OPENING STATEMENT:"Alright, as the injuries go, Dadi Nicolas is really the only one to report. He ruptured his patellar tendon and will be done for the season. Other than that, we really came out apparently healthy and everyone will be ready to go once we get back and rolling. The schedule for the players is, from today until Sunday they're off and then they'll be back Monday. Coaches will take a couple of days off and then we'll be back in. We really don't know who we'll play, we know the three teams that it's down to. Tommy Brasher, who I kept on staff, has already done all of the scouting. He's done this all year, but he magically picked out the three teams that he narrowed it down to and it ended up being the three teams, and he's already done the scouting reports on those. We're a little bit ahead from a coaching standpoint, this way we have something there that we can look at, but not until Sunday when we really know who we play. We do know we're playing at Arrowhead at noon on Sunday and we'll be ready to roll."
Q: You've talked about it and the players have talked about it, about encouraging them to let their personalities show and play to that. Where did you come up with that and do you ever have trouble balancing it with trying to get them in the right spot emotionally?
REID: "We're going to give you a map on what we want done, but you have to allow yourself to be yourself within the restrictions of the offense, defense and special teams. I don't want to curve that. I want you to play with emotion, it's an emotional game. Sometimes young guys have to learn where to shut up, but we have a good locker room. They figure it out and the guys help them and the veteran players help them."
Q: Were you ever stauncher about it, then loosened up at the start of your head coaching career?
REID: "I probably was a little stricter, but I always tried to allow them to let their personalities show. I will tell you that the situation in Philadelphia was a little different when I took over there than here. I had a few more restrictions."
Q: On player protocol during the bye week.
REID: "I go back through it only because there's change. You've seen what [John] Dorsey has done with the injuries – he's brought in new guys that maybe haven't been there for the first bye week, and so I go back over everything, I trust them. Obviously the end result is, 'listen I trust you, I'm giving you time, but let's make sure we take care of business here in these areas.'"
Q: On who taught you your bye week protocol.
REID: "Mike Holmgren, he at one point, one year, he just said when it wasn't in Vogue and when the league is not picked up, you have to take four days off. Before that was ever in place we had a bye week and he kind of kicked everybody out – coaches and players and he said we'll see you back Sunday or whatever day that was that he brought us back in. That's where I saw it the first time. He didn't do it every year, but it was just this one year and it kind of worked. I felt as a head coach I would do that and I've done it ever since I've been a head coach."
Q: Are there rules in place even during a playoff bye week?
REID: "I don't know that."
Q: So you're not concerned?
REID: "I know that it's less than what I'm giving them. It might be four days. I don't really care. I want to give them time off. I think it's important that they step back a little bit here and heal up."
Q: Was this how you did it with the Eagles with the bye?
REID: "Yeah, same deal."
Q: Dave Toub has been so successful here, what are the traits that make him so successful?
REID: "I've said this and I've said it with [John] Harbaugh, the special teams coaches are a unique breed. They probably don't get enough credit for really what they do and what they have to deal with. They have to deal with the media, the offensive side, the defensive side. There are special teams players that make your team. They have to deal with the whole gamut there. They come out of the game and not everything is perfect as a special teams coach. As a tight ends coach you may have had a great day. A special teams coach is a lot like a head coach, there's going to be some phase that isn't quite right that you have to deal with and you have to keep it right. I think that they're as close as anybody to being ready to be a head coach and dealing with all of the different changes and things that go on."
Q: Even without being an offensive or defensive coordinator, do you think they're ready?
REID: "Yeah sure, they're dealing with the whole roster and then they're putting together an offense and a defense within the special teams. You're blocking and tackling and doing all of those things that you do on all of the phases of the offense and defense."
Q: You have a few guys that are growing into promotions and everything, any message that you've given to them as far as looking for jobs and how they handle that?
REID: "Well there's a rule, they have to get it done this week, but that's built in. That's a league rule for the head coaches that are interviewing. I'm all for it. Some of the teams that they're talking to are ones that we play. It's one of those deals."
