What We Learned From Monday Post Game Media Availability

Andy Reid, Alex Smith, Chris Jones, Derrick Johnson, Kareem Hunt, Justin Houston, Steven Nelson, Tyreek Hill and Mitch Morse spoke to the media Monday

CHIEFS HEAD COACH ANDY REID

Opening Statement:"As far as injuries go, we had a couple of them, Dee Ford, his back tightened up on him and then Albert Wilson, his hamstring tightened up on him. Neither one of those two finished the game, but the rest of the guys did. Shout out to the fans for the support. It was loud and we appreciate that. The alumni, it was their day today and they brought us some strength today and we appreciate that. Carlos Carson for becoming part of the Ring of Honor, what a tribute to him. Allen Wright tells a story about how he thanked him for shooting all of the balls out of the Jugs machine and I thought that was awesome. I wanted him to talk to the team about that. Just that extra step that he took and now is in the Ring of Honor to be great. Len Dawson, one of my favorite guys, I've grown to love the guy and to be the only two-timer to make the Hall of Fame as not only a broadcaster but also as a player, is a real tribute to him and then to have the broadcast lounge named after him I think that's fitting and it's a great job by the Hunts doing that and giving him the ultimate respect. With that there was some nice individual efforts. I would probably start with (Harrison) Butker and the five field goals. He was spot on and delivered for us again. He's really putting together a nice year. The five takeaways by our defense. Marcus (Peters) starting it off with a touchdown that kind of sparked everything right there and was a real plus. (Travis) Kelce had the seven catches for a bunch of yards and I probably should have called a few more to him as it all plays out here. (Kenneth) Acker steps in as a starter and ends up with an interception, a turnover in there. Positive things, the turnovers, the fumble recovery and so on and so forth. I thought our defense really stepped up tonight. Bob Sutton I thought had a great gameplan. The guys executed like crazy with fire. Sometimes it's hard to get right back on that winning thing, so I was proud of the guys doing that against what I think is a good football team. Vance (Joseph) has done a nice job with that team. They're in a little bit of a transition, they have some injuries but we've got to make sure we're ready for them the next time, we know that. We come out of that with a lot of respect for them, that defense is one of the best in the National Football League."

What is it about this matchup that brings out the best in Travis?"They've tried a lot of things so that's a credit to the kid. Kelce has fought through double teams and quick jams at the line and all of those things that teams do to try to disrupt his game and he's battled through it and found ways to get himself open. He's one of the best, if not the best in the business. It's a tribute to him for fighting."

Can you talk about Harrison's ability to not just get field goals tonight, but to kick outside the 40-yard range?"We weren't sure exactly what we were getting when he came here but we knew he was a good kicker in college, he's a big kid. You don't see a lot of 6'3, 6'4 kickers out there. We were anxious to get him to see what he was all about. He's got a huge leg and you can see that with his kickoffs. His field goals, he's really done a heck of a job with that. The trust that we have to shoot him there and really that's (Dave) Toub having that trust. He sees him every day and works with him every day. To have that confidence, that right there at the 35 he's going to be spot on in that area, that's a great job by him building that confidence in all of us."

What went into the decision to give Kenneth Acker his first start?"Sometimes it's okay if you have a young guy that might need to step back to take a step forward, sometimes that happens. Nothing wrong with 39 (Terrance Mitchell) he's a good football player, we're okay with that. But sometimes just to take a step back just for a minute and take a look at it from that side. We're lucky we have him here. We thought we'd give Acker an opportunity and he had had some snaps for us before last year and we felt like he deserved an opportunity there and did a nice job with it. Bob rolls guys, he's got a bunch of different personnel groups that he uses, but for that one he did start."

Without seeing the tape how do you feel (Steven) Nelson did?"I thought he did a decent job without seeing it. I felt like early he was making plays on the ball. He had opportunities there and he made them and took advantage of them. Later in the game there weren't quite as many opportunities but that was just because of where the quarterback was going with the ball, but I thought he really played well. We have a short week that he has to bounce back from and after his first game he's probably going to be a little tender when he wakes up in the morning, just physically sore he hasn't played in a while."

