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What We Learned From Thursday's Media Availability

Andy Reid, Alex Smith, Harrison Butker and Kareem Hunt spoke to the media on Thursday


Opening Statement:"As you know from us putting Cairo (Santos) on injured reserve, he was injured on Sunday. He injured his right groin on Sunday. He was injured back in training camp with the same groin, but that had fully healed up, he was doing fine. In the last warmup kick on Sunday, he felt a pull in his groin. This did not happen on the roughing the kicker penalty. He took a few more kicks, field goals, he was doing fine with that, but he struggled with kickoff during the game. We got him through that game then we brought him in here on Monday and he was a little bit worse. We did some studies on him and realized he has a fairly significant groin injury that will limit him from playing the next few weeks. As the process goes, they decided what to do with him on the roster and that's why he is on injured reserve now. Thank you."


Opening Statement: "As far as injuries go for practice today, Dee Ford won't practice today with a little back soreness and Mitch Morse with the foot sprain. Look forward to the challenge of playing the Redskins. Right now they're playing as good as anybody in the national football league. They're a good football team – all three phases. Our guys will have a good week of practice here, we started up today and we go from there."

Q: Is there a chance (Cairo) Santos comes back later in the season?

REID: "There is a chance, yeah. Right now Harrison (Butker), he'll be doing the kicking."

Q: What do you like about him?

REID: "He was obviously a good kicker in college. We liked him coming out. He's got a strong leg, he's a good kicker. We look forward to getting him in there and seeing how he does."

Q: What's the value of a veteran, trusty kicker? What do you lose with Cairo (Santos)?

REID: "He's been there, Cairo's done it and he's been there. But we have trust in Harrison (Butker) too or we wouldn't have brought him here. He was a pretty good kicker in college and we feel like he did a nice job in the preseason and it'll carry over to now."

Q: Has there been any discussion with the team about the national anthem? What you guys are doing?

REID: "No."

Q: Will there be?

REID: "Not right now, there won't be."

Q: You've spoken about Tyreek (Hill) in the past, what you've seen from him in his development and you try to challenge guys getting better. What's your challenge for Tyreek moving forward to continue to improve?

REID: "Tyreek, every week, he gets a little better and a little more familiar with being a full-time starting wide receiver in the National Football League. His things are small things that he's got to keep working on. But he's doing a nice job all the way around, all the different things we've asked him to do, whether it's blocking or running routes, whatever it might be from the backfield to the wide receiver spot, inside, outside, he's done very well with it. But there's small things that he can continue to work on. He's not what he will be as he gets more experience."

Q: Redskins pass rush was really good last week against the Raiders.

REID: "They've got a very good pass rush. Their defense is playing very well, it starts up front for them. They've got a very strong front seven, period. Their linebackers are good too. Then I mentioned this to you after the game, we've got to do a better job up front. There are some plays that we'd like to have back there but we're capable of doing it, we just need to make sure we do it."

Q: Nine straight games with a 50-plus yard touchdown. Is it designed like that, or extraordinary effort? How are you able to keep a streak like that alive?

REID: "Well everybody gets credit for it. You know whether it's Matt Nagy with the plays, whether it's the offensive line blocking, whichever receiver it is, the quarterback. Everybody's got a piece and makes something work. But you're only as good as your last one."

Q: Does that get easier, with familiarity with the offense like your guys that have been here longer, does it get easier?

REID: "I don't know. I mean the defense is pretty good in this league, every week is a challenge with it. When I say you're only as good as your last one, that's kind of how it works in this league, so it's not important what we did there, it's important that we're still productive – whether it's long or short, we're still productive on offense, that's the important part."

Q: Kareem (Hunt), are you being cautious with his workload despite how good he's been?

REID: "I wouldn't necessarily say cautious, I wouldn't say that. But with all of our players we try to make sure that we keep in mind how fresh they are and kind of where they're at physically. It's not different for him. We'll just see how it goes here down the road. You've seen Charcandrick (West) in there and you've seen some of the receivers, whether it's (Thomas) or (Hill) taking some reps. So everybody is kind of working in some spot in there."

Q: This one is a little different. I know you're friends with and worked with Jon Gruden. We're told that when you meet with network announcers maybe you share some things that they can use in the broadcast that they only tell then. When his brother is the coach of the opponent does that change? Do you have to be cautious of what you say in those meetings?

