OC Ken Whisenhunt: "They put a lot of stress on you."

OC Ken Whisenhunt speaks to the media before practice.

On TE Antonio Gates:

It's good to have Antonio back. He brings a lot of things to the table besides being a good player. The guys love him. He's a tremendous leader. It's hard to say this, but it didn't feel like he missed a beat. So he's obviously been working and he's familiar with the system and he's a pretty good player. So it was good to get him back.

On the Kansas City defense:

Well, I think those guys do a great job of preparing their players. They always play well. They know their scheme. I know they've got some changes. It's a little bit different for them. There's some guys that have been with them for a while that were really good players that aren't there, but when you played in that system and you played behind guys like that, you get acclimated to it. [Chiefs Defensive Coordinator] Coach [Bob] Sutton does a great job and [Chiefs Head] Coach [Andy] Reid does as well. We know, no matter who lines up, the same things they've been able to do and they do a lot of different things, they give you multiple fronts. They put a lot of stress on you. We're going to see those same things, just going to be from different guys that they're NFL players. So it's going to be a challenge, but we're excited about our guys and the way that we progressed through the preseason and hopefully we'll continue with the way our first units played in those games.

On his expecations for Sunday:

Well, you know, I would like to play somewhere at a level like the way we finished last year. That's a tall challenge because it is the first game of the season. What you face in this type of game is a lot of unknown, especially when you talk about the team that we're playing. Some of the multiple defensive backs, fronts that they use, we're not 100 percent sure where some of these guys are going to line up. So you are dealing a little bit with somewhat of the unknown, but I think having some guys that have been in our system, their ability to adjust will help us. So I think that what you'd like to see is that we play with confidence, that we know that we can be successful if we do it the right way. I think the most important thing is that we don't turn the ball over. When you talk about this team and our experience with Kansas City, they've done a great job of taking the ball away from us and that's hurt us. If we could eliminate those, then we've got a good chance.

On Chiefs S Eric Berry:

Well, he's a tremendous player. He has been a thorn in our side a number of times. Whether he plays or not, that will all work itself out. We've got to prepare for it. We've got to prepare knowing that whoever is in that spot where he plays is going to understand their scheme and going to be a good player. So, you know, if he doesn't play, he doesn't play. That's the way it is every week in the NFL.

On how Gates can expand the playbook:

Well, we've been happy with some of the young guys the way they played especially Culkin, he's done a nice job and rightfully so. He'll get a chance to play some in a regular season game. There's so much knowledge and so much history between the quarterback and Antonio that there's things that you can do that it takes time to build with other guys. So having him back gives us that ability to do some things, especially maybe in the red zone and some of the areas where he's been so effective over his career. So I feel like we've been progressing well as an offense. We planned to go forward not knowing what was going to happen. So having Antonio is a tremendous asset.

On QB Philip Rivers keeping interceptions down last year:

Quite frankly, I think some of it was game situations. In the past, in some of those games some of the ones where we had a number of interceptions we were behind in trying to catch up and teams were in situations where they could make some of those plays. Last year, if you think about it, we were in some of the games, not all of them, but in some of the games we were in better situations, especially later in the year. I think really a big part of it was the focus. [Head] Coach [Anthony] Lynn came in and said that's something that was important to him, not that it wasn't important to [former Head] Coach [Mike] McCoy or coaches before, but we had an emphasis on it. Other than the Kansas City games, especially from our perspective, it was pretty decent. So hopefully I think that our guys understand now the importance of it. We've certainly had that message this week. I hope I don't jinx it by talking about it. I'm superstitious about that stuff, but we feel good that consciousness of it, being aware of it and working on it we work on drills in practice to make sure our ball security is good will help us.

On the timing of interceptions in the past:

Well, to be honest with you, I think he feels like it's up to him to win it That's just the way he's wired and that's why he's been so good. There's a lot of times where you have to make those throws in tight windows. That's what the game is all about. When you go break it down after a game and you see how many times the pass was almost tipped or a guy comes off a block and almost gets there. It's small margins. I don't necessarily think it was him pressing because he felt like he had to do it all. Some of it was just bad decisions. Some of it was bad luck. I think we've worked hard to try to improve on that. Listen, it hasn't always been that way with Philip. It was we didn't have a great year in '16 with that. Some of it was the way that season went. Credit to him, he worked on it and Coach Lynn and made it an emphasis and we did better with it.

