General Manager Rick Smith
(on if he got a chance to visit with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell ) "I did, we visited. And obviously as a member of the competition committee he's always checking in with us regarding the state of the game, so to speak. So we had a chance to visit a little bit about that. He actually indicated that he has charged the committee to look at some of the things that are going on in the game, low blocks for example, to make sure that as we prepare our agenda for the offseason that we've got all of these things that are happening in the game that we may want to address in the name of player safety. So that's a big focus and emphasis for us as a league and for him as commissioner. So, we got a chance to visit a little bit about that. It was good to see him, and I think he saw how enthusiastic the city of Houston is about the possibility of hosting another Super Bowl, and we talked a lot about that, as well."
(on how much fun hosting a Super Bowl would be) "Oh, it'd be a lot of fun. Hopefully we're playing in it. We'll be a host team and a home team, that's the goal, obviously. But it would be a lot of fun. It's a significant event the city and for the fans and for the region. I think we deserve another one. I wasn't here in 2004, but I know from everything that I've heard that the city put on a great show, and I think we deserve another one."
(on bouncing back from the Packers loss in the Ravens game) "Well, we did; we played the way we're capable of playing, and that's what we talked about. I like the resiliency of this group; I like the maturity of this group. They knew that we played uncharacteristically against the Packers and we talked about it and they understood that. They went back to work. We've talked often about how I like the fact that these guys understand the correlation of what goes on during the week and what happens on Sunday. They went back to work last week, and we played at an extremely high level. It was fun to watch."
(on what he's seen from Barrett Rudd progress-wise) "Well, I think he's learning the defense. One of the things that we did today as a function of the bye week is we gave a lot of the players who played a number of plays off and so we had another group of guys out there working today. He of course was in that group so you can see the progress, see him starting to learn and understand what we're asking him to do. I think he'll contribute here soon."
(on who has influenced him in his career) "I've had several of them. I guess the biggest influence on my career is Mike Shanahan. Mike was a guy who gave me the opportunity number one, then he put me in a position to learn everything that I needed to learn in order to handle this job. So I'm eternally grateful for him and his influence. Ancillary influence would be a guy like Bill Walsh because the system that we employed was a San Francisco-style system and I had a chance to get to know Coach Walsh before he passed. Guys that are my contemporaries or at least one is Ozzie Newsome. I've got a lot of respect for him and the way that he constructs football teams and the way that he leads, that's been an influence. And even competitors like Bill Polley, I've gotten a chance to work with Bill and really know Bill. Richie McKay is chairman of the competition committee; he tried to hire me a few years ago. So those are the names that early in my career as a general manager when I was looking for guys to go and have conversations with at league meetings just to pick their brains, those are guys that come to mind."
(on how much his diverse experience background has served him) "I think it served me well. I think it gives me a more rounded view of the game. I think specifically when you talk about the coaching background, I understand how coaches see things. I think that helps us when I can communicate that perspective to our scouts. So as we are going out and attempting to find players that fit the system and the scheme of coaches, it helps me communicate with them. I think it helps Gary and I function and communicate during the course of the season as we're trying to manage the roster and those types of things. I think it just gives me a more rounded view of things, and I think it's helpful."