REID: "Not at all. Listen, I don't share a whole lot with anybody. But he is a good friend and I would trust him with the game plan that he wouldn't go any further than that table right there, that's how close we are."

Q: So that's a myth, those meetings aren't much different than this?

REID: "Some are this. What do you want to know?"

Q: In the roster building process, how much do you prioritize the run after the catch receivers and breakaway ability in running backs?

REID: "So you always hear the term YAC in this game and that's an important quality. You hope that you have guys that can do that. I've been on teams where we haven't had guys but they were still effective receivers. But it sure helps to have that, so we're fortunate that we have guys that can catch and run."

Q: What was the point in your career when you realized, that makes it so much easier? Is there a year, is there a moment?

REID: "Probably when I was in high school and I was on a long drive and I was tired and going back thinking, can one of these guys catch it and score? That's probably where it got to. But you learn it fairly early at this level, it helps. If you start doing percentages of your long drives and your percentages of scores off of long drives it's a tough thing to do. So you need some plays where guys catch it. Possession type throw and they get some yards that help you. That helps that percentage go up."

Q: The last couple games, most snaps (Daniel) Sorensen has played here in on defense, I know you had confidence putting him on special teams and playing that dime spot. What gave you confidence, what have you seen from him?

REID: "He's a good football player. We've backed him off a little bit on special teams because of that. So he really hasn't done a ton there the last week or so. He's done a nice job on the defensive side. Again every week that he's able to get more experience under his belt the better he gets. He's not only a nickel player now he's on the backend and coming up."


Q:What is it like going into Monday night undefeated and playing this Washington team?

SMITH:"We have to come out like any other week, it is no different. The Washington team coming in is playing really good. They just beat up a really good Oakland team. It is a big test for us, national stage. Any time you get these opportunities, you have to go out there and reprove yourself. It doesn't matter what you did three weeks ago, it doesn't matter what you did the week before. It is a brand new challenge. We have to find a way to overcome. These guys present specific challenges for us, from a personnel standpoint, scheme, we have to find a way as coaches and players to find a way and go out there and execute it and find a way to win."

Q:How hard is it to shut down that Raiders offense?

SMITH:"That doesn't happen. It doesn't happen often at all. That is a really good unit, run and pass, that just got completely suffocated. They got behind and became one-sided and they still weren't able to get much of anything going. I think this defense is playing really good football as a unit all across the board. On the backend, the frontend, run and pass. Big test for us."

Q:Your offense has a nine-game streak of 50-plus yard touchdowns, do you think that the offense gets an opposite reputation of that?

SMITH:"Yeah, I didn't know that. I had seen that stat and I thought it was a pretty cool stat. Certainly, I think our offense has had that about them, but I thought that stat was impressive."

Q:Do you think it has gotten easier to get those plays as you get more familiar with the offense?

SMITH:"They are not necessarily easy. I think we need to give credit to the guys we got. We have big play guys that can go, when given the opportunity, take it the distance. It really says a lot about those guys. Something as well, our coaches putting those guys in those situations. But, it is never easy. Sometimes they come in bunches like that. Hopefully, we can just keep it going."

Q:Do you feel like you are taking more shots down field or do you think you are just hitting on them at a higher rate?

SMITH:"Both. A lot of those plays have been such a good mix of balls down field. Intermediate balls that have broken, as well as underneath stuff that guys have blocked really well and we have guys with a ton of ability that have been able to break them. A combination of all those things. I think you have to have all of those within your offense. When presented with what you are looking at, you have to strike. When you get something downfield and you get an opportunity, you have to strike. When you get something underneath, same type of thing. You want to be executing what you are doing well."

Q:Kelce's lack of involvement last week, is that just what the defense presented?

SMITH:"It was not something I would have foreseen at all. It just kind of went that way the way they were playing him. A lot of missed opportunities as well. I think looking back I do think that it was a lot of different reasons, I guess. He is a guy that gets a lot of focus from defense. That was part of it, but certainly, there were some opportunities out there that we didn't take advantage of."

Q:Will you discuss what you do for the National Anthem?

SMITH:"Yeah, I think one of the best things about this last week and the way we handled it is we didn't have any of these big team meetings and crazy discussions. I think this team has a lot of respect for each other and I think we have a lot of leaders in this locker room. I think there is a lot of mutual respect. Our focus was where it should have been. It was with playing a division game getting ready to play that game with all the distractions going on, which were a lot. We were ready all week. We knew we were going to play in a different environment, small stadium facilities were going to be different. And then you throw on the emotions of last weekend and our team responded to it well. I think if you look at a lot of these teams that it potentially did get distracting. This week will be no different. Our focus is on playing Washington on a big stage, a really good football team. Getting ready for that is where our focus needs to be."

