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How do you feel about facing your former teammate and mentor, Chiefs QB Alex Smith?
“Well, I really don’t get to face him, our defense does. But, Alex has done a lot of great things in this league. He’s done a lot of great things to help me. Nothing but the utmost respect for him.”
Do you still have a relationship with him? Do you still talk to in the offseason or--?
“We’ve talked here and there. Great guy, but we have our own things that we’re doing as well.”
I’m sure you learned a lot from him, but if you could boil it down to one thing, what’s the biggest thing that you either observed watching him or he taught you when he was the starter?
“Just how he viewed the game as far as defenses, how to attack them, what routes are good vs. what defenses, and how to manipulate a defense.”
When you took over the job and his role changed, how much grace did he show during that and it sure seemed like it from our perspective, but--?
“One of the classiest people I’ve ever been around, just an all-around great guy. I don’t think anyone could have handled it any better than he did.”
Do you think the way he handled it went a ways towards how the locker room ended up handling it, that he sort of set the tone for the way the locker room reacted to the news?
“I think he definitely made things go a lot smoother. The way he handled things didn’t turn it into a controversy in the locker room, and that just shows the character that he has not just as a player, but as a man.”
Did you sense any uneasiness during that time that a guy who’d been around for as long as he had, was it awkward for you or did you sense any uneasiness at that time?
“Obviously you want to be playing. He had been playing. He had been playing well. Did he want to be on the field? Yes. But, he wasn’t going to let that get in the way of what the team was trying to do.”
Why were you the better choice for this team to go forward and to go with you and to trade Alex away?
“You’re going to have to ask [head] coach [Jim] Harbaugh that. I’m just trying to do my job.”
Do you believe that you were the better choice?
“I’m not going to say that publicly because you are all going to try to make it sound like something else. But, I do feel like I’m a good player, yes.”
Almost from the day you came here, you stated your goal was to be the starter. Was that something that you ever addressed with Alex during that time when you were his backup for a year and a half that, ‘I want to get the point where I’m pushing you for your starting job?’
“It’s not something you talk about, but no one comes into this league and says, ‘Hey, I want to be a backup.’ Not me at least.”
You spoke to the Nevada football team and they won the game. What was that experience like for you? What was your message to that team?
“It was great to get to see the team, see the coaches. Lot of new faces around there. A lot of blue, which was a little different seeing that around here, but my message to the team was just be great. You don’t have to be average.”
What have these first four games shown you about where this offense is going and what it can be for the final 12 games?
“Constantly evolving, constantly getting better. We’ve done a lot of things well. We need to do a lot of things better.”
What’s number one on your list, do you think, for things you need to do better?
You’re running the ball a lot more it seems through four games. Are you enjoying that aspect and just feel like you’re getting the allowance to do that?
“Really depends on what coaches are calling. If that’s a way we feel like we can get a win, I’m all for it.”
Is there a preference between you running a quarterback sweep or running on a read-option that you take better pride in?
“As long as I’m in open space, I’m good.”
G/T Alex Boone offered a reason for clock-management issues I hadn’t heard before. He said, ‘Sometimes guys are talking to much in the huddle and you have to tell them to shut up.’ Is he just joking around or is there anything to that?
“No. Part of it you’re trying to organize things from the previous play, so it doesn’t happen the next play, or you’re ready for it the next time that happens. So, part of it is you’re making adjustments constantly.”
But you’re not having to babysit the guys or tell them to be quiet?
“No, I’m not a babysitter.”
S Antoine Bethea was saying that he was able to pick up on Eagles QB Nick Foles’ audible at the line. Putting his hand over his head would signal a run play. As a quarterback, how concerned do you have to be that you’re not giving away your tells?
“It’s something we’re aware of and we address.”
Has that come up where you’ll discover yourself doing something such as that?
“Any keys that we find out that we have, we try to break.”
On Sunday night, Deion Sanders had some comments I’m sure you’ve heard about. His thought that it was… he had been told that the players wanted Jim Harbaugh out. What was your take when you heard that stuff and what do you think about the temperature right now in the locker room?
“Well, I’d like to know who the source is. So, when you get a source from that, then we can talk about that. Until then, that’s the media.”