Kansas City Chiefs’ defensive backs’ coach Al Harris, wide receivers’ coach Greg Lewis, outside linebackers’ coach Mike Smith, running backs’ coach Deland McCullough and quarterbacks’ coach Mike Kafka met with the media on Friday.
Here are five things that stood out.
Defensive Backs’ Coach Al Harris
1. How is Eric Berry helping even though he’s not on the field?
HARRIS: “Whether he’s out on the field or on the sideline, he’s always a help in the room. When he’s playing, he’s a player and a coach on the field, so now when he’s not able to be out there as a player, he helps out as far as helping coach up the young guys because you can’t get to every single guy at times. So, while I may be coaching up this guy over here, Emmitt (Thomas) may be coaching up that guy there, then EB (Eric Berry) may be coaching up a young guy and repeating the same message.”
Wide Receivers’ Coach Greg Lewis
2. What impact does Tyreek Hill have on a play when he doesn’t get the football?
LEWIS: “He draws attention from the defense and that singles up, whether it’s (Travis) Kelce, Sammy (Watkins), Chris Conley or Kareem (Hunt), having more room to run in open space. That’s on the field, but off the field, he’s also done a tremendous job in the classroom with this being his third year in the offense, understanding all the nuances and bringing along the Byron Pringles, the Josh Crocketts, the (Gehrig) Dieters – all of them – [helping] acclimate them to the offense and knowing what they’re supposed to do.”
Outside Linebackers’ Coach Mike Smith
3. How do you feel Justin (Houston) is performing this season so far?
SMITH: “In my eyes, when I grade my pass-rushers at the end of every game, everyone loves sacks, don’t get me wrong, but a good pass-rusher has consistency, not really sacks. When I grade a guy, I look at good rushes. You take 50 (Justin Houston) for example, and every week he has led the room in rushes. Dee (Ford) is playing good as well. I think he’s (Justin) been playing really great all year. Offenses have gotten really smart in the last three or four years, so now you have guys who are chipping, you have tight ends and guys that are sliding to him, and that makes our rushes rare. We really don’t get true one-on-ones, so we have to take advantage of those. For Justin, I couldn’t be more pleased. If he wasn’t playing well, he’d be the first one to tell you he wasn’t playing well. I don’t sugar coat things, I think he’s right where I want him to be. I think player-wise, if you focus on getting sacks, then you get outside of what’s really important, and that is applying pressure play after play and doing your job play after play. That’s what wins on defense. You see a lot of these guys that just try to get sacks every play. It’s a run play that opens up 10 yards and they gash you and you get frustrated because you want sacks. You just have to stay on track. You can’t get frustrated, because it’s easy to do. You just stay on the road and eventually, things start opening up like last week and you really start playing.”
Running Backs’ Coach Deland McCullough
4. What was the reaction you received from the story ESPN did about you and how did you feel about the whole thing?
MCCULLOUGH: “I felt great about it. I thought it was a great story, a great blessing for me and my family. Having ESPN do a first-class rendition of it and putting it out there with so many pieces they couldn’t cover, just because of time, but the response has been outstanding. There’s not a day that goes by since the story came out that someone hasn’t reached out to me who has been touched by it. That’s the point of [why we did it] – because it was such a blessing to me and my family, and I thought other people could get something from it too. It was great.”
Quarterbacks’ Coach Mike Kafka
5. You were the first guy to work with Patrick Mahomes and develop him along, what kind of growth have you seen from him from when he first got here to now?
KAFKA: “I think Pat is taking it day-by-day. He is working on the little things like his footwork, progressions and all the little intricate things of the offense that we ask him to do. The more reps he’s gotten with the group, he has just taken over and communicated at a high level with those guys and taken that group along with him and they’ve all gotten on the same page.”