Head Coach Andy Reid
Conference Call Quotes
October 5, 2015
OPENING STATEMENT: “I don’t really have any updates other than the Josh Mauga one from yesterday. Nothing’s changed. I haven’t met with Rick (Burkholder) yet, so we’ll be able to get you that information later today. Really, what I mentioned yesterday, I still believe after watching the tape. Offensively, we moved the ball. Once we got on the plus-side of the 50 there, we had too many mistakes, penalties, sacks—whatever it might be—uncompleted goals, but there were some things there with a young group that you can grow from and we’ve got to do that. I mean, we’ve got to do it, make sure we’re improving. When you have opportunities to be on that side of the 50 and a few times in the red zone there, you have to score touchdowns. I mean, even though we did a nice job kicking, you really want touchdowns, especially when you’re playing a good football team. Defensively, again, big plays. There were seven big plays for 240-plus yards. Again, you can’t have that. Time of possession was probably in our favor, so even more so, you can’t have the big plays there. So, as coaches, it’s our responsibility to get that done. As the head coach, it’s my responsibility to get that done, so you go back and make sure you’re putting the guys in good positions to do these things. We’ve got a responsible bunch of guys and I had a chance to talk to them on the plane ride back and they take accountability for things, too. That’s one reason I like this team. We’ve got a bunch of young guys. I like this team, we’ve just got to eliminate some of this stuff, and when we do, we can be a pretty good football team. I know we are going to do that because of their work ethic and the coaches’ work ethic. With that, time’s yours.”
Q: What are your thoughts on how Zach Fulton did in his first start this year?
REID: “Yeah, I thought Zach (Fulton) did some good things. Again, I take into consideration that it was his first time going and playing a full game, so I keep that in mind. Can he continue to get better? Absolutely. Are there things he needs to keep working? Yeah. Overall, he did some good things.”
Q: Do you anticipate continuing to go with Zach Fulton at RG?
REID: “Well, I’ll probably end up sticking with Zach right now. Again, I’ll get with Coach Heck as the day goes on here and talk to him. But right now, I’d probably tell you yes.”
Q: Are you using Charcandrick West more than Knile Davis because of their different running styles?
REID: “All three of them are different – that’s kind of what I was saying yesterday. You try to exploit everybody’s talents. We thought that fit, we thought some of the pass game stuff fit. I haven’t lost confidence in Knile at all. That’s where I was at for that game and what I felt.”
Q: What ways have you seen Knile Davis grow this year?
REID: “Listen, I actually think Knile, when he came here, his pass game wasn’t his forte. I think he’s worked hard at that and gotten better at that. Knile runs hard, he’s a bigger body and he’ll pound it at you – that’s one thing that he’ll do. Those are his strengths, I think his overall knowledge of the offense is better than when he first got here.”
Q: Do you anticipate Charcandrick West getting most of the backup snaps going forward or will it continue to be about matchups?
REID: “We’ll see. We rotate them all during practice, so we’ll see how that rolls. We’re lucky that we have the three of them, that’s how I look at it. I think they are three important guys to have, all three of them are active. We’ll use them the way we feel is best.”
Q: Two straight games you have utilized a safety at the nickel corner position, what are they giving you that Jamell Fleming and Marcus Cooper can’t?
REID: “Well, I think you know (Ron) Parker has started for us at corner right? And so I don’t look at Parker as a safety, I look at him as a guy that can do both. That’s why we moved him in there. That’ a different position in there to play, and (Parker) did it against San Diego a year or two ago and he did a pretty good job against (Eddie) Royal and so he had a little more experience than those other guys playing in there. I think that’s important – the responsibilities in there are – it’s a little different than playing on the outside.”
Q: How has Steven Nelson gone along in his learning process?
REID: “Listen, he’s a rookie, he still is learning. That’s understandable. He’s working very hard at this thing, we’ll see how things look this week and we try to evaluate all of our talent every week. You kind of go through and evaluate everything, but you evaluate that part of it too, so we’ll see how things work.”
Q: Is Jamaal Charles doing well and do you expect him to fully participate this week in practice?
REID: “Yeah, he’s ok. He’s fine. We try to rotate these guys the best we can so you can keep them fresh throughout the year here.”
Q: Did you see anything the Bengals did specifically to negate the pass rush?
REID: “Other than their play action game, there really wasn’t much as far as protection goes. Again, we can do a better job there and keep working at that all the way around. You have to make sure you’re putting guys in the right position and when you’re put there you’ve got to win that individual battle, that’s kind of how that works.”
Q: Jamaal had 11 carries this week and a similar number last week. Is that where you want him?
REID: “Well, he had a couple catches for us that were pretty good and had opportunities for a couple others that would’ve pretty good too. So as much as we move him around, I’m ok with that. I’m for whatever it takes to do well, that’s the most important thing.”
Chiefs Coordinator Quotes
October 1, 2015
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR DOUG PEDERSON
Q: Can you compare and contrast what happened in the first half versus the second half on Monday?
PEDERSON: “You never want to start a football game the way we did, with those three-and-outs like that. It just goes to show that you have to come ready to play every single day, every single snap. (When) you’re going into a hostile environment like Lambeau Field – a tough place to play against a fine defense – we have to bring that same energy. I think you saw it in the second half where we got ourselves in a little bit of a hole, but found some rhythm and were able to crawl back into the football game.”
Q: Did the Packers continue their aggressive blitzing in the second half?
PEDERSON: “No, they continued that in the second half. We saw some zero-blitzes early in the football game, and they just kept with that style. Every time they felt like they needed a stop, they would bring the pressure and force us to either throw quick or get out of certain things. I thought in the second half, we were handling it a little bit better, and, again, worked ourselves back into the football game.”
Q: When a team has success against you, you know you’re going to see it again, how do you prepare for that against Cincinnati?
PEDERSON: “Yeah, Cincinnati is another defense that will do the same thing. They’re an attack-style, very aggressive. Anything you see on tape, you say ‘hey, we can do the same thing,’ especially if it’s in your package. I wouldn’t expect anything different each week, teams are going to pressure you anyway. Again, we just have to look at that film, make those corrections and move on to the next one.”
Q: How do you expand Maclin and Smith’s chemistry each week?
PEDERSON: “One thing with Jeremy and being the type of player and athlete he is, we have the flexibility to move him around – much like we do De’Anthony (Thomas). So we have to be able to do that and create those types of matchups that we found favorable in the second half of last week’s game.”
Q: What’s the message to Alex Smith after a game like that?
PEDERSON: “I just tell him the sun came up the next day. There’s more to life than football, but at the same time we have to learn from our mistakes. You take it one play at a time, it’s still very early into the football season, and by no means does anybody panic or make any kind of rash decision. You just go to work every day and get yourself ready for the next opponent. I think the beauty of anything athletically is you’re always going to have that next opponent. So this week it happens to be Cincinnati and another tough place to go play.”
Q: What do you think the problem has been on third down?
PEDERSON: “I think a lot of it is really just our own execution when you look at it. You know, going into it, you’re going to see man coverage, you’re going to see tight leverage, you’re going to see defenses kind of as pass rushers. And we’ve seen fine pass rushers here in these first three, four weeks. It’s something that if they can put that kind of pressure on your quarterback, it just disrupts timing. And on third down, you need some of those timing throws. And anytime you can make your quarterback either adjust his eyes or move his feet, you tend to have an incomplete pass or a sack – and that’s what’s happened. We look at that and go ‘okay, everybody’s in the right spot, now let’s just finish, let’s continue to move our feet. Alex, let’s put our eyes in the right spot; receivers, they’re going to have to work against tight, press coverage – we’ve seen it all through OTAs and training camp from our defense.’ And we just kind of get better, we grow with it, and we have to just climb ourselves out of that hole.”
Q: What does it do to a defense when you can convert on third down?
PEDERSON: “I don’t think it’s good to constantly be three-and-out, three-and-out, three-and-out – we know this is a team sport and a team game, we need all three aspects to make this thing work. Offensively, we have to lift our end up. We have to help our defense by keeping ourselves on the field and them off the field and third down is a big part of that. The other thing, too, when you look at it, we’ve been in a lot of third-and-really-long situations, which means we’ve had penalties and lost yardages on those first and second downs and we have to get better in that area, too.”
Q: How do you feel Green Bay played on some of the stuff you tried to do there?
PEDERSON: “Well, we knew going in there they were an aggressive style up front and in the secondary, and they’ve got some great players that have been in that system for a long time. You know, 52 (Clay Matthews) is a great player for them, and (Julius) Peppers and (B.J.) Raji inside, and it’s a handle—a load to handle—but we faced the same quality guys in practice. It’s a mindset, I’ll tell ya. It’s an attitude and a mindset that we’re going to go out there and not be denied.”
Q: Where do you think Alex is at with his confidence right now?
PEDERSON: “Anytime you come away from, especially back-to-back losses, your mindset is going to be – naturally it’s going to be down. He’s the type of guy that gets over it very fast. We spend very little time watching that tape, making the necessary corrections, then we’re right on to the next opponent. That was the beauty of a Monday night, having a day and then we’re right back into practice yesterday. He’s the kind of guy that can push it to the side, learn from it, and get on to the next opponent. That’s the best thing for all of us, to move on to the next opponent, get back out on the practice field, correct our mistakes and put ourselves in good situations.”
