Prior to yesterday's practice, 49ers QB Alex Smith took a few minutes to chat with the media. Dan Brown posted a transcript of the conversation over at the Mercury News. Smith spoke plenty about getting the offseason program compared to last season, although I think there was a bit of a miscommunication on one question.
Q: How much has Greg Roman tweaked the offense this offseason?
ALEX SMITH: It's kind of laughable to compare it to last year. This time last year we were at San Jose St. doing what we could, which wasn't much. This year, I know this offseason, even with the limited time and the new regulations we really got a lot of work in and really pushed the tempo. We're not even close to where we were last year, but that doesn't guarantee us anything. Obviously we're a lot further ahead than we were last year, but you've still got to go out there and play and win games. It's a good start right now.
I'm not sure if the question was asking about tweaks from last offseason, or since the end of the 2011 season. The latter would make more sense, but who knows. Even if it was asking about since the end of the 2011 season, I'm not surprised Alex would brush over it fairly quickly to avoid any strategic revelations.
Alex was also asked quite a bit about his mechanics and strength issues, and had plenty to say on the subject. I found these two Q&As to be the most interesting:
Q: You didn't attempt a lot of far downfield throws last season - the deep go routes. Did that have anything to with the shoulder, the offense, the personnel?
ALEX SMITH: I don't know. It's not something I shy away from. I'm pulling the trigger whenever I can. Every game's different. Every scenario's different. There were some games maybe were I probably could have taken a few more shots, but a lot of them maybe not. It's just the way the game went. I think towards the end of the year we certainly were stretching the field more. I don't know if that's because we got more comfortable, but towards the end of the year (we had) definitely more chunk plays, better play-actions passes and things like that.
Q: What are some exercises you do now that you didn't do before?
ALEX SMITH: Quite a bit. The intense shoulder warm up even before you set foot out here. I can't tell you how many times I've just walked out here and started throwing, and how unhealthy that is. Not doing so much bench press is one of the things he preaches. As a football player, from the day I was a little kid all you want to do when you walk into the gym is bench press and pushups, Things like that are not really great for throwing, so I'm trying to stay away from them. And all those little muscles in the back of your shoulder don't get nearly as much attention as the front of the shoulder.
I'm curious how the shoulder warm-ups will impact his game, if at all. It seems like not warming up the shoulder sufficiently could lead to fatigue sooner rather than later. Any quarterbacks out there want to chime in on this?
As for his comments in response to the first of the two questions, it might be of value to just go through last season and chart out all 18 of Alex Smith's starts last season. There is value in a variety of charting stats, but if we want to figure out improvement in 2012, charting 2011 looks like it will be necessary. To the bat cave, I go!