Head coach Andy Reid
Opening Statement:** "Alright, as far as the injuries go, the guys who will not practice today are Tamba (Hali), which is normal protocol here, (Husain) Abdullah, who has not cleared the concussion protocol yet, but he's getting closer, Justin (Houston) won't practice today with a knee sprain, De'Anthony (Thomas) with a concussion, he hasn't passed the protocol, and then Spencer Ware has bruised ribs. He won't practice today. Look forward to the challenge of playing the Ravens. It's easy when you turn on the film to see they're not exactly what their record shows. They had a few injuries but the guys who are playing in there are playing their hearts out and I know firsthand that they're very well-coached and that they'll play hard. Our guys understand all that. We're starting the process today of getting ready to play them with this Wednesday practice. Look forward, again, to that challenge. Time's yours."
Q: How much of De'Anthony's injury has to do with him not being a big guy, as well as the severity of the injury?
REID: "Yeah, I don't know about the size part of it. That part I don't know. He has symptoms, so with that, some days he feels good and some days he doesn't. You just follow the protocol. I don't know about that – he took a pretty good lick."
Q: Do you expect him to be back by the end of the year?
REID: "He could be back by the end of this week. He could be. We're just taking that day by day. We're kind of at that point. He's going through the whole thing they do."
Q: What have you tried to do and what do you need to do to get more consistency out of Travis (Kelce) in terms of production and discipline?
REID: "Yeah, nobody works harder. He comes out here every day and busts his tail. You've got to remember that this is his first year as a full-time starter, so I've been proud of how he's handled himself and working through it. He's so competitive. Does he have some youthful moments? Yeah, there are some youthful moments, but he sure has had some big plays for us. He'll continue to do that, you've just got to keep in mind that this is the first year he's been asked to be that guy every day."
Q: Do you think these mistakes come from trying too hard?
REID: "He loves to play the game. You never have to worry about that with him. There's a hiccup here or there, it's normal because he's going 110 miles an hour. I don't ever worry about him not liking or wanting to play the game or any of that. He loves doing it. He works his tail off. He's always here getting better at the game, and I think he's one of our better players and has had some huge plays for us. I think it's just a matter of continuing to play and those little hiccups get out of the way. He hasn't had too many."
Q: Is there a noticeable difference with Alex Smith's willingness to go downfield, like we saw even after his interception?
REID: "Yeah, stay aggressive? Yeah. He's been doing this a while. He's confident. He got right back on it. That play he made, I've said it a couple times, but that was a huge play. That was big time in a lot of ways. Not only to throw to 12 (Albert Wilson), but to get us into that situation. You've got to have a short memory to play that position. Learn from your mistakes, short memory and move on and he did that. It was a great example of him doing that. He'll make a majority of those throws."
Q: On the pre-snap read, have you noticed that he's gotten better at figuring out what he wants to do?
REID: "Well, you give him more to do in that area, and I think that's one of his strengths. He's got a great feel for that stuff."
Q: You've encouraged players to show their personality, why do you have that approach?
REID: "I think within the schemes, I think you need to do that. I think that's what makes each player or individual great. You don't want to take that away from them. We're fortunate here, and I come back to (John) Dorsey on this, he's brought guys in here that enjoy playing the game. I don't want to push that down. I want them to do it within the confines of the scheme and disciplines of the scheme and let it go."
Q: Where did you first develop the idea of you have to let them go and be who they are?
REID: "That I don't know. I can pull them back if I need to pull them back, I'll do that. I want the whole player. If your editor is telling you you have to keep within these confines here, it's probably not so good. If he cuts you loose a little bit, you might have a pretty good article that comes out, pretty creative. I think, I question some of you, but I won't ask any questions (laughing)."
Q: So you still have the end of the leash is what you're saying?
REID: "Yeah, I'd say that. Yeah."
Q: What's your advice for your quarterback on trying to make tackles after a turnover?
REID: "Normally you teach your quarterback to take the high road – be the deep safety part of it – sometimes you can't do that. And I think that was probably Andy's (Dalton) deal, it's right there on top of you and you have to do it. You're not going to not tell them to make a tackle, they're competitive guys. So you let them do it and hopefully they have enough technique and get out of the way that they can do it the right way."
Q: Does the offensive lineman in you appreciate when a quarterback sticks his nose in there?
REID: "The offensive lineman in me does the head coach part of it, I kind of hold my breath."
Q: Does it go a little unnoticed on Alex Smith that he's able to avoid big shots and stay on the field with all the injuries to quarterbacks this season?
REID: "Yeah, he's a tough kid. I mean, all these guys that play this position are tough kids, they take some big hits. That's the way it works, there's a lot of glory in that position and so on and a lot of pub that goes with it. Down underneath all that, these are tough guys that are doing that. The ones that make it through are very fortunate. That's why you need good backups in this league. He's done a good job with it and the o-line's gotten better and better. That's an every week adventure there, you have to make sure that you stay right on top of your game as an offensive lineman, running back, tight end, the guys that are involved in the blocking schemes for that reason."
Q: Is Tyler Bray activated or is he back to NFI after his practice period?
REID: "That's a good question, I'll get you that. Dorse is doing all that stuff. I didn't meet with him this morning before I came out here."
Q: On the run before the end of the half, it was a good example of Alex Smith's poise in the pocket. What have you guys done to help him see stuff like that and make plays like that?
REID: "I think throughout his career he's had a pretty good feel for that. The linemen, there are seams there that are created. So if he has to go, he's got to go. The one good thing about him is he always has his eyes downfield and looking to get it to the receivers, if possible – that's kind of the last resort there. But when he goes, he can still run and it's effective and it puts pressure on the defense."
Q: Have you guys given him a little more freedom at the line, if so, how has that impacted his ability to see stuff coming?
REID: "I think, by your third year, if you're working hard – and he does – so I think he's got a pretty good feel of everything that's going on around him. And he does have a lot of responsibility up there that he's been given and he handles it well. We have a lot of trust in him to do those things that he does. And he's got a good eye for it and, again, he studies like crazy."
Q: How would you compare Derrick Johnson this year to before his injury? For most guys, the Achilles injury is a death sentence.
REID: "I think both of these two would say the same thing. Both he and (Mike) DeVito end up getting the injury at the same time and then they went in and they drove each other to the brink every day. Just tested and worked and worked each other until they're exhausted. And then they had Rick (Burkholder), who I think is a great rehab guy, that's one of his real strengths as a trainer. To have another guy there that you can challenge each other with, that's priceless. And I think they said that when they got done with it. Without him, I wouldn't be here and vice versa. It's a tribute to both of them. But DJ, he's playing real good football here. And you're right, most guys – in particular at his age – they don't make it back, at least not at that level. And he's playing as well as he's played since I've been here."
Q: Without Jamaal Charles, how has your running game changed or not changed?
REID: "It probably hasn't changed too much. There's only one Jamaal and we know that. But the actual schemes really haven't changed much at all."
Q: So you're calling the same plays?
REID: "Same thing, yeah."