Do you encourage Marcus Peters to go for the ball?"I just encourage him to be himself. That's been plenty good for him. I don't worry, that's not what we do."

That's in his nature?"That's him."

Jamaal Charles has fumbled a few times in his career. Did you guys make any kind of emphasis for when's he's got the ball?"No more than we normally do, we work on stripping the ball in practice every snap whether it's a receiver catching it or a running back carrying it were going to work to take the ball away. It was no different with Jamaal. It was good to see him out there playing. I wish he wasn't playing against us, but he's going to go down as one of the all-time great Chiefs and one of the all-time great running backs in the National Football League. It's good to see him out there having another opportunity."

With the challenge that Mitchell Schwartz had tonight what did you see from him?"That's a big challenge, 58 (Von Miller) and then they did get 56 (Shane Ray) back tonight also. Both of those two are good players. 58 you can argue he and Justin (Houston) are the two best in the business, although we're playing Dallas and they've got a pretty good one too. He's one of the top guys in the National Football League. We had a chance to coach him in the Pro Bowl and got to see his work ethic and I mentioned that earlier in the week how much we respected how he went about his business down there and you could easily see why he's so great by the way he went about doing his job, even at the Pro Bowl."

Was getting more takeaways a focus over the last 10 days going into this game?"It's always a focus. Those things kind of come in cycles so that's how it works. We had opportunities today and we took advantage of it. Caught the ball well, went out and stripped the ball out well when we had an opportunity but we always stress that and the players are always trying to make the play. It just happened to happen like that tonight."

Tyreek (Hill) says he doesn't think you're going to let him throw again. From your spot what went wrong there?"He was a little short on it I'd say, just a bit. He'd done a great job on it during the week and he's been begging for that thing for a while so he got it and he probably won't get it again."

Can you speak to Justin Houston's performance tonight?"Justin is coming off of that knee and he's battled kind of all the way through to rehab it and get it right and so we gave him a little breather this past week. He was coming off of an almost 80-play game, so we just kind of monitored it. He came out and gave it up today especially with Dee (Ford) not being able to play. It was also good to get 92 (Tanoh Kpassagnon) in the game and let him get a few reps in there which was good."

QB ALEX SMITH

What is Travis (Kelce) able to do to exploit the defense?"He's just a matchup problem. Bigger than most corners. Route running wise thought he is a tough matchup for safeties and linebackers so it's a little bit of pick your poison. He's had success throughout his career versus all three of those matchups. Just finding a way, it seems like there's a different plan each week given the defense and certainly he's always getting attention. Obviously he does a heck of a job understanding what they're doing to him, how he combats it. He always seems to have a comeback move off of it. He knows how teams play him and has a good plan of attack going into games."

Usually you guys have solid adjustments in the second half – today was kind of a flip flop? "It was tough. Both sides I feel like were doing different things. They're a good unit. They made their fair share of plays. Certainly there were some opportunities there in the red zone I felt like if we could have capitalized it would've changed the game between the field goals and the turnovers down there it's hard. Even the sack fumbles in the big red going into score. I thought that was the big difference. Missed opportunities in the red zone obviously, a lot of field goals obviously. If we're able to capitalize and finish one of those off, it's a different story."

Anything you can do to help those red zone possessions? "Maybe the next time we play them. The crazy thing about the NFL is that you're onto a totally different matchup. Every week is unique. These guys were unique not only in their personnel but in their scheme. Dallas is going to be unique in those two ways as well. It's not like there's necessary carryover week-to-week it's just a chess match. The matchup battle, we got to find a way to get it done. We'll look at this and learn from it. Like I said there's obviously not a lot of carry over certainly when it's a division game we'll play these guys again. Both sides will be looking at it and make their adjustments."

It's a big win tonight, how much do you pay attention to that? "For us we knew it was a division game. For us just getting back on track, we lose two in a row. For us it was just about getting back on track here we're at the halfway point, finishing it off let's get the sixth win. Still early to be counting the wins, just feel like it's too early to be counting like that. The focus is just getting back and rebound, obviously we had two losses in five days. For us let's just get back on track."

