What We Learned From Wednesday's Media Availability

Vice President of Sports Medicine and Performance Rick Burkholder, Head Coach Andy Reid, quarterback Patrick Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce and safety Ron Parker met with the media on Wednesday

VICE PRESIDENT OF SPORTS MEDICINE AND PERFORMANCE RICK BURKHOLDER

"Daniel Sorensen I told you I would give an update on. It was four weeks ago today that he had the surgery, he has been with us constantly doing pool work every day he's in and he's been going to meetings. We won't know anything for two more weeks before we study that, but he's where he is supposed to be right now and is working hard. In a couple of weeks we will give you another update. Byron Pringle, who got hurt in the Green Bay game, did pull his left hamstring. When we did an MRI, we found that he had a left inguinal hernia, and that hernia needed immediate attention. He had surgery yesterday at the University of Kansas Medical Center by Dr. John Alley. He's got an extended recovery ahead of him for the hernia and in the meantime the hamstring will also get attention, but the hamstring will heal up quicker than the hernia will. He is going to miss some time. Finally, I know there has been a lot of questions about Eric Berry. I know coach has said it is day-to-day. It is literally day-to-day. He won't practice today, but he has spent a lot of time with us. He is improving and getting better every day. We will continue with that process."

HEAD COACH ANDY REID

Opening Statement:"That covers the injuries. We look forward to playing the Chargers. We know that they are a very good football team. They had a great offseason with all the different changes they had and the draft. Again, we will prepare this week against a very good football team and get ourselves ready as we do our installs over the next couple of days."

Q:With Eric (Berry) being day-to-day, will you all check tomorrow to see if he's available for tomorrow's practice?

REID:"We've kept great communication with him. He's letting us know he's improving, which is the most important thing. He had a great day of work today. We will just see how it goes and play it by ear. We have done that up until this point and will continue to do that. If he's ready, he's ready, and if he's not, then we will go a different direction and roll with that."

Q:Does he need to practice this week to play on Sunday?

REID:"We will see if he can practice and then go from there. I want to see what he's got, if and when he can go. Then I'll make the decision off what I see there."

Q:Is he doing individual exercises?

REID:"Yes, he's working out with our strength department and our trainers."

Q:I know you are always talking about the next man up, but this is a little different. Do you have two different plans for with Eric (Berry) versus without him for Sunday?

REID:"He hasn't practiced for a while now. We are very confident in the guys that can step in and go. If he doesn't practice today, which he's not, then we go with the next man up. That's how we go. We're used to that here, philosophically, we are used to it. If he can go he can go and if he can't then we expect the next man to do a great job."

Q:Is Ron Parker going to start whether Eric (Berry) plays or not?

REID:"There's a chance. We have a couple of different packages, but there's a chance."

Q:When you are preparing for the Chargers with guys like Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa, what is unique about preparing for those two guys?

REID:"You could argue that they are one of the best combinations in the league. It was seen last year with their production and looks like they picked right back up with it in the preseason. Ninety-nine (Bosa) hasn't played a ton, but the other guy has. They are fast and aggressive. It's a great challenge. You wouldn't want anything else on the first game. What a great opportunity. Good football team and those two are good football players."

Q:The unofficial depth chart lists Andrew Wylie as a starter on the offensive line, is that your anticipation he will start at left guard?

REID:"Yes, there's a pretty good chance. Him and Cam (Erving) are working. By the way, congratulations to Cam on his new deal and it was well deserved. He did a nice job during camp and Cam we have kind of moved all over the place and tried to focus Andrew (Wylie) right in at that guard position. Both will get time on Sunday."

Q:From a year ago with Kareem Hunt, is it safe to say he will be on the field more on third downs on Sundays than he was a year ago? What goes into seeing that he's going to be on the field more on third downs this year versus last year?

REID:"The one thing we have is a nice group of running backs. They're all going to play. Kareem is plenty ready to work third down. We will see how it goes. We are not even into third down yet. We are still getting our base in. I'm not trying to dodge the question, but we haven't even installed it yet. There's a chance of that. Coming off the preseason we know he is very capable of that. You guys were at the practices, so you saw him do all of the pass-game stuff." 

Q:Last time Spencer Ware played a game, he was a starter on this team. How do you see him fitting with that one-two combo?

REID:"I look at him as a starter. We have full confidence in him. Just like when you ask about Cam (Erving), same thing there and with Andrew (Wylie). Spence did very well before he got injured and it looks like he has it back and is very confident in his leg right now. He will play in the game. We will see how all of that rolls, but he will be in there."

Q:How beneficial is Cam Erving's versatility on game day whether he is starting or a swing guy, to have someone who can play so many different spots?

REID:"Just by Brett (Veach) reaching out and doing the deal with him, I think that probably tells you everything you need to know. He can play every position and play it well. You've seen that this offseason. He was in at center for most of the OTAs and then at the guard position this camp and swinging at the tackle spots where we had him doing a little work. He is very valuable for us."

