In case you missed it, one of the big pieces of news from yesterday was that Alex Smith is recovering from a concussion suffered at an undetermined time. The concussion was announced when the practice participation report was released late in the afternoon. Alex Smith was listed as a full participant but recovering from a concussion.
What's interesting is that Alex Smith spoke with the media prior to practice and said nothing about the concussion. He couldn't be questioned about it because the media didn't know at the time what was going on. However, it sounds like he was completely cleared and will be good to go for this Sunday against the Bengals. Apparently he approached the 49ers trainer after the game mentioning some symptoms he was starting to feel and the diagnosis was made. He has reportedly been cleared by a team physician and an independent neurological consultant.
Hopefully Alex will be 100% on Sunday because he'll be in an interesting situation on offense. Braylon Edwards is definitely out while Michael Crabtree appears likely to be active according to Coach Harbaugh. While ideally we'd have the entire roster of receivers available, I'd love to see Kyle Williams and Ted Ginn both getting more opportunities. I'd say they earned the right for more reps at receiver after last Sunday. Williams only had one catch, but it was a doozy. And while Ginn didn't put up monster numbers he made several key conversions.
We saw the team make in-game adjustments when Braylon Edwards went out. Now that they have a full week of practice it will be interesting to see what kind of game plan we see.
QB Alex Smith
Press Conference - September 21, 2011
San Francisco 49ers
Did things change at all with [WR] Braylon [Edwards] being out of the lineup, from your standpoint?
"Not sure at this point early on. We haven't even practiced yet, so we'll see. Guys are going to have to step up and be ready to go."
As he just evened the game Sunday did it change a little bit? You only had him for three plays, so how did you adjust after that?
"Yeah, you don't expect for that to happen, but that's the game of football. You have to deal with injuries. Like I said, yeah it hurt to lose him after three plays, but I thought [WR] Kyle [Williams] did a great job, as well as [WR] Ted [Ginn Jr.] and [WR] Joshua [Morgan] all kind of moving around and making it work."
Do you expect to have [WR] Michael [Crabtree] in full practices this week?
"Asking the wrong person. Hopefully potentially for this Sunday, but I'm not the one making those decisions so."
How difficult is it for you going into every game with a different cast of receivers?
"Like I said, it's part of the deal. That's what's going to happen. Got to make adjustments. Every team deals with it, and we're no different. I feel good about our group. I think we've got a lot of depth. The guys are versatile. They know all the positions, and I think it showed last Sunday. I think it was clear. We weren't planning on that, but it happened and guys made adjustments and were ready to go."
Joshua just said as long that as long as he can be fed and play football, he doesn't mind staying Youngstown or a town that nobody's heard about, what's your thought on that?
"Yeah, I think we all feel the same way. Exactly. Whatever it takes to win. I think obviously there's a lot of data out there on west coast teams traveling east. We've got back-to-back games back there, so this will be an adjustment, but I think it will be good-kind of like a little minicamp. Guys will get to spend a lot of time together and focus on football."
How much can you really take out of knowing [Bengals CB] Nate Clements or [Bengals OLB] Manny Lawson's tendencies?
"Nothing tendency-wise. I think the biggest thing is knowing them as players. Besides that, they are playing in a different scheme, being put in different situations. So, you know their skill-sets and things they're good at as players. But, other than that I don't think it's really making a difference."
We ask you a lot about Braylon, we ask you a lot about Michael Crabtree, but it seems like Joshua is the guy that's been with you the longest, and he's been the starter the longest here, can you talk about his consistency and maybe sort of an underrated aspect to him?
"Yeah for sure. I think it kind of goes to his attitude. Like he just said, all he wants to do eat and play football. The guy knows all the positions. Does it all-blocks, catches. Really versatile. I think just has such a great attitude towards the game. I think all his teammates see that and respect that. I know I do. Total team player. Not selfish at all. And makes plays when they're there. The guy is an exceptional athlete. A true pro."
Is there any indication how long you might be without Braylon?
"I have no idea. Like I said, I think you're asking the wrong person."
Alex, [TE] Vernon [Davis] expressed some frustration after the game that he wasn't targeted more, do you expect him to be a bigger part, or a much bigger part of the pass game in the future?
"I think Vernon's always going to be a focal point of our past game. It just depends on the flow of the game. How teams treat him. We play some teams and Vernon gets a lot of attention, especially when he's running. You take a look at the touchdown pass to [TE] Delanie [Walker]; Vernon was what makes that play go. Him running down the field eats up two guys and all of a sudden Delanie's one-on-one. So, he's always going to be a focal point. The type of player he is, the skill set he has, you can't afford not to have him as a focal point. I just think it's one of these things is you'd like to have him more involved, and getting more touches, but just the way the game went, it's the way it happens sometimes."
Alex, you rank among the top four in completion percentage, down toward the bottom when it comes to attempts and in yards, do you sort of look forward to or relish that opportunity whenever they say, go out and throw the ball around and put some yards up?
"Yeah, cliché, but whatever it takes to win. I think the other thing to note is especially as far as our production, especially in the passing game, we've been up. We've been winning. The games change. All of a sudden you're winning in the third and fourth quarter, the running game becomes more of a priority. You're in four-minute offense a lot of times trying to run the clock out. You're not going to have all those attempts in the second half, especially on first and second down where you're necessarily being over aggressive, or trying to come back. I've been in enough of those situations the last few years. Certainly happy to be ahead and trying to finish the game off."
Do you feel left out at all? I mean you're looking around the league and you see big passing numbers.
"No, I don't. Production is great. It's great to seal 300-yard passing games and this and that. But, it's not always the way it's going to be, and happy to do whatever it takes to get the win. In the end, that's how quarterbacks truly get evaluated."
Is this game in some ways kind of a defining moment for the team? You come off of a difficult loss and you kind of have to turn the page, and this can kind of define the direction of the season.
"Yeah for sure. I kind of feel like every week is like that though in a way. And every week seems like its defining. Yeah. This is no different for sure. Huge test for us. Got to find a way to get a win. That's the bottom line. Yeah, absolutely."
I know you said that you just want to win however it happens, but do you feel like you have to open up defense the pass game just to give [RB] Frank [Gore] some room?
"No question that we have to get better, pass game and run game. And the whole cat and mouse obviously they help each other. Putting pressure on defenses and not saying we don't. Absolutely I think we need production on most areas. But as far as asking me, do I want to throw it a ton of times and throw it for so many yards, like I said, whatever it takes to get the win."
Speaking of whatever it takes to a win, Frank just told us that if he needed to fake an injury that he's all for it, what's your take on faking injury?
"No real opinion on that. I guess I've seen it kind of become an issue here the last few days. Don't know where that came from, but not something that I'm thinking about."
As far as Kyle Williams, obviously with Braylon out he's got a chance and you guys hooked up. You obviously threw a lot to him at San Jose State, what have your impressions been of him I guess from Spring on?
"Worked hard this whole offseason. He was there the whole time. But, I thought he had a great camp. I think camp's really where he took a few steps. Moving around, making a lot of plays in camp, and consistent knowing his job and doing it well. And when you're in a position like he is, it happens like that. You don't know when it's going to come, but all of a sudden bam, third play of the game you're asked to step in and play. And I thought he did a great job, and I think he'll do a great job moving forward."