5 takeaways from Chiefs HC Andy Reid’s Monday media availability

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The Kansas City Chiefs wiped the floor with the Las Vegas Raiders on “Sunday Night Football.” Back in Kansas City after the win, Andy Reid spoke to the media on Monday, providing giving his take on the victory. He commented on the upturn of both his offense and defense, but what else did we learn from the head coach?

Here are some quick takeaways from what Reid had to say:

Three parts to the defensive turnaround for Kansas City

AP Photo/John Amis

The Chiefs’ defense was allowing over 30 points a game at one point this season. In recent weeks they’ve turned the corner, allowing less than 16 points per game on average. What’s behind the defensive turnaround in Kansas City? Andy Reid attributes it to three different things.

“I think health is one thing,” Reid said. “Getting everybody on the field, that’s on part of it. Then the second part of it is the young guys maturing there quicker than you can predict. I mean, you don’t know exactly how that’s going to go. So they picked up the pace and the scheme. And then, Spags is relentless with him. I mentioned the walkthroughs last night, he’s going to make you do it until you get it right. And his coaches follow right along with that. Those would probably be the three things right there.”

It all starts with health. While the Chiefs weren’t the most beat-up team in the league to start the season, guys like Frank Clark, Chris Jones, Charvarius Ward and Willie Gay Jr. are back in the lineup and healthy.

Next, the Chiefs’ new and young players started to gel and understand their roles within the defense. Guys like Nick Bolton, L’Jarius Sneed, Mike Danna and so on — they’ve all stepped up and made some key plays for this team.

Finally, Reid credited Steve Spagnuolo and the coaching staff for getting on these guys when things weren’t going right. They didn’t let them quit, but instead, they kept coaching them up. You’re seeing the payoff of that now with the improved performance over the course of 10 weeks.

Play-calling is a collaborative effort in Kansas City

AP Photo/David Becker

For all the talk of the offense and defense collectively showing improvement, there’s something to be said for the playcalling improvements by the Chiefs too. They called the perfect game on both sides of the ball. Andy Reid gave insight into the collaborative effort that goes into that, including the input that players have in the process during game situations.

“Oh, I don’t know. I just give it to him, and he goes and does his thing, man,” Reid said of playcalling. “So EB (Eric Bieniemy), myself, Mike Kafka, Joe Bleymaier, all the coaches, Greg Lewis, we all contribute in there, Tom Melvin. Everybody has a say on it and players included. There will be times – Patrick (Mahomes) had one last night. He was one step ahead of where he said if this doesn’t work, let’s take a peek at this other one, it might be there. We did and it was a good play and we scored a touchdown so everybody has a say in this. Coach (Andy) Heck, Corey Matthaei, they do that run game, they feed us that and it’s kind of fun to watch how it all comes together. Proud of our guys for being open about it and doing that.”

The play that Reid is speaking about with Mahomes is the Tyreek Hill touchdown pass where came completely free in the end zone. Mahomes told reporters after the game that he noticed the linebackers cheating toward the line of scrimmage and knew they could get Hill into a good situation. It just goes to show you that it takes the entire roster to put this team into situations to be successful calling plays. One detail noticed by an individual can go a long way.

Mahomes made improvements in the pocket

AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

Leading up to the Week 10 game against the Raiders, pocket presence hadn’t been a strong suit for Patrick Mahomes. He was leaving clean pockets and really didn’t look comfortable back there.

Andy Reid spoke about the improvements made by Mahomes and the offensive line this week, noting that he did a better job working the pocket.

“I thought he did a nice job with that,” Reid said of Mahomes’ pocket presence. “I thought the offensive line did a nice job of protecting him early and Pat [Mahomes] did a nice job getting the ball out quick. They’ve got a good defensive front, so you know you were going to have to move a little bit, not because of any deficiency on the offensive line part, but that’s just how it goes. You work the pocket against these good defensive fronts, but I thought he did a good job. I thought he was confident in the pocket to answer your question. I think it helped that he was on time and the line did a nice job.”

The Raiders have two of the best edge rushers in football this season in Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue. They managed a few pressures, but neither player sacked Mahomes, in part because of the job he did navigating the pocket and stepping up to make throws. He was comfortable and confident back there and it seemed to have a big impact on the outcome of the game.

Darrel Williams is a tone setter in the running game.

AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

It’s something of a right of passage for Chiefs running backs to have career games against the Raiders. Jamaal Charles did it once upon a time, Spencer Ware did it back in 2016, and on Sunday night Darrel Williams did it as well.

Andy Reid felt that Williams gave the offense a little extra boost with his physical running style this past week.

“Yeah, you see the defensive guys get a charge of it. The offensive guys get a charge out of it. The linemen love it the most because they’re out there battling every snap and trying to make it happen,” Reid said of Williams’ physicality. “When you have a running back that’ll drop a shoulder on somebody and bounce off of somebody else and get those extra yards, that’s a special thing. He does a nice job with it. We’re lucky we have a couple of different flavors that we can throw at you, which I think is also important. Clyde’s [Edwards-Helaire] a little different, [Derrick] Gore’s a little different, they all have their different pitches that they’re going to throw at you.”

It’s like Baskin-Robbins in Kansas City, they’ve got 31 flavors of running back that they can throw at you. Williams, however, being able to lower the shoulder and run through some people is important for setting the tone and opening up some other opportunities they might not have without the physical brand of play.

Josh Gordon's time will come

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If the NFL season were a video game, Josh Gordon would be considered a support character. After joining the Chiefs in Week 4, Gordon has just one reception to his name, even with increased snaps over the past several weeks. It’s not exactly the type of performance that fans expected to see when Gordon first signed with the team.

Asked about some of the things he’s doing other than catching passes, Andy Reid emphasized the importance of what he has done so far for Kansas City.

“Listen, Josh, his time is going to come as far as production in the pass game,” Reid said. “Right now, he’s carrying— he’s attracting attention which is opening up other people which is a positive thing. His blocking has been tremendous in the run game. He plays extremely hard. I think he’s got himself in the last week or two over here, in really good football shape. Remember, he’d kind of been out of this thing for a couple of years, so that’s easier said than done. I sure liked what we saw in practice last week. I just keep telling him, ‘Be patient, it’s going to happen. Keep doing what you’re doing and this thing will pop for you.’ His time will come.”

Right now, Gordon is doing all the selfless football things that make him a good teammate. It’s only a matter of time before the team will find themselves in a situation where they need to rely on him to make some plays in the passing game.

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