Q: In that Green Bay game, it looked like he got a little bit gun-shy with the pass-rushers on him, did you see that also?
PEDERSON: “Well, I’ll tell you this from playing the position. As a quarterback, and you know, if you get hit early, if they move you off your spot early, yeah, I would say that’s in the back of your mind as you go throughout the game. Any of you guys who have ever stood in the pocket and stared down that kind of rush would know that. It does play, a little bit, in the back of your mind, but I’ll tell you this – Alex is such a competitor that, that doesn’t bother him. He doesn’t let it bother him, and he’s the type of guy that will actually go and rally his guys and then the next thing you know, it’s the second half of that ball game where we’re up and down the field and moving the sticks and scoring points, and really put ourselves in the position to at least tie the game if not get it close to potentially win that football game.”
Q: How important is it that James O’Shaughnessy and Demetrius Harris come back more developed to help the offense?
PEDERSON: “Yeah, you know that’s always been a good personnel group for us with two or three tight ends on the football field. One, from a protection standpoint, it helps with an extra blocker in the box there. Two, it creates matchups against our linebackers, and we feel our guys are skilled athletes enough to create those matchups with some of these linebackers and/or safeties. You’ve seen Travis (Kelce), and even James (O’Shaughnessy) here recently, make some plays that way in the passing game and that’s really helped Alex (Smith). Things are right across the line of scrimmage and usually, those are the type of routes that are kind of in your face, so to speak, and they’re completion-type plays that really help you as the game unfolds.”
Q: Have you seen a difference in O’Shaughnessy recently in regards to picking things up and playing quicker?
PEDERSON: “I think the more he plays, the more confidence he gets and understanding what we’re asking him to do as an offensive staff. He’s a talented kid, and just executing what we ask him to do.”
Q: Chris Conley had his first NFL catch the other night. Are bigger and better things in store for him?
PEDERSON: “Yeah, yeah. He’s the type of kid where the more opportunities he gets to play—a snap here, a snap there, maybe a series or two—he’s such a smart kid, he’s like a sponge. He’s just absorbing all the information we’re giving him and he’s done a really good job when he’s in there. He’s a guy that we continue to give him a couple reps here and there.”
Q: As a play-caller, how do you create that rhythm that Alex had in the second half, early in the game?
PEDERSON: “Well, you never want to get down two scores, three scores in football games, but when you do, you typically jump right into your two-minute offense and most teams go into their hurry-up stuff. It’s usually plays that you’ve spent a lot of time and you’ve spent some, you know, exhausted a lot of hours running in practice. It’s the things that guys know and those are the type of plays. They’re usually three-step drop plays and the ball is out of your hand and you’re kind of cutting the field in half. You do that to get your quarterback and really, your offense, into a rhythm, kind of calm and settle them down and obviously it worked there for us in the second half.”
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR BOB SUTTON
On the run defense in Green Bay:
SUTTON: “Well, you deal with that every week and you either match the players, you know, match the personnel, or you can elect not to match and there’s groups that are kind of in between that you can do. It’s just – you’re changing - they’re putting in one more receiver and we’re taking out one more lineman to match to cover from a cover purpose. You’re just playing a different style, it doesn’t change dramatically what you do, but you’ve just got to play those plays better and we didn’t. Especially the first quarter, we didn’t play the run real well, I don’t think in the first quarter. Then we kind of settled in and started doing a better job.”
Q: Is there any way to explain some of the missed tackles you guys had early?
SUTTON: “Well, one, play the initial play better – don’t let the ball carrier get a head of steam, that’s the first and foremost thing I think. You don’t want a guy into your second level that quick and that clean. Obviously we knew going into the game these were two big, strong backs and we’re going to have to do a great job of tackling. It really starts upfront, counting (defensive line), linebackers, (defensive backs) that are involved and building a wall, making it difficult for the runner to find his crack - slow him down a little bit and that type of thing.”
Q: What kind of challenge does Cincinnati bring in that respect?
SUTTON: “They’re very similar, they’re the second-best offense in the NFL, I think the number one passing offense, they’ve got two good running backs – different style guys, but two that are really good. (Jeremy Hill)’s kind of like the guys we just saw from a physical standpoint in there. And they’re talented on the outside so it’s one of those things where you’re not going to load the box because of how they’re built on the outside. And then I think Andy Dalton is playing really well for them, so it’s going to be the same kind of challenge really.”
Q: With the penalties for 12 men on the field, was that a tempo issue?
SUTTON: “One of them was more on us, they switched personnel. We thought there should have been a little more time for us to switch personnel. That didn’t work out that way, but that’s the game. We probably still could have made it off, but really we felt we should have gotten a little more time on that. But yeah, they do a good job, it’s something that we practice hard on and we didn’t do a good enough job on it.”
Q: Are the free plays something that you can prepare for?
SUTTON: “Yeah, we practiced the free plays. We had pre-determined guys jump offside in practice and do it. The hardest part of the free play is that the back end people understand it because the guys are running, the front guys have to understand that you have to keep rushing. The play is not over unless he’s blown the whistle. And there’s thoughts on that too, like when it is a free play and when it isn’t a free play. But that’s the most important part we were trying to emphasize in the week, the back end you know – this guy’s got a free play, it means ‘hey, I’m not going to throw it for five yards there, I’m going to throw it for 50 and hope something good happens for us. From a completion to interference, whatever, and if it doesn’t I’m going to get the play over anyway.’ So you understand that on the back end and the front end just has to keep rushing the quarterback just like it’s a regular play. That’s hard to do because you naturally stop, that’s the nature of the beast. But it’s something that we didn’t do as well as we could’ve and we’ve just got to coach it better and play it better and the whole deal.”
Q: Leading up to Green Bay, it seemed like there was going to be a lot of individual matchups, is there something scheme-wise that you can do against Cincinnati or are they similar in that regard?
SUTTON: “No, I think any offense has its strength or weakness and any defense has its strengths and weaknesses. You’re always maneuvering around those two issues all the time – your strengths, their weakness, your weakness, their strengths. And you have to balance both of them. If you play only to your weakness every time, it becomes hard to be aggressive and do the things you want to do from a standpoint. So you try to balance that and you try to stay out of the never and always category.”
Q: How tough is it to face Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Andy Dalton in a three week stretch?
SUTTON: “Yeah, it’s good. I think those guys are all playing – we all know Peyton and that, Aaron’s playing at a really high level like we talked about last week. I think Andy Dalton is probably playing the best football he’s played. He’s very efficient, not turning the ball over. He’s done a great job in these first three games here for them. It’s a good job, they’re surrounded by some really good players. Like you mentioned, Cincy has really good balance from the running game, to tight ends, to wide receivers, to backs as far as being involved in the passing game. They demand a lot of things from you and it’s hard to say ‘hey, if we can just take this away, we’re in good shape.’ We have to take away a lot of things in this game to do a good job on defense.”
Q: Does having Sean Smith back make it easier for you guys to do what you want to do defensively?
SUTTON: “Well, yeah, obviously we’d like to have had him back without losing Phillip Gaines. So that kind of balanced out a little bit. Yeah, it gives us a corner that’s played here and played in the system, played very well. That’s definitely going to help us.”
Q: Have you seen growth from Sean Smith?
SUTTON: “Yeah, I think since the time he’s come here. And I’m speaking specifically as a player here, learning the system, learning what we want to do, how to play, how to share that knowledge with some of the younger guys and that type of thing. I think Sean’s done a really good job of that. We have to count that he’s going to come back pretty fast here this week without a lot of practice time. I think he’ll be fine.”
Q: What do you need to see from the nickel corner this week?
SUTTON: “The same as we did every other week – number one, you have to do your job and do it well. The nickel is always a delicate position, you have to do a lot of things in there. It’s a position that demands some moxie in there, there’s a lot of things happening fast. A receiver really has the ability to go both ways because he’s on the inside, so he can go inside, outside, he can go vertical on you. Then there’s a lot of nuances of the defenses that you’re involved in. it’s going to be important that that guy plays well. It’s like any defense, when you get in there in those situations against three wide receivers, you have to do a great job in there.”
Q: Is it easier to provide help to a boundary corner or a nickel corner?
SUTTON: “That’s hard to answer because a lot of it is determined by the formation. There’s times you’d like to go in and just help somebody, but those offensive guys are smart, too. They figure out ways where it becomes a little more challenging to help. You have to be able to mix a little bit of both in there.”
SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR DAVE TOUB
Q: Why is there more touchbacks this season?
TOUB: “Guys are getting stronger and stronger, players develop – that’s just the way it is. It’s kind of the norm now, really, if you can’t kick a touchback and you’re a kicker in the NFL, you’re probably not going to be in the NFL very long. That’s just the way it looks.”
Q: Cairo Santos in particular seems to have gotten better.
TOUB: “He’s gotten stronger, he’s gotten better.”
Q: Was it because of strength training?
TOUB: “Yeah, he gained a little bit of weight. He put on some muscle in his lower body, and his technique. Obviously, he continues to work on his technique, but really I think it’s his leg strength that’s helping him. And then it’s the warm weather, the ball carries a little bit, and then in the winter time when it gets a bit colder you’ll see less and less touchbacks across the board.”