Q: I'm sure you're pleased because you get to work with them and coach with them, but are you surprised that Dave Toub hasn't been snatched up yet?
REID: "Yeah, well I thought he had a pretty good chance of getting that Chicago job. He had been there, done a great job for them, but I guess they wanted to go a different direction there. He would have been perfect for that job, but I would say yes."
Q: What's the most important thing that you judge your quarterback by and how would you judge his play this year?
REID: "I think he's had a tremendous year. I think he's continually gotten better and more comfortable as he's gone through. We've thrown some different personnel at him here and you've seen him adjust, whether it's Jeremy [Maclin] being hurt coming back, [Travis] Kelce has taken his game to another level – you can't do that without a good quarterback. Tyreek [Hill] has taken his game and progressed through the offense – you can't do that without a good quarterback. Spencer Ware came in as a rotational guy, now he's a starter, taken his game to another level. Can't do that, particularly in the last game, without a good quarterback. I think he's made everyone around him better which is what great quarterbacks do."
Q: Have you ever seen someone make that kind of rapid progress like Tyreek Hill has made this year?
REID: "I had DeSean Jackson and he kind of was the same. When he was young he did all of the return stuff, we moved him all around the offense, he took snaps as a quarterback, we had him everywhere. I would tell you from that standpoint that I have. He made it to the Pro Bowl in two different positions as a wide receiver and a returner. "
Q: You're pretty stoic on the sideline, but when you see [Tyreek] Hill making these plays are you marveling? What's your reaction?
REID: "I look at that, and he'd get a speeding ticket in a school zone, he's going 22 mph. That's pretty good. He's moving pretty fast. When he goes by you it's amazing how fast he can corner and edge things. A lot of guys have speed, but can't corner, they don't have the quickness that he has. He has a unique blend there. He's fun to watch."
Q: Does he get up to top speed faster than any player you've ever coached?
REID: "He's pretty quick now. He's strong, he's short but he's very compact and put together pretty good."
Q: Ramik Wilson has stepped into that middle linebacker role now that Derrick Johnson is out, how has he met your expectations?
REID: "I like what he's doing. He has a ton of tackles and that's what he did in college, you saw that. That's what intrigued [John] Dorsey, caught his eye there. I would tell you that I think he's doing what I kind of expected him to do once he got familiar with the defense, works very hard at it."
Q: On the chance of Justin March playing.
REID: "Yeah, there's a chance. With the guys that we have in there, they're doing pretty good. [Terrance] Smith is doing a nice job in there too."
Q: Would you anticipate Tyreek Hill's package getting larger into the postseason?
REID: "We'll see, every week we've given him a little bit more or moved him around. I think he had 38 snaps the other day, so he's averaging about 35 in there. I'd tell you we're just kind of moving him in different areas. Will he be higher? I don't know. I can't tell you that. We try to give him a little something different to his game every week."
Q: On the offensive line.
REID: "I'd tell you the last couple of weeks they've done a pretty good job. We still have to take care of some negative plays in the run game, we've got to figure that out a little bit. I'm not where we need to be with that area. We need to do better there. The pass protection and the majority of the runs have been pretty good. I don't like negative plays at all, so we need to kick that down a little bit."
Q: You obviously have a lot of playoff experience in your career, what have you learned from your time in the playoffs?
REID: "Every game is different. You have to stay on top of the game. I can tell you this. The speed of the game gets faster and faster as you move up, which is hard to explain. The competition level, the hitting, all these things, everything goes up a notch, so you really have to be prepared for that. It is single elimination and everybody has to be on their A game."
Q: Does that mean that you prepare any different for postseason games?
REID: "I don't think so. I think you kind of do what you do. This is one reason I get the guys out of the building. Tendency is for coaches, you keep around, all the sudden the game plan went from this nice tight game plan to this thing that no human being can handle. Your creativity gets out of control. You have to do what you do best, what got you there. Let's do that, eliminate a couple of the mistakes here and there and get ourselves right."
