CHIEFS HEAD COACH ANDY REID
REID OPENING STATEMENT:** "I'll start off by thanking a couple of the players that are not here. Marcus (Peters) would be one of them. For the last three years we appreciated the hard work and dedication that he gave us. DJ (Derrick Johnson) for bringing the energy like a 20 year old for all of the years that he was here, nobody brought more energy and nobody had more tackles than what DJ did. Then Tamba (Hali) again, I nicknamed him 911 even though he was 91, he was always there and made the emergency call all the time. He will go down as one of the all-time great ones, as DJ will. Then Alex (Smith), for all that he brought to the organization really over the last five years, his dedication. I told Patrick (Mahomes) that Patrick could buy him a castle and it wouldn't pay for the experience that he was able to have working with Alex and his introduction into the National Football League. Then just as far as a couple of the coaches go, we had a couple coaching changes. Eric Bieniemy is now the offensive coordinator and I'd like to thank Matt Nagy and Brad Childress for the job that they did and they'll continue to do a good job in Chicago. Eric, I have full confidence in him. I had that when he was a player for me and I felt that way since he's been a coach with me. So again, I look forward to watching his career grow in this leadership position and I'm sure he'll be a head coach in the near future. Then Mike Kafka was elevated to the quarterback (coach) position. Again, Mike I had the opportunity to draft and coach at Philadelphia and then watch him grow here as a coach. So he'll take over the coaching part of it. And then just some of the new additions that we've had come on board and we'll talk about those guys later I know, but it will be nice to have the additions of Kendall Fuller and Sammy Watkins, Anthony Hitchens. These are top notch people and really good football players on top of that. We're so excited about the future and that leads me into the guy sitting next to me. I had the honor of working with Patrick this past season, in particular, in a closer relationship for the Denver game. Almost like a dress rehearsal not knowing that we were going to make this move with Alex. Definitely knew that Matt Nagy was probably going to be out the door as a coach. So the Denver game allowed me to work with Mike Kafka and see how he's progressed and work with Patrick. I had the opportunity to call for him in that game and kind of get a feel of how he operates. It was a smooth transition. The fans and media here had an opportunity to watch him perform just as I did. It was fun to be a part of and we look forward to the future. This is a great thing for the Kansas City Chiefs most of all and it's exciting. The energy in this building is unbelievable right now and we're really looking forward to getting the offseason going here where we actually can get the players back in the building and talk to them. Right now there's no coaching going on. With that I'd like to introduce Patrick Mahomes to you and he'll take it from here for a little bit."
QB PATRICK MAHOMES
MAHOMES OPENING STATEMENT: "First off, I'm super excited about everything that Mr. Veach and Coach Reid and everybody has put in this offseason of helping us get in the best position to win. I'm thankful for all of them, Coach Reid, Mr. Veach and Mr. Hunt for believing in me. To get to this point so far, I had an unbelievable opportunity last year to learn behind Alex who is a great person and great quarterback who showed me how to prepare, how to be a professional quarterback and have a lot of success at it. He helped me build a foundation of how you need to go in every single day and learn and keep getting better every single day no matter where you're at in your career. I'm super excited to keep moving forward as we go and to keep going with the team. We have a lot of young guys with a lot of enthusiasm that are really ready to go out there and win. So I'm excited for the next season and the future ahead of what we can bring to the Kansas City Chiefs."
Q: You guys made the trade last year to move up and get Patrick and Alex wrote in his farewell article with The Players' Tribune that he felt like this was going to be the move and that it was his last year in Kansas City. You mentioned that you didn't know you were going to make the move when you were prepping for Denver. Somewhere in the back of your mind did you think along the season that this was probably going to happen sooner rather than later with Patrick?
REID: "That's not where my mind was at all. I'd probably say the same thing Alex did, that I didn't have to worry about that. Alex didn't have to worry about it. We were just focused in on winning a championship and that's kind of where we went. That was not a distraction, or we didn't let it be a distraction and really didn't even consider it. That's one nice thing of sitting in this position, I don't have to worry about the personnel part of it. That wasn't an issue. It was never brought up. That's how we went about it."
Q: You needed to see something from Patrick during the year to say we're going to trade Alex. When did you feel that this was something he could do?
