What We Learned from Wednesday's Media Availability

Chiefs HC Andy Reid and QB Alex Smith spoke with the media on Wednesday

HEAD COACH ANDY REID

OPENING STATEMENT:"Alright, as far as injuries go, Tamba [Hali] will not practice today. We've been kind of doing that throughout the season. Mitchell Schwartz has an ankle sprain – he's not going to practice today. Then, D.J. White fractured his hand during the game and had it x-rayed on Monday, and actually had surgery on it. He'll be out for this game, and then, we'll just see as far as his status goes down the road, here. It's different then [Justin] March-Lillard's. I mean all of these things are different, so it's a different situation. We'll just take it and see how he does here. Everybody else is going to practice. We look forward to the challenge of playing Indy [Indianapolis]. We know they're a good football team. They're hot right now and playing well, so we have to get a good week of preparation.

That's what we'll do. We started this morning with a walkthrough, and we'll keep it rolling here throughout the week."

Q:What about Phillip Gaines – will he be out there full?

REID:"Yeah, I think so. I think so. We'll see."

Q:Do you plan on Justin Houston being out there this week working his way back?

REID:"Yeah, yeah just keep working it." 

Q:When we talk about Travis Kelce having a good game, it has to be more than him just catching passes?

REID:"Yeah, the tight ends have to do a lot, and he's a blocker, so at times. He's really matured in that area. Did a pretty good job the other day. We're asking him at times to block big defensive ends as opposed to just outside linebackers. That's a pretty healthy chore, but he's done a pretty good job of it."

Q:Quarterbacks typically avoid a corners side because they are such a threat. Last week was the first time a quarterback actively avoided Marcus Peter's side of the field – Drew Brees obviously did that.

REID:"I mean that's a respect thing for Marcus [Peters]. That doesn't mean you can let down, obviously. I remember with Deion Sanders, that's kind of how those things rolled. You kind of stayed away from him and went over to the other side. So, I've seen that before. Listen, the main thing is that you keep working, and working, and working and working at your game, and he's willing to do that. Then, the other guys have to know that they're going to get some action, and that's okay. We've got good players there."

Q:A couple years ago, you guys only had six interceptions the whole season. What has changed besides personnel, obviously?

REID:"Your base part of your scheme stays the same, but you always have little wrinkles in there. Every year, you do these evaluations of yourself and you come up with little changeups. I'd tell you for the first part, it's personnel."

Q:What does Tyreek Hill have to learn to be a consistent, down field threat?

REID:"You have to have a whole game to do that. He's been working on that part of it. If you just run down the field, they're going to cover you, so he's got other things that he does, and he's getting better at it. It's important that you can do that." 

Q:Is it feasible to say that Justin Houston could play this week?

REID:"Yeah, listen, I don't think that'll be the case. I would probably bet against that. He's going to come out here and work and just keep getting better. I wouldn't anticipate him playing – no."

Q:What do you see in the evolution of the Colts offense and do they try not to lean on Andrew Luck as much?

REID:"Yeah, well they have good receivers, so they have speed out there. They've been banged up a little bit – probably going to be back this week. So, he has some guys there. I know Ryan's [Grigson] tried to fill in the blanks, there, around them. Then, [Frank] Gore, I think gives them a good, stable runner. A good, solid, tough, hardnosed guy. I think you're right in what you're saying. The thing about Andrew, he uses those tight ends too. He lost a couple, but he has a kid there that he's using now. He likes those guys."

Q:How impressive is that, he hasn't had a running game and he has been able to accomplish what he has?

REID:"Yeah, well he becomes a part of that running game. He can giddy up and go. He's a big guy, and he has good speed – tough to bring down. Listen, he's an impressive guy – I can tell you that. All the way around, he's an impressive guy."

Q:Do you use the history of the Colts and Chiefs as momentum or do you leave the past in the past and just focus on the future?

REID:"Yeah, every year is different. You just have to go out and play."

Q:How did you think Chris Jones handled stepping into the one role?

REID:"Yeah, I thought he had some good snaps. Like with all the rookies, you're going to have some snaps that you kind of go, 'eh,' on. As long as they're going fast, hard and aggressive, you normally work through that. He spends a lot of time at what he's doing – that's the part I like about him. He wants to do the right thing every time. He's in here in the evening, and comes in early and that whole deal. There were a couple rookie mistakes in there, but then, he had some good plays too. I think that's what you get with most rookies."

Q:What do you need to see from Justin Houston in order for you to feel comfortable – just one full, good week of practice?

REID:"I don't know. I think we'll know once we see him back in the flow, and change in direction and doing all of those things that you need to do. I'm not in a big hurry to do that, to put him at risk and rush him in. He wants to play and all that, but you have to be smart with that. We'll see – we'll just see how it goes here."

Q:How impressive is it to see Frank Gore out there at 33 years-old and how impressive his career has been?

REID:"He's a warrior, that one. Tough guy. Runs hard, a physical runner, and to last as long as he has is a tribute, probably, to his offseason work program and how he goes about the game. I think once you get to know him a little bit, he's a kid that loves to play. He's kept himself in good shape."

QUARTERBACK ALEX SMITH

Q:Frank Gore is still going strong. Does it surprise you after all these years?

