Alex Smith: Confidence not shaken, finger improving

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Alex Smith: Confidence not shaken, finger improving

SANTA CLARA -- Quarterback Alex Smith spoke to the media Thursday, as the 49ers begin preparations to face the Arizona Cardinals in a Monday night game.

Earlier this week, Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell said he "hates the 49ers with passion." Smith was asked about that, as well as his confidence and the middle finger on his throwing hand, which was sprained Oct. 7 against the Buffalo Bills.

Do you hate the Cardinals with a passion?
Smith: "Hate is a strong word. It is a strong word. I mean, they're a division opponent. There's a lot of history there. We play them twice a year. Great rivalry. Hate is word I wouldn't use."You guys always seem to have close, competitive games with the Cardinals, especially in Arizona. What is it about that setting?
Smith: "To be honest with you, I just think it's the nature of division games. It's what makes the NFL great. When you know a team that well, and you play them twice a year, year-in and year-out. The games, I feel like you rarely see blowouts either way. The games are always coming down to the wire. It's hard-fought. There's so much history there. The teams don't like each other, so it's a little more personal in that sense. They're tough."Any more or less than Seahawks?
Smith: "It's different. They all have their own deal. They all have their own history, the history of Vernon (Davis) and (Darnell) Dockett going back and forth. It's more specific. It's different than the rivalry with the Rams of the Seahawks. I don't know if any one is more or less."A couple national stories written about you and your confidence. . .
Smith: "How'd they say it is?"Not good.
Smith: "Oh, OK. All right."They said your confidence was shaken in that game against Seattle. What's your reaction?
Smith: "I think people are reading into a lot of different stuff and have no idea what's going on around here. My confidence is no different than it was a week ago, than it was a month ago, than it was a year ago. No different. Games change week in and week out. There are people that expect the same thing over and over again. That was a good defense we played on Thursday night. We played them on a short week. You look at what they did versus a lot of good quarterbacks this year. Look what they did against Aaron (Rodgers), they beat Tom Brady. Look what they did against (Tony) Romo. I think people just . . . I don't know what to think."How about your finger?
Smith: "It's getting better every week. It's just something you deal with. It's not something I think about a whole lot out there. Try not to."Was it able to improve with the time off?
Smith: "For sure. A little extra time off with the Thursday game, not having to do a ton with it. Having it rest over the weekend was nice."Did you throw much after Thursday?
Smith: "I threw on Monday. Thursday to Monday was the stretch I had there, which was nice."

49ers safety Reid endorses LSU safety Adams: 'We'd have to battle it out'

49ers safety Reid endorses LSU safety Adams: 'We'd have to battle it out'

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers already have three safeties selected within the top two rounds of the draft.

But as the organization has considered its options with the No. 2 overall pick, LSU safety Jamal Adams had been in the discussion. Adams recently visited the 49ers, where he and Eric Reid had a chance to catch up with each other.

Reid’s final season at LSU was 2013. The 49ers traded up to select him with the No. 18 overall pick. The 49ers drafted Jimmie Ward at the end of the first round in 2014, and Jaquiski Tartt was a second-round pick in 2015.

In the past 25 years, only two safeties -- Eric Berry (2010) and Sean Taylor (2004) – have been selected in the top five. Both were chosen with the No. 5 overall selection. Adams has a chance to go as early as No. 2 overall.

“I’m excited to see where he ends up. He could end up here. You know what I’m saying?” Reid said on Wednesday at the 49ers’ voluntary minicamp.

“He’s the best one in the draft. Someone will be very happy to have him, I’m sure.”

Adams (5 foot 11 ¾, 214 pounds) is considered more of a box safety. He recorded five interceptions in his 36-game college career, but Reid said he believes Adams can also play free safety.

“No doubt,” Reid said. “The kid can do it all. That’s why they got him projected to go where he is. I believe he could.”

In the 49ers’ new defense, which is based on Seattle’s scheme, Ward is getting a long look at free safety in the team’s minicamp. Ward started at cornerback last season.

After recording seven interceptions in his first two seasons, Reid has one interception over the past two seasons. He played 10 games last season before sustaining a season-ending with a torn biceps.

Reid said he is learning a new position but he believes playing closer to the line of scrimmage suits him. He is set to become a free agent at the end of the season as he plays this year with a salary of $5.676 million on the fifth-year option.

“I’m used to being on the back end,” Reid said. “I’m used to dealing with a lot more space. So, really, it’s the run game. And the run fits, knowing the gap schemes, the run (stunts) and knowing where the D-linemen are going to fit and filling the holes. That’s been the biggest difference for me.

“I like it. I’m a bigger safety in this league, so I think it’ll work for me.”

And what if the 49ers select Adams on Thursday evening?

”That’ll be interesting,” Reid said. “We’d have to battle it out. We’ll see how it goes.”

Reid: National anthem protest accomplished goal of awareness

Reid: National anthem protest accomplished goal of awareness

SANTA CLARA – Safety Eric Reid and linebacker Eli Harold, who joined Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem last season, will not continue the protest this season.

Reid said Wednesday they achieved their goal of bringing attention to racial inequality in the United States.

“When we started doing that, our goal was to open up the floor to conversation. I believe we’ve achieved that goal,” Reid said. “So now we just want to move forward and just partner with people that’s trying to make a change.

“We accomplished that goal. People talked about it. I think we raised a lot of awareness about issues in this country. And now it’s time to move on to just affecting change.”

Reid and Harold are back with the 49ers, while Kaepernick remains a free agent. The 49ers have expressed no interest in retaining Kaepernick after opting to sign free-agent quarterback Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, instead.

“I stay in touch with him,” Reid said of Kaepernick. “I’m rooting for him. Obviously, he isn’t on a team, yet, but I’m rooting for him but hopefully he gets that call after the draft.

“It’s surprising. You see some of the other quarterbacks that have been signed around the league and why he hasn’t been, it’s just unfortunate.”

When asked if thought Kaepernick was paying the price for his protest, Reid answered, “I think so. It’s unfortunate, it’s sad. People want to shy away from him because of media, PR reasons.

“You’re doing something to better the world. I mean, the guy got a plane sent to Somalia to help with the famine there. He’s been doing things that if it were anybody else in a different situation without the anthem (protest), they’d be praising him and giving him awards for it.”