SANTA CLARA – Aldon Smith spoke with Bay Area reporters Sunday morning. Here’s what he said.
Q: Once the pads go on, what is the goal for you to work on during this part of the offseason?
ALDON SMITH: Just improving where I left off last season. Doing things better. Improving on things I’ve been working on in the offseason. Everyday I’m on the field, getting a step better.
Q: You had 19.5 sacks last year. What can you improve on?
ALDON SMITH: A lot. Getting more sacks, making more plays, seeing more. Things that I didn’t do as well last year, doing them better this year.
Q: This team used a third-round pick on an outside linebacker. You’ve got Parys Haralson back. You seem to have more reserves at your position. How do you see that as a starter? Do you like to have backups who can give you breathers?
ALDON SMITH: Depth is always good. Having veterans like Parys and Ahmad, we can always help out each other. Any time we can add guys to our position, we welcome it. If anything, it makes us be more competitive and it brings out the best in us.
Q: We saw you having your shoulder worked on last season as early as that Chicago game. Did that injury get progressively worse as the season went on?
ALDON SMITH: I don’t think it got too much better, not having a rest. We had a lot more games to go. I didn’t get a chance to really heal up, but I’ve had this offseason and I’ve really done a lot to get back to where I was and get better.
Q: Is it a goal of yours’ to break the sack record?
ALDON SMITH: It’s definitely a goal, but I take it game-by-game.
Q: Did Justin Smith seem like his old self in the first padded practice?
ALDON SMITH: He’s looking pretty good, yeah.
Q: You didn’t have any sacks after Week 13. How much of that was your injury and how much of that was Justin Smith being out and offenses focusing on you?
ALDON SMITH: I think it was a couple of things. Them seeing the pace I was on, I don’t think any team wanted to let me set the record on them or let me get sacks on the because it wouldn’t look good. There were double teams, triple teams at times. And of course, not having Justin beside me. They had a lot more attention they could focus on me. And then the shoulder, I’m not a man of excuses, but being hurt doesn’t make anything easier for you.
Q: Were you satisfied with the way you played in the NFC Championship game and the Super Bowl?
ALDON SMITH: I think I played well, yeah.
Q: How did Lawrence Okoye handle his first padded practice?
ALDON SMITH: I wasn’t really curious. I know what a guy like him can do. He’s an Olympian and he’s really strong. When he puts the pads on, I think strength is going to show in any kind of way he plays. He did a good job.
Q: It seemed like Ian Williams had a good practice yesterday. What have you seen from him this offseason?
ALDON SMITH: Ian has continued to progress since he’s been here. He’s learned a lot from the guys. He’s been able to step it up and step right in and handle his business.
Q: Okoye is very tall and has long legs. You’re tall too. Do you give him advice on how to use that to an advantage and how to keep guys from getting into your body?
ALDON SMITH: I try to help him out a little bit when I can. It’s something he’s going to have to learn, just to drop his hips and sink down. But it will come to him. This is his first year ever playing football. Every day he’ll get better and he’ll continue to improve.
Q: Is he impressive in the weight room?
ALDON SMITH: He’s definitely strong. He’s a strong guy.
Q: What do you understand about the NFL now that you didn’t when you were a rookie?
ALDON SMITH: A couple of things. The consistency, the way you take care of your body and your time management. As long as you manage all of those things and do what you’re supposed to do…However you want to be remembered in this league. You can treat yourself like you want to play for 3 years or you can treat yourself like you want to play for 13.