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Andy Reid: "We're striving to be great"

Posted Jan 5, 2014

The team's head coach evaluates the 2013 season

OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright, really, I don’t have anything about injuries for you. The guys are going through their physicals now, their exit physicals. I would like to just thank the fans for the great support in which they gave our football team and their football team this season. We didn’t end it the way we wanted it to end. We shoot for Super Bowls. We’re not shooting to be a good football team, we’re shooting to be a great football team. We did just finish the first year, so, we’ll continue to build this to where we make the fans even more proud today of the Chiefs. We’ll learn from this, in a lot of ways we’ll learn from it and be a better team next year, because of some of the experiences—not only that we experienced yesterday—but we experienced throughout the season. We look forward, and it can’t get here soon enough honestly, to getting back into Arrowhead Stadium with the best fans in the National Football League.

I’d like to thank you guys (media) for the job you did too. I know you don’t have an easy job, I got it. Every day is not a bed of roses for you, I got that too. But I do appreciate you bearing with me. I’m not known for being a great interview, I got that. (I’m) a little dry and you guys make that work and I appreciate that part.

As far as yesterday goes, it’s final. It hits you just like you get hit upside the head with a bat. It hits you hard and it should hit you hard. You’ve worked very hard and put a lot of hours into getting to this point and then for it to be that sudden, for the way that the game played out, I don’t think as players and coaches (we) feel that it was acceptable. When you have a lead like that, you have to finish it and take care of business there. Like I said, we’ll learn from that and get better from that.

As far as changes on staff and that, I know that there have been some reports out there that people are leaving and going other places, I really don’t have any information on that for you right now. We’ll just see how it goes. It’s just that time of the year. No team stays the same, players and/or coaches. We have free agents on this team, who comes back; it’s too soon to tell on that. I really don’t have information on that for you either. We just know that things happen in this league and there are changes that take place. That’s what makes it so unique. That was this team. This was the Kansas City Chiefs of this year and not everybody will be back next year, that’s just how it goes. Those players that were part of this that move on, I wish them the best. I had the chance to talk to them this morning and I said just what I’m saying to you. I wish them the best. If coaches have opportunities or personnel people have opportunities to go other places, I wish them the best too, that they’re successful.

Then it’s important that we put together a solid offseason. It’s right around the corner. What seems like a long time from now that we play, it is. Phase one will be cranking up here in no time and then, we’ll be right into phase two and phase three and then training camp is right around the corner. The calendar is done up until I know when the first game is to know when we can start training camp. The rest of the calendar is put together and given to the players, so they know. They need to take a little time off right now and get themselves back both mentally and physically. The guys that are hurt or who possibly need offseason surgeries or who have already had surgeries, they need to make sure they take care of their business there. With that, I appreciate everything.”

Q: Will there be changes on the staff because you want them or because they have different opportunities?

REID: “No, there won’t be changes on the staff. No.”

Q: What are the reasons you have struggled in closing out games?

REID: “Obviously, we didn’t make enough plays offensively to score more points and we gave up too many plays. I think it was all the way around. We didn’t establish the field position we needed to in the second half, or maintain the field position. That’s really what it comes down to a majority of the time in most games, just kind of summing it up and giving you a generalization.”

Q: Why did the defense go from the best in the league the first nine weeks to the worst in the league?

REID: “I think we gave up too many big plays. That’s what it came down to. That’s what you saw if you look at the different stats, that’s really where it points to. You can’t do that. You have an aggressive-style defense; you have to have an aggressive attitude with it. You can’t afford to give up big plays and we’re all a part of it.”

Q: Chuck Pagano said he knew what you were going to do on first and second downs. Were you too predictable on defense?

REID: “I don’t think so. I could probably sit here and poke one of those at Chuck (Pagano), too. I don’t think it’s probably a right thing for a head coach to say. I don’t think anybody knows exactly what the other person is doing on a given down. I looked at it and I’m not sure that was as predictable. They made some big plays. To answer your first part, we did try to mix things up a bit; things happened there.”

Q: Is there something to be said about a turnaround in your first year?

REID: “That’s a great question. It’s a mixed answer for you. I’m never satisfied, number one, until you get that trophy and then you’re not satisfied and you’re going to go try and get another one. I’m proud of the guys that hung together. Every season presents you highs and lows and I’m proud of the guys that hung together and worked hard to go from 2-14 to our record this year. I’m proud of that. I’m proud of John Dorsey and his crew. I’m not overlooking that. I’m not satisfied to be standing here telling you the season is over. I’m not cool with that. I don’t like that feeling (and) neither do the guys. But, I can’t overlook the fact, and I know you guys haven’t done that either, you can’t overlook the fact that as we stood here last year, I was talking to you in a different way, being new and the team hadn’t done very well. They were holding on to the worst record in the National Football League. There were a lot of guys that went into turning this thing around and I’m proud of that. That effort that went into that, that’s not an easy thing to do. I don’t want to overlook that. That’s not an easy thing to do. I want to mention the fans, the fan support (is) huge. The people in this building, Clark Hunt and the people that he hired is huge. Everybody working together, you take that for granted. That’s not how it always is. Guys working together to change a mindset. Players changing a mindset, the want to, the trust. That’s huge; it can’t be overlooked at all.”

Q: What would you say the identity of this Chiefs team was?