Q: Is that when you start drawing up passes for your nose tackle?
REID: "Yeah, that's a good point."
Q: Do you ever remember going into a postseason with a team that's in good physical shape, because you say you're probably going to have all 53 available to you next week?
REID: "I don't know that. I can't remember all the situations there. I refer to last year, that would probably be the difference, last year we were a little banged up, just a little bit going in, not an excuse. I expect the other guys to play, but the obvious was there were some guys that couldn't contribute there that were there. That will be the difference from last year."
Q: Tyreek Hill's drops in the last couple of weeks, that's not very characteristic of him, what's going on there?
REID: "I don't know the number exactly, it hasn't really jumped out at me. Normally the ball is somewhere where it's a tough catch if he's going to drop it. He's got really good hands. He does it in cold weather. He's had a couple of drops on the punts that I noticed, but the other ones I never really considered drops necessarily."
Q: Do you watch the games this weekend by yourself or with your coaching staff where you're getting the chance to see your future opponent in there?
REID: "The coaches will be in here, but normally we watch them separate. I'm not locking myself in the room and doing all that, but I'll watch the game."
Q: On Eric Bieniemy.
REID: "Eric Bieniemy is a great coach, he deserves a lot of the credit with those guys. He's been there, done it as a player, he's tough on those guys, real tough, but they love him and they play for him and he's meticulous. He's going to make sure everything is detailed out. You give the credit to the players for listening. They don't have to listen, they can turn it off and try and do their own thing. They respect him and where he's been and his knowledge."
Q: Best part about getting players to respond to a coach, it contributes to their success?
REID: "Absolutely, that's important. You'll run into players that are physically very gifted but they won't trust enough to go out and do what they'll do on a walk through or against a bag. They won't take it and take it into a live drill. The thing about other guys is you tell them, and they're going to go try it and then it's not a matter of trying it once, you have to give it another try. When it's new, something new, you have to give it one more shot. So we're lucky to have guys like that, that will do that, coaches that the players have trust in."
Q: On Chris Jones.
REID: "He's one of those guys that stays in the building a lot. He's always here trying to learn. He stays kind of in [Dontari] Poe's hip pocket there and he makes sure he's not missing anything from that standpoint. He watches a ton of tape. He is getting better as he goes. It's fundamental stuff, consistency within the funnels. Seeing all of the different blocking schemes, being able to decipher those like that and I say that because he's one of the leaders of quarterback hits, negative plays, in the league right now, as a rookie, so he's got production there and he's gotten better every week and that's a tribute to him and the hard work that he's put in."
Q: What are you most proud of this group for from OTA's to now?
REID: "They do what you ask them to do and they do it a hundred miles an hour. There's not a lot of complaining going on or, 'why are we doing this,' or 'why are we doing that.' It's low maintenance and let's go play. Some of that is headed up by your leaders – the Eric Berry's, Alex Smith, Justin Houston, Tamba [Hali], they just tell us what we're going to go do and we do it. There's just not a lot of questions, that's not how this group roles."
Q:You've had a lot of experience with a bye week, how have you found that edge and to get that rest before the next big game?
SMITH:"Different for every guy. The balance of rest and still kind of keeping your edge, and moving, and keep your body going and firing, so to speak. So, different for every guy – big guys, little guys and everybody kind of has their own thing."
Q:What works for you?
SMITH:"For me, I think the intensity, obviously, gets scaled back, but you're still moving. I'll still throw this week and just kind of keep that going."
Q:Is it hard though when you're so excited to play a playoff game?
SMITH:"Yeah, you have no idea who you're playing though. For us, you kind of have to wait and get healthy, stay ready, but yeah, obviously, take this time and be smart with it and get healthy."
Q:Any downside of having a bye?
