What We Learned from Wednesday's Media Availability

Andy Reid, Alex Smith and other Chiefs players addressed the media on Wednesday

HC ANDY REID

Opening Statement:"Alright, everyone on the 53 (53-man roster) will go ahead and practice today. We'll see how some of the guys that have been injured do – Jamaal (Charles) in particular. With that, we look forward to the challenge of playing San Diego. We know they're a good football team. They've made some great acquisitions in the offseason to add to the people that they already had. Again, we'll get ourselves ready here in the next couple days."

Q:Is there a point in the season where you feel like you know what your teams is – strengths, weaknesses, what you need to play to?

REID:"Yeah, and that, I think you know what the other teams are better at than you do the first, three or four games of the season. Early in the season, everybody is showing you what their offseason projects were, and then, everybody settles down and goes. I would probably say the same about your own team. So, I would say yes to your question."

Q:What's your message to some of the young guys who haven't seen any or much playing time in a regular season game?

REID:"Just make sure to prepare and everything's going to be a little faster than what it was in the preseason. Defenses are going to be a little bit more complex, the offenses – from a defensive standpoint

– they're going to be a little bit more complex, so make sure you get in, you study, and you kind of go through that preparation list that you have and follow it."

Q:What do you like with the combination of inside linebackers with D.J. [Derrick Johnson] and [Justin] March?

REID:"The thing that you notice right away is you have a real experienced guy and a guy that's not very experienced, but I think they work well together. I think as [Justin] March goes, you'll see improvement as he goes through the year. I don't think what you're going to see on Sunday is the finished product, but I think as he goes, you'll see him continue to improve."

Q:Does it get tricky having so many running backs?

REID:"Yeah, it really hasn't even been a problem. I've done that for a number of years – before I came here, I did it. So, we'll find a way to get it in their hands."

Q:You lost a bunch of games early on last season, did you spend a bunch of time to figure out a way that won't happen again this season?

REID:"Yeah, I felt like I could do a better job. I thought as it went on, we kind of pushed and stressed a little bit more than just playing. We settled down and did that. We were playing some good teams too. I'm not going to short change the teams we were playing. We were feeling ourselves out. We kind of just settled down as it went, and we did better – coaches and players."

Q:Do you know this team better? Does it need to be felt out or do you think this one is ready to go?

REID:"Well, I think you feel it out every year. Every year is different, but it kind of goes back to that question that we just hit there that everybody is a little different, every team is different."

Q:With the defense being so young, does it put more pressure on the offense to step their game up?

REID:"Yeah, I guess probably from the outside it does. From the inside, you're trying to execute it right every play. So, I think it's important that you just stick to that when you're doing the executing part, so that you focus on that and you don't get yourself out of rhythm there."

Q:What sticks out to you with the way the Chargers use 54 [Melvin Ingram]?

REID:"So, [Melvin] Ingram, they'll move him all around. He's a heck of a football player. He's quick, fast and strong. He's healthy right now and it looks like he loves to play the game. He's one of those kind of guys. He's a good football player. He drops, he rushes, he kind of does everything – they play him inside, outside."

Q:Your staff continuity – does that help your young guys play better sooner?

REID:"Yeah, so, especially this time of the year teaching – it's always important. Especially early in the year teaching becomes important, so continuity, and the guys doing the teaching, I think are important. Like I said, you think you know this team we're playing, but there's going to be something different. So, how ready are you to handle that new that they're going to throw at you?"

Q:What is most striking to you about San Diego's acquisitions in the offseason?

REID:"They got a little speed in their special teams game and wide receiver position. They've got a nose guard that they've put in there – proven player. It looks like they've worked on that offensive line and tried to solidify that up a little bit."

QB ALEX SMITH

Q: On the season starting:

SMITH: "For sure ramped up, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't. I think every guy is feeling it, has felt it, ramped up the last couple of days and here, the work week is starting. It's here. We've been talking about it, thinking about it for a long time even back at OTA's, whenever the schedule came out and now it's here. It's good, my deal is not many people get to do this, not many people get to have this feeling. Crazy highs and lows in this game and I think you have to go with them and embrace it. Certainly I think this week is part of that with things getting ramped up and how you handle that."

