Smith: 'We've got to do better'

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Smith: 'We've got to do better'

Q: How would you describe the last two days as far as it pertains to who has gotten the better of whom out there?
Alex Smith: Lopsided the last couple of days. New phase of camp for us in the sense that, kind of going first, second and third down and all of the sudden the last two days were red zone and red zone emphasis. First two days of it and not good. The defense definitely got the better of us, I felt like, in all aspects, 7-on-7 and team. So, obviously room for improvement, need to get better.

Q: Was that due to the fact that there just hasnt been a lot of contact up to this point and that favors the defense?

No, I dont think that. Theres a lot of things that go into it. One, theyre a great defense. Great players, ready players, they know what theyre doing, play fast. Were not game planning what our defense is doing necessarily. Youre putting stuff in that youre potentially going to see down the line versus different defenses. We still have got to go execute. Theres no excuse. Yesterday, a lot of turnovers for a multitude of reasons. Today was a little better in that regard, but still didnt get much done. Just falls on us as a whole on offense, just need to execute better.

Q: Head Coach Jim Harbaugh just described DT Justin Smith as a guy who every other team wants but still goes out there every day like hes trying to make the team. Do you guys ever tell him to slow down?
I dont. Maybe the O-Linemen do. It seems like its contagious. I feel like the entire D-Line plays like that. A lot of great players up there and they all practice that way. They all practice extremely hard and love football. The whole defense in general too, but especially that front. On one hand its great for us. Its great to go against them every single day. They play every defense imaginable, every coverage, every pressure. Theyve got the whole gambit and they let you see it. So in that in sense, its great work for us. Weve got to get better though, better than we were the last two days at least.

Q: Hows the passing game progressed since training camp began?

I feel like weve had a good camp. Obviously, I feel like everybody on offense has really zoned in on the last two days and made a lot of emphasis of it, and it hasnt been good enough. Prior to that, I feel like we got off to a good start. In the passing game especially been doing some good things. This is situational football. The last two days has been heavy red zone and like I said, its a tough opponent but weve got to get better too.

Q: That first day of camp I raised the question of potentially having WR Michael Crabtree for the whole camp and here he hasnt been out there for a week. Does that set you and that combination back?

At this point, not worried about it. He had such a great spring and summer. I dont know when hes going to be back, but well look forward to his return. Hopefully its not too long. I know I feel good about what he got done this off-season. Its a long camp. I feel like hell get back and get some good work in.

Q: What are your thoughts on DT Ray McDonald? He was riding the bench for a while, now hes getting his chance and playing really well. To what degree have you seen over time his confidence grown both off the field and in the locker room?
I feel like that entire D-Line just feeds off each other, highly competitive group. They do everything together. They compete with each other at everything. Whether theyre in the weight room squatting or out there on the field, whos making plays and whos not on game day as well. Theyre a fun group. Its infectious and I think it rubs off on each other. Rays a big part of that. You see hes a big time player, really coming into his own as a player. No question when you do that, it creeps in and you get confidence as a teammate and leader.

Q: You of all people must be happy that the radio system is new this year?

Yeah, hopefully its better than the last couple years.

Q: Could you tell any difference today?

It does seem better. Its clearer off the bat, comes in better. The last couple years it always seems like we never really had many problems on the practice field. Its not until you get to the stadium that for some reason it doesnt seem to work as well. Hopefully this one does better up at The Stick.

Q: Did you guys ever suspect that it was a home cooking type of thing where the visiting team would always have something weird?

Yeah, but itd even happen at home sometimes. It just seemed like it was a touchy deal. Go in and out. For sure on the road it seemed like it would happen more often, but it would happen at home too. You expect more when you come in as a rookie, youre thinking this is going to be some crazy high-tech stuff and then you actually look in the helmet and its not. Youve got like AAA batteries sitting in there.

Q: When you talk to Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, those other guys do they have the same problem?
I think the headset problem is universal across the NFL. I think every quarterback has dealt with it and you have problems. Youve got to have a plan ready, a Plan B, what youre going to do.

Q: And how many times have you had to hear half the call and then make up the rest?

