CHIEFS HEAD COACH ANDY REID
Opening Statement: **"The only one not practicing today is Mitch Morse, just taking it day by day. Look forward to the challenge of playing the LA Chargers. We know that they're playing good football right now, they're seven and two over the last nine games. Playing fast and aggressive. We'll start our first day of practice today, getting ready for them."
Q: What do you see differently in the Chargers than when you played them earlier in the season?
REID: "I think both sides of the ball they're probably a little more familiar with the schemes they're being asked to do. They're playing good football. High level football on both sides."
Q: What's challenging about going up against Philip Rivers?
REID:"He's time tested. He's been doing it a long time and at a very high level. He's got (Keenan) Allen whose healthy and that's his guy and he's playing at a high level. So he's in tune with the offense and his players and things are clicking for him."
Q: Have you talked to Marcus (Peters) since he's been back?
REID: "I did, yeah."
Q: Any particular message you wanted to deliver to him?
REID: "I keep it between Marcus and I."
Q: Has he spoken to the team?
REID: "I don't get into all that. Listen, what we do here, just stays right here."
Q: Do you think that would be a good idea?
REID: "So what we do here, we just keep it here."
Q:Has Philip Rivers changed since the last time you've faced him?
REID: "Right now he's playing at a high level. He's doing some good things. Our defensive backs will come out and they'll work this week to learn their scheme that they're running and their different routes and get ready to play against a guy who is slinging it pretty good."
Q: He threw three interceptions that last game – was that more mistakes he made or more plays you guys made?
REID:"It's always a combination of things. I'm not going to take anything away from our guys. They did a good job. I'm sure he wanted a couple of those throws back."
Q: (Joey) Bosa and (Melvin) Ingram - what makes it challenging going up against those guys?
REID: "When I say guys are getting familiar with what they're being asked to do, those are two of them. They're playing, again, those two are playing at a very high level. They're bringing it every snap. They're great with their combinations and twist games. They're going to give you four good quarters of aggressive football."
Q: What happened with Steven Terrell?
REID: "Steven had a dislocated finger that needed surgery on it and repaired. So a tendon repair on it."
Q: What's been your impression of Reggie Ragland's football character?
REID: "I think he's got intelligence of the game and for the game. Passion for the game. I think he brings a lot to the table that way. He plays physical, so he's made an impact that way. Comes from a good program. He was asked to do a lot at Alabama and that position you've got to have the aptitude to handle things, so he's good with that."
Q: Any big difference in the offense these last two weeks?
REID: "I give credit to Matt Nagy. I think he's done a nice job. I think the players have done a nice job. Coaches, I mentioned Andy Heck having a great run plan this past week. Eric Bieniemy I think has done a very nice job with our running backs. Our running back has had a couple good weeks here and played very well for a rookie to do the things he's done, I think are important. Always starts with the offensive line. They've upped their game here. Greg Lewis and the wide receivers. They've been banged up here and there but they've come out and I think they've played good, aggressive football. Both in the run and the pass game. And tight ends."
Q: Can you ever over simplify things in the run game?
REID: "So I imagine you can. I don't think we're at that point. I'm not sure where you guys are going but I'm trying to give it to you. But we're kind of doing the same type of things as we did before. Just doing them a little bit better."
Q: Can a game like last week have a carryover effect?
REID: "Well the statisticians, if you talk to them, they'll tell you there's no such thing as momentum. But it doesn't hurt to play well and come off a game like that. But you also know at this level that you've got to bring it every week, every practice and every play you've got to do those things. A lot of hard work goes into it."
Q: This is as close to a playoff game as you can get – is that a message you've got to tell these guys?
REID: "It'll be a great environment for a game. Both teams have something on the line this late in the year, it's kind of a neat deal. Our guys are well aware of that and we're lucky we're playing here at Arrowhead. We have the best fans in the world and we welcome the Chargers into it."
Q: Successful offensive line play – equal parts technique and attitude or is one more important?
REID: "I think it's a combination. I think you've got to bring a certain attitude to the table. I think every position is probably that way. At the same time, your technique and fundamentals are huge at that spot. You've got to be very disciplined. I think we've done a good job. The guys are in there and they're battling. I think that's where we're at."
