Alex Smith: 'The more weapons you have, the better'

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Alex Smith: 'The more weapons you have, the better'

Both head coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman said something recently that you have great ideas, what are they talking about? Are they talking about different plays to run, different ways of running them?Thats a good question for them. I think it could be anything. I think the great thing here, and Ive said this before for this coaching staff, its so much about the best way to do things not necessarily cookie cutter, our way. If someone has a good idea, lets jump on it and go with it. Its not just me, I think everybody. A lot of people offer up ideas and thats really kind of the idea of the coaching staff, I think everybodys involved. Here and there if Ive got an idea maybe, potentially throw it out there. Some get used and some dont.Do you find yourself using ideas from all of your years of experience from different coordinators?For sure, just experience, things that I have done, different offenses that I have been in, yeah definitely.Alex, there was a 2nd and 7 in the last game where you threw an accurate pass to TE Vernon Davis and he dropped it. On television it looked like WR Randy Moss was breaking open at the same time. After looking at the tape do you feel like that you made the right read?Right read? Yeah, right read. I think if anything it was man-to-man. If anything I would love to get Vernon a ball really pulling him away. I kind of put it up on his face there. He was running a crossing route. With Vernon, weve all seen it, hitting him running there, fast vs. man, how many times have we seen him pull out of that and score, really was the thinking there. If I had to do it over again, more and more ball placement if anything. Its critical vs. man, its the NFL. Six inches here is a big difference playing man defense, and its a big difference for Vernon. For me, looking back at that play, thats what I took away from it.Speaking of just being kind of slightly off, it seems you havent really had like a straight just incompletion. Either you are throwing it away or someones maybe dropped it. Is that somewhat accurate?Yeah, Ive felt good. I havent had that many pass attempts. I dont know how many pass attempts in the two games. The one to WR Mario, Manningham we ran the double move that the safety dropped there. Really saw him get grabbed and throwing the ball and obviously hoping to get the call or the play and didnt get it, but that is the one that stands out in my mind. Other than that, as far as decision making goes, not too many that Id want over again. Throwing the ball where I want to throw it, and if not, getting out of there. That one third down, that 3rd and 7 you were talking about after the 2nd and 7, potentially would like to have that one back. I kind of ran into a sack a little bit. Its a fine line there trying to use your legs and then it working against you.Is it a goal or is it important for you to hit one of these deep passes in the preseason as sort of as a signal for?As far as just setting up tape? Better question for the coaches. Really just trying to show balance out there, not trying to give anybody any tells or anything like that. I feel like we are doing a decent job of it.Alex, when you re-signed here back in March you said that your relationship with head coach Jim Harabaugh was great because he was always honest with you. How has that evolved since that time? Was there any awkwardness at the start when you came back? Whats it been like since?No awkwardness. Anyone thats been around coach Harbaugh for a while realizes, and I think its a great thing about him, hes going to tell you what he thinks. Good or bad he is going to give you his honest opinion. You appreciate that, as someone whos been around for a long time and been with a lot of coaches, you appreciate a guy telling you the truth and being honest with you even if its not always what you want to hear. I definitely appreciate the coaching level, the detailed coaching, work on this. It all comes out as he sees it and I think fundamentally I have improved a lot because of that.Alex, why do you think you will be better on third down this season than you did last season?I think in the end it just comes down to execution. For me as the quarterback it comes to just being decisive, pulling the trigger, good decisions, being decisive within that. Last year at times there were some opportunities out there and for whatever reason didnt get them, maybe unsure, different things, hesitant. As an offense and myself speaking, I think just a little better pulling the trigger this year, taking our shots that are there and executing.At what point did you go back and look at the 3rd downs from the Giants game, from the Championship game? Did you do it the next day or in a couple weeks?That game watching it the next day for sure. Coming off the season, in the offseason OTAs, you have just a huge catalog of everything. Youve got every third down from the entire season which is a lot of third downs. You get to look at how teams are playing us, what were doing, what we need to do better, things like that.Are you watching this by yourself, with all the coaches?Both, literally every single third down snap, coming in watching it with the coaches, going over it by myself, game-by-game, things like that.Can you explain a little bit or give us an insight as to like last year first year in the system do you expect to get the call and make the audibles as well, but this year did you know obviously whats coming and what youre looking for that you dont have to wait for the call every time. Whats that communication like this year?Still waiting on the call. I think you just continue to get a better sense of what were trying to do. Play call intent, what are we trying to get done out of this play call. You do a better job with that, hey were calling this, this is what were thinking. If we dont get that Im going here. You get better at just understanding all that with the play call. The play call is just coming in, but you do a better job of understanding everything that comes with it and then getting to that faster, just operating quicker.Is there ever a point in this preseason where you have just been able to conduct the drive how you want the whole way just to help you with that?It changes week-to-week. Theres more on my plate some weeks than others, it just depends on who were playing and how were trying to attack them. Yeah, I guess I feel like all of our drives have been like that. Weve ran the ball really well this preseason, kept ourselves in better situations. Weve been ahead of the chains, a lot of positive plays. We talk a lot about negative plays killing drives. You continue to put yourselves in good situations, youre productive on first and second down, I think that helps your third down. We were in a lot of third and longs last year, and the entire NFL in general is not good at third and longs. Its a difficult situation. I think that kind of played into our lack of success at times last year, just doing a better job of putting positive plays together.You were under pressure against the Houston Texans. How do you see your pass protection developing this year? Is it better now?I do. I feel like its much better. I said this to CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco after the game, I take credit for quite a bit of that during the game. I felt like a lot of that was self-inflicted. First play, definitely my fault, that 3rd-and-7 sack, I really felt like I ran into that. Same as the other sack, which was really kind of a no-loss, it was right at the line of scrimmage, but on me as well. I really felt like protection was pretty good. There was the one where I got the roughing the passer. Thats the only one that really stands out in my mind. Other than that, protections been great. And I think well do a better job. Same thing, it falls on all of us. Offensive line, it starts there, but its on backs, quarterbacks, receivers, getting the ball out, understanding when were getting pressure, things like that.What can you be doing better to deal with the pass rush?Theres a fine line there getting the ball out in windows and then using your legs, and using them to help you. Not running up into D-Linemen, helping your offensive linemen out, finding the soft spot in the pocket, the quiet spot, things like that.Now that you have WRs Randy Moss and Mario Manningham on the offense, can we expect more long passes in games and fewer check downs?The goal is obviously, the more weapons you have the better. In the end Im still going to take what the defense gives me. Im still going through my reads. Theres no sense to just drop back and throw it up. Now Randy does provide some opportunities where if hes one-on-one and youre going to take some shots, just a guy who plays the ball that well in the air and that kind of ability, thats what you want. You want to create problems. To a certain extent, youre still going to go through your progressions and reads and take what the defense gives you.Would you change your reads, the fact that its Randy Moss?A little. Yeah, for sure, here and there.