Q: Is there generally speaking a point in the season where you feel like you know what you have offensively, you know what kind of team you're going to be one way or another, what your strengths and weaknesses are?

SMITH: "I think the great thing about us offensively is we can distribute the football to a lot of different guys, we can do a lot of different things. I think if you're one dimensional, I've said this before, I think any good defense in the NFL, D-Coordinator they're going to be able to take that away. You have to be multiple and a little bit with this first game of the season there's always a little bit of the unknown, what's everybody saving, what did everybody not show and how does that marry each other. Going out there you try to prepare for all of that stuff. You don't necessarily have a bunch of tape to go off of so to speak."

Q: Do you feel better about this team's ability to get the ball to a bunch of different guys?

SMITH: "I do, I feel really good about it, run and pass, a lot of guys touching the football a lot of guys contributing. I think a lot of guys with a ton of strengths that are really going to help us and I think that's what you want. That's ideally what you're looking for."

Q: On the confidence with the team:

SMITH: There's a confidence that comes with knowing your system, your fundamentals, the way you've been coached, the way you've prepared, and the great thing going against our defense is you've really kind of seen everything, a form of it. You have the answers, a matter of going out and trusting what you're seeing, trusting your coaching and being able to handle it and then being able to make adjustments as well that's part of a deal in-game is being able to handle that."

Q: Jeremy Maclin mentioned earlier that he knows everybody's assignments, not just his is the offense. Do you feel like there are more players who understand the whole concept of the offense?

SMITH: "Yeah for sure, I think that comes with being in a system for longer. I think guys that do see the bigger picture don't have the tunnel vision on just their assignment or their line on the paper. They kind of understand what we're doing. Why the play is in, why we're calling it, things like that, I think that all helps."

Q: Can you buy into the outside storyline that this team is going to have to outscore opponents, at least early on because there's more question marks on defense than on offense?

SMITH: "I feel like every week is different, every opponent presents a different challenge as an entire team and we've got to find a way to do that. You never know. I don't think you know going into a week, going into a season. You try to have a feel of those matchups, offense, defense, special teams, but you never truly know. I think to get into that, to worry about that and to think about that too much is taking away from what you have to do."

Q: You guys throw in a lot of three tight end sets in the preseason. Do you feel like that formation or that grouping of players gives you guys a unique advantage?

SMITH: "I do, I think it's a unique personnel, period. Especially when you have three guys that can do it, run and pass, and that's the deal. How do team play that, how do teams try to stop that personnel? Really kind of playing that cat and mouse of the run and pass with it. Do they go small, do they go big, and how does that work? That changes within games down in distance week to week."

Q: Where would you rate your term of your feeling coming into the start of the season on this team having a chance to win a Super Bowl compared to those other good teams you've played on?

SMITH: "I don't want to compare year-to-year or anything like that. I feel really confident. I think this group is really confident in what we're doing, our preparation, our development, where we're at right now. Here it's the start of the work week and we have to have a good day today. I think this team understands that."

Q: Is it a little different than years past?

SMITH: "Every year feels different for different reasons. I think we've got a lot of guys that were on this team last year that felt really good about things last year and I think realized how hard it is. It's not just the expectations and no one's going to lay down for you, it's a battle every single week."

Q: Are the Charger's defense similar to last year from what you can see so far?

SMITH: "Same defensive coordinator, I know their staff has changed at some of the positions. Different obviously without [Eric] Weddle back there, just on film, it's a little different watching tape and to not have him back there. A lot of the personnel has stayed the same, there's some new faces here and there, but for the most part you do see a lot of carry over. Certainly every year during preseason you can see

some new things that they didn't do last year that they have and potentially were working on all offseason. It's the first week so a little bit of the unknown, getting ready for it all."

Q: On Chris Conley's confidence:

SMITH: "I think this kind of goes back to earlier with guys not just focusing on their deal. I think the longer you're on offense, your vision gets wider, understanding what everybody has to do. That's how I talk a lot to those receivers. The more those guys and the quarterback can think alike, to think like each other the better we're going to be. If he knows my time clock and what I'm seeing, what I'm thinking, and I can look out there and see what he has pressing off and leverage and know what he has to do to get his job done. The more we can be on the same page the better and certainly Chris [Conley] is a great example of that, just building and banking all of that knowledge.

