HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
"Wednesday practice. Since we talked last time, once you get to the practice field – we have some injuries. I think most of you know that. Dameon Pierce has an ankle injury. Nico Collins, Brandin Cooks, Derek Stingley, all those guys are getting better. Exactly when they'll be back on the football field, we don't know. It was good to get Jonathan Greenard, I know he practiced last week, back into the mix. A few guys can't go, a few guys getting back on the roster. I think we're no different than anybody else this time of year. We're playing the top offense in football in the NFL with stars. Very good defense. Last week I said we're playing a team that has a very good chance to win it all. Of course, I'm saying the same thing this week. We know what's at stake. For us though, playing better, finishing, building on some of the good things we did last week is of course where we are."
With RB Dameon Pierce sidelined, how do you approach that offensively?
"First off, if Dameon can't go, we know what he's been to our offense this year. He's one of the best running backs in football. There would be a void. When a player can't go, the void is sealed by others. We look to all options. Our running back position right now or what we can do at other positions. If you talk to most other positions when you lose a great player like that, need more from those positions. Need more from our offensive line. All of those things. We're working through the game plan right now. We feel like we have a plan, so we'll go from there."
What makes Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes so difficult to deal with?
"To say one thing, got a great arm, baseball background. Can make all the throws. I wouldn't say he's a 4.3 (40-yard dash) guy, but the way he moves around the pocket, some guys move around, scramble, to pick up yardage running it. I think he's as good as anyone of staying in the pocket, moving around and being able to get his balls off, make the throws, sometimes in non-traditional ways. The ball can come from (a different arm slot). We can kind of read the eyes. We're a zone team a lot of the time, kind of based on breaking where you think he's throwing the ball, and that's pretty hard with him. He can just do it all, and he's got a history in the league now of that. When you have a player like that, it makes everyone look better. Their tight end (Travis Kelce) is as good as there is in football. That combination is pretty hard. No one has – you try and control it as much as you possibly can."
On RB Rex Burkhead and RB Dare Ogunbowale?
"As a general rule, it's hard to get three running backs involved. And for us, we've been focusing in on – it's sometimes hard to get one running back involved. You mentioned Rex (Burkhead), Dare (Ogunbowale), both of those guys have had success in the league. There's a reason why they've dressed in every game when they've been healthy. So you start with those two options. It's safe to say those guys are going to be a part of what we do running game-wise, and we'll look for other options too."
What went into releasing RB Eno Benjamin?
"Once a player is not on our team, I try not to talk too much about it when they move on. We just thought we need to go a different direction. Just going to leave it at that. Sometimes divorce is a good thing."
What do you remember about Chiefs S Justin Reid?
"What I remember is, heck of a football player, smart football player, athletic, loves football. Justin Reid and I will have a lifetime relationship. I consider him a friend too. I know the type of play. I know he's playing excellent football for them. He can tackle. He checks off all the boxes when you're looking for a good safety."
Are there any similarities you see in DB Jalen Pitre and Chiefs S Justin Reid?
"Justin Reid is an excellent football player for all the reasons I said. Yes, some similar comments on Jalen Pitre except for that he's a rookie and hasn't played in the league for a long period of time. He has a great intellect for the position just like Justin does. He knows how important it is to take the football away. He's getting more and more comfortable back in his position. I think he's (Jalen Pitre) going to be a great player in our league for a long period of time."
Can you share some thoughts on the passing of coach Mike Leach?
"When we leave this earth, I think all of us would, if we could listen to what people are saying about us. I've seen and heard some of the comments that were said about Mike (Leach), and I have similar comments. In 1997, I think it was, we did a clinic together in Las Vegas. A memorable clinic together in Las Vegas. I was the linebacker coach at Tampa at the time, and Mike was the offensive coordinator at the University of Oklahoma. We had a friend that was working for the city of Las Vegas, so this was my first chance to be a headliner to speak to, I thought at the time, 600 to 700 high school coaches out in Las Vegas. The guy who invited us was a friend of both of ours. We both flew out there ready to give this big clinic, and the night before the clinic, our friend told us, 'Hey, we got the dates wrong, and I don't know if anyone is going to show up tomorrow.' We enjoyed the night getting to know each other. The next morning, we went there in the morning and six coaches showed up to the clinic. Mike Leach put on the best quarterback clinic you can put on. I felt like I did a pretty good job defensively. So, that's when I first met him, and we've been friends since then. I think every time through the years that we've seen someone that we know, we talk about each other, and we talk about that story. But he was a great coach and did so much for our game. That's been said. He'll be missed."
