SANTA CLARA — Alex Smith speaks at the podium in the media tent on Wednesdays. Here’s the transcript of what he said today.
Q: Does Harbaugh give positive reinforcement or negative?
ALEX SMITH: From Day 1, you’ve got to have thick skin in that (film) room. You can’t be sensitive. I think Coach Harbaugh and all the coaches try to call it how they see it, both ways. They’re trying to get things figured out, bad plays and things you messed up, get things ironed out collectively. And on the good plays as well definitely giving guys their due as well.
Q: Your skin has been thick for a while …
ALEX SMITH: I think it’s tough to play quarterback in the NFL if you don’t. That’s anywhere. You’re going to face scrutiny. That’s the way it is.
Q: Are you getting a better feel what he wants from you?
ALEX SMITH: Yeah, not only from him but playing within the offense and getting a better feel on individual plays, what we’re trying to do, how we’re attacking them and how I fit into the system, and play within the system, be myself within the system and let it work for you.
Q: And finding out what they can do…
ALEX SMITH: No question we’re all figuring it out. It’s still early, going through things together, new things. So I think that’s it, how we fit into it, letting it work for us and playing within the system.
Q: What’d you think of the Kendall Hunter-Frank Gore 1-2 punch?
ALEX SMITH: I thought it was great. It was great to see that out there. We all weren’t sure what Frank was going to be doing. We knew he was banged up but was going to try and go. It was great to have that mix.
Q: Do you have a chip on your shoulder from last year’s loss to Bucs?
ALEX SMITH: No question, any time you play a team back-to-back years. They came in here and beat us last year, jumped up on us pretty good. No question. Even though I didn’t play in that game I still remember.
Q: How do you get a fast start?
ALEX SMITH: Just execute. The first couple games we actually played pretty well the first half and got on the board early, then these last couple kind of the exact opposite. It’s just a matter of executing early, getting the chains moving, getting first downs.
Q: How much of this offense is based on power and getting stuff off it?
ALEX SMITH: Some. We have a lot of dimensions in our running game. It depends week to week. This isn’t going to be cookie cutter. We’re going to see the matchups and try to take advantage of the matchup and where we think wins are.
Q: Last year you guys were coming off a two-game winning streak – were you guys overconfident?
ALEX SMITH: I didn’t get that feeling, I don’t remember that. It’s hard to say, it’s hard to compare the two. I really feel like this is a much different situation. That was late in the year last year. Kind of a different scenario.
Q: What’s been the key to you throwing only 2 interceptions since last year’s Philly game?
ALEX SMITH: I think conciously just trying to do less, if that makes sense. I really feel like I was doing too much for a long time, pressing too hard, trying to make too many plays instead of letting it come to me. That’s kind of what I talked about playing within a system and letting the plays happen, really not forcing things and making good decisions. Then the big plays will come.
Q: Are you hoping teams will blitz you because of your success against it?
ALEX SMITH: There’s definitely that element there, for sure. I think this team sees the capability we have when teams do pressure us. We get the one-on-ones, we get people isolated, in zones or whether it’s man, and chances for big plays. Especially the fact that we’ve done it now the past few weeks and beat pressure, no question excited for when it comes.
Q: Do you see the results over the course of the games?
ALEX SMITH: All defenses are different. The Eagles weren’t a big pressure team. When they did pressure, though, we seemed to have success. All teams are different. They all seem to have their individual identity as far as how much they pressure and when.
Q: Is it difficult from your experience to fly cross country and play again?
ALEX SMITH: Yeah for sure. It’s a quick turnaround win or lose. No question, whether it’s a bad game or a good game. You can’t have a hangover. I don’t think this team does, coaches and players included. I’m excited about the challenge Tampa Bay brings and being back home.
Q: What do they present?
ALEX SMITH: Still figuring it out. They’re good, disciplined on defense. They’re well coached, good players up front, they’re young on the defensive line with really good players. Two pretty savvy corners who have played a lot of football. They’ve both played a ton of football and they both play at a really high level. That will be tough for us outside. We’ll just try to find our matchups.
Q: Did you watch Monday night?
ALEX SMITH: I did watch part of it. The TV copy, it’s hard to see a ton. I knew I was obviously going to get that game film in and watch it better in here.
Q: Harbaugh said it was pretty deep in his career when people were still calling him a lousy quarterback – has he talked about that given your treatment?
ALEX SMITH: Not at this point. I think that’s potentially an offseason discussion. Right now we’re going, no time for reflection just yet.