Maiocco: Smith Feels He's Earned Leader's Role

August 31, 2010, 8:44 pm
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Matt Maiocco
CSNBayArea.comSANTA CLARA -- There were a couple things I saw in the past week from 49ers quarterback Alex Smith that caught my attention.On Thursday, he remained on the field for about 20 minutes after practice. He was the center of attention in a relaxed conversation with Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, Josh Morgan and Ted Ginn. At the end, the players put their hands together -- much like you'd see from a basketball team breaking a huddle.Two days later, Smith's demeanor was different. He was noticeably agitated and it was clear he was venting to the 49ers' coaching staff when he continued to get the play calls from the sideline late in the play clock against the Raiders.During his first five seasons with the 49ers, Smith exhibited a mellow personality. The only time he showed much fire was when he took on then-coach Mike Nolan in 2007 when Nolan said Smith was healthy after Smith tried to return from a separated throwing shoulder.His body language has been different this offseason. He is much more assertive. I asked Smith if he believes he has earned the right to be more demanding of others this season."Yeah, absolutely," Smith answered. "I think what I was saying out there and was demanding wasn't anything that I couldn't. Whereas, maybe if I was younger, I just wouldn't know what to do. I would have just been out there and tried to work through it."Throughout the offseason -- and continuing through training camp -- Smith has shown the signs of being a better leader."That's something I guess I think I've learned," Smith said. "Leadership comes in lots of different forms. I've talked to a lot, especially that perimeter group, and I think the biggest thing that comes in for us is communication. And it's communication, getting things figured out, getting things right, getting on the same page. And it never ends."So what was going on when Smith was the ringleader in a group meeting last week that involved the team's top offensive playmakers?"I want to leave that between us," he said. "Basically, to summarize a little bit, just us coming together. Camp was closing down."I talked with all those guys individually, but I think we all wanted to come together and make sure we were all on the same page as a perimeter group -- that we had the right attitude, the right mindset going forward, and we were going to set some things straight with all of us to make sure we were all thinking the same thing."