Why was OL Laremy Tunsil not at practice today?
"He is sick. Should be good to go. This time of the year, you have some of those cold and flu symptoms going around. Guys will miss a few of days, but he should be good to go."
Have you learned anything from WR Chris Moore's recent performances to where you might be able to utilize him in different ways?
"We've been trying to use all of the weapons in the best way we feel like we could to win and to give us the best chance to have success offensively. It seems like Chris Moore has been – your role changes from week to week. A special teams guys, give us a little bit, a few offensive reps. Other games, I know last year, maybe it was the Chargers game, we asked him to have a bigger role. To answer your question, every time we've asked him to have a bigger role in the offense, we've got those type of results. It seems like he's getting better and better. Of course, right up until this last game he had his best game as a Texan. You need guys like that on your team. They can do an awful lot for you. I'm just happy to see him have that kind of success."
QB DAVIS MILLS
Do you think the offense will be able to find success against the Chiefs defense?
"I hope so. Like I said, after this past game, anything we can do to switch up the looks and keep defenses guessing, I think that's advantageous for us. Just going out there and moving the football is what we're trying to do."
When the two-quarterback system was presented to you last week, what was your reaction?
"We felt good about it. Obviously, both of us have the mindset whatever we can do to help the team win games. That's what we're doing. If they use the both-quarterback system, we're trying to move the ball and score touchdowns. That's our main focus."
How much of a challenge does Chiefs DT Chris Jones and their front present?
"He's a really good player, and he's shown that for years and years now. It's something we have to keep focused on, but our offensive line has stepped up extremely well and handled the challenges all year. It's just like any other week."
Are you looking forward to seeing Chiefs S Justin Reid, your former teammate?
"Yeah, it will be cool. I've played against him for years now. Here at practice, he was with us, and even back in my Stanford days when I was running scout team my freshman year there. It will be fun seeing a former teammate."
Is it a different preparation to play a full game versus preparing to play with two quarterbacks?
"I don't think it's too different. Obviously you're preparing in the gameplan and making sure you're on top of all the details, and you're able to go out and execute your job once you are given the chance. I don't think there's any difference between playing the whole entire game or playing only a couple of snaps. There's not really a big difference."
Did you know WR Amari Rodgers during the draft process? What have you seen from him?
"I knew Amari (Rodgers) just kind of around and recruiting back in high school. I think I played his team on seven-on-seven maybe my junior year in a tournament up in Knoxville. I think he's done extremely well coming in and picking up the offense really fast, being able to go out there and make plays. He's able to move around in different positions which is rare for a receiver to come in and do that. A lot of times people come in and only learn one spot, but he's able to move around and learn a bunch of different roles. It makes it easier for us to find ways to get him the ball."
Did you have certain plays, downs or formations on Sunday where you knew which quarterback would play?
"There were different thoughts and different situations. A lot of third-down stuff, red zone stuff. We each had plays in different situations. Ultimately, it was up to Pep (Hamilton) to try to find the best plays with each given player, so that's what we were both prepared for."
What did you think of your offensive line's performance against the Dallas defense?
"They did extremely well. I don't think there were any QB pressures when I was in there. I thought they were very efficient. Props to them, props to the running backs for stepping up and helping out in protection as well. A lot of plays made by the receivers to get open on time, so I was able to get the ball out and take some of the pressure off the offensive line as well."
What is your approach to the run game without RB Dameon Pierce?
"Dameon (Pierce) is a great player. It's going to be tough not having him this week, but we have a lot of guys who are talented and ready to step up in that room and make plays. It's kind of that next man up mentality. We're ready for anyone to go up and start taking those touches."
