The Kansas City Chiefs remained unbeaten on Sunday as they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-20. Head Coach Andy Reid met with the media on Monday to discuss the victory and the week ahead.
Reid began the press conference by talking about Sunday's victory.
To start off with, the fans, I appreciate the support they gave us. They were unbelievable, any time you can get a team to jump offsides like that - that's a real tribute to them. They cranked it up, it was as loud as I've heard it there. I'm proud of the heart and the fight of our team, when things aren't going well you have to be able to reach a little deeper and it wasn't pretty by any means, we have a ton to work on, but the guys during the tough times stepped up. The second half was better than the first half which was important. Like I said, all three phases, there's a ton we can learn from. It was good to get Chris Jones back and going. With (Fletcher) Cox on the other side, they're very close, and both of them I thought had good games. I know Chris, and that was a pretty heavy motivator for him, Cox is like a big brother to him. They did put in a nice four quarters. Then Doug Pederson, my hat goes off to him. I'm proud of him and the job that he's done there. He's got a good football team and I thought he really did a nice job yesterday."
Reid discussed the play of defensive tackle Chris Jones, who had one of the best games of his career. The second-year defensive tackle notched four tackles, 3.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and his first-career interception. Jones is only the second player to have such a game since 1994, joining James Harrison (2007).
Jones missed all of training camp with an injury, but hasn't shown any signs of rust so far this season.
"I thought he was 100% physically, I just think he didn't have the training camp so he was going through that process that the other guys that went through camp were going through. It was kind of a matter of just getting enough reps under his belt to where he could sustain play and I thought he did that. I think Justin Houston has been a big part of that too, just continuing to work him and push him and that whole thing and that's been a big part of it, his leadership there. Justin kind of takes all the young guys and really rallies them, rallies them around. Justin really had one of his better games yesterday, too."
The defensive line as a whole was at its best on Sunday, as the Chiefs sacked Eagles' quarterback Carson Wentz six times. Reid discussed his thoughts on the line through two games this season.
"When we're rushing four it's not bad, when you rush three you're really working coverage and it's five-on-three. It's a little bit of what New England did to us and that's why we had time to throw, it's in-vogue right now. You're going to look at that group and go 'Man they're not getting home' but we're doing some different things with the defensive ends and varying it, but when four are coming we're pretty tough. And then we're coming off a six-sack game so that's not a bad day."
The Chiefs were playing their first game without All-Pro safety Eric Berry on Sunday, who suffered a season-ending torn Achilles in Week 1 against New England.
Reid discussed how the team handled Berry's absence on the field.
"I thought we missed him early. It was just a matter of the new guys settling down and playing, but I thought (Ron) Parker did a nice job, he's a quiet guy but he just kind of said 'Relax we're going to be okay right here' and took over and kind of filled that role that Eric does with the defense. Then you end up seeing (Eric) Murray and (Daniel) Sorensen end up being the leading tacklers on the defense and with the exception of the one holding call early, Murray came back and had some big plays for us and Sorensen had some big plays. His ability to blitz in there and sacrifice, jumping over people and doing all of that, I thought it was a tribute."
Reid continued and talked specifically about Sorensen, who played every defensive snap on Sunday.
"He is a big part of Bob's defense and we use him all over the place. It becomes a valuable piece for him. Does he have room to improve? Yeah, he can do better. But, he is 100 miles an hour with everything he does."
Kansas City lost starting center Mitch Morse to a foot injury in the second half, thrusting offensive lineman Zach Fulton into action. Reid was impressed with how Fulton handled the job.
"Yeah, he did great. The first play, I kind of checked with him. That was a tough one that first one and he handled it. He handled the gun snap and the option-type play that he was going to maneuver a little bit on. We have full trust in him at, really, all the spots. He is a good one to have on our team. He did a nice job."
Reid went on to discuss the play of the offensive line as a whole against the Eagles.
"Well, the strength of their defense is that front four. We knew that going in. We knew they were going to win some. That's just how it goes. You don't want to ever give anything up, but they are pretty good. There are some things we can do better at. They were getting that push. You have to settle that down. I think it will be a good learner for some of our guys there. There is a certain way you handle those wide guys. Whether it is a gap technique rushing wide or those wide 9 techniques, it is a different animal there."
With the Los Angeles Chargers looming on the schedule, Reid was asked if the Chiefs build their roster to specifically combat divisional foes.
"I don't think so. That probably gets a little overrated. What I think you try to do is find the best players that fit your system and then go from there. I will tell you though, L.A. has lost two games here by field goals. One of which was blocked and the other was missed, but they are putting up great numbers and playing good football. Our guys will know that once they get in here and see them. They have a good football team. We have to really prepare ourselves to go down there and play them."
Reid did discuss the focus the Chiefs put on divisional opponents during OTAs.
"Yeah, that point, absolutely. I think it is a good review. You have to play those guys twice. Now, that is a new staff so it is a little different. When you play a team twice and they are in your division, you need to spend a little time on them about that midway point between when you are really going to play them and the offseason. I think it is important that you do that."
Tight end Travis Kelce had his best game of the season so far on Sunday, hauling in a team-leading eight catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. Though while he played well, Kelce was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct later in the game after a Kansas City touchdown. Reid addressed how he handled the situation with his All-Pro tight end.
"It is one of those deals where what is said, I try to keep in house. It was obvious that I wasn't real happy about it. I'm not going to get into details of it. But I think we all know you can't do that. He gets caught up in the emotion of the game. One thing that you love about Travis is that he plays. He comes back and he is diving over people. He leapt at the five yard line and dives over someone and scores a touchdown. You can't take stuff away from yourself. You can't do that with your defense. He kind of got it from all different angles. The players got upset with him, we all love him, but you can't do things that take away from what you are trying to accomplish here. You have to curb your emotions. Somewhere, he needs to do that."
Another player that enjoyed a solid performance on Sunday was rookie running back Kareem Hunt, who tallied 109 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. Hunt's five touchdowns through two games are just one shy of the all-time record set by Dutch Sternaman in 1920.
Reid discussed how the rookie tailback is handling success as a young player.
"He's got EB in his back pocket – Eric Bieniemy. Does a phenomenal job with him. He's been there as a player, understands the challenges of that position. So he's young in this by not only in age and in experience, but he's young in the season. The challenges are going to be answering the bell every week – physically and mentally. So to have somebody like Eric (Bieniemy) is an important part of this. So I think with that and his makeup, he's a pretty humble kid, I think with his makeup he'll be fine doing it. Again, we've got a few weeks ahead of us here."
Reid wrapped up the press conference by taking about how Kansas City kept their focus on Sunday despite the big win in the season-opener against New England.
"Yeah, you saw both sides of it. You're sitting there ten days after a win and everyone is patting you on the back, well its human nature. Everyone's patting you on the back, telling you how good you are. If you let that get to you, you're going to fall apart. It's going to soften you up. In this game you can't get softened up that much. On the other side of it, look what New England did. They get told how stinky they are and then they come out and have a phenomenal game. So the ebb and flow of the season, that's how this thing works – you've got to have earmuffs on as you go. People tell you how good you are, you have to counter that with the reality of it and that's playing the game. So it's a good lesson for our guys to learn as they go here, particularly young guys. Those teams are going to bring it every week at this level. The parity in this league is unbelievable, the competition level is unbelievable. You have to be on your A-game every week and our guys fought through a little bit of lull and showed up. That's the part I'm most proud of. They came back that second half and really got after it. They had a really good game plan, the Eagles did. Our guys fought through it and did a nice job."