Chiefs Offense Readies to 'Meet the Challenge' of Baltimore Ravens Defense
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid isn’t one to let off the gas pedal during practice.
From time to time, as tight end Travis Kelce told reporters on Saturday, Reid adds a little more to the table. Preparation to meet the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night is one of those scenarios.
"There’s not a week that goes by where Coach Reid isn’t going to get on you," Kelce said on Saturday. "That’s his job. Sometimes you just have to be like, ‘Take it, easy Rollercoaster Tycoon.’ You know what I mean? Really get him to calm down because what he’s trying to do is make sure that everybody is on top of their game, especially in a big game like this."
Come kickoff, Kelce and the Chiefs' offense will seek to establish a way to outpace the Ravens.
In the two meetings since Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson became the quarterback of both teams, the Chiefs have done just that. One score separated the Ravens from a victory in each.
This offseason, the Ravens added a few new pieces to the defense in defensive lineman Calais Campbell and rookie linebacker Patrick Queen. So far the newcomers have blended with returning veterans, including former Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters.
The Ravens lead the NFL in fewest points allowed (22) and most takeaways (five). They’re in the top five for yards allowed (610).
“They’re no joke," Kelce said. "They’ve been flying around playing great football and I feel like a lot of the teams that they play, they present a bully mentality that kind of intimidates some of the guys that they’re playing. You have to attack that. You’ve got to be able to meet that and stand up to what they’re presenting out there knowing that they’re not going to do too much that tricks you, in terms of coverage. They’re going to do a lot of good stuff. A lot of the great stuff they do is in blitzes and getting to the quarterback. That puts a lot of pressure on the skilled guys and the guys out wide to get open in space. That’s where we’re ready for the challenge."
In terms of previous meetings with the Ravens, the Chiefs succeeded with Mahomes, who has completed 62 of 90 passes for 751 yards, five touchdowns and one interception against Baltimore.
No Chiefs rusher finished with over 75 yards on the ground in either game, but a running back-by-committee approach with Darrel Williams and LeSean McCoy helped the Chiefs to 140 yards in 2019.
Kelce said the strategy to succeeding starts with finding a way to outpace the Ravens’ speed.
“You have to keep them on their heels, really,” Kelce said. “That’s the biggest thing for us, is to try and be the attacker. They play defense, which is a reactionary position. You know, if we stay with our foot on the gas pedal, we give ourselves a chance. Especially against a great defense, they fly around — these are strong, athletic physical guys that the Ravens have been able to put together as a defense over there. We’re just going to have to meet the challenge.”
With the help of this week’s preparation, Kelce believes it is possible.
"Great practices usually turn into great performances on Sunday or Monday in this matter," Kelce said. "That’s why we love Coach Reid, because he’s always on our tail, making sure that we’re doing the right things and trying to get better."