Andy Reid not holding anything back as Chiefs prepare for Colts
Andy Reid’s usual refrain when he opens up his news conference for questions is a tried and true the time is yours. However, this week the overall message from the Chiefs’ head coach in regard to past playoff losses seemed to be the angst is yours.
That nervous feeling, uncontrollable dread, inability to remain optimistic despite recent success, that belongs to you Chiefs fans — and you alone. At least that’s what Reid would like to believe as his team, the AFC’s top seed in the NFL playoffs, prepares to host the Indianapolis Colts this weekend at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Colts, having beaten the Houston Texans on the road last weekend, will come to Kansas City buoyed by postseason history. They’ve beaten the Chiefs in each of their previous playoff games: in 1996, 2004, 2007 and 2014.
When asked if that history looms over the current Chiefs, Reid said, “I don’t think so. They’re a good football team. Like I’ve said before, every year is different in this league, and every team is different. So you don’t spend a lot of time with that, you get ready for the game and go through the process of getting ready for it. I think that’s most important.”
“I’m sure there is talk, but that’s not where we’re at right now. We’re trying to just get ready to play.”
The 2014 meeting between the Chiefs and Colts, which came at the end of Reid’s first season with the team, represents a particularly bitter pill for Chiefs fans to choke down. After all, a 28-point lead disintegrated in the second half on the way to a 45-44 Colts win in Indianapolis. The goodwill and optimism of an 11-5 regular season came crashing down.
Despite the ever-changing, fast-paced world of the NFL, a few members of that Chiefs team remain with the club now.
Fullback Anthony Sherman, safety Eric Berry, outside linebacker Justin Houston, defensive lineman Allen Bailey, safety Ron Parker, tackle Eric Fisher, guard Jeff Allen, outside linebacker Frank Zombo and punter Dustin Colquitt were all part of that squad. Tight end Travis Kelce was part of the team but only appeared in one game that year and spent most of the season on injured reserve.
Reid didn’t feel the need to address those particular demons or any others with this team, instead choosing to try to direct all efforts and energy to this Saturday’s game, and only that game.
“No, you move on,” Reid said. “Those are history. You don’t go back on that. You’re always moving forward in this thing. That’s what we’re doing.”
While a core group of players were part of that 2013 team that fell in the 2014 playoffs in Indianapolis, players such as quarterback Patrick Mahomes, wide receiver Tyreek Hill, outside linebacker Dee Ford and defensive lineman Chris Jones, along with a healthy Kelce, have helped inject a different degree of swagger to the current roster.
Last week, Mahomes spoke to two potentially significant differences. First, the obvious changes in the roster from five years ago. Second, the fact that playoff opponents will have to come play on the Chiefs’ turf.
“I think a playoff run in general would mean a ton to everyone in this community, including us,” he said. “I know with the history and stuff like that, but at the same time, we are a different generation. I am ready to go out there and win football games at Arrowhead. I’m excited for that opportunity and know the guys in this locker room are excited to go out there and play at Arrowhead and win games.”
All-Pro right tackle Mitchell Schwartz was not on that 2013 team, though his brother, Geoff, was. Schwartz joined the Chiefs in 2016 after four seasons with the Browns. He used his sarcastic wit to shoot down the idea of those past games having any influence, emotionally or otherwise, on the current Chiefs during a Twitter Q&A on Sunday.
“Yes the 2013 playoff game when Pat was in high school affects our upcoming game this week tremendously,” Schwartz wrote, “Come on man.”
Progress: On Monday, Reid gave what has been his standard line on players who’ve been working their way back from injuries. They’re “making progress.”
“Sammy (Watkins), Eric (Berry), Spencer (Ware), they’re all heading forward,” Reid said. “Larry’s making progress. We got a little time here with Larry (Laurent Duvernay-Tardif) to see how he does this week.”
Watkins (foot) hasn’t played since the 11th game of the season, against the Los Angeles Rams, while Ware (hamstring) last played against the Ravens on Dec. 9. Berry (heel) missed the final week of the regular season after having played in just two games all season. Duvernay-Tardif suffered a Maisonneuve fracture (spiral fracture of the fibula) against the Jaguars on Oct. 7.
Duvernay-Tardif, who’d been on injured reserve, returned to practice during the week leading up to the regular-season finale against the Oakland Raiders. The Chiefs do not have to decide until after this weekend’s game whether or not to active him, though they could decide before that.
The team is due to release an injury report Tuesday. Players will not have a designated game status until Thursday.