On WR Mike Williams:

Yeah, you know, you always have what do you expect from them in the first game. I don't know. Its the first game that he's the Mike Williams we've seen in preseason camp. I give credit to him. He worked hard. Last year as a tough year. He missed all of camp. Didn't get going really until what six games into the season and then he got hurt and missed a little bit more. He just never seemed like he got up to who he thought he was going to be. This year in OTAs had a little setback early, but then in camp he really picked it up. You're excited to see it, but once again we haven't seen him play in this role where he's going to be play a little bit more and put him in situations where he can potentially make some plays. I think a big thing is getting some reps with the quarterback. A lot of times in this league, when you have that confidence or when you have that build of repetitions where you're working together, it makes it a little bit easier. So I'm excited to see what Mike can do. It will be fun to see if he gets the opportunity to make some plays, what he does with that Sunday.

On the anticipation to utilize the work of the offseason in a game:

That puts a lot of pressure on me because if we come out there don't do well, you're going to say, Okay, great this stuff they were working on sucked. You know what it's exciting because some of the things you know we do work on some things when we're going against [Defensive Coordinator] Gus [Bradley], but now we're playing a different style of defense. We didn't show them necessarily in the preseason game some of the things we're excited about. You're always excited to see if they work. I think the big thing is when you design plays and players know that there's a chance it's coming to them all of the guys how you spread the ball around, they get excited. I really enjoy seeing that. When you get a play you work on in practice and you see it work, you say, Gosh, I wonder if this is going to work in the game. You get the look you want and it happens and you're just like, Holy cow. It's exciting to see how juiced they get and that's a big part of the fun as a coach for me, for us to see that. So I'm excited. I'm always excited for the regular season and seeing these guys play.

On if theres a balance with how much of the playbook utilized in Week 1:

Gosh, if we have a game where we let it all out this first game it will be pretty good. I wouldn't be worried too much about that because we've got a lot of stuff. we've been working on. It's funny, there's a couple of plays that we really like. It's a good question. This is a good example. We've got a couple of plays we really like. We don't know necessarily if they're that great against this defense and then you say, Okay, am I going to hold it run it against a defense where I know it's a better matchup where I know it's going to be good, but I'm excited about this play. Do I run it and see if it will work? Because that happens sometimes. So, yeah, there's going to be some that you run that you say, Well, I ain't holding it back, all right. We want to win this game so let's run it. So it will be there's always the battle with that. You can't run everything. You have some plays many, many times you have a play where you just know it's going to work and it doesn't do anything. Then you have plays that [you dont know about] and then all of a sudden he goes for a touchdown. So there's so many variables between what they're running and what your guys are doing. It's always a chess game to some extent, but I guess the long

answer to your question is You know in a game like this, first game of the year, you really want to make sure you use all your good stuff as much as you can.

On the importance of selflessness to an offense:

I think it builds the chemistry with the team that allows you to be successful as a group because we ask a lot of our players. If you think about it, when you see guys lined up all in different spots and sometimes we ask them to be decoys, and you have a great player like [WR] Keenan [Allen]. Sometimes he's a decoy running so that [WR] Tyrell [Williams] or [WR] Travis [Benjamin] can get a ball. A lot of times with Antonio [Gates], especially in the past where he's gotten doubled, he's had to

sacrifice for other guys to have success. So when you have guys that are unselfish, you're able to do all of those things, and you have a quarterback like [QB] Philip [Rivers] that can handle it all, it allows you to be efficient, successful and have a good team. I think our line has really done a great job. The chemistry with our line has kind of driven us because those guys, they're really the ones that are underappreciated in this whole scheme. When [RB] Melvin [Gordon III] has a big day running, it's largely because of them. Certainly when Philip has one of those games like Dallas where he's 27-of-32, it's because of the protection, because of what they do. So they set the tone for us and they've done a good job.

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