Carolina WR Steve Smith, 12.23.09

Q:  How impressed were you with the team’s performance on Sunday night?

A:  I thought it was pretty good; it wasn’t bad.  I thought it was probably better compared to the way I’ve seen them going so far.

Q:  Did you get a little bit riled up?

A:  No, I’m never riled up.  I’m cool and collected; Joe Cool right here.

Q:  How about the performance of the young quarterback Matt Moore?

A:  I think Matt did a great job.  I think, the first game he was kind of nervous.  The second game, playing a big team up in New England …………..  So I think he is getting a little comfortable.  I’m not sure exactly what is going to happen leading into the end of the season.  But I think it is good whatever position you are in – the more hands on experience, on the job training that you can get – the better you become.  Obviously a better quarterback, wide out, lineman, linebacker, corner, everything. 

Q:  How much, if at all, do you relish the spoiler role?  The Giants pretty much have to have this game.

A:  With just the way our season is going, I think it is less about the Giants and more about Carolina. We can’t focus on being the spoiler.  I think you really go in there and you just try to be efficient and you try to end on a good note.  We have no chance of going to the playoffs but we also have the opportunity individually as myself, other guys on the team, have opportunities to finish on a good note and string together some good games.

Q:  I don’t know how strong the whispers are about John Fox perhaps maybe being on the bubble.  How much of that is in the players’ minds?  How much do you guys want to play for him and have him back?

A:  I think it is less about – I particularly don’t think it is about a particular coach losing or keeping a job.  I think the season that we have had and the things that have gone on, I think you have to play with trying to improve your game and trying to be a positive area in the game just because of how much  --  we have had so many mistakes and how games have imploded offensively for us – the Carolina Panthers.  So I don’t think it is really about Coach Fox.  I think it is about these guys getting their ….to make sure that they do their job at a professional level and a level to where next year you are going in there --- next year whether you have the coach or you don’t have the coach – that you are not a weakness – that you are a strength.  And that is how I kind of look at it.

Q:  Hakeem Nicks told me that you reached out to him and you called him on the telephone after he got drafted.  What was that all about and what words of encouragement did you give him?

A:  Hakeem is from Charlotte and he went to school here and obviously he played up in Raleigh. So I have known about him a lot and I know some people that have had very good things to say about him; he is a high character guy. And so I just kind of reached out to him.  I think we talked for about an hour.  I just told him the sky is the limit.  He has a great opportunity in New York.  It is a big market.  He has a lot of opportunities to play. They drafted him. His performance – he played down here.  The Meineke Bowl was outstanding.  Just take that same mentality up there in New York and I think he will be a star.  Only time will tell if he listened or not.

Q:  What do you make of the performance of Steve Smith of the Giants this season?

A:  He has done exceptionally well. His stats are great. He has run some great routes and he is doing a great job. I can’t say anything bad about a guy who is on a winning team and is doing a heck of a job.

Q:  Dwayne Jarrett told him that you weren’t happy with him this year; that he should stay away from you. Is that true or were you just playing with his mind a little bit?

A:  When was that?

Q:  He told me this a few weeks ago.  I don’t know when it was supposed to be said. 

A:  I don’t play the he-she game.

Q:  I don’t know how much tape you have watched right now – it is early in the week – of the Giants corners.  What do you see from Terrell Thomas?

A:  Who?

Q:  Terrell Thomas.

A:  What is his number?

Q:  24.

A:  OK. It is hard to go with names because when you are watching film you can’t really see a name. So I go for the numbers. It is easier to recognize numbers than it is names. 24, yes, he is a second year – correct? 

Q:  Yes.

A:  Long and lanky. Just like everybody else that I go against – obviously taller than me. He is not a 4.1 guy but has decent speed; has good foot work.  So he can create a problem if he gets his hands on you. And I think that is one of the many reasons they drafted him – a long, lengthy guy that is able to get it to the end zone. So I think he is a young player who, like any other young player, has to learn the game a little bit more. But he is very capable of making plays and he has made a few plays. He can become a problem with his wing span. So obviously you have to try to keep his hands off me as much as possible. But he is a long, lengthy guy who looks pretty sharp as well.

Q:  It seems like his awareness is pretty decent for a second-year guy.  Have you seen that?

A:  I think he has shown good awareness, but he is still a second year guy.

Q:  Your offensive line – you lost both of those tackles there – they shuffle guys around and seem to be doing okay. And before you ask that, I have no idea what their numbers are. But anybody specifically stand out to you as you watch those guys?

A:  Travelle (Wharton) is doing a great job going from guard to tackle. Mac (Mackenzy Bernadeau) has come in and he has done a good job.  The other guy – I think he is a second year – and then you have (Geoff) Schwartz (#74).  Schwartz has come in.  With Jeff Otah coming out he is locked and loaded playing on that right side solo.  So he is doing a very good job.  He did a pretty good job against a very good defensive line.  Like I said earlier, when you get on the job training, there is nothing better than that.  And you get to see your mistakes and get to see the things you have done well.  And you get to evaluate yourself on the film in living color.  And that is always good because it is hard to correct when you are watching someone else.  Because you don’t understand why, especially with film editing, you are not able to understand the series.  Like, "Well, what did that guy do?  What hand movement did he do?"  So you get to evaluate and you use that.  So you can always go back to that.  So I think that is why I believe so much in on the field training.

Q:  One more thing about the Giants’ Steve Smith. For the last three years obviously people talked about him, ‘he is the other Steve Smith.’ Do you get a kick out of a guy that plays your position who has the same name? Do you kind of have a little different awareness of him as you follow him?

A:  To be honest, my awareness of Steve Smith and just like anybody else – I hardly even watch football outside of football. It is not taking anything away from – I have been married almost 10 years – I have three kids.  Sometimes I’m a little bit busy.  So it is not to take anything away from him, but I know personally he is doing a great job. And my personal opinion – he might be a Pro Bowler. So if you are a Pro Bowler, you are doing a great job. There is nothing that I can add to it or take away from it. There is nothing I can say to take away from it and it would be foolish - I think it would be disrespectful to try to take anything away from him.  He has a Super Bowl ring; I don’t.  And I hope that --  this game is very interesting.  One year you could be the cream of the crop. Next year you could be jobless. I know how this game goes. So I don’t want to spend too much time comparing myself because it requires too much energy. And having three kids, being married, and going to work every day – my focus is on a lot of other things besides other players two and one half hour plane ride away.

Q:  He has a pretty cool name, though, doesn’t he?

A:  Actually my real name isn’t Steve Smith. That is the name I go by – that is the name that my dad has and people always called me that since I was a little boy. But my mom and my wife, all my family, call me by my birth name – that is really what I go by outside of football.

Q: What is your birth name?

A:  You have to talk to my mommy on that one. I only really give it to my friends; I don’t give to strangers.  You learn that at a young age.

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