Alex Smith: "I Think We Have A Lot Of Room For Improvement"

Redskins quarterback Alex Smith speaks to the media following the 38-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons at FedExField.

On struggling early in the game:

“Early for us, I think too many negative plays, too many penalties. They’re tough to overcome. I think that many of them, I don’t know how many of the first several drives had negative play that put us behind schedule, put us into a third-and-long and those are tough to convert on playing in this league. They’re tough to overcome.”

On WR Maurice Harris:

“He’s a guy that I think everyone on offense has a lot of confidence in, certainly I do. He’s a guy that can move around and we can put in a lot of positions and he can do a lot. We ask a lot of him, but obviously getting to play inside here with Jamison [Crowder] out he’s done a heck of a job. I think he’s a young player, I think he’s got a bright future, but I thought today making some big, big plays, playing fast. It was good to see.”

On calming the team down after penalties:

“I know it’s frustrating for everyone here once we got going and we got the ball to Josh [Doctson] down the sideline. I didn’t see the play. He caught the ball on their sideline and I know they called the flag because he spun the ball, but I mean, to me it was where he caught the ball. I didn’t get to see it. I didn’t get a good look at it. And then things there the next couple plays with personal fouls and things like that, it’s tough. I mean, it’s an emotional game. You’ve got to play it kind of on that edge. It’s a physical game, guys put a lot into this and it can be frustrating sometimes with some tough calls like that. Every time we made a play, every time we got something going, there was a flag on the ground and like I said, I think guys got frustrated. So I’m going to try and calm them down after that, but those few plays can be frustrating, but they’re not what we want to see either.”

On Atlanta’s defense stopping the run game:

“They’re good up front. I think that’s where any of this starts. They’re a good D-Line, they’re coming off a bye-week. They got back healthy. They’re physical and like I said, I think it’s hard to stay with the run anytime you get behind schedule with the penalties that we did, negative plays. Then once it did turn into a couple score game you certainly like to stay with the run as much as you can, but obviously at the point its not as balanced as you’d like it to be.”

On if there’s a win-loss pattern when it comes to scoring early or not:

“It’s a great question, I hadn’t thought of that. I think we’ve been in a bunch of close games so I know we’ve had the lead, but there’s still back and forth. They are even games that have been one-score games, so we’ve been in some tight situations, we’ve been in big moments. I think those are learning experiences for us as a football team. Its tough to play against a good football team when you’re multiple scores down, period. As much as you’d like to come back and do that, it’s just rare. But certainly like I said there’s a lot for us on tape I think to get better at. Sometimes I think you’re going to have to come back from behind and I think there’s all three phases in that, but for us on offense and what we need to focus on, like I said, I feel like you can’t do it with the negative plays, all the penalties and getting off schedule when it’s hard enough trying to come back from behind, but when we add those on top, it becomes pretty daunting.”

On communicating with WR Josh Doctson after dropped passes:

“Yeah, certainly go talk to them. For me, it’s just you got to move on. Listen, its professional football. I can tell you it’s not going to be his last drop. It’s the nature of the game. Sitting and dwelling on it in the middle of the game wasn’t going to help us, so for me it’s just getting to move forward and move on and I think he did a great job bouncing back. He made a heck of a catch on the sideline there. That’s my idea. You’ve got to stay locked in, got to stay in the moment. Any dwelling on the past or doing anything else certainly isn’t going to do us any good.”

On his hit on the sideline:

“No, I was good—Caught surprise mostly. I felt like I saw him out in front as I was running up the sideline. I definitely thought about ducking out. I did see AD [Adrian Peterson] running with me. Then my eyes went back inside and at that point—for me analyzing the possibility of cutting back and making a play, obviously that guy got up on me pretty quick and I didn’t see him.”

On offensive line injuries and backups coming in:

“I think you just try to communicate it as best you can—especially some of those young guys that are in there playing. G [Geron Christian Sr.] coming in and playing. Just trying to communicate as best I can. Try to help them out as best I can whether it be of cadence things like that—that I can use to try to help him. I think with that, just staying positive, communicate as much as possible. If anything, just try to help calm it down those guys have to go in and play. They have a job to do. Certainly, anything distracting from that wouldn’t help us.”

On G Brandon Scherff injury:

“It was really hard. Obviously with the flags and personal fouls—right at the peak of it. Frustrated by all that and then another play I didn’t see. Kind of late there with the whistle and getting thrown down—and then obviously losing him. He is a heck of player so when you’re already banged up to lose a guy like that hurts.”

On execution and young players’ performance:

“I think without a doubt any time you don’t play well, it’s execution. That’s such an all-encompassing term for not playing good and not getting the job done out there. A lot of reasons probably why—we have to look at the film and get better at it. We have to improve it on a consistent basis. Too inconsistent with the execution. I thought the young guys they got thrust into a tough spot especially upfront. G [Geron Christian Sr.] having to play in a situation when it was obviously pretty one sided with the pass. It was a tough duty for him. I think he did a great job competing. You have to have that. The next guy has to come up—and we have to be able to get it done.”

On the team’s overall performance so far in the season:

“I think to be 5-3 and sitting in first place is great. I feel like we have a lot of room for improvement for us—myself included. A lot of room to get better. I think it’s encouraging but at the same time we have to keep marching. We have to keep getting better at that halfway mark—obviously find ways to win games as you do march along. It’s about the team playing their best football come the end of the year. We want to be one of those teams—we have to find a way to get there.”

On locker room comparison from New Orleans loss to today:

“Hard to compare, hopefully we’ll end up the same way. I certainly thought that lit a little fire for us—a sense of urgency. And not to say that we lost it or anything—Falcons, hats off to them, they were the better team today, but we’ll see how we handle this. Every team faces adversity and we have to handle this right away.”


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