Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: "First off, I give credit to that team. It is a good team. It is coached very well. They obviously played well in situations down the stretch. In terms of our own team, I am proud of a lot of things we put on the field today. There are a lot of ways we want to play the game that showed up on the field today. The ways we practiced carried over. Ultimately it was not enough. We have to eliminate the mistakes we make down the stretch. We can't allow a team like this to have extra opportunities. We can't rob opportunities from ourselves with break downs in focus. We have to make sure we do a better job than that. In terms of players themselves, we will get them in. We will clean up mistakes. We will see what we did well. We will move on to the Raiders as soon as we get that done."
Q: What does the Oshane Ximines penalty do for moral that late in the game?
A: "You just can't have penalties like that. Point blank. Or any penalties we had. That comes down to how we execute on the field and make sure we coach it better so that doesn't happen again. We have to do a better job all the way around. There were some situations that came up throughout the game that we make sure to eliminate to give ourselves a better chance of success."
Q: Was Kadarius Toney limited or on a pitch count this game before his injury?
A: "I would not call it a pitch count, but we were structuring it based on how he did in practice this week. Things we're doing. We built him up as we were going through the games. He had the hand issue and then he was able to come back."
Q: What happened in the first half with your time outs?
A: "The headsets were going out. We are having headset issues. This has happened in every game so far. We deal with the league and they keep telling us there are different software updates or whatever it is, but we had to call two timeouts today because we were trying to send the deals in personnel wise and you got half of the headsets not getting reception. That is the issue right there. We are trying to make the right call. There were other times it was not the right look. I wanted to make sure we settled down, but the other one with the substitution right there, that is a breakdown. We have to make sure the hardware is working. So whatever the issue with that is, the people involved better get it fixed fast."
Q: Was that in the last few minutes of the first half?
A: "There were a couple of scenarios. That was just how things were playing out based on situations. There were two times today where the headsets were an issue. We will do hand signals or whatever we have to do. If we can't rely on the equipment, we will figure something else out. At one point, we tried to go back to the old equipment, and they told us we were not allowed to do it for whatever reason. We didn't have issues with it last year for the most part. Hopefully we will figure that out."
Q: Is it a home and away issue?
A: "I have had it at every single stadium this year home and away. I have had issues personally."
Q: Is that your staff?
A: "I don't want to make this all about headsets. I would say this. Whoever is in charge of it. I don't know the exact answer. I don't know if it comes from the league or us exactly, but they better fix it fast. That is it. We get the communication back that these things are an issue and then we get told they have adjusted this, they have done this, whatever it is. We have tried to adjust and use different hardware. It has not been allowed. We will keep on moving on. Look, I don't want to make this about stupid headsets. That is not what this is about. That was not the fact. We have to do other things on our own to make sure we have success."
Q: Where do all the mistakes come from in the last half of the last quarter?
A: "I don't have a blanket answer for that right there. I will look at each one individually and make sure that we just go ahead and make sure we have the techniques correct and have guys making the right decisions at that moment in time. We can't have those things come up."
Q: How frustrating was it to not take more advantage of the struggling Chiefs defense?
A: "I think there were a lot of things the offense did positive tonight. We strung some drives together. We knew the kind of game plan we wanted to play on our terms tonight. For a large part, we did. For a large part, we came in and said this is the kind of game we have to play tonight, offensively and defensively and the kicking game. We knew what kind of game it was going to be. They are a very talented team, very well coached. We anticipated a lot of the answers they were going to have and we had our kind of change ups ready for what they were going to. There was a lot of situational ball going back and forth. A lot of good coaching adjusts. A lot of good execution adjustments on the field. In terms of how all three phases played, until I see the tape with specific adjustments and changes, there was a lot positive tonight. Obviously, it was not enough in the long run."
Q: Why not use your last time out around 2:35….
A: "Once you get under 2:46, you really don't want to use your last time out because of the way it plays out. I started calling them earlier. We were not able to stop them once they got into field goal range, so I held the last one for a later situation. In terms of how we managed the time right there, getting the ball back with a little over a minute and no timeouts, that is about what you are looking at right there. You can use them before or after. There are different ways of using it. We calculated what the time was going to be, but there are certain periods within the game when you are in that four-minute mode. They were trying to run the clock down and you are trying to stop and get a two-minute drive right there that you want to be safe about when you do it on all. A lot of it ties into if you use that last timeout, can you force them into snapping it and second time after that before the two-minute warning."
Q: Why do you think your team struggles to finish games late?
A: "We are focused on playing all 60 minutes of football and execute every play throughout it and not worry about this one little label right here. We have to do a lot things along the way to put us in a better situation down that stretch right there. We have to finish games better by playing the first 59 minutes and 59 seconds the right way."