September 30, 2015
HEAD COACH ANDY REID
OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright, so really just a couple of injuries to talk to you about. Phillip Gaines, I told you. I’ll get back with you when we get information on that. Phillip has an ACL tear, he will have surgery on that. We’ll make the move here today, to put him on IR. Then Albert Wilson has been battling a shoulder, so it’s a bit sore. Other than that, we’re pretty good. So we look forward to the challenge of playing the Bengals, we know they’re a good football team. We know Cincinnati has been a tough place to play traditionally. Our guys are going to prepare themselves and get ready to play against a good football team. The time is yours.”
Q: How do you make sure you have a good mental preparation this week?
REID: “Again, you go back and you have your focus on fundamentals and take care of that. There were some things that we could do better there. As coaches, you go back and you focus and make sure you’re putting the guys in good positions and everybody does that part of it, collectively, and it’ll be alright.”
Q: What were some of the positives you could take away from your passing game Monday night?
REID: “Yeah, there were some good things there. We were able to drive the ball down the field, against what I thought was a good defense, and get some scores there. I mentioned the one positive, I thought one of the primary positives from that game was that the players battled all the way through. They easily could’ve shut it down, I didn’t feel that they did that at all. It’s a tribute to their character, I could work with that, and that’s where I tell you that I’ve got to do a better job. I’ve got guys with big hearts and I’ve got to make sure I’m putting them into the right position to make plays.”
Q: What do you think the problem is on third down?
REID: “Well, it’s a variety of things. We’ve gone through and obviously looked at it and studied it, but it’s a variety of things. Not one thing that you can pinpoint other than we haven’t been very good there.”
Q: How do you fix it?
REID: “You go back to the fundamentals, make sure you take care of that part.”
Q: You seem particularly resolved this week, am I reading that wrong?
REID: “Well, I know I’ve got a good football team. I didn’t get them prepared well enough this last game, and so I’ve got to – that’s my responsibility. I’ve got to make sure that takes place and so that’s where I’m at right now.”
Q: Is that resolve mostly aimed at the coaching staff?
REID: “No, it’s aimed at me. That’s where it’s aimed at and we take it from there.”
Q: What’s the plan for the next man up after Phillip Gaines?
REID: “Well, we’ve got a variety of personnel groups that we can use and we’ll go through those today and look at them and see how things work out there.”
Q: So with Phillip Gaines coming off of the roster, Sean Smith will step in there?
REID: “Sean Smith will step in, yeah. That will happen today, too, I should have mentioned that.”
Q: How do you think the offensive line has progressed?
REID: “Well, you look at our last game and I think as we work through some of the looks they gave us, we got better as it went. Again, I keep coming back to that, but I’ve got to make sure I’m giving them the right protections to use to get their work done.”
Q: Have you seen that the Bengals defense does similar things to the Texans?
REID: “They pick and choose, but they’ve got a nice blitz package that has traditionally been that way since Marvin (Lewis) has been there. They pick and choose. They play a lot of zone coverages and they mix in when they want to bring it.”
Q: Alex Smith has been sacked 13 times, how much does that factor into what you expect him to do?
REID: “Well, we’ve got to do better there, obviously, protecting him. Again, I start with the calls, we’ve got to make sure we give him the right calls in the right situation to get that done and then we’ve got to take care of business everywhere else.”
QB ALEX SMITH
Q: How easy is it to not get too high when things are going well or too low when they aren’t?
SMITH: “I think you’re better at it the more you play and the more you’ve been around you’ve been in situations like this before. I think when you’re young, you feel like the sky is falling on you. It’s early, we’re three games into this, we’ve got our fourth here ahead of us. Sometimes I think the natural reaction is to overreact. I think the focus needs to be on the little things and the details of what we’re doing. Refocusing in on all those little things through the week and on Sunday that will take us over the edge.”
Q: So basically just keeping your head down?
SMITH: “Obviously our coaches do a ton of evaluating and doing the best they can to put us in situations. But yeah, for us it’s your job to go out there and, all week, prepare for your opponent, know exactly what you’re doing on all the different looks and go out there and play fast and execute. We have to go out there and make plays and I think it comes down to the little things. I think when you look on film, we all sit there and take our turns of having our mistakes. When you do that, all of the sudden it adds up. We all had our turn. Before you know it, we’re playing a good team and you’re in a hole. You just have to do a better job of consistently executing, consistently doing your job and it’s all 11 guys doing that.”
Q: Do you hear public criticism?
SMITH: “Yeah, you can’t ignore everything, you can’t live in a hole, it’s impossible these days. You do hear some of it. Like I said, I think the older you get, the better you are at handling it.”
Q: How does it affect you, or does it at this stage of your career?
SMITH: “At this point, I think all these guys put enough pressure on themselves, that I don’t think any of that affects it.”
Q: You talk about doing the little things, is that what’s killing you guys on third down?
SMITH: “I think there’s a lot of things to point to on third down. Certainly I think the biggest one is a lack of execution, just lack of playing good football. I think we’ve had a bunch of mental errors, we’ve had penalties, we’ve put ourselves in third-and-longs – and those things, as well, kind of play into it. We have to do a good job of, when we’re in third down, moving the chains. I do think it comes down to execution. More often than not, those are the little details.”
Q: What do you see when you watch the Bengals on tape?
SMITH: “They’re good, they’re really good. They’ve been playing good this year, so far on defense. A veteran group, they know what they’re doing, they play fast, really, really good up front. I think they’re good outside in the secondary as well. Like I said, a pretty veteran group, they play fast, they tackle well.”
Q: Were the Packers still coming after you in the second half?
SMITH: “Yeah, it was different. I think that the game situation let them – especially from the play calling standpoint, they could bring anything they wanted to. There was no pressure, really, so from that standpoint – they did, they brought it all. We were kind of seeing it all because they obviously had a comfortable lead and could do that.”
Q: What positives are you taking away from the game?
SMITH: “There is some good to take from that, for sure. I think a lot of us, especially with the no huddle tempo we were kind of rolling in. We’ll be in situations like that again and when we’re at the end of the half, the end of the fourth quarter and you’ve got to put a drive together, operating in that kind of environment. So those are things in your memory bank you look at that will serve you well, I think, moving forward. Also, I think a little bit of it is the attitude. Obviously cutting it lose in the second half, all of us - 11 guys playing a little less cautious.”
Q: How much freedom do you have to adjust something at the line or is it just based on the call?
SMITH: “I think more so call and game week, there’s some weeks more than others, depending on what the defense does, how much they’re doing. I have more freedom at the line to get to certain things, some weeks less.”
Q: Is a lesson that can be taken from this game to play with less caution?
SMITH: “I just think early on you look and there was a lot of things like execution, we couldn’t move the chains all of the sudden against a good team and they score on a few drives and you find yourself in a hole. In the first half we couldn’t get anything going offensively, to get into a rhythm. Yeah, it hurt us.”
Q: On the offensive mindset.
SMITH: “Not even so much offense, that’s just not how we’re thinking. It’s to go get a W. I think for us, offensively, it is to come out early and let’s get into a rhythm, let’s score some points. Start faster, certainly more than we did last week.”
Q: How tough is it to keep your eyes downfield during a pass rush?
SMITH: “I think the thing that gets you, that can get you, is eyes and feet. And when pressure’s coming, I think, as the game wares on, it can affect a quarterback’s eyes and feet and really that’s what a quarterback plays with back out there. When you’re well trained, and that’s why you’re doing all of those reps – to make sure your eyes and feet are well trained. And pressure sometimes can make those two things do funny things - feet are off, your eyes are in different places, so I think it’s important. Even when there are games like that, it’s not always clean, you have to keep those disciplined.”
Q: You thought you were good with that in the second half?
SMITH: “Better yeah, for sure.”
CB SEAN SMITH
Q: How will it feel to be back out on the field?
SMITH: “Fun, it’s been three long weeks. Can’t wait to get out there with the guys.”
Q: Has it been frustrating watching some of the struggles they’ve had recently?
SMITH: “It’s frustrating, you always want to be out there with your guys. We put forth all this hard work and everything during OTAs and camp. Not being there to start the season with them was definitely frustrating, to say the least.”
Q: Do you agree that the timing couldn’t be better for you to return with Phillip Gaines’ injury?
SMITH: “I’m just glad I’m back. Phil was definitely unfortunate, I’m still waiting to see what’s going on with that. At the same time, I couldn’t wait for these days to count down, and that clock to strike zero, zero, zero. I’m out here, I’m full-go, can’t wait to get on the field.”
Q: How did you spend the last three weeks, what did you try to do with your time?
SMITH: “Stay busy. I was able to come here, work out and go to meetings and things like that. Make sure I’m physically able to go out there and perform and at the same time, I have to keep the guys sharp mentally, especially the young guys.”
Q: On starting prep in OTAs and preseason:
SMITH: “It’s cool. Like I said, we definitely started something in OTAs and minicamp. To be around to help the young guys and show them how preparing for preseason is different than the regular season was cool. It was fun to watch the guys go out there and play and make some plays.”
Q: What do you think of Marcus Peters’ play?
SMITH: “I’m proud of him, I’m proud of him, man. He’s holding it down out there, there’s still some things to tighten up on, but so far he’s looking pretty good. He shows a lot of confidence in himself physically and mentally – that’s a good thing.”
