HEAD COACH ANDY REID
OPENING STATEMENT: "As far as injuries go, the people who will not practice today are Husain (Abdullah) – he's been excused, it's not for the concussion or anything, he's been excused for non-injury related issues. Dee Ford will not practice, he's still in the concussion protocol. Tamba (Hali) will not practice today, we're going to practice today on the turf. Jeremy Maclin has a hip contusion, he won't practice today and then Mitch Morse is in the concussion protocol and going through that deal there.
Listen, we look forward to playing the Texans. Like I mentioned, they know us, we know them. I think each team has changed a bit since we played last. We respect the heck out of them, they've got a great football team, they're well coached and our guys are going to prepare themselves this week on a shorter week –they're going to prepare themselves starting today with what would be equivalent to a Wednesday practice and then we'll take the week just like that throughout for the Saturday game. The time is yours."
Q: Based on your comments last night, is Justin Houston good to go this week?
REID:"Yeah, Justin is going to work today - he's going to practice today. You must have been listening to the radio show? Yeah...Mitch (Holthus). So yeah, I mean, he's going to practice today and then we'll just take it day by day, but I think he feels pretty good."
Q: Does that last playoff loss to the Colts stay with you?
REID:"Well you try to learn from it. I mentioned this after that game, it's a great learning experience for all of us – having been to the playoffs there and you get a lead and you can learn from those things. However, this team's different from that team, you only have a few guys that are still here. But listen, we all learned a good lesson there and so you take that to heart."
Q: Did you need a day or two to get passed that at the time?
REID:"I can't tell you I was the happiest guy in the world after that game, that's not a good feeling. But again, I try to draw something out of it that can make you better. Rather than dwell on it, try to learn from it."
Q: What was the number one thing you learned from it?
REID:"You've got to finish the game. You've got to score touchdowns, that's what it's all about. It doesn't matter how many points you're up by, you've got to find a way to get it in the end zone and there were some things there that I could've done better to help that."
Q: Is there any moment that you see as a pivot point in this season or was the success due to grinding day in and day out?
REID:"Well, that's the primary thing. We tried to keep working hard and doing the things you do and I felt like we were close. I mentioned before, we had a lot of young guys that were playing, we had some guys that were injured that were coming back and I kind of feel like if everybody kind of hung together that we would be ok and that's the way it turned out."
Q: How would you describe your leadership style from when you first started coaching to now?
REID:"I had more hair back then, definitely. Probably weighed a little bit more too, but I don't think much has changed. I have more experience I guess, that's the obvious, but I don't think much has changed."
Q: How much would you say has changed based on players adjusting to you or you adjusting to the players?
REID:"When you really get down to it, I think the players are the same guys. They love doing what they're doing, I know they're paid, but they love doing what they're doing and you have to do that, it's a tough sport. And you appreciate that as a coach. So I'd tell you that's probably about the same. I know I hear people say that players have changed; technology has changed – but the guys still love doing what they're doing."
Q: Is there a different approach that you take heading into the playoffs?
REID:"Yeah, not much. You understand the urgency that's there, I mentioned that on Monday that it's single elimination. We get it – everything's faster in the playoffs, that's just how it works. We understand that, but again, we've been in single elimination here for a few weeks – we kind of dug ourselves a hole. The thing we're going to focus is on getting better. I keep saying that, but we've got a ton of room to improve here and if we just stay focused on that, let's all try to get better, myself as a coach and the players as players. Let's work on that, what we can control."
Q: Does Tamba Hali staying out have anything to do with his hand?
REID:"Nothing to do with his hand, his hand actually worked out well."
Q: What is it you do that prepares your team so well for road games?
REID:"We try to keep it exactly the same as a home game the best we can. I'm talking time schedules and slots, if you get into a town at 4 o'clock and guys have time to settle down and have a nice meal – keep it as consistent as you possibly can and that's really about it. That's about it."
Q: On traveling to away games while in Philadelphia compared to Kansas City.
REID:"Yeah, we would make it a two-day trip if we went coast to coast, so from that standpoint I would say yes. It's definitely different that way. When I was in Green Bay it was similar to what we do here."
Q: Is there any extra incentive to get a playoff win not only for the team but all of the people who follow and support you?
REID:"Absolutely. We love and respect our fans, they're unbelievable. When you talk about the sea of red, man, it's real and they're passionate and they show up. You saw at our last game there really. It was cold and they were there and that's an awesome deal. We definitely keep that in mind, I didn't know the record – I mean I didn't know the whole playoff thing, but we appreciate their support. We're playing for Kansas City and they'll be there, they show up everywhere, it's a crazy deal."
Q: Can you tell that this is playoff week based on the attitude among the team?
