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Head Coach Arthur Smith


Can you discuss the decision to go with Taylor (Heinicke) in the second half?

Yeah. Obviously, with Des (Desmond Ridder) needed to get checked out. So that's why Taylor is here. So, Taylor got in there and got going. As he came along, thought that was the best thing right then, just the way that it had gone. We're always going to be cautious, and I'll be conservative. So, I'll listen to the medical experts and make sure everything tomorrow and the next day and as we get through the week, but that's why.

It went down to the last drive, and you told everybody all week that they would be ready to play…

They were. And we've got to do the field position stuff early. You get into that. We got them in those spots in the middle field and they took their shots. They got the early one to (DeAndre) Hopkins to our left. They were able to make some plays off the turnover. They got him on the crossing route, put them up 14-3, again that was a field position thing. You coming backed up, get a drive going and pop it off with a rush. So, credit to them. We came back and moved the ball. Had our chances but unfortunately, we didn't get it done.

Was the deep balls a byproduct of trying to stop the running game?

Different calls. Obviously, we've got to go back and evaluate it. Sometimes, today on the rush call and covered behind it. One of them I know we dropped out of there. Like I said, it was a long development, it was a play extension. Certainly, the one in the third quarter, they moved the pocket on the one with a long throwback and credit to them. The one-on-one ball, point off the turnover, the crossing route and two shots and they made them. Obviously, that was the difference in the game. So, we had our shots early. We didn't get it done.

Do you consider Desmond Ridder your starting quarterback going forward?

I mean, those are obvious questions you've got to ask. We just finished this game. We've got a lot of confidence in Des (Desmond Ridder). We didn't take him out for performance issues. That's why Taylor (Heinicke) is here, to be able to come in as a backup, and give us a shot to win.

To be clear, none of that had to do with performance in terms of taking him (Desmond Ridder) out today?

You guys got the same report I did, right? I'm not a medical expert but there's a reason why he got evaluated. I'm not a doctor. So, when you take somebody out, just like with Drake (London), someone else has to go in there.

Will you evaluate your quarterback situation is this week? Or is Des (Desmond Ridder) your starter if he's available?

Guys, you can ask me 500 ways. We just finished the game. We've got a lot of things we've got to go back and look at. I'm going to listen to the medical experts and see how this week goes.

He was cleared...

Again, I'm going to always be conservative. So, there's certain things, I'm going to trust our gut. I don't think I'm a medical expert, but I try to make what's best for the team at that moment, as you're mixing and matching, whether a guy goes back in or not.

How did you feel Taylor (Heinicke) did when he was in during the second half?

He did his job. We all have faith in Taylor. Again, like I said, Drake (London) goes out, other guys stepped up. (KhaDarel) Hodge stepped up, Mack (Hollins), Van (Jefferson), Scott (Miller). Obviously, Kyle (Pitts) and (MyCole) Pruitt played a lot for us. So we've got to continue to work and find ways not to put ourselves in a hole like that. 

Is there an increased timeline to make a decision potentially here? Like last year when you made the move for Marcus Mariota?

Completely different scenarios. Completely different scenarios.

Do you anticipate knowing by tomorrow who you think you're going to go with?

I'm going to listen to the medical professionals when we get back and everything's clear. I'm not going to make any—like I said, we've got to wait to see what happens with Grady (Jarrett), Keith (Smith), there's a lot of guys.

I know you're saying you don't know but Desmond Ridder did have a turnover today. He did have another fumble today. At some point, when you are making a decision beyond medical, do you have to look at the performance?

He's thrown the ball pretty well. Obviously, we've got a lot of confidence in him as our starter. We've just got to go back. You can ask me 100 times. You can ask me 500 more. We just lost a game. We've got a lot we've got to figure out tomorrow and the next day.

Is there, like you said with Grady (Jarrett), in terms of the knee, is there a concern it could be long term?

Again, I know you want to get the news now. Until you get—there's a million stories. I feel like a broken record, I apologize. I know you're doing your job. Until we get the MRI stuff, I can't give you an answer.

There were a number of kicks and punts fielded deep in your end...

Sure. Yeah, that's costly. That's part of the field position. Played right into our hands. Like I said, we'll evaluate everything. So Scotty (Miller) a little bit. Mike's (Hughes) done a good job but it's decisions we've got to make. And when you play those field positions and make life harder on yourselves and not just one player, there's a lot of things we can do better to not put ourselves in that hole.

What are some of the issues moving forward play-wise and putting yourselves back together after a game like this?

Yeah, we've been pretty fortunate all year with injuries. Again, we have to go back and see how serious all of them are tomorrow, and what the timelines are. It's life in the NFL, unfortunately. It's our job to make sure we put a good plan together, see who's available and go back home and win an NFC game at home.

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