OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR ERIC BIENIEMY
Q:What has Kareem (Hunt)'s level of progression been as a pass-catching back and what are the capabilities you've seen from him in that regard?
BIENIEMY:"You want all of your guys to be good football players that happen to play in the running back position. We want all those guys to have the ability to block and pick up a blitz because that is their job, to protect the quarterback. On top of that, we want them to always try to find a way to average four and a half yards per carry. What makes them a valuable threat is if they can create matchups outside the backfield and get in some one-on-one situations. We pride ourselves on guys working on catching the ball and looking the ball all the way in. With that issue, I knock on wood because hopefully he continues to focus. We understand that no one ever wants to drop a pass or have a mistake. We want them to always focus on the details of looking the ball in, securing it in to that tight tuck and working north to south. I thought all of the little things paid off this past weekend with the touchdown."
Q:Are you pleased with where the offensive line has come from the first preseason game?
BIENIEMY:"The guys played hard. When you look back you don't like dwelling on the negative, and those guys take tremendous pride in their jobs. There are some little things we are still working through and some things that we need to continue cleaning up. The beauty of it is just learning from your mistakes. Do we have to be better? Yes. On top of that, when we are playing hard, fast, and we are all in sync, this team has proven they are pretty tough to stop. We have to make sure as an offense we are controlling the things we can control."
Q:With Charcandrick West being gone, how confident do you feel about the other running backs still here?
BIENIEMY:"Obviously Charcandrick will be missed. He's done some great things here in the past. As you can see in the running back room, the talent pool is deep. We are counting on those guys to step up and do a very good job. Those guys understand that it's a tough job, but they are up for the task. I am looking forward to watching those guys continue to battle."
Q:What can the team do on some of those drives where the offense stalled out against Chicago?
BIENIEMY:"We just need to continue to focus on the positives and making sure the guys understand the importance of finishing. It's ironic when you are out there on the field, you have 11 different parts working hand-in-hand. If something isn't working the right way or we are missing something, it affects every other piece. We have to make sure we are being accountable and understanding the full detail of what we are being coached to do. Those guys get that. We have to make sure that we stay consistent and persistent in our actions by focusing on the details of our job."
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR BOB SUTTON
Q: What did you like and not like from the Chicago game?
SUTTON:"I got a couple of these guys out here that hadn't played a lot together and just the organization of getting the calls, the checks and the alignments were good – certainly, the two inside backers (Reggie Ragland and Anthony Hitchens). Things I didn't like, obviously we didn't play as well as we wanted to. We didn't convert on third down, which was big in that game. We had some scrambles that got out that hurt us early in the game. Two of them, when you reflect back and look at them, we had them in pretty good position to have a shot at a sack. Just that coordination. Like most touchdown drives or scoring drives, you find a big play and/or a penalty in the drive. That played true up there in Chicago for us. To eliminate those are big for us. I would say the other aspect, I don't think we tackled as well as we would have liked to have tackled."
Q: How unique of a week is this for you preparing for the last preseason game and the Chargers?
SUTTON:"It is pretty common around our league that this week a lot of guys aren't playing so that group of guys are starting to get some exposure to your first opponent. There's still some really key work to get done with the second guys. Not so much with the game plan. We don't really do a lot of game planning in the preseason anyways, but more just in the evaluation process to see them play. We get to see them out in camp and that, but you really want to see them on the field and see what they can process and what adjustments they can make as things unfold. It is an important week for us coaching-wise and for the players, obviously, who are getting ready for Green Bay. It is a short week in general. It is a Thursday game, so you have a short week. You are no question wearing a couple different hats here, but we are just like the other 31 teams that are trying to get both things done here at the end."
Q: How would evaluate where David Amerson and Orlando Scandrick are at with Steven Nelson still out?
SUTTON:"Obviously, two whole different scenarios. David has been here for what seems like a long time now compared to some of the other guys and Orlando just got here. I think David, he didn't play as well as he's capable of playing Saturday. He's still got the ability to do this thing and get it done, it's a lot of things that are technique, good eyes, all that just has to keep going. He's a player that's played enough snaps that he can make that improvement and get that back. From Orlando's standpoint, now, he's just learning the system. He's a veteran guy and, like I said when we got him, he's played in a lot of different systems. It's terminology and those little small adjustments that there's nothing you can do but keep playing. There's no way to get him past that without just keep playing, meet with him and keep doing that. It's not going be knowledge as much as the verbiage and, 'okay, this is how we're doing this compared to this is how you did it in Dallas when you got this kind of formation.' That, to me, is the big challenge for him but I thought he did a good job, he competed. Obviously, they beat him on the double-move play there, but overall thought he did a really good job of just going in and competing and kind of getting his feet on the ground, really."
Q:Coach Reid mentioned that ideally, you'd have four-man rotation at outside linebacker. Is that more of a reflection of starters' injury history or the talent you may have now, or a little bit of both?
SUTTON:"No, I think it would be based on that you'd like as much full speed energy as you could possibly get. When these games come down to the fourth quarter – as you know a lot of these do – a lot of times it comes down to can you rush them? Can you be effective? If you can keep a rotation going, it isn't always just this quarter, that quarter, this quarter here at the end of the game, but it's also over the course of 16 weeks that you start to build up those reps and that. If we can do that, that'd be great. Now, everybody has got to be able to produce, that's the idea. The rotation doesn't have to be equal, like we're 50-50. It might be 75-25, depending how this thing plays out."
QUARTERBACK PATRICK MAHOMES
Q: What does your week look like as you prepare for the Chargers game?