REID:"Well, yeah, there are only 12 teams playing so you understand that. And it's a small fraternity in the National Football League, so you realize that there are a lot of people that don't have the opportunity that you have. You understand that you've got to prepare yourself. It's a good football team that we're playing. You're in the playoffs, it is single elimination and you've got to make sure your game is at the highest point – the best it can possibly be that day. So that's the way your preparation goes."
Q: Does this group share any traits with some of the best teams that you've had?
REID:"Yeah, they love to play the game – they love coming to work. And when I tell you I like the team, that's what I'm talking about. These guys come to work and they take care of each other. The old guys teach the young guys, they're not hiding things from them and worried about – they've got a little security to them, they [think] about making everybody around them better. They're egoless that way. You love that part of it, so from a coach's standpoint you appreciate that. I've had a couple teams that are like that and I feel very blessed to have these guys, man, it's awesome."
Q: On level of play in the season transitioning to playoff success.
REID:"Yeah, I mean there are all different kinds of ways of winning games. The thing that we have is that everybody's contributed. We've had special teams help out - so the offense and defense, if they're kind of pulling along then somebody on special teams picks it up. If the offense is lagging behind, the defense will pick it up – if the defense is lagging behind, the offense will pick it up. So it's been a joint effort, I think you need that to get to the point that you're at now. So again, that's a good thing – a good thing to have."
Q: How has Jeremy Maclin changed your offense?
REID:"I think he's brought an attitude – a certain attitude there where you see how he plays on the field. He's not going to let anybody push him around, he's going to stand up to anybody and loves challenges. And that's how he goes about his business, he does it every day at work here and at practice and that's the way he goes about it. But yet, he's a good person and a smart guy. He loves playing the game."
Q: Is there anything you can take away from Alex Smith's performances in the playoffs throughout his career?
REID:"He's had some good playoff games, it's great to have the experience that he has. And every team is different, so every situation is different, but I really haven't focused on that. We're right in the grind just trying to make sure we get everything down and Alex is doing that same thing. He gets in and he studies the game plan and he studies the defense that we're playing against and the personnel on that defense and then we roll from there."
QB ALEX SMITH
Q:What is the difference between the Chiefs and Texans, how can you best describe them as you both head in with great momentum?
SMITH: "To be honest with you, I'm getting ready to play that defense, spending most of my time on that. But at this point, it's what you're playing for all year – to get to this point. Records don't matter, all that is wiped clean, everybody's trying to win a ballgame and do whatever it takes. Style points don't matter, just try to find a (way) to get a win. For us, it's this challenge, to go down there as a team, on the road, and find a way to win. It's unique in a sense that we played them in the season opener. Both teams at this point are very different because of the course of the season."
Q:Is J.J. Watt any different? Some people say he's better than in Week 1?
SMITH: "He's been a good player. You're talking about the former Defensive Player of the Year. Really, really good player. Every game he plays in he makes plays, finds ways to make plays. He's disruptive and they are as a whole. They're good, they're playing really good up front, not just him. They're physical, they're good on the back end, they're experienced. Definitely a big challenge for us."
Q:Is it something Coach Reid does that makes you a good road team or something the team does that you didn't do with the 49ers?
SMITH: "I don't know. I have no idea. There's so many things that go into things like that. Certainly, the setup we have, I think for us, it's just realizing the challenge and embracing it – yeah, we're on the road and that's it. Just have to find a way."
Q:Does the playoff game from 2013 serve as motivation?
SMITH: "I don't think so. This is a completely different team, it's a new challenge, a new year. I don't think anybody's thinking about that. I think we realize what we're capable of when we play our style of football. And it's a matter of going out there – everybody's a good team at this point, everybody's good. The margin of error is that much smaller now. It's going down there and, like I said, over the course of four quarters, doing whatever it takes, all three phases finding a way."
Q:Has the latter part of the season seemed like a playoff atmosphere?
SMITH: "Yeah, very much. I think just the way the season started, digging the hole we did. A little bit I feel like we've been playing like that, week-to-week for a while now."
Q:Your numbers in postseason games are good, is there any reason for that?
SMITH: "Like I said, every one of these games is a different challenge. You're just trying to go out there and play well, play to the best of your abilities. Those games won't have anything to do with this one. This is a new challenge. And for us, to try to go out and, like I said, execute."
Q:It's been 22 years since this team has had postseason success. Do you understand what that means to this city and fan base?
SMITH: "I didn't know it until you said that right now. I don't think this team's carrying that weight, to be honest. Those were the other 22 years and 22 teams. This is us. No, we're just trying to go out and win a ballgame. I don't think we need to add any more weight to it, it's already big enough. I think everybody understands that."
Q:Do you know who the quarterback was in the last playoff win?
SMITH: "No idea. Was it Joe (Montana)?"
Q:Did you know there were three Hall of Famers on that Chiefs team – Joe Montana, Derrick Thomas and Marcus Allen – that won in Houston?
SMITH: "I did not."
Q:The Royals started their playoff run in Houston. That seems to be a magical place for Kansas City.