SMITH:"It's a week off. You have to handle it the right way and take advantage of it. Every team is different. It's all different. I think it's a good thing though. You're going to get rest, and you're going to get a home game."
Q:You look at the stat sheet and see the qualities of this team, but that doesn't explain everything – the Atlanta game, the Carolina game and the Denver game. How would you explain that?
SMITH:"I think it's about playing good, team football. I think it's about all three phases being selfless. All of that goes into it. There's no one recipe to win a game. There's a lot of different ways. You never know how it's going to unfold; you never know how it's going to shake out. Good things happen, bad things happen, and you have to be able to handle all that stuff equally well. Over the course of the game, I think you have to stay together. There's so many things that go into it. You have no idea what's going to happen. I think the one thing though that this team has is that we do stay together. I think we understand the importance of all three phases and everybody contributing. You never know whose turn it's going to be or where it's going to come from, but I think everybody takes on that accountability and wants it."
Q:Along those lines, how does that work in the locker room? Is it important what's going on in there translates onto the field?
SMITH:"No question. I think that's kind of what I'm speaking to as far as that selflessness – that mentality. I think having been in those situations – being up, being down, and seeing how we respond to the good and bad of the game, of the week of the season and all those things. I think going through that and having been through it is beneficial, and I think it starts with the guys in the locker room. I think it starts with that glue in there, you know. I think guys understanding that respect and that, for sure."
Q:How do you get that glue?
SMITH:"It's hard. Obviously, it starts with the makeup of every individual guy. I think it starts with the message set forth from Coach [Andy Reid], and [John] Dorsey and trickles down to the entire staff, through the whole building and then, obviously, into the locker room – the leaders in the locker room and all the guys buying in. It's a lot that goes into that. It's hard to point to one thing."
Q:Any differences you can point to with this team from last year and this year that can make you better moving forward?
SMITH:"Yeah, there's differences in obviously the roster. There's change every year. I think just the journey of this year, and where we're at, the growth from start to end, where we feel we're at, the confidence. That all plays into a difference from last season. I think you carry all that stuff with you. Guys have been here for multiple years since this has all changed, I think you carry all that stuff with you. You realize, obviously, that every year is a unique opportunity, and where we're at right now is our opportunity – this team's. We have to go make the most of it and this is our situation, and that path's different. So, yeah, I think a combination of both. Obviously, we're carrying all that stuff with us – playing in those stages, playing in playoff games and having been in that environment – I think all that is only beneficial to have that with you."
Q:Talk about having a guy like Tyreek Hill?
SMITH:"Yeah, I think (he's) a guy that obviously comes to mind when making a difference. He's a face of obviously the draft picks, and the new guys that are new this year, and bring new energy and new makeup. I think it speaks to our well-roundedness this year. I think that's what I speak to as far as all three phases. I think everybody trying to take on that accountability and holding up their end."
Q:You've had some of your best performances in the playoffs – why do you think that is?
SMITH:"I think, honestly, a reflection of the people around me. That happens. When the guys are playing well around you, you look good. Good game plans, executing well, I think all that stuff and certainly, your reflection of that. So, playing good football at the time as a unit – I think that's the biggest thing. No quarterback goes out there and plays well on his own. Certainly, a reflection of the people around you and how well they're playing. Certainly, you get a lot of the attention and credit, but obviously, you're not doing that on your own."
Q:You have to play with a heightened level of awareness. It's a more intense level of competition.
SMITH:"Yeah, for sure, it does. It gets picked up. I don't know. Everything gets stepped up a notch. The intensity increases, the margin of error – all that stuff – kind of gets taken up a notch. I think really though, going back to everybody feeling that – coaches, players, the whole unit – everybody kind of feels that and kind of just picks their game up even just the smallest amount."
Q:When it comes to that composure in the huddle, a lot of the guys look to you because you're the quarterback. Do you feel that responsibility to kind of make sure everybody is level headed?
