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49ers vs. Texans: Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick Discuss Struggles

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The 49ers quarterbacks had a less than stellar Saturday evening, finishing a combined 8 of 22 for 50 yards and two interceptions. The struggles were due to a variety of issues including some poor decisions and some really poor offensive line play.

However, there was also the general issue of developing any sort of continuity with a variety of changes throughout the game. The team started Alex Smith and then switched to Colin Kaepernick in the second quarter. Alex Smith later returned and it sounds like he was in to work on some specific situations.

Additionally, we saw Adam Snyder starting at center, then Goodwin game came in and Snyder moved to right guard, and then I believe Snyder moved back to center at some point. As someone mentioned in the Q&A, it seems like making these kinds of switches is only going to keep things a bit more confusing. It would be no surprise to see the team struggle in that regard.

On the one hand Colin Kaepernick did struggle and look generally like a rookie at times. On the other hand, when you're mixing and matching different parts during the game, struggles might be expected. How much can we take out of this in regards to both quarterbacks performances?

QB Alex Smith
Post-Game Quotes - August 27, 2011
San Francisco 49ers vs. Houston Texans

Was it tough to get into a rhythm out there today?

"Yes, I mean the first couple series, I got one first down and then sputtered. Yes, put ourselves in third downs and then couldn't convert."

Pass protection was so good last week against the Raiders, did you think you had solved that issue? That that was sort of not an issue anymore?

"You know, yes I had the couple sacks there and then obviously felt the pressure on the pick and felt like getting hit. I have to look at it. It'd be hard for me to say at this point. Who knows what happened. I don't want to rush into conclusions or judgments or anything like that. Obviously there's room for improvement for all of us, so we'll see what the film says. It kind of sucks at this point just after the game, but it's kind of the truth. I'm not playing. It's tough to see what was going on at the front sometimes." 

You don't usually show a lot of emotion, but after getting hit two times, the second time being that interception, you were pretty frustrated. Why?

"You know go back out there. Coach Harbaugh told me that potentially if we got into some two-minute situations that I was going to go back in. To go back out there, I wanted to get into a rhythm, and the last thing going out there, and just frustrated. I felt like at that point it was tough getting the ball off. But, that's just what happens in a game. It's an emotional game. You're out there getting hit. A lot of us, we're all playing for our football lives at this point, so you want to go out there and showcase your best ability. So, it's just was frustrating at the moment." 

You came out of it okay physically?

"Yes, I'm fine. Absolutely." 

Coach Harbaugh said obviously he doesn't know what's going to happen in the fourth exhibition game, even this game. Do you think the starters need more time for the exhibition game?

"Yes, obviously a good question for him. Don't know at this point in the preseason. It's the week before the opener, if you risk playing guys and getting guys banged up or anything. That's a good question, I don't know, so I guess we'll wait to see that and find out." 

Third preseason game is usually seen as the most important. How much stock do you guys put into the third game?

"Well yes, traditionally it obviously is. I think you saw a different approach. I played the two series and then came out and then went back in for the situational stuff. Coach, I think took a  little different approach in the sense that he wanted to let some of the younger guys play and really see what they had against some NFL starters. So it was a little different, a little nontraditional in that sense, but still a lot of room for improvement for all of us." 

Where would you say the offensive line is right now?

"It's not something I'm worried about to be totally honest with you. We've got a great group up front. Those guys work as hard as anybody. They're talented. I think tonight-and protection doesn't always just fall on them, it falls on everybody sometimes. We'll look at it and see. I think a couple times, the guys got on edges and it can be tough, so." 

And the reason I ask is because [C/G Adam] Snyder starts, [C Jonathan] Goodwin comes in, Snyder moves over right guard. It seems like you want an offensive line set in stone so those guys can work together. It seems to me like it's sort of a work in progress.

"Yes, there are some moving parts there in the game and I think they wanted to get those guys some reps and some film and see how they do in those different spots. No excuse though, but yeah, some of those guys play multiple positions, move them around and see how they do." 

[Texans QB Matt] Schaub played good the first half, just about every starting quarterback in the NFL played through the first half in this third game. You didn't. Would you have liked to have gotten into a rhythm and played that long?

"Under normal circumstances I'd say maybe I want to play a little bit more, but to be honest with you, coaches have done such a great job at practice, we get so many reps in throughout the week. It's the way he wanted to do it, and don't see a problem with it. I've been in years passed where we've put a lot of stock into preseason, and we've put up really good numbers and win a lot of games, and two weeks into the season, no one really cares. So coach took a different approach to it a little bit, and I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing. Obviously we took our lumps tonight. It was a rough one for all of us, and you look at it and get better." 

Obviously it's a preseason game, a lot of moving parts, how much do you take it on yourself when your offense struggles?

"Yes, as the guy who touches the ball every single play, you know you're the focal point. So no question as a quarterback, when things are struggling, you feel like what can you do to make some things happen. But at the same time, we all rely on each other and it takes 11 of us, and we've got to find a way to get it going. We've got a find a way within ourselves in that huddle to move the chains and get some rhythm going."


QB Colin Kaepernick
Post-Game Quotes - August 27, 2011
San Francisco 49ers vs. Houston Texans

Were there a lot of breakdowns on offense?

"I think the biggest thing right now is, if you have ten people doing the right thing on one play, and you have one person doing the wrong thing on offense, that turns into a bad play and it turns into a bad play quickly. Right now we're kind of having some of those problems where it might be one thing here, one thing there, and a drive falls apart because of that."

What happened on the interception, were you just trying to get the guy and didn't see the defender cut in front?

"No, actually I saw the safety. I thought that [WR] Braylon [Edwards] was going to be able to cross his face before he got there. Just a bad judgment on my part." 

What does [Head Coach Jim] Harbaugh tell you after something like that?

"He asked me if I saw the safety, if I saw what was going on. I told him, ‘yeah.' He said, ‘All right, well we'll just move on from there, we learn from it.' That's one of the good things about the preseason is you can learn from those things and they don't count for anything right now." 

How hurried did you feel? How rushed did you feel back there? It seemed like you guys were under a lot of pressure.

"That's something you have to deal with as a quarterback no matter where you are at. Right now we're still trying to pick up on things. We're trying to adjust to different things. So, right now every position is going to have problems from time to time." 

What do you think you didn't adjust to against the Texans?

"I think everything we did today was just on ourselves. We had little problems here and there that we just need to correct throughout the next week." 

That was your first time playing with some ones against their ones, how do you think of your overall performance in that time?

"I think we need to get a lot better. I think the scoreboard shows that. We didn't put any points on the board offensively tonight. So, there's a lot of things we need to work on." 

Were you disappointed and would you like to see more points scored offensively?

"Yeah, being an offensive player, you always want to put points on the board. You want to put as many up there as you can, but right now there's still a lot of learning we're doing. There's a lot of progressions we're still going through, and really we're trying to get amped up for this season. This is practice for this season to make sure everything is right then." 

What was different about going against ones and playing with some ones also?

"I wouldn't say there were any huge differences. You still have to go out there, you have to play football and go through your reads." 

Was there anything positive you took from tonight's game?

"You can learn a lot from games like this. As much as you hate to have them, sometimes you learn more from losses than wins." 

What did you learn?

"You have to get better. You've got to do a lot of things better offensively. I have to be better with my eyes, feet, and some of my reads."