49ers Q&A: Quarterback Alex Smith

49ers Q&A: Quarterback Alex Smith

December 29, 2010

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Quarterback Alex Smith
Press Conference Dec. 29, 2010

On what his week has been like, given the organizational changes:
Yeah, obviously, you know, some changes made, different. You know, week 17 and final week of the season, but some changes with it so, yeah, different.On his volatile relationships hes had with his previous two head coaches:
I guess, I wouldnt describe it as volatile, you know? I got along really well with coach Singletary. I think the perception is a little different just because hes a fiery guy, hes emotional. I mean, I think thats who he is. I think those are - those are positives about him. I mean, thats what makes him who he is and I think people just saw some things that have gone on on the sideline, but as a whole I think he brought a lot of energy because of that.On whether it was hard for the team because of the constant changes at the quarterback position:
Well, I mean, I think it was hard because we werent winning. You know, we had a lot of expectations. I think that was the biggest thing, that was the most difficult. You know, a lot of expectations coming into this year and not to achieve them is frustrating for everybody.On whether he has spoken with former head coach Mike Singletary since he was dismissed following the Rams game:
I havent. I havent got to; its, you know, its hard. All of a sudden I found out Im going again this week and there will be time after this week to really talk and kind of rehash things, so.On whether it would be nice to go out, play well and win in the last game, given everything he has been through with the 49ers:
Of course. I guess nice to go out there and play well period; Im not really getting into the, Whats going to happen after this? But its, whenever you go out there, I mean even though its the last game of the season and were out of the playoffs, pride is on the line. You want to go out there and play well, no question. I mean, thats not going to change.On whether he has thought about what is going to happen after the season ends:
No Im not. Im not thinking about any of that other stuff. That all, you know, thats what the offseason is for. Right now Im focused on-On whether he has thought that the upcoming game against the Cardinals might be his last game with the 49ers:
Like I said, thats all out there, those are possibilities, but I havent had time to ponder and think about all that. Thats for after this week.On whether he has the desire to prove that he deserved to be chosen in the first round of the draft:
I mean, of course that desire is always there. I dont know if it necessarily goes back to the draft, per se, as it were a few years ago. I was still not that far removed from that. At this point, its just that you want to go out and win for the organization, for the fans, for the team. Thats the biggest thing. I dont know if its as much going back to the draft and proving that. But any team youre a part of, you want to do it for everyone involved. As much as this team puts in, the coaching staff, the organization, the fans, everyone involved.On his thoughts on starting this week and his emotions knowing that an interim coach feels that he gives them the best chance to win:
Yeah, I mean Id be lying if I said it wasnt frustrating last week, you know, finding out that with the season on the line, not to get the start. But it happened, and this week I am getting the nod, and its another opportunity. You know, Im excited about it. Im going to prepare and reset the team. I think theres even more distraction at this point because we know that the season is over after this Sunday, but were going to stay focused and go out there and take advantage of the other team.On whether it was frustrating to not get the start last week in such an important game:
Yeah, yeah no question. We hadnt been in a position I havent, since Ive been here been in a position like that. You know, week 16, playoffs on the line, so yeah, no question it was frustrating.On what his conversation with then head coach Mike Singletary was that week when he found out he wasnt starting and whether he lobbied for the start:
I dont know how much lobbying I was doing, you know its not my job, but definitely emotional, frustrating, you know I definitely voiced my opinion, thats for sure. I wasnt sitting back and taking it, but I dont know if Id call it lobbying.On what interim head coach Jim Tomsula has brought this week:
Yeah, you know, its hard. Obviously I think whatever changes he wants to make, you know coming in as a head coach, theres only one week left so you cant really do that much. So I think he has to put that all in perspective and what changes, if any, give us the best chance to win.On what the ideal scenario would be for a quarterback:
Young quarterback? What are we talking here? response: sure. I dont know if theres anything perfect, I mean obviously ideally youd like to come into a situation where everyone around you all the pieces around you were as stable as possible. You know, offense was in place, the guys knew it, offensive line was in place, guys knew the system, you were coming in and everyone around you I guess was as stable as possible.On the ideal situation not being available to him:
Yeah, its not like that for many people though, especially young quarterbacks. You know often times if youre an early draft pick, its usually tied in with the new head coach because theyre coming in, so. A lot of guys dont get that.On what offensive coordinator Mike Johnson is like and whether they will see what he is all about in the final game since there has been a head coaching change:
I think thats hard as well, I think youre still trying to go out and win a game. I think Coach Tomsulas made that clear, theres no real- I mean this isnt an audition for any of us. Were not going out there doing crazy things or trying to reinvent a bunch of stuff week 17 because were not playing for the playoffs. So, I dont know if were necessarily going to go in that direction. I think were going to do everything we can do to win a game, going to be sharp, going to do the things weve continued to do.On whether he is worried about the focus of his teammates with the season ending:
Im not worried about that, with the group of guys that we have. You know that is a point though, it is there. I mean, even just talking about those things, weve already addressed some of the exit meetings and stuff. So thats there, but I think we have a good group of guys that all are prideful and here to play.On LB Patrick Willis being ruled out for the game:
Yeah, its a loss for sure, no question. Not just for the defense, but for the team, to not have him out there in the pads. You know hes definitely a leader of this team, so, well be affected by it.On Willis being named a Pro Bowl starter:
The thing that I appreciate about Patrick, I mean obviously hes a vocal leader, but he leads by example. Hes certainly not asking anything of his teammates that he doesnt ask of himself. Thats the thing that I appreciate most about him.

