What We Learned From Wednesday's Media Availability

Head Coach Andy Reid, QB Alex Smith, and OL Mitchell Schwartz spoke with the media on Wednesday

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CHIEFS HEAD COACH ANDY REID**

Opening Statement:"Alright, as far as the injuries go, guys that will not practice today are Spencer Ware – has a sprained toe – he'll be alright for the game, just rest him up today. [Sam] Barrington has a hamstring strain and won't practice. [Laurent Duvernay-Tardif] Tardif has a high ankle sprain. We'll just have to see how exactly bad it is. He's feeling a lot better than he did yesterday. We look forward to the opportunity to play the Texans. They're a good football team. We just got done playing them a few months ago. We understand that they're a heck of a team. They're back now; they're healthy and they played good football against Chicago this past weekend. We're down at their place, which is loud and it's important to get ourselves ready and have a good week of practice this week."

Q: Why let go of KeiVarae Russell?

REID: "Listen, we felt like that was the best thing to do for the Chiefs right now. He's a good young man, and I think he has a good future. But, for right now, we moved [Dezman] Moses up – brought him back up – that's what we thought was best."

Q: Was it completely a football decision or did something else happen?

REID: "No, football decision."

Q: Why is that the best football decision for the Chiefs? 

REID: "Well, that's just how we felt. You evaluate players and that's how we felt."

Q: After talking to KeiVarae Russell last week, he mentioned that grasping terminology was a little bit of a struggle, did you get a sense that terminology was an issue? 

REID: "I think he's a smart kid. I didn't think that was necessarily the issue. He seemed to handle it, but if he said that, then it probably had something to do with it. Again, for right now, this was the best move to help us out where we're sitting right now. It's pretty much that simple."

Q: Was KeiVarae [Russell] surprised? Did you talk to him?

REID: "The personnel guys grabbed him and talked to him. [John] Dorsey and that crew up there, but I wish him the best of luck. He's a good kid. You never know in this business, he could be back here."

Q: Is it painful to lose such a high asset so quickly?

REID: "Listen, it happens. These things happen. I don't sweat over it either way. It happened, and we're going to be okay. 24 [D.J. White], he's been playing pretty good, so that's a positive thing. Every one of those, they balance out and you kind of go from there."

Q: How different is this Houston Texans team this season than last with a different quarterback?

REID: "So, [Brock] Osweiler is the quarterback. He's a heck of a player. I thought he had a good game on Sunday. I thought he played well. He's got some weapons there that he has an opportunity to throw to new guys, in particular one new guy from Notre Dame [Will Fuller]. He's a pretty good player, so we've got to make sure we prepare. They're a different team that way."

Q: Did KeiVarae show any aptitude on special teams or was he willing to buy in there?

REID: "Yeah, he was okay there.  Yeah, he was alright there."

Q: What stuck out to you in Will Fuller's game?

REID: "So, [Will] Fuller has kind of carried over what he did at Notre Dame. His vertical game –he'd probably match it against anybody. He can go get it, and they use him on some quick screen things, but I think the thing that jumps out when you watch him is his down the field speed. He can run."

Q: Who do you anticipate being the next man up at guard if LDT [Laurent Duvernay-Tardif]* *can't go?

REID: "It'd be Zach Fulton"

Q: Alex had a really ugly looking throwing elbow after the game Sunday, how's that doing?

REID: "He's fine. He's okay, it's all down and he was throwing this morning so he's okay."

Q: You talked on Monday about the list of guys that didn't play much during the preseason, you wanted to see how they came through the game on Tamba [Hali], Eric Berry, [Phillip] Gaines and Charcandrick West. Did those guys come through okay?

REID: "They actually did. They came through and are in pretty good shape."

Q: So you expect a full week, a regular week, from those guys?

REID: "Yeah, now listen, we'll always monitor Tamba [Hali] so we'll always keep an eye on his reps and rightly so. He's been doing this for a couple of years, so we'll make sure we do that."

Q: You got a lot out of your receivers, including your backs and your spare tight ends, besides [Jeremy] Maclin and [Travis] Kelce, is that important for this offense, and if so, why?

REID: "Ultimately you want to present the defense with every eligible player being some form of a threat. I've told you this before, you take Anthony Sherman, who's a fullback, he's a threat. He can catch the football out of the backfield or split him out, which we've done over the years and used him out there. You make sure that they account for those guys and if they don't then you throw them the ball and they make plays. The more they have to account for the better."

Q: Was that a priority for you guys in the offseason, was to get better at all those spots, those other three eligible receiver positions?

REID:"Listen, I don't want to slight the guys that were here before so whoever is here we're going to use. If you can catch the ball or run the ball we're going to use you and try to work with your strengths."

Q: What's the latest with Jamaal [Charles] and where do you see his progress and what he's going to be able to do this week?

REID: "Every day he gets a little bit better. I have him on the scout team a little today and working there, and probably will work in a couple with the charting group and again, I just want to make sure that he's set there. We don't want to go through another surgery."

Q: Why is it so important to get [Dezman] Moses back in the fold, that fifth linebacker on the outside?

REID:"It gives you another pass rusher. Somebody that knows the system, tough kid, good special teamer."

Q: [On Eric Fisher] I want to know where he stands and where you guys stand with him. Talking to Fish and being around Fish, did you guys kind of get the sense that just that last game against J.J. Watt did anything for his confidence at all or is this just something that we picked up?