Casspi thanks Kings after trade to Pelicans: 'Definitely isn't easy'

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USATSI

Casspi thanks Kings after trade to Pelicans: 'Definitely isn't easy'

The Kings traded Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, prompting the forward to post a heartfelt message on his Instagram account.

I want to thank the Sacramento Kings organization for the opportunity to play basketball in front of the great fans of Sacramento. My wife and I felt in Sacramento like being home and this is something we both will cherish for ever. This definitely isn't easy for me and my family to leave, and you all know how much I love our city, organization and fans but the time has come. I want to wish nothing but success to my Kings. I will definitely will follow and cheer from afar. 
Always a big part of my heart, 
Omri #18

Casspi, 28, averaged 5.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 18 minutes per game for the Kings this year.

A's spring training Day 7: Rosales readies himself everywhere

A's spring training Day 7: Rosales readies himself everywhere

MESA, Ariz. — Adam Rosales has a real simple plan for which infield position he chooses to try to get work at.

“Wherever there’s less guys, I go over there,” he explained with a smile.

The sun came out and the A’s finally got on the field for their first full-squad workout Monday after being rained out Sunday. That meant Rosales, back for his second go-round as an Athletic, got his first chance to prepare for what figures to be a super-utility role, which is how he’s carved out a nine-year major league career.

All indications are that he’ll be the primary backup infielder, capable of spelling Jed Lowrie at second base, Marcus Semien at shortstop, Trevor Plouffe at third and even fill in at first base or left field in a pinch.

Though Rosales, who spent 2010-12 with Oakland and re-signed in January on a one-year $1.25 million deal, is well-versed in preparing himself all over the diamond, one position in particular is one that he says is most difficult to master in limited time.

“Shortstop,” he offered without hesitation. “There’s a lot more going on there, a lot less room for error. At shortstop, especially with a guy like Mike Trout running, you’ve got to be in good rhythm, good timing, get rid of the ball and make an accurate throw.”

Depending on how the A’s prioritize their 25-man roster, Rosales could very well be the only backup infielder. That means fellow infielders Joey Wendle and Chad Pinder would start in the minors if the A’s were to keep a fifth outfielder or third catcher. But because the A’s have some players who can fill in at multiple spots, there’s numerous ways they can choose to configure the roster when it comes time to pare it down.

Rosales, 33, said walking back into the A’s clubhouse for the first time made him “feel like I’m back home.” So much of the support staff — equipment guys, clubhouse guys — are the same as when he was here before. He was also happy to see former infield mate Mark Ellis walk through the door Sunday. He says Ellis, a teammate from 2010-11, instilled in him the importance of being a great defender. Ellis is working as a part-time spring instructor.

“He told me, the No. 1 reason he was in the big leagues was because of this,” Rosales said, holding up his glove. “I was such a young player then. I’d always work with him, how to turn double plays. Just to have him around is awesome.”

NOTEWORTHY: Sonny Gray and Kendall Graveman were among the pitchers who faced hitters for the first time this season. Bruce Maxwell caught Gray, his first time behind the plate with Gray other than the one inning Gray threw in an abbreviated start at Anaheim toward the end of last season. Maxwell said Gray’s changeup in particular looked good.

Manager Bob Melvin has been very impressed early on with Graveman’s command. Graveman said he’s trying to improve his changeup, in an effort to induce weak contact from righties and get them on the their front foot, which could then make him more effective on the inside corner.

CAMP BATTLE: There could be a good fight for the seventh and final spot in the bullpen, and it would seem being left-handed could give someone an edge. Sean Doolittle is the only lefty currently projected among the A’s top six relievers. Melvin had good things to say about Daniel Coulombe, a lefty who made 35 appearances in relief last year and also saw a bit of time with Oakland in 2015. Coulombe posted a 4.53 ERA last season but struck out 54 in 47 2/3 innings.