Q: Now that it’s the second week of OTAs, are you building on stuff?
SMITH: “Yeah, I think so. I do. I think the coaches are doing a great job of continuing the pace of installation. We’ve got a ton of stuff going in and I think it’s really challenging all of us. I think (we were) throwing a lot at the defense and we were able to execute on a few today and a few we’d like that back and that’s the nature of kind of every day. It’s a race every day. We get ten of these OTAs and that’s not very many, so we’re just trying to make the most of them.”
Q: How much of Coach Reid’s offense did we see last year?
SMITH: “That’s a better question for coach. I think we got it all as the season went on and we continued to get more and more. I don’t think necessarily even that it was holding back as much as just finding out our strengths and who we are. I think coach does such a great job. None of this stuff is cookie cutter, I mean even though he goes way back in the west coast book, but I think he does such a great job of finding out what we’re good at and putting the guys in that kind of situation. I think as the season went on, that’s more of a matter of he and Doug (Pederson) and the coaches finding that stuff out, as opposed to they were just holding stuff in their back pocket, so to speak. I just think we were all kind of figuring out what we’re good at and what we’re good at together.”
Q: When they were putting stuff in, did they ever show you the Bill Walsh tapes?
SMITH: “We look at a lot of tapes. Most of it is either Eagles or Green Bay, if we’re going to go back, not so much Bill Walsh. But yeah, we get a lot of history of the west coast.”
Q: What about Mike Holmgren?
SMITH: “We see all kinds of stuff. Absolutely.”
Q: Do you think you picked up where you left off from an accuracy and timing standpoint?
SMITH: “I do. Not just myself, but I feel like as on offense, we’ve done a good job of really hitting the ground running and I think that, and going back to the last question, that has to do with us running that same stuff and all of that stuff is in and we’ve just kind of kept building on it where we left off as an offense. I think there were a lot of things we were good at, we were pretty multiple and we were tough to defend, so I think just kind of continuing that growth.”
Q: What did you do to stay sharp in the offseason?
SMITH: “As you get older, it becomes more year round. When I was younger, you could take some time off, and maybe you needed to mentally. Now you enjoy it and it just becomes so natural, there really is no time off. You’re working out year round getting stronger, working on your arm and working on your feet. It never ends. I don’t feel like as you get older that you can really take the time off that you used to. Yeah, I just worked. I don’t think I did anything special. I just continued to work. Work at those things I need to improve on.”
Q: What have you seen in
SMITH: “He’s a good player. I think everybody is physically talented at this level, especially those guys in the backend and in the safety because they’re in so many different roles. They play free safety, they play linebacker basically and they play corner. They get put in so many different situations, I think the guys that can understand what we’re trying to do to them, I think he does a great job of that. He’s smart. He sniffs out what we’re doing and he’s able to get a beat on it. You can’t be late; otherwise he’s going to make the play. That’s really what I see and I think mentally he does such a good job of recognizing and diagnosing what we’re doing.”
Q: He got two picks in the playoff game.
SMITH: “Yeah and I think those are exactly that. Talking about in a very small amount of time, he diagnosed the play and countered it. You can’t think. It’s just a reaction. It’s putting time in the film room and watching the film and watching all of that stuff and being able to come out and react.”
Q: Can you tell a difference between where the defense is at now compared to where they were last year?
SMITH: “Yes. Volume-wise, they’re more in. I think the difference is they’re a little more comfortable seeing them though and the stuff that they do. But yeah, I think volume-wise on both sides of the ball just have so much more in.”
Q: What about
SMITH: “He’s doing a good job so far. I mean, it’s so early for him right now. It’s just coming in and you’re just trying to soak up the offense and the defense as well. You’re just trying to soak up the game. I think right now it’s just to continue to learn and to take it all in. It’s never going to be pretty early as a rookie quarterback. You’re just trying take it all in, so that when camp does come around, and the reps become meaningful, you’re more prepared. Right now it’s really tough for him to go out there, as it is for any rookie QB, it’s tough to go out there and ask a lot just because the wheels are turning and there’s a lot going on.”
Q: If something for your contract were to get done, would you prefer it to be before training camp?
SMITH: “I haven’t given that thought. I guess it doesn’t matter to me at all.”
Q: You were close with former safety Kendrick Lewis, and you commented that you were going to miss him when we talked to you on first day of the offseason program. How has it been working with Husain Abdullah every day and how long is that going to take to get used to him back there with you?
BERRY: “Man, we’re working every day. It’s not just on the field, but outside of football. Not just him, but the whole secondary. It’s a part of building that chemistry and just talking about things, knowing where he’s going to be at, knowing where I’m going to be at. We need to get on the same page in the secondary period.”
Q: What has he shown you in filling in that position so far?
BERRY: “He’s extremely smart. One thing I take from him is his work ethic and his attention to detail. He’s very particular about things, especially in his technique. So I’ve just been paying close attention to him and just trying to take notes as much as I can.”
Q: You’ve said that Kendrick Lewis was really the main guy communicating in the defensive backfield. With him gone, have you tried to pick up the communication on your end a little bit?
BERRY: “Most definitely. Just alerting the defense with certain plays, looking out for certain things and anticipating the next call so when we break the huddle, already knowing the personnel, already knowing the down and distance. I actually talked to him [Lewis] not that long ago and that’s the main thing, just expecting things before they happen.”
Q: How much farther along are you now than you were at this time last year?
BERRY: “This is my second year in the defense so obviously there are things that I’ve learned and thoughts that I take into consideration as far as certain coverages and things like that that I’m more aware of. So it’s less thinking about what the call is on our end because that’s coming automatic, it’s more so what the offense is going to do.”
Q: Is there anyone that you feel more comfortable playing with back there so far in OTAs?
BERRY: “We all just go in, and together the thing we talk about is if you’re in, you’re a starter, regardless. It’s a long season, things happen throughout the season, and everybody has to be ready to go. Whether my communication is with
Q: Is it your role now to be the quarterback of the secondary and get everybody set up back there?
BERRY: “It’s everybody’s role. Everybody’s taking ownership, everybody is trying to put in. Nobody is just leaning on anybody or expecting somebody else to make a play, everybody is trying to get there and make a play themselves. The more people we have holding themselves accountable the better the team will be as a whole.”
Q: Is what you’re being asked to do any different than what it’s been in the past?
BERRY: “To be honest with you, outside of a scheme standpoint it’s just knowing everything that’s going on. Just talking to coach, he wants me to be the guy to make sure that I know what’s going on, make sure that I’m stepping up and being a leader and holding myself and my teammates accountable. And that’s vice versa throughout my teammates as well. So the biggest thing is just being alert and being aware at all times.”
Q: Are you excited to kind of show everything you can do while playing in the secondary?
BERRY: “It is. It’s exciting just because that’s what I’m accustomed to doing all my life. But like I said before, wherever my team needs me, that’s where I’m going to be at. Whether they have to swap me and Husain, or if they have to move me somewhere else and move him somewhere else, I think we’re all prepared to be wherever we need to be. I think that’s the beauty of this defense and the players we have in it. We try to work and know everything that’s going on and all the moving parts.”
Q: What’s the hardest part of playing back there and tracking the ball? Is that something you can get better at or is that just natural ability?
BERRY: “There’s always something you can be better at. I think back there it’s more natural just because it’s almost like backyard football where you’re just reading the quarterback and reading where the ball breaks out and getting to it. But for the most part, you’ve got to be back there, you’ve got to have high energy and you’ve got to run to the ball at all times.”