Q: One day in, how does it feel to be the starter? Smith: It's exciting. It's a dream come true to be a starter. I'm excited about it. Q: Were you expecting it? Smith: I guess I really wasn't. I didn't know what was going to happen. I hadn't heard anything. I went in Monday, watched film and lifted. There was no word. I was in here Tuesday for a while and still no word, so I kind of figured things would stay the same. I didn't know what was going to happen. Then obviously yesterday afternoon, he called us up and told us what was going on. Q: Are you ready for this? Smith: It doesn't really matter right now. That's an irrelevant question. I'm going to be ready on Sunday. I'm just putting in time and getting ready out here on the practice field. Q: Are you happy you have had mop-up role experience? Smith: Any experience is good for me right now, however little. It is different, though, coming into a situation like that. It is different. Q: You spent a lot of the summer with the first-team offense. Has that helped? Smith: Not a whole lot. I think the one thing is that I'm much more confident in what I'm doing and just playing football. I think the time did do a lot for me. Just to be out here watching games and just practicing and playing got me back to not thinking so much and just reacting. Q: Do you feel like you can learn more being on the field and playing? Smith: I definitely think there are different things to learn. I'm going to learn a lot out there on Sunday and I'm looking forward to that. I'm going to learn a lot every Sunday. I'm very excited about that. Q: What do you remember about your first conversation with (Indianapolis QB) Peyton Manning? Smith: It was a long conversation. We talked about a lot of things. A lot of it was directed about the rookie season and being a rookie starter in the NFL, hanging out in the locker room, things you do on the practice field, how you should act, work ethic and things like that. Just things that you're going to go through. We talked about the tough times. Both of their teams struggled their rookie years, and when you look at them now and it looks like it helped. Does it really matter who you're playing this weekend? Smith: I think when you look at the offensive performance of the last four games, the focus definitely has to be on us. I think we're successful when we don't hurt ourselves, when we don't have penalties, don't turn the ball over and convert on third downs. I think that's the biggest thing, so the focus definitely needs to be on us. Obviously, we're going to watch film to get ready to play Indianapolis, but it comes down to us executing. Q: Do you feel you've made enough progress in the past few weeks to start and how? Smith: It was a combination of trying to learn a system – there are so many new things – and the speed of the game. I think that just gets magnified. I think I am. The nice thing about being the scout team quarterback the last four weeks is you can just go out and play. You go out there and you've only got the (number) one defense and they're bringing pressures and bringing blitzes. I also learned a lot from Tim (Rattay) on the sideline. Every Sunday for the last four weeks I got to watch the game and see things he's (Rattay) going through and the different things he's doing on the sideline. It's not so much unknown for me come game time. I'm much more prepared for it. Q: Do you think the Colts will try to knock you out? Smith: I don't know. It's hard to say. They could do anything. They're the number one scoring defense in the NFL, so obviously they're doing something right. I don't know how much they're going to change. Then again, I'm a quarterback and I'm probably going to take some shots. Q: Is it nothing new because in college you were the focus of that team? Smith: Absolutely. Pressure directed at me is not unknown for me. It kind of excites me when I'm the focus point of the defense. It's a challenge and I just have to step up to it. Q: Has the novelty and the awe you felt in the beginning worn off? Smith: It has. That's the nice thing. As a rookie there are so many things you don't expect, not only on the field, but off it. Little things that are very different. Now, after going through four games, two away and two at home, there won't be that much that's unknown. Q: When you did talk to Manning, what were the things that you wanted to learn from him? Smith: Any tips you can get from him. You're talking about a guy that started every play his rookie season, and I think he set a record for interceptions that year. This is a guy that went through that, winning two or three games that year, and came out in the end of it. Look where he is now. I'm just trying to get a feel of the things that he went through, the things that helped him and the things he tried to work on. Any advice I could get. Q: Are you prepared to handle the situation if things go roughly for you? Smith: I think of the phrase ‘Keep punching.' I'm going to keep swinging and keep throwing. I'm a rookie. I'm young. I'm probably going to take some shots and get knocked down, but I just have to get back up and keep going forward. Everything is not going to be golden for me, and there are going to be some bad times. That's not unexpected. Q: What did you learn from watching Tim Rattay? Smith: I learned a lot of things. Tim's a very cerebral quarterback, which is a nice thing for me, being young. I've learned so much about how he manages a game, how he manages plays and bad situations; just being on the sidelines, and I'll watch a play that I would have gone somewhere else with it, but he finds something else. We look at things differently. We look at this offense differently. That's something that is definitely nice about the past few weeks. Q: Have you started to develop a rapport with any of your receivers like Manning and Marvin Harrison? Smith: It's hard. The last four weeks, I've been throwing to guys on the practice squad and scout team, even (quarterback) Cody Pickett. Just getting back there now and throwing routes on air with receivers, I'm going to try to continue to build that timing. That's something that in the middle of the season, I think receivers are so worn out that it's hard to put in extra time with them. You want to save their legs. I think that a lot of what they do is in the offseason and putting in time in the summer. Right now, I'll try to get that done in the weeks ahead, but I'll look forward to that in the offseason. Q: What kind of extra work have you put in during the past few weeks? Smith: Film is the biggest thing. Being able to watch film and learn about defenses in the NFL and learn about this offense. I'm trying to get to higher comfort level with it. That's the biggest thing.
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