Here's What We Learned from Andy Reid and Alex Smith on Wednesday

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Alex Smith spoke with the media

Head coach Andy Reid

OPENING STATEMENT: "Alright, as far as the injuries go, players that will not practice today will be Tamba (Hali), and it's just a normal Wednesday for him. Then we have the three concussion guys, (Husain) Abdullah, (Mike) DeVito and (De'Anthony) Thomas, and they're working through their protocol and doing all that, making progress there. Justin Houston will not practice today either. We look forward to the challenge of playing the Chargers. We feel like we just played them here, so I'm sure they feel the same way. Hasn't been but two games in between. We understand how competitive they are and what kind of football team they are. Every time it seems like when we play them, it's always a close game and a good game. Again, we look forward to preparing ourselves this week for that. Tyvon Branch was the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. We moved (Jarrod) Pughsley up and we haven't done anything yet with the practice squad position that he came up from, but we released (Daniel) Munyer, good chance he comes back. That's where we're at right now. Time's yours."

Q: Is Mitch Morse going to work today?
REID: "Mitch will work today, yeah."

Q: Allen Bailey, too?
REID: "Bailey will work, yeah."

Q: What does Jarrod Pughsley give you as you move him up to the active roster?
REID: "He plays both guard and tackle, steadily improved throughout camp and now during the season, we feel that he can come in and add to the depth there for us."

Q: What's the range on plays where you think you could have done things better, specifically for Alex who is playing so well right now?
REID: "Listen, that stays that way for, we're talking about the quarterback, for every quarterback in the National Football League. There are going to be a handful of plays where you think, 'dog gone it, I wish I would have done, wish I would have seen this,' so it's no different for Alex. As well as he's playing now—and he's playing at a very high level—as well as he's playing, he's very critical of himself that way and trying to get better. Normally, it's three, four, five plays in a game."

Q: Talking about starting field position and ball security, what do you think it says about your team that maybe you struggled a little bit at times like that last game at Oakland, and you still win by double digits?
REID: "Yeah, well listen, the first half, you take the third, fourth, fifth series, I believe it was, of the first half, and we went minus four, minus eight, minus whatever it was—that was our start position. But, the guys push through, and they pushed through a couple of the turnovers that took place, which we can learn from. You're in a bad weather part of the season right now – whether it's rain, snow, cold, whatever it might be – you've got to focus on that part of it, make sure you control the ball. But, the mindset coming in at halftime, getting back to your question, the mindset was always, 'listen, we're shooting ourselves in the foot right now, let's tighten this thing up and get it right. We'll be alright, We've got to do that, we've got to fix it.' It was a good, positive mindset at halftime there."

Q: How often do you feel you get in a play-calling "slump" and reach out to guys like Doug Pederson and Brad Childress?
REID: "Andy Heck is in that boat, too. We all feed off of each other. I came up with Mike Holmgren, who would do the same thing. The bottom line is, what's best to be successful on the offensive side – I don't even know the number, I can't give you a number – but I have full trust in those guys. Doug Pederson has done a great job. I've watched him grow from being a player for me, now as a coach, and each year he's done this thing, now a coordinator, growing. Unfortunately, he's got a head coach who's an offensive guy. He doesn't get enough credit for what he does, but I have full trust to turn the whole game over to him and let him call. It's something I enjoy doing, but I have full trust in him doing it and that's a comfortable feeling. I've done it with Brad (Childress) in the past, and then Andy Heck does the run game. I'm being real with you when I say that, when I give credit to those guys, it's not just something that I'm putting out there. Andy Heck gives me a set of runs every series, and that's what we go off of. That's just how it works."

Q: How do you know when you're in a slump?
REID: "I've got a pretty good feeling."

Q: Do you judge it like a fan would?
REID: "It's probably not that, but I'm looking at the game and kind of knowing what's going on. If I think we need a change up, then we go with it. I think it's also healthy, whether you're in a slump or not, I just think it's healthy to mix it up a little bit."

Q: How do you think rotating Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware worked out for you last week?
REID: "I thought it worked out pretty good. As they got into the flow of it, I thought they did a good job. Both of them have their strengths and I thought both of them played pretty good."