Q: Marcus Peters shows a lot of energy on the field, are you looking forward to getting out there with Peters and feeding off of each other?
SMITH: “Yeah, I thought that was funny, seeing him going out there and acting like that. It’s going to be fun. What happened in the past is the past, starting from now on, it’s all about the Cincinnati Bengals right now and ready to get this thing rolling.”
Q: How difficult was it to watch the Packers game knowing there was nothing you could do about it?
SMITH: “It wasn’t difficult for me at all. I’m on the other side of the screen, those guys are on the field. From my end, I was just like any other fan. But it’s over with.”
Q: What do you remember from playing A.J. Green in 2012?
SMITH: “2012 – I was a lot younger. It was fun, you go out there and A.J. is a special talent, a rare talent, he’s big, athletic, he can make any catch; if you put the ball around him, he catches it. It’s definitely fun to go out there and compete with a guy like that who you know you have to go out there and bring your A-game every snap because you know (Andy) Dalton is going to throw it over there regardless of it there’s one or two or three defenders over there. So you have to stay on your toes.”
Q: How comfortable do you feel like you’ll be out there on Sunday?
SMITH: “Just like riding a bike. One pedal at a time.”
Q: Middle of the regular season and you’re ready to go?
SMITH: “Let’s go.”
LB DERRICK JOHNSON
Q: As a veteran, what role do you take on after a rough start?
JOHNSON: “Well, I’ve been through it. I’ve been through the ups and downs, the peaks and valleys through my 11 years here and it’s early. That’s the main focus that I’m telling the team – it’s early. But, you don’t want to get to that point where it’s mid-season and you’re still trying to preach that it’s early, and it’s not. The things we need to change—we don’t need to go out and get anybody—right here, in our own house, family issues on the field. It can be resolved. It’s not panic mode for us right now.”
Q: What does it mean now that you’re the franchise tackle leader?
JOHNSON: “Well, it’s a humbling experience. It’s bittersweet, you always want to win and you play this game to win. After going home and laying in bed thinking about it, man, it’s a great accomplishment. I think about it, I haven’t been as grateful as I should. I remember in the past, I said something about, ‘oh, I missed a year, I was benched one year,’ and this is my story. I got the record, I earned the record, it’s been standing from Gary Spani since ’87, since I was five years old, so I’m grateful to that. I give thanks to God for having mercy on me and keeping me healthy. My main focus is to help the team win. That’s always my main focus, but as I go home and lay in bed, I can thank God for the accomplishment of getting the tackle record.”
Q: Have you had a chance to talk to Gary Spani?
JOHNSON: “Gary Spani is a great guy. I’ve shook his hand a few times before this, but I actually got a chance to—at Mitch Holthus’ radio show yesterday—I got a chance to talk with him a lot, him and Bobby Bell. Gary is a great guy, man. Good guy on and off the field. Very humble guy. That’s a pretty neat deal, meeting a guy and the main thing he said was he didn’t lose the record, I earned the record. He said he gave honor to God when he broke the record and gave honor to God when I earned the record. He’s a level-headed individual, great guy to be around and I hope I get to talk to him a little bit more.”
Q: Has this been a tough three week stretch facing Manning, Rodgers and Dalton?
JOHNSON: “Yeah, it’s probably the top five quarterbacks right now early in the season. It’s tough, each week is going to be tough for us. Every week is going to have its own hard task and this week, they have a really explosive offense and Andy Dalton is one of the young, up-and-coming quarterbacks that has a pretty dynamic receiver that he’s throwing the ball to. Running game is going good for them. That team is 3-0. That’s hard to do in this league, even though it’s early. Coming into their house, it’s going to be even harder to beat them, but we have to turn some things around here and that’s what we have to do.”
Q: Who do you feel are the leaders on this defense who make sure the intensity never wavers?
JOHNSON: “Well, we got a few guys on each level. I mean, you’ve got Dontari Poe and Mike DeVito, Jaye Howard. I mean, I can actually name every guy on the team on the defense that plays a big part into grabbing this leadership role and getting this defense back to form. Myself, right in the middle with Josh Mauga, but you’ve got the back end with Sean Smith coming back. That’s going to be a great addition to the defense. Eric Berry, he’s a guy that stands tall for everybody. Tamba (Hali) and Justin (Houston), I mean, it’s a lot of guys. It’s not that one guy, where I say, “hey, Justin Houston is our leader and we’re going to look to him.’ We all have a part to play in this defense and we’ll get it done.”
FORMER CHIEFS LB GARY SPANI
On Derrick Johnson breaking the all-time tackle record he previously held:
SPANI: “I’ve had a great opportunity to watch Derrick from day one here and when he came in he was so athletic and such a playmaker. When you see linebackers that have a nose for the football like he does, you know good things are going to happen. He’s been a great asset to this club and a couple years ago I had said, ‘man, that guy never gets hurt, there’s just a lot of good things happening,’ and then he gets popped with that injury last year and I’m like ‘are you kidding me?’ So it was awesome to see him accomplish this, I know that winning football games is the most important thing to him. So I know down the road he’ll look at this and say it’s pretty special.”
On Derrick Johnson breaking the tackle record:
SPANI: “The wonderful thing is that he’s a great guy, and we had fun last night together (visited Chiefs Kingdom Show with Mitch Holthus together). And I told him that, I said ‘I didn’t lose the record, he earned it.’ This is a tough business, he makes a living making tackles and there’s nothing easy about that. I was very happy for him.”
Q: What do you mean he earned the record?
SPANI: “Well, the consistency to play the game as long as he has at a high level, the ability to continue to take care of his body. He has great speed and athleticism, but you’ve still got to do the right things to take care of your body and he’s been able to do that. Coming back from that injury, especially. So he’s done all the right things to earn it.”
BENGALS HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWS
Q: What are your thoughts on the Chiefs passing offense from Monday night?
LEWIS: “I think they kind of hit their stride there through the game. It maybe didn’t start exactly the way they wanted, but they kept chopping wood. It was a contested game at the end and you have to give them credit for fighting back in the football game.”
Q: What do you think Sean Smith will give the Chiefs pass defense on Sunday compared to what you’ve seen the first three games?
LEWIS: “Well Sean is a good player. He plays very long and can get his hands on people and so forth, can contest the ball at the point. I’m sure they’re excited to have him back in the lineup.”
Q: How fun is it to watch A.J. Green from the sideline?
LEWIS: “Well, as long as A.J. comes out on top it’s a lot of fun. Obviously the corners in this league are guys that are really good players and we always have to have our work cut out for him, and A.J. has to go into every game with that kind of mindset.”
Q: What are some of the hallmarks of an Andy Reid passing attack?
LEWIS: “Well, I think the fact that they’ve always spread the football and that they’re going to come into the game and have a certain plan. And you’re going to get a feel for it early in to the football game where they perceive the weaknesses in the things that you do and so forth with their openers and their scriptings. So we’ve got to be on point and stay very very sound and figure it out. They’ve got some great weapons in Jamaal (Charles), even as a receiver of the football, and (Travis) Kelce as a receiver and (Jeremy) Maclin now. So Maclin kind of got going Monday night, so we’ve got to stay very sound and do the things we do.”
BENGALS WR A.J. GREEN
Q: Was your game on Sunday as good of a game as you’ve had as a pro?
GREEN: “I think it’s just up there. Still a lot of stuff I could do to make a couple more plays, but it was pretty good. The biggest thing is we came out there with a win and that’s all that matters.”
Q: Is there as much promise on this team as you’ve seen since you’ve been there?
GREEN: “We have a great start, but we have to take it with a grain of salt. It’s only Week Three, going into Week Four, we have a lot of season ahead of us. We’re not patting ourselves on the back, we just continue with tunnel vision, and keep getting better each week.”
Q: Have you noticed something different about Andy Dalton this year? Do you feel like he’s taken a step forward?
GREEN: “I think we’re playing better around him. I think that’s the biggest thing for him. For us, it’s just not him taking a step, we’re getting better around him. We’re making a lot of plays for him.”
Q: What do you remember from 2012 when you matched up against Sean Smith?
GREEN: “He’s a big, long corner, very athletic, can run, he has long arms and he likes to press.”
Q: Is there anything special that you did to prepare to face Smith in 2012?
GREEN: “No, I just took my same approach. I read every DB and try to focus on the things I need to, what they do well, so I can take that away. Just the same old, same old.”
Q: As the team’s top receiver, knowing you’ll draw the top corner, there isn’t anything special you do to prepare?
GREEN: “No, I just go out there and play every week and just go out there and have trust in the preparation I do through the week and the offseason and I think I’ll be fine.”
Q: What have you seen from the Chiefs defense on film so far this season?
GREEN: “The two pass rushers are unbelievable. And (Justin) Houston is one of the best pass rushers in the game. We just have to protect against them and try to slow them down a little bit.”
Q: The Chiefs have a lot of Georgia guys, how many of those guys do you know?
GREEN: “Justin Houston’s like one of my best friends and Chris Conley and Aaron (Murray), we all played together.”
Q: What do you know about Chris Conley? Did you guys have one year together at Georgia?
GREEN: “No, I was gone. I was already gone.”
Q: So you got to know Chris Conley a little?
GREEN: “Yeah, I was his host coming in. But yeah, he’s a great kid. A freak athlete and I think he’s going to be good for a long time.”