Q:You mention Andrew Wylie earlier; can you tell us a little about why you like him and what impressed you?

REID:"Wylie is a big, strong kid who has got really good athletic ability. Obviously, he is not as experienced. He hasn't played much, but you saw in the preseason he is a big strong guy. He is very similar to Larry (Laurent Duvernay-Tardif) in that way. He showed us a little something and is going to get an opportunity to play."

Q:Last year Patrick started the last game of the season, I'm sure he's excited for this. Is he more nervous this week or what do you notice from him?

REID:"I haven't seen any nerves. I know he's excited to play. I think the whole team is. Probably both teams are, to get out of camp and get this thing going. He is excited. I haven't seen anything that would tell you he's nervous. He is a pretty confident kid in his ability and I think he just wants to get going and play the game."

Q:What goes into an eight-game win streak against a team when you have so much change year-to-year? What has remained consistent to help you guys keep beating them?

REID:"We don't look at that. You guys look at that. We are just getting ready for this team here. Every year is different, you guys know that. That's all history, right now is what counts. We have to get ourselves ready for a good team. This preparation over the next few days is very important."

Q:This might be your toughest division game, right off the bat. It's a tough beginning of the schedule. Do you like having that game now versus later?

REID:"I love the challenge. I know our players love the challenge. They are a good football team, so why not, right? Let's go play and who knows what happens down the road. It's a long season. Should be a great environment. Our guys look forward to it. I think it's great for everyone, you guys included. It's a neat thing to start off that way."

QUARTERBACK PATRICK MAHOMES

Q: Time to go for real.

MAHOMES:"I am very excited. Just being able to get the regular season going and the opening game, it is something that I am really excited to go out there and play."

Q: You said last year before the Denver game you were so pumped you had to calm yourself down, do you feel like you will have to do that again this week?

MAHOMES:"Having the preseason games helped. Being able to start off with those games and then having that Denver game last year and seeing where I need to be at with my emotions and at the same time play with a lot of passion is something that will help me going into this one."

Q: Are there any nerves this week knowing you're the guy now?

MAHOMES:"Not necessarily. Just going out there and playing to win. I get to compete and play a sport that I love. I get to play with a lot of guys I have built great relationships with. So I am going to just go out there and have fun and hopefully win a football game."

Q: What jumps out to you about the Chargers defense so far?

MAHOMES:"They have a ton of talent everywhere. They have had it for the last couple years and they seem like they just keep adding plugged in players. For us, we are going to try to attack and use our strengths and our weapons that we have. Hopefully, we can put up some points and get a win."

Q: Are you confident in the line to block for you with all the great pass rushers in the AFC west?

MAHOMES:"We have a veteran offensive line and a lot of guys that have played against these guys and they know what to expect and what these guys are going to show on the field. For me, to have a lot of confidence in them and knowing that they have been around and kind of seen these guys play before."

Q: What do you remember most from this time last year and what are some of the differences you see this week against the Chargers?

MAHOMES:"You've kind of been throwing in stuff and game planning for them almost the whole offseason whenever you play these first two games. With the Patriots last year and then with now, you throw in some specialty plays that we have been working on in training camp that now we are getting to use. I am excited to see those. Last year with the Patriots they worked out pretty well, so hopefully they can work out again this season."

Q: What progression have you seen from Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill since last year?

MAHOMES:"You see those guys just keep building and perfecting their craft. The growth that Tyreek (Hill) has made on his route running and every aspect of being a receiver since the year I have been here is just tremendous. Seeing Kareem (Hunt) and seeing how he has understood the game more especially with the protections and catching the ball out of the backfield is exciting to see. Just having all those young guys that keep getting better every day is exciting."

Q: How much did you benefit from learning how to stay calm during the season from Alex Smith?

MAHOMES:"Yeah, you have to build it up. You can't peak too soon. You can't watch a ton of film and you are just dead tired because you watched too much film on these guys. You have to kind of build and have a certain plan on how you are going to watch the film on these guys to really not waste film I guess you would say but execute everything that you need to learn from watching these guys. Then at the same time, make sure you are prepared and ready to go for the game."

Q: How has Chad Henne helped you out being the back up and a veteran guy?

MAHOMES:"Having him and him being able to see all these types of defenses. He came from a defense last year that plays a similar style to what the Chargers do. For him to tell me about how he had success against them in practice, whatever it was, will help me whenever we go into this game about attacking this defense." 

Q: Do you think the Chargers will come at you more because you don't have a lot of experience?

MAHOMES:"Yeah, but just having the opening game, they have been working on stuff, too. Just kind of how we have been putting specialty plays in, they are working on stuff to combat what we have done on offense the past few years. I know they will have a wrinkle, an un-scouted look but we are going to make adjustments on the fly on the sideline and hopefully be able to have success on the field because of it."

