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Quotes: Alex Smith, Jay Gruden 10-24-18

QB Alex Smith

On what RB Adrian Peterson has done for the offense:

"I think he's embodied kind of a little bit of what we want to be about not only as an offense but as a team. I just think the way he's played on that edge – physical, relentless. I think that's what we want to be about, not only as an offense, but a football team playing with that kind of an edge all the time. That kind of physicality certainly helped set the tone for us quite a few times this year."

On the New York Giants record this season:

"They're a good football team. I mean, turn on the tape. I think the bunch of games they’ve been in, had chances to win versus really good football teams. Been only a couple plays away here and there and it's a division game. It's early in the season. They're a prideful group and this is going to be a… we'd be lying to ourselves if we didn’t think this was going to be a physical test. So yeah, I think that's it. I mean it's easy when you turn on the tape and see that these guys aren’t that far away."

On if he thinks the Giants are vulnerable because of the recent trades:

"I'm not going to get too wrapped up in that. Who knows how they'll take it? Maybe it's going to fire them up if anything. Maybe they get, you know. Who knows the psychology of all that and I certainly don't want to get caught up in it I guess. For us, trying to prepare for them, whoever is out there, all those guys have played all year anyway, in and out, so [we are] getting ready for them collectively as a group."

On getting more comfortable on offense without WR Jamison Crowder and RB Chris Thompson:

"I think certainly had more and more reps with those guys not only in practice but in games. You know the next guys up and continue to take advantage of those reps. I think that's all been great work for us and it is always a progression that you're working towards. But yeah, it's been great work and obviously we hope to get those guys back as soon as possible. But I think that's only a good thing to build a rapport with the guys that have stepped up."

On missed opportunities on offense towards the end of the first half of the season:

"Yeah, yep yep, yeah, certainly some missed opportunities. Sorry to cut you off. No question. In the last two weeks, I've had great opportunities to get some points there at the half at least to give ourselves a chance and it didn’t get done the last two weeks for different reasons. But certainly, I felt like missed opportunities out there by us on offense. So yeah, look it's something that no doubt [we] look to improve on for sure."

On if he feels like he saw the field better in the game on Sunday:

"I think as far as from an accuracy standpoint there were two throws to me that really stood out, certainly the one to 'Sprink' [TE Jeremy Sprinkle] in the end zone, and then the one on the sideline to Mike [WR Michael Floyd]. A lot of the other ones, I felt like I put it where I wanted to. So, I don’t view it like that. Certainly if you miss, is it an accuracy standpoint? Sometimes. I'm trying to miss in the right places and trying to throw a ball in those spots. But those were the two for me that jump out. Yeah, you know, you got to hit [and complete the pass]."

On being first place in the division and improving on offense:

"I think the focus is to try to win a ball game every single week, whatever it takes to try to win. With that as you stack the weeks together, you hope you are moving in the right direction that you're trending. For us certainly, when you look at us as a unit, yeah that's what I'm talking about as a unit that we are moving in the right direction. But like I said, as a team, the challenge every week is to find a way to win as a team. All three phases, whatever that takes to win that matchup and how do you get that done, that’s the problem you are trying to solve every week."

On if he feels they are trending positively as a unit:

"I think the exciting thing is that certainly there is a lot of room for improvement for us out there, especially offensively as a unit, that we've left some plays out there for sure. Encouragingly, when we start hitting some of those, obviously we will be that much better."

On if he saw something different from WR Josh Doctson or if it was more situational:

"Probably a little bit of both. I thought he played great, played really, really, physical and he had to. We needed him to and he did, he stepped up, was aggressive to the football, aggressive with his releases. I thought he played really, really, big for us when we needed him and obviously we're hoping to build on that."

On the trend of going for it on fourth down and why he thinks it is happening more often:

"There is probably a ton of reasons why that trend is happening. One of the big ones, I think coaches are way more aware of the statistics to play that kind of analytics deal. Then, I think there, it's situationally knowing those things. Where you are on the field, time of game, all of those things playing into the opponent you're playing. I think a lot of those things play into that and I think coaches are more aware of those things and therefore obviously, I think playing the numbers it sometimes says to go for it. Also, it could just be trendy; you know? I mean a little bit, it's going around so probably a lot of reasons for it."

On the missed play to TE Jeremy Sprinkle in the end zone on Sunday:

"Yeah looking at it in hindsight, that for me, not to delve into it too far, I was expecting him to flatten and run away and obviously as he kept running for the corner then it was a matter of obviously too much air on that throw and it just sailing. But, that was my mindset as I came out with the safety chasing him from behind."

