What We Learned From Sunday's Media Availability

Head Coach Andy Reid, QB Alex Smith and LB Derrick Johnson spoke with the media on Sunday

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HEAD COACH ANDY REID

Opening Statement: "Alright, as far as the injuries go, really [Phillip] Gaines was the only one that came out right at the end. He's going to be okay. His knee got tweaked just like it did in practice. He'll be fine this week as we go forward. That was a good game. Obviously, anytime you go up against a good football team like Todd [Bowles] has put together there. Then, to come out like we did is a real tribute to our players, the coaches and the job that they did. I thought our defense was outstanding – eight takeaways, six interceptions, two fumbles. We had the one on the kickoff team and coverage team. [Anthony] Sherman and Dezman Moses made a nice tackle – ball pops out and pops right into 84 [Demetrius Harris'] hands, and Demetrius goes in and scores. It was good to get our young guys in the game, so [Steven] Nelson, D.J. White, Eric Murray. Again, Nelson has been playing quite a bit, but to get those other two in there and you saw D.J. [Derrick Johnson] had the nice interception right there at the end. Overall, a good day. We have to do a little bit better job in the red zone. Plenty of things we need to work on. We need to do a little bit better job in the red zone offensively. We've got to do a little bit better job shutting those long drives down defensively, and we'll get that taken care of. You cherish every win, in particular, against a good football team."* *

Was it kind of rare to see what happened in the second half today (Spencer Ware TD Overturned)?"So, I thought one of the important things was no matter what happened, you keep your foot on the accelerator in the second half. Good teams do that and they learn to do that. I thought our guys did that throughout. That was one of the things that could have presented a little bit of adversity there. They overcame that and came out on the positive side of it."

What did you see from your defense in practice and the first two games that made you believe they could have a breakout game like that?"You've got a lot of guys playing, and contributing and they are playing fast. You're throwing fast balls at the offense. They are swarming to the ball which is important. The line of scrimmage, the defensive front, I think has upped their game, and playing well. They're playing a lot of guys there. That's a positive. Tamba [Hali] is getting back in the swing and doing well there. Eric Berry is back in the swing and doing well. Some guys that didn't have many reps during camp, but I think they're playing well."

On the play with Spencer Ware and they overturned the touchdown – how do you guys coach that? Do you want them to pile on?"You don't want them dropping the ball. You want to make sure you're securing the ball. It's hard to tell them not to reach out a little bit. I really don't. I'm not big on that. There's a time and a place for it. You have to keep two hands on it. He tried to do it one handed – you can't do that. If you're going to stretch it, you have to do it with two hands and secure the football."

No sacks today – I guess the tradeoff is six picks?"Good answer."

What would you attribute to the six interceptions?"There was pressure on them where you had to move. Guys were getting their hands on the ball. So, I think that was positive. We were able to disguise coverages and hold it for a period of time. He's [Ryan Fitzpatrick] a smart kid with a lot of experience. We've had some go-rounds with him here before, so I thought our guys did a good job with keeping him uneasy there."

How many times have you been on the other end of this game in your coaching career?"If you stay in the league this long, you're going to have it the other way. I've been there. Had one here that first year in the playoffs, so I get it. Things work out and then they don't work out real quick. If you stay in this long, you're going to have those. Todd [Bowles] has done a nice job there. I'm proud of him – the job that he's done. He's got a good football team. They're banged up a little bit. He'll get those guys back, and they will be right there at the end."

When the team gets turnovers, do you feel like it is always Marcus Peters getting the team started?"Well, he does a nice job with it. So, I mean he has had quite a few of them since he's been here. I saw this old guy [Derrick Johnson] intercept one at the end there, and he ran a long way. He looked like he was about 20, so it was pretty good. That got me going. I don't know if it got everyone else going, but it got me going."

You might want to remember that one because I don't know if you'll see that one again."No, no. Go easy. He's close to you."

When it comes to Marcus Peters, does it seem to be equal parts of preparation and instincts for him to make those plays?"Listen, he has great instincts. I mean following up on that, he's got great instincts. All the guys know that. They respect the job that he's done since he's been here. He's a good football player – heady football player.  Does he take some chances sometimes? Yeah he does, but he's got a short memory, which you've got to have there. He gets right back on it and nothing gets him down. He didn't shy away from anybody. They have some good receivers on that team. He's not going to back down at all from that."

The offense today, especially in the first half, converted a lot of third downs. What do you think was the key today to getting that done?"Listen, I thought our offensive line – we've had a couple of injuries there, and I thought those guys stepped up there and did a nice job for us. It starts there. Alex [Smith] and the receivers. [Travis] Kelce had some big plays in there. We were just off a tad there with Jeremy [Maclin] and 10 [Tyreek Hill]. We had some close ones there for some big ones. I thought it was a good team effort – good offensive team effort on third downs."

QB ALEX SMITH

You got off to a better start this time, I know you're not where you want to be but you're moving the ball and that's something to take away from today."Yes, I thought we were way more efficient today, I thought we spread the field well. There in the fourth quarter, that's situational offense and you've got to be better there, we weren't very good.  I thought through the first three quarters we were better.  The fourth and one, that's a big play, if we get that it changes the game. The tough play with Spencer (Ware) down there at the goal line is tough. Those two plays stick out, but better, I thought we got into a good rhythm. We mixed it up, spread the ball out to a lot of different people, we were close, we still left some opportunities out there, but it was better."

When you're on the sideline and you're seeing all of these interceptions, what are you thinking?"That doesn't happen every day, that's for sure.  Just an absolute dominant performance by the defensive side.  Hats off to the coaches with the game plan and the guys going out and executing it.  Like I said, to watch from the sideline it was absolutely dominant."