Going to work with Tyreek (Hill) on the passing? "Yeah I'm sure he'll look at it on film. It's one of those plays that's got a chance, it's hit or miss. You're genius when it hits and you're not a genius when it doesn't. I love the call, I loved it when it came in. I thought it had a great chance. Felt good obviously trying to coach Tyreek (Hill) up on whether it's there or a throwaway. But we'll learn from it and keep going."

Did you tell him to throw right-handed?"That's to begin with, yeah that's the first problem."

Any more emphasis on getting (Travis) Kelce involved more tonight? "Just kind of the way it went. You call a play and you don't totally know where it's going to go and some of those plays it's dictated by the coverage. We did get some good looks though, some matchups early. Felt like they made some adjustments and were going to give us those again for quite awhile we didn't really get matched up again till later in the game. Like I said, both sides trying to make adjustments on the fly, it's part of the game with the chess match that's going on."

With (Harrison) Butker kicking well, does that take any less pressure off on offense? "Nope, absolutely not. I would love for him to make a bunch of PAT's. I mean anytime he's kicking that many field goals it's not what you want offensively. I mean I love having him on the team and him making them, and the job he is doing right now is remarkable. I'd love to see him kicking PAT's."

With how Denver plays defense, is it going to be a give or take? "I don't think you can always afford – defense and special teams I thought bailed us out a bunch with turnovers and field position and we kicked a bunch of field goals. There's going to be times where you're going to need to capitalize on one of those. Not saying you're going to be hundred percent down there but it's a big difference maker to get a couple in and definitely changes games. I think as the season goes on and you're playing big games obviously that red zone situation in football becomes pretty critical."

DE CHRIS JONES

Can you talk about how important that it was a Monday night game and a division game as well?"Yeah, we were focused getting back on the winning side of the ball. Let's focus on us, not about Denver. Let's play our game. That was the focus point of this weekend. I feel like we did that. We had fun, we created turnovers, everybody jumping up. The crowd got into it. That's what it is all about."

What was Coach Reid's message to you after the game?"Coach Reid is Coach Reid. He is very calm and simple about everything, but he gets his point across. How about those Chiefs?"

How much do you think the fumble recovery for a touchdown set the tone for the game?"It definitely changed the dynamic of the game. We put the offense in a good position. I think we got a score off of that. That put our offense up. So, you know, plays like that. That is what we focus on defense, taking the ball over. Not only taking the ball over, but scoring on defense."

LB DERRICK JOHNSON

You guys made a lot of big defensive plays tonight:"Well, we pride ourselves off of turnovers and sacks. Tonight was a night where we created moments of momentum. Stopping them on fourth down, intercepting a ball, getting sacks. Those are big."

What did you see on the Jamaal Charles fumble?"We practice that in practice all the time. First guy there hold him up, and while he is up, somebody strip the ball. Marcus has been doing that since he got in the league. Unfortunately, it was on Jamaal, but that was a great play. It gave us a lot of momentum early in the game."

Can you go through your 4th-and-5 pass break up?"It was in zone coverage. It was just a little spot route, they only needed five yards. So he was open at a point. You have to read your keys, plant your foot, and go hit him. I wasn't there enough to get the ball out, but you separate the man from the ball, it works sometimes."

RB KAREEM HUNT

Is it good that you guys can win in multiple different ways?"Yeah, it is a great thing. It opens it up for the run game and running the football opens it up for the pass game. It is definitely a good recipe for us."

What is different about facing this Broncos defense as opposed to other defenses this year?"That is a real good defense. They are gap sound. They have a lot of playmakers up front and guys who just have a knack for the ball. They just all play hard."

Do you see defenses keying in on you?"Yeah, I mean, everybody has their eye on me and I have a target on my back, but I am ready for it. I am excited for it."

Did you notice a difference having Mitch Morse back on the field?"Oh yeah. Mitch is a great guy. A lot of good communication and he plays hard and he is going to get himself rolling back again."