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

SANTA CLARA -- Tight end Vance McDonald became aware of a report the 49ers had engaged in trade talks involving him at his brother’s wedding in Austin, Texas.

But McDonald said he did not give it much thought because he had another immediate priority.

“I still had my best man’s speech to do,” McDonald said.

Later that evening during last month's draft, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan called McDonald to keep him in the loop. There was no trade, and McDonald returned to Santa Clara on Monday to continue participation in the 49ers’ offseason program.

“The first thing I told him was, ‘Man, there aren’t a lot of coaches that would do this,’” McDonald said of his talk with Shanahan. “He just wanted to fill me in.”

Nearly four weeks later, it is as if nothing ever happened.

“The only trade discussions we had was when another team asked us about Vance on draft day,” Shanahan said this week. “And after a team asked us about Vance then we asked other teams if they’d be interested in that same thing.”

McDonald said he completely understood why the 49ers would check with other teams around the league to see what they could acquire in a trade.

“Basically, it’s just like any other team in the NFL would do,” McDonald said. “If you’re a 2-14 team, obviously, there are a lot of things you can improve on, a lot of spots that need to be filled. There are a lot of things you need to improve upon in the offseason. So if teams are going to call and inquire about you, then obviously the next step is to … call around to every other team.

“So that’s exactly what happened to me. It isn’t like they don’t want me here. There was never a lack of communication on any level.”

Even before he knew his immediate future with the 49ers, McDonald said he tried to maintain the proper state of mind.

“I had the mindset this isn’t going to change anything,” McDonald said. “I’m going to end up where I end up and I’m just going to continue doing what I’m doing, which is do everything to be a better football player.”

McDonald enters the fifth year of his NFL career after signing a new deal in December that amounts to a three-year, $19.7 million extension. Three days later, the 49ers placed McDonald on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

McDonald was on pace for his best season as a pass-catcher. In 11 games, he had 24 receptions for 391 yards and four touchdowns.

Now, he is competition for a spot in the 49ers’ offense, along with fifth-round draft pick George Kittle, undrafted rookie Cole Hikutini, and veterans Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.

McDonald said he likes what Shanahan has brought to the 49ers, including added responsibilities of the tight end position.

“Last year, all we talked about was how fast our pace was,” McDonald said. “With Kyle, it’s insanely quick. He’s a very detailed guy. It’s interesting to hear him present information. You try to apply it and play with the same mindset that he has. It’s a task that we all enjoy doing.

“We (tight ends) are the end of the line. There’s communication with us and the wide receivers and running backs. We’re also in command with receiving corps. There are a lot of things on our plate. Hopefully, this doesn’t get back to the wide receivers, but we’re supposed to be smarter than them. It’s a fun job to have. We don’t try to rub it in too much.”

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly is back in college football.

The former Oregon coach, who served as 49ers head coach last season, signed a multiyear deal as an ESPN analyst, the network announced Friday morning. He will work predominantly on pre-games, halftimes and in studio wraps each Saturday on ESPN2.

“Over the last 30 years, I have experienced football from one perspective – as a coach,” Kelly said in a statement. “Working in television will allow me to see the game from a different angle; simultaneously, I‘ll provide viewers an insight to the mindset of a coach and team while offering alternative views of various situations.

“Once I decided to make the move to TV, my familiarity with ESPN, combined with their high-quality production and vital role in college football, it was easily the best network suited for me.”

Kelly, 53, was fired on the evening of the 49ers’ season finale. The 49ers went 2-14 under Kelly and set the franchise record with 13 consecutive losses. Their only victories came against the Los Angeles Rams. Kelly also auditioned with FOX for the analyst job vacated when John Lynch became 49ers general manager, sources told NBC Sports Bay Area.

Kelly served as Oregon’s head coach from 2009 to ’12. His teams compiled a record of 46-7. Under Kelly, the Ducks advanced to the 2011 national championship game, losing to Auburn 22-19.

Kelly won the AP College Football Coach of the Year. He twice won the Pac-10 coach of the year. He left Oregon to become head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013. After his first two NFL teams went 10-6, Kelly was fired in 2015 with one game remaining in the season. The Eagles were 6-9 at the time of Kelly's firing.

“Chip is one of the most innovative football minds of our generation,” ESPN senior coordinating producer Lee Fitting said. “As a coach, he saw the game from a unique perspective, never afraid to take an unconventional approach. We want him to bring that mentality to our college football coverage each week, offering fans a varying viewpoint outside of the conventional thought process.”