Alex Smith: "We Have A Lot Of Football Left Ahead Of Us"

Head Coach Jay Gruden & QB Alex Smith speak to the media Wednesday.

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On injuries:

"We just had a walkthrough today, but [Jamison] Crowder, [Paul] Richardson and [Troy] Apke would not have participated. Everybody else is limited: [Shawn] Lauvao, [Brandon] Scherff, [Trent] Williams, Vernon Davis, Josh Doctson, [Adrian] Peterson, [Zach] Vigil, Chris Thompson – they all were limited in the walkthrough."

On the thinking behind doing a walkthrough today instead of practice:

"Well, we brought them in a little later because we didn't get in until 5 A.M. on Tuesday morning. Gave our coaches time to get a better plan together and then bring them in here and introduce the base game plan and walkthrough it, get their legs back under them and we'll go back out tomorrow."

On QB Alex Smith bouncing back next week:

"Yeah, coach him up and be positive. A lot of things happened to a lot of people in that game that weren't very good. He's one of them, I was one of them, we all were. We all have to try to make sure everybody understands this was a total team effort and we all have to bounce back. I know that the type of guys we have, especially him, he will bounce back.

On if he sensed a game like that was coming from their week of practice:

"No, not at all, we had a good week of practice really. Coming off a big win and a bye week, guys should have been fresh, but we just got hit in the mouth early and could never recover. We had a chance to get back in the game, we threw the pick six or whatever it was, a couple opportunities to make some plays, but it didn’t work out. We couldn’t stop them."

On RB Adrian Peterson and WR Paul Richardson Jr and if he is optimistic they will play on Sunday:

"I'm not optimistic or pessimistic, either one right now. I'm just going to wait and see, day-to-day. These injuries are both pretty sore, but they are both very tough guys. I just have to wait to see what the trainers say."

On if the pass rush got to QB Alex Smith against New Orleans:

"There was some pressure in there, they did a nice job. They had a couple good games up front that got us and we had some other plays that we were protected fine where we had a chance to step into some throws and we just couldn’t convert for whatever reason. It was a combination of a lot of things, but we've just got to learn from it, move forward and try to attack Carolina's defense."

On if quarterbacks can end up feeling pressure that necessarily isn’t there based on getting hit a lot early in the game:

"I suppose you could John, I don’t know. I think if you get hit early in the game, the really good quarterbacks, the veteran guys like Alex [Smith] who've played a long time, it shouldn’t affect them. One play shouldn’t affect the next play. That’s what we try to teach around here. It's always on to the next play, don’t let the last play determine your thoughts or your actions towards the next play. We, actually, probably, wallowed around in our own crap for too long, worry about the last play instead of moving on to the next play, as a whole group."

On what he has seen from DB's Danny Johnson and Greg Stroman:

"I trust them now. Greg got beat on a deep ball and just had bad technique and eyes, but they've shown enough. They can run and they're physical and all that stuff, but hopefully we don’t have to use them right now. We need to continue to grow with the guys we have, ‘Dunny’ [Quinton Dunbar] and Fabian [Moreau], obviously Josh [Norman], D.J. [Swearinger] and Montae [Nicholson], those guys together. The more they play together, the more cohesion they will have. We have to have more cohesion to have a chance. But, if something happens then those guys will be ready to go."

On sitting down with Alex Smith and the communication between him and Smith:

"We communicate openly. We just went through all the plays on offense, talked about my thought process and just reiterated why the plays were in, what he was thinking and what he likes moving forward. Maybe it's the tempo of me calling plays, whatever it might be. We had a good discussion, we'll try to do a better job next week for him and he'll obviously try to do a better job also."

On slowing down Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey:

"Well it's the same as last week, we had [Alvin] Kamara. This week we have McCaffrey and [Panthers WR Curtis] Samuel and [Panthers WR] DJ Moore and [Panthers QB] Cam Newton. Each week there is a different challenge and McCaffrey is a special guy. He can run between a tackle, just like Kamara, he can run outside and he can catch the ball so you've got to know where he is. Then Samuel comes in there and he does jet sweeps and all that stuff and they'll throw a screen to DJ Moore and he's really good after the catch. We don’t know if [Panthers TE Greg] Olson is coming back, we are assuming he will and that's another weapon they haven’t had that's obviously very good, not to mention the legs of Cam Newton, who is 6'5", 260. It will be a great challenge for our guys. Our eyes have got to be in the right place and we've got to fly to the football without a doubt."

On looking back at previous Carolina games this week and wondering what he could have done better in those instances:

"Yeah, always, always. They have a really good scheme and when [Panthers LB] Thomas Davis and [Panthers LB] Luke Kuechly are together at linebacker, it is the best linebacking duo in pro football in my opinion and Thomas, of course, will be back this week. It'll be a great challenge for us. I've always got to figure out ways to attack different people, different schemes and make some plays. Sometimes plays will not necessarily be there, but somebody has got to break a tackle and make a big time play. We just haven’t done that the last couple years against them."

