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Jamaal Charles: "I know what's at stake"

Posted Dec 31, 2013

Chiefs Pro Bowl RB and teammates talk playoff practice week

There's a different feeling at One Arrowhead Drive this week and it's got nothing to do with the drop in temperature, nor the holiday festivities that continue into the New Year. Instead, it's very much playoff-related and one of the more-discussed topics at Tuesday's press conferences.

Following the team's morning walkthrough, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid addressed reporters, describing how to keep the magnitude of the playoffs in perspective.

"It really comes down that you prepare yourself right," coach Reid said. "At this stage, you're respecting everybody; they're all good teams that are playing this weekend. You go in and you study. You study the opponent, you study the game plan and you go in and get yourself ready, whether you're a veteran or new to the playoffs."

Held out of Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers, Chiefs QB Alex Smith told the media "I definitely feel better today" and then described the team's playoff mindset.

“All week, when I talk about that focus, that’s preparation as well," Smith said. "All week, the mental preparation, all the details that go into this, you just clean all of those things up. You make sure you’re on top of them. There really is no tomorrow. That’s what the mindset is. I think that starts in preparation. This late in the season, physically, you’re trying to stay healthy and get ready. I think the focus, throughout the week, is mental.”

Also not playing last Sunday was Chiefs Pro Bowl RB Jamaal Charles, who enters his first playoff game since the 2010 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.

"I went out my first time and I felt like a rookie and I was excited and I wasn’t careful," Charles recalled. "I fumbled the ball twice in that game. Now, going into it my second time and seeing other people, becoming a vet, I’m 27-years old, I know what’s at stake. I really want this; I really want to go far. And, I know if I have to put the team on my back, I will. I’m really excited to take this role.”

Charles spoke more to the mood around the locker room, instigated by postseason life.

"Everybody's excited," Charles said. "Everybody's happy. It's different now; it's different from playing in the regular season, it's the playoffs. You get goose bumps, you get funny feelings, because this is something special. Most teams wish they were still playing this week, so, it's definitely exciting and different. I'm pumped up, because the playoffs are here and we're in it and now, we just have to take advantage of it."

Paving the way for Jamaal Charles and protecting Alex Smith is the Chiefs offensive line, including Jeff Allen, who described the little things that are required for playoff success.

"It’s going to take a little bit extra, so, you have to be all in," Allen said. "If that means you do an extra rep in the weight room or you spend a little more time watching film, you do whatever it takes. We have a lot of guys in here that work hard and I’m pretty sure they understand what’s at stake, win and you move on, lose and you go home. Everyone has the right attitude around here; I know everyone is going to do what they need to do to put us in position to win the game."

The mood is the same on the defensive side of the ball; Chiefs Pro Bowl CB Brandon Flowers highlighted many ways the Chiefs are embracing the "buy-in mentality".

"Study more," Flowers said. "You never can study too much; try to know your opponents inside and out and just see how they’re trying to attack you. Don’t just watch your position, watch how they’re trying to attack the defense and that can help you on the field. Any way you can help this team, everybody has to buy in and help."

Chiefs Pro Bowl DT Dontari Poe's approach to the week is a lot like that of Flowers and the rest of the team.

"Watch more film," Poe said. "The playoffs heighten everything at this level. We'll be in Lucas Oil Stadium, facing thousands of screaming fans and against the Colts, so, we have to prepare for everything."

The preparation continues on Wednesday, two days before the Chiefs take a flight to Indianapolis, hoping to return with a playoff win and postseason momentum in hand.

For a look at the best images from previous Chiefs playoff games, click here.

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