Chiefs staying the course, and not just at quarterback

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When the Kansas City Chiefs lost five of six games to begin the 2015 season, coach Andy Reid’s response was to believe in the plan. The Chiefs changed little of significance and didn’t bench quarterback Alex Smith in favor of Chase Daniel, their backup at the time.

Reid was rewarded when the Chiefs finished the regular season on a 10-game winning streak and then picked up the franchise’s first playoff victory in 22 years with a win over the Houston Texans.

“I don’t think you have to change 8,000 different things,’’ Reid said. “We have a good system and we’ve got a good locker room. I think that’s important."

Reid is confronting a similar predicament in a similar way. The Chiefs have lost five of six games, but Smith -- not rookie Patrick Mahomes -- will be their starting quarterback Sunday against the Jets in New Jersey.

The Chiefs this week swapped third-string tight ends, releasing Ross Travis and promoting Orson Charles from the practice squad. But, outwardly at least, the Chiefs aren’t changing their ways.

“Every season has its highs and lows," Reid said. “That’s normal. Very few teams go undefeated. So you work through [problems]. Whether you win or lose, you’re searching to try to be better. That’s what we do, and we don’t change that when we’re in a situation like this."

The 2015 Chiefs won their season opener, also against the Texans, but then lost five straight. Their winning streak started innocently enough against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who played that day without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

“Getting that first one, getting it going, is the toughest [thing]," Smith said. “Getting the momentum going again. You’ve got to scratch and claw and fight."

In 2015, the Chiefs didn’t have a wealth of good times to help get them through the losing streak. They had just that season-opening win against Houston.

This year, they started 5-0 and were the NFL’s last remaining unbeaten team. So the Chiefs have had plenty of success with the same group of players and coaches.

“There’s no lack of plays or X's and O's or scheme certainly from what we were doing earlier in the year and the success we had doing the exact same things," Smith said. “I think you rely on that."

That’s exactly what Reid and the Chiefs will do. They might add or subtract some plays in their game plan, but in large part what we’ve seen from the Chiefs in recent weeks is what we’ll get against the Jets.

They’re hoping it brings a different result.

“It’s important as coaches we give the players something they can work with," Reid said. “We all have a piece of this and we all can get better.

“Every year is different. They all present their own unique challenges. The thing about this is that we all can get better. If we all stick to that, we’re going to be OK."