What We Learned From Wednesday's Media Availability

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, quarterback Alex Smith and wide receiver Tyreek Hill spoke with the media on Wednesday afternoon

Andy Reid

OPENING STATEMENT:"Alright, as far as injuries go: Jaye Howard won't practice today and Dontari Poe won't practice today. Dontari is making progress – it's just a matter of back spasms and calming down a little bit. Both of those guys are the last guys that want to miss, but it is what it is there. Shout out to Tyreek Hill for the AFC Offensive Player of the Week – tribute to the kid. I'm probably more proud of him for what he's doing off the field than on the field. It's well deserved – the award is well deserved. There's a lot that goes into that too for him to be out here doing what he's doing. We look forward to the challenge of playing Atlanta. We know what kind of football team that they are – explosive team on both sides of the ball and special teams. So, we have to make sure we have a good week of practice, and we'll do that. We're lucky enough to get outside here this late in the year and still be able to get good quality practices out there, so we'll do that. Our guys – they'll work hard."

Q:Where are Dee Ford and Jeremy Maclin at?

REID:"Yeah, they're just testing things out. We're going to see – gradually see how they feel. I can't give you anything until I see them do something. They'll be out there – move it around a little bit and we'll just see how they feel."

Q:Same thing with Steven Nelson?

REID:"Yeah."

Q:What is Tyreek Hill doing off the field that you're so happy with?

REID:"He came here with the incident, obviously, right? I think you probably know that. That's why you're here. So, he's handled himself in a good way. There haven't been any issues, which is a positive. Then, he has the things that he has to do for the incident, and he doesn't miss anything. He does everything that he's supposed to do, and that's a plus."

Q:The point in the third quarter when you took points off the board, and you kicked the field goal and there was that penalty that gave you that first down. Can you tell us why you did that and what you were looking for there?

REID:"Well, normally you don't do that, but I thought we were doing okay at about that point. I thought it would give us an opportunity to score. That's why I did it."

Q:Difficult decision at the time?

REID:"No, because I thought we were doing okay. If we were struggling then I probably wouldn't have done that. I thought at that moment, we were moving okay."

Q:In the second half and in overtime, you played the entire time without an entire position group – interior starting defensive linemen. What did you see from Jarvis Jenkins, Chris Jones and Kendall Reyes?

REID:"I thought they played hard and aggressive. I thought for the most part they were fundamentally sound in what they were doing. Are there plays that they need to work on and keep getting better at? Yeah, they do, but a couple of these guys haven't been here very long, so for them to do what they're doing is a tribute to the kids, and the time they're spending working it and that's important."

Q:It seemed like the addition of Anthony Sherman in the running game late in the game seemed to have an impact for you guys. What was his impact there?

REID:"So, we kind of have moved [Anthony] Sherman all around. He's a personnel guy. We've asked him to play tight end, and we've put him in slot positions – most of it's to block, but he can catch the ball. So, the objective is when [John] Dorsey puts a team together is to have everybody a viable threat to the defense. So, his ability to catch the ball is a positive. So, when we put him out there you still have to honor him and that. The part that he brings the most and that you're getting to see is that physical aggressiveness, and he did a good job with it at the game."

Q:How do you try and prepare for an offense like Atlanta?

REID:"Yeah, well you could argue that they're the best in the league right now. So, you've got to study them, obviously, stay fundamentally sound, work the game plan and have that down and play physical football."

Q:Speaking of physical – how physical was that game Sunday night?

REID:"Yeah, it was a physical game. Guys were flying around. It was exciting. It had to be a fun game to watch for people. It's what the NFL is all about this time of the year. There are two good teams playing each other and they got after each other, so a lot of sore bodies."

Q:What can the offense build off of by what they did in the fourth quarter on Sunday versus Denver?

REID:"Yeah, we've done pretty well with the two minute stuff. Teams change. To say that is what you're going to do, teams change in those situations defensively. You've got to gear it up towards that and kind of think that when you start using that. There's a lot of things that go into it, but the guys have done a nice job with it. They've put a lot of work into it, and they've executed well."

Q:You mentioned in those last three series that you really opened it up. Do you wrestle with that, is it opponent driven earlier in the game – first half through the third quarter or how much should we really be aggressive and score versus not turn the ball over – how difficult is that each week?

REID:"There are some things. That's a good question because there're some things there that become important – turnovers one of them. Field position in this type of game, I thought, was huge, and we were able to maintain that. We've got a good punter. We were able to maintain the field position without turnovers, which ended up benefiting us. Then, when we needed to kind of crank it up and flex them out and go, we were able to do that. I thought it would probably be better in the second half than in the first half. It was a very close game, and it could have gone either way, but I thought that was the best formula."

Q:How much do you stress recovery with the players in a stretch like this?

REID:"Well, you said it. You have a number of games, a couple of games coming up here in just a short period of time. You have to make sure you take care of yourself, and when you have an opportunity to get off your feet, you get off your feet. If you're banged up a little bit, you get in the training room and you get it taken care of. That's all a part of being a professional – understanding the business that you've chosen there and are in."

