ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – As the Bills get ready to take on the Chiefs in the AFC title game there are a bunch of coaches from both teams who came from Andy Reid’s coaching tree from Sean McDermott to Leslie Frazier and so on.
That’s a big storyline heading into this game but one person who has a unique perspective on this matchup is Bills center Mitch Morse who spent the first four years of his career in Kansas City after the Chiefs drafted him in the second round in 2015. This game is centered around quarterbacks Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes and Morse has snapped the ball to both of them.
“Two things stick out, the first one is both are just good people and usually in my experience being a good person correlates to being a good football player, guys rally around you and you bring the best out of them,” Morse said.
“And secondly is a competitive poise and by that I mean like they can both come into a huddle in crunch time and have a demeanor about them that preminates confidence throughout the huddle and that’s what you need in a quarterback and a guy who’s always got your back.”
In March of 2019, Morse signed a four-year $44.5 million contract with the Bills in free agency that made him the highest-paid center in the league at the time.
Not only did Morse play with both Mahomes and now Allen but he also got to play for Reid and now McDermott and he see similarities between both of these coaches.
“It was all football and a guy [Reid] who tries to bring the best out of his players, he’s gonna put his players in the best situation possible understanding what their strengths are. He’s a guy you could go to battle with and I think that’s the biggest thing that translates to Coach McDermott is it’s a guy you want to go to battle with, a guy who is gonna put you in competitive situations in practices,” Morse explained.
“He’s gonna put his players in the best situation possible and brings the best out of his guys so feel very fortunate to have both of those guys on my resume for head coaches and it’s definitely not lost upon me that I am very fortunate.”
A big matchup in this game is going to be in the trenches and one player who can be an absolute game wrecker is Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones and Morse’s former teammate.
“I have the utmost respect for Chris Jones. He’s a remarkable football player and a guy who not only has gifts but really works at them. It’s really shown up these last three, four seasons. He’s making great plays and putting great numbers in and he’s a disrupter,” Morse said.
“For us it will just be matching his competitive intensity, he’s a competitor through and through and he’s probably gonna make his plays here once in a while but I think communication will be key and it’ll be a great matchup.”
But the Bills offensive line has also really come together after dealing with a ton of injuries and shuffling guys around.
“Continuity is one of the biggest things as an offensive line it also can be extremely rare just with the NFL being an injury prone league. I think there’s definitely something to having the same guys out there, they understand the communication better but it’s also having professionals who are ready to jump in at any moment,” Morse explained.
Now Morse heads back to Arrowhead Stadium to play for the first time since he left Kansas City. And for Morse and his family it’s still home base and a special place still.
“I do keep up with quite a few of my teammates, of course there’s always turnover in the league so there are some new faces but very fond memories of the guys there and the staff and players. I have no regrets about my time there and very fortunate to still have some friends there,” Morse said.
And naturally there’s a human element to returning to a place like this but Morse says it’s about keeping the emotions in check.
“I’m sure it will be at the moment, I’m sure it’ll have its moment but then you’re so by the game plan and then just going about your business as a professional. I’m sure there will be its nuances but I can’t tell you when it will hit me but I’m sure flying into MCI will be a little bit weird but it is what it is and I’m sure once stuff flows and Arrowhead will be loud as it always is for opposing teams and it’ll be a great environment for some good football.”