SANTA CLARA – Here’s the transcript of Alex Smith’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers.
It’s become one of the better rivalries in the history of football. Are you looking for the same kind of game coming up?
“Big game, no question. The history last year, we played them twice, the NFC Championship Game, all that. New year though, I think both teams realize that. Obviously it’s going to get turned into more than that, but both of us, I think, just continuing to get better and obviously try to get a W. Whatever it takes. As far as redemption or anything like that, for me they’re the Giants, they’re a really good team. They’re the defending Super Bowl Champions. That more than anything is out there and a chance for us to get a big win.”
Like after last week too, all of the sudden they were looking at film and saying, wow, we’ve got a lot more to defend than we had earlier in the season with you guys.
“Yeah, I mean both teams are different. Even looking at last year’s tape of us, a lot of faces have changed here and there and that’s the nature of this game. Can’t get caught up too much in last year and what was going on. I think both of us are different.”
But head coach Jim Harbaugh had said that even last week offensively exceeded his expectations, does that come at a really good time, coming into to this week against the Giants, to see what that passing game was able to do?
“Yeah, it was great to have out there, see us execute like that. It wasn’t perfect, but it was definitely a good day. But that week’s over, this is a new week. It’s a new team, new opponent, new matchups, different defense. So, a new challenge for us.”
Because you guys have changed so much offensively, personnel wise and some of the additions of other aspects, that maybe the game film of what the Giants tried defensively is kind of irrelevant at this point?
“You use it. Who knows, we’ll see Sunday, how much, if they play us like last year or not. Like I said, a lot of those matchups and things like that all of the sudden change because their personnel changed some, our personnel changed some. Taking a look at both, obviously the film from all this year and then when they played us last year as well.”
Today is the two year anniversary of the Eagles game where everyone was chanting for QB David Carr, does that seem like longer?
“Seems like a long time ago, longer than two years ago for sure. Yeah, a long time ago it seems like.”
And here you stand, the top-rated passer in the league.
“I guess so. Fifth game of the season, I said this earlier, it’s great for now but I want to keep it going. It’s really about how you finish in this game. Still early on and just looking to get better and better and continue to play our best ball as the season goes on.”
For those of us that don’t see you week-to-week though, going back two years, what the big difference with you from two years ago? How do you explain the difference?
“There’s a lot of changes, from the coaches to a lot of the players around here, to myself. This is a team game. This isn’t just all of a sudden something changed in me. A lot things going into being successful on the field, a lot of things It’d be tough to even try to touch them all.”
What do you think’s different for you? How have you changed?
“Played a lot of football in between here and then, and you grow from all of it and you learn. Credit to a lot of the teammates around me right now, making me look good.”
One of the personnel changes from last year is WR Mario Manningham and it seems like your chemistry with him is getting better game-by-game. Is that true and what is it about him that makes him a good target on game days?
“I think he’s getting better with everybody. That’s the nature of passing game, just the more reps you have, I think the more comfortable you’re going to get. Especially Mario, just getting a better feel of seeing things together, when you’re a quarterback and a receiver of seeing the same things and reacting the same way to them. For me, it’s being able to anticipate when he gets different looks, what he’s going to be able to do. And then I can play faster and I can throw a better ball and get it to him quicker. So, a lot of things like that kind of play into it that we’re seeing the same things and reacting to it the same way.”
Carlos Rogers and some of the other cornerbacks were talking how they would pick Mario’s brain on how to attack the Giants. Can you do the same thing with him?
“As far as the defense?”
“I mean, definitely personnel-wise, him and [RB] Brandon [Jacobs] obviously know these guys well, the guys that were there with him. So, no question in that sense that really talked to them as far as the guys they had, things they’re good at, things they’re not, things like that.”
It’s obviously early, but in some of the darker times, could you have envisioned that there would be a day like this where things would be clicking like this?
“I mean, I’m certainly playing for it. I wasn’t playing to continue to lose. You continue to put the work in and to fight and play because you’re trying to win games. No question, thought it could get better, didn’t know when or how.”
You said Sunday you didn’t know how many yards you guys had piled up, but did you know, could you sense it was one of the best games by this offense in a long time?
“No, definitely not in the first half. I felt like, a lot of us were pretty frustrated just by the self-inflicted mistakes. The penalties and the yards we lost in the first half. Obviously, there after the 3rd quarter, I mean, a pretty successful third quarter, second half. Then when someone told me early in the 4th quarter, I guess it made sense, thinking back, yeah, we had been pretty productive and had done some good things. But no idea it was record setting.”
Did you meet President Barack Obama?
“I did. Yeah. Very cool. Huge honor, I mean the President of the United States. It’s one of those things when you’re a kid, yeah, maybe meet the president, and very cool.”
What was he like?
“Talked ball the whole time. Yeah, talked ball most of the time. It was cool, seemed very down to earth, knew what was going on with us, talked a lot about us, the game on Sunday, our schedule, knew we were playing the [Chicago] Bears. So, it was cool.”