Q:What about the mental and emotional part of it? You guys put a lot of energy into that game Sunday night. You think you have to direct guys' attention to the next upcoming game a little more than you normally have to?

REID:"Yeah, I think this time of the year, the player – you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and if you're in position to strike, I don't think you can afford to take games off. Not that I believe in that anyway, but surely at this time – that can't even be an issue. Every game is so important right now. It doesn't matter if it's NFC, AFC – it doesn't matter. All the games are important. So, to maintain our focus, our intensity, our health and all those things are important this time of the year."

Q:Did you feel like it was a need to make that clear to the guys?

REID:"Well, sometimes I talk to them. I talk to them every once in a while, yeah."

Q:Was that part of your message though?

REID:"Yeah, that's part of it, yeah."

Q:What do you see from Alex Smith as far as his demeanor when it gets late in the game in those crucial situations?  

REID:"Yeah, it's weird, but I think the crazier it gets, the calmer he is. For whatever reason – that's just how he's wired. It seems to just calm everybody else down. It's a unique thing. It's one of the things that makes him a great player I think. He handles that very well."

Q:On those last three drives, Travis Kelce was targeted seven times. I know he's missed 24 targets in the last couple of weeks. Is it just a matter of what the defense is presenting?

REID:"He's a good player. So, normally in big games, your good players show up and you try and doll them up. Now, they had a plan for him. You saw a couple times where they had two guys on him and that makes it a little tough. Then, the other guys stepped up and made a good play. He's always going to be a part of your game plan. We'd be foolish not to make him a part, and so, then you have to kind of overcome the teams' [plan] and try something else if they double him. We have him moved all over the place, so we're lucky that he can do that."

Alex Smith

Q:Talk about the no-huddle drive late in the fourth quarter. SMITH: "The two-minute drive at the end of regulation when we were down eight, you've got to go score. For us, jumping in the no-huddle mode, running and getting into a rhythm, it's something we practice a lot around here -- especially in the in-game situations. They're all different. None of them are the same. The more you practice them, the better you get at them. It's something we do every week against the defense. It's that type of training in practice that allows you to have success in those types of situations. They're hectic and crazy. As much as everyone can think straight in a situation like that and use their head, especially down the field, the better off we are. You kind of saw that. There wasn't any panic. Even on fourth down, it felt like everybody was locked in and didn't skip a beat."

Q:Andy Reid said the more hectic things are, the more comfortable you seem. Are you conscious of that?

SMITH: "I'm not, no. In fact, I was talking to the guys about it the last couple of days. It's not something I'm conscious of at all. Looking back at the last couple of days, I guess I see it. I think it goes exactly like that. Not just me, but all 11 guys in the huddle in those situations. It's something we work hard on. A lot of games in this league come down to that so it's something we work hard on. It's one of those things where the more you practice it, the better you are at it. It's all of us being better in a situation like that." 

Q:What is it about the two-minute drill that makes you look so much more comfortable as opposed to when you aren't running it? 

SMITH: "It's a totally different situation there at the end. I've been asked that a lot. You want to play like that all the time but it's different. That defense is a good defense and they have game-changing players. You look back at their Super Bowl run, the sack fumbles, the touchdowns and the things they can create. I know we didn't have success early, but we didn't give them those. We eliminated those. Those are things teams feast off of. We were able to hang around and make adjustments. And we made plays down the stretch. We all would have liked to have came out, been perfect all day and put up a ton of points. Was it realistic against a unit like that, coming off a bye, that was really healthy and had two weeks to prepare? Probably not -- that's a good defense that has a lot of good players and are well coached. We knew at times it wasn't going to be pretty. They're good. They're going to get you a few times. The deal was, you've got to be tough enough to withstand it, make the adjustments, understand and be patient. I felt like we did that."

Q:At the early stages of the game, could you tell there wasn't time to open up the offense yet?

SMITH: "Like I said, you're frustrated when you can't get it going. You knew there'd be times when they were going to get you. We didn't get anything going in that first half and we could feel that. We were frustrated going into halftime and knew we could play better. It was a real test of that patience to go that long without getting anything going. Our whole group did a great job of being mentally tough in that situation -- knowing the defense and special teams were playing great -- and we weren't holding up our end. It was nice to be able to pick it up in the second half."

Q:Have you ever been on a team that was able to bounce back like this team has shown?

SMITH: "I don't think I've been with a group of guys in a locker room that has been as united and selfless as they are. It's so easy to get into splintered offense-defense-special teams, group and position group, things like that where you hear, 'Hey we're doing our job'-type of deal. And we just don't have it. It's a credit to the guys we have at the top. Guys like Eric Berry, Justin Houston, the guys that played so well in that first half. And then at halftime, it was all positivity and us getting it done as a team. And it's been like that since the beginning of the season. There's no finger-pointing. It's us pulling it together and leaning on each other."

Q:Is there any concern on your part this weekend with regards to getting guys refocused?

