The process leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft is well underway as Kansas City Chiefs’ General Manager Brett Veach, Head Coach Andy Reid and other members of the organization are in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine.
Also in Indianapolis is Chiefs Reporter BJ Kissel, who will be providing updates from the Combine throughout the week. Follow along @ChiefsReporter on Twitter.
Here's the transcript from Reid's press conference on Wednesday.
Opening Statement: “Before we get started here I want to mention to you about Alex Smith and Marcus Peters and the situation that is out there. I can’t comment on that, so I’m sure you’re going to attempt to ask so I’m going to be rude before that. I’m not going to be able to answer questions dealing with that until we get to the 14th all of that is off limits. The one thing I would like to add to that is there are things out there, things being said that I strongly believe against. One of which I think it’s important that you know that our owner gives Brett Veach and I every opportunity to do what we want to do with the roster and any other situations. He does not interfere with that. Obviously we keep him abreast but there’s no pressure coming from our owner. That’s not how he operates at all. So those things that have been said out there, as I know most of you have heard, are way out of line.”
Q: What kind of coach can we expect Nagy to be?
REID: “This is one of my favorite guys, Matt Nagy. You are getting somebody that is extremely intelligent. Works very hard. He is honest, he will shoot you straight. When he stands up there to tell you, it’s going to be the truth, which helps in your job. He will be a great leader. He is a leader of men. Not just of the office and the people he has to deal with there, but the football team. He will give them direction and I think with the character on your team, I think they will understand that and they will follow him. In time, I think good things will happen for the Chicago Bears.”
Q: With Spencer Ware back in the backfield, does that mean scaling it back for Kareem Hunt?
REID: “We will see how that goes. We thought we had a decent number for Kareem this year of plays. We probably need to increase the pass part of that a little bit more and expand on his role in the pass game. Although, a healthy Ware would be a nice problem to have there at that spot. They are best friends, as Kareem has told you before and so that would be nice tandem to have back there for sure.”
Q: What is the most important part of the new head coach-quarterback relationship?
REID: “Well, you are in a unique situation as a head coach and a quarterback. You are probably going to get too much praise when you win and you are probably going to get too much blame when you lose. And how you handle that I think is important. It is important that you divvy up when things are going good to other people because they have as big a part as you do, which doesn’t get recognized. So it is important that you recognize those people as a quarterback and a head coach. When things aren’t going well, you better be man enough to stand up and take that. I think if both parties are on that same page, the quarterback and the head coach, I think good things happen from there and you can stay together. And normally, the team is going to follow you and organization is going to follow you and you are going to win games.”
Q: Is it important to challenge that new quarterback?
REID: “You want to keep it fresh, is probably a better term. Normally, that encompasses a lot of things, but it is important that he knows you are going out to do your job. I have been around some great players, some Hall of Fame players, and what they want is they want that one little nugget that makes them greater than they already are. When you come into that, you come into it full boar, man. ‘I am going to go out and get you some stuff, man.’ And then you do it. You are going to be fired up doing it, let’s roll. We will be even better than what we are.”
Q: How important was Mahomes’ December start in retrospect?
REID: “Patrick Mahomes and his opportunity to start in that game, again I can’t talk about what is going on, but I will tell you that I felt like he played very well in that game. We need to get his percentage a little bit up on throws. I like the way he went about business. We were able to take him, between Mike Kafka and myself, we were able to take him and lead him into that game throughout the whole week while Matt and Brad Childress and Alex worked on the playoff teams. What that did was it allowed you to get a feel for him for down the road whenever that time was and I liked what I saw and felt there. I think he handled things very well. Prepared to the T on that, handled himself very well.”
Q: What was your evaluation of Demarcus Robinson and Chris Conley?
REID: “These are guys that are on our team, so I feel comfortable talking about that they are good players. They are two separate guys. Demarcus doesn’t have the same experience that Chris has. And Chris was injured during the year and is coming back. They are on different levels right now in their play. Chris has proven himself that he is a pretty good football player and Demarcus is just climbing the ladder here. He has a great future. He works hard, he attacks things. He is great after the catch. And we look forward to getting Chris back.”