Q:Do you think Kareem's work load hasn't gone over 20 carries, is that because he is being protected or is he making the most of his carries?

SMITH:"A better question maybe for Coach. I just think a lot of times that is the way games go. There is a lot of different ways to get a ball to a back, not just handoffs. He is a guy that is good at that. He is good in the pass game, good at catching balls. You can get him touches there. I think each game is different, how they are playing us. So we will see. I know it is something you monitor. I know the coaches probably look at that more closely when we are in it."


Q:Where were you when you found out about the news that you were coming over to Kansas City?

BUTKER:"I was in Charlotte and I got the phone call. I think it was Monday afternoon and Tuesday was our off day in Carolina, so I was looking forward to that. I got the call that the Chiefs wanted to bring me in and had to take advantage of the opportunity. So I took a flight Monday evening and got here. Then started early morning Tuesday, got rolling."

Q:What did you learn in Carolina in your competition there?

BUTKER:"I learned a lot. Graham (Gano) the kicker, Michael Palardy the punter and J.J. (Jansen) the snapper were all very open in kind of sharing some things they've learned over the years being veterans now. I learned a lot of stuff from Graham, I think technique-wise I learned a lot about being smooth, being very calm and collected. I think that the NFL is all about accuracy. It doesn't matter how big of a ball you can hit you have to be accurate, so things along those lines and then also just the mental game. How you approach every kick, every game. They were very open with me."

Q:Have you thought that you're NFL debut is going to be Monday night at Arrowhead?

BUTKER:"That was funny. Obviously it's a big stage but you have to treat it like any other game. Also I've heard it's a loud, exciting, vibrant stadium, so I'm really looking forward to that. All good things, what a way to start my career, so looking forward to it."

Q:In college it seemed like you were better on the longer kicks than sometimes the shorter kicks. Anything explain that?

BUTKER:"It's definitely true. I don't know. I think when it's a longer field goal I think I'm more relaxed I just go ahead and kick the ball and that's how you have to be on the short field goals as well. You have to be relaxed, you can't overthink it and I think sometimes that might have happened on the short field goals. Just go out there, don't think too much and make the kick."

Q:There's a lot of Georgia guys in that locker room, I know you had a big kick in one. Have you talked to any of those guys or talked to D.J. White yet?

BUTKER:"Yea there was a lot of Georgia players in the Panthers locker room and there's some now. I've gotten a little bit of flak from them, but luckily I have D.J. now to back me up, because all of my shirts are Georgia Tech gold so as soon as I walk into the locker room they know I'm from Georgia Tech."

Q:Range-wise what's kind of your comfort level and also what do you feel like is your max range?

BUTKER:"I don't know, I mean 55, 60 and I think most kickers can do that. To be in the NFL you kind of have to be able to do that, but wherever they put me I feel like I'm comfortable as long as it's 60 and in I don't think I'm changing anything with my form, just kick it smooth."

Q:You played for a college coach that seemed to like to go for it on fourth down a lot and not give you field goal tries, so how difficult was it to build yourself in that kind of environment?

BUTKER:"That's tough. If you look at my stats from college I didn't have a lot of attempts, so the only thing I would probably say about that is it's hard to get into a rhythm when you go four or five games without a field goal. Now that I'm in the NFL there's a lot more attempts I think you get a lot more comfortable as the season goes on, so looking forward to that."

Q:When you're practicing on your own and staying ready but you know you're not going to be playing, how different is this week preparation knowing that you are playing?

BUTKER:"When I was in Carolina I was preparing as if I was playing on Sundays and I would even kick before the games, so that was kind of like my game day kicking. You know kicking two hours before the game started, so luckily these past two or three weeks, however long I've been with the Panthers, I've been preparing as if I was kicking. So nothing's going to change this week."

Q:Is there any experience you can point back to that you can feel confident has prepared you for the gravity of this sudden change for you?

BUTKER:"I think I've hit a lot of big kicks at Georgia Tech and I think I've done well with the Panthers in the preseason and stuff. So I just look back on kind of my resume, what I've done in college and what I've done now in the preseason. I'm confident for whatever comes my way and I think I deserve to be in the NFL and I'm excited about this opportunity."

