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Weekly conversation: GM Rick Smith

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Rick Smith interview

(on picking up a new safety) "We obviously signed Troy Nolan back. Troy was picked up by the Dolphins when we initially released him, was on their team for a couple weeks. In fact, we played against him when we played Miami in Week 1. He was recently released, and we had the injuries at the safety spot. (Quintin) Demps had a thumb issue one week and the next week he fractures his forearm, so he'll be down for a few weeks. We thought we ought to get Troy back because he knows the system, he knows the scheme and he's made plays for us before."

(on Troy Nolan being a hard cut the first time) "Absolutely. One of many of those tough cuts that we talked about before. So we felt fortunate to be able to get him back in the fold."

(on the new IR rule and how it affects what he's doing) "We actually do have four players on injured reserve currently. But what you're referring to is a new rule that we passed where you can designate one player to return after a certain amount of time. We did not designate (Quintin) Demps as that player yet, so we still have that option out there for us moving forward. And hopefully, knock on wood, we won't have to utilize that. But you're right; we have a new rule now that if there's a player that might have the opportunity to come back, then you can designate him for return."

(on the difference between preparing for a Monday Night Football game and a regular Sunday game) "Well, you get the extra day. For me, it's not as significant as it is for the coaches; they get an extra day of preparation. I'm still going through my normal routine. I am going to go over to Austin and working the Texas- West Virginia game this weekend, so that will be a part of what I do because, fortunately, we do leave on Sunday as opposed to Saturday. I do get an extra day that way on the back-end. So I'll utilize it that way."

(on Kareem Jackson having a good season) "Yeah, he has. I've talked about that publicly. I'm not so sure that he's totally responsible for Kareem's evolution and evolving, but I think that Johnathan Joseph's addition to our football team really has helped Kareem. I saw Kareem come back this summer in training camp more focused on details, more focused on going out to practice every day working the way he needed to work, going out working on his footwork. I see him as a technician more so now than ever before. The guy has had experience; he's growing as a player, he's getting better. It's fun to see him have some success because he has worked hard and he's played well for us over the first month of this season."

(on how J.J. Watt is playing so well) "Number one, I think he's obviously got the talent, he's got the work ethic. I think he's got a coach that's putting him in the position to make plays. I think he's got people around him that allow him to make plays because we've got a talented defensive group and we've got some guys up front that give people challenges and give people problems, so we're able to utilize all those things. He started, if you go back to last year, toward the end of the year, he really started playing at a high level and he's picked up on that which is somewhat remarkable because he's playing at such a high level. Obviously, he can't continue to have the type of production that he's having for 16-straight games, but I do see this guy continuing to get better. I think, as crazy as it may sound, he still has not scratched the surface in terms of what he can potentially be for our football team. I will say this, somebody asked me a couple weeks ago if it's too early to call him a "game changer" and my response was 'I don't know if he's a game changer, he's an impact player, he impacts the football game. The question was whether or not he was dominant and I'm not ready to put that title on him, but he is certainly an impact player, and he's helped the football team win these first four games."

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