What We Learned from Wednesday's Media Availability

Transcripts from Wednesday's press conferences

HEAD COACH ANDY REID

OPENING STATEMENT: "Alright, as far as the injuries go, the guys that will not practice today are (Husain) Abdullah – getting closer, just working through the whole concussion deal – and then Jah Reid has got some knee inflammation, so he will not practice today, Tamba (Hali), Justin (Houston) will not practice, still making progress in the right direction and De'Anthony (Thomas) won't practice. I don't have anything for you on De'Anthony yet. When we get something, I'll be able to fill you in on it. And Dorse is kind of handling that part of it.

Listen, we look forward to the challenge of playing the Raiders. This is an up-and-coming football team and we understand that. They're playing good football, they just beat a good Denver team a couple weeks back and San Diego last week. We're very well aware of them and their talent and their coaching. They're solid all the way through from Reggie (McKenzie) to the ownership on down and we respect that. Coming out here today for day one and getting prepared. Time's yours."

Q:Is De'Anthony Thomas in the building?

REID: "I don't know that. I don't know exactly where he is. Like I said, Dorse is handling that."

Q:How much of going from 1-5 to 10-5 is saying "We don't quit?"

REID: "That's not the makeup of this group, they're a pretty straight forward group, they've been that way through camp. I think they trusted each other and that was probably the biggest thing going there. They understood that there's a small margin between winning and losing in this league. It's crazy, all the parity in this league. Nobody's better than anybody on a given Sunday until you play the game. That's how it rolls."

Q:Is there something about football that teaches that?

REID: "I think the game teaches you that you have to bring your best every day. That if you're off by a tick, things can happen. And that you have to have a short memory, you have to learn from your mistakes and have a short memory and trust in yourself and your guys, the guys around you."

Q:How are you going to handle and play Sunday's game? Will the starters play?

REID: "The guys are going to play, yeah."

Q:Alex Smith and all your starters?

REID: "Yeah, they're all going to play. Everybody's playing."

Q:So you're playing to win?

REID: "Yeah, we're playing to win. That's the way we go into every game. That's how we're going."

Q:Will you monitor what's going on with the Broncos game?

REID: "I'm not even sure of all the scenarios, I just know we have to play this one and everybody's getting ready to do that and that's how we're focused. We haven't really gone beyond that."

Q:At 1-5, did you ever imagine you'd have a chance to win the division?

REID: "I'm telling you, I don't think much about that stuff. I'm very simple that way. Every week we're going to prep ourselves and we're going to work our tails off and take care of the job at hand. I do know we were 1-5 and then we've handled every one of those and every one of these kind of the same way – just trying our best, getting better. We got so much room to improve that I don't think we can look beyond that. That's what we're focused on today."

Q:What are your general thoughts on Charles Woodson's retirement?

REID: "I'm glad he's picking a different profession. He's a heck of a player, he still can play – I mean, he's said that. There's just a point you get to where it's time, he feels that. More power to him for being able to do that. Going out as a Pro Bowl-caliber player and he's done it at two different positions and probably could have done it at wide receiver if he chose to do that. This guy's a phenomenal athlete, good person, good leader, good for the National Football League."

Q:Throughout your career, how have you gone about earning the respect of players in your locker room and maintaining it?

REID: "Listen, I don't know. I try to shoot everybody as straight as I can shoot them. Try to treat them the way you want to be treated. I try to keep it at that. That's about it."

Q:Are you surprised by the developments out of Philadelphia yesterday?

REID: "I haven't really followed it that close, we're hunkered down here, but I understand what's happened. I wish both sides well, that's all I can say on it. I don't know much about it other than that."

Q:What is the foundation that makes Jeremy Maclin a productive NFL receiver?

REID: "He's a hard worker and very competitive. He's obviously got some talent, too, in there. He's going to maximize – and he's done that with his career – he's going to maximize his talents. That's not always the case with every player, but he's made that a goal in how he goes about his business to do that. He's a good person, very, very intelligent on top of all of that."

Q:In your offseason discussions, how quickly did you say yes to bringing in Jeremy Maclin?

REID: "I thought he was staying. Really up until he came here, I thought that's what was going to happen. I didn't pay much attention to it. He did a great job there and I know he wanted to stay there, so I just figured that was going to get done. He really wasn't on our board because of that."