REID: “That they’re going to battle you. They kind of came in that way. They checked their egos at the door and they were going to battle you. It didn’t always turn out right, but a majority of them did. I sat there and talked to them this morning and there were a lot of long faces. There weren’t guys laughing and high-fiving and all that. That wasn’t going on then. It was a bunch of guys with their heart ripped out. I can work with that. I can handle that. We’ll get better, because of that. It should hurt. It’ll make us better. That’s how they did, they gave it up, unconditionally, they gave it up, and said, ‘Hey, show us what we need to do to be better’ and they did that every day. They tried to do that every day.”

Q: You’re pass-to-run ratio was 28 to 10 in second half; would you do that again, looking back on it?

REID: “I would have done whatever it took to win the game, so, obviously, we didn’t win the game. I thought I was getting the ball in the hands of the guys that I thought were the best players and trying to get that accomplished and with that, when you play that team, they’ve come back on other teams, so I kept that in mind. I wanted to make sure we stayed very aggressive with it. I’m telling you this, we didn’t win the game, so that can be questioned, however you want to take it. You can question it either way. I did what I thought was the right thing to put points on the board and it didn’t work. We only put 13 points on the board in the second half, so it wasn’t enough. We needed more. We were about four inches away from getting a couple more on there. Those are the parts that hurt. We were close, right down to it.”

Q: What was your advice to the players on how to process this loss?

REID: “They should feel the hurt. You have to feel it, that’s part of being human. If you’re going to get any better, you have to find out what you’re doing wrong, so you can get better at it. So, don’t hide that and same with the coaches. Surely, you’re not pointing towards (anyone), that’s other peoples’ jobs. They can point; you get better individually as a player and a coach (if you) find a weakness and strengthen that. Then, with that said and done, you did a heck of a thing by changing this thing around. It’s hard to see right now, through the emotions, but you did a heck of a thing. I mention this to you guys, just like I mentioned to the team, we’re not striving to be good, we’re striving to be great. Right now we’re good, not great. We have to take some steps to go forward there. In the meantime, get away from the game a little bit to make sure that you step back, so you can step forward, during phase one, phase two and phase three.”

Q: Do you take a step back before you can take a step forward?

REID: “Immediately, what we’ll do is we’ll go through and evaluate our talent. We’ll put together evaluations, end-of-year evaluations of players. Then, I will step back and take some time.”

Q: Did you feel like a playoff win would have been validation for this season?

REID: “Yeah sure, we were trying to win a playoff game. I don’t know what that validates; you want to win the Super Bowl. (That) is what you’re doing. That’s kind of what we were striving for. The record is going to stand as what the record is. We’re not one of those 32 teams, and really 31 teams that are not going to be happy at the end of the year. I think that you can’t, it’s like sweet-and-sour pork, here, you can’t forget where you were and where you’ve come to. Then, you also have to be strong enough to say where we need to go and you can’t hide anything then. You have to look right in the mirror and figure it out. You have to know exactly what you need to move forward.”

Q: Tamba Hali said that when the team was 9-0, people started to take things for granted. Do you agree?

REID: “I didn’t have that feeling. There are times in this business and in life, where you fight being a human. In this business you have to fight like crazy, those moments. We’re all individuals, so, we weren’t taking surveys at that time, but there were times, where you just have to go, you know what, we’re not going there. This little human feeling, we’re not going there. In this business, you have to do that, there are all kinds of things you have to do. I never sensed that, but he said it, so, obviously, he sensed it. You just have to fight through that.”

Q: Is that hard to fight through?

REID: “Yeah, you have to fight through it, if that’s what you’re feeling, you have to fight through it.”

Q: Why did you call the timeout at the two-minute warning?

REID: “I felt like, well, we had them line up, right, and I got a look at exactly what they were going to do; I thought that that was important at that time. We had a chance to see what we were going to need to do there.”

Q: What is the biggest deficiency to correct from this season?

REID: “I probably need just a bit of time to go back through and put everything together. It’s probably too soon to give you that whole thing, before I take a little time to analyze it. I would probably leave it at that.”

Q: What is your overall assessment of the coaching staff and how this organization has improved from last year?

REID: “I mean, really what I’m saying here is that I’m proud of them for that. I’m proud of them for making that change, that’s not an easy thing to do. There’s just not a lot of teams that do that in the National Football League, in the history of the National Football League. That’s just not something that takes place. We have to understand that. On the other hand, we need to get better. Like I said, we’re good, we’re not great. I think everybody starting with our fans, Clark Hunt, everybody in the organization are striving to be great, so now let’s go do that. Whatever walls or little things are in there, let’s go fix that, right there.”

Q: How close is this team to being great?

REID: “There’s a fine line, I’ve said this before, there’s a very fine line between winning and losing in the National Football League. You’re talking about the best in the world at what these guys do. So, how close are you? I would tell you it’s a fine line; it’s a fine line between being good and great. You have to be able to step it up a notch to get there. How do you measure that? You measure that obviously by production.”

Q: How do you get past this organization’s record of losing in the postseason?

REID: “We’ll get past it. We’ll get past it. We’re going to fight our tail off to make sure that not only do we get past that, but we get a championship here; anything less, that’s not what we’re striving for.”

Q: Is finishing games a mindset?

REID: “We make no excuses. We lost however many of our players, I was asked that question, and that kind of leads into that. We don’t make any excuses for that. It comes down to making plays and making sure you put players in the right position to make plays; that’s really what it comes down to. The other things, I think, are going to the excuse category. There’s no reason that should have happened yesterday, other than those couple of things there. Both sides of the ball made plays and put the players in the position to makes plays.”

Q: Was a 61-yard field goal attempt out of the question, at the end?

REID: “Yeah, we were four inches away from completing that ball right at the 15-yard line, with our best receiver on their nickel corner, so, I expected to make that play.”

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