‘You Wanna Go Against The Best’
Chiefs Aware Of Challenge Birds Present
PHOENIX – Tucked away at the Hyatt Regency at Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale, Ariz., – think of the isolated Lehigh University for those familiar with Andy Reid’s history as an equivalent — the Kansas City Chiefs held court with the media in the days leading up to Super Bowl LVII.
Kansas City’s media sessions opened with an 11 am Reid press conference Tuesday. Reid, who spoke at each of the three-day media availabilities, was joined by quarterback Patrick Mahomes on Wednesday and tight end Travis Kelce on Thursday.
The rest of the team and coaching staff was made available for 45 minutes at practice’s conclusion, dispersed around various tables located outside the conference room.
Here are some notable comments from the Chiefs during their week of media ahead of Super Bowl LVII.
RB Jerick McKinnon
How his role in Kansas City’s offense accentuates his skill set:
McKinnon: “Just so many pieces. Just so many pieces. And Coach [Andy] Reid and his offensive staff, they do a great job scheming plays and coming up with creative ways to get different guys the ball. So, it’s been fun to be part of a team that has so many valuable weapons that can change the game at any second.”
Impact of RBs coach Greg Lewis as a pass-catcher:
McKinnon: “He’s helped me a lot with, just route-running. How to be a better route runner. You know, things that you do better at the top of your route. Things of that nature, with his receiving background. And just insight – he played eight, nine years in the league – so anytime you got a coach who’s put in that work and has that background, everything he says, you gotta take note of it. It’s been a blessing having him in our corner this year, especially the running back room, going on his second year. We’re all learning and growing with each other. It’s been a great experience. It’s crazy that the year I had the most receptions, my coach was a receiver and a receivers coach before.”
McKinnon: “The thing about me is, I’ve kind of always been that way. A lot of it is due to watching a lot of Kobe Bryant and having that ‘Mamba Mentality,’ and just knowing when you gotta flip that switch, when you can have fun. But at the same time, you gotta flip that switch and be serious and get that work done. I just give the credit it to the people I look up to; Kobe Bryant; Michael Jordan; L.T. Guys that you know are personalities but they get it done when their number is called.”
McKinnon: “I think they’re phenomenal. Their linebacking corps is physical, physical as they come. And it stands out on film. You see it when they blitz, you see it when they fit up on linemen in the run game. Then the fact that they make plays on the ball; [C.J.] Gardner-Johnson, I think he has, what, six interceptions on the year? That’s a lot. That means he’s around the ball and making plays on the ball. So, I think it’s definitely going to be a challenge. Even though we have a lot of great weapons and great pieces on the offense, it’s gonna be a challenge. They got Darius Slay, I played against him before, he’s a great competitor, great DB. So, it’s gonna be a fun matchup. It’s gonna be a definite tale of two giants.”
CB Trent McDuffie
Approach to minimizing distractions:
McDuffie: “Just take it one day at a time. Try not to look too far ahead, but also not trying to be like, ‘Yeah, we just won last week. We’re champions.’ Really just holding yourself in the moment. Try to be even-keel. Trying to just make sure that I’m able to enjoy being here, but also understand that I’m here for a job.”
Defending taller receivers:
McDuffie: “One is my feet. I always hear [Chad] Ochocinco, there’s one thing he always says: ‘Ain’t nobody gonna beat me with my feet.’ And so, really just having discipline and quick, reactive feet. That’s what I always try to counter out when I play bigger, taller receivers who are strong. Be able to be more elusive than them. And then also, just the mindset of, ‘Man, it doesn’t matter who lines up against me.’ Just being a dog and being confident in myself and just knowing that, ‘Man, I’m in the same position as you, so let’s just go battle’ has helped me play guys like that.”
His football IQ:
McDuffie: “I take pride in that. Really. I think in college having defensive backs coaches really just teach me the game of football in the perspective of a defensive back. I was always a dude who just watched football – just loved football – just knew the ins and outs of overall football, that having people go, ‘OK, now Trent, this is what a corner sees. Technique. This is what the nickel does. This is what the safety does.’ It just helped speed my process up so much more.”
Mastering multiple positions:
McDuffie: “It was difficult, for sure. I spent a lot of nights and a lot of hours with teammates, [and] just by myself on my own, studying, trying to figure out what technique. Going back and watching old nickels from past years – Tyrann Matthieu in this defense, L.J. Sneed in this defense – and just trying to get as much viewpoints as I can of what to do within this defense because one thing I understood is you can play so much faster once you know your defense. Knowing football helps, but where does the defensive coordinator want me on the field? What picture does he want me to paint? Like, knowing that kind of stuff has helped me a lot. But it was difficult. It’s been a learning process, for sure.
Eagles’ aerial attack
McDuffie: “First thing is Jalen Hurts is a quarterback who is confident and will get them the ball. So, knowing that you got a quarterback that isn’t scared to throw the ball and receivers who are confident to go get the ball, it puts up for a unique challenge for us because you know that each and every play you need to be on your toes. You gotta know that that ball can come, and Jalen Hurts isn’t afraid to throw that deep ball. So, we have to go and challenge.
CB Jaylen Watson
Watson: “I would say just their physicality and their vertical shots. Being in the right spot is not enough for this receiving corps. They make great contested catches and it’s gonna be very important to try to get the ball out and fight through the hands. They do a great job, they’re physical, so we’re gonna have to be physical back. It should be a great test.”
Eagles WRs Vs. NFL
Watson: “I would say they’re one of ‘em. I think the Bengals’ offensive corps was pretty difficult to guard.”
S Justin Reid
Reid: “You know, for me, I know how special this moment is, how special this experience is. It’s been really fun and exciting here with opening night and all the other things. But just trying to keep it as simple as possible. Don’t make it bigger than what it is up until we get to the game. Then at that moment, let all the emotional feelings just burst out. But before then, don’t emotionally drain yourself. Because it’s a whole lot of excitement and energy all over the place, but it’s almost impossible to try and keep that high-level energy for 7-8 days straight.”
Andy Reid’s messaging
Reid: He gives us some time to enjoy the experience and live in the moment when we’re doing the cool things that the Super Bowl provides, but anytime we’re in the meeting room or between the lines on the field, it has to be all football. We can’t let any of that bleed into the field or be a distraction.”
Eagles WR corps
Reid: “The different Batmans. They got guys that each fit a unique description. A.J. Brown is a big-bodied receiver, loves his 1-on-1 matchups. DeVonta Smith is a very crisp route runner. He also has the long speed to take you downfield. Dallas Goedert, very smooth route runner, great hands. One of the fun tight ends for myself to wanna guard against because you know he’s gonna get his targets. But I think what’s really special and the engine behind this Eagles offense, is the offensive line, to me, is very special. One of the best offensive lines I’ve seen on tape, led by Jason Kelce. A lot of pull schemes, a lot of run games and play action to complement it. And I think they do a good job of it.”
Campaigning to guard Dallas Goedert?
Reid: “Absolutely. You know, that’s not always gonna be my assignment, but when I get my opportunities against him, I enjoy having matchups like that because as a competitor you wanna go against the best. He’s one of the best in the league, so it’d be fun for me to stack up against him.”
– Andrew DiCecco (@ADiCeccoNFL) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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