That happens quite a bit. Sometimes no call at all and you just got to go with something. Sometimes it goes out. We were very proactive here especially last year with the backup system. With the wristband it makes it easier using signals and things like that we can get a play in.

Q: Whats your perspective on where WR A.J. Jenkins is as far as his progress?
I feel like hes coming along just great. I think a lot got made of his offseason which is tough. I mean as a rookie the expectation level is nothing, to come in in an offseason and expect something. I think hes in a great place. Hes got a lot of guys to learn from, a lot of guys that have played a lot of football, guys that all have different strengths. He can watch them play and see how they win. How they play to their strengths. Watch how professional they are. I think hes in a great place, a great place to just steadily keep improving. I think hes going to be just fine. No question about his talent. I think the big thing obviously is the playbook size is just so much different than the college level, run and pass, and just continuing to learn it and the details of it.

Q: What is his talent level? What does he do that distinguishes him?

I think hes a guy that can just about do everything. I think the thing that really distinguishes him is you just see the natural, I dont know if you want to call it foot talent, speed, in and out of cuts, that type of stuff. You see him in and out of breaks and you can see it there. The separation he can get, it just comes natural. Especially coming out sideways, breaking down, getting in and out of cuts, things like that. He has a great feel, great body language. I think its something that is one of his strengths.

Q: RB Brandon Jacobs was saying hes lost 15 pounds since the spring, he still looks fairly large, can you tell if the guys changed his body?

Yeah, I can. I dont think hell ever not look large. But no question, I do feel I can tell hes slimmed down since the first day I saw him. In a good way. I feel like he looks really good. I know from the little bit Ive heard talking to him, I know he really likes whats going on in our weight room and conditioning and stuff like that and has really taken to it. I think he looks great.

Owners of No. 1 overall pick, Browns still searching for franchise QB

Owners of No. 1 overall pick, Browns still searching for franchise QB

CLEVELAND -- Finding Bigfoot has been more productive than the Cleveland Browns' search for a franchise quarterback.

This flawed football quest drags on.

For nearly two decades, the Browns, once a standard of NFL excellence and now a league punching bag, have been running in circles as they try to find a quarterback to lead them from the darkness to relevance and respectability. Since the franchise's inglorious expansion return in 1999, they've started 26 quarterbacks, a roll call of names that haunt even the most loyal Cleveland fans holding out hope the team will one day get it right.

From Tim Couch to Trent Dilfer, from Derek Anderson to Cody Kessler, and let's not forget that year of fun with Johnny Manziel, QBs have cycled through Cleveland like tourists, with none sticking around for long.

It's been a running joke.

And until the Browns find that long-term answer at quarterback, they'll continue to be looked at as a laughingstock.

They'll have another chance to perhaps end this long pursuit in this week's NFL draft. With the No. 1 and No. 12 overall picks, and four more selections in the first three rounds, the Browns are positioned to finally fix the most important position on the field.

This could be the year Cleveland fans have longed for, the one when the Browns find their Tom Brady or Ben Roethlisberger. But as fate would have it, this year's QB class isn't highly regarded. Many draft experts feel there isn't a quarterback worth a first-round selection and that Cleveland should wait until 2018.

That's just so Browns, whose experiment with Robert Griffin III backfired last season, resulting in the latest QB confusion.

"We're going to keep searching," coach Hue Jackson said recently. "I think we all understand, no one's really claimed this position yet on our football team so we need to do everything we can to continue to add a player that we feel, as an organization, really good about, that can lead our football team and we'll continue to chase that."

The chase continues Thursday when the Browns try to find that elusive, essential piece. Or fumble again.

Here are some quarterback tidbits to chew on when the Browns go on the clock:

UP TOP: Cleveland seems locked in ON Texas A&M defensive stud Myles Garrett at No. 1, and while he's proficient at sacks, there are no three- or seven-step drops in his future. The Browns are impressed with North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky, a former Ohio Mr. Football, despite his inexperience (only 13 college starts), but probably not enough to take him first. Landing Garrett and Trubisky would be a dream scenario, but Cleveland may have to trade up as the rebuilding Jets have sent out vibes they prefer Trubisky.

