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Top Takeaways from Wednesday: Does Tyrod Taylor = Russell Wilson?

The coordinators spoke to the media on Wednesday

Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton

Sutton began by talking about what makes rookie cornerback Marcus Peters such a special player.

"I think one of the things that Marcus has done is he's done a great job of improving and trying to understand what we're doing, drilling down on his techniques," Sutton said. "The techniques in practice they're never going to fail you if you keep doing them. They're really important, I think, if you want to have a level of consistency that you need to be a really good player. So I think he's done a really good job of that. Al (Harris) and Emmitt (Thomas) have done a good job of working with him. So I think of all the things, that's it.

"He has some innate skills that are really good. He's highly competitive and he has a really good feel for the game—some of those you can't coach. And he's got a good understanding and feeling of what's happening in the game, what they're doing and all those things. For a young guy, I think that's a real asset for him. I think that's just going to get better and better the more he plays."

Sutton spoke about the style of Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

"I think Russell Wilson is a guy that he reminds me the most of," Sutton said. "And not only in his style, I think his composure on the field reminds me a lot of Russell. Russell is very even-keeled, reacts and responds to about anything that happens out there. Just from afar, that's kind of how I feel about Tyrod, I think he's done a great job of that.

"He kind of goes unnoticed, his statistics would really be matching Philip Rivers'. He's a 100 quarterback rating (100.9), just under 70 percent (67.9) in completion (percentage), his touchdown-to-interception ratio is really good and he can run. I think he's done a great job for them. And you get the feeling watching the players respond to him, so that's a huge asset. I think he's going to be a really, really good player in this league, and he's in a great system for what the does."

The Chiefs defense is tied for eighth in the league in takeaways. Sutton attributes this to his players simply making the most of their opportunities.

"I think we put, collectively, a tremendous emphasis on taking advantage of your opportunities," Sutton said. "A year ago, I can't remember the exact number, but I want to say between 17 and 20 opportunities we thought we had a year ago to make plays and we didn't. I think sometimes you say 'How are you going to create new ones?' A lot of times it's taking advantage of the one that are presented to you. So we tried to make an emphasis since OTAs of catching the ball, seeing the ball in, stripping the ball out, [and getting] the ball out.

"We have a saying, 'Numbers favor us.' So the more people that go to the ball, the better opportunity we're going to have on tips and overthrows or if the ball is on the ground via fumble. And I think we've tried to emphasize that in practice, tried to emphasize it in meetings. Any takeaway we get in practice, we show in the meeting the next day to the whole team. I think all things start with a thought first, you have to be thinking takeaways. You have to see your opportunities and I think the guys have done a good job of buying into that and really trying to keep ramping that up each and every practice out here."

In the last six weeks, the Chiefs defense has allowed an average of 12 points per game to opposing offenses, the best in the NFL.

"I think in the league, there's a real fine line there between being successful and not being successful," Sutton said. "As we talked several weeks ago, I think the one thing you have to do is you really have to treat victory and defeat the same. You have to look at what actually happened out there and you have to pull some of that emotion away from it and say 'Alright, this is what we did good, this is what we didn't do well, these are things we're going to have to keep working on and go forward.'

"I think one of the real challenges is – and we talked to the guys about this – you have to believe that if I keep doing these things, I keep working at these things, eventually I'm going to get what I want. It's hard to do when you don't get tangible results, but it's the only way you can get back to where you want to be. To me, that's one of the greatest things this group of guys has done. They've never blinked, they never flinched on how they were going to prepare. And quite honestly, they've upped that. It doesn't guarantee anything, but I think in the end, it's the only way you're going to be able to get some of the things that we all want."

Offensive coordinator Doug Pederson

Pederson talked about running back Spencer Ware and his powerful run style.

"I think he'll benefit quite a bit [from all of those reps]," Pederson said. "He's been the guy that's been in that running back room all year, he's hearing the same things that coach (Eric) Bieniemy has talked to Jamaal (Charles) about, Knile (Davis) and Charcandrick (West) and those guys. He's just that type of guy—he's a hard worker, a guy that I think understands his role. He's hungry to play.  He's a young, talented kid that I look forward to seeing play even more.

"That's what he did in college. When you watch him and go back to LSU, that's the way he ran back then and he's always been that type of a runner. He's a one cut guy and it's explosion through the hole. Sometimes it's fun to watch that, to see those guys do that like that. Again, we'll see the more carries that he gets, we'll see the physicality with how well he holds up. Again, it's much like Charcandrick (West) where you put a little bit on his plate and you put a little bit more and then you just kind of grow with him as we go."