Q:Have you noticed a difference with the time Conley spent with Jeremy Maclin this offseason? Does he think more like Jeremy now?

SMITH:"Yeah, just thinking like Jeremy alone has made a difference. When you talk to Jeremy you realize that he thinks like a quarterback. He has a great understanding of when the ball is coming to him. The leverage of how the defense is playing him, route running and the timeclock -- he has a great understanding of where all those variables are at. He's very aware of a lot of things and with those guys being around him, his skills are only going to run off on them too."

Q:What's your message to the young guys stepping onto the field for the first time?

SMITH:"It's the NFL and we go through this every year. Young guys need to show up and play well. It's hard on them at times and it can be a lot to ask. But with the turnover and the nature of the league, it's every year these young guys are in a position where they need to contribute. And you need them to. For me, it's important to trust the coaching and your eyes. You can't let your mind speed things up too much. If you go out and trust your training, it'll slow down for you."

TE TRAVIS KELCE

Q:How excited are you to jump into the regular season?

KELCE:"It's finally here. The excitement is at an all-time high. Just ready to go out and play with the guys next to me."

Q:The home openers haven't gone the way you've liked in the past two years – do those same feelings linger?

KELCE:"No, not at all. I'm not thinking about last year at all. I think this year, our team is very unique. We got a lot of new pieces on offense, and I think it's going to be fun seeing what we can do."

Q:What excites you about what this offense might be able to do this year?

KELCE:"We have mismatches all over the field. It doesn't just stop in the wide receiver room or the tight end room with just the guys that are starting. We have guys coming off the bench, coming off the sideline that are going to make plays when their number is called – that's exciting. It's always good to have guys, even when the starters aren't in, come up and come big when the play's needed."

WR JEREMY MACLIN

Q:On feelings of the first game:

MACLIN:"Yeah, you know, I think we're excited about it as a team. We've been preparing for this since last season ended. I think we're excited about it. I think we're excited about the group of guys that we have in this locker room, and I think we're all looking forward to it."

Q:How much better is the offense this year?

MACLIN:"On paper, we got a lot better, but games aren't played on paper, so it's all about us going out there and everybody doing their part and going out there and being efficient. So, this Sunday is a real test."

Q:Alex Smith has said in the past that you think like a quarterback, so it makes it easy to communicate – how important is that in this offense to have an overall concept of what a play looks like?

MACLIN:"Well, I think you always want to know what is going on, and the one thing that I take pride in is not only do I know my job, I know the other receiver's job, I know the slot receiver, I know the tight end, the running back, I know the quarterback thought process depending on what coverage is being thrown at us. So, I think that's kind of the next step in learning the offense. Like Alex [Smith] said, him and I are just on the same page. We have open lines of communication, and it kind of helps when we think alike as well. I think it makes things a lot easier."

RB CHARCANDRICK WEST

Q:How excited are you to play in the first game of the season?

WEST:"It's time. This is what we've worked for all offseason. It's time to put on a show."

Q:When you got hurt in that preseason game, were you concerned?

WEST:"I wasn't that concerned because I feel like we have one of the best training staffs here, and they've been working with me. The progress – day-by-day – I'm feeling pretty good. So, it wasn't really ever a concern. I trust those guys with my life."

Q:How difficult is it to work with those many backs? Does it hurt getting into a routine?

WEST:"No, not really, because at the end of the day, we don't care who's in there. As long as when that clock hits zero, zero, zero, and we're in the W column, we don't care who is running the ball, who's throwing it, who's catching it. As long as someone is doing it, and we're being productive."

T ERIC FISHER

Q:How excited are you for the first game of the season?

FISHER:"Yeah, we're all ready, and we're all excited. We got through all preseason. We're doing good things out there. I'm looking forward to our first practice today – yeah, we're excited."

Q:What has gotten your attention about the San Diego defense?