Did you get a chance to watch the Derrick (Johnson) play and were you watching the screen or the play?"Yes, I watched it.  I was watching the play."

What were you thinking as he's weaving?"I was loving it, loving it.  For one, I'm like a little bit nervous with the defenders running the ball because I'm just thinking, hold on to the ball.  I love that he was able to finish it off though.  He's got that ability and he's got such good ball skills for a linebacker, so definitely not surprised."

That play by Spencer Ware at the goal line.  What do you think of that play?  If he fumbles it at the one you guys have a first down and a lot of yards behind you. "I know it's kind of a controversial rule, people have talked about it, but it's the rule.  It's the rule right now, it's the gamble of reaching out for it.  If you touch it and then fumble it's a touchdown, then obviously the split second before changes it. At this point it's the rule."

Have you ever had a game like that, where it seemed like everything went wrong? "Yes, I don't think I've thrown six, but yes, I've had some tough days.  I think if you play long enough you're going to have them."

As a fellow quarterback do you feel for him? "Let me tell you, I loved every one of those picks on the sideline.  Then there after the game I did, I felt for him after the game, but when they were taking place, no. We're trying to get them, they're trying to get us, that's the deal."

Today, you guys left yourself a lot to work on this week?"Yeah, sure. Like I said earlier, I definitely had some opportunities out there that I could have taken advantage of. I thought we did some things better. Certainly during the fourth quarter, got to be better in the fourth down and then four minute offense there at the end of the game wasn't very good at all."

What was working so well with Travis Kelce out there today?"You know I think coach did a great job moving him around and not letting defensives zero in on him as much. To be honest, I think it comes down to the other guys making plays – the other guys making plays early. It allows Travis [Kelce] to be singled up at times. He's just a heck of a player. He wins a majority of the time when he is."

Would you say this is a step forward for the offense today?"Yeah, we'll see. Don't quote me right now. I thought it was better – I did. I thought it was better than last week. I thought we got into rhythm. I thought we stretched the field vertically, I thought we stretch the field horizontally. I mean I thought we spread the ball around to a bunch of different people. We didn't let them box us in with one, or two guys or anything like that. So, I thought that was better. We were better on third down, especially in the first half. Like I said, I thought there was some key moments that stick out to me right now: the fourth and one, the goal line play, we had a third down play that Chris [Conley] and I missed. So, all of a sudden, you have three plays. A couple of plays there at the end of the half, [Jeremy] Maclin and I connect. It's a very, very different game."

Was there any thought that we had eight turnovers and we had 24 points, should we have more than that or are you happy with how many point the offense scored?"Oh, it's a win. To be honest, I could care less of style points. This isn't the BCS – nobody cares what you win by. We won and got a W. We'll enjoy it and get ready for next week."

On enjoying the win compared to last week:"Yeah, I enjoyed it much more. More familiar territory I felt like for us. Played really well in the first half and jumped up on them. Special teams and defense got some turnovers, and we were able to capitalize. The defense just kind of feasted on that once we were up and really made them one dimensional. Like I said, in the second half, just really, really dominant."

Last week in Houston we saw Travis Kelce matching up a lot with A.J. Bouye, did the Jets try to do the same thing or was it a little bit more varied?"Yeah, they changed it up. That's just kind of their D.N.A. They're not a defense to live in one thing. They're doing a ton of different coverages, a ton of different fronts. So, they covered him with corners, they covered him with safeties today, they tried to double him at times. So, it was a little bit of everything."  

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LB DERRICK JOHNSON

On your interception return for a touchdown, it looked like you were going to go down a few times.  Did you just decide to go for it?"We put an emphasis on taking the ball away in practice all the time.  Coach (Bob) Sutton is always like, 'Hey, let's build a wall and take it in.' It is a big momentum changer if you can get a turnover.  If you can score, it makes it that much better.  These old wheels started rolling and I saw all of my teammates blocking for me.  I was like hey, let's take one back."

What allowed you to get so many turnovers today?"It was a close game.  I think I have seen, over the years, when we have really good defenses, when it is 10 to 13 or 17 to three, that's a really close game.  That's a really close game and we need to come up for our team. This is the ultimate team sport.  When our offense needs us to step up, I'm glad we are able to step up.  I'm sure we are going to need them in the next few games."

Have you ever played with a cornerback like Marcus Peters who seems to have a knack for intercepting the ball?"You know what, I can't say that I have.  I have played with some really good corners but they were not as young as Marcus.  Marcus is not a second year player to me.  Eventually, they are going to have to stop throwing to his side or he is going to have 100 interceptions.  He is a guy that's a competitor.  He is the ultimate competitor that wants to get better.  He is harder on himself than anybody else.  That is the best thing to like about him, as a young player.  He doesn't let anything slide and I'm glad he is on my team."

What did you see on the play where you got your interception?"Most of the game, I was on the back, one on one.  I tried to give them a different look to see if Fitzpatrick wasn't going to throw it to him.  They tried to pick me and I can't remember, I ran over the pick or under the pick from the outside receiver and he tried to back-shoulder the running back.  He thought he could dart it in there.  I was kicking myself in the butt because Eric Berry's first interception, I missed the interception.  It was one of those things where I had to get it back, so I got it back.  Usually on man coverage, it is hard to get an interception because your back is turned and you are one on one.  Zone coverage, I like that more because you can see the quarterback, read the quarterback and try to pick a ball.  I got one so I am blessed."

What does this defense do to be so good in the red zone?"It goes back to preparation.  Everything goes back to practice and the emphasis on, 'They are not in, until they are in.' The field shrinks when you get down to the red zone so you have to play really good.  Giving up three points here and there, that is going to happen.  There are some good football teams out there but we try to put the pressure on ourselves to not give up seven."

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