Mike Smith Calls Safety Jordan Whitehead a "Heat-Seeking Missile"

Sports Xchange

(On the rookie cornerbacks Carlton Davis and M.J. Stewart)

“I think all three of those young men are really good football players. Of course, Carlton has probably got the most snaps of the three guys. He’s a big, strong corner that plays well when he’s close to the line of scrimmage than when he’s off. I think that we’re seeing that as the games start getting put into the books. M.J. has some flexibility in terms of where he can play. He’s lined up and played corner, nickel and safety for us. He’s a guy that’s got flexibility and then we’re just getting these young guys – as quickly as we can – up to speed. Every day is a new day for those guys, but we’ve been very pleased with how they’ve worked for us thus far. They’ve been battle-tested that’s for sure. You face two Hall of Fame quarterbacks and a guy that was MVP of the Super Bowl, so they haven’t had any slack that’s for sure.”

(On what safety Jordan Whitehead brings to the defense)

“He doesn’t have the experience of Chris – that’s the first thing. We’ve got to get him up to speed as quickly as possible. He is a heat-seeking missile in terms of going after the ball. That’s one of the things he does very well. If you had to say, ‘Is he a traditional free safety or strong safety?’ you would tend to say he is more of a strong safety. He’s a guy that can really track the ball in the run game and when he gets to you he’s going to wallop you with a good punch. That’s one of the things that I think is his strength. He’s sudden. He doesn’t probably have the length that Chris has, but it’s his opportunity to step up and go out and play. I’m anxious to see him play. He stepped into the game the other night and did a nice job there in the second half.”

(On if the new rules change the defensive game plan)

“Absolutely. The day of having a guy in the back that you’d call the enforcer that was going to enforce any time a guy came across the middle – that doesn’t exist anymore. The game’s changed and I get it – we all get it. It’s for safety reasons, but it’s going to change the way the game is played on the offensive side and the defensive side.”

(On going against the Bears defensively)

“They’ve got two really good running backs in [Jordan] Howard and [Tarik] Cohen. They’ve got guys that can catch the ball on the outside, but they are going to attack us with the run. This is probably going to be one of the best teams thus far that we’ve played in terms of running the football. They’ve got Howard who is a big strong guy. They’re very different in terms of their physical make-up. Cohen is a guy that will move out in the slot receiver position – catch some short passes and let him use his athleticism. It’s going to be important that we’re gap-sound. We were not as gap-sound as we needed to be at the end of the game on Monday night, so we’re going to have to be gap-sound so they don’t run through us and through the middle of our defense with Howard. And then we’ve got to make sure that we can contain and keep Cohen bottled up.”