Transcript: Smith Press Conference

Head coach Mike Smith
Opening Statement:

"Yesterday's game, obviously we didn't finish like we needed to there in the fourth quarter, and didn't get the outcome that we wanted, and with that I will open it up for questions."

On how he fixes the defense:

"Well, first in the game from yesterday it was all about explosive plays. There were eight explosive plays in the game for 231 yards. Five of them were passes for 197 yards, and three of them were runs for 39 yards. We cannot continue to give up explosive plays on the defensive side of the football. That's 197 yards passing in five plays, and we had some miscommunication. We have to do a better job coaching. Our players have to do a better job executing. I know that you guys will have your opinions on who was at fault. Don't always believe you know who was at fault when you don't know what the defensive call is. We've got to get better."

On the miscommunications:

"There's lot of communication that goes on pre-snap. We'd like for it to always have our guys on the same page. When they're not on the same page it's usually going to lead to something bad. I've been doing this a long time, you very rarely see a perfect throw and a perfect catch, or a perfect block play. Basically you're usually looking at miscommunication, a mental error, a miss leverage, or a missed tackle that lead to explosive plays because there is design to every defensive call and everybody has to be seeing it from the same way, and we were not nearly as clean as we needed to be. Again, I don't want to talk about specific players, nor will I talk about specific plays and what you see on a tape, unless you know what the play call is, you have no idea what is supposed to happen."

On knowing when a guy is wide open that something went wrong:

"Absolutely. My daughter knows that something went wrong when it was wide open. Obviously, but I'm not going to talk about who the specific defender was. We talk about that in our meeting room, not in your meeting room."

On youth being a part of the miscommunication:

"We are young in the back, but youth is not an excuse. This is a no excuse business."

On how concerned he is about the dropped passes from yesterday:

"We've got to be better catching the football. We've got to make sure that we're looking the ball in. On the flipside, with regards to explosive plays, we left a lot of explosive plays out there on the field offensively. We have to catch the football. We've got to work at looking the ball in in practice and in our training."

On the hit Roddy White took yesterday, and the flag being picked up:

"It was waved off. The officials have the ability to communicate with the wireless system. It was waved off. I'm going to be very careful how I phrase this statement, but I think just like you guys watch explosive plays and watch all the plays and watch the replays, you can come to your own conclusion on what happened on that play. I think everyone will come to the same conclusion."

On the run game yesterday and what needs to be better:

"I thought that we got into a situation where we got behind. We weren't successful running the football on first and second down. We ended up having five third and ten pluses. We weren't on schedule on first and second down. We weren't efficient in run downs. We've got to be much better in that. We've got to get ourselves on schedule; we have to stay on schedule, and we had five, third and ten plusses on the offense yesterday. The chances of converting a third and ten plus are below 15 percent on average."

On whether or not the offensive and defensive line are wearing down towards the end of the game:

"We have not finished in the fourth quarter. We have not scored points, nor have we kept people out of the end zone. I'm sure you guys have the exact number, in terms of our scoring differential, but the differential is heavily in the favor of our opponent. There can be a number of factors, we have to continue to execute. I'm not going to hypothesize on the reasons of why we have not finished games. We've talked about finishing strong, being resilient as a football team, and we haven't gotten that done over the last four games."

On the Bears being consistent in their pressure and the offensive line finally caving:

"Well again, the protections are different based on the score of the game, and what you try to get accomplished. I think you can look at the scoreboard and see that we were down by two scores, so your protections are different. You want to get as many receivers out as you can. It's a little different philosophy when you're in that mode of trying to score quickly."

On Jake Matthews play, and whether or not his ankle is still bothering him:

"Jake is a tough guy. We're six games into it. There's a list this long of guys that are banged up. That's something you've got to fight through as a player, and Jake has done a very good job of dealing with that ankle all through this season."

On the ankle looking like it's affecting his play:

"I'm not going to say that it's affecting his play. I think that he's toughing it out in practice and in the games."

On the biggest key in getting the pre-game preparation onto the field during games:

"Well, we have to take our training from the practice field to the game field, there's no doubt about that. It's not happening, and the responsibility is a shared responsibility. I'm ultimately held responsible, but we have to do it as a team. We're in this together. We've got to make sure what we do on the practice field translates to the game field, and we haven't done that the last couple of weeks."

On whether the team needs to rely on veterans more:

"We need to be more efficient playing the game, and, of course, you want to rely on guys that have experience. It's important for them to talk to the young players about their experiences because they're the guys that are on the field and playing the game."