On if it's still early for those missed plays to click:

"I mean there are sometimes, yeah without a doubt. I think you are going to go through some things for the first time out there. I mean, you would love to avoid that, but sometimes it's unavoidable. You can't get it all repped out here. But, that’s on us as players to make the play. I think sometimes you've got to go out there and just make the play, so certainly that was one I missed."

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On injuries:

"Alright did not participate was [Jamison] Crowder, ankle; [Shawn] Lauvao, calf; [Adrian] Peterson, shoulder; [Quinton] Dunbar, shin; [Zach] Brown, illness. Limited were [Paul] Richardson, knee/shoulder; [Brandon] Scherff, knee; [Ryan] Kerrigan, chest; [Chris] Thompson, rib/knee; [Morgan] Moses, elbow and Fabian Moreau, ankle. Everybody else was full."

On if OL Shawn Lauvao's injury is residual:

"Residual, kept him out. Just took a day off of him."

On if there is an update on CB Quinton Dunbar:

"Not really no, no. That's something that's going to take a little bit of time. He's going to try to run tomorrow, see [how] his leg feels and see if it can hold up or not. We'll make a decision hopefully by Friday."

On if the doctors said Dunbar's injury was a nerve issue:

"Yeah, it's a nerve issue. He got hit on the shin area, lower leg and we think it might have done something to the nerve or something, trying to figure it out. He's in some pain when he runs. It gives out on him a little bit. We're going to try to strengthen it and hopefully he can do a little bit of running tomorrow and we'll see where he's at."

On the challenge of executing on offense to score more points:

"Yeah, that's what we're trying to get to. The big thing is we have to make the plays that are there. We've made some really good plays in tight windows and all that stuff, not taking away anything from that regard, but some of the plays we've missed. We are beating ourselves up over it a little bit. So, move on, learn from them and then try to attack the Giants appropriately. Stick with the plan. Guys are doing good overall, got some wins but I know we can do a lot better offensively."

On the players on the Injured Reserve list:

"Trey [Quinn] is doing better. He's jogging right now. I think hopefully by next week there's a chance he could maybe start practicing but I don’t know. We'll wait and see. Byron Marshall is doing a lot better. Rob Kelley is doing pretty good. You know, we get two guys to pluck off that thing. We have to make a decision which two and that'll come soon probably with some of those guys. We'll see how we come out of this Giants game before we do anything."

On DL Stacy McGee:

"McGee has been practicing. He's doing a lot better, yeah. He's getting his feet under him and he's got a chance to be active either this week or next week possibly."

On if being ranked high in time of possession in the NFL is helping the defense:

"I think it's big. I notice it and I also notice the field position. I think Tress Way did an amazing job on Sunday pinning them [Dallas Cowboys] and making them go 85, 80 yards, 90 yards a couple times. You know, third quarter we're obviously struggling when it comes to scoring touchdowns. But, we held the ball for I think 12 minutes in that quarter, which is pretty good, got some points. We also kept the field position in our favor. As long as your defense is playing good, that’s not a bad recipe right there. But we do have to get better on offense punching the ball in. Time of possession has been good for us and our defense."

On the importance of field position:

"Yeah, it's big, you know, it's big. It's hard unless you get some chunk plays to go 85 yards consistently on 12-, 15-play drives. I think with our run defense, the way it's starting to pan out to be, I think it’s hard to pop runs. Then our pass rush is getting better and better and our coverage is getting better. We know how difficult it is when we're backed up at our own 15 to go 85 yards consistently on 10-, 12-, 13-play drives without the luxury of a 45-yard gain or something like that. Field position is a major stat I believe in the NFL."

On QB Alex Smith:

"Yeah, you know, when you have…we did some good things I think. Every week, he's getting more comfortable not just with the way we're calling plays, the way we're doing things, with the people around him and the protections and all that stuff. There's a lot for a quarterback to do in pro football. When terminology is new for you and your players around you are kind of new and the clocks going and the fronts are moving and all that stuff, sometimes you're going to have a missed opportunity from time to time. He's getting more and more comfortable and he's going to get better and better. I like where he's at and I know that he knows we can do a lot better on offense."

On the miscommunications with Smith:

"Yeah, I think we've had a lot of similar carry over concepts from Kansas City and from where he's been with San Francisco. He's been taught different things. Sometimes I take that for granted. He's a 15-year vet and he probably doesn’t need to know how to read this certain concept because he's done it so many times. But, we might have a little tweak on it. It might be Jordan Reed might be number one of his progression or it might be the back or what have you. We're all getting that communication on a daily basis. Then each week, there's a new set of concepts that we might have to add for the defenses we're playing. They might play a totally different coverage. So, we have to be able to adjust and coach them up properly so we're thinking on the same page."