Another factor in the run game has been quarterback Alex Smith.

"These last several weeks we've seen a lot more man-coverage teams so that element is going to present itself quite a bit," Pederson said. "And on top of that, these defensive lines that we've seen, they're gaming and stunting defensive lines so a lot of the time they'll vacate in the a-gap or the b-gap and they'll allow Alex to use his legs and run. So that's been a big part of it and the other thing is, as quarterback, you just know when it's time to go and everything's soft between first and second and third level defenders and if you can go and get 10, 12 or 42 yards – whatever it was against Detroit – we ask him to do that. He's smart with it too, because he'll protect himself in that process."

Pederson credited the success of the running game to the play of the offensive line.

"It starts with coach (Andy) Heck," Pederson said. "He's done an outstanding job coaching those guys. Each week we don't change a lot of our run schemes, we try to stay repetitive week in and week out. Just window dress the formations a little bit and I think most teams do that in the run game. And then having the consistency of the same five guys the last couple of weeks has also paid off and those guys are beginning to gel. There's a lot of patience involved in the run game too, and that's what you're starting to see."

Consistency in the offensive line begins with rookie center Mitch Morse and the return of offensive lineman Jeff Allen.

"Mitch has improved every week and he's gotten a lot better. He's seeing things a lot better, the game is slowing down for him," Pederson said. "To have a guy like Jeff next to him – a veteran guy who's been in not only that center role but he's now playing that guard role - I think there's great communication there. And that's really everything with the offensive line, the communication level and having a guy like Jeff next to him has benefited Mitch and kind of kept that offensive line going in the right direction."

The Chiefs offense is tied for second in turnovers with only 8. Pederson believes this stat is crucial.

"I think it goes without saying, with any sport you play where there's a puck or a ball involved, you can't turn it over," Pederson said. "And field position becomes extremely important and you saw that with our punter and special teams this past week. It's something that we don't talk about a lot, about turnovers and all of that, I think it's just that those who touch the football take care of the football. We have sort of gelled the last couple of weeks and the run game has been a big part of that and Alex (Smith) feeds off of that and it just kind of opens up a little more of your playbook as we go."

Pederson also touched upon nose tackle Dontari Poe's touchdown rushing against San Diego.

"He showed great athleticism for a big guy and we all know that," Pederson said. "That was fun to watch him get in there. Obviously we've worked on it all the way back to last year and it was good to see him score.
"When we're crossing the 10-yard line or 5-yard line we have backup quarterbacks and people that go grab him and get him ready to go and get him close to Eric Bieniemy so if we need him he's ready to go."

Special teams coordinator Dave Toub

Toub began by talking about punter Dustin Colquitt and his abilities on special teams.

"I'm not surprised at all," Toub said. "He's been very consistent this season. He's been having a great year. I'm glad that he was recognized this way by the league, so it's a special honor for him as well as our whole unit."

After return man De'Anthony Thomas left Sunday's game due to injury, Toub replaced him for punt returns with wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.

"Well, Jeremy, he's one of our best punt-catchers," Toub said. "We felt good that he was able to go in there and finish the game for us, make the catch, keep field position at that point. It had to be perfect protection for him to take off and run, plus he hadn't done it in a game. The next time he does it, I'm sure he'll feel more comfortable and probably steal a couple of those returns, too.

"We're going to play the best players. That's Andy's mantra. If he's our best punt returner, we could use him. That's the way that Andy relays everything to me."

Toub also spoke about the abilities of wide receivers Albert Wilson and Chris Conley, as well as defensive back Saalim Hakim.

"Had [Wilson] gotten more reps during practice, he probably would be the next guy in," Toub said. "Before every game, I think, 'Alright, if De'Anthony went down, who would be our next guy?' That was Jeremy [on Sunday.] If we practice Albert a lot more this week, it could be Albert.

"Albert can do it. Conley can do it. Hakim can do it. We have a bunch of guys. If you watch us out there at practice, we have a lot of guys out there that want to be the guy and are pretty good at it."

Defensive back Jamell Fleming was a presence on special teams at gunner during Sunday's game against the Chargers. Toub spoke about his skill, especially after Fleming recovered a fumble and downed a Colquitt punt on the 1-yard line.

"Combined with Colquitt hanging the ball up and putting it down on the five, Fleming is there too if the ball isn't a fair catch," Toub said. "Fleming is in position if he lets it drop. He's been consistent this year as far as beating corners in one-on-one. Him and Hakim did a nice job, and Conley did it earlier in the year. Our gunner play has been really solid, and he's been excellent for that."

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