Q:Last time you faced Oakland, Khalil Mack was a handful for you guys. What do you have to do differently?

REID: "Well he's still a handful. We respect the heck out of him. He's a tremendous football player. Our guys will get ready for him. We know he's going to bring it every snap in the run game, pass game, it really doesn't matter. We'll prepare ourselves that way."

Q:With Justin Houston, is this just precautionary more than anything else or is he still trying to get back?

REID: "He's still working to get back. That's what he's doing. He's making a lot of progress. When I tell you it's day-by-day, this one's day-by-day. A little bit of Tamba's is just working on the indoor surface here, but he's making progress, so it's all good."

Q:What inspired you to bust that move in the locker room and where'd you learn that?

REID: "It just comes natural."

Q:So Mike DeVito didn't teach you that?

REID: "No, no."

Q:How valuable is Frank Zombo backing up on defense and still contributing on special teams?

REID: "It's big. He doesn't want to come off the special teams thing, it's a point race there. They keep a chart on points, so he wants to win that son of a gun. So he doesn't want to come off special teams, at the same time he wants to play every down he can on the defensive side. So it's a tribute to his determination and flexibility there, doing so many different things."

QB ALEX SMITH

Q: Does it seem weird being out there for the last week of the season?

SMITH:"No. I mean, yeah, different from the last two years, but no. I'm excited for it, I feel like we're in a good place and anytime you're playing the Raiders it kind of carries its own deal, you know?"

Q: Has Andy Reid told you that you guys are playing and you're going for this one?

SMITH:"Yeah, I haven't been told anything so I'm assuming that. I'm getting ready to go."

Q: Is it a source of pride to make it through the entire season as a quarterback?

SMITH:"I mean yeah, for sure. Not just quarterbacks but I think all players. It's tough, it's a physical game and you work hard to take care of your body and stay in shape and do all of those little things and it's obviously a great deal of luck also that goes into things like that. But certainly, a source of pride for all guys in team sports to be accountable, to be there every week and your teammates can count on you week in and week out that you're going to be there, but certainly quarterbacks are different."

Q: Do you think the rules that have been put in place to protect quarterbacks are working?

SMITH:"Yeah, I think they've helped. Yeah, certainly the knee thing, kind of a newer one. And trying to keep the strike zone on a quarterback above the knees has helped. You've seen some QBs go down because of those little hits in these last few years and it's some major injuries."

Q: On late hit penalties.

SMITH:"Yeah, I think that's always been there. QBs get more protection than anybody so we'll take it I guess."

Q: On the team not giving up after a bad start.

SMITH:"Yeah, it's tough to point to one thing. The organization as a whole, the setup, the entire building, from personnel to coaches, to this locker room right here, there's a lot of chemistry that goes into all of those things kind of meshing together and the environment it creates. Certainly, I think the guys at the top, with Coach (Andy) Reid and (John) Dorsey and the environment that's set here. And then I think the big part - the leadership in this locker room, you know, the veteran guys, they have that selfless example that gets set here and it's team first. That is the focus here. And the focus is today and it's short sighted and it's this week and nobody's thinking about anything else. I think all of those things are big factors in all of that."

Q: How much of that leadership is your responsibility?

SMITH:"I mean there's a lot that goes into it. For me, try to do your part, you be yourself – where you can, yeah, you're talking and communicating, but we've got a lot of leaders in this locker room. We've got a lot of guys that I think have bought into that. The team first, the selflessness and I think that's rare at this level."

Q: Did you even think about going 3-5 after being 2-5?

SMITH:"No, absolutely not, without a doubt. And I think it's that mindset that enabled us to get here today. But it was a huge wakeup call and put us in that mindset and it's where we needed to be. You know, living day to day and literally week to week – just 1-0 this week. Let's forget about our record, let's forget about being 1-5 and really focus on what we can control right in front of us and not think about anything else."

Q: Do you feel like this team has expended its energy through this winning streak?

SMITH:"I don't necessarily think that, no. Losing five in a row is probably worse, you know? Winning's better. I mean you play this game to win and I think momentum's a real thing and that stuff builds and – we've been doing this since April when we started, I think that's the way this is built now, that's the way this is structured. No, I think if anything – these stages get bigger and bigger, that's why you've been doing all of that, for these moments. And it's embracing that."

