Does Alex Smith hate the Cardinals? Smith: “Hate is a word I wouldn’t use.”

SANTA CLARA — Here’s what Alex Smith said Thursday afternoon about the 49ers upcoming game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Q: Do you hate the Arizona Cardinals with a passion?

ALEX SMITH: Hate is a strong word. They’re a division opponent. Obviously, there’s a lot of history there – we play them twice a year. Great rivalry. Hate is a word I wouldn’t use.

Q: Every time you go there it seems like it’s a very competitive game. What do you think it is about that setting?

ALEX SMITH: I feel like it’s the nature of division games – it’s what makes the NFL great. When you know a team this well, you play them twice a year, you rarely see blow outs. The games are always coming down to the wire. There’s a lot of history there. The teams don’t like each other – it’s a little more personal in that sense. They’re tough.

Q: More or less or the same with the Seahawks?

ALEX SMITH: Different. They all have their own deal, their own history. There’s history of Vernon and [Cardinals DT Darnell] Dockett going back and forth. It’s different than the rivalry with the Rams and Seahawks.

Q: Is there any difference in their defense from when you played them last December?

ALEX SMITH: Same scheme. A lot of the same players. The addition of [CB William] Gay outside. Looking at last year’s tape, but it’s a fine line. Will they do something different or stay the same?

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