FISHER:"They're basically the same defense we've seen over the last few years. Not much has changed, personnel hasn't changed that much. We got a good group of guys, and we're just going in there like we go into every game and battle with them and have fun doing it."

Q:Can you feel it all come together?

FISHER:"Yes, definitely. All the guys in the O-Line room, we've all been in there two, three years with each other, so it feels good. We have good chemistry. We communicate well with one another, we all get along and so, we have a good group."

DB KEIVARAE RUSSELL

Q:How much does making a 'big play' propel a player on the field?

RUSSELL:"Anytime you can make a play in the National Football League, where everyone is the best of the best, it propels you mentally as a player. When you make a play at the next level you think, 'Alright I made a play and I can do this.' After that, it's time to move forward and go to the next level and make more plays each and every game. Making plays last week was exciting and it gave me motivation and showed me I could play at this level. Now I want to go out and continue to make more."

Q:What are you looking forward to this week with it being your first experience playing in a regular season game? Is anything different?

RUSSELL:"You can tell the focus has been taken up a notch around the entire locker room, myself included. Every game counts at this point and you obviously want to win every game and work towards that number one playoff seed. It's not like preseason where you obviously want to win but it doesn't impact your record."

Q:How does it feel to be going up against an elite quarterback like Philip Rivers this week?

RUSSELL:"It's the NFL, everyone is elite at this point. I'm excited to get out and play this week. I don't know how often my name will be called but it's going to be exciting getting out there. This has been a long-time dream of mine and it's going to become a reality on Sunday."

WR DE'ANTHONY THOMAS

Q:Was there any satisfaction to your performance this preseason trying to make plays? How did you prepare for it and how satisfying were the moments of success?

THOMAS:"Just preparation by coming in and working hard each and every day while knowing what I had to do on the field and in the office. I'll continue to do whatever I can to help contribute to this team's success."

Q:Did you feel like it was going to be an uphill struggle at all this preseason coming into the final weeks, or how did you approach it?

THOMAS:"No not at all. I just approached it like I have since I first arrived. I come in every day, work hard and try to have some fun with it too."

Q:What makes preparing for the regular season different than the preseason?

THOMAS:"It's the same thing in terms of approaching it. We'll make sure we're prepared for this great Chargers defense and we'll do our best to go out and make plays."

Q:What type of role do you expect to play? Any idea on the number of snaps you'll be in?

THOMAS:"I'm not sure."

C MITCH MORSE

Q:Who's the hardest guy that you had to guard last year?

MORSE:"I line up across from him every day in practice. Our whole defensive line here is pretty difficult to try and block."

LB DEZMAN MOSES

Q:Other than the minor injury and recovery, does it seem like this has been the best camp of your career?

MOSES:"Yes. That was just a muscle strain which happens. And it's not something that lingers, once it's healed it's healed. For myself, it was just a matter of healing and getting strong. I'm very much over that process now and I'm excited to be here."

Q:What do you think your role will be on Sunday?

MOSES:"I honestly can't say but whatever it is, I'll be prepared for it."

Q:What have the last few days been like knowing you've made it past the cuts and you're a member of the Kansas City Chiefs?

MOSES:"Again, I'm just excited to be here, being able to go to practice with my teammates and get better. That's my main focus right now is to continue getting better."

WR TYREEK HILL

Q:Does this feel like the beginning of 'the dream'?

HILL:"Yeah it is. It's a blessing to have been fortunate enough to make the team. I'm thankful to the coaches, the Chiefs, the fans and everyone who's believed in me. I'm very grateful and I can't wait all of this to get started."

Q:Now with training camp, roster decisions and everything behind you now, does it feel like things are finally getting started?

HILL:"Yeah it is. Everything is getting started and like I said I'm thankful for it."

Q:Is there a reason behind the number change from 81 to 10?

HILL:"No not really, I just felt like 81 was too big for me so I wanted the change. I've never been much of a 80s guy, no disrespect to anyone who's worked the number."

Q:After mentioning nerves early on this preseason, does this moment feel different now that these games count?

HILL:"No, I just need to continue doing the same things I've been doing: going out, staying humble and hungry. If I start to feel any nerves, I'll listen to the veterans and do what they tell me to do and I'll be fine."

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