What We Learned From Wednesday's Media Availability

Head Coach Andy Reid and Quarterback Alex Smith spoke with the media on Wednesday

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HEAD COACH ANDY REID**

Opening Statement:"Alright, the people that will not practice today: Tamba [Hali] – normal situation. Jah Reid will not practice, he's making progress, but he's not quite there yet, taking it day-by-day. Charcandrick West has a little bit of an ankle sprain, so we're going to sit him today. Then, Marcus Peters has the flu, so we sent him home. Hopefully that's a quick one. Sweet and sour pork here – he was also the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. So, we look forward to the challenge of Pittsburgh. We've played them the last couple of years. We know what kind of football team they are. We have a lot of respect for them and the job that they do there – coaching and playing. We're going to come out – starting this morning – and have a good week of practice and preparation to play a good football team."

Q:  On seeing Doug Pederson and the Philadelphia Eagles perform so well against the Pittsburgh Steelers?

REID: "Yeah, they did do a nice job, and they did some good things in there. Every week is different, but it's obviously the same offense or similar to, so that's a positive. The other side of it, they get to see and work on some of the things that we do. I think it can go either way with that. The one thing when you go into Pittsburgh is you have to deal with the noise and that whole deal too. They played them in Philadelphia, so that's a little different situation."

Q:  Will Jamaal Charles play this week?

REID: "He'll practice, and we'll just see how he does and keep progressing. If he can go, we'll give it a shot. If we have any hesitation, we won't."

Q:  What's the plan for him – scout team?

REID: "He might do a little of each. We'll just see how he does out here, and play it by ear and feel it out."

Q:  Is there any chance that there's a benefit to having him off this week before the bye week?

REID: "Unless, he's far enough along where he can move, if he can move around pretty good, then you give him a shot. If he can't, then you don't. I'll keep it that simple. I don't know if that matters."

Q:  Is it even possible to avoid a corner – shut down one side and attack the other?

REID: "Yeah, I mean I guess you could. I know when Deion Sanders was playing – I had a chance to coach against him – kind of just said, 'we'll let him cover that guy, and we'll go over here.' So, I imagine teams still do that – play away from somebody."

Q:  How did Jordan Devey do in his first start on Sunday?

REID: "Yeah, he did a good job. Solid. I thought he held his own in there. It was good to have him in there for that. That's a tough situation against a good defensive line. I thought he did a good job at holding his own."

Q:  Who are your number one guards going to be today since you have all but Jah Reid back?

REID: "I'm just going to see how it goes today. We're going to try them and see what they can do. Probably a better idea after today. I'm not going to say anything now until I see, get a feel for them."

Q:  Pittsburgh has some pretty good running backs, especially with one coming back – what are your thoughts on your run defense and Pittsburgh?

REID: "Yeah, he's [Le'Veon Bell] pretty good, and so is the other guy [DeAngelo Williams]. They have a couple good ones. I think we've gotten better with that from the first game. Every week is a different challenge. You have to really be gap sound against this crew or you have problems. It'll be a nice challenge for our defensive front – the defensive line, the linebackers – everybody has to do their job. The safeties have to be involved in that as well – tackle."

Q: The Jets ran a few fades against you in the end zone, the Chargers did it. I don't remember you guys ever running that play. I know you worked on it in practice.

REID: "Fades?"

Q: Yes, fades in the end zone. Is your reluctance to do that just because there's so many moving parts that have to work?

REID: "You have to get the right coverage. It normally is press coverage. You're talking about us throwing fade routes?"

Q: I don't remember you ever doing them.

REID: "We've done like two of them. It's not a primary thing, but we do it every once in a while."

Q: It seems like a really hard thing to pull off.

REID: "Certain guys can go up and do it better than others and then you have to work it a little bit."

Q: You're three weeks into the NFL season, Spencer Ware leads the NFL as far as running backs in yards from scrimmage, for a guy who's  out of football a couple of years ago, how special has it been that he's been able to make an impact and encompass everything?

REID: "So Spencer [Ware], he's worked very hard at doing it, at getting himself right, remember he started off as a fullback so he put on some weight and then he was thrown in as a half back holding all of that weight. He made the team as really a fullback catch all kind of guy. This offseason he kicked himself down to what you'd be as a tailback and is productive here. He has a good coach, Eric Bieniemy, he understands the position, he listens to everything, easy to coach, smart."

Q: Do you see any difference in his mannerism since he has been able to step in compared to where he was when he first came in?

REID: "No he's just kind of a worker. Come to work with a lunch pail and go do your thing. Tough kid."

Q: What is it about your personnel that really lends itself to being able to run those option plays well?