On CB Josh Norman's season so far:

"Josh has, I think everybody is the same you know? You talk about quarterback, the coaches, the players, we've all been up and down. We've all had flashes of being a really good football team that can compete with anybody, anytime, anywhere and we've had flashes of being inept and that's what we are trying to make sure we get rid of, our ineptness and convert into some consistency."

On DeAngelo Hall's radio comments about Norman:

"D. Hall said that? No I don’t think so. I love D. Hall, but damn. I don’t think so, I think when things don't go well, there's going to be a lot of reasons why, but I don’t think that’s a reason at all. I think the communication wasn’t up to par and that goes for everybody, the safeties and corners and linebackers. Too many guys wide open and there were some that were Josh's fault, some D.J. [Swearinger], there were some of everybody's fault, coaches, whatever it might be. But we've got to get it cleared up."

On the long term effects of WR Josh Doctson's injury:

"I don’t know if it's anything, it's just a nagging deal I think. If you think about a swollen heel or a sore heel, every time you put your shoe on and run, it's going to be a nagging type deal. I don’t think it's anything that will keep him out of the lineup for the next few weeks, but it will be something that he's got to a get a new shoe probably and something to work with and deal with."

On if the injury was aggravated in practice:

"Yeah, he got kicked in practice, couldn’t get his shoe on until Thursday I think it was, so he wasn’t able to practice Thursday or Friday and then Saturday he started feeling a little bit better. Sunday he said he felt pretty good, but he didn’t do any practice and I wasn’t quite sold, so we kept him out last week."

On what he has seen from defensive linemen Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne:

"They've been good, they've been really good. They play well together. I think we've got to push some more. We've got to get more from them, you know, they are two first rounder's. They've got some production in the sack department, they played good against the run, but we need them to play great against the pass. We need more pressure on the quarterback, but I love where they are, as football players and as men. They are two guys that I never have to worry about, 'Hey, hustle. Hey run to the ball.' These guys are always playing hard, playing fast, playing physical and you can build around those two cats for a long time."

On DL Jonathan Allen's emergence as a leader:

"I mean, that’s just the way he is. He leads by example and if he needs to be vocal, he can be vocal and it's easy to be vocal when you lead by example because people know, ‘Hey this guy is working hard.’ People tend to listen to guys like that. He's a great guy and great player."

On if WR Maurice Harris could continue to start moving forward:

"I've always been impressed with ‘Mo’. He's does everything right. He had a couple plays which he wishes he had back, like everybody did, but for the most part, he has been productive, he is physical in the running game and he does a lot of good things. But, what I like the most about ‘Mo’ is first of all is he can play X, Y, or Z like that and knows all three spots, which is crucial with Jamison [Crowder] a little banged up and Paul [Richardson Jr.] a little bit banged up, he can move to Z, if Jamison can't go he can move to zebra, if Josh [Doctson] can't go he would move to X and he can be productive in all three spots."

QB Alex Smith

On his thoughts after watching film from the New Orleans Saints game:

"I think clearly for all of us, I know myself, the handful of negative plays, clearly from me the interception. Just to be able to miss on the fourth down, it's a big play there. If you see it right off the back, clearly from me, analyzing my mindset and thought process; eyes and feet, all that stuff and is that marrying up, obviously, with what we're doing and obviously the missed communication there that my eyes are not out there and not seeing this. I think trying to clean up some of that. Certainly, like I said, there were those handful of plays for me, eyes and feet, things like that, trying to clean up those things, missed opportunities. I mean and that's it. I think you're looking at it; what could I do better? Certainly there was, I think for all of us, I know myself, there was a lot that I could do better."

On if the physical mechanics or Saints defensive scheme was an issue in the loss:

"It's probably all those things you just talked about. I mean the lack of getting a rhythm, lack of…the situation and it being one-sided. Obviously it (the game) turns into a pass-heavy deal. We're down. You start pressing. I mean all those things come into account in a situation like that."

On having balance with the run and pass game on offense:

"I mean, that's the big question. It's always easy in hindsight [because] I think the games you look at that we run the ball well, you have a bunch of attempts, you're in the rhythm, you're moving the chains, you're in an even game, back-and-fourth or even playing with a lead, you're running the ball in the second half. So, it's hard to tell you what comes first. That's kind of one of those questions. I think in those games you do look back and say 'man I wish we would’ve hung with it a little more and stayed more balanced.' I think that’s natural. I think that happens everywhere. But no question I think if we're going to be a good offense, you have to have balance. We have to be able to run the football multiple ways, no different than we have to be able to throw the ball multiple ways – down the field, horizontally, stretch them, misdirection, all that stuff. All those things go into being good on offense but absolutely got to be balanced."

On processing the loss and not overreacting when analyzing the film:

"It's a good question. I think you don’t want to be naive either. You want to be real with yourself. I think every guy in there has got to look at themselves in the mirror and be real with themselves, things they have to get better at, need to get better at to help this team and we all have them. If you do that and then you do move on. It's one game. We're four games into the season. We have a lot of football left ahead of us. We're playing a really good football team right now, so we have new opportunity, new challenge, new week. I think once you do move on from it and start your prep, you do. You leave it behind you and get ready for this next challenge."

