SANTA CLARA – As you know, the Niners cut Braylon Edwards yesterday. As you may not know, they’re most likely going to promote practice squad WR Joe Hastings to the 53-man roster to fill Edwards’ spot.
Alex Smith answered questions this afternoon Edwards and Hastings.
He also answered questions about conservative play calling.
Here you go.
Q: What were your thoughts when you heard Braylon Edwards had been cut?
ALEX SMITH: Obviously shocked at first, but not my decision. It’s the nature of this game. When you’re in the middle of a season you don’t have a lot of time to reflect on something like that. Personnel decisions are something that’s just a part of this. Week in and week out I found that out my rookie year and every year since. We’ll just have to keep going, obviously.
Q: Can you talk about how you’ve worked with the practice squad receivers?
ALEX SMITH: One of the great things this coaching staff has done is the practice squad has been more included. They’re a part of the team more than any year I’ve ever been here. Taking reps, traveling with us, doing all the meetings – really a part of the team, so I really think their development is so much better because of that. Their ability to step up if someone goes down if they do get called up is so much better. Now looking back, it seems like such a no-brainer way of doing things. I think it’s really helped us. So I have had a lot of work with those guys. If one of them gets brought up (I) feel good about it.
Q: You’ve thrown a lot with Joe Hastings…
ALEX SMITH: Yeah, pregame, throw a lot to Joe.
Q: Is there chemistry there?
ALEX SMITH: I feel good about Joe. Joe’s a guy that works extremely hard. Obviously I had him here all through camp and when he’s got his chances throughout the season just to jump into reps in practice he does it. For a quite a few weeks now pregame, to keep the other guys’ legs good he and I go out early and throw quite a bit. So, feel good about Joe if that’s the direction this ends up going. Feel good about him stepping up. He’ll be ready.
Q: Looking back, did Braylon ever seem fully healthy to you?
ALEX SMITH: You look back at camp and really the first couple weeks of the season, really thought Braylon was just really getting going, running well, feeling good, making plays. And then unfortunate that that Cowboys game, he goes down with his knee and he tried rehabbing, he tried coming back but you could tell he was pushing through it and it was bothering him. That’s tough when you’re a receiver and your wheels aren’t working right. It’s tough. I think he showed a lot of toughness trying to step up for the team and trying to get back healthy for us when we needed him, especially when Josh (Morgan) went down.
ME: Has it been particularly tough for you dealing with all the flux in the wide receiver corps?
ALEX SMITH: Once again I think that’s just kind of the nature of the NFL. It’s part of the deal. It’s such a physical game. Injuries are going to be a part of this, and every team deals with it. Really, the next guy’s got to step up and we all have to step up to be able to make up for that. But I feel good about all the receivers, though. All those guys, they’ve got such great character in that room, all those guys work hard, they’re all extremely talented and I think they’re all chomping at the bit to get their opportunity which is what you want.
ME: After you completed that long pass to Crabtree in the fourth quarter against the Seahawks you guys ran three straight times, didn’t take a shot at the end zone. It worked out, but what were your feelings about that decision at the time?
ALEX SMITH: It’s tough. We hit the big play there, knew we were in field goal range. Special teams has been great for us all year. It’s been lights out. Knew we were only down a point, so that’s the route we went. We chose to burn the clock and kick the field goal – a little more conservative, but it worked out. It’s been winning for us. We’ve been doing that a little bit here and there in spots and it worked out for us this year. So that’s the way we went.