SMITH:"Yeah, for sure. I think that's what I speak to just having been in it before. I think it helps. When you've played on the biggest stages, I think it only helps you. I think it also goes to the way that we practice. We've played in a lot of these games. I think we trust our preparation, we trust how we go about things and there's an easiness about that. Then, we trust how we do it. We've been there before, so then, we step in the huddle. Yeah, it's a playoff game, and I think we embrace it. We've been in that situation. A little bit – when you have that taste – you revel it. You want to get back to it, and here it is."
Q:What have you seen that's making you feel more comfortable running the ball?
SMITH:"Yeah, it's not anything conscious. I wish I could tell you. That stuff just happens fast and you just go. Certainly, there's been a couple times where I've been involved in the running game and the looks have been there, and I've been able to take advantage. Other times, jut using my legs dropping back. So, you're just playing. Obviously, I'm feeling good. I feel healthy. I feel really good as far as that goes. The looks have been there. The protection has been good. So, obviously, it's a good time to get that going, and I feel like that is a tool that needs to be used."
Q:What is the difference with Travis Kelce this year and how has his enthusiasm impacted the team?
SMITH:"He's a guy that's always giving us juice, and he gives energy and he's a special player. I think this year, the thing that I've noticed, is how well he recognizes that no matter who's covering him – corner, linebacker, safety – he has such a good understanding of how to combat that. He has so many tools. I think he's just become so well-rounded as a route runner. We move him around and do a lot of things with him as a tight end, and he's been able to handle that. So, really a credit to him with just working on his craft and continuing to perfect all those things."
Q:How do you judge how you have been playing this year compared to last year?
SMITH:"Yeah, I think the easiest thing is to pull out the stat sheet and look at yards, and completion percentage, and touchdowns, and interceptions, and rating and all that. I think that's the easy thing. The hard part, I think, is looking at it week by week, and consistency and how you've been playing. There's so many things that go on in a game and throughout a season, especially crunch time situational football as a quarterback – how you're doing in those situations that go into that. I think you try and combine all that stuff. Certainly, for me, that time's not here. That's an offseason project to really look at that. Right now, we're going to figure out who we play here, and then, you're going to get that challenge and then, you're going to try and win it. You accumulate all that stuff, right? I think you take in all that stuff. Stats are a part of it – I'm not dismissing that – but they're a part of it. The other part is your play and looking at the film. That part of it as well, so it's a lot. It's hard to diagnose in one little thing. You have to take in everything."
Q:Generally, have you been happy with how you've played this year?
SMITH:"There's weeks where I'm extremely happy and there's weeks where I'm disgusted for sure. It's hard to go a full year and not have that spectrum. Winning and losing trumps it. There's also weeks where we've won and I've been displeased with my play and there's weeks we've lost but we've played well. The winning and losing trumps all of that. It speaks to what this building is about. No one cares who gets the credit and no one cares how good you played if you lost. We're all in this together. We're here now. If you asked me any goal: for one, you want to get into the playoffs, from there you want to win your division and if at all possible, you want a bye and home field advantage. We're sitting where we're at right now with the opportunities ahead of us. From that perspective, yeah I'm happy. Now we've got to go with it. All it is, is an opportunity. Now we've got to go and take advantage of it."
Q:Looking back at your time as a 49er, do you ever wonder what your situation would be if you were still there? SMITH:"No. I've said this before -- so much has happened since then. Even there. It's crazy to think about what it was when I left and where it is now. I've still got a bunch of friends there. Just looking, I have no idea what's going on there, but obviously a lot has happened for it to go from where it was as a Super Bowl contender and at the doorstep of Championship to where it is now. A lot has changed. I'm with everybody else and a little bit in awe of what's happened and not in a good way. Other than that, no. I've got nothing else."
Q:You've talked about winning a Super Bowl as a form of silencing your critics. Is that still a motivation for you? SMITH:"The motivation for me is the championship and how special it is to do that together. You need to take on the challenge that every other team is doing in the exact same way. To find a way to outwork, outsmart and all the things that go into an NFL season, to get it done and to do it better together is the challenge. To embrace and accomplish that would be the ultimate goal."
