Sports Radio 810's Kevin Kietzman's interview with Alex Smith, heading into 2016 Chiefs Training Camp:
Kevin - It is going to be warm in Kansas City. We’ve had some mildish kind of camps the last couple of years. Is this an exciting time of year for you?
Alex Smith - Yeah, for sure. This is the real deal. I mean it is the real kickoff, and we’re going to camp. With all the restrictions in the offseason, it is fun but this is real football. We will get to put the pads on, get to have real practices, and before you know it, preseason is here and then that goes through, and then Opening Day is right on you quick - it happens fast.
I really love our camp set up, I love going up to St. Joe. I think the facilities are awesome up there, I love the whole set up. Coach, with the morning practices is great. It’s fun, especially as you get older, it is fun for me since I got little kids. A lot of times throughout the year it is tough to always get to hang out with some of the younger guys - I’m going home and hanging out with family, and those guys go do their deal. So, camp’s a time for me … that there is a lot of hangout time and there is down time to get to know each other - kind of let loose, and be around each other in a relaxed atmosphere.
Kevin - You added to the family this year too right?
Alex Smith - Yeah, we did we had our third. Little girl, in February so she is a five-month old. Yeah, we’re doing good, got our hands full. I think we just got our three-year old out of diapers, so that’s looking good. So just one now.
Kevin – How about the projections this year? I’m just hearing more and more people say the AFC West is sitting there for the Kansas City Chiefs to take. What do you think about that?
Alex Smith – Oh without a doubt it’s wide open. I think that’s kind of the nature, that’s a lot of years, obviously they have some turnover at the quarterback position, but obviously very, very good on the defensive side of the football. But the whole division - I think Oakland is going to be continuing to get better, San Diego is always going to be dangerous, I think they’ll be better, anytime you’ve got a QB like Phillip (Rivers), you know they’re capable of playing at a really high level. So you know we have to be on it, you know we open up with a division game this year, so that’s always going to be interesting, and at home, so you know it’s important to get off to a good start. I think last year is such a great learning example for us on what not to do. And everybody has expectations just like we did last year, but you’ve got to take care of the little things, and you’ve got to play four quarters of football, and we learned that in those first few weeks last year. We jumped on some people and let them come back and kind of steals some games away that we felt like we shoulda won.
Kevin – Ya know, I know how smart you are, and I know how much work there is in playing quarterback and knowing offenses and it’s an intricate game sometimes, and all those things, and a lot of times I oversimplify things here, but I think a lot of fans would agree with this, that in the NFL, the teams with the quarterback-coach combo, the best coach, best quarterback combo, they win a lot in this league. And I don’t think it’s close in the division right now, with Peyton Manning gone, I think Andy Reid, Alex Smith is the best combination of head coach and quarterback in this division, and I don’t think it’s close. Do you feel like Manning being gone is a big deal? Does that change the way you look at the division or the season, or do you feel like frontrunners at this point?
Alex Smith – You know that’s a good question. I definitely think we’re excited about the season, and we’re confident. I am about what we have before us and the opportunity that we have before us. But at the same time, it’s the NFL - I mean there’s not an easy game out there. Certainly I think, yeah they’re the defending champs, Denver, and certainly they’ve won the division the last few years. But certainly with Peyton being gone, that does change things with the turnover at the quarterback position. They’ve lost some other players as well, and every year is different, so yeah, but big opportunity in front of us, I’ll say it like that, and I think we’re confident about it. But you have to be on it, you know - no one is going to hand it over, no one is giving it away. You’ve gotta go take it and do all of the little things to get it done.
Kevin – What are your thoughts about the contributions of Justin Houston and Jamaal Charles this year? Where do you think they’re going to be?
Alex Smith – Yea, no idea, you know, I’m not a doctor. I haven’t seen those guys lately. I’ve been hearing great things, but who knows. Certainly Jamaal had his surgery just a few months prior gives him a little more time to get ready. But we’ll see come camp, everybody is different. You can’t compare guys - injuries are all different, how their bodies respond. So you just got to be patient, and if they can’t go then the next guy has got to step up and we’ve got to find a way to get it done. Certainly at the running back spot though, a lot of experience with that last year with Charcandrick (West) and Spencer (Ware) stepping in and I think to have that depth is only a good thing.
Kevin – They played great, but if I know this right, Jamaal is such a threat as a receiver and can make such big plays and I know the league has kind of gone away from one running back, now a lot of teams treat running backs like they’re a dime a dozen or whatever and you guys played really well last year. But if Jamaal is what Jamaal used to be, isn’t that kind of another dimension, when you can throw the ball to him and he can go 37 yards with it after you throw it to him - isn’t that a whole different deal?
Alex Smith – Yeah, listen, I don’t know what the stats are, but obviously driving the football the length of the football field, depending on where you start, is hard. And there is a huge correlation when you get big chunk plays and scoring points. And I don’t know if there is a better running back in the league when it comes to making big plays, whether it be catching the football or running it. The guy just has, at any point, huge play potential and you just don’t find that anywhere. It’s incredibly unique, so to be able to have that back on the field and have defenses worrying about that is only going to make life better for the rest of us and being able to spread it around and make them defend everybody.
Kevin – Alright, I’ve told our listeners over the years here, there’s a couple of things that I really like about you that are kind of cool. You’re not on Twitter, you haven’t gotten on Twitter have you?
Alex Smith – I have not, nope, still no social media.
Kevin – This is good, I like this. I just think that’s probably a good policy for an NFL quarterback. The other think I told people was that in Tahoe last year, I thought it was really cool, with all of the elbow rubbing and all the celebrity and all that stuff, you kind of sneaked away with your wife one evening and went over to a different property across the street, and had a hat on and just blended in with everybody where nobody knew what you guys were up to. I thought that was pretty cool. Are you a private person? Do you largely like to stay away from being in the spotlight and being Alex Smith? And is it difficult to go to an event like this where everybody is just looking for celebrities?
Alex Smith – Yeah definitely, I’m inclined to be in private. There’s obviously the things that come with the territory of being an NFL quarterback that you just have to deal with and get used to. But certainly family time is something that I cherish and there are times when it is nice to be private and get away and spend some of the time. … But like you said, there are times certainly where you do try to duck away when I am with my wife and kids, and have some good family time.
Kevin – So would you say right now - if you had to guess - and these are the things we get to ask outside of season. But if you had to guess right now, after football, would you say there’s no football? I mean, you don’t want to be an announcer? You don’t want to stay in the game as a coach? You just wanna go do your own thing and be a private guy?
Alex Smith – That’s a good question, Kevin. Listen, hopefully, I don’t have to think about that for awhile. But yeah, that’s definitely a possibility, nothing is off the table at this point, and that’s certainly something that as you do get older you begin to ponder a little. But like I said, hopefully I don’t have to make that decision for quite a few more years. But yeah, that’s not out of the realm.
Kevin - Well if you ever want to try radio let us know. You’re always welcome here buddy. Always welcome here.
Alex Smith – Thank you
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