Q: What kind of career do you think he’s going to have?
GREEN: “I think he’ll have a good career. Once he gets in there and starts making plays he’ll get more comfortable with the offense.”
Q: You did play with Aaron Murray though?
GREEN: “Yeah, I played one season with him.”
Q: How have you seen his game grow over the years?
GREEN: “Aaron is one of the hardest working players I’ve been around, on and off the field with the preparation he puts coming into a game and his film study is unbelievable. Once he gets a shot at his chance, I think he’ll be fine.”
Q: You and Justin came out in the same year right?
Q: What have you seen from his so far? Could you see his potential in college?
GREEN: “Of course. Coming out he won the best outside linebacker award in college. And I work out with that guy every year. Like I said, I’ve been around him for a long time. He was in my wedding, like one of my best friends. So I talk to him every day. So there’s no surprise, because the work that he put in this offseason I had no worries about how good he could be.”
Q: How talented is Chris Conley?
GREEN: “Yeah, he’s a good player man. Like I said, once he gets comfortable, gets his feet wet, real good, he’ll be fine.”
Q: Did he come off as a really smart guy to you on your first impression?
GREEN: “Yeah, he’s definitely a smart kid. He comes from a great background, great parents, and I think that’s what made him who he is today.”
Q: Georgia or Alabama this weekend?
Head Coach Andy Reid
Conference Call Quotes
September 29, 2015
OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright, so I really don’t have any update for you yet on (Phillip) Gaines, he’s got a sprained knee is what I’ve got right now, but we’ll get you whatever it is after he’s done with the MRI and seeing the docs. As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve got to do a better job – particularly with 10 days to get my team ready to play. That didn’t take place, way too many mistakes and that starts with me. I’m going to make sure we get this thing fixed, we’re on a short week and we’re well into Cincinnati right now. When I tell you it’s that fast, it’s that fast. That’s where I’m at right now. Time’s yours.”
Q: Is the team planning to activate Sean Smith this morning?
REID: “I’m not sure exactly, I’ve been doing this other stuff here. So Dorsey is on top of that. So they’ll get all that worked out, but he’ll be back this week. That’s the important thing, he’ll be back for tomorrow’s practice.”
Q: How important is it to have Sean Smith back this week since you’re going against A.J. Green?
REID: “Listen, I think it’s important that you have all your players. We went into that game last night healthy for the guys that we had – except for Sean. It’ll be good to get him back in the mix, for sure.”
Q: What are your plans for him this week?
REID: “I know he’s been working out like crazy, so it’s just a matter of getting him back into the football swing of things. I think you could probably put him right back in and let him get going. I think every rep he gets is an important rep in practice.”
Q: If he is ready, do you plan to start him?
REID: “Let me just kind of see how he does tomorrow. I’ll know more once I see him run around. I would tell you yes, that’s a thought.”
Q: How did Marcus Cooper perform last night?
REID: “I just thought during the practice week, Marcus deserved an opportunity to get in there. I thought he did some good things, he competed. He had a couple penalties there or whatever, but he competed and at that point, it was important for that.”
Q: How confident are you in this group to be able to turn it around and achieve the goals you set for yourselves?
REID: “I’m very confident in this group. I think it’s important though that we take care of a few things and that I will take care of internally and I start with myself on that. So we’ve all got to do a better job, and that’s the bottom line. We can talk about it all we want to talk about it, but you’ve got to do it and that’s what’s real. And so, that’s why I’m not much into talking about that. I’m more into talking about getting on to Cincinnati and let’s get things rolling.”
Q: How important is the closeness of the team during times of adversity?
REID: “It’s very important that you can be real with one another, that’s an important thing.”
Q: How much will you rely on your veteran guys to get things straight this week?
REID: “I have full confidence in the veteran leaders of this team. So, like I said, we’ve all got to do our job and that starts with me, that’s what’s real, that’s the important thing. We’ve got very good leadership on this team.”
Q: Were the check down throws Alex Smith was making on third downs by design or was that something he just did?
REID: “Alex is doing fine, that’s my decision. That’s not Alex.”
Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid and Player Quotes
September 24, 2015
HEAD COACH ANDY REID
OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright, really as far as the injuries go, I don’t have anything for you. Everybody is going to practice and we’ll go from there. We look forward to this challenge of playing the Green Bay Packers. We know they are a good football team. We’ll have a good week of preparation and get ourselves ready to play against, like I said, a good football team. Time’s yours.”
Q: Do you feel like you can run the football on this defense?
REID: “We’ll see. We’ll see how it goes. They’re a pretty good defensive front so we’ll see how it all rolls.”
Q: Does it seem like everybody’s head is cleared of last week?
REID: “Yeah, I feel pretty confident in that, yes. They understand the challenge that’s ahead of them. That game’s over, there is nothing you can do about it. Move on and learn from your mistakes and we roll.”
Q: What leads you to say that?
REID: “Number one, you don’t hear them talking about it. They are focused in, as they should be, on the Green Bay Packers.”
Q: There’s been a ton of penalties in the first two weeks in the NFL. Are officials calling things differently or are things just not as ready? What are you doing about it here?
REID: “Yeah, I think we just have to stay as disciplined as we possibly can. We’ve had our share so we’ve got to take care of business there. That’s where you start.”
Q: Are there more infractions or are they just calling more? Has it changed?
REID: “I don’t know about that. I haven’t studied every team, so I wouldn’t know. I know we’ve got to take care of our business so that’s where we’ll start.”
Q: Two games in, where is your run-defense at?
REID: “Yeah, I think our defensive line, linebackers, I think they’re doing a solid job. Again, the Packers have a good run offense, they can pound it at you, so it will be a good test for us.”
Q: What are you walking in to there on Monday night at Lambeau Field?
REID: “Well, we’ve got to get ourselves ready to play that football team, that’s the number one thing. That’s what we’re doing. We’re focusing in on that and that’s important.”
Q: What about the atmosphere and Aaron Rodgers?
REID: “Yeah, I think you’ve got to focus in on the schemes and players that you’re playing against and leave it at that.”
Q: With Aaron Rodgers not having thrown an interception in some time, is he just playing at his best or do you see him as every bit of good as he’s ever been?
REID: “Yeah, he’s playing at a high level. He’s playing very good football right now.”
Q: Is he more difficult when he gets outside of the pocket?
REID: “He’s good at both. I mean, he’s good in the pocket, he’s good outside the pocket, he does a nice job extending plays. But, you’ve got to play. You’ve got to rush him like you rush a good football player and stay disciplined with it and most of all, study the guys over you, work on that and get yourselves where you can play.”
Q: With Aaron being skilled in free play, is that something you take into account in your preparations?
REID: “Absolutely. That’s one of his strengths. If he gets a free play, he’s going to take a shot. Buy some time, take a shot, so you’ve got to continue to play throughout and know that he’s going to try to put it up and go deep with it.”
Q: What’s your take on some of the guys saying they want to redeem themselves on Monday with another primetime, national game?
REID: “Yeah, you need to get ready for the Green Bay Packers. That’s what you need to do, so no matter how you cut it or whatever, you have got to get ready for that football team. That’s the bottom line. That’s what’s real.”
Q: Have you ever asked your statisticians to do a study on quarterbacks, specifically first-round quarterbacks, why some succeed and why some don’t?
REID: “I have, over time. I can’t tell you I did it today, but I’ve looked at that. Yeah, I’ve looked at that. I don’t think there’s anything that jumps out at you that you probably wouldn’t already know.”
Q: How unique is it for Clay Matthews to go from outside to inside?
REID: “Yeah, he’s a good football player. He’s showing that he can do both, does both well. They rush him, they still rush him outside, they rush him inside, he moves all over the place. He’s a good football player, real good football player.”
Q: What are the areas of growth you’ve seen with Jaye Howard?
REID: “I think Jaye has put in effort to learn the nose position and I think he’s done a good job of that. I think he could probably play anywhere across the board there, you know, on our defensive front and be effective. The challenge for him is being a starter and playing well, that you’ve got to make sure you bring that every week. When you play at a high level, people are going to come at you with a little bit more juice, and then how do you answer that. He works his tail off, he’s in the right frame of mind and he’s a good football player.”
S ERIC BERRY
Q: Are you refreshed after a few days off?
BERRY: “Yeah, I can say that. I got some good rest, got a few workouts in. Got some work done on my body.”
Q: Take us to the moment you hit the tunnel for pregame introductions.
BERRY: “I don’t know, I blacked out. I don’t even remember it, it was just so much emotions – I can’t even really remember it.”
Q: Were your mom and dad at the game?
BERRY: “Yes, they were, along with some other family members and friends, a lot of people that were with me throughout the process. I wanted them to be there, just because they were with me through the struggle, I wanted them to actually be there to see the game and see the outcome.”
Q: Some of your nurses from Emory University Hospital were there, right?
BERRY: “Yeah, they actually surprised me. I didn’t know they were coming. Before the game, my parents told me there was a surprise for me. They weren’t going to tell me, but I ended up going to see my family the night before and found out they were here. It was pretty cool, man.”
Q: You seemed to soak in the introductions; that had to have been something you were looking forward to.
