Alex Smith Understands Heightened Expectations, Has Moved Past the Peyton Manning Saga

August 3, 2012 – 8:30 am by Brad Gagnon

For the first time in quite a while, Alex Smith is the undisputed No. 1 quarterback in San Francisco. By no means does that mean he’s inspired heaps of confidence in the Bay Area, but Smith managed games well last year despite having little time to adjust to a new coaching staff.

This time, he’s had a full offseason with Jim Harbaugh, and he has the support to have a career year.

Alex Smith joined Mr. T and Byrnes on KNBR in San Francisco to discuss how unique this season is in comparison to previous years. He also talked about what he was going through while the team pursued Peyton Manning in March.

On how this year is different from past training camps:

“Big changes, especially from the last few (years). I mean, last year, coming in and didn’t know what to expect competing for the job coming out of the lockout. In years prior I’ve been in competitions and things like that and there’s a difference. I hate saying this, but the expectations have changed a lot — I mean for us, I’m talking within the building. … In prior years, yeah, you’re maybe hoping to win, working hard, but we just haven’t achieved it. And I think sometimes to get that level of confidence you just have to go through it. You have to have done it and walked through it, and this team has done that and I think last year was a great growing experience for us. A lot of confidence is coming out of it, and at the same time bitter taste. So, guys have a lot of expectations for ourselves. We demand a lot of each other.”

On the team’s somewhat surprising pursuit of Peyton Manning early in the offseason:

“Yeah, it was unique, interesting. I mean, what can you say? Obviously it’s tough to even put in words. But through all of it, the great thing is, Coach Harbaugh, like I said the thing that first drew me in was how straightforward he was. And I’d been in negotiations with them since the season ended, so we’re headed into free agency and the talks are going on and it’s the back and forth between the agent and negotiators here, and just trying to get the contract right. And then the Peyton thing gets thrown in there, right there at the start of free agency and it was interesting. It was tough. You don’t know what to do, obviously. You’re on the phone the whole time with — I was on the phone the whole time with Coach Harbaugh and he’s continually saying, you know (there’s) a spot here for you and potentially at that point competing with Peyton. And I just felt, without a doubt, I mean that whole time leading up to that, this was my job. I felt like I’d earned the right more than ever, coming back and this was my team and my position and I wasn’t gonna give it up to anybody. But then again, it’s a lot of ‘what ifs.’”

Listen to Alex Smith on KNBR here

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