Chiefs QB Alex Smith Talks About Importance of Playing With an Edge

Smith spoke with the media on Wednesday

Quarterback Alex Smith

Q: On Andy Dalton's injury.
SMITH: "I don't think so. Are you going to not make the tackle? Are you going to let him score? I don't know about that. I think it's kind of a freak thing, him trying to make the tackle. Yeah, you're thinking to protect yourself, but when there are turnovers you kind of get your head on a swivel. You can get put in some awkward situations there so you do kind of want to be on the lookout, but I think trying to make the tackle – I don't know, it's tough. Certainly, you want to try and get him down and not hurt yourself at the same time."

Q: Does Andy Reid tell you to try to stay out of the way when something like that happens?
SMITH: "You try not to get in those situations. To be honest, it's hard, you're reacting and playing ball, so it's not like you've got time to think. You watch that one and it happens real fast, kind of a bang-bang thing and all sudden. So it's tough to say, you are kind of the last line usually as a quarterback when there's a turnover back there so you're kind of playing safety. So sometimes you can prevent – and those are game-changing plays when you do prevent scores and your defense can hold."

Q: Are you proud of the tackle you made in Arizona?
SMITH: "I'm certainly trying to look to make a tackle, yeah, I think that's part of it. It's your responsibility on a quick change, on a turnover. Like I said, just kind of a freak thing that happened."

Q: Is there any part of you that would like to get revenge if you throw a pick to someone?
SMITH: "I certainly don't think I have that 'take your head off' mentality. No, I'm just trying to get you down, that's all I'm thinking about."

Q: Is protecting yourself second-nature at this point?
SMITH: "I think it's learned. I think I'm always playing the same way but you learn it over time. I think you evaluate all of those situations. As you're running, game situation, where it's at – sideline, middle of the field, all of those things. Third down, first down – I mean, all of those things. I think you just get better at knowing the game situation and playing fast and being smart about it. And I think I've gotten a lot better at that as I've gotten older and played more."

Q: On your scrambles, are you thinking to get the first down or are you thinking to get down?
SMITH: "Like I said, I think there's a lot that goes into it. Certainly what down is it? You know, if it's third down and it's a tight game, certainly, those are bigger situations and call for different things. If it's first down and you're running around, that's different. First quarter, fourth quarter – there's a lot of things that go into it. And I think a lot of it's just a gut choice and as you're running and that's all happening fast, you make a decision."

Q: You've only missed one game in your time with Kansas City, is that a source of pride for you?
SMITH: "Yeah, for sure. I think for everybody, you want to be accountable, you want to be dependable. You want to be someone who they know will be here week in and week out and who is going to do all of the little things. Take care of themselves and work through things. It's not hard, everybody battles through stuff. But yeah, you want to be dependable."

Q: What has led to your efficiency this year?
SMITH: "I don't know, I think a lot of things. I think for one, starting up front with the guys doing such a great job kind of covering guys up. They've done a great job of kind of finishing guys. Maybe the pocket's not clean, but they've covered guys up and you kind of spit out of there and can make a big play. Maybe the way we're getting played, the way the defenses are playing us and focus with Jeremy (Maclin) and (Travis Kelce) and the run game. Probably a lot of things go into that."

Q: On comfort of timing and understanding between QB and WR.
SMITH: "It's just something that never ends, you're just constantly working on it and each week presents a different challenge. You're facing different people and a different scheme, so it's a whole new set of challenges. And you always just kind of build. You learn from all of the prior stuff and you kind of continue to keep cataloging and learning and like I said, it just never ends."

Q: With the coaches giving you more to do, does that mean you have more flexibility?
SMITH: "Yeah, for sure. And a similar thing, obviously, we're in the third year now so I think there's just more familiarity there and it's easier to do those things, for everybody, not just myself. And then it does change week to week, some weeks more than others. But yeah, to give you that flexibility to get into something we really like, to get out of something that doesn't look good. All of those – kind of everything in between. But certainly, a big part of it is about just being together and you start to build a lot of that stuff over time and have it in."

Q: Have you ever had a coach tell you to be yourself and let your personality show before Coach Reid?
SMITH: "No, never in those words. I think very early on, you realize how much passion he has for the game and how much he wants guys to go out and cut that loose and to play with emotion. And for me, it definitely was a first, to have a Head Coach really make that a focus. Now that we're here, it's a little bit of what we're about, a little bit of our identity I think is going out there a playing with that edge and it's important to us."

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