SANTA CLARA – Justin Smith spoke in the media tent Wednesday afternoon. Here’s a transcript of his press conference, courtesy of the 49ers.
How did you come out of the game? How did you feel Sunday?
“I think it felt pretty good for the most part, just getting use to it and playing with it. It should be even better this week after going through it, knowing how it felt, what to expect from it. So it should be a lot better this week.”
Was there a concern that playing a game, that it would tear a little bit further through the course of a game?
“It’s like anything, if it’s half torn or whatever, it can tear the rest of the way. So not really concerned about it, I’m just going to go out there, do the best I can and see what happens.”
Has that brace become your friend or do you hate it?
“It’s a love-hate relationship right now, but it’s one of those things and it’s doing its job. It felt pretty strong and like I said, doing anything the second time is better than the first time. So it should definitely be a lot better, a lot more comfortable and everything.”
Is the bone chip bothering you too that’s loose in the elbow? Is that another aspect of it?
“I really don’t want to get into how it feels or this or that.”
How’d the brace come out of the game?
“It came out pretty good.”
Were there any dents in it or is it just that strong?
“No, I really didn’t inspect it too much, but it was still there.”
Is it the same brace that other guys have worn, like Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt and Baltimore Ravens LB Ray Lewis?
“I’m not sure if it’s the exact same or close to them or what.”
Did you go through a process of figuring out which brace was best or is that just a one shot deal?
“They just slapped it on there. They got the measurements and slapped it on there. I figured they would put me in the best one they possibly could and it did its job.”
When you watched the film did you see the same guy that you’re accustomed to seeing on film?
“I think for the most part. I think there’s still a comfort level of getting use to it and just mentally going out there, coming out of the game knowing the way it feels and felt during the game. I’ll be a lot more comfortable playing with it this week.”
You’ve talked about windows of opportunity before to us, is that a theme that you’ve struck with the players these last few weeks, this week?
“Yeah, I think, definitely. I think everybody feels it. The majority of the guys that are in that locker room were here last year and felt the disappointment. We were so excited after winning the Saints game. I didn’t feel the same, ‘oh we did it,’ this and that after the Packers game and we beat a heck of a team in the Packers. I feel like the whole team kind of got a sense of there’s more to this thing then just getting to this game. As a whole team top to bottom, coaching staff, we’re better prepared to handle it and know what’s in front of us.”
Just you personally, your emotions, are they different from last year going into this game?
“Yeah, mine especially, just because you know how you feel after last year beating the Saints. I was like, ‘oh man we got a chance, we are one or two games away.’ This one is like, alright we took care of business, find out who we play, ends up being Atlanta. Let’s go down there, take care of business and try to get to the big one and win that one. But it definitely had a different feel in the locker room, this one as opposed to last year.”
Justin, you’ve faced some elite quarterbacks already this year and haven’t seen QB Matt Ryan, who’s had his best year statistically. But what makes him unique when you see him on film?
“Just everything that the elite ones do. Looking off the receivers, knowing where to go with the ball, back shoulder throws, checks when he needs to get into a check. Just all the things that all those guys do, he fits right in with that group, the elite ones and he’s playing awesome football right now.”
They didn’t run the ball as consistently as I’m sure they would have liked, but how big of a threat is their running game for you guys?
“I think they are going to come out and surprise people that aren’t scouting them and stuff like that. They are going to try to stay balanced. They have two really good running backs and they run the ball exceptionally hard. We watched a whole tape on them this morning about their second and third efforts, the way they run the football, their different styles and they’re good backs. We are going to have to make sure we stop them so we can try to make them a little bit more one dimensional.”
What’s LB Aldon Smith’s demeanor been like since he hasn’t been able to get to the quarterback necessarily? What was it like against the Packers? Was he getting frustrated and how’s he coping with the playoffs?
“He’s handled himself the same way week-in, week-out. He prepares really hard, gets his workouts in and trains really hard. He’s demanding a lot of extra attention. If you don’t study the tape, this and that or whatever, there’s a lot of attention over there and rightly so. The guy’s a beast over there and he’s going to get a lot of attention and they’re not going to let you just go one-on-one.”
I’ve never had a torn triceps so I don’t know, but can you still do some of your upper body weight stuff with that or try to build up other elements to try to make up for it?
“You rehab as much as you can. Let it scar down, this and that. You try to lift as much as you can and go from there.”
So many years with the Bengals obviously you weren’t going to the playoffs, but did you watch the playoffs during that time or kind of right when the season ended you were going? What did you do to jump start your routine?
“I didn’t really have a routine, but I’d usually catch the games. It’s what you do so you’re involved in it and want to see who’s going to win it. But it’s definitely a good feeling to be in the process and get an opportunity to play in those games.”
Do you have any thought or explanation for the season long win-win-loss, win-win- loss, win-win-tie, win-win-loss that you guys have gone through?
“No, me personally I’ve never really thought of that, no.”
There’s no rhyme or reason, it’s just the way it’s kind of gone?
“I guess that’s a pattern, but we’re not worried about that. This is a game, it’s a big one. It’s win or go home and I think our team is prepared for those type of games.”