What We Learned from Alex Smith on Monday

Smith met with the media on Monday

Quarterback Alex Smith

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Q: What's your experience with success translating from the preseason to the regular season? Are you starting from scratch when you guys go to New England?

SMITH: "Definitely not from scratch. Every place is different and every coaching staff handles preseason differently. How much you gameplan or how much you don't. How much you show or how much you don't. It's all a fine line. Who knows the right answer in all of that, but you do play that game a little bit. I think you want to go out there and execute regardless of what you're running. I think as a unit you want to go out and have success. Rarely does it translate, but if you're not doing the fundamentals correctly in preseason, blocking, tackling, running, catching, throwing, I think you have problems there. You want to go out there and be able to do those things well. Play-in and play-out, the fundamentals. I think you should expect a certain margin of success with that – "Let's just go out and do that." I think you want to go out and have success to a certain extent. You know your opportunities are limited and you want to be moving the ball and getting into a rhythm for sure."

Q: After how long you have been doing this do you nitpick at all? Do you find yourself being extra critical of things that you're doing in preseason games?

SMITH: "No, I don't think it's any extra nitpicking. You just want to go out there and play. Like I said, you want to execute the plays that you're running and make good reads, throw accurate passes and make good decisions. I think you treat these for what they are, for us especially as quarterbacks when we practice, even when we go live the quarterbacks aren't live. So all of that stuff within the pocket everything kind of gets sped up a little bit. Preseason games are finally our opportunity to get real work because we don't have a yellow jersey on, we're live. This is a real game for us and for all of us it's been a long time. We've been wearing that (yellow) jersey for a long time, so this is finally our chance to kind of do that and work those kinks out. You're moving around in the pocket, that's real. You can finally make plays with your feet, that's real. Getting hit while you're throwing in practice, you're really getting hit now and can you stand in there and make those passes? This is the time to get all that back in sync and work on that stuff."

Q: What did you think of Tyler Bray's first play, that touchdown pass?

SMITH: "It was sweet. Sweet for him to come in – first play, quick turnover – I thought the execution by the entire unit, especially up front, the line. I thought Stretch (Seantavius Jones), the adjustment he made on the route was sweet. The throw and catch and to walk in untouched, I thought it got executed really well. A lot of adjustments that happen on the fly that you work on a long time then all of a sudden you get them all dialed in like that. It was definitely kind of a clinic tape."

Q: Typically in preseason you get a lot of soft looks, a lot of basic coverage. But in the third game will you get real looks from the secondary?

SMITH: "Yeah, it depends on who you're playing. Seattle by nature isn't a crazy, scheme team. They are a team that I think makes subtle adjustments to your personnel, they make subtle adjustments to your scheme. Those aren't crazy, overt things. But they're a disciplined defense that plays physical, they're really sound. So they're a defense naturally that they aren't a crazy, exotic pressure team by nature. But some teams are. Some teams you do get into third down situations and it's like 'get ready' because that week that team brings all kinds of stuff and you've got to expect the unexpected type of deal. Whereas with Seattle, them by nature a little more, they've been playing that defense for a long time there – that Seattle Cover 3 – they make subtle adjustments to your scheme and to your personnel that don't necessarily jump out at you right away."

Q: Did the Bengals show you real looks?

SMITH: "Yeah, they're similar. They're a team that even as we watched a little bit of the preseason games before, they were bringing a lot of pressure. They brought a lot of pressure, I thought a decent amount for a preseason team, especially a defense that has been together for a long time. They brought a lot pressure and it was kind of the same thing, they brought it. Especially for a preseason game I thought they made us make some adjustments protection-wise because of the stuff they were bringing."

Q: Coach said you guys made a mock gameplan this week. Treating this week like this, how does this get you ready for the regular season preparation as you guys keep your eyes on the Patriots?

SMITH: "I think it's for all of us to get back into what a working week is like. Come regular season you do really live by the week – every Wednesday is the same, and Thursdays and Fridays and obviously building up towards game day, which is usually Sundays. For us it's a chance not only for the coaches but for the players to kind of get back in your mindset. We've been going training camp mode for the last little bit. So it's a chance to flip that for us and what are of the things you need to get in, you want to get in. Find that routine again."

Q: On that fourth down play, the conversion to (Anthony) Sherman, when you went back and watched that, did you happen to see what Kareem (Hunt) did and just how impressive of a block was that for him to go and take a couple guys out?

SMITH: "It's nice, we're putting him on the edge versus some good pass rushers and asking him to be aggressive, selling out on the run fake. Not just Kareem, but all those guys take so much pride – starting with their coach EB (Eric Bieniemy) – on doing all the other things, those guys are doing back there to run the football. They take a lot of pride in their blocking and knowing their pass protections and not only knowing them but executing them at a high level. Definitely for a young guy, to see him go in and not really blink with that stuff, I sometimes think that's the hardest thing is protection, for young backs. He got a taste for everything it seemed like the other night which was good, it was good experience for him."

Q: Can you tell us the differences between you as a rookie and Patrick (Mahomes)? But you've been in his shoes before. Are you impressed at all by what he's accomplished so far? Can you offer any perspective?

SMITH: "For sure. It's a whirlwind, there's a lot of expectations on you and you're juggling a lot – you're thinking about a million different things and you're getting coached on a ton of stuff. I think it's hard as a young guy, sometimes it's easy to become robotic out there. You've got so much coaching going on out there and it's hard on game day, at least it was hard for me sometimes just to flip back into playing. I was trying so hard on making my feet right and my fundamentals right that I was getting coached on, especially for me coming away from under center snap and all my footwork and things like that was so different for me having played in the gun most of my college career. It was hard sometimes to translate it. You have that coaching – go out and play on game day and cut it loose. That took me a long time to get back into that mode whereas I think Pat (Patrick Mahomes) is much better and way more fluid at that, being able to handle the coaching. Once the whistle blows out there, you want to just get back to playing quarterback and there are a lot of things that he does instinctively and has done that have gotten him here. You don't want to lose that. Even though you are getting coached on a gazillion different things you just want to get back to playing ball. I think he does a great job of that naturally, just cutting that loose and taking the coaching, but once it's time to play, just go play."

Q: Did you tease (Patrick) Mahomes for falling after the (Gavin) Escobar throw?

SMITH: "We tease him about a lot of stuff, for sure. You better have thick skin in the QB room, everybody is fair game. It's a fun culture but you definitely can't be sensitive in there, got to be willing to take it. It's fun. Anything and everything for all of us up for grabs."

Q: What are your thoughts on the eclipse and will you take time out of your training regimen to check it out today?

SMITH: "Yeah, if we get time and if it stops raining and the clouds clear up. If not, then we'll be watching a tape of it. Obviously, if the opportunity presents itself I'm definitely going to sneak out and check it out a little bit. Why not? Why wouldn't you? Hopefully it does clear up though."

Q: You talk about usually playing on Sundays, you've got a lot of Thursday, Monday and Saturday this year. How does that affect your routine and rhythm?

SMITH: "I think the good thing here is that the preseason simulates that a little here. We've got Saturday games, Friday games and Thursday games so your game weeks get thrown off a little bit. Some weeks you get extra rest, some weeks you don't, so you've got to be able to make that adjustment. You've got to be fluid. You've got to be able to handle it – mentally is the biggest thing – but physically too, taking care of your body. The weeks get adjusted. Those days I was talking about, your typical Wednesday now falls on a Monday or something. You have to be fluid, you have to be able to handle that. I think training camp has been a great practice of that, you lose track of the days of the week, you just go day-by-day."

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