Transcript: Smith Press Conference

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Head coach Mike SmithOpening Statement: **

"Obviously, it was not our best performance in Minnesota yesterday. A lot of things that need to get corrected we're working on that as we speak. I think I spoke yesterday about that game, in terms of it being unacceptable, but I'll open it up for questions."

On the injury report update:

"No I don't. We'll have an injury report on Wednesday, in terms of what the status of our players will be for this week." 

On the run defense:

"I think it's just verification of what I saw standing on the sideline. We didn't do a very good job of fitting the runs. Again, when we talk about defending the run it's all three levels that are responsible; the defensive line, the linebackers and the secondary. We had way too many explosive plays because of misfits, and each unit contributed to the specific plays that we're talking about; it's not just one group. We're all in this together, and we all have to fit, and if something happens at level one it should have an opportunity to get stopped at level two or level three." 

On looking for outside help for the offensive line:

"I'm not going to talk about our offensive line, in terms of the injuries. We know that we sustained some injuries in the ball game. Some guys were not able to finish the game, and we will have an injury report on Wednesday, per what the League allows us and tells us what we have to do. I don't think it does us any good to be talking in hypotheticals on Monday, until there is something concrete we will just stay in that course."

On having Harry Douglas back at practice this week:

"We expect to have Harry back in practice. Yes. Harry tried his darndest to get back out there and wasn't able to participate in the game, but we're hoping that he continues to turn around and gets back out there on Wednesday."

On having to switch a tight end to tackle:

"First time in the NFL that I've been in this situation where you're down to four offensive linemen. We've always talked about it, and always have a plan, never had to execute it. I don't know that if I would've lost another one I don't know what we would've done. We probably would've had to put our second tight end in there and not have a tight end. I thought that the coaching staff handled it very well. Levine had 18 snaps I believe at the offensive tackle, and he did a nice job. We had to simply things. Unfortunately, we didn't score any points in the fourth quarter. We were up 28-27 at the start of the fourth quarter and we weren't able to stop them, nor were we able to score more points."

On having more offensive lineman available during the game from now on:

"I think seven is the normal number that I'll say the majority of teams do, in terms of having a lineman active. I think if you have someone that's banged up you'll go with eight, but that's kind of been the norm all the way across. Occasionally, I've seen a team go with six."

On Antone Smith:

"Well, his yards per touch are out of this world. Again, Antone made not just the long touchdown, but I thought he made a nice play to convert on a pitch play outside. Antone's got a special trait and that's speed. He's very fast, and if he gets into the secondary and you're not taking the right angles he's going to run away from you."

On Devin Hester's play:

"Devin had another solid game. He's going to be a guy that every time he touches the ball people are going to be holding their breath. He's that kind of guy; he's very dynamic. I think as much as everybody's focused on the defense, we left some plays out there on the offensive side of the ball as well. We win and lose as a team, and I think that's something that's very important. We didn't talk about it and didn't address it, but I think that we did not cover kicks very well. That was one of the things that we felt like that we had to stop. They had two very good returners, and the drive starts were definitely in their favor. We did not get that accomplished either."

On the offense getting into shootouts:

"I don't like to think in terms of shootouts, but I definitely think in terms of we have to score more points than the other guys. We have to do whatever it takes. There'll be a time where it's going to end up being a one score game and it could be 10-7, you just don't know in the NFL. That's the one thing I think that is a given is that every weekend is unpredictable in the National Football League. The competition level is so close, and you have to bring your A-game, and if you don't bring your A-game then you're not going to like the outcome, and we obviously did not bring our A-game yesterday."

On the impact of William Moore's injury:

"I think it had an effect. William Moore is the leader there back in the secondary, and we didn't play good defense yesterday. William was not in there, but we can't say it was one guy, its 11 guys. I thought the next guy up came in and did a pretty good job for limited reps in practice, but anytime you lose one of your better players you're not going to be at full strength."

On the Vikings game plan for Teddy Bridgewater:

"I thought that they executed extremely well. They started the game off with some quick passes, we had a missed tackle. Still had an opportunity when you have that missed tackle to keep them out of the end zone; we didn't keep them out of the end zone. They did some things with protection, so they protected him up. They executed and we didn't. He's a first round draft pick for a reason, but we did not play well. It was a lot about us sometimes and not about him, but my hat's off to him. He executed and put the offense in the end zone."

On adding Prince Shembo to the starting lineup and any future changes:

"Again, I don't like to think that we have 11 starters. I think that we have 14 or 15 starters, based on the packages that we play, in terms of what happens in the first play of the game, who the starter is doesn't really carry a lot of weight to me. If we're not having production, and we feel like whatever is going to give us the best opportunity to play we're going to put that player in. All things are on the table when you don't play well. This is a week-to-week business. You're only as good as your last game, and your last game going to have no bearing on what's going to happen the next week in the NFL."

On the offense moving the ball on the road:

"I thought that the offense left some plays out there. It was good to having the scoring plays, have the explosive plays, but I felt like there were some more opportunities to score. I think there was that sense with our players, that there was an opportunity to go out there and put some more points on it, but I am encouraged. I think that our offense is playing at a very high level right now; we've got to get our defense to play much better, more efficiently in a number of areas."

On the run defense going against Rashad Jennings:

"They were running the ball very well. It's going to be a big challenge for us, and we're going to have to play much better than we played in three of the four games. I think that we've played one efficient game on defense, and the other three have not been up to the level that we need to play and what we're capable of playing at. I know that those guys on that side of the ball are going to do everything in their power to make sure that we play more consistently. Again, when you've gone out there and done it, and you're not consistent, you have concerns. We've got to get consistent across the board, and it's not just one area and one phase. When you play the run it takes all 11 people. When you play the pass it takes all 11 people as well."

On stopping the run being the key to the pass rush:

"Yes I do. In the game yesterday we did not stop the run, nor did we stop the pass. We gave up the explosive pass plays. It still predicated to me that you have to try and make a team one dimensional. When you can make a team one dimensional, then you can put more resources into attacking the quarterback. When you do that there is a risk/reward that you have to deal with, but we've got to get better in all phases of our defense and become more consistent. Again, I want to say this, the consistency of the way that we've played defense in the first four games is not up to the level of what we anticipate and what we expect."

On having one of the next five games at home:

"Well, that's something that we have to address. We've had conversations as a coaching staff. We've had conversations with players. It's hard to win on the road, but if you're going to be the type of team that every team's trying to be, and that's play in the second season, you've got to at least split on the road, and right now we've not played anywhere close to being able to get the outcome that we want. We'll continue to talk about it and address it as a staff, and as a team. Again, sometimes I think you can overplay that. That field that we're going to this week is 100 yards long and it's 53 1/3 yards wide. The hashes are in the same place, the numbers are in the same place. We try to make it as close as we can to the same schedule when we're out on the road as we do when we're here at home."

On his assessment after the first quarter of the season:

"I haven't concerned myself about what's going on in the division. The only thing I've concerned myself with is when you have a division opponent you want to take care of that. Fortunately, we've been able to do that. There's a lot of football to be played, and division games are the most important ones, but we've got to also address a lot of other areas. It's way early to be talking about division standings and such."

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