What gives you confidence in RB Rex Burkhead and RB Dare Ogunbowale?
"Being with them every day gives confidence. We know exactly what they're capable of. We know they're going to go out there and do the right thing. Both of those guys are very talented, and they're able to win their one-on-ones."
What do you recall about RB Rex Burkhead's career-game versus the Los Angeles Chargers last year?
"I remember that was a full team win, offense, defense, and special teams. When Rex (Burkhead) had the ball, there were some plays where the offensive line opened up holes and allowed him to run through. Then, there were a couple of plays where Rex put the team on his back, made people miss, popped off some big runs. I know the big run he had there might have been one or two guys in the backfield unblocked and he was able to make both of them miss and run for a big run. A lot of it's in the scheme, but sometimes when you get in the NFL you have to make a play. Both of those guys are very capable of that, so we're excited to see what they can do."
Are there things you can do as the quarterback to make sure the team is staying positive?
"Yeah. The quarterback, all the leaders on the team, making sure everyone is coming in with the same mindset. Everyone is focused on winning games, can't let anything outside of that distract you from what our job is, to come in here and put our best foot forward each day in hopes of winning games on Sundays."
Have you seen the team keep a positive attitude through this tough time?
"Yeah. It's frustrating not getting the results you want any weekend, but everyone here is professionals. Everyone here knows what we need to do to go out there and win games. For the majority, it's positive, very optimistic that we're going to go out there and win games."
What was the relationship like with QB Jeff Driskel during the game? Was that fun to interact with him?
"There's a lot of back-and-forth on the sideline, making sure we were seeing things the same, kind of bouncing ideas off each other. Obviously, our play calls weren't the exact same, so we're not seeing the exact looks. From the mind of the quarterback, a lot of times you can only relate to what other quarterbacks are thinking. When you have somebody to talk to who's also getting live reps, live bullets flying at them in the game, it helps."
On your plays, what can improve in the quarterback run game?
"Biggest thing is just going out and executing. I didn't know the exact stats of run versus pass when I was in and what the play calls were. Both of our jobs are to just go in and move the ball. Make sure we're staying in advantageous situations, staying out of obvious passing scenarios and going down and trying to find ways to get points."
Does it give you confidence how successful the offense was on third down?
"Yeah. Every week is a challenge in its own. But like I said and like you just said, anytime we can find ourselves in third-and-shorts, third-and-mediums, stay out of those third-and-long passing situations, that's what we want to do so we can sustain drives."
How impressed have you been with WR Chris Moore in the absence of WR Nico Collins and WR Brandin Cooks?
"Chris (Moore) has done an excellent job stepping up and being able to play multiple positions. If guys go down, he's able to make a lot of plays. He and I have had really good chemistry in times like this, where guys have gone down and he's had the ability to step up. He continues to show that he's going to make a lot of plays."
Do you think WR Chris Moore has been effective?
"He's a great player. Runs really good routes, had good hands, finds a way to separate at the catch point."
What did you notice from yourself and your ability to pass down field in the Cowboys game?
"Those were just good looks for us to push the ball down field. I know there's one go-ball on the right to Chris (Moore), and then there was a scramble late in the game on the final drive. I think those were probably the two deep balls. Other than that, it just comes organically in the offense. The more we can do, the more things will come open on different plays. We just want to continue to stay effective and continue switching up the looks."
Was there any change in recognition that your felt in yourself?
"I think the big thing like I talked about last week is my mindset, the checklist you do pre-snap, shaping your thoughts, the acronym we always talk about in the quarterback room. Once the ball is snapped, simplify it, know your read, know exactly what you're looking for. If nothing's open downfield, find a way to get the ball to the check down."
How much did the two-quarterback system help you make in-game adjustments?
"While we were efficient during the game, you don't have to make a ton on in game adjustments as long as you're moving the football. Obviously, you want to stay ahead of what the defense is thinking in terms of play calling and execution. If you're moving the football, there's not much you need to change. We hope to keep it that way moving forward and continue to go out there and be efficient on offense."