LB JUSTIN HOUSTON

How much does it set the tone for Marcus to return the fumble for a touchdown?"That's big. Anytime you can get a strip, plus you score with it—that guy made so many plays out there, it was ridiculous. But when you make plays like that, it speaks for itself. You put points on the board, you get a turnover, that's what you want to do as a defense. If you can turn it over and score yourself? That's our goal as a defense is to get at least one touchdown a game and he did that."

So tonight is where you want to be as a defense?"Yeah, I felt like the way we played tonight as a defense, we played great. The only thing I would ask of more, is a better run defense. But besides that, I felt like we played great and we played as a whole."

What did you feel like you were missing the past two weeks that you found tonight?"Just being on the same page. I didn't feel like we were playing together as a whole on defense, we were just playing separate. But we fixed it, we got in the meeting room and we talked and made sure everyone was on the same page, communication."

CB STEVEN NELSON

*Did you have nerves coming into this game? *"Absolutely, especially for me being out and not being able to do what I love. I was cheering my teammates on but it was bitter sweet but I am definitely glad to be back out there.

*How do you rate your defense's performance tonight? *"I think we did a pretty good job.  We prepared well for this team.  We have played them in the past.  We executed well."

*Is this one of the top teams you want to beat? *"They are in our conference, so, obviously, we want to get that win every time."

*Did you expect to cause so many turnovers against Denver? *"I just know we prepared well for them.  They are still a dynamic team.  They have good receivers and their quarterback is good.  We just came to play today." 

*Did the secondary make a statement today by forcing interceptions? *"I think so.  We have got to keep playing the way we play."

*Did you feel 100%? *"I feel 100%.  I did a lot of rehab.  I worked really hard.  Getting back out there wasn't anything." 

WR TYREEK HILL

*Comments on the offense's performance: *"I felt like we played alright.  There are some things we can get better at and that is what we are going to do.  Tomorrow we are going to go in and watch the film and we are just going to fix the mistakes."

*Does it feel good to have twice as many wins as anyone else in your division? *"It does feel good but we can't hold our heads on that.  We have to continue to work and continue to come in each and every week and grind it out."

*Do you like the way this team won the game today without a big rushing performance? *"Yes, everybody came in this week prepared, mentally and physically.  Everybody came in with the right mindset and it paid off."

C MITCH MORSE

*Is this the Chiefs team of the early part of the season rather than from recent games? *"I think as the year progresses our identity changes. We have our core values still intact.  It is good to get a win back after a few losses.   The next thing we will do is enjoy this win for the next 24 hours or maybe less and then focus on competing against a very good Dallas team."

How tough was it to sit out?  "These are your friends, right?  These are your buddies.  You know when you are healthy, you can contribute to that.  It was tough. It was really tough.  I think, more stressful than playing a game is watching on TV, when you have such an emotional investment.  I kept objects that weren't hard around me so I didn't bust my TV and get yelled at by the ladies.  It was tough but the guys did such a tremendous job when I was out.  It was seamless to come back in and they welcomed me.  We definitely have some things to improve on this week.  It was a blast being out there."

*Is it tough to know when to come back from certain injuries? *"I think it was the time when treatment was, I don't want to say plateauing, but I couldn't reinjure it or it would have been really difficult to.  Even with some discomfort, I was going out there and contributing.  The thing is, you want to go out there and play, you are a competitor but at what point are you being detrimental to your football team?  Is my presence out there helping or hurting?  That was the last few weeks.  That is kind of where we were.  We were able to come out here and get a good, not so clean, but a good W."

*Do you feel good that this team is currently at 6-2? *"It is tough to get wins in this league.  It is cliché but every time you get a win, it is great.  We feel good where we are but the sense of urgency is still there.  There are a lot of things to still work on and our schedule doesn't get any easier.  We continue to play these, exceptionally good, football teams.  To continue our success or continue to be successful, we have to improve all aspects of our game.  That's exciting.  It will be some not so fun things to look at but that's part of football."

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