Q: Without giving away too much, what is the brand this year of this Patrick Mahomes Chiefs offense?

MAHOMES:"We want to attack every aspect of the field. I feel like we have the weapons that we can attack short, run the ball, stretch the defense deep, we can attack the middle with the guys that we have. We just have to make sure we keep the defense honest on every single play. They can't send everybody back and then try to cover the deep ball, we will run the ball on them. If they want to bring everybody in the box, we want to be able to attack them deep. We just want to make sure that we can attack everywhere on the field."

Q: Are you excited to have some plays in the mix that they haven't scouted yet?

MAHOMES:"Yeah, you are really excited whenever you go into a game and you think that you have a play that you think will score a touchdown, which I feel like we have a ton of them. Even if it is short or long, I feel like we have the guys that can score on every single play. It is something you have a lot of excitement for going into the season."

Q: Do you think about how this is a division game or is it just another game?

MAHOMES:"You want to play the best. You want to play the teams that have a lot of talent and that have chances to make the playoffs just like you do. For me, to play a division opponent, you have to beat these guys in order to get to the playoffs. For us, we are going to go out there and compete and hopefully come out with a win."

Q: Have you ever played against a defense like the Chargers?

MAHOMES:"I think they have their own type of thing. I know last year in the preseason we played against the Seahawks and they play a similar style of defense. That was probably pretty much my extent of playing against this defense. I know we will have it scouted up this week in scout team and stuff like that. I will try to take what I can from that and then apply it to the field."

Q: Is there going to be a moment where it hits home for you that you are a starter in the NFL?

MAHOMES:"Probably walking off the field hopefully with a win would be the best moment I am looking forward to. Hopefully we can go out there and compete on every aspect, every side of the ball. Offense, defense, special teams and come out with the win."

Q: Do you think it was advantageous to have your only start be a road game?

MAHOMES:"Having the game last year definitely is going to help with just being able to feel the feel of a division opponent at their home stadium and then being able to go into this Week 1 and then having that same type of feel and being able to go out there and compete and throw it to these weapons I have and hopefully score some points."

TIGHT END TRAVIS KELCE

Q: How excited are you to get going for real with this particular team?

KELCE: "I've been excited the entire offseason. In our building Coach (Andy) Reid and Coach (Eric) Bieniemy and all the guys have come together and kind of put the expectations together for it. We finally get to go out there and put it on the field."

Q:How different has this offense felt and how might you guys run the offense differently with Patrick Mahomes back there?

KELCE:"Without saying too much, I can't really because I don't want to give away too much of the secret. It's going to fun to get out there, it's new for everybody, so I think it's something that really everyone can get excited about, even the fans."

Q:Is there going to be a lot of differences from what we saw in the preseason?

KELCE:"Yeah, that's what Coach Reid loves to do. He loves to put guys all over the field, no matter what your position is. I think that's something that's definitely in the future for us is making sure everybody gets that opportunity to make a play for us."

Q:How have you developed into a leader and learned when it's time to say something and when not to, considering all different personalities in a locker room?

KELCE:"The coaches, the scouting, they do a great job of bringing in good guys, great people. It's easy when you've got guys that you actually like standing next to you and in the locker room and standing next to you in the huddle. That being said, you just got to be a relatable person. I come from an area that is very multicultural, so I'm able to relate to a lot of people in that regard."

Q:What stands out to you about the Chargers defense ahead of Sunday?

KELCE:"They are very sound at what they do. They might not run a lot of man, but they play well together as a team and obviously their defensive front is one of the best in the league."

SAFETY RON PARKER

Q: What's it like to walk into the defensive back room and you already know the defense better than a lot of the guys who have already been here?

PARKER: "It's just a great feeling to be back at home. All the guys, I felt welcomed from the time I stepped in the building. It's a great feeling to be back in the DB room with a bunch of young guys who are trying to figure this thing out."

Q:With Marcus Peters no longer here, who is going to be the guy on defense who is going to create those turnovers and be the playmaker on that side of the ball?

PARKER:"I think all 11 guys on defense. We all count on each other to go after the football and get it. I think with that being said, all 11 guys on defense will be out there going after the ball trying to get turnovers."

Q:What is it for you that makes Kansas City feel like home?

PARKER:"It's the time I spent here and it's the love from the players and the coaches and everybody in the building and the staff. It makes me feel at home. I think with that being said, it's just given me a nice confidence booster when I walk out there on the field, the coaches and the players having confidence in me to do what I can do."

Q:What stands out from some of the personnel changes here, specifically with some of the young guys on defense?

PARKER:"I've seen some of the younger guys just wanting to go out there and take advantage of their opportunities. Like I said, from the time I walked in they've been asking questions and it seems like they're trying to figure it out. They're trying to get it right now and there's no time to wait. So I think with that being said, that's a good thing from the young guys just being hungry wanting to go out there and get it."

Q:You've had young guys asking you questions about the defense?

PARKER:"Yep, first day."

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