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Press Conference 4/20: QB Alex Smith

QB Alex Smith speaks with the media as the Chiefs begin their offseason program

Q: So you are all cleared and ready to go?

SMITH:"Yeah, I think so, yeah. Full go. I feel good."

Q: When did that come about? Can you take us through the process since the season ended?

SMITH:"Really, nothing. A few weeks after our season, that was kind of the timeline that they had given me that I would be fine. But at that point, really the only things I couldn't do were heavy contact, sports. But with the season over, I didn't do much else in that concern. So it really didn't restrict me, so really it was kind of normal life. I could work out, I could run, I could do everything I needed to do. So I just kind of went about my business and at this point, it has felt great for a quite a while. I don't know at some point if I am going to get it scanned again or not, so I don't know."

Q: What was your reaction when you found out the team had traded for Ben Grubbs and signed Paul Fanaika?

SMITH:"Yeah, I knew we were losing a bunch of guys that didn't know if they were going to be back or not. It's kind of the nature of the business now with the turnover and it's time for that personnel department to try and make us better and that is their opportunity to do that. Obviously Ben, a player of his caliber is pretty special, and to get an opportunity to make that move, I was extremely excited to see that for sure. But then all of the additions, just seeing what they're doing and keeping track and talking to them and looking to obviously upgrade everywhere."

Q: Did you get a chance to throw with Jeremy Maclin today?

SMITH:"Yeah, a little bit. Got him out there."

Q:Did you throw with him outside or inside?

SMITH:"We went inside, just stayed inside. Yeah, it was good. Good to kind of get going on the first day. I had met him a few times and been around him and talked to him on the phone since we signed him, but it was great to get face to face and throw a little bit."

Q: Did you run routes with him and how was it?

SMITH:"Yeah, we did a little bit of work. It was tough, today was a special teams day. The rest of those guys are in there so it was kind of limited. We had a few of the guys out there, (Travis) Kelce, some of those guys that aren't on special teams we grabbed and we were able to do a little bit of work. Tomorrow will be a bigger day."

Q: How long do you think it will take you to develop chemistry between you and Jeremy Maclin?

SMITH:"Yeah, a little bit of it is a process and I think it's different for everybody. I think some things click for some guys faster than others. It just depends. I think there will be a little more of smoother transition – he's been in the system, he's learned his terminology. None of this is brand new for either of us. So we can kind of come together and talk and I think just even from today, and obviously watching a lot of film. We watched a lot of film the last couple of years, obviously with him at the Eagles and smooth, smooth. Great body language, he's easy to throw to."

Q: How do you feel you performed looking back at last season?

SMITH:"The analysis of myself I don't necessarily look at from that big of a scope. From the outset, it's just not good enough because we obviously didn't make the playoffs. We didn't make a run at anything, didn't win a championship. I mean from there, it was a failure. From everything else though, I think you're trying to fine-tune everything. So everything is a much smaller hole than just how was the season. For me it's just huddle up quickly, and let's take a look at quick game and three-step drop and from the gun and under center and then I'm looking at my ball-handling, my footwork, I'm looking at my balance, I'm looking at a lot of things – let's take deep balls. All that stuff you're really trying to get better at. I think for me really pinpoint those things and how can I get better and what can I do differently. What are some areas that jump out: red flags, weaknesses that I really need to work on and why are they that way, things like that. Now for us coming back, coaches have kind of done the same thing. We've been talking this whole time and going and communicating, but a chance to really kind of, 'alright, let's put the plan together. How are we going to fix these things, how are we going to get better?'"

Q: How do you think Jeremy Maclin's skillset of beating people deep compare with your abilities? Do you feel like you can take advantage of the deep ball more than you have in past years?

SMITH:"Absolutely. I think two things. For one, the deep ball for sure is something that gets a lot of attention. It's a matter of time and striking when it's right and being able to take advantage of those opportunities that are few and far between and when you get them, you've got to be able to hit them. That's kind of the nature of it. They are a lower percentage just across the board. I think as far as Jeremy goes, I think he's the type of receiver that excels in all the areas. I think that's his biggest strength is just watching from afar. I don't think you can kind of pigeon-hole him as just a speed guy or over-the-top guy. His game is way more complex than that and he can do a lot of different things."

Q: It looks like the Chiefs are trying to ramp things up offensively this offseason. What is your role in that?

