HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
"As we talked Wednesday, I told you exactly where we were at the time. I hadn't talked to the guys. Going back to the early part of the week, I talked to the guys early in the week and told them know we would go through the week and let them know exactly who would be starting this weekend. That's exactly what we did. I know some of you were able to guess right and kind of jumped the gun a little bit. Both guys have been told that Kyle Allen will start this week. Reasons why, I mean it's like that with all positions. There comes a time when you need to – you're always looking for the best option that gives you the best chance to win. That's where we are right now. We'll need both guys, and as I said after the game and all week, there are a lot of other things that we have to do better. Protection has to be better, no matter who our quarterback is. Hopefully that will be the case, and it will give us a better chance to win football games. That's where we are."
What did QB Kyle Allen do to show you he should be the starter?
"We're not going over every little detail. We have named the starter. To become a starter, we feel like you give us the best chance to win. Everything the quarterback position has to do, protecting the football, decisions in the pocket, when to run, all those things come in to play with that. That's why we're in this position now. I feel like when a guy is the starter, he should have an opportunity to show who he really is. A body of work. I feel like we have a body of work right now that leads us to go into this Miami game this way."
How do you hope this decision impacts QB Davis Mill's long-term development?
"We really don't think about it that way. What gives us the best chance against Miami? Short term. Everything is short term with where we are. We're trying to get a win and play better football. This decision is just based around that."
How did QB Davis Mills take the decision?
"We'll keep all that to us. You have the starter right now. How would any competitor take it? He's been playing, and of course he's not thrilled about it. Who would be?"
Are you taking the quarterback position week-by-week?
"We take it day-by-day with everybody. Are we naming a lifetime starter? No, that's not the case at all. This is what we think we need to do for this game. That's how it is for every position. If we don't think the option that we have that's getting the most reps is giving us the best chance to win, maybe that's the case for other positions this week for that matter. I don't plan to all of a sudden start announcing starters on Tuesday, Wednesday. We're not going to do that. We're going to go through the week just like we handled this situation. At the end of the week, we'll let guys know exactly which direction we'll go."
What does QB Davis Mills need to work on behind the scenes?
"There's a lot of things. All of the above. There's just not one soundbite that I can give you. 'Davis needs to do this.' 'He's not going to start this week because of that.' It's a body of work. There's a lot of things that go into every position. So, that's what it is. Your roles change throughout the course of a year. Throughout the course of a game your role can change. We could need Davis (Mills) sooner than later, as far as that's concerned."
What impressed you with QB Kyle Allen in preseason?
"He has a body of work too. I'm talking about he's played and started in the NFL, so we have that. It's not like this will be the first time, he's a rookie going in there for the first time. What we've seen from him here is that he's been here the entre time. He's had all of the instruction that all of our quarterbacks have had a chance. He was able to play a little bit in the preseason, and I've seen him. When you're in the backup role, you go against the one defense each day. We've seen him there, and we feel pretty confident he can throw the ball. He's mobile enough and he deserves an opportunity."
After switching from QB Tyrod Taylor to QB Davis Mills last year because of ineffectiveness, are you willing to say why QB Davis Mills has been replaced this year?
"I was asked earlier, I was told about another team made a change at quarterback. What I said then is, 'What does that have to do with us?'. I'm really saying the same thing. What happened in the past has no bearing on this. This is the way we think we have to do it right now. The message to all of our football team is the same. We're late in the year. Everybody has a body of work. Do we think it's good enough? If we don't think it's good enough, we have to look at another option. It's just as simple as that. It's nothing long-term. It can be long-term. It can be short-term. It's just that. We feel good about going into the Miami game this way."
I asked because everybody who was involved in that decision is still here this year.
"I was defensive coordinator. The head coach is different, period. Who is making the final decision? Whatever else happened in those roles, it has no bearing on what we do right now. I don't know exactly what all happened back then, I just know how we're doing it right now. How I said we we're going to do earlier in the week is exactly how we're doing it right now. That's how we're doing things. I think all of our players understand that."
With this being the biggest personnel change of the year, what do you expect is better about this situation?
"We need to get to the game. It's not like we changed up our practice. We've exchanged a couple players, feel good about how we've been practicing, feel good about how we've played. We haven't taken all of what we've been doing on the practice field to the game, but I'm hoping that will be the case. Sometimes, your opponent will bring out the best in you. We're playing one of the best teams in the NFL, on how they're playing right now. What a challenge, what a great opportunity for all of our guys. That's what I'm going to say. We're talking about one guy, but it's a whole lot more than just that."
Is it disappointing that you have to make this change?
"I wish we didn't have to make it. As far as disappointing, we're all big boys in this business. I think what everybody is looking for is an opportunity. I want all of our players, if they're starters, to feel like they've been given ample time to prove exactly who they are, given that great opportunity. I feel good about the opportunity we've given everyone. If we've made a change at any position, I think there's a body of work that says we should."
How tough was this decision at this point in the season?
"What this call says is that whenever you're making a change, things aren't going well. That's more the focus is that, on how we're playing as a football team right now. When you're not playing well, decisions like this come. That's just a part of it also. I wish everything was rolling the way we would like for it and envision it happening, and we didn't have to make some of those decisions, but that's where we are. Looking at the other way, things haven't gone well, and we need to get better, so we need to make some moves like this to see if we can jump start."
QB KYLE ALLEN
What it's like for you to be named the starter?
