Back in the saddle

Tim Rattay talks Tuesday about being anointed again as the 49ers' starting quarterback after temporarily taking a backseat this summer to rookie Alex Smith.

Q: So, Tim, what are your thoughts about the decision to make you the team's starting quarterback again?

Rattay:
I was excited, you know. Now it's time to go to work. there's a lot more stuff to work on. Just got to get my self ready to go. Got to do a lot of work, and it felt good to get out here and practice again today.

Q: Are you at all surprised to hear the decision at this point in training camp?

Rattay:
I've been working hard and, like I said, I was excited to hear it and now it's just time to move on and get better.

Q: Did you ever feel like you weren't this team's No. 1 quarterback?

Rattay:
You know, I always just worked and prepared myself like I was and understood the rep situation. I had to get myself healthy and the minicamp situation didn't go as well as I wanted to. Coming here I felt good and felt that if I kept practicing hard and going out and trying to play well in games something could happen.

Q: How did Alex Smith take the news?

Rattay:
We haven't really talked about it together, so it's something you're probably going to have to ask him.

Q: Does your even-keeled personality help you deal with this whole situation?

Rattay:
I try not to get too excited or too down. Sometimes, you can't help but be excited. You just can't get too upset or too happy in the course of a game and it's kind of the situation in the course of this camp. Like I said, I just try to go out each practice and try to get better each practice. Just even if I had one rep, take advantage of it, whether I had a lot of reps or not.

Q: Do you feel you have another chance now to prove yourself after last season?

Rattay:
Yeah, you don't get a lot of opportunities. That's why I'm excited about being named but also it's time to go to work and get ready and get going and offensively get going. And we've got two more preseason games and really this one will be the big one this week. So, there's a lot of work to do. And I'm excited about getting after it and getting better.

Q: Isn't this a natural decision considering how well you've played during the preseason?

Rattay:
That's something you'll have to ask the coaches. They sat me down before camp and explained the situation, so I just tried to let that take it's course. I wasn't in there bugging them every day, 'What's going on? What's going on?' I just try to go out here. Coach told me what's going on and I trusted him obviously with what he was saying, so I just try to go out there and just play.

Q: How did they explain it to you?

Rattay:
Just saying it was a competition, you know, the same way he was telling everybody else.

Q: Did you give you a reason for switching back to you as the starter?

Rattay:
He just said he felt like he wanted to go with me, I guess. I didn't need a reason.

Q: How does your health compare now to last year in training camp?

Rattay:
It's night and day. I was barely practicing at this point last year. But last year's last year, I don't really want to talk about it any more. I'm over that, I feel good and just want to move on and I'm looking forward to getting the season going.

Q: Is it time ask for a raise?

Rattay:
(Grinning). Nah. Nah.

Q: How tough was it to be patient and wait for your turn again?

Rattay:
Yeah, it was tough. Otherwise, I'd lie to you if I say it wasn't tough. You just got to roll with the punches and go out and play the best you can. Like I said with the reps I had, I had to take advantage of them and when I got in the game try take advantage of the reps in the game. So it was hard, but it's not supposed to be easy.

Q: Did you feel like you had to prove yourself more because Smith was the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft?

Rattay:
I try to prove myself every time I go out. You never can look in the past. The past is the past. You've got to prove yourself each game ... In this kind of league it's all about what you've done for me lately. They don't worry about what you've done in the past, so you have to come out and perform and prove yourself each practice, each game and that's what you've got to do. You can't rest, you can't get lulled because you've got to prove yourself each practice, each game.

Q: Are you more eager to get started now because you have your good health?

Rattay:
I always want to start. I wanted to start last year when I was hurt. Everyone wants to play .. I'm excited that obviously my body is healthy and I'm excited about the season. I'm excited about where we're going offensively and what we've got out there offensively.

Q: Because Smith will always be there, do you feel like you'll be looking over your shoulder now that you're the No. 1 again?

Rattay:
I'm not worried about that. I don't care who's there behind you. If you don't perform you're not going to be in there. It doesn't matter who's behind you. My goal is not really to worry bout that, it's to worry about how I'm doing, how I'm playing and prepare myself as hard as I can and go out and lead this team. That's my goal. I'm not looking over my shoulder.


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