Andy Reid Hints at Whether Chiefs Will Rest Starters, Tyreek Hill’s Status

Andy Reid Chiefs

Getty Chiefs head coach Andy Reid

The Kansas City Chiefs can lock up the AFC’s No. 1 overall seed and the conference’s only first-round playoff bye with a win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. With the 10-point favorite Chiefs expected to make quick work of the reeling Falcons squad at home, attention is already turning to whether the AFC champs will consider resting their starters for the January 3 season finale against division-rival Los Angeles.

But don’t tell that to Andy Reid.

When asked about the topic during his Wednesday press conference, the veteran head coach made quick work of the issue, suggesting that he is not looking past Sunday’s matchup at this point.

For reference, Reid and staff elected to play the starters ahead of last season’s Week 17 finale against the Chargers, a game in which the team lost standout rookie safety Juan Thornhill to a torn ACL. At the time, the Chiefs were still locked in a battle with the New England Patriots for the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye, however.

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Tyreek Hill, 3 Others Miss First Practice of Week 16

Reid also provided an injury update following the week’s first practice, noting that four players did not participate on Wednesday.

Wide receiver Tyreek Hill, one of seven Chiefs players recently named to the 2020 Pro Bowl, is the headliner of the group with a hamstring injury.

The 26-year-old speedster was seen drinking pickle juice on the sidelines to alleviate cramping during Sunday’s road win over the New Orleans Saints, which Reid acknowledged that Hill’s hamstring tightened up before suggesting that he’ll likely be good to go on Sunday.

“I think he’s going to be fine,” Reid told reporters on Wednesday, via Herbie Teope of The Kansas City Star. “I want to make sure that thing gets a rest here today, and then we’ll just see how it goes tomorrow. So, if he needs a rest tomorrow, we’ll rest him tomorrow.”

Could Chiefs Be Without Both Starting Linebackers?

Anthony Hitchens’ appearance due to a concussion is not reassuring for his status on Sunday however, especially considering the starting linebacker was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday after being deemed a “high-risk close contact.”

The seventh-year veteran will now need to clear two league protocols in order to suit up against the Falcons, further increasing the chances that the Chiefs could be without both starters in the middle of their defense in Week 16 after Damien Wilson’s latest absence on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo described Hitchens’ value to his group as both a leader and playmaker.

“To me, he’s the glue,” the Chiefs veteran defensive coordinator told reporters during his December 10 press conference, via Arrowhead Pride. “I showed something this morning from [Wednesday’s] practice, and made the point that we should all feel fortunate that we have Hitch as our MIKE linebacker. He does a lot of things before the ball is snapped, and he helps everyone else play better. I’m sure glad we got him, I think he’s playing some really good football. He’s always played aggressive, he’s always tackled physically… All of us, players and coaches, appreciate what he does.”

Last week, Reid, Spagnuolo and company secured the organization’s first 13-win season since 2003. This weekend the team will look to lock up its 14th victory of 2020, something yet to be achieved in franchise history or Reid’s personal 22-year head coaching tenure.


Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!

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