SANTA CLARA – Here’s the transcript of Alex Smith’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers.
Would you say that this is the most significant, or the greatest challenge, or the biggest game you’ve played since you were a 49er?
“They all seem like – every week they get big. It’s the nature of the game. When we were playing the Eagles, that was the biggest test, and now this. No question. So, I agree with that because that’s it, it’s always moving forward. We’re off to a good start, and this is a great test for us.”
You’ve never been part of a marquee-type game. I mean this is 9-1 combined records, is that something that you guys have talked about that you know what, you’re at a level now that you really haven’t ever been at since you’ve been out here.
“No. I’m not sitting here dwelling on the past. It’s another football team. We’re playing a team at their place. They’re 5-0. They’re playing good football right now. But no, we’re focused on what we need to do to go over there and execute. What we need to do to go over there and win. Not looking at the teams’ combined records and the meaning behind it.”
What’s the loudest game you’ve ever played in?
“Hands down Seattle is the loudest stadium I’ve ever played in. I think indoor or out, especially being a division game it just doesn’t compare really with anything else, so.”
Your coach is bringing in some heavy-duty speakers over there. Do you think that the speakers you guys have used in the past have been adequate to prepare you for Seattle and other places?
“Yeah, I’m sure it’ll intensify it I guess if they are that much louder. I don’t know. Yeah, I think the speakers in the past have been fine. When it comes to noise, it’s attention to detail. It helps to practice with it all week just to get the reps, and especially with the guys up front getting off. But really it’s kind of the attention to detail all week—emphasizing it, being on top of it.”
Was it disconcerting to you at all to watch the game and see how many times Chicago’s offensive line false started, or do you think that’s them that’s not us?
“Yeah, this isn’t the first stadium to have noise and the first team to be going against it. I mean how many indoor stadiums are there across the league. How many loud outdoor stadiums are there out there. Teams deal with it all the time. It was a division game. It was Monday Night Football, obviously it’s going to be loud. If they went in there thinking it wasn’t going to be, obviously I think it showed. You need to prepare for it. There’s no guessing about it. It’s going to be loud. It’s going to be noisy.”
Losing [WR] Joshua [Morgan] are you still going to be comfortable with the guys/options you do have? You have a lot of options, so.
“Yeah, whether you like it or not, you don’t have a choice. The next guy’s got to step up. We’ve got to keep going. No question to lose a guy like Josh, it hurts, tremendous player. A true pro, he does a lot for us. He akes plays when they’re there. The guy is just a professional. So, to lose him hurts, but the next guy’s got to step up. We all have to step up and continue to go. Every team in the league battles it, battles injuries.”
How do you assess the Lions’ defensive front? Obviously they have two solid players, but they rotate in a lot of players.
“Yeah, I think the front’s included in this, they just play extremely fast, the whole defense. They know what they’re doing. They’re well-coached and they fly around extremely fast. A lot of team speed over there. It all fits, it’s all coordinated. You can tell they know what they’re doing. The front matches up with the secondary. It all fits together. And then I think that allows them to play fast, especially the front.”
Are they a big blitz team, or are they more similar to the Eagles, they don’t use their front four?
“They mix it up. They get a lot of pressure with their front four. They’ve had a lot of success with just getting there with their front four. The two defensive tackles are good players, and their ends are as well. But, they do have the ability to pressure when they want. But, they’ve had a lot of success, at least these last few games, just letting those front four go.”
Alex, I’m going to come back to a meaning question, so please bare with me. This season, last week, this week, you’re playing games that matter, in the past you weren’t, how does it feel to play games that matter, and to be a team that matters?
“When you’re in the locker room, when you’re putting on the shoulder pads, they all matter. When you’re stepping out there every Sunday, we’ve got the Niners on the front of our jersey, we’ve got our names on the back. We’re playing for each other. You’re playing for pride. I mean no one wants to go out there— I think the fact that it’s a meaningful game, it’s not anything worth—they’re all meaningful. I’ve been in years past, when yeah, it’s week 14, and we’re still in the hunt. It’s like last year, 7-9 won the division. You’re still in it late in the season. It’s just not something players think about. Every time you strap on that helmet, every time you put the shoulder pads on, and you walk into those lines and onto that field, it’s enough as it is. You’re playing for a lot. You’re playing for your pride. You’re playing for your job. There is a lot of things that go into that. So, I think all of a sudden the two teams’ records, you’re still just playing a football game trying to win.”
Joshua Morgan has said on a couple occasions that he thought that this offense was similar to you the way the Utah offense was, that you were in a comfort zone you hadn’t been in since college, is there any truth to that? I know the offenses aren’t the same.
“Schematically, no. I think the one thing maybe is that the fact that I have the same feeling then. I really feel like I’m doing less. I really feel like I’m just playing within the system, just doing my job. Try to make the plays when they’re there to be made, but not forcing anything. And that’s really the way I felt that I played in college. So, other than that, scheme-wise, not a lot.”
When you say doing less, do you mean that you know exactly what to do on a play, you don’t really have to think about…
“Yeah, just trying—in the past I, not all the time, but yeah trying to force things. Do too much on my own. Really letting all 11 of us on offense, all of us as a team play good football. And for me that’s one play at a time and making good decisions, being accurate. It’s not trying to make plays, force plays that they play or the scheme is not designed to do. I think really just staying within the system, and being myself.”
Did you throw to any of the guys they brought in yesterday?
“I didn’t no. I watched. Yeah I didn’t throw.”
You watched it?
What are your impressions of [WR Brett] Swain?
“The funny thing is yeah, he’s a San Diego guy, so I knew about him. He went to San Diego State, played in the Mountain West. So, I had known about Brett. Knew he was up in Green Bay for the last couple of years. So, excited to have him, obviously. Just watched yesterday, there were a lot of guys out here so it was hard to really focus in on one guy. So, excited to have him on board and get him up to speed.”
Did you watch them do the 40?
“I was working out and kind of watching as I went. I wasn’t over here in the middle of it, so.”
I guess that’s part of the run through.
“Yeah, so I didn’t see it though.”
Alex, [TE] Delanie [Walker] said more or less that the players are the same as last year, obviously there are differences, but his point was that it’s coaching that has been the big difference here. Obviously we’ve touched on this a number of times, but just as a team, what do you think the biggest difference has been as far as the coaching?
“No question that – there’s definitely from the top down, Coach Harbaugh and the entire staff have made the changes necessary. A lot of the things that just he’s about, that the staff’s about, that they brought in really provided that spark and that leadership. But, I think the guys in that locker room deserve a lot of credit as well. They’ve worked hard it. They’ve been onboard since day one. No one was sitting on the fence. Everybody jumped in. And they’ve worked hard at it. They’ve prepared. They’ve played well. This is a team game, coaches included. We’re all in on this. So, no question though obviously a lot of the same players. So, yeah Harbaugh and his staff coming in deserve a lot of the credit, but I think the guys in that locker room have done a great job preparing and executing on Sundays.”