Q:How do game plans change as the postseason play comes into factor? SMITH:"I would say it's similar. We're not doing anything crazy different and no team wants to. That would speak to you're not doing things right during the regular season. We're doing everything we can to win every game. There's just no tomorrow. That would be the one difference. There is no 'next week.' You're not guaranteed anything else. From that perspective, you're not saving anything and maybe that's the only thing. With the play sheet and what gets called that week, the structure is very similar. When you're in the game, there's no 'saving' anything. You don't know if there's going to be another one. Call it all. You hope to. That would be the only difference."
Q:How important has the health of this offense and this offensive line been all season? SMITH:"We've really only had the one injury to Parker [Ehinger] early on. With that said, we're probably on the good end as far as health goes for offensive lines. To have the unit together, to play this much football together and to have this much cohesiveness is rare. It's a good place to be this time of the year. A lot of teams don't have that. It's a tribute to those guys for playing banged up and playing through a lot. That's part of what's so special for the bye week. This is the time of year for those guys who have been through a lot they'll get a few days extra rest and it can mean a lot. Any team would say this, but if you win the battle up front, you win the ball game. Those guys do a lot for us and have done a lot."
Q:Is this team more, less or evenly prepared for the playoffs this season as compared to last year?
MACLIN:"I think we've got a good chance. With the work that we've put into this [season], and what we've been through with the highs and the lows, I think we're battle tested. We've got a great locker room and we've got great coaches so I like our chances against pretty much anybody."
Q:How does Andy Reid make his teams so successful after the bye week?
MACLIN:"He's one of the best coaches in the history of the game coming off a bye week whether it's regular season or in the postseason. With that extra time to prepare on their end, [the coaches] do an excellent job. Additionally, they're able to let guys get their legs under them and get healthy. We step away from the facility for a second, clear our minds and have time with our families and stuff like that. We really appreciate that. We'll come back energized and ready to go. He does a wonderful job at doing that."
Q:How excited are you to be in this position?
POE:"It's huge. First of all, it's the playoffs. Second of all we won the division and third of all we're going to be playing in Arrowhead [Stadium]. Anytime you can get in front of the Arrowhead faithful, it's a big deal. I'm so excited and I can't wait."
Q:Is this team more prepared for the playoffs having won games in so many different ways this season?
POE:"Yeah I think we're dangerous for any team that plays us. The obvious weapon is 'Big Red' [Andy Reid]. Coach Reid does a great job at putting us in position to play no matter where we are: in front, tied or behind. We've got the same mindset because of him. That's the biggest thing we've got going for us."
Q:What do you do to keep that 'edge' during a bye week?
COLQUITT:"Barry Rubin and his staff will be in the weight room every day. Somebody will be in there from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. every day so we'll come in, get a workout in and go for a run. Other than normal operating hours, we're going to keep it the same. Some guys are going to go out of town for a couple of days but everyone is going to be anxious to get back in. Everybody is real excited about this opportunity. It doesn't come around that often. I've been here 12 years and this is our first time getting a sense of a bye week. We played a playoff game here following the 2010 season. Our goal at the beginning of the season was to get a home game for these fans and the crowd and we're really excited about doing that."
Q:How is this playoff team different from other playoff teams you've played with?
COLQUITT:"It gives back to the guys at the top. Andy Reid and John Dorsey have been amazing from top to bottom re-sculpting this roster. From a special teams perspective, it's amazing seeing guys that have come in and contributed right away. Guys that have gone under the radar from other teams and been plugged in here and it's worked. Tyreek Hill is someone that everybody wants to talk about but really it's the blocking, it's guys wanting it more than other special teams units. When John and Andy get together, it's 'how can this guy make a difference right now?' It's not 'project' guys, it's what can we do to win right now. That's their philosophy and obviously it's working."