What We Learned From Wednesday's Media Availability

Chiefs coach Andy Reid and Quarterback Alex Smith met with the media on Wednesday

Andy Reid

OPENING STATEMENT:"Alright, as far as the injuries go. Tamba [Hali] will not practice today, which has been standard procedure. [Phillip] Gaines is making improvement, but won't practice today, and then, Justin [Houston] were going to back off him today, likewise. He has some swelling on his knee, and we'll get that taken care of. We don't think it's a big thing. It kind of comes with the territory of where he's at in the whole recovery part of this, very common.

We look forward to the challenge of playing Denver. We know they're a good football team. Every time we play, it's quite a show, so our guys are going to prepare themselves playing against a heck of a football team in front of a great crowd."

Q:Do you anticipate this game going the way the first one did where it felt like you both spent the first two quarters feeling each other out – very defense oriented teams?

REID:"Listen, if I could predict that stuff, I'd be pretty good. That's a tough thing to predict. Every time we play them, it's different to answer your question. Every one of these things has been different and wild."

Q:Tyreek Hill had a break away run on Sunday. We haven't seen that since Jamaal Charles played. Is there a reason that Tyreek doesn't play more running back?

REID:"No, we're kind of trying to keep Tyreek's [Hill] package relatively tight for him. You can get carried away with that and all of sudden, production goes down. So, we're very selective on where we're putting him and how we use him. That would be the answer. He can't play every spot, and we have good players. Jamaal Charles – he's going to go down as one of the all-time greatest running backs in the National Football League. Those guys don't come around very often. The guys that we have are very good NFL running backs, so we use them and you might not get all the long runs that you had with 25, but we can be productive with the guys that we have."

Q:His speed is similar – it must be tempting to get him back there or try and get the ball to him more?

REID:"Yeah, you have to stay very disciplined on keeping the package small because you have him at wide receiver, you have him at running back, you have him in the slot position – we've got him playing all over the place. He's a smart kid, but you start getting into a bad area there. Then, he's returning on top of that too."

Q:In the three prime time games, he's had six touchdowns. Do you think there's anything to that?

REID:"I don't know. I think he loves to play, and he's a good football player. He's got great skill, and he's a good kid. He works hard at what he does, and tries to stay up on all this stuff that we have fed him. He's done well with it."

Q:You guys have found ways to use De'Anthony Thomas now in the backfield a little bit. Are you going to see a little bit more of that as the season goes through?

REID:"We have a few things in there for him too, so that's part of it, yeah."

Q:Last time you played on Christmas there are some parallels to what is going on here. In Philadelphia, you beat Dallas for a playoff spot. What do you remember about that game?

REID:"Well, very little. I know we won the game. You bring it up, and it wasn't really something that I really thought of, but that was a good win. Two different teams, two different situations. I'd say that about every game in this league. It's a different deal. That's what makes it so exciting to not only coach, play, write about, be a spectator for. "

Q:You guys have won nine straight in the division – anything you can put your finger on for that kind of winning streak with these teams?

REID:"No, I don't think so. Just taking every game. I don't know what to tell you there."

Q:I know John Dorsey's job is to build the roster, but I know you guys talk about it. Do you guys look at the strengths and weaknesses of these other three teams when you're putting the roster together in the off-season or do you just try and build the best team you can build regardless?

REID:"[John] Dorsey goes through all those different scenarios with those guys. Common opponent that you've got in your division and so on, but that's not necessarily how you build your team. I'm not going to say that. I think you try and accumulate as many good players as you can that fit in to what you're doing and handle themselves the right way, and then, you roll."

Q:Why hasn't Travis Kelce gotten more red zone targets this season? Are defenses keying in on him or what's happening?

REID:"Yeah, he's a pretty popular guy. We've had a number of them dialed up for him. Teams are very aware of him now and what he's all about. I can do a better job giving him more opportunities there though."

Q:Denver's offense is struggling even more than when you guys played them the first time, what do you see out of them offensively as they're struggling like that?

REID:"I know they've had some injuries. Whether the guys are back or not, I think that. I still respect the heck out of what they do. We've been a little up and down offensively too, so I get it. Those things kind of come in cycles. You have to prepare yourself to play against good football players and a good team. Gary [Kubiak] is a smart guy and has a good scheme, so you have to prepare yourself that way for whoever and whatever shows up. You have to be ready to go."

Q:They had a few big passes last time, but that was about it. Is that what you're most concerned with?

REID:"He [Gary Kubiak] has a good run scheme. It's just a matter of who's healthy, and then operating with it. In this league, the margin between winning and losing is so small and you put guys in position to make plays, and these guys get in and do it. So, these are skilled athletes. One guy goes down, another guy steps up and has a great day, so you can't come in thinking that way there. You have to come in and prepare for a very good scheme and good players."

