SANTA CLARA – Alex Smith was interviewed by Bay Area reporters on a conference call Wednesday afternoon. Here’s a transcript.
Q: Is it weird it to be game planning and studying the 49ers’ defense as an opponent?
AS: It is and it isn’t. It’s so far removed. I feel like a lot has happened since then and we played them last year in the preseason. A lot has gone on. In the football world a year and a half is a long time. Also, though, for the guys who are still there, it’s funny to be watching Justin on tape and Patrick and those guys I played so long with. It is funny to be watching it a little bit. But there also is a bunch of new faces too and a new stadium that I’ve never been to.
Q: What is your perspective when you view them now as a team you’re trying to beat?
AS: It’s no different than what I knew then. They have a pretty, pretty, pretty good, pretty stout…it’s tough to find much there. They’re a stingy defense. They’re physical up front. They’re smart. They’re well coached. Certainly a big challenge this week.
Q: Do you have any inkling about how you’ll be received by the fans when you come here?
AS: Haven’t thought about it and I guess no idea. I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out.
Q: You’ve talked about the pressure you put on yourself being the No.1 pick. The Chiefs gave up a fair amount to get you. Did your past experience prepare you for that pressure?
AS: Yeah, that certainly played a part in it. I think a lot of stuff played into that, even what happened there at the end of the year, losing my job, a little bit of it. Worrying about anything that was outside of your control and dwelling on any of that stuff is only going to have a negative impact. As much as that stuff is there, good, bad or indifferent, you just try to focus and you eliminate all that clutter and distractions and you focus on the things you can control, and that’s going out there and trying to be prepared and play good football. So, yeah, certainly in a much better frame of mind to handle the opportunity last year.
Q: Was it like, this is the type of quarterback I am, this is the type of person I am, take it or leave it?
AS: Oh, for sure more comfortable with who I am as a person and a player. And at the same time that’s not to say you’re stubborn or not going to change. You certainly are constantly working on your weaknesses and trying to improve. I think you also have a far better understanding of what wins football games from the quarterback position. And for me, it was so many little things that went into playing winning football. It’s not always the big impressive throw. It’s some of the little things you do over and over and over again over the course of 60, 70, 80 plays in a game that are winning football. So I think I have a better understanding of that.
Q: Is there a common thread among the coaches that you’ve had – Urban Meyer, Jim Harbaugh and now Andy Reid?
AS: It’s hard to compare any of those guys. Everybody comes at it their own way and their individual style. It’s tough. Certainly the common thread between Coach Reid and Coach Harbaugh is they’re both quarterback-guys as head coaches, so that’s different. You have a head coach that’s in your quarterback meetings and coaching you on the field. I think other than that, though, it’s tough to compare them. Certainly they’re all very detailed in how they coach the position. Success and execution, it certainly comes down to the details and how the plays are coached. It’s less about X’s and O’s at that point.
Q: What do you like best about playing in Andy Reid’s offense?
AS: That’s tough. I think the attitude and the environment that he sets as the head coach. He’s one of the best teachers that I’ve been around in the sense of really teaching the details of smaller things and developing that, not only in the classroom but on the field. He really creates an environment of cutting it loose and we’ll fix mistakes as we go and we’ll roll. Coaches coach and players play and it’s your job to go out there and be yourself and play football.
Q: Even though you didn’t win a Super Bowl, do you feel like you finished your business with the 49ers?
AS: I do, yeah, to be honest. I really did kind of feel that. Felt like it was complete. Felt like we had rebounded. Took a lot longer than I ever thought. Got the organization back where it needed to be and better than when I came here. So yeah, in a sense, definitely. Didn’t have any regrets when I left.
Q: Do you have any bitterness about the way things went down?
AS: I don’t. I don’t at all. No, I was so excited about this opportunity when that happened. I felt like that chapter was done for me and I was really excited about moving on to this next opportunity. I think because of everything that happened over the course of my career I was so much more appreciative of how fragile the opportunity is to get to start and play in this game and, for me, I was just full go on it and going to do everything I could to take advantage of it and run with it and not look back. So, no, bitterness at all.
Q: Did you actively try to make sure that the guys that were loyal to you didn’t do anything and kept with the team, the team, the team mentality?
AS: I actively tried to be a good teammate and do what was right. I felt like coaches coach and they have to make their decisions and do it. Players play and those are things outside of my control. This is a team game. I wasn’t going to put myself or my situation ahead of any of that. I know I said that at the time. I still feel the same way. There is no one bigger than the team. That certainly was my frame of mind.
Q: Jim Harbaugh said there would be no pregame butt slapping and hugging with you. Is that accurate? Is that something you guys had talked about in advance?
AS: I haven’t talked to anybody. I haven’t given it much thought, no.
Q: He made it sound as if he’d had this conversation with you.
Q: Do you guys talk much anymore.
AS: I have not talked to Coach in quite a while.
Q: Did the 49ers make the right choice in going with Colin over you or did they possibly make a mistake?
AS: I’m not even going to answer that, man. I haven’t thought about it. At this point it is not even relevant.
Q: Did you ever talk to Kaepernick during that time?
AS: Yeah, Kap and I talked and sent text messages. It’s been a little while as well. It’s tough to talk to anybody in the middle of the season.
Q: How is A.J. Jenkins doing?
AS: He’s doing well. A.J. is doing great. Working hard. He’s developed a lot over the last few years here in this system. Very excited for him.
Q: How have you improved since you’ve been on the Chiefs?
AS: A lot of it is getting more reps and you’re getting better. It’s certainly a whole other coaching staff and a way of doing things here, and Coach Reid has coached a lot of great quarterbacks. Seems like an endless supply of knowledge. Every day I try to soak it up and take in something. The more games you play in and the more practice reps you get, you’re constantly learning and trying to get better.
Q: You signed a contract extension with the Chiefs. Does that give you some assurance that they you view you as their quarterback now and deep into the future?
AS: In a sense. Maybe just for this year. You realize even though, yeah, you end up signing a multi-year deal, you learn how fragile this thing is. It’s a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business and you’ve got to go out every single week and prove it. And that’s the deal. I’ve played long enough to know that. The contract extension was nice in the sense that I really didn’t feel like I had to go out there, that this year was done and I wasn’t going to be…there wasn’t that unknown at the end of the year. But at the same time, I really feel like every week you’ve got to go out there and re-prove yourself.