Q: Is there at least some stuff in the offense that you guys have had to scale down without Jamaal in there?
REID: "Yeah, I'd probably word it like this to you: I'd go and say you play off of everybody's strengths, and that's kind of what you do. You want to give the guys an opportunity to exploit their strengths out there as players, and then work on their weaknesses to make them into strengths as they go with age and experience. Yeah, there are certain things that the young guys can't do that Jamaal did, but at the same time, they're going to continue to work to expand their game so they can eventually do those things."

Q: Are you comfortable with the rotation of those two guys going forward or are you looking for a lead guy?
REID: "I think every game is going to be different, that's just my experience with it. I started off doing this with three guys. You don't want to tie it down to one, you want them both ready to go and then go with it. Whatever the game presents, you kind of go with. I'd hate to tie that thing down like that."

Q: Is there an advantage to having one main guy?
REID: "Well the one advantage is we know both guys can play and we have full trust in both of them. That's probably the biggest advantage, right there. That we're even talking about this is kind of a good thing. We really like both guys and we're very fortunate to have both of them here. And then you add Knile (Davis) into the mix, you have three guys that you know can play the game. That's not a bad deal. It's a tribute to (John) Dorsey and his crew."

Q: You've won six in a row with an offensive line that has been pretty turbulent, does that surprise you?
REID: "I come back and give credit back to Andy (Heck) and the things he and Eugene (Chung) have done with that group. They have a lot of young guys, even with the starting five that we had, they're young guys. (Ben) Grubbs was like the ancient mariner in there, man. The other guys were young. I'm not surprised, it's been kind of neat to see them grow in different ways. They all seem to get a little bit better as they've gone on. There's been great communication, which is good."

Q: Has it pretty much driven home the point that growth has to come in the game?
REID: "Yeah, it helps. It's a little different when the lights are on. It's a little different intensity level."

Q: What have you seen from the veterans like Derrick Johnson with regards to keeping their health this late in the season?
REID: "We've added some things into the recovery process for the players, Rick (Burkholder) has. I think the players are taking advantage of it. There are two ways that players can go, they can kind of go 'that's going to make me soft,' that's kind of the old school approach. I think these kids that are coming up through colleges, they understand how the recovery has become such an important thing. And then the veteran players here have bought into it. The way Rick has presented it and the facility that we've got over here, I think, is a big part of that. They get in, they take care of their bodies, they're eating right, they're doing all the recovery stuff that takes place. They're doing a good job of that. And then DJ being the oldest guy, he and Tamba, it's important that we keep an eye on them, too and do our part from a coaching staff."

Quarterback Alex Smith

Q: Does it feel better winning six in a row than it did three, four or five in a row? It seems like you're unstoppable.
SMITH: "A little bit. The way it works, certainly, you prepare all week, you put so much in, and then to get that win, yeah, it's special, it's really special. And you kind of enjoy it for those 24 hours and then it's on to the next one. You really are, a little bit, pressing delete. That momentum, though, stays with you, and I do think that mindset kind of stays with you. And I think we've done a great job of that, kind of keeping that intensity into the next week's preparation and really kind of building off it. You continue to try to do the same things. This is another week of preparation and it starts with that, just continue to kind of keep building."

Q: Can you learn anything from the first San Diego game?
SMITH: "Yeah, you can learn a bunch, it was only three weeks ago. So both teams, obviously, are going to be looking at it, going to try to be making changes from it, this and that, anticipating what they might get this next time. And then that's really kind of what you're doing all week. It's different when you've played so soon, so close together here. There's not a ton of film to watch."

Q: Do you split the season into quarters?
SMITH: "That's kind of the general outline. You realize it when the quarter changes, I guess. Yeah, you got four more. I think the way the season started for us, I think it's really kind of made us all-in on how we do things. And it is week-to-week. The margin of error is so small, and it takes a great week of preparation and intensity and mindset and taking it in to Sunday. Even if it is the start of the fourth quarter, so to speak, that doesn't really change anything."

