SANTA CLARA – Alex Smith’s Wednesday press conference transcript, courtesy of the 49ers.
How’s that gash doing?
“Doing alright. Healing up hopefully.”
Kind of makes you look like a football player.
“It’s tough for me to look any tougher, but I guess it does.”
Is it sore?
“Pretty cosmetic, not too bad. Just kind of a surface thing.”
Has T Joe Staley been swapping tales about that?
“Yeah, there’s something, everyone is calling us nose bros.”
Was there any aftermath of that? Did the league ever punish anyone?
“Not sure. No idea. I haven’t heard anything.”
And now you face another really strong defensive front. What’s the challenge that the Vikings bring that might be different than Detroit?
“Yeah, every week. Thing that jumps out at you is obviously the defensive line, especially at home. [Vikings DE] Jared Allen almost broke the sack record last year. He plays really good at home with the crowd noise. He gets off the ball. [Vikings DT] Kevin Williams inside is an elite player. They’re good across the board up front. [Vikings LB Chad] Greenway is a really good player, good linebacker. The thing you see is they’re good in the back end too. Safeties are young guys, but they’re good players, play fast, disciplined. A good challenge for us, they do a lot. Different defense than we played the first two weeks. Have to handle the crowd noise at their place. I’m sure it’ll be loud.”
Head coach Jim Harbaugh was talking about his influence or not much influence and that you guys really have taken over this team, about winning and success really is about you guys. How much influence has he had on you? How much has he changed you over the last whatever, season and two games?
Yeah, you as a player.
“I say this a lot, this truly is the ultimate team sport, I think. I mean that, coaches included. Really, it takes everybody. And then if one piece isn’t in place, the whole thing doesn’t work. That’s really how I think about it. It takes all of us for that kind of chemistry and everything to kind of come together. Sometimes coaches say that, and obviously it’s us on the field doing it. Don’t want to sell short, obviously, the game plan getting put together, the preparation that goes in through the week because I really think that’s where a lot of winning and losing takes place.”
Speaking of team, you’ve got a two-week road trip here. How tough is that when you’re pretty much used to, you know, different things?
“Yeah, it’s different. It’s tough to be away from your family for sure. But at the same time, thinking back on last year, it was also a good experience for us. Kind of another little mini-camp, you’ve only got 53 going. You’re all together, there’s nothing really to do there. You practice, you prepare and you hang out with each other. Thought it was a good thing for us last year, enjoyed it.”
Can always get to know each other better.
“Yeah, for sure. New guys, you learn as you go. It’s another experience as well, back-to-back road trips. Always tough going back East. So, looking forward to it.”
You’ve taken the most sacks in the NFL since the beginning of 2005, 51. Have you been pretty sore on some of these Mondays?
“Some, not too bad lately though. Really felt pretty good coming out of this game, except for the nose and that was kind of my own deal running. Obviously you don’t want to take sacks, that’s to start off, but sometimes it’s not the end of the world. For me, another guy, the guy I’ve watched a lot of film on, you watch [Packers QB] Aaron play, Rodgers, guy that takes a lot of sacks, but he also makes a lot plays with his feet, keeps plays alive. There is some give and take there I think. Same can be said, I think there is some give and take with not just forcing balls and getting rid of a ball. And a sack’s not the end of the world. Sometimes the best thing is to protect it in the pocket and take a sack. A lot of times, the ability to make plays with your feet, you get out of the pocket, you scramble, you run, you make a play, those things don’t happen if you’re constantly just trying to get rid of the ball. A little give and take there. When you look at it, yeah we don’t want to take them, but some of them aren’t terrible.”
Will you have to make an equipment adjustment? I know Joe said he has to wear an older, tight helmet, because you don’t want that busting up on you.
“I’m not anticipating. I’m not banging heads as much as those guys. So, I hope it’ll be alright, maybe just a bandage over it or something, but hopefully not.”
Your former coach is on the other sideline. What’s Vikings special assistant to the head coach/linebackers coach Mike Singletary’s legacy with this team? Everybody is talking about how amazing it is what Harbaugh’s done in a little over a season. But what did he leave behind?
“That’s a better question for someone else. I’m not thinking about anyone’s legacy right now. For us, we were all here, the guys that were and we didn’t get it done. That’s kind of the bottom line. We had expectations for ourselves and didn’t get it done and it was on all of us. Not sure about any legacy or anything like that.”
What’s the difference between having a linebacker and a quarterback as a head coach?
“I don’t know if it comes down to the position they played. They’re different people, yeah. Everybody’s unique, everybody is their own person. So, I don’t really want to try and compare them.”
WR Randy Moss is going back to where he made his boom. When a guy is in that situation does he come up to you wanting to let him have a chance to show certain things? How does that play in your game prep, if at all?
“I’m not thinking about it. I’m going to go back and go through the reads and if the shot’s there, it’s there, the throw to him. That’s how this is going to work. It’s hard to dictate through the week preparing who’s going to get the balls, you never know. You try to anticipate how they’re going to play us, who they’re focus is going to be on, how they see us. You never really know until you play the game sometimes. Randy always, every week is going to play a big part for us. You never really know until game day sometimes what that actually is going to turn out to be.”