REID: "That's fair. First of all he's a sponge and he took everything in. His relationship with Alex was unbelievable. That can be really sticky, but their relationship, his respect for Alex and how he handled it. This wasn't Alex's job to teach him, but that's just how that room was, phenomenal room. I saw that part. I saw the way he went about working every day at practice. Then I had that opportunity to work with him in a game situation which you can't predict that by any means, but we were lucky enough to be able to do that. I felt comfortable with that not knowing that was the direction we were going to go. We still had another year remaining here with Alex, but not knowing that's where we were headed. Like I said it was more like Mike Kafka, because I knew there were feelers out there for Matt and I had that feeling that he was definitely going to be gone. Anyways that part was beneficial I guess as we sit here today."
Q: You sent Alex to a situation where Jay Gruden has a good reputation for working with quarterbacks and tailoring stuff to what they do well. From your point of view, was it important for you guys to send him to a good situation in that kind of way?
REID: "Absolutely. Alex deserves this. If he had to leave here we wanted him in the best possible situation that he could be in. Jay Gruden is one of the top offensive minds in the National Football League. I'm close to that family. I know he's in good hands. Their president there, Bruce Allen, I'm friends with him so I knew that he would take care of him too. Most of all Alex is going to help their football team with his leadership, his toughness and all of those things. They've got a lot of talent there. They've got a really good offensive line. I just think all the way around it's a win-win for both organizations."
Q:Did you feel like with the young quarterback you needed to surround him with a really good group of skill players?
REID:"So Brett (Veach) has had his eye on Sammy (Watkins) for forever it seems like, whether it was Alex at the helm or Patrick. The other guys were here. I didn't mention Albert Wilson who went to Miami. Albert was another one that was a good football player. We get Chris Conley back which is a nice addition. Patrick is coming into a good situation where he has good players around him. Kelce has had a good offseason up to this point and is fired up and ready to go. I have talked to him a few times and he is excited to get things started. And then 10 (Tyreek Hill) he is running around somewhere. He walks fast. He is doing well, too. Patrick is coming into a situation where he has a good offensive line and he has good skill players."
Q:Can you talk about where you are with the offensive line?
REID:"Zach (Fulton) moved on, but we have a center here that is coming back and he will be healthy. Mitch (Morse) is a good center. We could line up and play today without any additions and still be fine and really be in a good situation. Not a lot of teams could say that, that is the only reason I am mentioning that. Offensively, we can lineup and go play at a really high level."
Q:Mitch (Morse) is OK physically?
REID:"Yeah, Mitch is fine."
Q:Patrick, can you take us through the last couple months?
MAHOMES:"A lot went on during the offseason, but for me it was all about just keep working and just keep doing what I did last year and in my past. It was really just putting my head down and work. Everything else handles itself. Of course, Coach Reid and Mr. Veach, they kept in touch with me whenever stuff happened. But at the same time, it was about me getting better every single day. That is what you have to do as a quarterback is just to make sure you are improving yourself physically and mentally every single day."
Q:What do you think you guys are capable of offensively?
MAHOMES:"I feel like as a team, we have won a lot of games in the last few years and we are bringing a lot of those guys back. And with the additions that we have added, I feel like we can have a very, very good offense. It is all going to start with how we prepare, especially at my position and how I can make myself ready every single week. That starts off in OTAs and when you get to the minicamp and you have to take everything day by day. You build a great relationship with those guys and hopefully have a great offense."
Q:How do you expect the offense to change going from Alex to Patrick? What is reasonable to expect?
REID:"Each one of these guys puts their own personality to it. Alex had his strengths and we tried to exploit those. Alex, believe it or not, even as old as Alex is, he hasn't tapped out yet. He still has room to continue to grow because of his work ethic. Patrick likewise, we will try to utilize his strengths. One of the things as a coach, that is what you do. You exploit their strengths and you work on things they need to get better at. Will the offense change a little bit? Yeah, it will. It will change a little bit, but that is fitting around his talents."
Q:Is that reflected by some of the skill talent you have put around him, with so many guys that are very fast?
REID:"We have guys that can go. It is not always about how fast you can run. Quickness can be a strength, too, for a receiver. Route running, knowing the defensive secondary and how you read those. We feel like our short and intermediate game, we feel like we aren't going to decline in that area. We have guys that can go down the field."