REID: "Well they know each other, they went to the same school originally and so there's a background there. I don't know that. I think you've just see Fish grow here, period, and kind of doing it before our eyes. He came in from a small college and worked his way up and it was rough at the beginning and it just kept getting better. I don't know, maybe ask him and see what he says."

Q: How much of a role do you think placing those veterans [Tamba Hali, Eric Berry and Phillip Gaines] in the mix after not having them at camp and placing new people in new places played an impact on your slow start on Sunday?

REID: "Well, I'll tell you collectively, and they're a part of that, so right – the guys that you mentioned. I think collectively, we started off slow in all phases, and then, we kind of settled in. Were they a part of it? Yeah, they were a part of it, but we were all in."

Q: What is it about your team on the road being able to block out distractions and play well?

REID: "We try to keep it as consistent with what they do at home. Schedule wise, we always get in at a certain time, and then they have certain times that they have their meetings, and we try and keep that as consistent as you can. In regards to this football team we're playing, I think they're a better football team now, than when we played them the last time and they are healthier. They've added some new additions, so I think we're going up against a better football team."

Q: What have you seen from where Laurent Duvernay-Tardif started when he came into this league to where he is now?

REID: "Yeah, it's not the same deal. Remember where he went to school – great university – but where he went to school, the football is probably not what you would see here at the college level. So, that's what he came in at – playing at that level – then, he had to adjust to the speed and the size of these different players. So, he was a bit raw at the beginning, and he's just built himself into a pretty good football player." 

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QB ALEX SMITH**

Q: How much is still hanging around from last weekend's excitement?

SMITH:"To be totally honest, any sort of buzz is gone I think. When you look back on Sunday, or any win, you see the mistakes and they're easier to take as opposed to a loss. It's easier to correct. That goes with any win, Sunday is no different. Pretty quickly you turn on the film and realize we're going down to Houston to take on a good team -- a playoff-capable team. This is the third time going down there in two years so it's a tall task. These guys are really, really good. We know they're going to be ready. We played them nine months ago already. It's going to be a big challenge so we've turned our attention there."

Q: How's your elbow doing?

SMITH:"It's fine. It's tackle football. As you wake up the next day, you find different bumps and bruises. We're good though." 

Q: The offense was given a lot on Sunday because of their flexibility. How important was that?

SMITH:"It's vital. The less dimensional you are from a scheme standpoint or from a personnel standpoint, it's harder. Any good scheme on defense can take away a good player. It can take away two good players. Ultimately if you're well balanced from a personnel and a scheme standpoint, that's what's difficult to stop. That's what's hard to stop. It's what we try to be and we take a lot of pride in that."

Q: Do you feel better about that flexibility this year as opposed to last?

SMITH:"I do. I hate comparing teams with another year, but I feel really good right now. I think we all do and we take pride in it."

Q: What do you see from the Texans' front when scouting Houston's defense? Do you keep an extra eye on J.J. Watt?

SMITH:"Yeah, in addition to J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, there's also [Whitney] Mercilus who's playing just about as good up front as any of them from a pass-rushing standpoint. From their front, they're really good. From a film standpoint, I pay attention to all 11 guys when looking at schemes and what everyone's doing. I look more at the front as a whole, scheme and what are they doing. Not necessarily who's in what spot. I'm not locked in to one single person." 

Q: After picking up two wins last season, what's it going to take to get a third? Why does this team travel so well?

SMITH:"That's a great question. It's probably not one specific thing. Certainly the way we practice and prepare helps. In addition, the guys up front have been stepping up and coming up big for us and that's tough to do on the road."

Q: What's different about the way you guys practice?

SMITH:"From an intensity standpoint, the looks we've given each other and the preparations to make things difficult so when we see it in a game, we're prepared."

Q: What type of production have you seen from the other running backs with Jamaal's absence?

SMITH:"It's been a continuation and progression of last year with Spencer [Ware] and Charcandrick [West]. For them to come in and play the way they do, I don't think anyone's blinking on defense."

Q: You're expecting it to be pretty loud at Houston, correct?

SMITH:"Yeah and with good reason. There's a bunch of history there. Especially with our recent history like this, whether it be from a playoff game or just how much we've played them in the last couple years. It's good though. It's what we want and it's what football is about." 

OL MITCHELL SCHWARTZ

Q: What did you take away from Sunday's game versus San Diego?

SCHWARTZ:"The biggest thing from wins and losses is learning from them. We won the game, but we had a pretty poor first half. So we have to learn from that and how we got down 21 points to where we had to come back from that hole. You run the risk of coming out a little too high for practice and thinking you have everything figured out after a good victory. The key is to learn from it. You obviously want to use the positive momentum to come out and have energy at practice throughout the week, but you don't want to let it linger to where it impacts your preparation for the following week."

Q: It looked like San Diego threw a lot of stunts at you. Do you expect the same from Houston?

SCHWARTZ:"Yeah. Houston is a big-time stunt team as well. The thing with them and San Diego is that they have guys that can beat you one-on-one and then they start moving everyone around and doing all sorts of stuff. That's a big emphasis for us this week -- just knowing the personnel they have and their ability to stunt on top of that."

Q:What threat does J.J. Watt pose for this offensive line?

SCHWARTZ:"Three defensive MVPs in the last five years. He's an incredible player and we know that going in. They've done an incredible job of surrounding him with talent as well so you can't really focus on just him. Jadeveon Clowney is on the other side and he's healthy and playing well in addition to Whitney Mercilus on the other. So you can't focus on just one guy. Any guy on their front is capable of making plays."

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