What We Learned From Tuesday's Media Availability

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and Quarterback Alex Smith met with the media on Tuesday

Andy Reid

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Opening Statement: "Alright, really there are no injuries, everybody is going to practice today. Look forward to the challenge of playing the Raiders. Right now they're the top team in the AFC, so we respect that, we know they're a good football team, they're very well coached and they've got good football players, so it should be a heck of a game. We look forward to bringing them in to Arrowhead with a great crowd in a couple of nights here. The time is yours. 

Q: Where is [Jeremy] Maclin at right now?

REID: "He's going to go today. I know he's feeling better, so we're optimistic. I'm going to just take it day by day here."

Q: How could the potential weather affect that decision [on Jeremy Maclin playing]?

REID: "If he can go, he can go. We'll look at everything. If we put him out there, or he gets out there, then we'll have all that factored in." 

Q: Will [Jeremy] Maclin practice in full today? 

REID: "Yeah, he'll be in practice."

Q: What would you say the biggest challenge the Raiders defense poses for your offense? 

REID: "Obviously they're explosive. They've got that front, that front is a very good front. Their linebackers fly around, their secondary, we know one of them well and he's a good football player along with the rest of them back there. They've got good players. Reggie [McKenzie] has done a nice job bringing people in there and building that thing. A lot of it's with draft picks, they've got a couple of free agents in there, but a lot of it's with draft picks."

Q: You mentioned the Raiders are the top team in the AFC, but you guys are right there, so the magnitude of this game is pretty big, is that a motivating thing or can it be a distraction or does it just depend?

REID: "I think especially on a short week, I'd probably say on any week, you have to get ready for the team, you can't worry about all of this. You get ready, spend all of your energy studying the team and getting yourself to study the game plan, get ready to play. Anything short of that I think, you're short-changing yourself, if you're worried about magnitudes of games and all of that stuff." 

Q: What is the toughest challenge of playing a team the second time in a season?

REID: "They obviously know you and you know them, especially repeat years here. I think execution becomes a big factor in games like this, not that it doesn't in all games, but especially when teams know each other fairly well." 

Q: What has Tyreek [Hill] done for your entire offense – the speed, the versatility for other guys?

REID: "I'm proud of the kid as much for the off the field as what he's done on the field, but yeah he plays fast, he's able to learn and you don't know those things until you get them here. We've thrown a lot at him and he's handled it. His aptitude is up there. He's a smart kid. He plays fast."

Q:What does Eric Berry mean to this team coming off of everything that he's overcome last season?

REID:"Yeah, I mean the story is phenomenal. What happened Sunday was phenomenal. The support his parents gave him was huge in his recovery. When you're around here, it's all about football, and that's the part you appreciate – him coming to work and bringing that attitude. There's never a day off. It's let's stay focused, let's go through the process, let's get ready to play the game and then, play it hard. That can be contagious."

Q:Is it unusual for guys to have that attitude that you describe Eric Berry of having? REID:"Well, you have day, after day, after day and then add years onto that, and can you keep that edge there like that? I'm sure you see it in your business, right? I mean probably in every business – who can sustain? Then, in particular, if you get a lot of pats on the back, and you're told how good you are in Pro Bowls and All-Pro deals. How do you sustain? So, he's been able to do that. Time tested, right?"

Q:Why is Eric Berry able to do that?

REID:"Well, I think he's mentally tough, and I think that helped him in his recovery. He just says, 'I'm doing it, and no one is stopping me and here we go.' That's kind of how he goes probably about life."

Q:If it does end up being bitterly cold on Thursday, how does that effect how you have to approach things with the play call?

REID:"Yeah, normally you just call the game and you go. The players are used to that stuff, so it's all part of it."

Q:Obviously, after last game, Jack Del Rio mentioned some of the things that you guys do. He used the word gimmicky. Just as a coach who's done this for a long time is that something that you absorb or is that something that you can dismiss quickly?

REID:"Yeah, I know Jack [Del Rio] well, so I don't think he meant anything by it. They're good gimmickies. I don't think he meant anything by it, yeah."

Q:What have you learned over the last two seasons about this young, upcoming quarterback [Derek Carr]?

REID:"Yeah, I think he's that. I think he's real. Again, he's putting years together here now. So, that's important. In particular at that position. I know he loves the game, and he's passionate about learning. He loves talking football. So, we were kind of in a low key setting, like a real low key setting over there, but he was interested in whatever you could share with him being a Raider."

Q:Do you feel like you have an advantage now?

