It's been quite the interesting season for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. From possibly leaving as a free agent to leading the Niners to the NFC Championship game against the New York Giants, it's been quite the spectrum for the former No. 1 pick.
Alex took some time to discuss how this season has panned out, all the way from lockout practices at San Jose State to the podium he stood at Wednesday afternoon.
Alex, with the season you've had, how much of a desire is there to say, I told you so?
"I think if we win this game and go to the Super Bowl it will say it in itself. I'm not thinking about that right now. I really feel like winning games as a quarterback this time of year speaks for itself. That's how you do your talking. So, just focused on this game, preparing myself all week."
Alex is to classy to do something like that. Come on now.
Alex, for you and a lot of guys, this journey kind of began with those workouts way back at San Jose State. Looking back, what do you think was accomplished there and what carried over into the season? What had an impact?
"Tough to say. We were there all offseason, obviously working out and conditioning and running and doing that. But as far as coming together and doing the little camps and learning the playbook, really it was the ABC's of the playbook, the fundamentals. Just kind of a small foundation, so that when camp did start, when the lockout finally ended, there was a little bit of familiarity there with the guys on kind of the language we'd be speaking, the verbiage, what some things meant. So, it was like the first coat of paint I guess, the primer, I don't know whatever you want to call it. Just kind of the first taste of it and then obviously the bulk of it came in camp and during the season."
Was there a chemistry built there? Was there a team-bonding effect?
"Oh for sure. Anytime I think you're doing something like that, especially without the coaches' influence, when you're just doing it on your own. Guys were flying in from all over the country to be a part of it. Spending time with each other, no question I think that was kind of an unspoken gain from that."
Another important team-bonding factor was the team's time in Youngstown, OH during their bye week between East Coast games, something no other NFL team experienced anything similar to this season.
Ales was also asked about whether or not he has a 'chip on his shoulder:'
You want your play to speak for yourself, but is it fair to say that you personally are playing with a chip on your shoulder and there's some redemption just in how this season has gone?
"I don't know. I guess I kind of feel like this whole team maybe is playing like that, if you want to call it that. I don't know how many wins we were picked to have at the beginning of the season, it wasn't many. Certainly, I don't know where we were picked to come in the division, all of that. Not a lot of people were in our corner. It was just us here working. It's down to the last four here with the chance to go to the Super Bowl this Sunday. That's how we want it. Obviously there are a few more people around, but I don't think it's changed the mindset in the locker room."
For more on the 49ers, head over to Niners Nation. For the Giants side of things, head over to Big Blue View.