With the whole team under the same roof for a week, you get a lot of time to get to know your fellow teammates for the San Francisco 49ers. As for quarterback Alex Smith, he's been taking a lot of time to get to know the Eagles' defensive schemes as well, preparing for what hopefully will be his third win of the young season.
Smith spoke with some media member Wednesday after practice to discuss a bit of the plan out at Lincoln Financial Field this weekend, but not too much:
Coach Harbaugh said there have been some changes with the Eagles defense so far. What have you seen from what you have studied so far?
"Yeah, very different from the Eagles from the past. There is much less pressure, in terms of linebackers and secondary. Before it was high pressure, a lot of different looks, giving me a lot of different things to think about. This isn't quite as much variety, but they're still giving as much pressure. I think they lead the NFL in sacks. The defensive ends are playing at a really high level. Obviously with the additions of [CB] Nnamdi [Asomugha] and [CB Dominique] Rogers-Cromartie, the secondary is an elite secondary in the NFL. Really good defense, playing at a very high level. Not a lot of weaknesses over there, but you try to find your matchups and take advantage of them."
If there's one thing Alex Smith is great at, it's sounding like he knows what he is doing in a press conference. Turning that knowledge into on-field success is another thing, which seems to come intermittently with him behind center. Everyone expects this game to be a shootout with the obvious gun-slinger coming in the form of Michael Vick. But watch out for Alex because if he's on point he can definitely get the gears grinding in the right direction.
Here, do you find you're focusing maybe more on football?
"Yeah, for sure. You're absolutely right. My commute time is cut down as well. To walk up to the 6th from the 4th is pretty quick. Yeah, for sure there are advantages and disadvantages. I think that was one of the great things we talked about as far as the team. Yeah you're going to come here and there will be some distraction, but at the same time it's really just a chance to be with your teammates and focus on football and really a chance to prepare to play a game."
Alex also spoke on the importance of getting Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree back into the passing game:
How pleased were you to get Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis more involved in the passing game, as well as Bruce Miller, to get some different looks out there?
"It was, we were fortunate as far as the timing, to lose [WR] Braylon [Edwards] and then Michael to get back healthy, so excited to just get him back going. He missed training camp and the first weeks of the season, so he's still just trying to get revved up and I look forward to continue to keep him going. Yeah but Vernon, every time you can get Vernon involved, he's such a threat and such a playmaker. You love to get the ball in his hands. Nice little surprise to have Bruce, Bruce stepped up. The guy played defense last year and coming in and catching balls and blocking, so it was great to see that too, as well as everybody."
The Niners seem fired up and ready to play this weekend, but still don't know exactly what to expect from Michael Vick and his sore right hand, though I don't expect it to limit him much. Hopefully Smith can keep being productive and get another W.
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