Alex Smith is surprised a conversation about the Redskins' home-field advantage turned so negative when it really derived from something positive.
"This is the third franchise I've played for," Smith told Chad Dukes on 106.7 The Fan. "The crazy thing is, I feel like this all stemmed from such a positive thing. The sight in Tampa Bay was crazy... I've never been a part, to see that many fans down there at a road game. I mean I felt like it was a fourth of the stadium. And certainly by the fourth quarter, when that game was getting put away."
"To see all the fans, you know they all kind of migrate down to the lower bowl, I feel like, as people exit. And to kind of see the whole lower bowl, certainly all behind our bench, kind of taken over, see 'em all pumped up, it was fun. A very, very cool sight. Something that definitely got my attention there after the game."
"With that said, you've got to earn – you've got to win and you've got to win consistently," Smith continued. "You've got to build home-field advantage. I mean, fans have a right to be critical of their teams. That's the nature of being a fan. So, a little bit, you've got to go build that thing. That's my experience.
"Anywhere there is – you talk about home-field advantage, you talk about these places. Well, it's because they've earned that right, and they've earned that kind of deal, and we've got to go get that done and I look forward to doing that."
"Two parts of it," Dukes said. "One is you guys are in a tough spot where, if you come out and you say what you feel and you're honest about it, it can hurt you. Like, it can be held against you. So I like it when people share their opinions and they actually mean what they say. The other part is... it's basically guys on the team saying, 'We like when the fans show up. We like when you guys are cheering. It helps us! It helps us with our job.'"
"Yes! Without a doubt. And I think especially defensively," Smith said. "Offensively, at a home game we just want it quiet. You know? We just want to be able to talk out there and communicate. But defensively, that is really where the home-field advantage comes in. That's where the crowd noise comes in. That's where they can really take a game over.
"They can make it hard for an opposing offense to communicate, and then I think they can really jack up our defense. They can really get 'em going, especially in times when they may need 'em. So that's really where a home-field advantage comes in, so for those guys on the defensive side. You know, yeah. Like I said, on offense for us, you just want to be able to talk."