BERRY: “At the end of the day, this is an opportunity, it’s a blessing and I’m just thankful for it. Everything that surrounds the game and everything that is a part of the game, I appreciate it a lot more, even though I did before – now it’s just a whole different level of that. I just take everything in and enjoy it – the good, the bad and everything that comes along with the game.”
Q: Do you feel you’re at about full strength?
BERRY: “Yes, as far as physically, yes. I can always grow physically, but much more mentally as well and I think that’s going to come along with the experience and stuff like that. Just being out there with my teammates, and gaining that chemistry so we all can be on the same page. Everything can move a lot faster that way.”
Q: What is the mental challenge of it, is it wondering if you can push yourself?
BERRY: “I know I can push myself. That whole little experience I went through, I found out a lot of things about me physically and mentally that I can do. It’s more so of just experience and just going through different situations in the football game and just getting through it and being able to adjust on the go. I think that’s more of it. As far as physically pushing myself through certain situations, I can do that.”
Q: For defensive backs, what is the biggest headache Aaron Rodgers gives you?
BERRY: “He has a very quick release, he’s not scared to make all the throws, he’s not scared to throw it down the field. Just his mechanics as a quarterback – you can tell he really takes pride in what he does in his individual drills, because his drops, the way he looks as far as looking off the safeties, looking off the coverage, he’s very good at that.”
Q: On Rodgers’ accuracy:
BERRY: “Yeah, he’s very accurate. That’s just one of those skills he’s blessed with. Everybody doesn’t have that skillset, but he does a very good job of doing it. And it adds another threat to a defense. You just have to be aware of it.”
Q: Would it be anything out of the ordinary to get an interception or sack off of Aaron Rodgers?
BERRY: “I’m an opportunist, so whatever comes my way, I’m going to take advantage of it. But I’m not going to sacrifice the defense to do so. If I see something, I’m going to try to make plays for my defense and for my team and just put us in good situations from my standpoint.”
Q: But it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to get one off of Rodgers?
BERRY: “Everything is out of the ordinary at this point."
Q: After the loss to Denver, how much are you guys looking forward to getting back out there and playing on Monday Night Football and redeeming yourself?
BERRY: “To be honest with you, I think it’s just about us being the best that we can be. We can’t control that it’s on Monday night, we can’t control the team that we’re playing against. The one thing we can control is just going out there as a team and making sure that we handle our business. Try to finish plays and just go out there and play ball and just finish plays to the best of our abilities. I think if we do that, down-in and down-out, I think we’ll be a pretty good team. That’s the main focus.”
Q: Was there a point during Thursday’s game where you thought about all the people that had been there for you over the last 10 months?
BERRY: “During the game, no. During the game, I was just thinking about the game and thinking about what Denver was trying to do. I think about that all the time, what you mentioned, I think about that all the time.”
Q: How much did Justin Houston’s friendship mean to you during that process?
BERRY: “Man, it meant a lot. Just because, before that, we were tight, we were real good friends, but after that, it did a lot for me because it was a rough point, a rough spot that I was in. He was taking his off days to come down and visit me. It meant a lot and I really do appreciate it. He can ask me for anything and I’ll be there for him.”
Q: Did he say anything to you before the game?
BERRY: “He was just talking about, basically, ‘we talked about this moment, we talked about you getting back on the field, now go out there and show out.’ As soon as I left, he was like ‘man, you’ll be back and I’m going to be here waiting on you. So just make sure you handle what you handle and I’m going to handle what I handle.’ We were in the tunnel and he was talking about how all the times we were on the phone dreaming of that moment. It was definitely pretty cool.”
Q: What extra awareness does the defense have and how do you combat the success that Aaron Rodgers’ has on ‘free plays?’
BERRY: “We just have to know that if we make a penalty or jump offside, we just have to be aware that they’re going to go deep and they’re going to try to take shots and take advantage of our mishaps. It’s just something extra you have to think about. They take the next step of thinking of different things, so we have to do the same things.”
Q: What have you seen from Marcus Peters?
BERRY: “He’s very athletic, but the thing I notice about him, he doesn’t depend on his athleticism. He depends on his technique and his film study and that’s very rare – especially for a rookie coming in. We talk about a lot of things, I want to see things from his perspective, he wants to see things from my perspective. That’s not just with him, that’s with our whole defense and the secondary. I think we’re in a place where we’re very cool with each other to where we can talk to anybody about anything. Marcus, he’s a different kind of cat. He’s a rare person that you deal with.”
QB ALEX SMITH
Q: What do you think it says about the team that you guys had five turnovers and still had a chance to win the game?
SMITH: “A couple things. On the positive spin, certainly there were some things we did well in there in that game to stay in it. But you’re not going to win many games when you turn the ball over five times, so good and bad. And you’ve got to look at both; you’ve got to take care of the football and I’m a big part of that. I touch the football every play and you’ve got to be smart with it and you’ve got to be good in the pocket. Especially when we turned the ball over in the red zone in our own end - that hurt. So yeah, but with that there were a lot of good things besides that, those things that kept us in it and kind of gave us a chance there at the end of the game.”
Q: So good teams can make mistakes and still win football games?
SMITH: “Yeah, true. In the end, you find a way to come away with a ‘W.’ You know, in the fourth quarter there or whatever the scenario, whatever you’ve done before that, you try to find a way in close games to pull down. Good teams do that, so yeah, that’s part of it as well.”
Q: Do you feel like this game is a chance to redeem yourselves?
SMITH: “For me, at this point, you know I’ve been playing long enough that it’s on to the next one and you turn your attention very fast to the next opponent. And it’s just been a long week here and we’ve even had a chance to get some extra looks at them and get some rest. But all focus is towards them and they’re all huge games, they’re all big games, this one none the less. And after this one we’ll turn our attention to the next one and that’s how it works. Yeah, they’re all big ones and this one right now is the biggest one we’ve got.”
Q: What is the atmosphere like at Lambeau Field?
SMITH: “Yeah, there’s not many places in this league that aren’t loud and Lambeau’s no different. Obviously, it’s the history and pretty special in that sense. Yeah, we’re going to have to deal with crowd noise like we would any week on the road and we’ll have to be on our game.”
Q: When you were coming out in the draft did you get to know Aaron Rodgers pretty well?
SMITH: “Yeah, absolutely.”
Q: You talked about how you felt you were competing to be the number one draft pick back then, did you feel that Aaron Rodgers was your competition?
SMITH: “We were definitely the quarterbacks in that conversation. It wasn’t just that though, there were a lot of other position players that felt like they were in the mix at the time and it was unknown whether or not a quarterback was even going to get taken first. So it wasn’t quite the head to head deal as maybe say this last year or years in the past when guys have gone one and two because there were a lot of other position players for whatever reason that were up high. So yeah, it wasn’t necessarily as much, I didn’t feel like, pitted. Certainly, we were competing against each other though.”
Q: Do you feel like you will always be compared to him?
SMITH: “Yeah, a little bit for sure. We’ll always be kind of linked because we did compete and there at the end it seemed like it was, as far as quarterbacks went, him and I. So yeah, a little bit, we will be linked together.”
Q: Do you ever wonder about how it would have worked out had it gone the other way?
SMITH: “Yeah, who knows? There’s so many ifs and different things and possibilities that it’s tough to think about. Certainly, yeah, it happened. You guys can talk about the what-ifs and this and that, but like I said, who knows what would have happened.”
Q: You never play that game though?
SMITH: “Certainly not right now, no.”
Q: What has been the focus this week? Has it been more on preventing turnovers?
SMITH: “I don’t think you focus on that, I think you’re focusing more on the other side of it. It’s making good decisions, it’s carrying the ball properly, it’s having two hands on the ball in the pocket. You’re not going out there to try and not do something. We’re trying to go up there and score points and with that, we’re trying to have our fundamentals. Be good enough that you avoid turnovers, right? That you’re carrying the ball the right way, that you’re making good decisions and you’re accurate with the football, those types of things. Your intention is never to go up there and not turn the ball over.”
Q: What did you see on that interception that was meant for Jeremy Maclin?
SMITH: “Yeah, I knew it was man pre-snap with that. I was trying to get a little deal to him in the flat. Certainly, not only his guy but (Travis) Kelce’s man kind of dropped Kelce and jumped out there as well. I would have loved to have seen that, but it was a bang-bang play, you just kind of snap the ball out and you’re just trying to get it to him quick so he can make a play there.”
Q: On being more aggressive:
SMITH: “Certainly, from a pushing the ball down the field standpoint you’re trying to take advantage when the good looks come and I feel like we’ve done that. To a certain extent, there really hasn’t been anything on film that’s glaring. A little bit of, obviously, it goes into the game situation and all of those things, and how long you’re holding onto the football back there, all that stuff goes into it.”
Q: What do you think you guys need to improve on heading into this game?
SMITH: “Just better on first and second down and it just comes back to execution in general. Just have to execute better, the details of your job, of all of our jobs, and I think if you do that over the course of the game you’re going to have better third downs, you’re going to convert more third downs and be better in the red zone. It’s kind of just getting back to the details of stuff.”
LB TAMBA HALI
Q: Why is Aaron Rodgers so accurate no matter what defense he faces?
HALI: “The guy is great, he’s probably playing at the top of his game. I don’t know, he knows how to extend the play and he kind of knows where he’s going with the ball. Just with his ability to move within the pocket and he does that, but he’s playing well.”