Q:Against Denver, you had a lot of shotgun and having four receivers wide, and if you called that game for Patrick, is it reasonable to assume those are the things that he did well at Texas Tech?
REID:"Let's back up a little bit with Alex. I went back and looked at all of his college stuff and tried to pull out things which he really hadn't had at the NFL level. I pulled out things that he was comfortable with and I talked to Alex about it. What he felt he was comfortable with and we molded that offense around him. I was able to do that with Patrick that week and talk to him and see what he liked and felt most comfortable with. For that game, we molded that game plan around him. Mike Kafka spent a lot of time with him when everybody else was kind of working on the playoff game. We were able to get in there and kind of mold it with what we had in the package at that time, mold it around him. We didn't put a lot of new in because we had a lot of young guys playing around him. He didn't have the whole cast there."
Q:Patrick, what was your comfort level with the offense and the concepts that were called in that game?
MAHOMES:"I was extremely comfortable with just the whole entire offense. Just from going throughout the whole year preparing like I was going to play. Like Coach said, there was nothing really new that we hadn't run throughout the year in that last game. He helped call to my strengths and we had success and came out of there with the win."
Q:What were the key things you needed to see from Patrick to make a decision like this?
REID:"Well, first I had to learn how to say his last name. Instead of McHomes it is Mahomes. Comfort level is extremely high. Does that mean I am not going to grind on him? It is all roses right now. That he isn't going to hit a rough spot here or there during the season? Well, it happens. It happens to every quarterback in the National Football League. But he is wired the right way, I know that. Now he just has to go do it. Everything else is speculation to this point. We feel like we have narrowed that down a little bit to where we are comfortable with it. Now it is just a matter of us doing a good job coaching and him, doing a good job playing and the guys around him doing their thing and we roll."
Q:Patrick, was there a moment or an area of time where things started to click?
MAHOMES:"I don't think there was a moment where everything just clicked and everything started working. I think it was just the progression throughout the year. Like you said, Coach Kafka worked with me a lot. We really worked the entire year just making sure I progressed and making sure I have a plan and I go through those things. As the year went on, I started to pick stuff up a little bit faster and a little bit faster to where the last week when I got to prepare and actually play the game, I really could get stuff fast enough that I really felt comfortable playing."
Q:Why was it necessary to move Marcus Peters?
REID:"So, listen, Brett (Veach) covered all that. I went through and read his clips, my thing is we appreciated Marcus for what he did for those three years. We made the decision to move on. Listen, I'm not going to get into detail on that and I will leave it with what Brett told you and we roll."
Q:Have you thought about who is going to be the backup quarterback?
REID:"We have looked at a few different people. That will happen here in the next little bit I am sure. That is where we are at right now. It is a work in progress and we have talked to a few people."
Q:Is it Patrick or Pat?
MAHOMES:"It doesn't really matter to me. My mom calls me Patrick and my dad is Pat, though."
Q:How much insight did Alex (Smith) give you about the fan base and how to treat it?
MAHOMES: "Just watching Alex on and off the field, he's a true professional, a guy that really knows how to be a quarterback and lead a team and a franchise. Just watching him, being around him pretty much all day and every day, I got to see how he interacted with fans, how he interacted with his teammates and of course I have to add my own personality to that. But I feel like I've built a great relationship with these guys already and I look forward to keep building with them and having great friendships with them."
Q: When Marcus (Peters) got here you guys started doing more off-coverage whereas the years before that you were pretty press heavy. How do you expect the defense to change?
REID: "When we talk to corners that's what we talk about. Is you come here and you're going to press, that's what we do. We still did that with Marcus here so that's one of the things that this defense is about is you got to get up and you've got to play aggressive and be able to play man coverage."
Q: Safe to say the biggest reason why Marcus (Peters) is not here is that it had nothing to do with his play on the field, more with his other stuff?
