SANTA CLARA – Last season, Aldon Smith played about half of the Niners’ defensive snaps and recorded a whopping 16 sacks. This offseason he’s working to become an every-down player, and today he talked to reporters about his progress. Here’s what he said.
Q: How’s the transition going to being an every-down guy?
ALDON SMITH: It’s going good so far. I’m enjoying the learning process and the watching-myself-get-better process.
Q: Where do you see yourself making the most strides so far?
ALDON SMITH: The coverage – being able to cover the receivers better out there.
Q: That’s not something you’ll have to do a whole lot during the season, is it?
ALDON SMITH: If I do, I’m going to be ready for it.
Q: Parys Haralson did such a good job against the run last season. Do you watch film of him?
ALDON SMITH: I learn from Parys, the way he attacks the run and the way he was able to put up a run defense. I get a lot of tips.
Q: What’s the key to that?
ALDON SMITH: Just attack it, really. That mentality.
Q: Are you competing with Haralson for a starting job?
ALDON SMITH: I’m competing with everybody.
Q: Different mentality for your team this year, being the hunted instead of the hunters?
ALDON SMITH: People know who we are, considering what happened last year. But we still have the same mentality – we’re hungry and we’re working hard every day to get better.
Q: What do you expect for yourself next season statistic-wise? You had so many sacks playing about half the time.
ALDON SMITH: Hopefully my stats will increase because I’m in a lot more now.
Q: What do you think the potential is for this defense?
ALDON SMITH: As long as we keep getting better, the sky’s the limit for us. We’ve got a lot of guys who work hard and do their job.
Q: Does anyone work harder than Justin Smith?
ALDON SMITH: Me (smiles). No, he works hard. He’s a hard working guy.
Q: What have you learned from him?
ALDON SMITH: Work ethic, how to be a pro, how to enjoy the game.
Q: Has he been a role model for you?
ALDON SMITH: He’s definitely been a role model for me since the day I got here and we worked out at San Jose State. That’s somebody I talked to all season and somebody I’ll talk to as long as he’s around.
Q: Supposedly he’s pretty funny.
ALDON SMITH: He’s alright (laughs). He’s got a good sense of humor.
Q: Are you guys feeling added pressure this year?
ALDON SMITH: No, we didn’t win the Super Bowl. I think whoever won the Super Bowl should feel the pressure.
Q: Are you going to take any snaps on offense this year?
ALDON SMITH: I might. Quarterback (smiles).