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What We Learned From Wednesday's Media Availability

Andy Reid, Alex Smith and Chris Jones spoke to the media Wednesday



Opening Statement: **"As far as injuries go Mitch Morse is the only one that won't practice today, he's got a foot sprain and we'll just see how he does here – take it day by day, see how it works out. Look forward to playing the LA Chargers and we know they're a good football team. Their last two games have come right down to the end. They've had more of those types of games than anybody over the last two years and then including this year that would be the third year. That same situation. When you play right to the end there, you're a good football team and that's what they do."

Q: Does it factor into a team's psyche at all when they lose so many close ones?

REID:"Well they've won some to, so that's what's happened here. The main point is they're right there. That's important. We've got to make sure we take care of our business and detail all our practice work. We can do a lot better job than we did last week."

Q: How weird does it feel after so many years in the league you call them the Los Angeles Chargers?

REID: "Yeah, you have to think about it. It's different."

Q: Philip Rivers mentioned that playing on that field is different than an NFL field and said it was an adjustment for him – what do you guys know about what the field conditions will be like in that stadium?

REID: "I had a chance to go down to an all-star game down there so I've seen it before. Real nice facilities, it's just a little bit smaller. So it'll be different, it's different than an NFL stadium. But I think once you get going you're playing."

Q: What about the grass? The turf itself, is it much different?

REID: "I didn't notice that when I was there. I was there a couple years ago, I didn't notice that. It seemed like a normal stadium."

Q: He only touched the ball once, but what did you think of Akeem Hunt?

REID: "It was a good touch that he had. I think he, from the tape that I saw when he was with Houston, I thought he was a good player. Brett (Veach) showed me a little bit of that. Then what he's done out here has been good. It's just been a matter of getting him in the swing of things. We'll see how he does. As far as the offense goes, there are some nice things on the special teams, but he hasn't really worked into the offense yet. We just have to see how that goes."

Q: What did you see in Kareem (Hunt) coming out that made you confident that he could fit in your offense, especially in the passing game?

REID: "Listen, (John) Dorsey gets credit for that. I just saw him on Thursday nights, sitting in my office and he looked like he was a good player. He always seemed to finish the game strong. You know Thursday night games, you're doing your work and you have the game on and he kind of jumped out on that team there, they relied on him quite a bit. Then Dorsey had me watch tape on him after the season and I thought he was a good player, I thought he caught the ball well. He was tough, he was smart and thought he would fit in well."

Q: How rare is that for a rookie to be able to pick up what you want in the passing game this quickly and be able to contribute?

REID:"I was blessed to have Duce Staley and Brian Westbrook and both of those two are smart guys, I had other guys that were good too, but those two were able to pick it up fast. Duce had already been in the league a little bit when I got to Philadelphia, but Brian I had as a rookie and he was one of the few that just kind of got it right there. This kid, he understands it. That part is not a real struggle for him, now I think he's got a great coach too. I think Eric Bieniemy does a phenomenal job with him and spends a lot of time with him. I'm not telling you that there's not a lot of work that goes into it, but he's able to pick it up."

Q:Have you continued your message with Travis (Kelce) these last few days or does whatever you said on Sunday stand?

REID:"Travis knows how I think."

Q: Have you said anything after Sunday?

REID:"That's between Travis and I."

Q: Hasn't he known before? You had trouble with him last year.

REID:"He knows."

Q: The success that you have had in the red zone, I know it was an area that you talked about last year being more efficient down there, what do you attribute the success this year down there to?

REID:"I think the plays we're dialing up are good, but I think most of all the guys are doing a great job executing them. That's something you've got to stay on every week. That's a great challenge to get down in there. Defenses have that twelfth guy back there with the end line, so you have to put a lot of focus and emphasis on that. You don't get a ton of reps on it like you do your base stuff, so you've got to really keep yourself in tune with that."

Q: There hasn't been much history of teams being uprooted and moving and having a lot of success and they've got a first year head coach as well. Can you imagine what that would be like and how difficult of a challenge that is for the Chargers coaches?

REID:"I think it's probably a great challenge, but he's a good football coach. If anybody can do it he can do that. He's got a good staff, but I'm sure there are challenges that come with that that don't come when you take over a place that's already there, that's just part of it. Like I said, he's a pretty toughminded guy and I don't think he's going to let that get in his way."

Q: Would you talk your quarterback out of commuting three hours a day?

REID:"I don't know, that guy's pretty good. He's got a nice set up in that bus too. That's quite a deal."

Q: Do you have an opinion on LA having two teams, or the Chargers being uprooted? Any personal opinion about that at all?

REID:"I'm from there. I'm a Los Angeles guy so I'm glad they have football back there, pro football. They've got some good college teams, but I'm glad that the pro game is back in there. It's a big city, they can handle two teams."



Q: **Was it a thought of your thought process when they drafted Patrick Mahomes  that you were going to make it as hard on them to make a decision as possible?

SMITH:"Oh, for sure. Yeah, and I've said before, the reality is whether or not we drafted Pat, I still had to make that decision for them anyway. You either hold up your end or you don't. If you don't, you're not going to be around. Each club is going to go find somebody. The reality was, it is easy to get caught up in that when we do draft him, but, really, the situation hasn't changed. That's reality of it when you are this far along in your career. You have to go prove yourself every year."

Q:You guys have won 11 straight in the division, what can you point to that made that possible?

