MP: Well, first of all, let’s just – obviously the Chiefs – we’ve got a huge challenge in front of us here. They’re the hottest team in the league coming in, great win streak, great team play by these guys, an offense that’s really doing a great job of managing the game, getting the ball distributed to the receivers and skill players, a quarterback who’s very dangerous, very smart, very fast, very athletic, can get the ball downfield. If you really look at this guy in the critical situations of the game, he really shows up as far as taking over, whether it’s a run-game situation where he’s got the option to keep the ball, or it’s a pass-game situation where he can make plays with his feet, extend, get out, keep the drives going, got-to-have-it type of situations. He’s very, very dangerous. [It’s a] big challenge with him, got to keep him in the pocket, make sure he doesn’t scramble around on us and get out and control the game that way so big challenge there. The tight end positon, [Travis] Kelce, really dangerous guy, big catch radius. We saw that first hand last year and tremendous actually run-after-catch, does a great job there. They’ll play a lot of different personnel groups, put different guys in the game, move them around, a lot of formationing and things like that. Coach [Andy] Reid and his staff do a great job of game planning week-in, week-out and putting the defense in a lot of different stressful situations. Obviously [Jeremy] Maclin is another great player for them. They’re just steady at the running back position. They’re going to mix those guys in there – [Charcandrick] West, [Spencer] Ware, [Knile] Davis – they’ll put them in the game and kind of keep pounding with the run game to control the clock, a very balanced offense. They really do an excellent job of, like I said, running the offense, distributing the ball. They’ve got a smart quarterback, makes a lot of plays. They’ve got some good skill players. They can hand it off, they can control the game from that aspect. They don’t turn the ball over very much. They’re doing all the right things that they need to do to win, and that’s why they’ve been so successful.
Q: What can you take away from your recent experience interviewing with the Cleveland Browns organization?
MP: Really for me, this is all about Kansas City right now. That’s where my focus is and that’s kind of where my attention is. [I’m] just talking about Kansas City.
Q: Is it accurate to say that the run blocking from the Kansas City offensive line hasn’t skipped a beat despite the rotating running backs they’ve used this season?
MP: That is correct. It’s definitely a philosophy – Andy Reid and his system – to keep giving the ball and find different ways to run the ball. They do a good job of changing the run plays up week-in, week-out so a particular set of runs that you might see one week on film, you might get a different set the next week. You’re going to see an element of the read-option obviously with the quarterback who is very dangerous, who can get the ball out in space. With that offense and with that run play, they create an extra gap in the front and then force you to really try and defend that with one less player defensively. I think that’s evident in their rushing yards this year and how well they average in the run game, along with the production on early downs and along with their production on big plays in the run game when you see the ball get outside on the edge or break through the middle and it’s a big gain, large gain, where the balls going downfield. I think they’re just steady and consistent with it. I think he sticks with it. He stays with the run game. He understands that that’s going to set up the rest of his offense and it’s really just the system as far as him calling the plays. Kansas City’s one of the most balanced offenses that we face. They just do a great job of understanding the run-pass tendencies that they have and keeping it very balanced so it’s a conscious effort by them to put a point of emphasis on the run game and make sure they are running the ball.
Q: What kind of strategies can be used to try and slow down Travis Kelce and is it helpful to have a guy like Rob Gronkowski on your team to try and prepare for that?
MP: Well I mean, definitely we see a very good tight end in practice every day so that’s great, very challenging for us, but there’s a lot of good tight ends in the league. He’s certainly one of the better ones and one of the guys that’s most productive. It’s a big challenge for us. We obviously just have to do a great job, whatever the design of the defense it is that we’re going to run, just making sure we know where he’s at and account for him, just understanding that you can’t lose him somewhere in the scheme or in the system and make sure we know where he’s at.
Q: What has Jeremy Maclin added to their offense that you’ve seen thus far?
MP: Yeah, I mean just fast, quick, great ball skills, good route-runner, gets open, finds open space, a very savvy veteran-type receiver, great speed. Like I said, good hands, can go up and get the ball and just an overall real problem. They’ll mix him in to some different types of plays whether it’s handing the ball off or putting him through the backfield, obviously downfield crossers, run-and-catch type plays, so they really use him in a lot of different ways. That’s always difficult when you’ve got a great skill player like that that’s going to be kind of aligned or moved all over the field and then also designed to get the ball in a bunch of different ways. That’s kind of the biggest challenge when he’s out there, is to figure out where he’s at, how he’s getting the ball, we’ve got to be alert for him to get the ball, and then in the end being able to get on him and go up and make a play because he does a great job of going up and getting the ball and plucking it out of the air. We’ve just got to do a good job on him.