WHY NOT WATSON? Clemson's Deshaun Watson would seem to fit Jackson's profile of the ideal QB: mobile, dynamic, successful. The Browns, though, don't seem enthralled with Watson - not in the first round anyway - unless their silence is a smoke screen. There are other good options like Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer, Texas A&M's Patrick Mahomes or California's Davis Webb, who may all be available after Round 1.

DRAFT DEBACLES: The Browns' track record drafting QBs - or any position - is abysmal over the past decade, which is why many Cleveland fans fear the team will mess up again. Since 2007, only OT Joe Thomas and CB Joe Haden have proven to be good choices. Eight other first-round picks are no longer on the roster.

Along with Couch, the No. 1 choice in '99, the Browns have used first-round picks on Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden and Manziel, who was Johnny Goofball in an orange helmet. Those mistakes shouldn't deter the Browns from selecting a QB early, but they are grim reminders that there are no givens.

WAITING GAME: Would waiting one more year be so bad? Draft experts point to the 2018 QB class, led by UCLA's Josh Rosen and USC's Sam Darnold, as being more talented than the 2017 group. That wouldn't preclude the Browns from taking a quarterback later in this draft, just not in the first round.

HOMETOWN HEROES: Trubisky is the latest in a long line of Ohio-born QBs tabbed as the Browns' next savior. Quinn, Charlie Frye and Brian Hoyer all grew up as Browns fans, but none was able to lead the turnaround. If Trubisky is picked, the pressure on him to be the team's leader and face of the franchise will be immense.

BYE-BYE BROCK?: The Browns made a shocking move in free agency, acquiring QB Brock Osweiler, his $16 million guaranteed contract and a 2018 second-round pick from Houston. Cleveland made it clear Osweiler was not part of the future, but he's still on the roster and could be part of a fall-back plan if the Browns don't get their desired quarterback.

 

Report: 49ers strongly considering QB at No. 2

Report: 49ers strongly considering QB at No. 2

General manager John Lynch and the 49ers have created the desired intrigue about what the club will do with the No. 2 overall pick in this week’s NFL draft.

The team remains “open for business,” in the words of Lynch, to trade the second pick. If the 49ers are unable to find a trade partner, the team can do any number of different ways with that pick. The first round of the draft is scheduled for Thursday evening.

After edge-rusher Myles Garrett, widely projected to go to the Cleveland Browns with the No. 1 overall pick, there does not seem to be much separating the next dozen prospects on the board at a number of different positions.

Now, there is buzz the 49ers could go with a quarterback – likely, Mitchell Trubisky of North Carolina – with the No. 2 pick. That possibility gained steam Monday morning with a report from Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, citing “several sources,” that the 49ers are “strongly considering” selecting a quarterback with the second pick.

One league source last week told NBC Sports Bay Area some around the league believe the 49ers would draft Trubisky or Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.

“If the 49ers are waiting on Kirk Cousins, just remember that Trubisky is a better prospect now than Cousins was coming out of the 2012 draft,” the source said.

Cousins, who is set to play his second consecutive year as Washington’s franchise player, was a fourth-round selection under then-coach Mike Shanahan, New 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was his father’s offensive coordinator when Washington drafted Cousins.

Lynch has been open in his scouting and praise of this year’s draft class. He has attended workouts of top quarterback prospects: Trubisky, Deshaun Watson (Clemson), DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame), Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech) and Davis Webb (Cal).

"I think most of this quarterback class should be later down the line, whether it's first round or second round,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said recently. ESPN’s Mel Kipier and Todd McShay had Trubisky as the first quarterback selected by the Browns at No. 12 overall.

“I think these guys are somewhat getting a bad rap,” Lynch said at the NFL scouting combine. “You turn on the film, and there’s a lot to like.”

The 49ers head into this week’s draft with Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley as the only two quarterbacks on the roster.

The 49ers have shown no interest in re-signing any of the top three quarterbacks on the team’s roster last season: Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder. Each of those players remains unsigned.