SMITH:"Nope. Not at all. I was fortunate enough to get to play with him a lot of years. He's a tremendous football player and a great teammate. Hopefully we get the best of him on Sunday but I'm still close with him and root from afar."

Q:You guys entered in the same draft class, correct?

SMITH:"Yeah we did."

Q:What do you remember about the last time you played the Colts?

SMITH:"I obviously remember the outcome and being pretty disappointed with the way the game turned out. It was a long time ago though too. When you start thinking about it, one year is a long time in the NFL, let alone a couple of years. A lot has changed since then, so it's hard to even look at that tape."

Q:They've still got some similar defensive players. Have you watched much film from that game?

SMITH:"I have not. They have had a change at the defensive coordinator position. I'm not sure how many guys were even on the team that are still playing. I'm more so looking at what they've done here in the last year. I'm not sure how much carryover there has been."

Q:The big throw to Tyreek Hill last week. Had you worked on it before?

SMITH:"Yeah. I work on that type of stuff with all of our guys. Once we got into the game, the opportunity was there and yeah it's something we've worked on."

Q:Was his speed something you had to get used to -- he's really fast?

SMITH:"It's one of those things where it's a matter of trusting it. The relationship is building the trust and giving him a chance. We felt good about the matchup, gave him an opportunity and he made a play on it."

Q:What does a receiver have to do in order to gain your confidence to make that throw?

SMITH:"If anything, you just want to see aggressiveness. So when you do get the opportunity and a chance downfield like that, you know your guys are going to be aggressive. More times than not, you avoid the negative play in that situation and good things happen. The advantage is to the offense -- whether it's a catch, pass interference or at worst an incompletion -- it still helps stretch the field and puts that in those guys' minds."

Q:What do you see from Tyreek Hill when taking a chance over the top in practice?

SMITH:"Regularly, he's a guy that tracks the ball really well. The thing for him as a return man, we feel good getting him the ball in space. But he also tracks the ball really well in the air as a receiver. More often than not, with his speed, he puts a defensive back in a tough position."

Q:What's his athletic potential when it comes to a jump ball?

SMITH:"Numbers are always a part of it when you talk jump balls, but some guys just play bigger when the ball is in the air. You've probably seen it over the years -- there are some smaller guys that play the deep ball really well. It has to do with tracking the ball, body position, timing and so many other things. We certainly saw it with him going up there, getting his body in position and making the play."

Q:You're essentially the 'point guard' on this team. How do you decide at certain times, "I've got to get the ball to Jeremy Maclin here or I should give Travis Kelce a shot, etc."?

SMITH:"That's the nuances of the whole offense -- seeing all the matchups. It's also the play caller who sends in the plays. Within the play call, there's an unspoken communication of what we're trying to get done. Within that, some of them allow for shots and some of them don't. It depends on where we're trying to get the ball and the matchup we're looking for. On every single play, it's understanding all those nuances and the possibilities you get from them. Some plays you get more than others in terms of the ability to take a shot. On others it's more of a, 'Hey we're really thinking this way' so we don't have as much freedom."

Q:Is it difficult to overthrow Tyreek Hill?

SMITH:"There's not much thinking with him when throwing the deep ball -- just go and throw it. Which is nice as a quarterback when you don't have to guess. You just go up and rip it. And we've got a lot of guys like that. [Jeremy] Maclin, [Chris] Conley and some of these guys can really roll, so it's kind of the same thing. I just need to get back, get it up and give it a chance. Certainly Tyreek, who we do a lot with and you see him moving around the field a lot, it's a nice component to add to his game."

Q:It seemed to have 'clicked' early between you and Tyreek Hill. Is that fair to say?

SMITH:"Maybe. Who knows. It was one game. I'd love to have those other ones back too. They were different throws too. The one to Jeremy Maclin down the middle was kind of a different throw for me with trying to get up and down. It wasn't two weeks before I was hitting a similar throw to Maclin down the sideline. It's just different. And those matchups are different. Each play I look at that and evaluate what the potential matchup is. They're different, each play and each week."

Q:What are your thoughts on winning the game and keeping the momentum moving forward?

SMITH:"The challenge is different coming off a win versus a loss, but it's still a challenge. You still have to be disciplined about how you go about your business and the details. Especially when you get to the meat of the season -- you need to be disciplined from week-to-week and have the sense of urgency to stay short-sighted and not look too far down the line. We prepare situationally and go through all of those things. Sometimes it's tedious, but it's making sure you get all of those things done."

Q:Have you been able to sense winning streaks approaching in years past?

SMITH:"Yeah. Looking back it's easy and you do see it. When you're in it, it can be tough to see. The reason it's able to happen is because you still have that edge that 'you haven't done enough' and there's always something more you could do to help prepare. You have to keep that edge and that's what allows you get on a run. When you're in it, the more you have the mentality of 'What else can I do? Did I do every little thing I can do to make a difference?' You've got to have that edge about you in order to go on streaks like that."

Q:What can you carry over from week to week with this team's recent success? SMITH:"For us offensively, especially on the perimeter group, we've had great communication these past few weeks. We've been able to speak verbally and non-verbally on and off the field and make adjustments to things. Those are things you bank and continue to bank as the weeks go on. You don't know when they'll show up and you're going to use them but it happens. All that type of stuff: the rhythm, the body language, and everything that goes into nonverbal communication, you get better and better at. It banks up and use it down the line."

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