QB ALEX SMITH
Q:** The last time you played the Rams you suffered a concussion and your career took a turn. Have you thought about how things would be different if you got down a little sooner on that play?
SMITH:"No, I haven't given that much thought. Certainly I recognize when we go over the personnel, some of these guys. I remember the game, remember it well. But yeah, haven't really thought about the what-ifs."
Q: Since you've been here it seems like you really like that feet first slide. Is that a result of what happened on that play?
SMITH:"No, not just that. A lot of it is cumulative. You get older, you get smarter. And whether you like it or not, you're a quarterback, you're a target. And you get outside of the pocket and some of the rules that are there to protect you go away. And so it's being smart with it, being smart, understanding situations and for the most part, protecting yourself when you do get outside the pocket."
Q: Did you do that slide as much before you got here?
SMITH:"I still did it then. You look back and even at this point, you can laugh about it. But certainly an awkward play."
Q: Now you're playing the Rams for a trophy. Are you familiar with the Governor's Cup?
SMITH:"I am not, no. I didn't know."
Q: You don't need a trophy for a regular season game.
SMITH:"I mean these games are so important, you guys know. Every week these are so, so important and this one no different."
Q: Are you surprised Kansas City and St. Louis don't have a bigger rivalry?
SMITH:"Yeah, it's tough when you're in different conferences though. In the division, your conference takes the focal point just the way football is set up. So it's tough to have a huge rivalry when you're in different conferences. I think that kind of can play a part in it."
Q: When you were with the 49ers, you and the Raiders had a bit of a rivalry. Is that different though because you are so close?
SMITH:"Yeah, so close. But even that, you're close. But other than that, same thing, different conferences. You just don't have the history. You don't play each other every year, you don't have that familiarity which is I think an essential part of a rivalry."
Q: The Rams have a talented front-four but the sacks aren't there. What's going on there?
SMITH:"Yeah, it's funny. You look at the stats: last year, I think they were like one or two in sacks. The year before I think they had one or two in sacks. Certainly they have the talent this year, for whatever reason the numbers haven't been there. You watch film and certainly they are very disruptive. The talent is there. Those guys can get after it. Who knows, they've been playing from behind so teams are running the ball a little more on them over the course of the game. They haven't been in those predictable passing downs very much. A lot goes into it but certainly a very talented front. You can see it on film, that's for sure. Certainly like it's not there."
Q: What makes Robert Quinn so good?
SMITH:"It's everything obviously. It's the skills, the motor, the knowledge. Once you get older, those guys continue to develop and hone in their skills and their moves. They know football, the same thing, situation is better, all those things. But yeah, it starts with the guy that can obviously play.
Q: This is one of those games where you'll be relying a lot on Eric Fisher, right?
SMITH:"I'm trying not to think about those guys up front. I'm worried about the guys on the back end and playing and throwing completions."
Q: Did you go to the game last night? What was the experience like and who do you know over there with the team?
SMITH:"I did. I've met a bunch of guys on the team. We're so close here, kind of neighbors. Those guys have been out to a bunch of practices and vice versa, they've have had us up to some games and stuff. It's the World Series, special deal. Unfortunately, they didn't get the W, but baseball is weird. They've got the seven game series, so they have a chance to bounce back."
Q: What is it like sharing the limelight?
SMITH:"I think it's great. We share predominately a lot of the same fans. And I think that's contagious, I think it's great for the city. I think it's awesome all the way around."
Q: Where is that line between being banged up and wanting to stay in the game?
SMITH:"I've never known anybody that's lying or faking or anything. Certainly guys want to help the team, and I don't think anybody is going to be out there if they don't think they can do that. And I think the other 10 guys in the huddle would even say something if they saw otherwise. So I've never known that. I think guys want to go out there, they want to be accountable, they want to help their team. But whatever it may be, if you can't get it done, you don't want to be out there because you don't want to let your teammates down."
CB PHILLIP GAINES
Q:** When you're a gunner on those punts you've got to keep aware of where the return man is. How did the Rams fake Seattle out like that?
GAINES:"The gunners just didn't find the ball. That's something that the coaches are preaching that once the ball is in the air, you have to locate it, that way you can make a play on it. The gunners unfortunately just followed Tavon Austin and that's how that happened."
Q: I know you're never satisfied, but were you happy with your first NFL game on defense in San Diego?
GAINES:"It was good, there was definitely mistakes that I made as well. But you look at film, try to clean it up and just try to get better."
Q: What could you have done better?
GAINES:"Just playing with my look a little more, showing off coming down, don't set the defense before the line gets out. Just little things like that. Keeping my leverage and everything, there's always something you can work on."
K CAIRO SANTOS
Q:** You started the year missing two field goals. What was going through your head before this last one at San Diego?
SANTOS:"I found myself a lot of times out of my routine because it was kind of new to me being the starter and this is a regular season. I just found myself rushing everything and running the field too fast. To that point on, I started to take my time. I talked to a lot of vets out there. They helped me establish a better routine because we do have a play clock of 40 seconds, so there's no need to start to kick the ball when there's 17 seconds on the clock. Take your time, feel the wind. I've been doing that and it's been working. I feel a lot more relaxed and more comfortable."
Q: You said you talked to a bunch of vets. Who did you talk to?
SANTOS: I talked to Robbie Gould. He called me out of nowhere and was really nice. He's a great guy and just shared his experiences of his rookie year. I talked to my friend Caleb Sturgis. He's young; he went through that last year. Steve Gostkowski, guys that we've played against. I try to pick their brain a little bit just to understand what they think about. At the end of the day, you've just got to trust your swing and kick with confidence."
Q: Dustin (Colquitt) told me he told you about (Ryan) Succop a few years ago. He started off rough too, and then went on a great run. Did that kind of put things in perspective for you?
SANTOS: "Right after the first game and Ryan had a great game and I missed a 48-yarder that game, he came to me and said 'I started, one year I started 1-4 , I believe, and then he ended up making 20 kicks in a row.' Kicking is sometimes a roller coaster. We just can't run away from the fact that there's going to be ups and downs. It's about being mentally strong and always thinking about the next kick. If you miss one, it's the next kick. If you make one, you've got to still (make the next one) nd nothing that I did in San Diego is going to help us beat the Rams. I've just got to go in there and make the next kick."
P DUSTIN COLQUITT
Q:** Did you encourage Cairo Santos at all after the rough start he had?
COLQUITT:"Yeah, absolutely. Sometimes you have rough starts to seasons. I know a couple years ago, Ryan (Succop) started two of five, then he went and hit 22 straight field goals. I actually told him that exact story because that goes to show you he went from almost getting released or cut or trying to go in a different direction to the most field goals in a row in Chiefs history. So sometimes, it takes a while to get going. I know my rookie year, 89 or 90 percent of my punts were inside the 20 because Trent Green and those guys were putting up 4,500 yards of offense a year, so I didn't have an opportunity to let loose. So my gross was low, my net was low just because of situations I was put in. And so I told Cairo, his cream is going to rise to the top. He's got a great leg, good head on his shoulder. And then he drained that field goal in San Diego."
Q: How big of a confidence boost was that for him do you think?
COLQUITT:"It's huge. He's had an opportunity to go on a roll here. He's hit six straight field goals so that was huge. Anytime you go to San Diego, this time a year, the wind is starting to pick up, the seasons are changing out there too. So it was cool, he drilled the kick and we were really excited for him. It's confidence for everybody because we know, 'hey, we get to the 35, 36 yard line, we can count on points.'"
WR ALBERT WILSON
LS THOMAS GAFFORD
CB JAMELL FLEMING