QB ALEX SMITH
Q: **Can you say this has been the best season so far of your career or do you need postseason as well?
SMITH:"I think it is easy to look at stats and come to those conclusions. Really, for us that is a time for the offseason. You can't get in to all that. There's no time right now. Short week, we have a huge game going. I do feel like offensively, as far as my involvement in what we are doing and how explosive we can be when we are operating, yeah, we are pretty effective. I am feeling pretty good about that."
Q:Did you do anything personally to welcome Marcus back to the fold?
SMITH:"I shot a few texts this last week and with him coming back after the game. Marcus is a heck of a competitor and he is in it. Sometimes that gets the best of him. But no question, he took his punishment, he is back and we are ready to roll. We have a big challenge and we need him back."
Q:Why is it important for the team to embrace that?
SMITH:"None of us are perfect, we all make mistakes. We are all trying to go, we are all trying to figure it out. We all deal with our own things, right? Like I said, we need him. We need him back and rolling."
Q:Do you feel like he has any responsibility to address the team as a whole?
SMITH:"No. Nope, I don't. That would be personally up to him. I think all of our responsibilities to the team is to be accountable. That is really us doing our job preparing the right way and being there on game day and go out there and playing as hard as we can. That is your accountability and holding up your end. Beyond that, all those types of things are up to individual guys."
Q:Do you think it would be a good idea?
SMITH:"Listen, again, no. I don't necessarily think that. I don't think it is right or wrong. I don't think it is that type of question. These aren't those types of issues. They are all different. Really, it is kind of a case by case thing."
Q:The implications of this game is for playoff spots.
SMITH:"Hell yeah. Yeah, this is about as big as it gets for regular season game. Division opponent, tied for first, only a couple games left. The ramifications are huge. It doesn't get any bigger than this."
Q:Have you seen any changes with the Chargers since the last time you played them?
SMITH:"I think they are playing really good football. They were then, too, though. Especially defensively. Certainly, as a team right now, all three phases, they are playing really, really well. They are playing good together. Defensively, not from a scheme perspective, similar. Certainly, when you have this much of the season between games there is personnel stuff, injuries, things like that. There are those types of changes, but very similar to before. They were stout then and still playing really good."
Q:Do you think it is easier playing them twice in a season?
SMITH:"I think it is a challenge. Sometimes you play division opponents three weeks apart, sometimes you play them 15 weeks apart. Those are very different challenges in their own right. Obviously, we've had a lot of games between the last time we played them. It starts to go into the whole chess game, right? This is what we did last time, how do we combat that? Both sides are doing it, and that's the kind of test of it."
Q:Have you noticed the offensive line step it up the last few weeks?
SMITH:"Absolutely, absolutely. I feel like they have set the tone. They have gone out there with a tone of energy. They have been playing focused, locked in, playing with a lot of emotions. They are really setting the tone for us."
Q:Two weeks ago it looked like you passed to set up the run and this week you ran to set up the pass, do you think one led to the other?
SMITH:"I think that is the beauty of any good offense is the ability to do both. You are not always going to dictate it. Sometimes it is the defense that is making you go one way or another depending on how they are playing. I think the beauty is to be able to be balanced and go out there and find the win. Where is it? Where are we going to go out there and make plays? You have to have the ability to do all those things."
Q:The run games seems to be simplified a little bit, what kind of impact has that had in your ability to establish the run?
SMITH: "Yeah, I think a lot of that is clarification, certainly. Communication, everybody on the same page, everybody rolling. Any time I think there is gray, there is uncertainty, it is hard enough to run the ball in this league, let alone when you are tentative, right? That is a big part of it, right? Everybody being locked in, knowing what we are doing, how we are doing it and then rolling off the ball."
Q:Could you tell that the offensive line was excited to get to that stuff?
SMITH:"I loved the attitude the last few weeks. Just the edge those guys have been playing with just cutting it loose out there. I think obviously locked in but still playing with a lot of emotion. Not playing with a lot of weight. Going out there and enjoying the opportunity and the challenge of it."