Alex Smith: 'There's no more wait and see'

Alex Smith was back in front of the microphones and cameras this week as the 49ers' starting quarterback for the first time in two years. Here, Smith gives his takes on a variety of topics regarding his return to the starting berth and Sunday's game against the undefeated Indianapolis Colts.

On what he remembers about his first career start against the Colts in 2005: "That was a good game. I think it's just coincidence, back starting again against the team I got my first start against. A lot has changed since then."

On whether the Colts run the same defense now that they did in 2005: "There are some things similar, but I wouldn't call it the same defense. They have kind of changed from what I remember, a lot more of the Tampa 2 in the pass than you see today."

On whether Coach Singletary told him to stay ready when he was the backup: "I never got the barn quote. But this is the NFL, if you're a backup quarterback and you think you're not going to play, you're in a dreamland. How many QBs go through a season and take all the snaps and can handle that? It's not a lot. I think you have to have the mindset, you have to have the expectations to play. The question is, when does it come? You have to be ready for that because you don't know when it is going to come."

On when he got his confidence back: "I don't think I ever lost confidence. It had been two years almost since I played in a live game, yeah I had played in some preseason games but that is always different. I think it is more just getting back out there. It felt the same. It always did, especially when you get in the rhythm of things out there playing."

On Singletary saying his personality changed over the years: "I guess it is always different. People might perceive things different than you might. I feel like I have always approached this game the right way. I have always worked incredibly hard, put a lot of time in. I knew that counted and made a difference. I think the thing is over time you get smarter about it, you are more efficient with your time, you are doing better things with it. I think you understand how to prepare yourself a little better for games, those types of things. In a sense, that might have changed. I think in the last couple of years my mindset has definitely changed and progressed just from being around the game more, especially having sat out for a couple of years."

On whether this is when he should truly start being judged: "Yeah, I think it is playing ball right now. You are always being evaluated in this game, constantly. I mean I guess, I haven't really thought about it at all. I'm just going out there and trying to play quarterback the best I can."

On whether he can no longer be judged on potential: "Yeah, I guess. I probably had that excuse when I was younger. Now I have to go out there and produce, go out there and play. There's no more wait and see."

On how his relationship with Singletary helps: "He is so direct, puts everything out on the table, I think, which is a good thing. You don't ever wonder what he thinks about you or what's going on. He lets you know what he expects. For a coach, I think that is a good thing from a player's perspective. You like that. Other than that, it was just getting back to playing. Having been out a couple years with injuries, I think it was just getting back out in the game and doing. I don't think I ever lost confidence in myself, in fact I know I didn't. I think it is just a matter of getting back out there and getting the opportunity."

On how his technique has changed since he last played: "I think technique is something you work on in practice, something you work on in drills, and when you play the game, you go play. That is how technique shows up on game day, by repping it in practice, by working on it in the offseason. That is how technique is developed. When you go out there and take snaps, you don't want to be thinking about your feet or your shoulders. When you're out there playing, things happen too fast to be thinking about that. I think those are the things I have constantly tried to work on in the offseason. It can be difficult at times when you are learning playbooks, technique sometimes goes out the window or takes a backseat. We work out here every day on technique; footwork, posture, the mechanics of throwing the football, decision making. Those are all things we go through every day in practice. The next step is having it show up on film on game day."

On QB coach Mike Johnson: "Mike is great, especially in that area of technique and really drilling that in drills and having it show up in live situations."

On Singletary's assessment that Smith is as confident as ever: "It probably comes from a little bit of everything. Being around the game more, you know more about it, a better understanding of it. The last couple of years put things in perspective for me, especially with football and what is important, what you really miss when you get away from it."

On what he needs to do to take the offense to the next level this week: "Every game is different. Every defense presents a new challenge, a different challenge. For us, I would really emphasize that it is on the offensive unit to score points. It is on us to find a way to move the ball, whatever way that is. We have to find a way to be successful. We have to be balanced, we have to be able to throw the ball, run the ball. We have to do all the things it takes to be successful, in the end that's all that really matters. If I can bring anything extra to the table, I guess I might, then all the better. But in the end you have to be able to do everything."

On Indianapolis' defense: "They are fast and they get after the quarterback. That team is set up very well. They are good at playing with the lead. I think they force teams into playing one dimensional because they are playing from behind, then you have to throw the ball. That is what they want as far as the defense goes. They want you to sit back in the pocket and throw the ball. They like getting after the quarterback, especially the two defensive ends."

On how aware he expects to be of DEs Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis: "Not at all, I guess I expect to be. I think there might be things that we work on throughout the week to help that when it comes game time. When you are playing quarterback, you can't be worrying about defensive linemen. You are really looking downfield, you react to that stuff. So yes, I think if you are thinking about them, that's a bad thing."

On whether the 10 guys that he has around him on offense right now is the most talented group he's had since he's been a 49er: "Since I've been here? I would, actually. In fact, I don't think it's very close. I think we have a big opportunity in front of us with the guys that we have in this locker room and the guys that we have in this huddle. This team has a lot of depth and a lot of talent."



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