Q:You mentioned on Sunday that it's important not to do what bad teams do and finger point, I know it's early in the week, but are you satisfied with how everybody has responded to Sunday's result?"

REID:"There's been no finger pointing. That hasn't gone on. So, I appreciate that. It's a good locker room, and we have guys that love to play the game, so I appreciate that. I'll take that all day."

Q:Chris Harris Jr. – local guy, undrafted – what are your thoughts on him?

REID:"I think he's a good football player. He'll challenge every snap, so I have a lot of respect for him and how he goes about his business. They have a couple local guys there."

Alex Smith

Q:The Chiefs have won nine straight games in the division. Is there anything in particular you can point to for the success?

SMITH:"I wish I knew what the 'one thing' was or anything like that. These are huge games. The division is extremely competitive with a ton of big rivalries -- none bigger than this. So it's hard. These are physical games and almost all of them come down to the wire. Very few aren't so you don't know which play is going to make the difference. That attention to detail and all of that stuff end up making a big difference in games like these."

Q:Does Andy Reid put any more or less emphasis on divisional games as compared to any other coach you've played for before?

SMITH:"I think he's like a lot of us. We all get it, we all know it and he doesn't have to say anything. A lot of it goes unsaid. That's the nature of having played against a lot of these guys a bunch over the years. It's a lot of the same faces and people. I try not to build it up too much because you can't peak too soon. We all know what it's going to be like. You still have to take care of business by preparing and   doing the little things."

Q:You've said before that 'cold and wet' are the two worst conditions to play in. How do you prepare for those conditions on Sunday?

SMITH:"At this point, it's still early in the week. If you start worrying about stuff on Wednesday, it's not doing you any good because [the weather] changes so much. We'll see as we get close to the game. After that, you've got to deal with it -- both sides are going to have to deal with whatever is out there and make it go. I can't control it or change it. This early in the week, I'm not stressing out about it too much. We'll see as we get closer to game day and the weekend and then get a better idea of how it's actually going to be come game time."

Q:Do you anticipate this matchup being similar to the previous one?

SMITH:"We obviously played each other once, so you have that to go off of. It'll be a continuation of that. These are two physical teams with a lot on the line and a lot to play for. We'll be the only game on Christmas night, so I don't think it can get any bigger."

Q:Have you noticed anything different about Tyreek Hill when the lights are on?

SMITH:"I think exactly that. He performs big any time he's out there. It never seems 'too big'. Even going back to minicamp and OTAs. He's handled and prepared himself very well. He's obviously extremely talented. He's a difference-maker, and he continues to show that all over the place whether it be special teams, running back or receiver. He can do a lot. Really that's a credit to him -- not just talent-wise but from a mental side of it as well. Handling all of that as a rookie is really hard."

Q:What do you see from Chris Harris Jr. in the Broncos secondary?

SMITH:"They're good and they're smart. For one, those guys play a lot of football, so they've seen a lot of routes and they know how teams try to attack them based on their coverages and things like that. They communicate well, they know they have a good front and depending what they have called, they do well with it. They understand weaknesses, strengths and things like that with the coverages. They play it all really well. They're smart, they're a veteran group and all that stuff plays into it. They're obviously very talented too."

Q:What changes throwing into the end zone as opposed to throwing into the open field?

SMITH:"The windows are tighter. There's less field to work with. All the sudden, those 11 guys take up more space as opposed to further out. Timing is a premium. You're in a situation where you don't want to take negative plays or sacks. A lot of times though, you're shooting through the end zone, shooting through windows and hoping your guy or nobody catches it. The field just gets condensed so everything is now at a premium. Accuracy, timing and everything is at a huge premium in that area of the field."

Q:Jeremy Maclin had eight targets and six catches on Sunday. How much of that was dictated by* *the coverage and how much was you guys just dialing him up for something?

SMITH:"Both. His first catch really got us going there for that second score. We sent him and Tyreek [Hill] downfield. I felt like [Tyreek] had the tighter coverage and the safety leaning his way. I took the shot and [Jeremy] made a huge aggressive catch, coming down and helping us with our second scoring drive. Some of it, there are plays where I'm thinking we'll have a good chance ahead of time and I'm thinking him regardless. There's others where, depending on the coverage, who knows where the ball is going."

Q:Did you dial up his number more or less than you previously had early on in the season?

SMITH:"It's hard to say. He'd been out. He came back last week a little bit, and we didn't want to put too much on his plate in his first game back in a while. Prior to that, he's a guy that is always going to have a good chunk of plays intended for him. He always has a pretty good list."

Q:What are the key points for producing* *and keeping efficiency in the second half?

SMITH:"We just have to do a better job across the board -- everybody does. We need to go out there and execute better, finish better, adjust better. All those things play into it. We need to be better. Here at the end of the year -- it's going to have to be."

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