Alex Smith: "You Continue To Improve Every Game"

Redskins QB Alex Smith speaks to the media following Panthers vs Redskins

On how the team responded to last week’s loss throughout the week in practice and during the game:

“I think the toughest thing about it - you play this game long enough, it can be humbling - the margin of error is so small. Even that Monday night, I think with the travel coming home, we didn’t get back until 4 or 5 a.m. Tuesday, short week, good football team coming in… physical football team, to use that as motivation, put it behind us, prepare, recover, all that stuff for this game, I thought the team did a heck of a job. Everybody included in that. Tall task. It was hard to move on from that. It lingered… it definitely lingered. But I do hope that the sense of urgency, the preparation that we had this week can kind of take it with us as we move forward.”

On if the “lingering” had a positive effect to keep everyone sharp:

“No, I think that you want to go to a game to prepare in the right way, I feel like we’ve done that every week. There’s so many little things and variables that go into that. The games only mount and they only get bigger and bigger and this week’s a great example of that. They just get bigger. The goal is that it’s still so early in the season that you continue to move forward, you continue to improve from every game - good or bad, all the stuff in between. Hope that that was growth for us, this last week to go through that, and then we bounced back and got a win today.”

On if there’s any feeling of knowing the offense will play well early in the game:

“No, I mean it’s such a four-quarter thing. Yeah, you can get rolling and feel like you’re on them, you come in at halftime and go back out and adjustments are made and it’s kind of different. Margins are a little different, adjustments here or there. You never know. You never start out a game thinking you’re rolling and like, ‘Oh boy, this is going to be a great day.’ I think you just take it play-by-play, series-by-series.”

On if there’s concern that the team can only execute when they’re in the lead:

“I didn’t know that was a thing. Every single week is a completely different challenge. We played a defense last week that was a completely different structure, on the road, different strengths and weaknesses, different matchups. This week is a completely different one. This is a completely different challenge. These guys have a totally different system, they have their own strengths, then injuries and all that stuff, who’s up for a game, all that plays into it. And then, even within a game, like I said, first-half, second-half adjustments and all those things, winning, losing, situational football, all of that goes into… there’s so many variables and that’s what you practice for, that’s what you prepare for. Next week is going to be a whole different matchup. We’ve got to find a way to win that challenge, to win that matchup. The challenge, the chess match, all the things that go into it, the execution on gameday. Every week I think is a different deal and you’ve got to treat it like that.”

On what offensive adjustments were made to account for playing RB Adrian Peterson limited by injury in addition to missing RB Chris Thompson and WR Jamison Crowder:

“I thought the coaches did a great job making the adjustments through the week with the game plan, being prepared for guys to be down today. Then I thought the guys did a heck of a job preparing and knowing. We ran a bunch of three tight end stuff out there today, thought those guys handled that great. Finding the matchup - I think that’s kind of what we’re talking about - finding the matchup week to week, finding what gives you the best chance.”

On all three phases of this team coming together:

“I think today was a great example of everybody kind of having a hand in it, which was nice coming off of last week…everybody having a big hand in this win. Special teams had some huge plays from the turnover to [Dustin Hopkins] hit a couple of big kicks for us… defense though I mean to buckle down there like with them driving and holding sealing the game off for us so yeah, I feel like great team win on a short week bouncing back.”

On his connection with Jordan Reed:

“Great, I feel like it’s going great, same thing like every team they have a different way of trying to take him away and he’s that kind of play maker, so every week it’s something new, how are they going to take him away and so you kind of bank all of those things going on, I think all of us, and move forward, keep them in your back pocket all of those counter punches and adjustments that you have to make and certainly other people are involved in that because certainly he’s going to get a bunch of attention, sometimes it’s got to go elsewhere.”

On comfort level in the offense:

“I feel like we’re very untapped offensively. A lot of potential. And I say untapped as we continue to find out who we are, our identity as an offense, but I think one of our strengths is that we got a lot of guys who can make adjustments. I thought this week was a great testament to that. Some guys down, some key plays for us down, but other guys stepped up and you have to be that kind of team. Good teams have that about them, that ability.”

On noticing a difference among the defensive backs:

“Yeah, it’d be hard for me to say about practice, I mean when I’m going I’m going against the scout team and when they’re rolling I’m over on the side trying to get other stuff done so, I feel like those guys put in work every week, you know, our whole team does and I certainly don’t think it’s ever been an issue of lack of work or work ethic, but communication’s a big deal and out on the football field it’s loud especially at home this week and those guys got the crowd noise when their rolling and we’ve got a lot of non-verbal communication that has to take place on the fly so everybody’s got to be locked in step. So, happy for them the way that they played especially making the play for their team to win the game.”

On what needs to be done for this upcoming week

“I think all of those things that you just talked about. We’ve got to have a great plan, get our mindset back, recover, have a great week of preparation with all the details all week with the greatest sense of urgency as we prepare then you have to go out there on gameday and execute, so there’s a thousand things that have to get done and battle as you’re trying to win, to help you get a W.”

On thoughts of Trent Williams as a running back:

“[Laughter] Last week what did he run like 19 mph? You know he’s not the most athletic offensive lineman in the NFL but certainly he’s up there but big play. Those things are you know…the ball fumbled and to have the awareness to scoop it up and get some yards… big play for us.”

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