SANTA CLARA — Here’s the transcript of today’s Q&A with Hubert Delanie “D-Lay” Walker from the 49ers locker room.
Q: Why is Alex Smith playing better this season?
WALKER: I think the coaches are putting them in positions to make plays and now his confidence level is higher. He always had confidence throughout the years, but it’s higher this year and you can see it just from the way he’s playing.
Q: How can you see that?
WALKER: The leadership he’s taking in the huddle. The way he’s calling the plays and the way he’s controlling the offense. You can see it.
Q: Did your role change when Joshua Morgan got hurt?
WALKER: I don’t think anything changed when Josh got hurt. I’ve been doing a whole lot. I move various places, and we’ve been doing that. Now I’m getting the ball and I think guys are starting to see that, but we haven’t even begun to get into the playbook.
Q: Are you excited to get back?
WALKER: Man I can’t wait! Can’t wait to see all y’all faces (laughter).
Q: How tough is it to go away on a Bye week and then step back into to football mode?
WALKER: It’s pretty long. I think it was probably the longest we’ve had since I’ve been here six years. We’re always thinking the same thing. We wanted to get back. A lot of the guys ran and lifted weights and still watched film, so I don’t think we got away from it. We took a long break but we’re just happy to be back.
Q: What do you see from the Browns defensively on film?
WALKER: Great defense. It’s the NFL. They’ve got some great D tackles, their linebackers play fast and theirs DBs are very physical and like to compete. Just got to make plays. They give you the opportunity to mess up, and what I mean by that is kill yourself, shoot yourself in the foot. We’ve just got to make sure we don’t do that.
Q: What about this opportunity to get your grip a little tighter on this division title?
WALKER: We’re just going in and we’re going to play football. We’re not looking at the record or the division, we’re just playing 49er football right now.
Q: Patrick Willis just said there was some discussion in a team meeting about widening that division gap.
WALKER: I don’t know nothing about that (laughter). He probably heard something different than I did, but in the offensive meeting we’re not worried about that. We’ve just got to go out there, execute and get better. We’ve got to get better as an offensive unit so that’s what we’re going to do.
Q: How much does it mean to the offense to potentially get Braylon Edwards back?
WALKER: A whole lot. Josh went down, and no we’ve got Braylon back. Helps us out a whole lot in the passing game. The guy is a threat. I hope they’re ready for it.
Q: What do you make of all this 49ers buzz and hype?
WALKER: To be truthful, everywhere I went everybody noticed me and that’s unusual. We haven’t had that in about six years – walking down the street and you just see the fans want to get your autograph or take a picture or just yelling out your name. The buzz is big, but we’ve got to keep going. We don’t want that to get to our heads and slow us down. We know we’ve got a lot to do and we’ve got to do more to get better. We love the buzz, keep cheering for us, and hopefully we can bring something home to y’all.
Q: Where were you?
WALKER: San Francisco, San Jose, everywhere. The buzz is big and the fans are coming out. We love that.
Q: Were you recognized last year?
WALKER: I was recognized but not like it is now. It’s crazy. Everywhere I went everyone was like, “That’s Delanie Walker! Great catch! I want to take a picture!” It’s different this year.
Q: Did you have time to sign autographs?
WALKER: I stop for everybody. I’m D-Lay. I love the fans and they love me, so I’ve got to make sure I give them love. When y’all see me say what’s up.