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Alex Smith Press Conference 12/29

Alex Smith addresses the media following the Chiefs Week 17 win over the Chargers

Q: How are you feeling?

SMITH:"I feel alright. It was unusual to be feeling decent and not being able to play, for sure."

Q: Can you talk about the swelling in the spleen?

SMITH:"So that will be re-imaged, re-scanned here in a few weeks and then they'll take a look at it and see. But all the other testing that I did, all the other bloodwork, all came back positive so I think if we re-image it, there is a chance that some people just have slightly larger spleens or if it is back to normal, that it was probably from the hit."

Q: So you just need some rest?

SMITH:"Yeah, literally the only thing I was told I can't do is play tackle football. I can work out, normal activities, just not getting tackled. I guess other impact things – I don't know what else I would do in the offseason though that would be similar to that. But yeah, pretty normal life. I can work out though fully."

Q: How tough is it to keep your eyes downfield and not scramble out of the pocket too early?

SMITH:"Every play is different. The designs of plays are different, all those scenarios are different, the situations. It's just tough. Certainly I think there are times. You always as a quarterback never want to be looking at the rush. That's kind of something you feel and you move within the pocket and you feel and I think certainly when you become a runner those are things that you feel and then all of a sudden they open up to you and you kind of react to. I think you're always trying to leave your eyes downfield and try to create but you always have this internal time clock in your head too that you've trained. You've got this time clock of the ball getting out and a lot of times you get over that and sometimes there are not a lot of good things that can happen standing in there with the ball. Eventually something has got to happen so you try to create. It's just different though. Some plays have different answers. Sometimes you're really trying to push the ball downfield so you're really trying to do that. Some plays are different – five man protection and you know the ball kind of has to come out because maybe we are a little light on the protection side and you don't want to be holding it as long."

Q: How do you feel about the amount of times you guys threw the ball down field? Do you feel you left some plays out there on the field sometimes?

SMITH:"Yeah, it's impossible to go through a year of film and not see plenty of missed opportunities. You're just not going to get them all, you're not going to see them all. I don't care who you are. I think that's just the way it is. So it's hard – we haven't had the chance at this point – but as you're going through the year, you watch the film and you learn from it, but then you're on to the next week and the next challenge and so you don't really bank that stuff like that. So it'll be good here with the offseason to really kind of pool all of that film together and really be able to categorize it and break it down all of the different ways and see and really kind of analyze it from that perspective, like big picture."

Q: Is the deep ball something that you want to throw more next year?

SMITH:"I think you want big plays. Certainty that is a part of it – is pushing it down vertically – is to throw the ball. Certainly you are always trying to create big plays on offense and efficient plays. I don't think you want to force them though. They need to be things that just come to you and are built in and be able to make those plays. I think any time you are stubborn enough to say, 'I'm going to throw this deep,' I don't think good things happen. You need to be able to take the opportunities when they show themselves and then execute them."

Q: Is it weird to be sitting at home for the postseason when you have been to the last three?

SMITH:"Very final. It's just strange that we had a chance the entire year literally up until our last game and obviously we knew we had to have some help. But you were still alive on some level and then immediately after the game, you're done. It's a very final feeling just how final it is, very empty and how fast that happens. It's just done, everything you have been working for, all that talk – the hours, the commitment, sacrificing all that stuff that you do to put in and it's done. It wasn't enough."

Q: Do you see this team taking a step back or a step forward despite not making the playoffs?

SMITH:"I certainly feel like today that we're a really good football team. Very, very close from being an elite football team, I think. That's just how I feel about it. I feel like we have the core to do some really good things. I think looking back at this year; certainly we didn't put ourselves in a position to get into the tournament. I think there were some missed opportunities is what I look at and look back on. I certainly feel like there were some games we should have won that we had won and didn't. You get to this time of year and those things add up. I think you look at how we played against top competition in the NFL when we were playing to our level. I think that's what gives me that feeling that we're not that far off."

Q: What is your sense of urgency now? You and the guys in the locker room are not getting any younger.

SMITH:"Absolutely, that's right in front of us. That's what I feel like I'm saying, it's right here, the opportunity is right in front of us. I don't think anyone, regardless of age – it's on to the next step. For us, it's over. 2014 is over, that season is over, everything we've been talking about and doing, it's over. For us, that football calendar, it's on to the next one now. As crappy as that is, that quick turnaround, it's the honest truth. That is the sense of urgency, I think. Now, obviously a lot of us split ways, the team is not going to be the same and that's probably the first start of it – from an organizational standpoint, that the team is not going to be the same. Guys are going to be gone, new faces coming in and you're on to the next year. You have to have a sense of urgency for that."

Q: How does that translate to your offseason preparations?

SMITH:"For a little bit, we're on our own here. Even with the CBA, we're not together, you're split up, guys are going their own ways. Guys under contract are going to be here. A lot of that is the personnel side; it's their job to get us better as well. They have decisions to make and things to do and it's kind of their time. We can't be back until April, and that is when, as a team, we get to begin our journey. Certainly before then, all of us on our own, you'd be crazy to take that long off. We're all working to become better and there are things we can do to improve on our own. The older you get, the more this becomes a year-round deal. For me, it will be a reflection on this year – what do I need to get better at, what do you need to improve on and what are some things that I can take with me this offseason and really work on to do that."

Q: At the end of the day how will you remember the receiver touchdown drought?

SMITH:"I don't know, it certainly got a lot of talk. Yesterday, it's tough to top that – a guy catching it and fumbling it at the six-inch yard line and someone else scoring. I just think a freak, ironic thing that happened. I feel like I'll look back and we'll watch the whole film and say here's another opportunity where we could have had one and it just didn't happen."

Q: When you look at the film, is that something you wish you could have gotten out of the way?

SMITH:"Looking back, yeah. It's not something I even thought about until it was Week nine or 10. I think, for us, our focus entirely was always on scoring points and winning games and it wasn't on necessarily getting a guy a touchdown so we could stop talking about it. I think we handled it the right way, our focus was on winning and scoring points, whoever scores them. I think for us you'll have all this film for us to learn from. Certainly you're not just turning your back on it. You hope you have offensive weapons out there and you're utilizing them and you're scoring points and they are helping you. So maybe it's something we'll look at when you look at the film and analyze it all. You're not ignorant to it, though to answer your question. It's not like we're just turning our back on it, it's probably something you'll look at and see if there's evidence, do we need to do something different?"

Q: What is the biggest thing you're focusing on to get better at this offseason?

SMITH:"It'd be tough to tell you right now. For me, it's everything at this point. You want to continue to work on all those things, fundamentals being a big part of it. That's something this week, I'll get to sit down and go over it with Coach Reid and Doug (Pederson), Coach Nagy and really sit down and hash out a plan."

Q: What is your reaction to the news and events with the 49ers in the last 24 hours?

SMITH:"I feel like I'm so far removed. I have no idea what's going on. It's tough for me to speculate to all that stuff there."

Q: Is it surprising to see Jim Harbaugh leave? SMITH:"It's surprising, I think for anyone to win that many games and to not be there. There's not that many coaches, I think I saw a list and it's pretty unique company."

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