"It's cool for me. This is year five. I've played every single year of my career. I was undrafted. There's been a lot of adversity. The last start I had was in 2020 when I broke my leg. So, this this is the first start since I broke my leg. Personally for me, it's kind of a cool overcoming adversity moment, getting back on the field, it was really tough being injured. Last year, kind of still injured powering through that and this year feeling good and being able to get back out there. So personally, it's awesome. You go into the season just wanting to play your role, but you always want to see time on the field, so I'm excited."
How much does your past help you now starting this week?
"I think reps, experience, the more you see things, even just practice and seeing how this team plays and just different scenarios, it all helps. Just being able to have played a bunch in my past and seeing tons and tons of looks, every year helps."
Can you take us through this week and what it was like being named the starter?
"We didn't really know anything earlier in the week. We were just splitting reps and today, he (Lovie Smith) told me I was playing. Every week I try and go put in my mindset that I'm going to play, whether I know I'm not starting, I might have to play at any point. It's always been the way of my career. I've been the backup the most of my career. I've played a bunch though too. When I'm the backup, in my brain I've got to be ready to play."
What can you do to give the offense a jumpstart?
"Just execute. I don't think there is anything special that needs to be done or crazy. We need to execute. We just need to make plays. I think situational football is going to be huge. I think we've struggled in situational football a bunch, so hopefully we can be good in third downs, red zone and two-minute. Those areas are really important in the game, and I think we can improve in those areas. For me personally, I'm just trying to execute and do what I can do to help the team. It's a team game at the end of the day, so we've all got to play good."
Have you had any opportunities to play with the starters?
"Not much to be honest with you. In preseason, Scott (Quessenberry), who has been playing center, he was the No. 2 in preseason, so I did get a lot of reps with Scott. I am really comfortable with Scott. Honestly, outside of that, not many. I always watch all the receivers. I'm good friends, I'm close with all of the receivers. It's really important for me to build relationships around the locker room. When it comes time for me to have to play, these guys have to trust me out there. They've got to know who I am. I think OTAs, training camp, throughout the season, it's a real priority of mine to build relationships with everybody."
How did you approach signing here for a year up to this point?
"I think wherever I sign, wherever it was going to happen, I was going to be ready to play no matter what. I train in the offseason to be ready to play. It's just football. I don't come here to hopefully not play the whole season, be a backup. I'm ready to play."
How do you think this could either help QB Davis Mills or put a dent in his confidence?
"I don't think it will put a dent in his confidence. I've said this since I've got here, I think Davis (Mills) is extremely talented. Like me earlier in my career, you need reps, you need to be able to work through things, maybe hit a little adversity and how he responds to it could either get better or worse. I think he's going to respond to it great. I told him this isn't over for you. I think a lot of times I've been, you were around when I was at Houston, I've been benched in my career. I've been taken off. I've been benched. I've been through it all. I think you keep just pushing through it, and he's going to be just fine. He's a really good quarterback, a great person. He gets it. Sometimes stuff like this just happens and you've got to push through."
What have you seen from the sideline and pinpointed this is what QB Davis Mills needs to work on?
"That's not my job to say that. It's the coaches' job. I think Davis (Mills) has done a great job for what he can do. There's obviously been some mistakes. At the quarterback position, turning the ball over is a killer. My second year in the league I had 15 interceptions and I had to learn from that, heavy. At the end of the year, I got benched for Will Grier because I turned the ball over too much. I think you learn from these mistakes, and you just try and change your game and implement things to your game to get better."
What is it about this offense that you're trying to get better at?
"Just execute. Nothing special. Just got to go out there and execute the gameplan. Offense puts a gameplan together, their defense puts a gameplan together, got to make plays."
How much does it help to have a running back like RB Dameon Pierce back there?
"It's great, and we've committed to it too. That's why last game when we were struggling in the run game, it hurts the whole offense. We're a run identity team. It's great. Dameon (Pierce) has played awesome. Rex (Burkhead) is a seasoned vet in the league, he's played great. Dare (Ogunbowale) has been awesome in the spurts he's got too. We'll need to get him going on Sunday."
Have you gotten a chance to talk with Pep Hamilton and go over the game play?
"It's Friday, man. We've been doing it since Tuesday."
That's why I asked if you've gotten any reps with the ones this week?
"We've been kind of in and out. We didn't know until today who was going to play. I've had some (reps) this week, but over the course of the season, very minimal."
What do you see is the biggest challenge going into the Miami?
"Good front. Obviously trading for Bradley Chubb was huge for them. I think their defense is kind of the way a lot of defenses are going. Now they're playing a five-man front and just playing man and cover-3 behind it. I think they don't do much, but what they do, they do really well. They've calmed down on the blitz a little bit from last year, but they're still blitzing a lot. Obviously, their offense can put points up at will, so it's going to be a great challenge. They are 7-3. (Mike) McDaniel has got them rolling over there. Tua (Tagovailoa) is playing great. The defense is playing great. I think we are up for the challenge, but it's going to be a great challenge."
Where does this moment stack up for you at this juncture in your career?
"It's just cool to be able to get the opportunity to get back out there. In the NFL you get opportunities. There's always opportunities to be had. You've got to keep taking advantage of them though. I feel like I've done a really good job of taking advantage of opportunities when I've been given them. I'm always really grateful to get these opportunities, because you don't know when they're going to run out."
What have you learned from the course of your career that you can apply to this situation?
"I think you learn a little bit from everything. You learn a little bit from all your teammates. You learn a little bit from your coaches and situations. I think for me the confidence going into this one is probably higher than it's been in the rest of them because of the experience. I've been through a lot. Early in my career, I was wondering if I was going to make a team my rookie year. I was the fourth-string practice squad guy. I made the team, then I made practice squad, then made backup and then got to play. I think the more and more you play, the more and more you go through it, your confidence goes up. Probably that would be the most."