It is a new year Chiefs fans, and Kansas City has once again reached the playoffs, the first since 2010.
Since it is the first Wednesday of the new year, what better way to start it off than with hearing what the Kansas City Chiefs coordinators had to say about the upcoming playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts, here are a few of the highlights from their Wednesday press conference.
Chiefs Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton
Q: How hard is it for offenses to block you when you have Justin Houston and Tamba Hali back?
“Well, I think obviously everybody, from the Colts to us to everybody; you like to have your full complement. You’d like to take your best shot. We’re excited about that. We’re excited about having all of those guys back and hopefully it will produce what we’re looking for on defense.”
Q: What impressed you about Andrew Luck the first time you faced him?
“You know, pretty much what we felt going in. He’s a really good football player. He’s a very talented guy, there’s not a throw he can’t make. As we talked about the first time, I think the thing that impresses everybody is when you play him; he’s a big man that can run. He can run, and I think he’s done a tremendous job. I think his stretch right now, he’s playing really well.”
Q: How happy were you with your defense against Indianapolis last time?
“We obviously had a couple of problems on what we call stacks there. We didn’t cover right so on a couple of those individual plays you say, ‘Hey we didn’t perform like we think we’re capable of and like you have to play.’ That’s a battle you go through every time you take the field. You need to be better than they are when you do it.”
Q: Do you notice a difference in the way offenses approach playing you when Justin Houston and Tamba Hali aren’t playing?
“Sometimes. I think we still see a fair amount of maxed out protection because of some of the rushes we do. I think obviously the advantage of these guys is that they can create pressure on their own. You can’t relax. At some point schematically, you’re probably going to be blocking one of those guys by yourself and that’s what you’re doing. I’m sure they’ll look at us a lot different with those two guys on the edges.”
Chiefs Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub
Q: Even though it’s not what you set out to do, is it nice to get that kickoff return record?
“I’m so proud of the guys, they’ve worked so hard. It was something that we were getting close to and we had a chance at it so the guys kind of rallied. We had four returns for 41.5 in that last game which was outstanding with the guys that were playing every down, offense, defense and we had like five guys that were playing every play. We called them ironmen. They did a great job for us and came through.”
Q: Can you talk about your experience with the playoffs and everything being magnified?
“It is. I could tell already. Yesterday at practice you could just see the speed, the way the guys were flying around and just the focus in the meetings in the morning, just everything is intensified. Coach Reid talked about it first, but then you want to see it happen and it happened yesterday. I noticed it today in meetings as well. I think it’s there and guys have their focus. We will be ready.”
Q: How do you get Ryan Succop’s confidence back and where is your confidence in him?
“That’s just it. We have confidence in him. We’ve seen it in practice.I think he was thinking about the other kicks that he had missed because if you go back and look at the ones that he missed it was right, left, right.”
Q: What were your general impressions of Indy’s special teams from last game?
“They were flying around. They’re a well-coached group, we know that. They flew around in our game and we didn’t get much on them, maybe one punt return, fairly decent and a couple of kick returns. They fly around and are going to be even faster, we know, indoors. The wind is not going to be a factor. They have a good kicker. (Adam) Vinatieri is a veteran, proven guy that has won games in the playoffs. It’s going to be a tough challenge, one that we’re going to try to rise to.”
Chiefs Offensive Coordinator Doug Pederson
Q: As a coordinator, given how mistakes and turnovers are magnified in the postseason, it is more difficult to draw the line between risk and reward this time of year?
“Everything becomes magnified. Even simple things you sometimes take for granted – a handoff with quarterback and running back. You’ve got to have that edge. You’ve got to be on the cutting edge – if you’ve got to take a shot you take a shot, if you have something up your sleeve, whether it’s offense, defense, or special teams, you’ve got to be able to use it. Now’s the time because there is no tomorrow.”
Q: Where does Dwayne Bowe fit into the big play-making scheme?
“You don’t want to single anybody out because he’s a big part of us on offense. He’s going to continue to get his plays, we’re going to continue to throw him the ball and find ways to get him open. He is a part of it and he has to make his number of plays when it’s time.”
Q: It seems like the way you guys use Jamaal Charles, it puts pressure across the defense to account for him, and the Colts have said that this week.
“Yeah, as a coordinator and as a staff, offensively, every week we say, ‘Ok, how can we get 25 the football?’ Whether it be from the backfield, empty it, motion, how can we do that. He is an explosive player, we know that, everybody knows that and we understand that people and defenses are going try to take him away and target him so we have to be creative with him and continue to find ways to get him the football in space.”
Q: With most of your key players getting what amounted to a week off, does that open up some things in your playbook that maybe you had gotten away from because of the constant week-after-week pounding and guys weren’t quite as fresh as you’d like?
“There are some things you can go back to and revisit that we did earlier in the season. It was great just to get those guys the rest they needed. I know they were banged up a little bit so it was good to get them some rest going into this week.It’s a one-game season from here on out and they’ve got to come ready to work every day and put forth good work.”
Q: It looked like you were getting ready to head into the playoffs relatively healthy especially on the offensive line, but now with the injury to Eric Fisher, how fortunate have you been to have a guy like Donald Stephenson that can bounce back and forth along the offensive line?
“It’s been great. Guys like that, Geoff Schwartz can play both guard positions, (Jon) Asamoah can go either way. The offensive line has battled through those injuries all year long. You have to have those guys. You have to have those swing tackles and guards that can play center. This time of year, you go with it and everybody’s ready to go.”