Q: Do you like playing a team twice in a short amount of time like this?
SMITH: "I think this is kind of strange, to be honest with you. I realize, obviously, the scheduling is never going to be perfect, but it is strange to play them three weeks ago. You only have two games in between to look at. So yeah, it is strange. I would prefer more time."

Q: Why?
SMITH: "I think that's kind of what the division games are about, playing teams twice, you have to play them twice, home and away. And the adjustments, there's only so much you can do this late in the season playing this close together."

Q: When you get a play call from the sidelines during a game, is it always Doug Pederson in your ear?
SMITH: "Yes."

Q: When you get a play call, can you tell where it's coming from, who called it?
SMITH: "Nope, no idea."

Q: And you never think twice about it?
SMITH: "No, I have no idea where it's coming from. I know all those guys talk and it's an open line, and there's a lot of voices helping out. I have no idea where the final say is coming from."

Q: Do you ever ask after the fact?
SMITH: "Sometimes it happens when we're watching film the next day. That's the time when you might find out here and there, especially if it's a critical play or something like that. But for the most part, no."

Q: How has the recovery program helped you and some of the veterans this year?
SMITH: "It's such a physical game that I do think treatment and all that can always be responsive. You do have to be proactive with it. There's a lot that goes into that. It can be in the treatment room, it can be with the doctors, it can be in the weight room, it can be out on the field. There's so many things that go into that. Guys all kind of develop their own routines, but certainly it is an area of focus here for us. Yeah, you have to keep your body healthy, your mind healthy, especially this late in the year. A lot of times, that can be the difference – going into a game, how good you feel."

Q: How often do you know a play is going to work before you snap the ball?
SMITH: "Having seen the defense, certainly, there are times right as I'm snapping it, I'm feeling pretty good about certain things based on what they've done. There's always the element of the unknown, right; I'm stepping into a huddle calling a play or you can ask me right now, the plays I like and I like them. You don't always know what you're going to get from the other side. It's that combination that has to play out. But certainly, sometimes, yeah, there is. You're snapping the ball, you're feeling really good about certain things based on what you're getting."

Q: The Maclin touchdown on the goal line?
SMITH: "Yeah, certainly, both of those, I felt good about as I was getting the ball."

Q: How many times do you feel the other way around?
SMITH: "To be honest, it's the same thing. There's been a lot of times in my career, or even here, all week I'll joke about it like 'I don't think this play is going to work,' or 'I'm not feeling very good about it.' And then you go out there and it does. It's tough to always predict. For me, I do try to always stay out of it, I try to go out and execute. You do put your trust in the coaches and what they're seeing and preparing us. It's my job to go make it work. It would be hard for me to tell you that, because I've been wrong just as much as I've been right."

Q: How much freedom do you have to change something you don't think is going to work?
SMITH: "It definitely varies week to week and play to play. Some plays you need protection, so to speak, and some plays you don't. In some weeks there's a lot of that and other weeks there's hardly any. But it really is a week to week thing."

Q: On Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware.
SMITH: "You definitely knew them as teammates, you knew what they were about. And you find out quick in any team sport, but especially football, you find out how accountable guys are quickly. And their preparation and their mindset, you find out every day. We film practice every single day, you go watch that every single day. It's a test – you've got to go out there and you've got to bring it and it shows. You realize guys that loaf and guys that don't know their assignments or guys who aren't on it. It shows up – and to be honest, the guys that aren't don't hang around very often or very long. So both of those guys – you knew, you knew what kind of teammates they were, you knew how much it mattered to them and you knew how much they prepared. Certainly, and that was their opportunity and for both of them probably their first. But you felt good about how serious they took it and how they were going to prepare. It was a matter of them going out there and making the plays and in both their cases, you can see it in their play. And you can see how hungry they are and how ready they were."

Q: On rushing touchdown last week.
SMITH: "Yeah, not planned. That was totally an improvised scramble. Certainly, when we put that play in I don't think Coach was thinking about the QB up the middle. It's just part of football, right? There are a lot of plays that go down just how you planned them and there are just as many that get improvised out there and that's part of the game as well."

Q: Does that make you salivate when you see that?
SMITH: "To be honest, it happened so fast - you're just playing fast. I felt good once I got into the end zone. For me, you're just trying to go out there and make plays."

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