REID: "It starts with the quarterback. He's had experience with it, he kind of knows when to get down, when to release it. He knows how to go about that without being completely destroyed. I think that's important. That's where it starts. Most of the backs have done it somewhere in their careers in college. Pretty easy to adapt to it."

Q: What's your impression of 97 from Pittsburgh, Cameron Heyward?

REID: "He grew up around the game, his dad was a great player. Again, every play he's going to give you an honest down. He's going to come after you and he plays almost every play. He doesn't go out of the game much. He's a good combination guy, pass and run. Good football player."

Q: You guys have been really good defensively in the red zone, I know the field gets tight down there. Is there something about you guys specifically, it seems you guys play better when your backs are against the wall?

REID: "We do a good job with that. I don't know why. You always talk about the end line being the 12th man there. Our guys know how to space it out. We worked hard on it at training camp. So much of that is eliminating the seams in there because they'll just try to pull you apart. You only need a small area to deliver on. Teams will try to pull you apart and test your discipline. Everything is a little faster down there. Your weaknesses are going to be exploited, your strengths show up. Our guys, I'll tell you right now, are staying very disciplined. This will be a good challenge for them because they are good in the red zone. You have to know how to space the field particularly in the pass game and then you have to trust it."

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QB ALEX SMITH**

Q:Have you ever faced a defense that's coming off a six-interception game, or at least a bunch of interceptions?SMITH:"I don't know about six, but I've certainly faced some defenses that have had a good week and a decent amount of turnovers the week prior."

Q:Are there any added or particular challenges when going into those games?SMITH:"No. It would be hard to generalize all defenses.  Each week is a different challenge. Some weeks are more dangerous than others in that regard. It comes down to how it messes with your offensive scheme and game plan. Obviously you're aware of it, but you're still going to go out and try to make plays."

Q:How much can you take away from what the Philadelphia Eagles were able to do last week versus Pittsburgh? SMITH:"You look at the film and you're looking at a lot of it. I felt like a good amount of that game was useful and certainly there's a chunk of it where it got away. It's a different situation at that point, but you're looking at all of it. We've had a lot of games versus these guys, so we're taking that into account as well."

Q:After getting six turnovers that didn't result in immediate points, are you disappointed the offense didn't generate more than 10 points?SMITH:"Yeah I thought the same things about only scoring 10 points. With the Spencer [Ware] play, we were inches away from 17 points right there. When we returned some of those for touchdowns, our offense didn't get the ball back in those situations. And the opposing team gets the kickoff right back again. There's things like that which play into it. You'd love to score more points. There's a few possessions where I thought we could have done more with and hopefully have put the game away earlier. Like I said, if the pylon play is six inches different, the game is different. But that's the way it goes. Once we got there late in the fourth quarter, that's the game and you're going to get the victory. At that point, it's not about scoring points, it's about securing the win."

Q:What does playing on Sunday nights mean to you?SMITH:"You get ready to play under the lights. As a pro, that happens less and less. These are primetime games with everybody watching and they're fun -- you embrace them. It will be an amazing atmosphere with a ton of energy. With that, you take it all in. Not a lot of people have this opportunity so you enjoy it."

Q:Talk about the atmosphere and the difficulties of playing in Pittsburgh. SMITH:"It will be loud for sure. Every place is loud and we'll have to be good communicating in all forms. This will be loud and we anticipate that. We'll need to be good on the details."

Q:What is it that you like about running the option? SMITH:"It's just a little something we've done a handful of times in these first three games. In some cases, teams have gone away with certain schemes because they didn't think they had to defend it. We've had some good looks and we've been able to make a few defenses pay the price here and there. Certainly the option isn't something you're going to 'live in' in the NFL. You've got to pick your spots. Some weeks work better than others."

Q:You've took a few hits running the option. What can you say on that? SMITH:"This last week was the first time it's happened. Prior to this past week, I don't think I'd even been touched. I felt like the Jets were aware of it this past weekend. If it did get ran, they were going to try and get a 'lick' in. But we've got pads on and it's all part of the deal."

Q:What had you said to the referee after the Muhammad Wilkerson hit? SMITH:"For me, you know you're fair game a as a quarterback when you run the option -- protection goes out the window. I felt like the finish was a little excessive. It's one thing to get wrapped up and I'm still standing there, but then to get driven into the ground -- you plead your case and you move on."

Q:How much option did you run at Utah?SMITH:"A decent amount."

Q:Marcus Peters was named Defensive Player of the Week. How far removed is he from being an Offensive Player of the Week? Does he have the skills?SMITH:"Other than 'pat and go' and him fooling around, I haven't seen it. Maybe. I like where he's at right now though."

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