Q:You're twitter handle @buttkicker is that a nickname, where did it come from exactly?

BUTKER:"It came from a trainer at Georgia Tech my freshman year. He just said butt kicker and I was like 'Oh that's pretty interesting and it's unique'. People say a lot of stuff with my last name being Butker and I kind of made it a funny thing to now be 'butt kicker'. I just went with it."

Q:You get some new followers this week?

BUTKER:"Yea, I did. Got a couple thousand."

Q:Have you kicked over at Arrowhead yet, in the stadium?

BUTKER:"I have not. I haven't even been there, but I'm sure we'll get there closer to the game."


Q: The awards keep rolling in, how do you feel about it?

HUNT: "It's a great feeling you know. I just want to keep it going. Keep going out there every week and showing up."

Q: Go back to the touchdown run in L.A. – was there was a twinge of guilt about getting in the end zone there?

HUNT:"I mean yeah a little bit. We wanted to end with the ball to run out the clock and not send our defense back out there, but it's hard to do that when you've got a bunch of green grass in front of you."

Q: Do you expect to get more of a workload, I mean you haven't had more than 20 carries yet and there was a time in the third and fourth (quarters) where you weren't getting many consistently, do you expect that to build up or does Andy kind of tell you hey this is where we're at for the time being?

HUNT: "Not really. I guess this is how the game is going and we'll figure out how that goes, if I get more of a workload then oh well, I'm ready for it."

Q: Have you talked to guys about that back half of the season, once you get past the length of games that you would have played more than the normal college season, have you talked to people about how to make sure you're prepared to keep running past that point, for more games then you're used to?

HUNT: "Yeah it starts now just taking care of your body every day and just doing little things. Even when you're not that sore, you just got to keep working to get your body all the way back together so you got to take it day by day and week by week."

Q: What's the soreness level now versus college? You hit it harder right?

HUNT: "Yeah you just got to do a great job of protecting yourself out there but for now I feel pretty good."

Q: How do you manage it?

HUNT: "Just every day coming in and getting in the cold tub, just making sure I'm not taking big hits out there. Just playing smart."

Q: You got to play a lot in college, how did you generally feel late in the season in college?

HUNT: "I felt pretty good. I played the whole college season and I felt like I got better as the season went on too. Like I said, you got to keep going through it and keep taking care of your body each and every day. Do the most that you can do. Live in the training room, do little things to take care of your body."

Q: How's your life changed here in the last few weeks in terms of recognition, phone calls or requests to do this or that?

HUNT: "I mean a lot of people trying to reach out to you and a lot of people end up recognizing you wherever you go if you go to the store or out to eat, anything like that. It's just a lot more people trying to get to know you."

Q: Anything real crazy happen?

HUNT: "Not really. I kind of stay in my own little world, just hang out, talk to my same guys and keep a low profile."

Q: How many copies of the Sports Illustrated did your mom get?

HUNT: "I probably got about 10 of them and my mom got about 15."

Q: A lot of people talk about your contact balance and everything, for you is that something that you've learned and developed over time or is that something you're just born with?

HUNT: "I feel like I was kind of born with it but I feel like I got better as my years of football kept going on. In high school, I had really good contact balance, playing in a lot of muddy games I feel like it wasn't that great. Always try to stay up on my feet."

Q: You seem to try to avoid the big hits, part of your game is breaking tackles and going through it so how does that balance work? How do you do both, go through the hits and break them and also not absorb the big ones?

HUNT:"It's really angles and leverage pretty much. You got to recognize who you're going against and how to take on a tackle and pretty much you just fill it out."

Q: A lot of teams are making preparations and plans for the national anthem, have you had any discussion with any of your teammates about what you guys are going to do Monday night?

HUNT: "You know that's freedom of speech. Those guys are going to do what they're going to do and whatever they believe in so not really."

Q: Anything about Washington jump out as oppose to the first three teams you've played, they've stopped the run a lot this year?

HUNT: "It's a good defense, they play hard and they've got a good front seven. I'm just going to keep going out there and doing what I do and I know the o-line is going to go out there and give it their best too."

Q: How studious do you get right now? Do you really get in there and figure out everything that they're going to throw at you?

HUNT:"Yeah you got to know your opponent so I go in there and try to figure everything out. Sit down with my coach and just go through it. You've got to know what they're going to throw at you."

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