SMITH:"The division is so tough and so competitive. All these games have such a unique rivalry to them. They all come down to the wire and all come down to a couple plays that make the difference. I wish I could tell you, I wish I had the secret. I'm sure it is a ton of things. It is ultimately about the 53 guys. It is about us scratching and fighting and clawing for the smallest of little victories that end up adding up to being the difference to winning these games because the margins are so small."

Q:How is it for you going to face the Chargers and not going to San Diego?

SMITH:"I feel like I have played enough down there that this will be new. But they are still the Chargers. The stakes are high enough. We are opening up the division. There will be some newness. New stadium, new surroundings. There may be some weird things with it kind of being a soccer stadium. Just getting ready for that and not letting it detract from any focus or attention to the game."

Q:When did you see Kareem be able to pick up so much in the passing game and why do you think he has been able to contribute so quickly?

SMITH:"It has been a process. He showed that he was a very capable receiver early. He had really good hands and could run routes, natural catcher. There are so many little things, especially with the back routes, leverage, they get covered by a lot of different guys. You have to understand all that on the fly and how you are going to combat it. I just think there are so many compartments that you have to handle. Two-minute, third down, really getting more exotic things in the pressure there with the protection and route-running, goal line, four minute. There are so many little things, you have to be able to handle all those compartments as a running back. I think he has done a really good job. To answer your question, I don't think there was every any one point, it was kind of just a process. We added more and more to his plate. And obviously, with Spence (Ware) going down, a lot go thrown on him right then. He has responded."

Q:What was the pulse of the community of San Diego now that the chargers were not there?

SMITH:"Obviously very bitter knowing their team is leaving. Upset something couldn't get worked out. Very upset out it."

Q:Would you contribute some of the sacks you took on Sunday to looking down field more and spending more time trying to see if something opens up down there?

SMITH:"Yeah, I think they are all different. You look back and some of them could have been avoided for a lot of different reasons. Get the ball out, different things. You knew it was going to be a week like that. They had a good front. They have potential to make some plays. I think this is the way the game played out. I don't think it was necessarily from looking down field. We did get in some bad situations I think that led to that. There were a couple sacks that happened in third-and-long. It is not where you want to be versus a defense like that because that is where they want you. I think it is more a reflection of that rather than pushing it down the field or anything."

Q:With a division full of elite pass rushers, how do you try to prepare for a division with guys like Bosa, Miller and Mack?

SMITH:"Yeah, it is every week. The entire division has guys that can get after the passer. (The Chargers) have two guys like this with (Melvin) Ingram playing as good as he is and (Joey) Bosa. Those two guys are both really good players, physical, and can get after you in the run and the pass. They present a unique problem when you have two edge guys like that that are playing at a high level as they are, it makes things tough. You have to be on it, certainly."

Q:Can you explain the skill that it takes for your receivers to get separation from defenders?

SMITH:"So many things go into that. Releases, speed in and out of cuts. There is a lot of knowledge that goes into that, how you are attacking the leverage you are getting. You have to have a counter punch. Especially young guys. It is not the line on the paper. You have to understand how they are playing you, how you are going to counter it. There are so many factors that go into getting open and uncovering. I think for a young group, our guys have a good understanding of that. There's a lot that goes into that."

Q:You guys spend a lot of time on the AFC West opponents in training camp, do you think that is helpful?

SMITH:"The majority is ones-vs-ones. We do a little bit where we do overviews on the division. You play them twice. I think it is really helpful, especially this year when there's turnover and we have had turnover, especially at the coordinator positions with in the division. New schemes, getting familiar with what the new schemes might be, where the coordinator came from. Getting some of that and getting it in your brain early, I think it is a good thing."

Q:Any more or less emphasis on these games from other coaches you have played for?

SMITH:"The division games are always big. I just think this division, the parody from top to bottom is so crazy. Everyone is playing at such a high level. I don't know if I have ever seen anything like this with what is going on in this division right now. I know they are 0-2, but they are two kicks from being 2-0. It is still a really good football team. The parody from top to bottom in this division is so good and I think that is what makes it really unique."

Q:What do you attribute the redzone success to so far this season?

SMITH:"I think it is a combination of having a good plan and having good players to go execute it. That plan has to be taught well. Guys have to understand that on the field. And there's a lot of adjustments as well. For us in the fourth quarter, getting them in, you have to make adjustments. Then this last week, two just big will plays. Two touchdowns that were total will power. Extra effort plays that found a way to get into the endzone."


Q:How did it feel to get recognized as the player of the week?

JONES:"It felt pretty good. Like I told my coach, Britt Reid, it is not about last week. It is about this week. It is exciting, let's move on from it and focus on this week."

Q:Have you talked to Dontari Poe?

JONES:"No, I haven't. I will have to hit him up. That is my guy, man. He showed me the ropes around this place. The leadership quality he has. I even started eating what he eat. He was eating grits and a whole banana. I started doing it, even though I don't like grits and bananas. He just showed me the way."

Q:Are you going to get to Philip Rivers?

JONES:"That is the plan. We are just going to play hard and fast and try to effect the quarterback."

Q:What is the difference playing in such a small stadium?

JONES:"That is OK. It is what we are built for. We face adversity day in and day out. That is just another thing we are going to face. Playing with a smaller crowd, they won't be as loud as a normal crowd. It will be good."

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