SMITH: "It could be. Hopefully so. Like I said, for us, it's on a short week, we're trying to get ready to go. All that other stuff, we'll see."
Q:Do you still have that feeling that you had in training camp that this could be a special team?
SMITH: "I would say it's even more different. It's come a long way since then. It's been through a lot. Different team at this point. I think, if anything, yeah I think this team, like I said, is very confident in our capabilities. If we play the way we know we can play, we can play with anybody, beat anybody. And I think that's what we believe in, but you have to go do it. I think everybody believes that, and rightfully so at this point. Everybody's good, everybody got here for a reason. Like I said, the margin for error is small and you have to go out and make plays, you have to go do it."
Q:Do you approach the week of preparation like it's Week 17 or do you approach it like it's something special?
SMITH: "I think it's just the way we do things around here. I don't think anything changes. Today's a Wednesday if that makes sense. That's just the way it is. And I think that's a good thing. This isn't different, it's a football game. I think everybody understands that it's a big football game, but nonetheless, a football game. And it's going to come down to blocking and tackling and throwing and catching and running. It's going to come down to the little things and fundamentals. With that, I think that's the way this has been set up, I think that's the way we do things, the way we've been preparing all year long."
LB DERRICK JOHNSON
Q:How hard was the playoff loss in 2013 to get over? Has it driven you in any way?
JOHNSON: "It has to drive you. Now don't get me wrong, it's a different year, different team, different situation. Whenever you let an opportunity pass you by like we did a couple years ago, you learn from it and I think this team's learned from it. That was Coach Andy Reid's first year, there were some things we left on the table as far as players. We're just trying to capitalize off of it now."
Q:As the win streak increased, did it seem more like a playoff atmosphere?
JOHNSON: "It has, it has. Since 1-5, it's been a playoff atmosphere. It was kind of a win-or-go-home type deal. We've been winning for 10 weeks straight – that doesn't guarantee us an 11th win, but we do have some momentum. We're going to Houston, we're going to their place. We have to play really well and be on point on everything, offensively and defensively, special teams – we have to play our best game if we're going to win in Houston."
Q:When you walk the ledge, does it get exhausting or overwhelming?
JOHNSON: "I think it makes you tougher, I think it makes you tougher. The character that we have on this team, to come from 1-5, to have 10 straight games, you have to get lucky sometimes, but it's a lot of hard work in there. We're excited for the opportunity to play in the postseason – that was our goal in the beginning of the year, to make it to the playoffs so we can have a chance to win it all. And now we're here."
Q:How has Brian Hoyer changed from Week One?
JOHNSON: "Hoyer is a guy that's a veteran in this league, he knows how to win. They had some growing pains early. Trust me, this is going to be a different team from when we played them the first time. Like it is in the NFL, it's hard to beat a team twice. It doesn't matter how you beat them, it's hard to beat them twice. We know going into this game, it's going to be hard. They're going to be tough, they're a tough team. At their bye week, they were 3-5 and they were 7-2 after that. They've been doing some really good things defensively and on the offensive side of the ball. It's going to be a great game against us."
Q:How does it change the defense having Justin Houston and Tamba Hali back?
JOHNSON: "Injuries always hurt you. We put certain people in place to do their job. We've had some injuries here and there, but hopefully to get those two outside backers back, that's going to make our defense be even tougher. It's always been next man up since I've been here. This year has been next man up. We've been doing a great job at it, so hopefully we can continue doing that. But to have those guys back, definitely a thumbs up for us."
WR JEREMY MACLIN
Q:Coach says you're bringing an attitude to this offense, could you describe that attitude?
MACLIN: "I don't really know how to describe it, I think it's just something that I do, the type of person that I am. I've always said that this is a grown man's sport, so that's how you have to approach it."
Q:Do you see any difference in Andy Reid here than you did in Philadelphia?
MACLIN: "He's a lot more laid back, but he's still the same person. I think that's what you can respect about him. You can definitely see he's kind of gotten a new life, so to say."
Q:You were 1-5 leaving Minnesota, what was different that next week?
MACLIN: "I think we just got back to the basics. We had a meeting and basically just said 'We're in this room for a reason.' We believe that we have the type of talent in that locker room to beat anybody and I feel like we just had to get back to the basics – that's running, tackling, catching, throwing, everything that goes into playing football."
Q:How far has the offense and Alex Smith come from Week One?
MACLIN: "I think we've definitely gotten better. And I think that's our mindset, that's our goal, to get better each and every game. This is the National Football League, they're going to make plays as well, they get paid just like we do. We understand that. In order for us to go in there and get our job done, we have to be clicking on all cylinders."
Q:How much are you looking forward to going out there on Saturday? MACLIN: "I'm extremely excited, extremely excited. Like I said earlier, this is what you play for. One of our goals at the beginning of the season was to be in the dance and now we're here. Now it's time to show off our dance moves."