On being 4-2 approaching the deadline and if that makes searching for players easier:

"I mean, you never know what could be out there but I feel good about the players we have. I think the depth that we have is solid and I like where we're at. If a great opportunity comes up to get a player, that’s fine, but if we don’t get anybody, I'm great with the guys we have. I think defensively, we've got good depth on the defensive line, the linebackers, outside backers are doing extremely well, safeties play well together, corners, we've got a little bit of an issue there with the injuries with [Quinton] Dunbar and obviously Danny's [Johnson] broken arm, but he played fine with it. Fabian's [Moreau] ankle, but I think he'll be ok, but overall defensively we are in good shape. Offensively, we stayed away from the injuries except for receiver, but I think guys have stepped in, [Michael] Floyd and [Brian] Quick and those guys have done a good job. We don’t really have an issue where we say 'oh my gosh, we have to get somebody', so I feel good about the guys we have."

On facing another top running back and balancing pass coverage with the Giants' top receivers:

"Yeah no doubt, that’s the defensive coordinator's problem and nightmare. It's good that our front is doing a very good job against the run without having to bring a lot of safeties in a lot of times, but Saquon [Barkley] is a different guy. He's a combination of [Alvin] Kamara who can catch it out of the backfield and the quickness and Zeke Elliott who's got the power and the speed. He's got both. So, definitely a guy you have to figure out how to stop because their offense runs through them. I think he's like 39 percent of the touches or yards or what have you. Obviously, Odell [Beckham Jr.] and [Sterling] Shepherd are great receivers and [Evan] Engram is a good tight end. A lot of weapons to choose from over there, we've just got to be sound in what we do, disciplined with our eyes and pursue to the football like always."

On the Giants trading two defensive starters:

"Well, I think the Giants have been playing a lot of guys so I don’t know. I'm not in their building, I don’t know why they did what they did but I know that they played a lot of guys in their rotation and obviously they feel good about the things they got in that deal. But, we're going to prepare for the system that they are in and obviously try to attack the people who we think we are going to play against so that’s all we can do. They still have very good defensive personnel over there, guys that can rush the passer with [Olivier] Vernon, guys that can cover; they still have [Janoris] Jenkins and obviously Landon Collins. They have some pretty darn good players over there even without those two they lost (Eli Apple and Damon Harrison) so we're getting prepared for the Giants and expect a very hard fought game like it always is with the Giants."

On coaches feeling more comfortable with going for it on fourth down:

"I don’t know. It depends on the circumstance and the situation really. Like we had a fourth down with four seconds to go in the half and it counted for a fourth down, we just threw a Hail Mary. Sometimes the rewards outweigh the risks really. If you don’t get it you expect your defense to get the stop, and if you do get it, it’s a chance to really change the momentum and field position and get points on the board. It depends on the defense you are going against and the backs that you have or the plays that you might have dialed up for that defense. A lot goes into the thought process there but sometimes like I said it's worth the risk."

On running the ball on first down rather than passing:

"I don’t know, I think Adrian [Peterson] has been doing a pretty good job of getting some yards on first down and our [running] backs, and I think we've had some opportunities to throw the ball but when we are in a lead like we had then, we've had success running the ball so it’s nice to stick to it sometimes. But, we'll probably get that number skewed back to 50-50 here pretty soon, but I think the intent here is to be a physical football team. We have a big offensive line, our tight ends are blocking a lot better now, our receivers with the absence of Chris [Thompson], Paul [Richardson Jr.] and Jamison [Crowder] we have a pretty big set of receivers that are good at blocking safeties and corners and all that so it really provides our running game a spark so sometimes the running game is a little better option."

On the return of CB Josh Holsey to practice and what he envisions from him:

"We just started him off PUP, it's his first practice, he's got maybe a 21-day clock going, we're just going to get him acclimated and back in the system and we'll see how he moves around and all that. It's the beginning stages of his rehab and progress but he looked good today."

On RB Adrian Peterson not practicing and if it's rest versus serious injury:

"No, it's rest, yes. I don’t envision him practicing Wednesday the entire year really. This is a good chance for him to get in the hot tub and cold tub and all the cool things we bought for our recovery center [Laughter]. He can get a sleep tank for all I care [Laughter]. You know this guy; he got to walk through reps this morning. He worked on the new run; footwork and all that stuff this morning, got some work in the rehab room. He'll get the meetings this afternoon and tomorrow morning and he'll get some work tomorrow and Friday. But, this is good for him, he's put enough Wednesday's in his career, he can miss one or two... or 16. [Laughter]"

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