Q: On special teams disappointments…
A: "We have also played our special teams a number of times where it has benefitted the team in terms of football as well. You have to go out there and execute. Each situation is unique. It is different. You have to make sure that you have the right focus, the right technique, the right execution in every single one of them. We are going to play to our defense at times, our special teams at times, and our offense at times. I am not going to hesitate to do that. Everybody here gets paid. Every coach gets paid. Every player gets paid. We are here. Everybody has to do their job. When you are called, you have to answer that call right there. Our special teams played very well this year for the most part. They have done a great job. One of our focuses in this game was limit their return game. They came out with zero yards in the return game. This is an explosive return team. Some of the best offensive plays are their punt returns and kickoff returns. Our goal today was through good situational punts plus 50 or to be honest, ugly punts. There is a large element of you go into the game sometimes and you have to tell a guy like Riley (Dixon) that we want ugly punts tonight. Get them off of their mark. Get them off their rhythm and timing. Punt returners and kick returners love getting that ball when their feet are set in the ground. When they time it and hit that thing. They practice it with the blocks and certain spacing and the right timing. It all feels very natural. The way you can affect that is by moving the ball in kickoffs, moving the ball in punts and getting those specialists off their rhythms. Sometimes you go out there and we tell Riley that we are going to win ugly tonight. We understand that sometimes it may not look good on a stat sheet or in a situation it may not look that great, but we are going to have him hit balls that are unconventional and get the other team out of rhythm and put the pressure on them to execute."
Q: Were the two punts that looked ugly from Riley (Dixon) part of the plan?
A: "I can only think of one that was off schedule."
Q: The last punt looked like you guys were trying to set it up to pin them deep, but he knuckled it out of bounds. Was that the plan?
A: "That was more of a situation where we were looking to flip the field position and pin them back there. We've got to execute that better. We've got to coach that better and we've got to execute and play that better."
Q: How bad is Shep (Sterling Shepard)'s injury?
A: "I don't have a final diagnosis on it right now. It looked like he got twisted around by the defender on that penalty. I only saw a brief replay of it out of the corner of my eye so I'm running on second-hand information. I don't have a final diagnosis on where he's at. Obviously, he wasn't able to come back into the game so we'll see where he's at. Hopefully it's not too bad."
Q: Why not go for it there on 4th and 2? Why did you guys decide to kick?
A: "In terms of the 4th and 2, the one we hit the field goal on there, I thought points were at a premium. I thought the defense was playing good right there. If you think about most of the game, it was a short field we gave them that they scored on. They had the one drive they strung together. I was going to play to our defense a lot tonight. I had a lot of confidence in how they were playing as a unit. They were running the ball and part of our thing was if you can make this team run the ball, take away the explosive plays and the shots over your head, that's really how you've got to play this team. You've got to be patient with it. You've got to be committed to the game plan. You've got to tackle them. We've got to do a better job on some of those runs to make sure we don't let them have more leaky runs right there. Overall, I was going to play to our defense tonight. That was the situation right there. You've got to keep accumulating points on a team like this. It's obviously a very well coached team, a very explosive team. You can come in sometimes, shoot yourself in the foot by saying that you've got to score every point, every time it's available. You can fall back on those analytic sheets we've talked about in the past where this is a situation because Vegas says it's the point spread, you've got to go for it. Ultimately, I would say that wasn't really what the factor in the game was. I would say the factor is more situational execution, some things we've got to clean up as a team. In terms of how we played to the kicking game, to the defense, then the offense manufacturing some drives down there, for a large part was how we wanted to play this game. In terms of getting to that point where it was 4th and 2, I've talked through every situation at the beginning of the drive. Where am I thinking of going for it right here? Every time we get a new set of sticks and a first down, I'm always thinking, what does it have to be for me to want to go for it right here? I factor in everything right there. How's our defense playing? How's our offense playing? How are the top players executing right there? How can I go ahead and put the ball more in their court where they've got to go ahead and beat us as opposed to us giving them a short field? It's great when you go for it, right. Obviously, we didn't get the short yardage right there and at another point in the game. When you get to that point, you say we're going to play with our defense. Let's make them go on a longer field. I've got a lot of confidence with the way our defense is playing right now. These guys are doing a really good job. Pat (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham) is calling a really good game right now. We've got to make sure we give our team the option to have success. Some people say it's aggressive to go for it, but I've said this before, sometimes it's aggressive to punt and play aggressive with our defense. We're going to stop you and get the ball back and go finish on a better field position with the offense."
Q: Does this loss change anything before tomorrow's trade deadline?
Q: Do you expect to be active at the deadline?
A: "I'm so focused on the game right now. We'll see if any phone calls came in or anything like that. Right now, I'm just focused on getting these guys back tonight and get them going against the Raiders."