MAHOMES: "I'm trying to prepare for both of them, in a sense. You prepare for Green Bay and try to make sure you're ready for that one. Then at the same time you try and get a little look ahead at the Chargers and everything that they're going to do. The lucky part about them is that they're in our division so we play them a lot, so we can get a lot of good looks at them from previous games and I'll try to be prepared for both."
Q:How comfortable do you feel going into Week 1 now, for real, as the starter?
MAHOMES:"I feel like this last game really set me in being comfortable with the offense. I feel like we did a lot of good things in that game, as well as had a lot of things you can learn from. Just kind of having the more and more reps you get in game situations will help me be more and more comfortable with the offense."
Q: What's the game day experience difference between Eric Bieniemy and Matt Nagy? Is there a difference or does it all kind of feel like it is under Andy Reid's umbrella?
MAHOMES:"It hasn't really felt any different to me. Both guys are really smart coaches that can really relate to players. I had that relationship with (Matt) Nagy just like I have a relationship with EB (Eric Bieniemy) and it's been a really smooth transition so far and I'm looking forward to the season ahead."
Q:How eager are you to game plan for a direct opponent, someone you are going to face when the lights are bright?
MAHOMES:"Just being able to expand the playbook, be able to really game plan and be able to utilize our strengths, I'm excited for the opportunity to get out there and really utilize all the talent that we have in this offense. It's going to hopefully be a really, really good start to the season."
Q:This fourth preseason game last year was your first starting assignment in the NFL, can you look back on that?
MAHOMES:"Getting your first start, especially at Arrowhead, you could just feel the passion and hype coming into the game. It was a surreal experience, one that I'll remember of the rest of my life, it's something that you can't really put into words."
Q:Both Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill have said you've told them, 'Never stop running.' What goes behind that mentality of the play is never dead?
MAHOMES:"You have to be able to attack the whole entire field at all times. I feel like times when you get behind the defenses they have kind of a clock in their head, and so they know the quarterback is supposed to be down and they sort of stop running, a little bit. Then I tell our receivers to keep running because I can always throw it past those guys and they can make plays. I always tell all those guys just to keep running at all times and they could always get a chance to catch the ball."
Q:How did you feel like you handled Chicago's defense looking at the tape? Do you feel like you left plays out there or what did you come away with?
MAHOMES:"You never are perfect when you come back from the game. There were times in the game where I actually make the right check and then I change it and I end up being hot. Then there were times when I made the right check, like Kareem (Hunt)'s touchdown, I threw the touchdown to Kareem. There were times where there's positives from that game, there was times where I could have been better, so I'm going to learn from those and try to minimize those mistakes moving forward."
Q:Was Chicago's defense one of the most extensive you've seen all preseason?
MAHOMES:"Yeah, definitely throughout the preseason. When you get to that week three game, defenses are starting to show a little bit more and game plan for you a little bit more. It was definitely the most I've seen this preseason. I'm sure I'll see more as the season comes on. I'm going to try and prepare myself throughout the weeks and make sure I'm prepared for every situation."
Q:How much does it help your development to have that "final test" before the regular season?
MAHOMES:"You want to try to see as much as you can, similar to the regular season. Defenses will try to blitz, they'll try to mix up stuff against our offense. So, for me, to have a test like that as the last preseason game will help me a ton going forward."
Q:How good would it have been to connect with Sammy Watkins on that long touchdown pass to help his confidence before the regular season starts?
MAHOMES:"I don't know about helping his confidence. He's a confident guy. He's someone who expects to make big plays and he's made them throughout his entire career. You always want to connect on some touchdowns. It was a big play, a third and long. I just over-shot him. It was a play that given our offense more and more momentum going into the halftime. So, we missed on that one but hopefully we'll connect on those in the regular season."
Q:Do you feel like your rhythm is there with Sammy Watkins? Do you guys feel like you're "right there"?
MAHOMES:"Yeah, I feel like we're really connecting on everything we've done throughout practices. You've seen the deep balls, you've seen the deep plays and now we're just going to get them to translate to the games. I feel like as we open up the offense more, he'll have more and more opportunities to make those big plays."
Q:Tyreek Hill says that he expects to have the number one offense in the league. Is that you're expectation?
MAHOMES:"As a competitor, you want to be the best. Especially being the quarterback and having the offense and the talent that we have on this team. My job though is to get them the ball and they will make a ton of plays and hopefully we'll just win a lot of games."
Q:In college, you dealt with a lot of "shoot-outs". What's behind your mentality to just stick to what you do, regardless of the score?
MAHOMES:"I think if you just have the mentality that you're just going to go out there and score every time you're on the field, that handles everything. You don't want to go out there and think: "Oh, I just need to score this much points." You want to think you have to score as many points as possible, no matter what the score is in the game. For me, and for this offense, we're going to have that mentality that we want to score every time we step onto that field."
Q:Did you ever get frustrated in college when a game would get away from your team even after everything you could've done?
MAHOMES:"I don't know if I was ever frustrated. You get frustrated if you lose football games. You want to win the game. At the same time, your job is to go out there and score points. So, for as far as this offense goes, we're going to go out there and try to score points."
Q:Are you seeing a common theme on the third and longs this preseason? Do you see that you guys need to make improvements on third and long?
MAHOMES:"You're hoping that you're not in the third and longs. In the NFL, the percentage of converting on third and long is very low. You want to make sure you're trying to reduce those as much as possible. At the same time, there's times you have to convert on those and make big plays. Hopefully we'll be able to do that this season."