On when he decides the lack of play on defense is based on the players or the scheme:

"I think they go hand-in-hand, in terms of the evaluation process. We've given up way too many explosive plays. Is it the scheme? Are we asking the guys to do too much? Is it their ability to execute the scheme? I think that is something that on different plays there's different answers. We've got to be much better at it. As I mentioned earlier, the explosive plays are usually involving a mental error, missed leverage, miss communication."

On the Joplu Bartu and Prince Shembo switch being a matchup situation:

"No it wasn't. Prince Shembo was limited in practice early in the week. Did not practice very much, and we felt like Bartu had taken the majority of the reps. The way that Shembo was moving around, we felt like it was in our best interest for him to play in the game, so that was that reason that we made that change."

On Kroy Bierman's snaps going down and Jonathan Massaquoi's production going up:

"Massaquoi's production was up in the ball game, and his snaps were up. When one guy's goes up, another one's goes down. I thought that Kroy made some plays as well, in terms of the run game he did some good things, but Jonathan was very active in his pass rush. Had a couple of nice moves, moved the quarterback. Again, you get what you earned in the NFL. You get what you earned on the practice field, and we're going to make decisions based on what we feel like gives us the best opportunity to win."

On Drew Davis:

"I don't have any update on Drew Davis. Drew Davis has been working with the trainers, and hopefully we'll increase his workload this week. We'll continue to monitor that."

On whether or not he sees a lot of lineup changes, and what can he do with the current roster he has:

"What you have to do is have these guys go out and compete in practice, and I think that's what we've been doing. I think you've seen some of the questions that's been asked today and the way that they were answered that guys go out and perform in practice they're going to get an opportunity to do it in the game. Again, we're going to look at every possible combination. We're evaluating the players every day that they're out there. Again, we have to be accountable to one another, as coaches to players and as players to coaches. We've got to perform better than what we've performed over the last three weeks."

On the special teams play yesterday:

"I think that we did some very good things on special teams yesterday, especially with the blocked extra point. That could've been a critical point in the game, it didn't end up being that way. I thought we did a very good job covering kicks. We had two drives starts inside the 20-yard line, with tackles inside the 20, but conversely we did not do a very good job in our return game. In our return game we had two drive starts as well that we did not get the ball outside the 20. So there were some positives in the game, in terms of special teams, especially on the coverage side, but we've got to do a lot better in regards to our return game. We've got to get our guy going."

On players getting that 'here we go again mentality' and who has to step in and stop that:

"Well, the way that we finished games here it's a concern. We've got to show resiliency, and it falls on all of us. Like I said, it's a shared responsibility. Again, I want everyone to understand it that I'm ultimately held responsible, but it's a shared responsibility. We've got to continue to work; we've got to continue to put together the best plan, and our players have to go out there and execute it. I think if we put the best plan together, and they go out and execute it then we're going to win lots of football games. I believe that."

On whether or not he's seen a player like Antone Smith:

"He did a great job on that screen; we got some blocking out front. No, I have not seen a guy have the average per touch like this guy's had. We'll continue to try and get him the ball. Again, we've got talented players at the running back position. We're very deep there, but we need to continue to increase his workload, in terms of game plan for him. You've got to be careful about what he's skill-set is, and make sure you play to it and put him in the best position. I think the offensive staff, Dirk (Koetter) and his group, has done a good job. I know everybody would like for him to have more carries, we'll continue to try to get the ball in his hands."

On whether or not it's hard not to be frustrated at this point:

"I'm frustrated, discouraged, disappointed because I know that we can play a whole lot better than what we've played, but you know what happens after the day ends today for me, you're on to the next game and you move forward and get prepared to put these guys in the best position that they possibly can be in."

On playing the Baltimore Ravens and Joe Flacco's career day:

"They're a very good football team. Steve Smith, we know him very well. He's having a Pro Bowl year. Some people said that that he was on the back end of his career, he's playing very well. Joe Flacco has done very good in Gary Kubiak's new offense. It's a little bit different than what they had been running in the past. They are running the ball effectively. They're going to do a good job with play action. They're going to run bootlegs, so it's going to be a challenge for us and our defense. We're going to have to be very good with our keys, and have good eye control because if we don't there's going to be some guys that are going to be running open."

On whether or not he looks back at previous tendencies from when he was successful:

"You're always evaluating, and you try to evaluate everything. Every week you evaluate the previous week; what went well and what didn't. That's what coaching's all about. That's what coaching's about, putting guys in different positions. Play time going up; play time going down. Those are the things that you do as a football coach because ultimately we're judged by one thing and one thing only, and we all know what that is, that's getting a W every time we go out and play."

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