On conversations with HC Jay Gruden about play calling:

"Yeah, yeah we have those conversations. I mean I'm saying the same thing. I have to do a better job executing. I have to play better. That’s our job as players to do that. So, I think that’s natural as the coaches and players that we both want to try and help each other out. Certainly a bunch of players out there to be made by us and we left them out there. Yeah, I mean, listen I don’t want to get into too much or any of that other stuff. I just think that’s the nature of the player and coach relationship."

On if it's easier to put losses behind him the further along he gets in his career:

"Not really, no. Nope, those hurt. They hurt, not fun at all. I don’t think they're fun probably for anybody that’s affiliated with the Redskins from a fan to anybody in this building. Like no, it's not fun. It stings and it should. The only way I think to remedy it is to go get a win."

On if he was surprised by the team's performance on Monday:

"Yeah, I mean you don’t anticipate it. It would be hard for me to talk about certainly the other two phases of the game. But us offensively, yeah you go out there and expect to…I felt good heading into the game. I felt like we had a good plan and were going to go out there and expected to have a good night. Yeah, sometimes it does go that way but you certainly never expect that, certainly never thinking it is coming."

On if he feels a sense of urgency to get back to work after a loss:

"I think the nature of it being a Monday night game and being on a short week kind of makes it…I mean you're cramming anyway. We got back at five in the morning. You're way behind and doing everything you can to catch up. So yeah, you have to get past that as much as possible and move on. Part of that is the energy level. Yeah coming in, I'm excited to get on to the next challenge that’s for sure. Yep."

On if he has any thoughts on Carolina Panthers S Eric Reid and the anthem protests:

"I don’t have thoughts on it to be honest. I feel like I have enough that I'm dealing with Monday night and getting ready for this team. So, I haven't given it much thought. I don’t know Eric that well at all. I missed him there in San Fran so trying to get ready for this defense. They certainly present a big challenge."

On Carolina Panthers LB Luke Kuechly and LB Thomas Davis:

"They don’t seem to be slowing down or getting worse. They've been doing it a long time. They've been in that system a really long time. Not many weak spots in their game from a physical standpoint. Three down linebackers, can cover, they're physical in the run game. And then I think the biggest thing that jumps out is how smart and how fast they both are. They identify things quick, can't trick them, they have a knack of just figuring out what you're doing, seeing things, getting to the football, making plays. They're certainly up there. They've been doing it a long time."

On if he sensed that players were trying to do too much in the game Monday night:

"I don’t know if I sensed that. There are probably so many things that went into that – the environment, Monday night, big stage, going down there, big environment for us. I think guys were amped up for that. Then yeah, the game situation probably does dictate that once we're down a few scores. There probably was some pressing and guys trying to make plays and maybe do too much. Probably did lend itself into that but there were probably a ton of variables that all play into that kind of snowballing into what it was."

On if he's gotten the chance to watch tape on the Carolina Panthers during time off:

"I did not. I think the nice thing was having prep for Arizona, we watched a good bit of Carolina film prepping for them, so there was a little bit of a foundation for that. A short week, it's just a challenge all around. A challenge from a recovery standpoint, on a short week, getting back, throw in the travel, getting back here, getting healthy, getting ready to roll for Sunday and then mentally preparing for what you've got to prepare to digest the game plan to know in and out. So, all those little details that we talked about that showed up, you are there and making those."

On the emphasis of getting TE Jordan Reed the ball more:

"I mean, not only Jordan but everybody you never want to miss an opportunity to a guy. Certainly a player like Jordan, you never want to miss an opportunity to get him going, get him involved. He's a guy that I think we all feed off offensively and as a team, brings a lot of juice, is a big playmaker for us. You never want to miss those opportunities. Is it something where you are going to go out there and just cram it in at all costs? No, but that’s kind of our deal as an offense, building it, and my job as a quarterback is deciphering that and knowing when."

On trusting wide receivers and getting the ball to WR Maurice Harris early in the game:

"I mean there is a lot that goes into that. I think time and reps and I think trust that they are going to be aggressive for you. They are going to play fast and more often than not make you right. 'Mo' [Maurice Harris] is a guy I have a lot of confidence in, as in all these guys. You can't hesitate out there and I think all these guys have that kind of ability."

On if he has a connection with his receivers yet:

"I think regardless of where you are at, I guess it doesn't totally matter. I mean we've got to get ready to play. Yeah, are there reps where maybe more time would have helped? Maybe, but at this point that doesn’t do us any good. I think we've got to go. I do feel comfortable in what we are doing, I feel great about the guys that are doing it, our relationship, and the reps we have together. I think there is always going to be those things and it's a process that never ends. I think whether you've played with a guy for five years in the same system, those things always happen. I think you ae fine tuning those things."

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