Q: What’s it like going to Lambeau Field?
HALI: “It’s exciting to play up there, a lot of history has been up there. We’ve just got to go out there and enjoy ourselves and have fun while we do it and go get a win.”
Q: Do you look at this game as a chance to correct your wrongs on a nationally televised level?
HALI: “Well, yeah. We’re moving forward and all of the focus is on Green Bay. They’re playing at a high level at this time and we have a good team here and we’ve got to go out there and prove it. And just cut back on the mistakes, the turnovers and play a sound game from all three phases of the game and we know we have a good team and we know what we’re capable of doing when we play that way.”
Q: Was the stress this week to avoid having players try to do too much?
HALI: “Well, I wouldn’t say guys are trying too hard. Our guys – we want to make plays, and we’re going to do whatever it takes to make plays but our focus just needs to be better going into the game and going throughout the game and just cutting back on mistakes and playing better defense.”
WR CHRIS CONLEY
Q: Is it easier to put out the distractions when nationally televised games are back to back?
CONLEY: “Yeah, I think for us – for me personally, moving forward, you learn how to play in those situations and you learn how to play on a tighter schedule, play in games in a shorter span of time also with that much attention on the game. But then you’ve got to learn how to eliminate those distractions. When you get on the field, what happens between the lines is what’s important.”
Q: What do you think it says about this team that you can have five turnovers and still have a chance to win the game?
CONLEY: “It says that we have potential, but many people know that potential means you haven’t done anything yet. So we have to continue to fix those mistakes, eliminate those turnovers and those errors and then put together a full, four-quarter football team.”
Q: Is that a quick fix?
CONLEY: “It can be. Some of the mistakes, we came in here and we looked at on film are things that are simple, things that are taught ever since you started playing football. We’ve just got to clean those things up and we’ve got to pay attention to detail.”
Packers Conference Call Quotes
PACKERS HEAD COACH MIKE MCCARTHY
Q: What do you remember about your time with the Chiefs?
MCCARTHY: “Loved my time in Kansas City. Obviously very fond of the organization, just the whole area, Baker University. You know, my daughter just graduated from KU two years back. I have nothing but great memories of Kansas City.”
Q: Are there certain things you learned working for Marty Schottenheimer that you carry with you today?
MCCARTHY: “Absolutely. I mean, you can start with Lamar Hunt and just the way the whole organization operated. It was first-class in everything we were involved in. Just the management of it, the culture of the organization and the relationship with Marty and Carl (Peterson) and just the importance of and the focus on football operations. Really, Marty Schottenheimer is a huge influence on our program here in Green Bay. We do a lot of things systematically scheduling and structure-wise that I learned from my time with Marty.”
Q: Do you feel like becoming the head coach of the Packers was a realistic thought when you left the Chiefs?
MCCARTHY: “I’d say when I left there, I definitely had ambitions of being a head coach in the National Football League and had some older coaches that were great to me in my younger years, gave me the confidence and the knowledge to make it a realistic goal. The first year I arrived in ’93, I was just trying to keep my head above water.”
Q: How do you explain Aaron Rodgers’ interception streak at Lambeau, with it being years since he’s thrown a pick at home?
MCCARTHY: “Well, he’s a perfectionist. He’s very much into his craft. Obviously, when you play at home you’re a lot more comfortable than when you are on the road. He takes a lot of pride in his performance, he’s a preparation junkie, so I think we’re just seeing a great player on a great stretch in his career.”
Q: How do you feel like that extended time on the bench at the start of his career helped him out in the long run? Do you think he’s benefitting from that today?
MCCARTHY: “Absolutely. I think it would help any quarterback and you know, I’ve been part of the conversation of, ‘Do you play the number one draft pick right away or do you sit him?’ In my opinion, just from my experiences in the NFL, it’s not that you play the quarterback, it’s, ‘Is the team ready for the rookie quarterback?’ Obviously, Aaron’s situation was different with Brett (Favre) here, but I know after our first year in ‘06, we felt that he was ready to go and in ’07, when he did get to play, it was clear that he was ready to go. Definitely helped him.”
Q: You had one year with Alex Smith, right?
MCCARTHY: “Yeah, ’05, yes, his rookie season.”
Q: How do you think Alex’s career turned out?
MCCARTHY: “Well, he’s a hell of a football player, and I enjoyed our time together and I think any time as a position coach or coordinator, you always appreciate the rookie season. I think those successful players, or any player that’s had a positive experience in the league, most times they had a positive experience with their rookie coach and I would like to think that Alex and I had that experience. I really enjoyed coaching him, it was a really dynamic, diverse quarterback room, just that we had four quarterbacks on the roster that year and they were all very different. We had a challenging season out there in ’05, but I thought we had a positive experience.”
Q: Do you feel like Alex Smith was ready to be a starting quarterback his rookie season?
MCCARTHY: “Well I don’t think anybody is ready coming right out of college. I don’t think that’s really fair to even try to measure that. I don’t know if our football team was ready for a young quarterback. I’ll tell you this, he did everything in his power to be ready. He’s very bright, just the way he picked up the system. He definitely was impressive in his ability to get ready.”
Q: When they were drafted, what did you think of Aaron Rodgers versus Alex Smith at the time?
MCCARTHY: “I thought they were both great prospects and it was neat going through the process of the evaluation with both of those guys. Obviously it was a tough decision that was made by people above my pay grade.”
Q: How much of the magic did you take from Arrowhead Stadium to Lambeau Field?
MCCARTHY: “Well, we’re trying to get it to be as loud as Arrowhead. I know last week was an impressive moment for us. I just think, over the years, with Lambeau, the expansion and adding more seats, we’ve really focused on our gameday. I think our environment has definitely – I don’t think, I know it has – it’s definitely increased. I thought this past week was probably one of our loudest games. Arrowhead has been loud for a long time.”
Q: What did you see from the Chiefs in the Denver game?
MCCARTHY: “Well, I think Kansas City’s a very good football team all the way around. Andy (Reid) does a great job, always has in the NFL, and his teams are always well prepared and they play with grit. So they’re well coached, very talented - John Dorsey’s doing a heck of a job there. So they’re coming off of a prime time game, they had a little more rest than we had, it’s an uncommon opponent so…over three quarters of our players have never played against the Kansas City Chiefs in a regular season game, so those are the kind of things we’re focused on. I think this is going to be a heck of a ballgame.”
Q: What’s your impression of the wide receiver touchdown streak Kansas City has?
MCCARTHY: “I think it’s probably something fans look at more and I think the impact that fantasy football has on our society plays a big role in the statistical opinions that are formed of any football team. But I do know this, they’re very balanced on offense, they do a good job with their tendencies and personnel groups and so forth. They’ve definitely got a talented wide receiver group, so it’s not a statistic that showed up in our preparation.”
Q: What do you think has made that wide receiver group better than last year?
MCCARTHY: “I can’t really give you an evaluation there because I didn’t break the Chiefs down last year, I just watched them toward the end of the season. For this year, Jeremy Maclin’s an excellent player and they’re, like I said, a very well-balanced offense. (Albert) Wilson and (De’Anthony) Thomas with speed and it’s a diverse group that you have there and you have to be ready for.”
Q: What about Marcus Peters jumps out to you on tape?
MCCARTHY: “Extremely athletic, competitive, he’s off to an excellent start with the impact plays he’s made. So he was impressive coming out of Washington and it looks like he’s off to a great start in his rookie season.”
Q: What’s been the impact of Jordy Nelson’s injury?
MCCARTHY: “It was tough. The whole sideline I think – when everybody realized what happened, it definitely affected our football team, I think we even had a bit of a hangover going into the following week against the Eagles there in the preseason. So Jordy’s a big part of our program, he’s still here every day, he broke the record for full range of motion. As far as getting back, like I said, he’s here every day all day working on it and he goes to all the meetings, so he’s still a big part of our leadership group here.”
PACKERS QB AARON RODGERS
Q: How long does it take to get used to not letting pressure affect you and still deliver the pass where it needs to be?
RODGERS: “I think you’re always working on that. I think it’s something you learn as a younger player and then you’re always trying to listen to your feet and understand a time clock and make good decisions in and out of the pocket. It’s a constant learning experience where you’re just listening to your body, listening to your feet and the time clock, and if you have a chance to extend plays, extending them and making a smart decision outside the pocket.”
Q: How do you go about developing your hard count, and do you take pride in your ability to draw guys offsides?
RODGERS: “It’s just a mechanism to slow down the defense a little bit. It’s something that each quarter has their own cadence and rhythm. Guys start trying to time that and occasionally jump out offsides.”
Q: How do you think things would have turned out if you had been the number one pick in the draft instead of Alex Smith?
RODGERS: “Yeah, I don’t really play those what-if games. He went to San Fran, had a lot of different coordinators there, and I came here.”
Q: You would have gotten to stay in the bay area and play for Mike McCarthy earlier than you did?
RODGERS: “Yeah. I’m happy where I’m at.”
Q: Would you agree with Mike McCarthy’s statement that those few years you sat behind Brett Favre when you first arrived in Green Bay were good for you?
RODGERS: “I would agree, yes.”
Q: What did you gain from that?
