Is this good timing for the bye week?
ALEX SMITH: “Yeah, it’s as good a time as any. We’ve positioned ourselves well and it’s a time to get rested up and recover here for the home stretch. No question, especially with a big one coming in two weeks and a lot of division games left ahead of us.”
Are you able to turn it off at all?
ALEX SMITH “No, not totally. I think every guy in this locker room in the back of their head this whole week will be thinking about Denver. It’s a big game ahead of us, but at the same time (we need a) little time. As much as you can, you use it to get away a bit to come back fresh and ready to roll.”
It seems like people want you guys to almost apologize for being 9-0. What are your thoughts?
ALEX SMITH: “The funny thing is, a little bit, I feel like, what are we even talking about? There’s a system in place in the NFL to find out who’s the best. It’s the 16-game season and it’s the playoffs. To be speculating right now, nine games in, who’s the best and who’s not is just talk. They don’t give any trophies out after nine weeks and we understand that and all the talk of any of that is just talk. It’s pointless in my mind. It has it set up to find out who’s the best and that’s our focus, just one game at a time and one week at a time, until we get there.”
Do you separate the fact that you’re 9-0 and undefeated and that there are parts of the game that you need to improve on?
ALEX SMITH: “I think the focus is and I think that everybody understands that you’re trying to win games to position yourself to be in a good situation, come late in the year. The goal is to continue to improve each week, so when your time comes, you’re playing the best football. You want to improve, so you’re playing your best football come December or January and that’s the goal. No question, are you going to win a ton of games, kicking three field goals offensively, no. At the same time, we’re not going to apologize for wins. It was a big win on the road. It’s tough sometimes, tough conditions; the week before a bye, a lot of things there that could be distracting, but the team found a way to get a win. But yeah, we have to learn from it and get better, no question.”
Where can the offense make the most strides?
ALEX SMITH: “I mean for one, the main thing is getting the ball in the end zone. That’s our job. We had some times there that we were moving the ball, getting down to the red zone and just stalled out, for a number of different reasons. We have to find a way to get the ball in the end zone.”
What about the trust in your teammates and how important that is?
ALEX SMITH: “Yeah, I mean I think as a team, you’re one of 11 out there and you have to trust the guy next to you and go out there and do your job. Offensively, there is so much that goes into that, all of us trusting each other to do our jobs. It takes that to go out there and execute at a high level. It’s very important.”
How do you brace for this kind of hype?
ALEX SMITH: “Yeah, you just kind of keep your nose down and do what you’ve been doing. You don’t listen to any of the stuff. I think the nice thing for us, built in is there, is another team in the division that’s been getting a lot of attention, as well. There’s no room to relax at all. (We’re) neck-and-neck and we’ve still got two big games ahead of us with them and a lot of games left ahead in general. With that, I think just kind of keeping your nose down and staying to your task, to your job.”