that week and kind of dictate what you do for him and how much you can give him that week."

Q: In your experience, how long does it take for a quarterback and a receiver to get their rhythm and timing down?
PEDERSON: "Yeah, it takes a while because it's all timing and you have to be on the same page with that. I don't think you can necessarily take an offseason, a training camp and be – especially with a young quarterback and a young receiver – but with two veteran guys like Jeremy (Maclin) and Alex (Smith), who have had a lot of game experience, they can talk about certain things and see something on tape and come together and visit and we can work it in practice. So it might take them half a year until they kind of get into their own and gel just a little bit between quarterback and receiver."

Q: Is there a certain number of deep passes that you would like to see?
PEDERSON: "Not really. It's just something that you continue to work in practice and you have to call so many in a game, I can't tell you what that number is, but you call so many of those shots and you hit your fair number."

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