Trent Baalke Defends Aldon Smith, Talks Alex Smith, Chris Culliver and Bouncing Back from a Tough Super Bowl Loss

February 5, 2013 – 8:15 am by Brad Gagnon

The San Francisco 49ers fell just short in Super Bowl XLVII, but the pieces are in place for the Niners to be contenders for many, many years to come. Trent Baalke is a big reason for that, and the San Francisco general manager says that his boys are already anxious to get back to work immediately after losing to the Baltimore Ravens.

Niners GM Trent Baalke joined Bucher and Towny on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco to discuss his team’s Super Bowl loss to Baltimore, Colin Kaepernick’s performance, the defensive struggles against the Ravens, Aldon Smith’s health, the read-option, Alex Smith, Chris Culliver and the team’s desire to get right back at it.

On the most disappointing part about Sunday’s game:

“We lost. That’s the biggest disappointment. I’m so proud of the way that this staff and these players have competed all year long, prepared, and to have it come down to that game — and what a game it was, but unfortunately we were on the wrong end of the score.”

On Colin Kaepernick’s performance:

“The way this whole team competed, he’s a reflection of that. These guys, there’s no quit in this team and I think the fans certainly got a sneak preview of that all year long and certainly in that game. We were down, we’ve been down before, and Colin does a tremendous job of grinding, just like all these guys do, just like our coaching staff does. And we just came up a little short.”

On what was missing with the defense:

“We just got off to a slow start. We really gave up 26 — the kickoff return isn’t on [the defense] — but you gotta start fast, and for whatever reason we weren’t able to do that. Give them credit, they made some plays, they had an aggressive game plan and they came out firing. We made some adjustments and we settled things down and we played awfully good in the second half. It’s just one of those things. Like I said and I’ll keep saying, it was a tremendous, gutty performance by our football team. But you gotta give them credit. They came out and they executed, and they executed just a little bit better than we did. Bottom line is they beat us.”

On how healthy the struggling Aldon Smith was:

“You can answer that in this league very easily. These guys wear down. And I think if you look across the league, you see that pattern. This is a game that requires a tremendous amount of physical exertion. And he was fighting through some things, just as Justin [Smith] was fighting through some things. But the teams also did some things as the season wore on to take those two guys and make it very difficult for them. And when they do that, other guys have to step up, and we saw flashes of those things happening. But they’re gonna be fine. Aldon’s a damn good football player, and for whatever reason we’re hearing criticism these last six weeks. But you really gotta study the film, you gotta know football and know what these guys are going up against every Sunday before you can really be critical of what’s taking place.”

On how the 49ers can continue to be successful using the read-option:

“You have to keep evolving as a football team and you have to keep putting in new wrinkles. It’s a copycat league and defenses catch up with offenses and offenses catch up with defenses. And that’s the beauty of the game. So are people going to figure it out? They’re going to figure out certain elements to it. And that’s why you gotta keep evolving and adding to it. And our coaching staff does as good as any coaching staff in the league of adding to it on a weekly basis.”

On his feeling that this team will bounce back aggressively:

“They’re going to work extremely hard — harder than they’ve probably worked in their entire lives — to get back to that game and make sure that the feeling they have today and last night isn’t the feeling they share a year from now.”

On what encourages him right now:

“They’re ready to go back to work. They’re ready. … The core group of this team, they’re workers. And they’re going to be back in the gym in the next couple weeks getting ready for next year.”

On Alex Smith apparently saying he wants to be released, not traded:

“I don’t know where that quote came from because it didn’t come from Alex, and Alex has already come out and said that that was not a quote that he made. Alex and I have had some great conversations over the last several weeks, and as late as yesterday. And we’ll continue to have those. But the reporting of what’s taking place internally is false. Internally, we’re going to sit down with our quarterback, like we do with every other player, and have a discussion that isn’t going to be media-driven and we’re not going to put it in the media.”

On if there’s a chance Alex Smith could be on the roster in 2013:

“Nothing’s out of the question right now. Nothing’s out of the question right now. And once again, we’ll sit down.”

On Chris Culliver, who said during Super Bowl week that he wouldn’t welcome an openly gay player as a teammate:

“I think we’ve already addressed the situation with Chris, and we’re going to continue — just like we do with all of our players. I hate to talk about anything that we discuss on a personal level, and just am not going to go there. But I hate to say that the reason we lost this football game is because of Chris Culliver, because that’s an absolute untruth.”

Listen to Trent Baalke on 95.7 The Game here

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  2. Feb 11, 2013: Trent Baalke Defends Aldon Smith, Talks Alex Smith, Chris Culliver and Bouncing Back from a Tough Super Bowl Loss | The Football Radio Show

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