Jim Harbaugh always seems to have something interesting to say, whether it be an inspirational speech after a game, a humorous soundbite about the Honey Badger, or an eyebrow-raising statement. That held true in Harbaugh's press conference today, as he added to the comments he made last night about 49ers QB Alex Smith being Pro-Bowl worthy. Here's how the back and forth went, with reporter questions in italics...
You mentioned last night that Alex is a Pro Bowl quarterback. Do you trust that the coaches and players who vote won't be swayed by the huge passing numbers or the number of touchdowns and look at the things that you just brought up?
"It's possible. That's the low hanging fruit. Just go right to the yardage line or the touchdown passes line. I think people that understand football understand that there's a lot more that goes into the job of a quarterback than those statistics. Whenever a player is just thinking about statistics, whether it be sacks or yardage, those kind of agendas, interceptions, it can often hurt the team. We'll see.
There are other great players out there in the National Football League. I believe there are three that go to the Pro Bowl, right? [Green Bay QB] Aaron Rogers, [Saints QB] Drew Brees, Alex Smith. I think those are the top-3 in the NFC in my humble opinion."
Why are you bringing up Pro Bowl now? You've got the rest of the season to go, why is this important to you at this time?
"There's a body of work under him. The thing that is important to us is the team. But I also think there are individual efforts that need to be highlighted. So that's why. There's other guys. [DT] Justin Smith, I believe, is our most valuable player. He had a great game in this football game. Did a lot of things really well. Kicked ass. That's basically what the guy did. He's been doing it all year. [LB] Aldon Smith had a terrific game.
Great pressure rushing. Aldon's really separated himself as a pass rusher, first-year player in this league. Also, Justin on a lot of those stunts, he's beating up blockers and Aldon comes around and does a great job beating the center in this particular game. There's a lot of individual play that I think just needs to be highlighted. That's why I bring it up."
Then Harbaugh added another juicy morsel for the media and fans to chew on for the next six to eight months or so (and beyond, likely)...
Do you think that Alex is the long-term quarterback for the 49ers as the starter?
Coach speak or honest-to-goodness truth? That is the question.