How do you balance the fact that you’re a quarterback who’s only started nine games and is still figuring stuff out in the NFL with what you were able to do at the end of last year and the contract that you were able to sign? It seems like they’re kind of dichotomous.
“I really don’t think about it too much, honestly. We have a lot of things going on in here, a lot of good things, the game plan is going in and so we’ve got enough going on in our heads that If we start worrying about those outside things we’ll be in trouble.”
Do you feel any additional pressure though, knowing now that you’re the guy? Last year you had to still at certain points prove it, even though they made a trade for you.
“I think it’s good to have a mindset of you hold yourself to a high standard. So, when you do that, you want to perform at your best. You try to not make any mistakes and do the best you can for the team.”
Speaking of pressure, do you feel less now that Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes has replaced you as the greatest quarterback ever?
“I’ve heard a lot of good things about him, yeah. He’s been playing great the first two weeks. You’ve got to tip your hat to him. So, it’ll be a battle this Sunday.”
When you look at the six sacks, is there anything consistent there that you kind of have to learn from? Was it coverage? Do you have to get rid of the ball a little sooner? What did you see there?
“Well, I think they’re all a little different. Each one is kind of its own scenario. During the game, whatever coverage it was, they were all different, so it’s a lot of little things. I think we’re working as a group offensively to sure those things up and I’ve got to help the O-Line out and get rid of the ball.”
This morning, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid was talking to us about the value of Patrick sitting a year. Obviously, you did something similar for even longer. What was the value in that for you, looking back now and getting that opportunity to kind of wait?
“I think it’s tremendous for a quarterback to sit his first year. You get to sit there and see a guy, if you’re lucky, like I got to watch [New England Patriots QB] Tom [Brady], Patrick got to watch [Washington Redskins QB] Alex [Smith], two successful quarterbacks and how they do it. You kind of try to put yourself in that situation, how to learn from it, what you would do if you were in the spot they were in. There’s a ton of things that you could benefit from and I think if you use it properly, it’s good for you.”
People kind of seem to think it’s an osmosis thing, you happen to be around the guy or that he’s got to hold your hand. How early do you realize, ‘Hey, I’ve got to really invest myself in this to maximize that too,’ and how did you go about it?
“I think every guy, it’s kind of a feel thing. It kind of hits you at one point or another throughout your rookie year. It’s a really good learning experience. Some guys it hits early, some guys it might not hit until your second or third year. When you realize you have to be a pro and hold yourself accountable more than having a coach do it for you. I think once you get to that point, it gives you a chance to be successful.”
Was there a moment that it hit you?
“Yeah, my rookie year, definitely. It was a very eye-opening moment. It’s just something that it’s good that it happened.”
Can you tell us what it is?
“I can’t tell you the whole story, man. Come on.”
As much as the veteran quarterback may help you, they don’t exactly want you taking the job either do they? There’s that competitive thing going on.
“Yeah, of course, especially when there’s only one of you out there. It’s not like it’s a receiver where there’s two, three, four of you out there at a time. But, that’s the nature of the NFL. You have to be competitive, you have to want to compete on a daily basis. I think that’s what makes you great.”
The interception against Minnesota and then the one that was called back against Detroit, they’ve both been chalked up to miscommunications. With going to Kansas City and that atmosphere and the state of this offense, how do you work through those miscommunications so stuff like that doesn’t happen again?
“I think it starts with the week of practice, honestly. We want to go out there and be perfect on every play call, how we hear it, how we communicate with one another in between series, all that stuff. It’s just a lot of little things coming together. We know it’s going to be loud. That place, I played there my rookie year and it was rocking. So, we know what we’re in for.”
Is there an extra emphasis on that this week? It’s obviously always an emphasis, but knowing what the results have been.
“I think every week we put a lot emphasis on it. We want to be perfect and that’s what we’re training to do. You’re never going to be perfect, but that’s what you have to have the mindset of.”
Do you view it as a week by week thing, going back a little bit to the fact that you don’t have a ton of experience, the receivers are young where you’re going to have to build up to it a little bit more?
“Definitely. That’s the NFL season. It’s a week by week thing. Every team throughout the entire season, one week they’re up, one week they’re down type of thing. You want to stay as even keeled as you can. I think we have a good locker room for that. Guys have the right mindset. Coaches come out and work every day. It’s a good group.”
When you have someone as unique as WR Marquise Goodwin in terms of his ability to stretch the field, how difficult of an adjustment can it be without him?
“I think we handled it well. Different guys last week stepping up in different roles than they were used to. Some of the younger guys handling a little more information and things like that. I think we did it well and it will be nice to get him back when we can.”
What’s your read on the opportunities that the Chiefs defense presents?
“They’re a good defense. They have a good scheme that ties together well, things that play off of one another. Some talented guys up front who get after the quarterback and some talented guys in the backend too. So, it’ll be our job to go out there and execute. I think the communication is a big part, getting that started. We’ll go from there.”
Going back to Goodwin, how much does that limit what you guys feel like you can call on a play-by-play basis? Do you see head coach Kyle Shanahan adjusting in real time to not having that guy who can take the safety with him every time he runs up the field?
“Yeah, well we have other guys who can take the top off of a defense. Marquise is a unique speed, but we have some fast guys too. So, yeah I think just mixing and matching, putting guys in the right spots and giving them a chance to be successful. Kyle does a great job of that.”
The connection between you and WR Trent Taylor hasn’t been nearly as productive as it was last season. Are defenses focusing on him more with Goodwin out?
“Not really. I think at certain times maybe, but other times it’s just execution. Coach is putting us in a position to be successful and we have to go out and execute it.”
What stood out to you about RB Matt Breida’s maturation from when you came here last year to now?
“His knowledge. He’s a very smart running back. He knows what he’s looking for in each run, what the read is. If there’s a cutback opportunity pre-snap, he knows it. It’s tying all of that stuff together and I think he’s done a great job of it along with those guys up front giving him room to run.”
What was your view of that 66-yard touchdown run?
“It happened fast. I carried out my fake and everting and I saw him cutting all the way back and I started to run and felt very slow when those guys started to pull away from me. [WR] Pierre [Garçon] was still blocking. So, it was probably the longest run I’ve ever seen on the field.”
Obviously, you want to finish every drive with a touchdown, but what kind of peace of mind does it give you to have a guy like K Robbie Gould, especially you look around the league and guys are missing kicks and he does what he does?
“All three of those guys, [LS] Kyle [Nelson], [P] Bradley [Pinion], Robbie, they’re very consistent with what they do day-in and day-out. They’re good guys to be around, good locker room guys. It makes for a fun time.”
You were in Chicago when Robbie was kicking. You were a Bears fan growing up, right? So you’ve known Robbie Gould, in theory, for a long time.
“I’ve known the name, yeah.”
What’s he like as a teammate and is that kind of weird at all to you that he’s still around?
“I wouldn’t say it’s weird. It’s different, for sure. But, my friends, when they get around, they get a kick out of it. Some of them are still Bears fans.”
Bears fans are still upset, they’re still angry that they let him go.
“Yeah, we’ve got a good one there. But yeah, he’s an awesome guy. Tight-knight guy, keeps guys interacting with one another and it’s good to have that.”
On that touchdown to TE Garrett Celek, it looked like certainly the Lions thought it was going to be a pitch to RB Alfred Morris. Is that the first time you guys have called that play? Is that something you put in in the offseason?
“No, they ran it last year. I don’t know if I threw one last year, but it’s a nice little complement that we had. Celek finished it off.”