Q: On Andy Reid's celebration.

SMITH:"I think those are special times, after wins. Especially, like I said, the later in the season wins and that win to clinch the playoffs from where we were and guys always have a ton of fun in the locker room. You've just given everything you could that whole week and to get a win as a team is a special thing and they're all hard and we always have a lot of fun in the locker room after. It's hard to express what that's like and that feeling as a team and all of us in there, that joy. And Coach has a lot of fun with it and I think that's part of it, you've got to be able to enjoy a win. And I think that was just a good example of it."

Q: They call that the dab, was it a good one?

SMITH:"Yeah, you're asking the wrong guy. I wouldn't know."

Q: Talk about facing Oakland the second time around.

SMITH:"Yeah, they're playing good football right now. On defense, they're playing fast, they're flying around and they're well coached. They've got good personnel. Not a lot of weaknesses, I think it starts up front. Certainly, they're getting home up front and it starts with (Khalil) Mack, he's playing at a really high level. I think as far as linebackers, they're playing really fast right now and the secondary; Woodson, I think, just a savvy player and making plays still. I don't know how many fumbles he's caused or recovered at this point but it's a lot. But yeah, good. Not a lot of weaknesses, it's going to be a big challenge for us."

Q: Is Khalil Mack one of those guys you always have to be aware of?

SMITH:"Yeah, he jumps out on film, for sure. As a team, obviously when you're prepping and watching, I mean yeah, he's a guy that's playing at a high level."

Q: What are your thoughts on Charles Woodson retiring after the season?

SMITH:"I think the craziest thing is just watching this year and seeing how well he's playing, it's crazy that that kind of longevity at a physical position - can play as long as he has and play at that level for so long is so rare; very, very rare. So yeah, watching it – there's for sure a big respect from anybody watching that and playing against him for what he's done in his career. Yeah, just doesn't happen often."

Q: Where would you rank Charles Woodson as far as defensive backs you have faced?

SMITH:"Yeah, I'm not going to get into ranking or anything like that. But like I said, I certainly don't think there's anyone that's had the longevity – that's moved around, that's played outside at corner, inside at nickel and back at safety and has just played at a Pro Bowl level everywhere you put him. He's just a football player, yeah – special."

LB DEE FORD

Q:What did you learn about Oakland from the first time around?

FORD:"They're a tough team. We already knew that going into the first game so we have the same approach coming into the second game. You want to play strong. They have a lot of to play for also, even though as far as this year, their circumstances are their circumstances, but they play hard."

Q:How can the run defense improve?

FORD:"Well, me personally, it's just being more consistent – setting the edge. Just being more consistent. It wasn't really what they were doing, it's what we were doing from a technique standpoint, leverage and all of that. It was good at times but just have to be more consistent because when it's not good it hurts us."

Q:After a 1-5 start, could you image that you would end up having a chance to win the division?

FORD:"Yeah, that was our goal. We knew we couldn't survive a whole year just playing just to play. We knew we dug ourselves into a hole but those games were close, we were beating ourselves. We knew."

G LARRY DUVERNAY-TARDIF

Q:Thoughts on the team turning the season around.

DUVERNAY-TARDIF:"I think the key in the whole season was for everyone to stay positive the whole way. When we were 1-5 - I think we have great leaders in this room and everybody was able to stay focused and stay positive and it paid off in the end. When you have, like I said, great leaders in the locker room to make sure that everybody's still in the boat and pushing in the same direction, that's what happens."

Q:What are your thoughts on Oakland?

DUVERNAY-TARDIF:"You can say a lot of things about all of the teams, it's our chance to get 10 straight games in a row so instead of talking about that, I think the most important thing is just to focus about us. Focus on what we want to do, what we want to do on the field on Sunday and impose our will. And to make sure we focus on all of the details and stay sharp even though we have a playoff spot we want to accomplish something big and start the playoffs with a good winning sequence. So I think that's the main focus for this week."

Q:What was your reaction to Andy Reid's celebration after the game?

DUVERNAY-TARDIF:"I think it's kind of a running gag in the whole locker room, to have different guys popping the dab move, I don't even know how to do it but I think it's just funny. I think it just shows that Coach Reid is a very serious coach and a professional coach, but at the same time he has that little enthusiasm like us when we're winning, so I think it made everybody laugh and it was fun."

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