Q: Do you expect Chris to be the starter?
REID: “We play everybody, but yeah, I would, yes. But we play everybody. You dress out, you are going to play.”
Q: What position will Tanoh Kpassagnon play?
REID: “We had him at defensive end and outside linebacker. We ended up with him at outside linebacker. That is probably where we keep him initially, but we will also expect him—73 percent of the time we were in sub groups, which are normally your four man fronts and three rushers, depending on the package. So sub groups. So we know he has pass rush ability. So to drop his hand down is not a big deal. But we will start him off as an outside linebacker in the base.”
Q: Derrick Johnson put in his goodbye message that there was a concerted effort to get younger. What are some of your thoughts on a younger roster?
REID: “It’s kind of today’s world in the NFL and guys change teams and move. We think we have some good young players and feel comfortable with them. I want to put a little two cents in for Derrick because this is one of my favorite guys that I’ve ever coached, and what a career he has had in Kansas City. I’m pulling for him that maybe something happens for him in the future and if it doesn’t I’ve told him to just come back and he can start his coaching career. He’s a top notch kid. I’m okay with young, I don’t mind that. I’ve got young coaches too, and to me that’s exciting. Guys are eager to learn and what you might lack in a little bit of experience you gain in that ‘want to’ and that’s a good category, if they’re wired right, a good category to be in.”
Q: Were you surprised at all at the job Coach Pederson did as a play caller this year?
REID: “I thought he did phenomenal. I watched all of his games throughout the year and he and I talked throughout the year. I was proud of him. Proud of him for winning the World Championship, what a great tribute to he and his staff and those players and for the city of Philadelphia, that’s a great thing.”
Q: What do you think of his aggressiveness on fourth downs? Do think that will trickle down through the league?
REID: “Possibly so. New England’s been doing that for a few years. We’ve always been up in that category. You look at these stats and we’ve been up a little bit in that category in Kansas City. Doug did it again this year and so that can be a positive thing. You have to evaluate where you’re at and what’s going on in the game to do it. I’ll tell you that was one heck of a call he put on.”
Q: Do you think knowing Nick (Foles) he’ll keep playing?
REID: “I would probably guess he would be. Yeah.”
Q: How much do you incorporate analytics into your prep work?
REID: “We look at that. We’ve got Mike Frazier that gets into that and presents us with certain things. That’s kind of part of the new wave of football over the last five or six years. So yeah you look at that.”
Q: We’ve seen more run/pass option stuff come into the game, you do it and you did it with (Alex) Smith. In trying to get these younger quarterbacks on the field sooner may we see more of a tilt that way?
REID: “I think the one great thing about college football today is that these kids are throwing the ball. So it used to be you’re getting kids that weren’t throwing the ball and we complained about that as coaches. Heck, now they’re throwing the ball and we’re still complaining. I’m going ‘Hey bring it on! Let’s go! We can throw the ball.” I really don’t care as long as you’re throwing it to our guy I’m good and let’s go. Let’s roll it out and we’ll fit it in to what you do and teach you some of the stuff that we want to teach you to build your resume. We kind of go about it that route.”
Q: Some have suggested that Lamar Jackson play receiver. What’s your take on that? Is he definitely a quarterback prospect in your mind?
REID: “I think you probably want to try it there and see. He’s pretty good. I would. I’d give that a whirl. I could handle that.”
Q: Just the suggestion that he switch positions. Thoughts on that?
REID: “I’m not much on that. I want to bring him in and let’s exhaust that other thing that we know he’s good at and see. I’m just saying in general, this is a general statement. Let’s get him in and let him wing it a little bit and see how he does. We’ll be able to fit some things in there I’m sure.
Q: What does the Patrick Mahomes version of the Kansas City offense look like?
REID: “Patrick comes from the system there at Tech and they do a great job offensively there of throwing the football. We’ve incorporated a little bit of that stuff because Alex had done a little bit of that in college too. So we went back and we pulled some of that out for Alex. Once he had a chance to get in the offense for that Denver game we kind of did the same thing there. We’ll just see how everything rolls down the road here.
