San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith took some time to speak to the media after their game with the Seattle Seahawks on Monday, talking about where the team needs to improve and how Jim Harbaugh effects his play on the field:
How much of your plays do you think you're trying to vindicate Harbaugh's faith in you? He's gone way out on a limb talking about you, praising you all the time he's been here.
"Yes, I'm not thinking about that, just playing good in general. There are a lot of reasons to play good. The biggest thing is for my teammates and coaches. That's why I play this game. That's why I think the game of football is so special. So to be able to hold up your end of the deal is a lot, and this is the best time to walk away with a win. No better feeling."
Answered like a true field general. Alex knows the public perception that he carries, how many 'second chances' he's had with the same franchise and all that. This might be the first coach he's had that he isn't trying to prove something to, Harbaugh understands what it takes to be a QB in the NFL, and must feel that Alex's bum wrap may keep him down a little. Hopefully he can 'break out' somewhat this season.
You got a bear hug coming off the field, how was that? That was a nice moment.
"Yes it was nice. It was a big two-minute situation. We get down there on the goal line. Clock's running down. We call it the boot, and my number got called and found a way to get in. It was nice. He'd [Harbaugh] have to answer this, but I don't know if he kind of enjoyed that more than the touchdown pass."
When's the last time you got hugged by a coach?
"I couldn't tell you. I hugged coach-on the field? I don't know."
I doubt many players are keeping tab of when they lasted hug one of their various coaches, but the spirit of the question is a bit heart-warming. From Mike Nolan throwing him under the bus, to Mike Singletary yanking him in and out of games, I'm sure Alex appreciates the relationship he has with his new coach, even more so with his prior experiences with the aforementioned coaches. Hug away guys, just keep on winning.
It's a little bit early, a little bit of vindication for you, do you think?
"I don't know about vindication. It's 1-0. That's great. That's the biggest thing playing quarterback, bottom line it's getting the win. Find a way and defense helped a lot tonight. Special teams obviously with [WR] Ted Ginn [Jr.] there in the end. It's a great win like I said, but offensively a lot of room for improvement."
Alex doesn't seem like a guy who carries around an "I'll show them" type of mentality (though admittedly I've never met him), bringing me back to my point of how he's perceived in the media. He never wants to talk about him, just always praise his teammates; like Ted Ginn Jr. (and rightfully so). There's no revenge, no vindication, just a '1' in the win column, and that's all that should matter.
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