SMITH: "It's definitely got a lot of merit. There's times when a big win can more dangerous than a tough loss to rebound off of. Especially a big game in the division on national TV with everyone talking about it. Can we be mentally tough enough to handle the success and can we focus down and do all the little things this week. We got back late Monday morning. Can we handle that with going on the road again? It's a big challenge and we'll find out. It's absolutely a test."

Q:As a veteran, what's your role?

SMITH: "Just harping on it. Just the details of it. I think everyone understands we're obviously going on the road and playing a good team this weekend. For us, it's just zone in on the little things, the mindset doesn't change."

Q:What was your reaction to Cairo Santos' game-winning field goal? Did you think it went in?

SMITH: "No honestly. Initially no. As solid as it hit, usually they don't bounce in. But once I looked down at the referees signal, I was obviously pretty pleased. It was and emotional day. We knew the stakes of it all week building up to it. It was going to be a big game. To have the stakes high, carrying the emotions all day, and then to go into OT and have it come down to the wire like it did and to bank one in, it was a pretty crazy day and night."

Q:What's it like to watch Justin Houston have a game like he did from the sidelines?

SMITH: "You love it. I love being down there and watching our defense get after the quarterback -- especially the way Justin was. You love it. Those are game-changers. There's so many things that can happen like we saw with the safety falling out. And QBs rushing decisions and forcing things down the field. Pressure on the quarterback in this league changes games." 

Q:Going against a top offense like Atlanta's, do you feel pressured to need to put up more points this week?

SMITH: "For us, obviously, we're not playing their offense. As good as they are on that side of the ball, we're focused on the defense and getting ready for them. When you watch the tape you see it though -- they're up in a lot of games. The plate changes when they're up multiple scores. It can be a little deceiving in that sense. For us, it's a matter of recognizing the challenge. What's the challenge this week? How are they going to play us? How do we match up? Playing out those X's and O's and then going out and playing." 

Tyreek Hill

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Q:You disappointed you weren't special team's player of the week?

HILL: "No. (Laughing)"

Q: What did you think of getting offensive player of the week?

HILL: "First off, I just want to thank God for putting me in this position. I want to thank this whole organization for believing in me and the coaches, my teammates, Ted [Crews] annoying me every day. I've come a long way. Like I said I have to thank those guys for believing in me."

Q: So when you were drafted to now, a lot of stuff has happened, how has that journey been for you?

HILL: "It definitely hasn't been easy, but it's been fun. I've learned a lot and I've definitely matured through it all. It's been fun."

Q: Where does Sunday night rank in your career performance wise, is it the best it's ever been?

HILL: "I have no idea. I really don't try to think about those things. I will say it was a fun night."

Q: You talked about the road that you've traveled and Andy [Reid] praised you for the work that you've had to do and your obligations off the field, what did those things involve, what have you had to do off the field when you're not practicing?

HILL: "Those things require a lot of things, going to class, I do those things and I make sure I do those things in order for me to be a better person. I'm really dedicated and I'm going to stick to it so I can be a better man and a better citizen for this community and a better father to my son."

Q: You talked about your son, now that you're established with the NFL as a player are you providing financial assistance to the victim to raise your son?

HILL: "Yes sir, but I'm not going to get into that."

Q: How important is it to have such a supportive team, such a supportive person like Andy Reid to come out and say things like – I'm so proud of him for what he's doing on the field and also what he's doing off the field, how does that help you grow in both ways?

HILL: "It definitely builds my confidence coming from a legend like Andy Reid. Just to hear from my teammates, I used to look up to some of these guys. It definitely builds my confidence and when you have confidence it makes you play better."

Q: I'm sure you thought – hey they brought me here for a reason, I'm going to return some kicks, I'm going to get a chance, could you have ever imagined you'd be this big of a part of the offense?

HILL: "No, I guess it just happens. You play hard, you stay hungry and you try to keep up with the other guys."

Q: A lot is always made of how much is put on the receivers in this offense, to the same point as far as from when you started to now, how much more comfortable are you in being able to move around and do all of the things that's required of a receiver?

HILL: "Every week it's getting tougher and tougher. Coach Reid is definitely adding plays to the playbook, but it's up to us to stay in the playbook and learn it. It hasn't been easy, but I feel like I'm pretty smart."

Q: Your return of the kick to a touchdown, you look to your left and see De'Anthony Thomas throw up to give you a high five, how did that feel, what was that moment like?

HILL: "It was great moment to actually do that on Sunday Night Football. Me and DAT [De'Anthony Thomas], we go way back. I know DAT and we've been working on that in practice. Y'all aren'tthere to see it, but we clown at practice."

Q: Going back, you talked about going to classes and the lessons you've learned from it, these classes, are they therapy, are they counseling, are they anger management, what are these classes?

HILL: "They're more like therapy, getting things off of my chest. Like I said, I won't get into stuff like that."

Q: The last touchdown of the game, initially they said it wasn't a touchdown, they had to review, what was that minute or two like for you, when it was up in the air of if you had scored?

HILL: "Obviously I knew I had scored. The refs, they didn't see it like that at the moment, but everybody knew that it was a touchdown, that I didn't have full possession of the ball, so we just had to wait for the review. It was a touchdown. Everybody was turned up. We won."

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