REID: "No, I think Marcus clarified that yesterday in his deal. Off the field there were no problems. Listen, things happen. We felt, and Brett (Veach) talked to you about it, we felt that this was best for the team and I think it's good for Marcus. I think it's going to be good for the organization here and we roll. And that's how it goes. We don't talk about all the other stuff, that's just now how we do it here. We're so excited about the future man, it's the energy level. I'm so happy that our fan base is who they are and they've got something to look forward to this upcoming season with the new additions. And we're not done. We've got a great nucleus coming back, we've added some players that are top-notch. I think when you have a chance to meet (Anthony) Hitchens and Sammy (Watkins) you'll agree. Sammy's quiet, Hitchens is quiet too but when you see the way Hitchens brings it on the defensive side, you put him and Reggie (Ragland) in the middle, and you roll man. That's exciting. I've heard somebody say that Hitchens wasn't a three-down guy, this guy can cover like no other, it's ridiculous. We're fired up about this whole thing. I'm not great at standing up and going 'hey, here we go!' but I'm ready to roll. We're sitting here in March."
Q: Brett (Veach) said you aren't trying to win a Super Bowl in four years. You want try and win one now.
REID: "That's right."
Q: Is that any different for you this time of year than it was last year or two or three years ago?
REID: "Well we have a few more changes so I'm excited about it, yeah. I'm not going to hide that from you, listen I'm ready to roll."
Q: Nothing against Alex Smith but what about this change in particular?
REID: "Yeah, listen Alex is going to go down as one of my all-time favorite guys, players and human-beings and everything else. The things he did here, he set all these records here. But life in the National Football League is this, change takes place. We're fortunate to have this guy as the change. Not every team can say that. Nothing has been done yet. He's going to put his own mark on this thing but that's in the future here, I don't have anything where I can stand up and say he set a bunch of records, he hasn't done that yet. But we're very optimistic about it. And when you're around him here like you will be, you'll get that same feel, that same energy. He's grown up in a locker room, he gets it. That part he gets. His teammates – I saw guys gravitate towards him during the year and how he takes control. He's nice right now up here to you, but there's this other side that he's not afraid to pull the trigger on and give you the business when you're not doing your thing. It's an exciting time."
Q: Does Kendall Fuller's name go immediately under left corner or right corner?
REID: "Yeah, he'll be one of the starting corners. Wherever Bob (Sutton) wants to use him. Listen, we're blessed because we've also got Steven (Nelson) and him who both have inside play. Steven can play outside too which he will but you get both those guys which is a luxury there."
Q: What do you hear about (Kendall) Fuller's football character?
REID: "I kind of know the family a little bit just from following them. Remember Eugene Chung was on staff, big Virginia Tech guy. So I think that family is all about football. I feel comfortable saying that. From dad coaching the little league group all the way up through the high school level. I think when you have a chance to talk with Kendall you're going to go wow, smart, hard worker, tough, all those things that you want. Leadership ability. You heard the tweets, we're in that age right now, but you heard what his teammates said when he left there. I think that's real. He's a straight shooter and a good football player."
Q: When you self-scout – defensively, what were the problems in a general way? And what have you done to address them?
REID: "So I think Bob (Sutton), he's a three-four guy, he made a big-time adjustment there down the stretch where he moved Chris (Jones) outside and started moving people around to get the rush rolling there a little bit better. I thought that was strategically from him a bold move and a good move and Chris answered the bell on it in our pass rush. Now all of sudden you have Chris and you have (Justin Houston) coming off the edge and they were rolling, it was fun to watch. Then with the additions here, we got a little bit old there at a couple spots and now all of a sudden we're back young again with Reggie (Ragland) that can cover also. Everybody says he's a thumper, they'll use that term. Well he will thump you, he will hit you now. He also can run. Then you add Hitchens to the mix here, and you'll see what I'm saying. Hitchens has that ability like DJ (Derrick Johnson) did to get small and has that feel of getting into those tight cracks and making those tackles that you saw DJ do. He's also a good cover guy. Then on the backend, let's not forget that Eric Berry is coming back and he's our quarterback on the defensive side. So he'll be back in there. He's excited, working hard. Our secondary now, not that it wasn't before, we got some good players there and we're ready to roll. It's a plus situation."
Q: Patrick, what number are you wearing?
MAHOMES: "I'm going to be staying with 15."
Q: What was your reaction when you heard Sammy Watkins was going to be here?
MAHOMES: "Yeah, I mean, super excited. Just from watching his film this last year and seeing him when I was in college, he's a guy that's super talented, a great player. He's had a lot of success in the NFL. Just to add him to an offense that already has weapons everywhere, it makes life for me a little easier. I just need to put the ball in their hands and they'll all make the plays."