SMITH: “Yeah, I’ve said this before, I think the thing that just jumps out at me is that (he’s) obviously extremely talented, but there’s so few guys that are out there on the field for all of the situations that Jamaal (Charles) is out there. To have a guy, who is so talented, in the pass game that is still in there in short yardage and goal line just doesn’t happen. It doesn’t happen. To be able to have him out there and be able to do so many things, he’s got so many different tools, I think it’s everybody’s dream, quarterbacks, coaches. (He’s) certainly a weapon for us, really valuable.”
Q: What has been the biggest reason you guys have been scoring as much as you have, these past two weeks?
SMITH: “I think just playing more consistent, executing better on a consistent basis. That’s really what it comes down to, just steady improvement as the season has gone on and then now, being able to string a few games together. With that, as the progression grows, you gain some more confidence, the expectations change. All of those things go into it, but the main thing is consistency.”
Q: Andy Reid said you guys were kind of laying a foundation the first nine games of the season. Were you guys just trying things to see what worked?
SMITH: “Yes, but not intentionally. So many things are just new for the first time. I mean, you’re in the system for the first time. There’s only so many looks you can get in practice. I mean, a lot of that stuff has to be done in games. You go through it in games, some good, some bad and you have to learn from it. So, I do think there is that foundation being laid to a certain extent and it just takes having gone through it before; you can’t simulate it all at practice.”
Q: How does clinching a playoff spot change the approach for the last two games?
SMITH: “It’s certainly not changing my approach. I think it’s a quick celebration in a sense of we’ve just opened another door. We’ve created another opportunity for ourselves and now we have a chance for the big one. Now I feel like, if anything, it all gets notched up even more. It’s always the hot team in December and January that ends up holding that trophy. For us, it’s just to keep getting better, play good, every single week, so, no difference for this Sunday; let’s go out and play our best football and continue to stay hot.”
Q: How is the level of play different in the playoffs?
SMITH: “Yeah, I mean, two things; one, these are the elite teams in the NFL and the loser goes home. It’s sudden death and you’re not leaving anything for the next week. You literally just leave it all out there, as far as game planning goes, as far as preparation, anything. It’s full commitment and you’re talking about the best teams left standing.”
Q: It seems like there was a time earlier in the season where you weren’t as in-sync. Was there any change in your arm in the more recent games?
SMITH: “No, it’s not my arm or anything like that. For sure, it was just a progression of the understanding and decision making and things like that, nothing with my arm. I think when you’re making decisive and when you’re confident in the looks you’re getting and what we’re doing, as a quarterback, you tend to be more accurate; you tend to throw better balls and I think if anything, it’s probably that.”
Q: Was there a breaking in period getting to know the guys here or did you think as a veteran it would be more automatic?
SMITH: “I never thought anything was automatic. The difference between winning and losing and success and failure in this league is so small and it’s all those extra little things and all the time you put in, that makes that little difference. In the pass game, there are so many details and so many things that go into being good in the pass game. When you have a lot of new faces, it takes a lot of work and it takes time.”
Q: Is that something you have to do every year or since you’ve been here, will next season be easier?
SMITH: “To a certain extent, none of that ever changes; you’re constantly trying to get better and there’s always some turnover, something new. You’re always adjusting, whether it be personnel, injuries, things you’re dealing with. From a scheme perspective though, yeah, there is some carryover; that foundation does go with you.”
Q: Have you considered you may see these guys in the playoffs as you prepare for this game?
SMITH: “You know, for me, the little bit that you hear about the playoff picture in the AFC, there are so many different possibilities at this point, that it’s tough, even trying to wrap your head around it. There are so many what-ifs, right now. For us, I think it’s just go out and play good football. Continue to do what we’re doing and treat this like any other week. We’re going out and trying to be 1-0 this week; not anything, I think, we’re reading into.”
Q: What do you see from the Colts on defense?
SMITH: “Very disciplined group, well-coached group. They know their scheme really well. Physical up-front, experienced in the back end. They’re playing fast, I think (and) it shows up on tape clearly, great challenge for us.”
Q: How important is it to keep this thing going how it’s going?
SMITH: “I think it’s really important. It’s not everything, but I definitely think it is something. I think if we keep the kind of confidence we have going and keep the rhythm heading into the postseason is really important.”
Q: How is Jamaal Charles tough?
SMITH: “I think toughness comes in a lot of different forms. Certainly, as far as physical toughness, the guy touches the ball a lot. With that, there’s some wear and tear at the running back position. For him, you certainly see that toughness that he practices. Week in and week out, he’s out there preparing and he’s out there every Sunday. Certainly, there is that physical toughness (and) with that, there is that mental side as well. He’s involved in so many different parts of our offense and mentally he prepares week in and week out and he’s ready to go out there; so, I think, both of those.”