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Chiefs QB Alex Smith on Raiders LB Khalil Mack: "He Demands Respect"

Smith spoke about the upcoming game against the Raiders

Q: Is there anything going on now in the offense that wasn't happening earlier in the season?
SMITH: "No, I don't know if there's any one thing, there's probably a lot of things. Hopefully, just continue to make better decisions and be more accurate, run the offense more efficiently, play faster, all of those things. But I think a little bit of it is all of us collectively kind of growing together. Every year is different, the challenges are different. We're kind of figuring it out together. Really, probably a credit to the entire group."

Q: How much of the offensive success is due to the starting field position you have had?
SMITH: "Yeah, we've been playing really good team-football these last few weeks and that's how you win, it's a team sport. The defense has been great with getting us the football, special teams has been giving us great opportunities field position-wise. And then it's our job to go out there and try to take advantage of it. That's how you want to be playing and it is a collective effort, it is a team effort. And certainly, any of those – you look at one side of the statistics for the offense and defense – there's more to it than that. It's certainly a credit of how the entire team is playing."

Q: On the offensive line.
SMITH: "Oh yeah it starts with them, for sure. Offensively, those guys have been playing really well and really consistent. Really kind of staring us off in the run game and pass game, that's been the edge for us."

Q: On offensive line changes this week.
SMITH: "Yeah, it's Wednesday, obviously I don't know what's going on with some of that but we'll find out as the week goes on. But to be honest, I really feel like all the juggling we've done last year and this offseason and training camp earlier this year, different guys playing – moving guys around. Maybe early in the year it was hard on us, but I think at this point it starts to become a strength. We've had a lot of guys play at a high level and I think Sunday was a great example of that. When you've got Zach (Fulton) and Donald (Stephenson) coming in I don't think anybody blinked twice. We feel good about those guys, those guys work extremely hard, they stay ready and they've played at a really high level for us in the past. So I don't think anyone expected anything less. And it's that time of the year, guys are going to get banged up and move around and obviously as the week goes on, we'll find out how healthy we get."

Q: So the uncertainty of the personnel doesn't create any anxiety?
SMITH: "I just think at this point, like I said, every single one of those guys has played a lot of football for us and played at a high level. I do think that, yeah, that's comforting. Those guys have stepped in, those guys are used to moving around and those guys have all played."

Q: How much do you value your passing attempt streak in terms of things you want to achieve?
SMITH: "I think it goes back to playing good team football. And as a quarterback, you've got a huge responsibility, you're touching the football every single play. You have such a big impact on deciding the game just in your decision making and how you are with the football and your fundamentals, so yeah, on top of that you want to go out there and play well. So yeah, it's certainly a huge part of it. You have a huge responsibility to the team, to the other guys, that you are touching the football every play."

Q: Does the value of a streak like that change throughout your career?
SMITH: "Yeah, I think the margin of error is certainly much smaller at this level. So when you're playing younger, the margin of error is much larger from opponent to opponent and at this level it's so small. So yeah, you don't know which play is going to be the difference."

Q: On the rivalry between the Chiefs and Raiders.
SMITH: "Certainly for me, it's greatly intensified. Coming here, it doesn't take very long to kind of find out what this rivalry is all about and what this history is all about. Yeah, it's fun. It's what football's about, it's what this sport is about – games like this, having history, having a rivalry. And this game is a great example of that."

Q: How has the team been able to avoid fumbles?
SMITH: "I think, again, it starts with the guys up front. I think not only just doing their job, but the communication. I think everybody being on the same page – I think a lot of those in the pocket fumbles and things like that have been when guys are thinking different things.  You think the offensive line is doing one thing and they're doing something else. A lot of it comes from communication, everybody being on the same page. And then I think just practicing good fundamentals. Try to be good – everybody that's carrying the football doing it the right way."

Q: How do you do that when you're in the pocket?
SMITH: "They're all different – every situation is different. Two hands, it starts with that and then when you're in traffic, covering it up. Understating all of those situations and not being careless or try to do too much. Don't try to make a bad play worse and things like that."

Q: In your experience, how long does it take to get the rhythm and timing of the deep ball down?
SMITH: "It's all different – different with every guy, different week to week depending on who you're playing. Just depends, it's something we've worked hard on and we'll continue to keep working on, it really helped us this last week. But yeah, it's something that I think – and it changes, you get in the season and that timing, you just continue to keep refining it and perfect it. Different from the offseason or camp, you get the pads on and everything, it does impact it. So you just keep working."

Q: How has Khalil Mack developed?
SMITH: "Really good player that can rush the passer. Certainly a guy, just through film study - he kind of demands respect, you see that. Really good player, I think you just see him being able to just do more, like anything – he can do more, you can move him around and he's dropping into coverage a little bit here and there and things like that. Just understanding what they're doing."

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