Q: What are your thoughts on having Jon Gruden back as a coach from broadcasting?
REID: “I’m glad he’s back. He’s good for the game whether he’s doing that, very seldom do you find somebody that’s been great at two things. The magnitude of being that Monday night and then that being a head football coach in the NFL. Not a lot of people can put that on their resume. I think he’s good for the game. I’m glad he’s coaching, he’s passionate about it. He and I are good friends so we’ve stayed in touch over the years and I’m glad he’s back. He brings great competition. I can’t wait to play the Raiders and him and see what he’s got in store. It’s exciting.”
Q: Has there been any clarification on Dee Ford’s contract?
REID: “Yeah, nothing yet.”
Q: You think he will check out physically?
REID: “Yeah, he is making good progress physically, which is a real plus. He has worked extremely hard to get himself back and he looks good right now.”
Q: Do you think Brad Childress can help Matt Nagy in Chicago?
REID: “Brad Childress, for those of you who didn’t, is going back to Chicago to help (Matt Nagy) and has a consultant-type role. Similar to what we did with Tommy Brasher. I think that is great for Matt. It gives him one more voice on the offensive side that kind of speaks the same language he does. The other coaches are kind of new to it. If Matt has to go talk to the media, Brad can be in there and just keep the conversation rolling on the installs for the coaching staff and that is priceless. I think it is good for Brad. Brad was easing down. I thought he might last two weeks in retirement, but it was three days.”
Q: It sounds like you weren’t surprised by it.
REID: “I wasn’t surprise, no.”
Q: What will distinguish Nagy as a head coach in Chicago?
REID: “Let’s see how it goes, but I’m not much on the crystal ball theory. But I would tell you what I mentioned earlier here, he will bring a certain toughness to the group and he is a very intelligent guy. He is a great people guy, which is a big part of the job. You have to have a connection with the players and he has that and will have that. They will trust what he is doing. He isn’t going to ask them to do acrobatics or anything. He is going to ask them to get better at football and guys buy into that. He will keep it that simple for them. He has a good coaching staff. The fact that they were able to keep Fangio on the defensive side is big for them. I think they have a good solid staff there.
Q: How is Eric Bieniemy adjusting to his responsibilities there?
REID: “So Eric Bieniemy is our new offensive coordinator. Eric played for me in Philadelphia for a year. He cheated when he was at Colorado on that fifth down play, I was at the University of Missouri. I don’t hold that against him too much. But, listen, he will do a fine job in there. He has great knowledge of the passing game and the running game. He has great ideas. Phenomenal leader. Someday he will be standing right here talking to you guys as a head coach.
Q: Can you talk about how important having a back is like Kareem that can catch the ball out of the backfield?
REID: “The fact that you can take a big guy like that and he can be a power and a finesse runner like that and at the same time be a pass receiver is a real plus. You are seeing that throughout the league. Gurley and the things that he did. These big kids that are out there. They get both parts of the game, they can still protect for you so that is a plus. That is one spot, like I mentioned earlier, that we need to increase his role in the passing game to even more than he had last year. That is just kind of the natural progression in the first year to second year.”
Q: What do you think of the Browns hiring John Dorsey?
REID: “I think that is a great move by their ownership. They have a lot of picks, high picks and have a veteran guy in there that is a phenomenal talent evaluator coming in to be able to do that. They have good coaches there, too. I would look to see Cleveland really rise here and John will do a great job with the draft.”
Q: What is it like playing against Jon Gruden twice a year and him being back in the league? REID: “I think it is great for football. It is great for the National Football League. I thought he was great in the booth, but this is kind of home now. He is back doing what he loves to do and that is important in your life to enjoy going to work every day and love what you are doing, and he will do that. The fact that he is at the Raiders, I love that. We are in it for the competition and he will deliver. I thought Jack Del Rio did a heck of a job, I am a big Jack Del Rio fan, too. It isn’t like they aren’t coming off being coached well. He is picking up good talent, they are going to be coached well and it just makes the NFL even better.”