REID:"No, I don't think so. He's going to go out, and he's going to play. I don't think that matters, yeah."

Q:They play six offensive linemen – maybe more than anyone else – what's the challenge with that?

REID:"Well, they're big guys. The guy that they bring is big. They're big guys anyways on that line, and they do quite a few things with him. He's a pretty good athlete actually. You can't just abandon him in the pass game. You've got to know that they will throw the ball – those personnel groups that they put him in on. Then, when they run it, they have some beef there. That's a pretty heavy load."

Q:How have the guys responded to the last couple of days as far as health, how they're feeling with the soreness? 

REID:"Yeah, they've done good. They got up yesterday and moved around a little bit. We had some meetings, and they handled that well. They seemed pretty good this morning during the walk through. I think they're pretty good."

Alex Smith

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Q:Can you speak on the importance of this week's game? The importance continues to grow.SMITH:"Yeah it's typical. Every week it amounts. That's the nature of the NFL. Week One we were saying it was the most important thing and as you get down the line they get bigger and bigger. That's the great thing about this time of the year -- the stages get bigger and more meaningful. They save all these division games for the end so it'll be fun. We're looking forward to it. It'll be an awesome environment on top of a huge rivalry."

Q:What do you attribute your 8-1 record versus the Raiders to? 

SMITH:"I don't know if you can lump them all together -- it's hard. We've looked at the tape from earlier this year, and it was a tough game, a close game and we fought hard. You look at that and try to play the chess game here of the rematch: what's different, what will change and what might they do different? And how do we counter that? You try to play that all out in a short week and it's tough. We'll get them here at our place on Thursday night. With the weather and the crowd, it'll be different."

Q:How does the cold weather alter the offensive game plan?

SMITH:"We'll see. That's different for everybody. That's every individual too. For us, obviously we've gotten a lot of practice in the weather here, so we'll see what the weather conditions are like for Thursday night."

Q:Do you approach a game like this differently with it being on Thursday night? 

SMITH:"No. It's condensed but that's it. You really are trying to take the same approach. There's the balance of trying to get your body back and rested. At the same time, you need all the mental details that you would normally need a full week for."

Q:Khalil Mack* *is playing really well right now. Do you have to do anything special in order to know where he is?

SMITH:"He's a really good player. It seems like every division team has a guy that can 'really go' and he's no different. He's a guy that makes a lot of plays and can change games. He's got that kind of ability. He can definitely wreck a game if you let him."

Q:Travis Kelce seems to have stepped up huge in the last four weeks. What's the reason behind his recent success? 

SMITH:"Probably a few things that we've seen and anticipated as far as matchups and the way defenses were playing him. And certainly him just making plays. Us giving him an opportunity and him making plays with us and sparking us. He's that type of player. One of his strengths is that he can do so many things as a tight end. He's not one-dimensional and I think Coach [Reid] has a great grasp of that when he puts game plans together with all the coaches. It's a game of give and take so even on Sunday when he got a ton of attention, it opened up opportunities for other guys."

Q:Is there a mutual respect with a guy like Derek Carr with the way he's been playing? 

SMITH:"You follow and watch a lot of similar film since we're in the same division and play all the same opponents. You end up seeing film of theirs and him playing. From what I've seen, he's playing really, really well. Other than that, no. I've played with his older brother a little bit so I know the family but beyond that, no." 

Q:Getting Jeremy Maclin back has got to be helpful? 

SMITH:"We'll see. If that's the case, it'll be an awesome addition. Jeremy is a big-time player and to get him back on the field -- the more weapons you have, the better."

Q:Talk about the trust you have in Tyreek Hill. You've been getting him the ball more and more it seems like. 

SMITH:"That's kind of been the case, especially for a young guy with a ton of ability. We're walking the fine line of not putting too much on his plate and letting him go out and play fast to utilize his strengths. Hats off to him because he's done that. The mental side, along with all of his physical attributes, he's done a great job of preparing himself week in and week out. It's a long season for rookies with a lot on their plates. For a young guy, he's done really, really well with it."

Q:Can you compare him to anyone you've seen or played with before?

SMITH:"No. I don't want to compare him to anybody. I don't know if I've seen anyone like him. He's got a lot of tools. A lot of tools and a lot of ability. The biggest thing is that on game day, he shows up and the stage hasn't been too big. He doesn't blink and his mental game is the biggest thing. A lot of guys have ability but not everyone can go out and handle all the stuff we're doing with him. It's a credit to him."

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