RODGERS: “I got to learn our offense without having the pressure of playing right away. We were not a great team in ‘five (2005) and ‘six (2006). We were a better team in ‘seven (2007). Made a good run. But yeah, it’s learning the offense, and then when you become kind of an expert at the offense on paper, then you start really trying to figure out defenses. The rules back then for offseason workouts were different. We had to come in in the middle of March and had to spend more time than they’re allowed to now, now that we come in after April—which I do enjoy, actually. Those years where we came in in March, as difficult as it was, the time commitment and the weather restrictions that we have sometimes in March in Green Bay, it was definitely very valuable for me in my development.”
Q: How unusual is it and how much of a help is it to have the same Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator for nearly your entire career?
RODGERS: “It helps, the offense is always changing – verbiage and we’ll add plays, take away plays every year, you learn from year to year, but the base concepts stay pretty similar. You have to evolve in this league to be a good offense and we’re always looking to see what other teams are doing – and if we like something, incorporating it. Then looking hard at ourselves and what we do and trying to expand on that. It’s been nice being in the same system for a while.”
Q: What has losing Jordy Nelson meant to the team?
RODGERS: “Well, we’re 2-0. It’s tough to replace a guy like that who does so many different things. He’s seen some different types of defenses, and I think because he’s out – teams obviously paid pretty high attention to where 87 was at at all times. He’s a fantastic teammate, great locker room guy, great leader for us, and his play on the field has spoken for itself over the last few years. It’s tough to not have him around.”
Q: How big is it to have Nelson rehabbing in Green Bay?
RODGERS: “It’s a testament to Jordy. It’s tough, I was on the injured reserve in 2006 for the last five games. It’s a tough feeling because you feel a little disconnected from the team because you’re not suiting up every week, you’re not always around in the meetings and the conversations. But he’s been here, he’s been visible to guys. Like I said, he’s a great teammate and that’s what you’d want from a team leader like that.”
Q: Your home and road record split is incredible, is there an easy explanation for that?
RODGERS: “I like the cold, throwing in the cold in the wintertime and a lot of people don’t. We have a home field advantage that’s growing, I think, with some of our gameday operations and the crowd noise picking up. We’ve started fast as well at home the last couple of years. So we’ve been able to make teams one-dimensional on the other side.&r
Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid
Conference Call Quotes
September 21, 2015
OPENING STATEMENT: “I really don’t have any injuries. Everybody practiced today, Donald (Stephenson) included. We did a 10-10-10, so it wasn’t all that strenuous, but it was enough to where guys got out and ran around a little bit.”
Q: What do you like about using so many tight ends on the field?
REID: “I think throwing different personnel groups out there is a good thing as long as they’re capable players, and those guys, the three of them, do a nice job. So they work well together in both the run and the pass game. They do a nice job.”
Q: How much help have the tight ends been in the running game and do you see any areas of improvement there?
REID: “I think they’ll do nothing but get better the more they play. A couple of them are young guys, well, all three of them are young guys, so I think the more they play, the better they get. Whether it’s James (O’Shaughnessy) or (Demetrius Harris) or (Travis Kelce), they’re all young guys.”
Q: What improvements have you seen from James O’Shaughnessy so far?
REID: “Again, he went to a little bit of a smaller school, he’s in the NFL, he made it through training camp which was a good thing and pushed himself through. I think you go through there and your legs get tired, your body and mind, everything’s tired, you battle through that and he’s come out on the other end of that now. It looked like he played fast in the game and had some productive plays. He’s continuing to get better in the run game and the pass game.”
Q: What did it mean for you and the organization to see Eric Berry out there for the first time?
REID: “Listen, that’s a great story and most of all, I think it’s a big tribute to him and his family and just believing that he was going to get better. His primary doctor that took care of him and the nurses and everybody else, I mean, there’s a lot of people that got affected. But most of all, it’s just great that he’s alive and that he can play, it’s a beautiful thing.”
Q: What led to Eric Berry’s increase in workload?
REID: “Well, we’re playing a bunch of different personnel groups out there and he did start in the game in the personnel group that he was in. He’s just been doing well, he keeps getting better and better.”
Q: Does he have everything he had before the illness?
REID: “Yeah, I think he’s pretty close. I’d probably say he’s pretty close. I haven’t seen where it’s not and I can’t see that right now, before I could tell you. Maybe he wasn’t reading or his hips or something like that, but it looks like he’s got all of his stuff, he really does.”
Q: Could you tell that having him back was a charge for everybody on the team?
REID: “Yeah, I think that’s the way it’s been since he got back though. I just think that he’s stepped back in and hasn’t said much. He started off on special teams and he’s kind of worked his way through that and gotten himself back to where he can play. And we’re at it day in and day out so I think the guys appreciate his effort and what it’s all about, I mean what he had to go through to get where he’s at right now.”
Q: What is your schedule for the rest of the week?
REID: “What we’ve got is tomorrow will be like a Monday, so they’ll have tomorrow off, then we’re right back into the regular week. Tomorrow being Tuesday, then Wednesday they’ll be in, they’ll do film and lift and that, Thursday will be like a Wednesday and so on, just all the way through.”
Q: You’ll practice on Wednesday?
REID: “It won’t be an on-the-field practice, it will be film study (and) lifting. It’ll be like a Tuesday, like a regular Tuesday.”
Q: How are you going to do your offensive line this week?
REID: “Fish did good today, he was feeling better, so he’ll be in at the right tackle spot and then we’ll just see how he does. I want to see how he does once we get rolling here. Today it was better, some of this, a bit of a rest, has helped him out and it looks like he’s headed in the right direction. We’ll see how he does on Thursday, which will be a Wednesday practice. We’ll just see how he does there.”
Q: How about Jeff Allen?
REID: “Jeff is working in, he’s kind of rotating in with the group there.”
Q: Are you expecting Donald Stephenson to be available, too?
REID: “Yeah, I think so. He practiced, today, yeah.”
Q: On the fumble, was Jamaal Charles doing something wrong or did the defense make a good play? How would you call those two plays?
REID: “Sometimes you get into those second effort things where you’re just trying like crazy and the ball got off his body just a little bit, at least on the first one. The second one, he had it pretty good, it just got hit right on it. He’ll go back and it’s just a matter of keeping it high and tight – I don’t worry about it, he’ll be fine as we go here.”
Q: Do you work with Charles like you’d work with a rookie on ball security?
REID: “Throughout our practice, the scout team is always working a strip and that. There’s as much emphasis put on all the running backs, it doesn’t really matter who you are. It’s the same emphasis put there.”
Q: Where do you think Steven Nelson is right now in his development?
REID: “I thought his last preseason game was his best game. He works like crazy in practice, we’ll just see how he continues to improve there.”
Q: How close do you think he is to being active on gameday?
REID: “We’ll see on that. He’s got to continue to work, he’s getting better there.”
Q: When breaking down turnovers, do you look at them as if they’re all correctable or sometimes do you just tip your hat to the defense?
REID: “Listen, I’m a little hard on the turnovers, I’m not big on those. I mean, there are times where the helmet hits right on the ball. We don’t make any excuses for that, that’s not what we do. I would tell you that most turnovers, most of the time, you can take care of. Is there an exception in there – yeah, but most of the time, you can fix those and take care of those.”
Q: Was that as disappointing an element to the game as any last Thursday?
REID: “Listen, we’ve kind of moved on. That’s where I’m at. If you’re still on that game, you and I are in a different place. We’re deep into the Packers and getting ourselves ready there.”
Q: Did you get a chance to watch the Packers game last night? What were your impressions of how they played?
REID: “I did. They’re a good football team. Yeah, they’re a good football team.”
Q: Do you like the idea of this game being an opportunity to evaluate where the team is at, considering that the Packers are thought of as one of the favorite teams in the NFL?
REID: “Yeah, listen, we love the challenge of playing good football teams. That’s what we love. We consider ourselves to be a good football team, we love the opportunity to play good football teams so I think that’s why you’re in this thing, to challenge yourself. You work like crazy to be a good team yourself and you cherish those opportunities to be challenged. That’s what kind of game this will be.”
Q: The Chiefs enter week three converting three of 20 in third-down efficiency, how much of that pertains to play calling versus the defensive stunt you’re facing?
REID: “Listen, I take full responsibility for that and I’m always going to do that. We’ve got to fix that part—that’s not good enough. We’ll get that taken care of.”
Q: Is Lambeau Field a special place in the NFL and to you, specifically?
REID: “Yes, it’s similar to Arrowhead. It’s one of those places that makes the NFL the NFL, what this league is. It’s part of history, both places are part of history in this league. There’s that element, but you really focus in on the football team. When you’re playing a team there, that’s what you do, when you’re coaching a team there, you’re not really worried about, ‘this is Lambeau,’ you’re worried about that opponent coming in and trying to get ready, and it’s vice versa when you’re on the other side of it. It’s no different.”
Q: Did you always feel like the Packers have more of a home field advantage than anyone else?
REID: “You know the answer to that part of the test, they haven’t lost a game there in the last year at least, how many, and the game they had there last night. They obviously play well there.”
Q: In addition to that stat, and the quarterback not having thrown a pick there in a long time, is that just luck or is it something else?
REID: “I think he’s probably a pretty good player and does a pretty good job. I don’t know what it is, but I think he’s a pretty good player. You’ve got to start there, right?”