SMITH:"I'm the quarterback. Pretty central. You've got to get better. To be complacent or settled with where you are, you've got to continually be getting better and you need to be taking steps forward and I'm a part of that. And it wasn't good enough last year. So the part is, yeah, how are we going to continue to take steps and what is the plan to do that. And some of that is new faces coming in like you said and you have to gel quickly and bring it together."

Q: Did you sense that Jamaal Charles wasn't 100% healthy last season?

SMITH:"You definitely saw it. You see him through the week in the treatment room, battling through things, a lot of the nicks and things like that. You see it out on the practice field through the week. You see him on Wednesday and you can tell obviously some weeks more than others. But yeah, he's battling through some things or maybe he's not out there.  But a game, didn't miss much action. He was out there it seemed like every single Sunday and making plays, the type of competitor that he is. But certainly when talking to him and you hear that, you knew he was battling through things."

Q: Do you think him being banged up affected some of the games last year?

SMITH:"No, I don't think so, no. It's a natural part of the NFL. You're used to it. As a running back in the NFL, you're used to being able to try to work through things. And sometimes you don't know and sometimes it is a game time decision and that's real. You've got to be ready for everything and the next guy has got to be ready and you just don't know and you hope to have him out there. I don't think that affected anything though, no."

Q:What do you remember about the draft when you were taken first overall?

SMITH:"Obviously, there's a lot of stuff leading up to it. There's a lot of hype, a lot of hoopla all the stuff that kind of comes with it.  I was back there in New York, very surreal to be a part of that. It's different, it's foreign territory, you're used to being on a field or in a locker room and all of a sudden you're in a big hall in a suit and tie, and you're on stage it's a different atmosphere. Very surreal though, obviously it's something as a football fan you've watched since you were a kid and to take part in it, it was pretty cool."

Q: When did you know you might go first in the draft?

SMITH:"The week leading up I had a good idea, just based off of different scenarios.  Back then they were trying to negotiate those contracts before the draft and the way that was going I felt good about it the week leading up."

Q: Was it difficult to block out all of the hype and go about your daily life?

SMITH: "No, I think you take it all in and you have fun with it. It's going to happen once and I don't think there's any harm with that. I think that what's hard to wrap your head around is you were having this huge competition.  It felt like, it's this huge job interview, this huge competition on who's going to be the best, and you want to be the best. You're working hard and you do all the combine and the interviews and the individual workouts and all of that and then you get drafted and the crazy thing is you've been going, you had no offseason, you went straight from your college season to that and you think you're going to get a chance to catch your breath but you've got minicamp next week. Then you're job really started, that's when it really counts. No one cares what you did at the combine or before that, all that stuff didn't mean anything really, to be honest you thought it did at the time. It's long, you go straight into minicamp, you go straight into OTA's and before you know it the season's here and obviously expectations come with being a draft pick, and a high draft pick so it's a lot to deal with as a young guy and trying to balance all of that."

Q: You've had a chance to watch Travis Kelce, what do you think this next season holds for him?

SMITH: "I think everybody is really excited about Travis (Kelce). I think we all saw last year what he's capable of and what he can do. I think as a young player he's building on that and continuing to have him put more tools in his tool belt so to speak and be able to do more things, let's find different ways to use him. He's a guy that can do a lot of different things as a tight end, he's very versatile. How can we move him around, how can we get him the ball, he's so good with the ball in his hands after the catch as well. All those things, it's just continuing to fine tune that, type that all in, he's well rounded, what are all the ways we can get better with him."

Q:You've got a lot of guys like that, De'Anthony Thomas, guys that can move around, that's got to make you feel excited as a quarterback.

SMITH:"Oh yes, it's what you're hoping for, for sure it's an ideal situation. For Travis (Kelce) and a lot of these guys it was their first year playing last year. De'Anthony coming back for his second year, yes all of those guys you're kind of looking to expand on that. Build on it, it's their second year now to kind of catch their breath and get going and what are the different ways we can use them and get better."

Q:Were you apart of the Pebble Beach program prior to this year and what is it like?

SMITH:  "This is my second year. It was fun, it was very fun, it was a cool challenge. You're so used to playing in front of a bunch of people with a lot of noise and it's more of a reaction type of deal and this is very different. You're in front of people but it's dead quiet and you've got a lot of mental thoughts and it's certainly not your area of expertise. It's a fun challenge though mentally to do that, it's just so different and foreign. The silence is like deafening almost, I got way to much self-talk going on, but yes it's a great challenge, I enjoy golfing so it's fun."

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