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Transcript: Mike Smith Post-Practice Interview

Posted Oct 10, 2012

Head coach Mike Smith gives an update on the Wednesday injury report and discusses what would happen should LB Stephen Nicholas be unable to play this week

On the injury report:

“We had three guys that were out today. LB Stephen Nicholas, TE Michael Palmer, who has been out, and RB Antone Smith. All three didn’t participate in practice. Stephen has an ankle, Antone has a hamstring, and, of course, Michael has a shoulder.”

On whether Nicholas’ injury is the same one he battled through the offseason:

“No it’s not. It’s not what kept him out during the offseason. Hopefully, he’ll be back out here tomorrow on a limited basis. We just kept him inside today.”

On the rest of the injury report:

“Palmer is out. We’re shooting for after the bye week. Then we have a long list of guys with limited participation. DT Jonathan Babineaux with his groin, WR Kevin Cone a knee, WR Drew Davis a knee, DT Peria Jerry a thigh,  C Todd McClure his pec, S William Moore his hip, OG Garrett Reynolds his back, and CB Dunta Robinson his shoulder. I would imagine the majority of these guys will be on full participation tomorrow. I want to make sure we are in line with the league rules in terms of who’s practicing and who’s not. We’ve got the biggest list we’ve had all season.”

On Smith being a recurring problem with the hamstring:

“It was. The same hamstring re-injured.”

On the Raiders being outscored 55-7 in the third quarter:

“I guess it says what it is. They probably haven’t played their best football there in the third quarter. I think they’re a very talented football team. Sometimes stats can be deceiving. You watch them against the Pittsburgh Steelers and they won the ball game and played very well. They have a running back that can run by you, run around you, and run through you. He’s also their number one receiver catching the football and does a nice job. It’s that West Coast offense. They want to get the ball into the hands of their play makers very quickly. (QB) Carson Palmer throwing the football can throw it as well as any. He’s an elite quarterback and been to the Pro Bowl. If he gets an opportunity to go through his progressions he’s going to get the ball in the right place and they’ve got speed on the outside.”

On RB Darren McFadden’s running style:

“It’s very unique. When I say it’s very unique, he’s got the speed to go the distance. He can lower the shoulder and run. I think he has very good vision. He’s a guy that can stop and start and put his foot in the ground and go. He creates some issues. He had some explosive runs in the first four ball games. They should be fresh coming off the bye week. I’m sure they took a look at what they were doing well and went through the evaluation that everybody does during their bye”

On how much the team will honor WR Darrius Heyward-Bey’s speed:

“He can flat run. He’s probably one of the faster guys in the NFL. Track speed at the combine. He can go. I think he’s catching the ball. I know he’s missed some time this year with some injuries, but you’ve got to make sure he doesn’t get behind you and Carson can get the ball down the field.”

On Coach Nolan’s defense allowing CB Dunta Robinson to make more plays:

“He’s had a lot of success to start the season. I think one of the things that’s very important for Dunta is he has not missed any time all offseason. The first two years he did not participate in our offseason. The scheme is different. We’re playing some things that are probably better suited for him. I think the most important thing is he stayed healthy through the offseason. He hasn’t missed a snap in OTA’s or training camp. He’s off to a great start. He’s playing with a lot of confidence and really playing physical. You need that physical presence. It sets the tone for the receivers when they know they’re going to be playing against a physical secondary.”

On how big it would be if Nicholas is out this week:

“Stephen’s had a good start to the year. We’re certainly hoping that he’s going to be able to get back. We’ll know more and more as the week goes, but if he’s not then we’ve got to make adjustments and then we’ll do that. We’ve got guys that have played his position, a number of guys that have cross trained to play the same position and the dime.”

On getting more turnovers this year:

“14 turnovers. When you talk about turnovers you really want to talk about the turnover ratio. It’s interactive. It’s offense and defense. It’s one of the stats that offense, defense, and special teams all contribute to. Not only are we creating turnovers, we’re not turning the ball over. We’re doing a nice job with our ball security. I think we have an offensive mentality in terms of what we’re doing defensively. We’re attacking the football and we’re doing a real nice job. I think we’ve been very strong through the catch which has helped us. We’ve done some things when we’ve had opportunities to catch some balls we’ve caught them.”

On the turnover ratio always being on the board:

“It is. There is really five things that I believe in that for a team they have to understand. First is penalties. You want to be the least penalized team in the League and we’re close to the top. The second one is time of possession. Those are both offense, defense, and special teams oriented. Then you have opponents field position start and your field position start. That involves offense, defense, and special teams. Then the turnover ratio. You look at those five things and if you’re at the top of the League in those five things you’re usually going to like where you’re at believe it or not. The offensive guys look at yards, the defensive guys look at yards given up, but if you look at those five things it’s really important in terms of the success of a team. That’s why we always talk about it every week. We’ve been doing it from the very beginning. Those guys know exactly what we’re going to talk about on our Monday or Wednesday meeting.

On managing delegating tasks and micro-managing:

“In terms of a head coach, there are different philosophies, but I believe in you hire an offensive coordinator, you hire a defensive coordinator, and you hire a special teams coordinator. They can devote so much more time than you can on looking at the offense, the defense, and the special teams and you allow those guys with the staff to work with the guys. I don’t believe in micro managing. I believe that you’ve got to have a back row view. When you are a position coach or a coordinator you have to have a micro view. You have to concern yourself with one thing and not really worry about anything else. I’m very fortunate that I have a great staff. Guys around me that do a great job in preparing their groups. When I started, I would never call a play on offense, never call a play on defense or special teams on game day. “

On calling a play in his five years here or suggested a play:

“I’ve been pretty good at it. Not very often. My input for the game plan is just during the week. You let those guys that take up more time to do it and you micro manage. I’m not smart enough to call a defensive game and be a head coach.”

On having a big party when you get your 49th win:

“I’m concerned about Oakland this week. Then we can move onto the bye week and do our preparation for self-scouting and find out where we’re at. We’re going to have a big challenge this week.”